Thursday, April 30, 2009

Speech

After posting my evaluation, I thought I'd post another pretty big assignment in my life. Last semester I took a public speaking class. For my final speech I decided to talk about homosexuality. I took a slightly different approach. My goal was to simply increase communication about same-sex attractions and clarify that while people don't choose their attractions, they should be free to pursue happiness in whatever way they see fit.

I was so nervous, because I started my speech by reliving a night last January when I was holding a knife in my hand contemplating suicide. Then I was going to out myself to the whole class. Adrenaline was definitely pumping. It was so awesome. One girl had a look of complete disgust on her face from the moment I pulled out the knife. Other than her, everyone was so supportive and totally cool about it. There was this one guy who I had worked really hard to develop a friendship with over the semester. I was worried about how my disclosure would affect our relationship. It strengthened it. He came up to me and told me that he has a bunch of friends from high school who are gay. We've even done stuff together this semester. It's really cool.

The best part, though, was the way my teacher responded. We talked after class for half an hour. She isn't a member, but she is an active Christian. She thanked me like a dozen times for helping her understand. She asked a bunch of questions and we talked about the gospel and the atonement quite a bit. It was such an amazing feeling. Then she asked if I had any other groups of such that I could give my speech to. I told her not really. So she said that I ought to come into the speech lab and record my speech as an example speech for future students. I thought that was totally awesome. So I did.

So, coming out to people is such a rush. I love doing it. It feels so good to try to help others understand this challenge.


So the formatting in blogger sucks. Good luck with my outline.


Topic: Homosexuality
General Purpose: To persuade
Specific Purpose: My purpose is to persuade my audience to speak up to those within their sphere of influence, especially youth, about homosexuality.
Thesis: My audience should speak out about homosexuality because ignorance about the issue has serious consequences and this solution is simple, yet effective.

Attention Step

I. (Attention Getter) "I'd like to take you to a kitchen table in a small apartment."
A. I was ready to end my life.
1. Then, I realized that I needed to make my death look like an accident.
2. About this time my wife walked out of the bedroom, and after overcoming her initial shock and panic at the sight of this knife in my hand, she made sure I got the help I needed.
B. Stuart Matis wasn't as lucky.
1. On February 25, 2000 in Santa Clara California, Stuart put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger. (Mansfield, 2004)
2. Every year, as many as 800,000 youth ages 15-24 attempt suicide; 250,000 of those share one common trait---they are attracted to members of their own gender.(CDC, 2008; CDC, 2005)
C. There are a number of word that evoke meaning and emotion.
II. (Topic Justification) Homosexuality is one of the most controversial social issues of our time.
A. Those who speak loudest about the controversy come from the furthest extremes of the issue.
B. These voices continue to polarize the population, leaving the middle ground unspoken.
III. (Credibility Statement) My name is Kevin Lindley.
A. I am happily married and active in my Church.
B. And I am a 5 on Kinsey's Scale if Sexual Orientation.
IV. (Preview Statement) I am going to explain how ignorance about sexual orientation has contributed to the controversy surrounding this issue, then, I will propose a simple, yet effective solution to the problem, and show why this solution is so important.

Transition: First I want to talk about the problem of misinformation regarding homosexuality.

Problem Step

I. (Statement of the Problem) Before we decide if there is a problem with the information currently available to our youth, we should ask, what is the truth about homosexuality?
A. The exact reasons why some people experience homosexual, or same-sex attractions are unknown.
1. (Evidence-Authority) Many scientist believe that genetic nature and the environment play complex roles in influencing an individual's sexual attractions. (APA, 2008)
2. One thing is certain, most individuals experience no choice in the development of sexual attractions. (APA, 2008)
B. Individuals who experience homosexual attractions should have the freedom to pursue happiness in whatever way they choose.
1. Contrary to what many pro-gay activists proclaim, there is scientific research to prove that many individuals can reduce their same-sex attractions and find happiness "living the straight life." (Spitzer, 2003)
2. However, many individuals with homosexual attractions choose to seek same-sex relationships.
a. These individuals can find happiness as well.
b. Regardless of the majority's beliefs, no minority should be denied the opportunity to seek happiness.
C. The problem is that vocal activists on either side would have the public see only black or white.
1. Religious extremists would have those with same-sex attractions feel that they are "sinners;" they claim that the only option is to try to change their sexual orientation.
2. Meanwhile, pro-gay activists reject that as religious bigotry and assert that the only option for such individuals is to embrace their homosexuality and pursue same-sex relationships.
3. The truth lies somewhere in between.
4. Individuals who experience same-sex attractions do so at no fault of their own, and so they can't be held responsible.
5. All individuals should be free to pursue happiness in the way that seems best to them.
II. (Extent and Seriousness of the Problem) So What? This lack of balanced information has serious consequences.
A. A very large number of people experience homosexual attractions.
1. While 4.1% of Americans identify as gay or bisexual, as many as 15% experience some degree of same-sex attraction. (Gate, 2006; CDC, 2005: Fergusson, 2005)
2. That is 32 million individuals, or 20 times the entire population of Idaho.
3. That equals roughly 1 in 20 who are gay, but 3 in 20 who experience homosexual attraction.
4. 30% of Gay and Lesbians report having attempted suicide at least once. (Remfardi, 1998)
B. The US government has found that gay or lesbian teens are 3 times more likely to attempt suicide than their "straight" peers.
1. In fact, gay and lesbian teens account for as many as 30% of all teen suicides in the US. (US Dep. HHS, 1989)
2. That means that 1,600 teens will commit suicide this year because they are attracted to members of their own gender.
3. Every six hours another parent or brother or sister will find a teen dead.
C. Gay and Lesbian youth do face increased prejudice and discrimination.
1. The APA and 12 other mental health organizations produced a research based pamphlet that reported that gay and lesbian youth do experience prejudice, discrimination and even violence. (Just the Facts, 2008)
2. The APA reports that virtually 100% of Gays and Lesbians experience verbal harassment and abuse. (APA, 2008)
3. One study showed that homosexual youth are more likely to miss school due to fear, being threatened by other students, or property being damaged. (Garofalo, 1998)
4. Another study found that 78% of all teens feel gay and lesbian youth are teased or bullied too much. (NMHA, 2002)
5. Bobby Griffith did a backflip off a highway overpass into an oncoming semi truck, because he lacked suppport from family and friends. (Miller, 1992)
III. (Audience Involvement) Whether they know it or not, this audience is affected by the lack of correct knowledge about homosexuality.
A. 85% of this audience reported knowing someone who is gay, lesbian, or bisexual.
1. Remember that 1 in 3 gays, lesbians, and bisexuals attempt suicide.
2. Also, 72% of gays and lesbians report being suicidal-compared to 10% of heterosexuals.
3. (Motive Appeal-Love and affection) Many of you have someone you care about who has been suicidal because of their sexual orientation.
B. Also less than half of this class feels that gay and lesbian teens are bullied too much.
C. However, more than 75% of you would still maintain a relationship if your friend told you he or she was gay.

Transition: It is obvious that America has a problem on our hands, so what are we going to do about it?

Solution Step

I. (Evaluation of proposed alternative solution) Many people want to combat prejudice and discrimination based on sexual orientation.
A. One of the most common approaches is to try to make laws regarding homosexuality.
1. (Evidence-Analogy) As we saw with racial prejudice and discrimination laws did not change what people believe.
II. (Statement of solution) What this world needs is for people who know the truth to speak up.
III. (Explanation of solution) This is an easy and powerful approach.
A. Correct knowledge about a subject often reduces the prejudice and stereotypes surrounding it.
B. (Stylistic Device-Metaphore) By correctly educating those around us, especially the youth, we can erase the ugly shroud of intolerance and cruelty that smudges our society.
IV. (Illustrate/demonstrate effectiveness) This solution is very powerful and effective.
A. (Evidence- Authourity)The APA recommends that heterosexual people help others reconsider their attitudes toward homosexuality. (APA, 2008)
B. (Evidence- Authourity)Mary Griffith belives that correct education about homosexuality would have prevented her son's death. (Griffith, 1988)
C. (Evidence- Authourity) Talking about sexual orientation at a young age helps prevent a child from developing prejudical attitudes.
D. (Evidence- Authourity)(Motive Appeal-Compassion and Understanding) Talking about homosexual orientation also helps pass on universal values of respect and understanding to children. (Ponton, 2006)
V. (Refutation) Some may say that we shouldn't talk about homosexuality, but that is absurd.
A. I have heard that we shouldn't discuss homosexuality, because we might encourage kids to experiment.
B. Talking about homosexuality doesn't increase experimentation.
C. Evidence shows that this argument is not valid.
1. (Evidence-Analogy) Studies have shown that talking to youth about sex does not increase sexual activity.

2. (Evidence-Authority) Dr. Lynn Ponton of the National Mental Health Association believes that talking with kids about sexuality is beneficial not harmful. (Ponton, 2006)
D. I have shown that fear of experimentation is not a reasonable argument against discussing homosexuality.

Transition: Now that I've explained my solution, let's look at speaking out can affect our future.

Visualization Step

I. (Negative Visualization) If we stand by and let vocal extremists control the information our youth receive, more youth will commit suicide.
A. More parents will experience what John and Maria Melo did.
1. John Melo had to cut his son, Joshua, down from the tree Joshua used to hang himself.
2. Maria Melo also retold her experiences about her son's suicide.
3. The interesting thing is that Joshua wasn't gay; his peers just bullied him because they claimed he was.
B. As the two sides become more polarized, the argument over gay rights will become more vicious.
II. (Positive Visualization) On the other hand, if we speak out about homosexuality, our youth will grow up in safety.
A. Fewer youth will choose to end their own lives.
B. Fewer youth will feel unsafe at school, in their neighborhoods, and in their families.
C. More youth will learn compassion and empathy towards people who are different.
D. More youth will find happiness as they try to live with their own sexuality.

Transition: That is a world I want my children to grow up in; exactly how can we create this kind of world.

Action Step

I. We need to talk more about homosexuality, without taking part in extremist attitudes.
A. Our youth need to know the truth about same-sex attractions.
1. Youth need to know that sexual attractions are not chosen, that they are not bad because of who they're attracted to.
2. Youth need to know that they have the freedom to choose how they react to theri attractions.
3. Youth need to know that it is not okay to bully or tease others for any reason.
B. All individuals need to know the truth about homosexuality.
1. We can stand up to and correct those who make prejudiced comments.
2. We can and should make it clear that we don't approve of intolerance.
C. Speaking up doesnt' take a great effort on our part.
1. Simply take advantagesof opportunities to talk when they come up.
2. It does take some courage to talk about topics like sexuality.
3. However, the benefits outweigh the effort it takes.
II. (Punch Statement) We must raise our voices because one teen attempting suicide every two minutes over their sexual attractions, is one teen too many.


Audience Analysis Paragraph:

My audience consists of a population of diverse ages. A majority are bween the ages of 18 and 25. The majority are female. 85% of my audience is exclusively heterosexual. Most of my audience would be okay with a gay friend. Less than half feel that gay and lesbian teens are bullied too much. Less than half would favor adding sexual orientation to school curriculum. I don't really have to convince them that they should not be prejudiced against homosexuals. My biggest challenge is going to be to get them to overcome their fear and discomfort regarding speaking about homosexuality. I plan to help them by appealing to their compassion using gay teen suicide information

Enthymemes:

Major Premise: If something is causing death among our youth, it should be fixed.
Minor Premise: Ignorance about homosexuality is causing death among our youth.
Conclusion: Ignorance about homosexuality should be fixed.

Major Premise: If we want to change the current situation, we need to change how we act.
Minor Premise: We want to reduce the number of sexual orientation related suicided.
Conclusion: We need to change how we act.

Inductive Evidence:

I. (Evidence-Authority)Many scientist believe that genetic nature and the environment play complex roles in influencing an individual's sexual attractions.
1) Organization of Professionals. Yes, they are related to the field.
2) Yes, this organization must be free from bias
3) Yes, this authority used to believe that homosexuality was a mental illness
4) Yes, the APA maintains a very consistent point of view on homosexuality.
5) No, the APA continually bases their views on scientific research.

II. (Evidence-Statistics) 4.1% of Americans identify as gay or bisexual.
1) Yes, the American Government is reliable.
2) Yes, the statistic has been gathered within the last 3 years.
3) Yes, the CDC used a large sample size (12,571) and the sample is a nationally representative multistage area probability sample.

Stylistic Devices:

I. (Stylistic Device-Metaphore) We can erase the ugly shroud of intolerance and cruelty that smudges our society.
II. (Stylistic Device-Anaphora)Fewer youth will. . ., Fewer youth will. . ., More youth will. . ., More youth will. . .

Motive Appeals:

I. (Motive Appeal-Love and affection)Many of you have someone you care about who has been suicidal because of their sexual orientation.
II. (Motive Appeal-Compassion and understanding)Talking about homosexual orientation also helps pass on values of respect and understanding to children.

References

American Psychological Association. (2008). Answers to your questions: For a better understanding of sexual orientation and homosexuality. Washington, DC: Author. [Retrieved from www.apa.org/ topics/sorientation.pdf.]

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2005). Sexual Behavior and Selected Health Measures: Men and Women 15–44 Years of Age, United States, 2002. Washington, DC: Mosher, William D., et.al.. Retrieved from [http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/ad/ad362.pdf]

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2005). WISQARS Fatal Injuries: Mortality Reports. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved from [http://webappa.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/mortrate.html]

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2008). Suicide: Facts at a Glance. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved from [ http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/dvp/suicide/suicide_data_sheet.pdf.]

Fergusson, David M., et. al. (2005). Sexual orientation and mental health in a birth cohort of young adults. Psychological Medicine, 35, pp 971-981

Garofalo, R.,Wolf, R. C., Kessel, S., Palfrey, J., & Du Rant, R. H. (1998). The association between health risk behaviors and sexual orientation among a school-based sample of adolescents. Pediatrics, 101, 895-902.

Gates, Gary J. (2006). Same-sex Couples and the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Population: New Estimates from the American Community Survey. Retrieved from [http://www.law.ucla.edu/
williamsinstitute/publications/SameSexCouplesandGLBpopACS.pdf

Griffith, Mary. Testimony. Los Angeles School Committee, Public Hearings. June 23, 1988.

Just the Facts Coalition. (2008). Just the facts about sexual orientation and youth: A primer
for principals, educators, and school personnel. Washington, DC: American Psychological
Association. Retrieved from [www.apa.org/pi/lgbc/publications/justthefacts.html.]

Kevin Caruso. (2006) Remembering an Angel: Joshua Melo. Retrieved from [http://www.suicide.org/ memorials/joshua-melo.html]

Mansfield, Ty, et. al. (2004). In Quiet Desperation. Salt Lake City, UT: Author.

Miller, B. Jaye. "From Silence to Suicide: Measuring a Mother's Loss." Homophobia: How We All Pay the Price. Boston: Beacon Press, 1992. pp. 88-89.

National Mental Health Association. What does gay mean? Teen Survey. Alexandria, Va: Author. Retrieved from [http://www.nmha.org/whatdoesgaymean.]

Ponton, Lynn. (2006) What does gay mean? How to talk to kids about sexual orientation and prejudice.
Alexandria, VA: National Mental Health Association. Retrieved from [http://www.nmha.org/ whatdoesgaymean.]

Remafedi, G., Frendh, S., Story,M., Resnick,M. D., & Blum, R. (1998). The relationship between suicide risk and sexual orientation: Results of a population-based study. American Journal of Public Health, 88, 57-60.

Spitzer, Robert L. (2003) Can some gay men and lesbians change their sexual orientation? Archives of Sexual Behavior. 32. pp 403-417

U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, "Gay Male and Lesbian Youth Suicide," by Paul Gibson, Report of the Secretary's Task Force on Youth Suicide, ed. Marcia R. Feinleib, Washington, DC, January 1989.

Evaluation

So, kinda random, but I just finished am assignment for my English class. We had to evaluate two articles or essays of the same genre based on criteria we had selected ourselves. Most of the class decided to pick two stories from our book. I chose two articles written for men with SSA. Both have their strong points. One just has a lot fewer weak points.



What Works and What Doesn't: An Evaluation Based on Four Criteria


Few things shape character and personality like the difficulties people experience. Perhaps one of the greatest challenges people experience is being attracted to members of the same gender. This is especially true when those attractions conflict with a person's personal or religious convictions. While the literature available to those individuals is still limited, two essays on the subject are often recommended. David Matheson's article "Four Principles of Growth" speaks directly to men who experience unwanted same-gender attractions. "Homosexuality: What Works and What Doesn't" by Jeff Robinson is a more general work for anyone trying to understand same-sex attraction and possible solutions. Among essays written to help men trying to overcome same-gender attraction, Matheson's "Four Principles of Growth" is more helpful than Robinson's "Homosexuality: What Works and What Doesn't" when judged on readability, accuracy, applicability, and credibility.
"Four Principles of Growth" addresses four concepts that Matheson states "are intended as a guide to help [men] understand this complex process of changing [their] life" (Matheson 12). He uses the acronym M.A.N.S. for these principles. After a discussion of the problems associated with each principle, he suggests some solutions to those problems. Matheson first addresses the principle of masculinity. He says that most men who experience same-sex attraction do not feel masculine. He separates true masculinity from society's portrayal of a stereotypical expectations. Matheson then discusses the ways that authenticity, or more correctly a lack of authenticity, can contribute to the development of homosexual attractions. From authenticity Matheson moves to unmet needs. Matheson defines a need as anything an individual must have in order to experience joy. He claims that by meeting the unmet needs at the root of same-gender attractions, a person can greatly diminish the intensity of those attractions. Matheson concludes with the principle of surrender. Matheson asserts that ultimately a man has to surrender to a higher power those things which are out his control. Matheson clearly explains his belief in his conclusion by saying, "To me, 'change' means that growth toward mature masculinity and heterosexuality is resumed and completed" (12).
Robinson takes a very religious approach to overcoming same-sex attraction. His theories are deeply rooted in his religious beliefs. This is clear from the first page of his essay when he says of men who felt that they could not change their sexual orientation, "If the gospel is not true for these men, then it cannot be true for me" (Robinson 1). The first area of focus in this essay is on the characteristics that Robinson claims are common to all men who experience same-sex attraction. He lists three: sensitive, introspective, and determined to be right. Robinson then asserts that same-sex attractions are simply a learned behavior. He defends this by explaining what he states are the universal experiences shared by men with same-sex attractions and the interpretations of those experiences. Robinson concludes with his recommended method for reducing same-sex attractions. He says the way to get rid of homosexual attractions is simply to walk away from them, to stop thinking about them. In his own words, "What works is to leave it alone" (13).
Both essays read quite well. Robinson's essay is written in a narrative style. There is a good flow from one idea to the next. He begins with underlying personality traits, moves into experiences that contribute to the development of the attractions, and closes with his solution. He uses transitional words and signposts frequently. He tends to organize ideas into groups of three and clearly states the first, second, and third concepts. Matheson on the other hand organizes his article according to his acronym. He states that the principles are overlapping and no one is more important than the others. Even though he discusses one principle and then moves to the next, he still finds ways to tie the principles together. Both authors organize their ideas so that they are easy to understand.
While both essays are well organized, Robinson's essay contains many grammatical errors. It seems almost that he wrote he article on a typewriter and then didn't go back an edit it. One of many examples is when Robinson writes, "it's a pretty good bet that these men have been, had some sort of . . . experience" (Robinson 3). Errors like this abound in Robinson's essay. This makes reading his writing difficult. Matheson writes with a very different style. His tone is professional; his writing is polished. He uses a number of stylistic devices. One example of this can be found in his use of a simile: "Splitting these principles out is somewhat like shining white light through a prism" (Matheson 1).
Factual accuracy is very important when judging the helpfulness of an essay. Matheson makes every effort to talk about his principles in general terms. He resists the human tendency to make broad, sweeping generalizations. He uses phrases like, "Many men . . . " and "I have noticed that men with SSA tend . . . " (Matheson 6-9) This helps the reader feel that his experiences and feelings are being respected even when they don't match Matheson's descriptions exactly. By creating an feeling of inclusion, Matheson contributes to the overall accuracy of his paper.
Another way in which Matheson ensures that his writing will accurately describe as many individuals' situations as possible is focusing on broad ideas. He talks about concepts like masculinity and authenticity. These are very general principles that can be understood on many levels. By not making specific, inflexible applications of the principles, Matheson leaves room for each reader to apply those principles to his life in whichever way fits best. Matheson's own disclaimer explains this clearly: "You may not identify with all of these. Try to focus on the areas where you do see similarities" (Matheson 2). However, Matheson does not leave the reader completely on his own to find the similarities. He gives a variety of examples of how a principle like authenticity, or need fulfillment can be lived. Matheson writes: "Many SSA men talk about how “normal” (i.e., heterosexual) men seem to have some mysterious masculinizing quality that they lack" (Matheson 4). Here Matheson presents a specific example of how a man might feel less than masculine. However, he doesn't try to explain this "mysterious quality" in depth. Matheson's examples are still general enough that they fit a wide range of individuals.
Robinson, however, seems to enjoy making statements that he claims apply to all men who experience same-sex attractions. Time and time again he uses phrases like: "These traits are universal," "Men who are successful . . . do . . .," and "They need to get on with their life." When an author makes a statement that asserts something is always true, the accuracy of that claim is vulnerable. It only takes one exception to make the statement false. This happens frequently in Robinson's essay.
Robinson does accurately describe the personality traits and molding experiences that contribute to same-gender attraction in many men. While Robinson does not allow for exceptions to his observations, he makes an even more grievous error. Robinson's understanding of same-sex attraction comes from a number of interviews performed during his doctoral dissertation and in his private counseling practice. This means that these observations do fairly accurately represent the experiences of most men. However, Robinson then draws conclusions from these experiences that don't actually hold true. He claims that same-sex attraction is very similar to alcoholism. He says that homosexual attractions are a learned behavior (Robinson 7). This theory is proven invalid by many scientific studies. Very few men feel that this idea correctly describes their experiences.
Perhaps the discrepancies in factual accuracy can be explained by the next criterion. The credibility of each author can be measured with two different scales. The first relates to the author's qualifications to write about a particular topic. Both David Matheson and Jeff Robinson have doctoral degrees in counseling. Both are Licensed Professional Counselors. However, Robinson's expertise on the topic of homosexual attractions comes primarily from his interactions with clients. Matheson, on the other hand, has worked for seven years with Joseph Nicolosi, the founder of the National Association for Research and Treatment of Homosexuality. Perhaps most importantly, Matheson has personal experience with same-sex attractions. He has experienced them and successfully dealt with them to the point that he is no longer affected by them.
The second scale on which credibility can be measured is the extent to which the author's ideas have actually helped people. While numbers are not available regarding Robinson's work, his efforts relating to same-sex attraction have been limited to his private practice. Matheson has, in addition to his private practice, created the Journey into Manhood weekend. This weekend has been attended by over one thousand men. In 2007, a survey was conducted regarding the effects of Matheson's principles as experienced on the JiM weekend. Seventy-nine percent of men surveyed reported that their same-sex attractions had diminished since the weekend. Ninety-three percent said that the JiM experience had a positive impact on their lives (Survey 2-4). That is a remarkable success rate.
The final criterion on which the helpfulness of the essays is judged is the applicability of the solutions they offer. Matheson provides very clear steps on how to implement the changes he recommends. His ideas are feasible and easy to understand. For example, he writes, "Creating friendships with so-called “normal” men is the only way I’ve found to contradict this lie. Very often, the first step is to make deep and real friendships with other men who are also in the process of change" (Matheson 5) Matheson makes no claim that his solutions are going to be easy, but he assets that they are within reach, "As difficult as the processes of learning about your needs may be, it is possible" (9).
Robinson doesn't make his solution nearly as easy to understand or incorporate into everyday living. He suggests that the only way to overcome homosexual feelings is to "walk away from the dragon" (Robinson 12). He explains that this means that if a man will just not think about it, it will go away. Yet with his analogy to alcoholism, would he tell an alcoholic that all he needs to do is not drink and the alcoholism will go away? If homosexual feelings are nothing more than a learned behavior, why do many men find it difficult to simply not do the behavior? Robinson admits that this "is "very, very difficult to do." But men who want to overcome homosexual attractions just need to do it again. It seems that Robinson's understanding of same-sex attractions is flawed. This makes his subsequent solutions less than feasible.
Many men have benefited from both of these essays. Robinson's article does provide some valid points and can help a person make sense of their attractions. However, if taken too literally this work can foster discouragement and frustration. Matheson's essay provides both hope for change and real results in the lives of those men who apply it's principles.



Works Cited
Matheson, David. "Four Principles of Change." Center for Gender Wholeness. Mar. 3, 2009.

Robinson, Jeff. "Homosexuality: What Works and What Doesn't." The Guardrail Foundation. Mar. 3, 2009.

"Survey of Journey into Manhood Participants." People Can Change. Mar. 12, 2009.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Songs

I'm going to post a couple of songs that I really like and have related to the battle of living with SSA. These songs are primarily Christian music, which I really like for the most part.


video

She never slows down
She doesn't know why but
she knows that when
She's all alone feels
Like it's all coming down
She won't turn around
The shadows are long
And she fears if she cries
That first tear
The tears will not stop
Raining down

So stand in the rain
Stand your ground
Stand up when it's all crashing down
You stand through the pain
You won't drown
And one day what's lost can be found
You stand in the rain

She won't make a sound
Alone in this fight with herself
And the fears whispering
If she stands, she'll fall down
She wants to be found but
The only way out is through
everything she's running from
Wants to give up and lie down

So stand in the rain
Stand your ground
Stand up when it's all crashing down
You stand through the pain
You won't drown
And one day what's lost can be found
You stand in the rain

So stand in the rain
Stand your ground
Stand up when it's all crashing down
Stand through the pain
You won't drown
And one day what's lost can be found

So stand in the rain
Stand your ground
Stand up when it's all crashing down
You stand through the pain
You won't drown
And one day what's lost can be found
You stand in the rain

video

How long will my prayers seem unanswered?
Is there still faith in me to reach the end?
I'm feeling doubt I'm losing faith
But giving up would cost me everything
So I'll stand in the pain and silence
And I'll speak to the dark night

I believe in the sun even when it's not shining
I believe in love even when I don't feel it
And I believe in God even when He is silent
And I, I believe

Though I can't see my stories ending
That doesn't mean the dark night has no end
It's only here that I find faith
And learn to trust the one who writes my days
So I'll stand in the pain and silence
And I'll speak to the dark night

I believe in the sun even when it's not shining
I believe in love even when I don't feel it
And I believe in God even when He is silent
And I, I believe
No dark can consume Light
No death greater than this life
We are not forgotten
Hope is found when we say
Even when He is silent

I believe in the sun even when it's not shining
I believe in love even when I don't feel it
And I believe in God even when He is silent
And I, I believe.


video

How long have I been in this storm?
So overwhelmed by the ocean's shapeless form
Water's getting harder to tread
With these waves crashing over my head

If I could just see you
Everything would be all right
If I'd see you
This darkness would turn to light

And I will walk on water
And you will catch me if I fall
And I will get lost into your eyes
I know everything will be alright
I know everything is alright

I know you didn't bring me out here to drown
So why am I ten feet under and upside down
Barely surviving has become my purpose
Because I'm so used to living underneath the surface

If I could just see you

Everything would be all right
If I'd see you
This darkness would turn to light

And I will walk on water
And you will catch me if I fall
And I know everything will be alright
I know everything will be alright


video

I don't know if I still have the strength to get up again
I don't know if I can face my own reflection
Jesus, take this heart that feels
so cold again, and make it new

I hold this hope inside that you'll never leave me

When all around me starts to fall,
and when my faith it seems so small
Even in my darkest hour, I will believe
Even if the sun begins to fall,
even when I feel nothing at all
Even if I'm all alone, I will believe

I don't know how I could turn my back and walk away
All I really want is for your love to hold me
Jesus, take this heart and make it whole again

I know you'll never leave me


Scriptural Language

So, I've been saying for a long time that the primary purpose of life is not a test. I really dislike when members of the church focus on the "test" aspect of our mortal existence.

I believe firmly that the purpose of life is for each of us to become more like our Heavenly Father. It isn't an examination to determine if we are "good enough" to be in the Celestial Kingdom. Father wants each of us to become like Him, to develop the character attributes that He has. This feels right to me. There have been a couple of scriptures that seem to contradict that point of view.

The first is in Abraham 3:25. God says to the Savior: "And we will prove them [the spirit children of Heavenly Father] herewith [using the world they are going to create], to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;"

The second comes from Mosiah 23:25. Here Mormon speaks about the people of Alma the Elder who had just escaped from King Noah. They are about to be brought into captivity by the Lamanites and wicked priests of King Noah. Mormon explains why the Lord would allow this to happen. He writes: "Nevertheless, the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith."

I used to be bothered by these passages. Then out of curiosity I looked up one word from each verse in the dictionary. It was thoroughly enlightening.

From the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

Prove: (a usage no longer common in modern language) to learn or find out by experience.

Try: (Another obsolete usage) To refine or purify.

When seen in the light of these "new" definitions, these scriptures take on a whole new meaning. I was grateful that even the scriptures teach that the Lord's intent is to make us better people. He wants us to become more like him. He gives us trials and difficulties in order to help us reach our divine potential.

Great News!

So, I'm pretty pumped. Last Sunday my disciplinary council reconvened. I'm back in full fellowship! It feels really good. It just feels right, and there is such a peace knowing that I am right with the Lord. I got my temple recommend and went to the temple last Wednesday. It's funny how after a year of life changing experiences that completely changed the way I look at life, the temple ceremony also changed. It was totally different from the last time I went. So, nothing about the ceremony actually changed, but it was a completely new experience looking at it through different eyes.

Church discipline isn't easy or fun, but it is an inspired process. And totally worth it!