A Collection of Random Thoughts

Half Dome Yosemite

Photo and text by Gabrielle.

Today, I’ve got another installment of random thoughts just for you. Feel free to share your own random thoughts in the comments!

1) Happy Veteran’s Day!
I’m feeling such gratitude to the Veterans in my life. I’m thinking of my brother-in-laws Paul Rodgers and Daniel Madsen. I’m thinking of my Grandpa Pack and Grandpa Stanley who both served in WWII. And I’m thinking of all the amazing people that have been willing to give their time, and in too many cases, their lives, to defend this country.

Are you thinking of anyone in particular today? Will you get the chance to visit a military cemetery or perhaps a veteran’s hospital? Have you found a good way to mark this day, or help your kids understand its significance? I always love your ideas!

2) Since Thursday night, I have been preoccupied with news that my church has a new troubling policy. I have probably spent a hundred hours at this point talking to people about it. I’d like to tell you I’ve been totally gracious in my discussions, but if I’m honest, among the civil conversations I’ve had, I’ve also done a good deal of shouting at the internet. Sigh. It’s definitely an emotionally charged subject. I’ve been writing all over the place, but you can see most of my thoughts in the comments of this post.

I should note: If you have thoughts to share on this topic, I do want to listen to you and talk with you, but may not be able to respond today as I’m traveling.

3) Speaking of which, I’m on a quick field trip to L.A. today for some business meetings. Nothing dramatic — I’ll fill you in as soon as I can. It’s a short trip and I return home tomorrow night.

I really like Los Angeles. I was born in Southern California and spent my first 5 years there. And once we moved away, we still returned for visits several times a year. So there’s something about the area that always feels and smells familiar to me. I have lots of happy memories there.

Do you have strong feelings about Los Angeles? It seems like anytime it comes up in conversation, the city provokes a lot of love and hate. In comparison, I have almost never heard anyone express big dislike for New York City — they might complain about its challenges, but they adore it at the same time.

4) I am thinking about Alt Summit. We announced some big changes coming up. After January’s conference, we’re moving our flagship event to a new city! It’s a big deal to us and we’re excited about the change, but also feeling nostalgic about all the years we’ve had in Salt Lake City. I’m so happy we get one more conference there! I’m really looking forward to the January event. Are you coming?

When we made the announcement, we knew there would be people that wanted one more chance to experience Alt Summit in Salt Lake City, and we opened up a block of additional tickets. They are going fast, so if you want one, I hope you’ll grab it right away.

5) Our 3-day trip to Yosemite was so good for my soul. Time together with my whole family feels like the most precious resource I have at the moment. A resource that disappears too quickly! I loved every minute of the trip. Talking with everyone during the drive. Asking the kids to play DJ so we can hear what they’re listening to these days. Hearing them debate about the Oreos versus Trader Joe’s Joe Joe’s.

And of course, simply being in Yosemite. Each day, we would head into the park with zero plan. And then we’d park and explore whenever something caught our eye. We scramble on the boulders, play by the river, play catch in the meadows, watch the sunset on El Capitan. The weather was wonderful — enough chill to keep us in jackets and hats, but not so cold that the kids weren’t willing to dunk their heads in the river. Hah!

This was also the first time we had the chance to visit the Ahwahnee Lodge. The hotel was booked so we didn’t stay there, but we explored the public spaces and ate a big feast for lunch in their famous restaurant. Fun fact: We learned that the restaurant has a dress code for dinner. So if you’re planning a visit, you might want to pack something dressier than we did. : )

We really loved being there and we’re thinking about making reservations now for Thanksgiving 2016. A holiday at Yosemite sounds magical.

One more bonus about visiting in November is that the park is relatively empty. In the summer, visitors are required to use the park shuttles, but in November, we could drive and park quite easily. If you’d like to see, I shared a whole bunch of photos on Instagram and so did my kids.

6) We finally turned on the heat here in Oakland. If we lived anywhere but the Bay Area, that would probably be a sign of dread for me, but the weather here is so steady that it almost feels like a novelty. Maude made me hot cocoa with marshmallows last night, and it felt like the best treat ever. Sometimes I miss having true, decisive seasons, so it’s fun to have this drop in temperature. (Though when February comes around, I admit, I’m like, just kidding, California is best!)

7) I’m thinking about Ralph’s Court of Honor. I still haven’t start planning it and need to get myself in gear! I want to plan something really memorable and fun and satisfying for everyone involved, but I haven’t been to many Eagle Courts of Honor. Are there any particularly good ideas you’ve seen or heard of? Please share!

8) After a family party with cousins on Monday night, we were driving back from San Francisco and the topic of babysitting came up. I told Oscar and Betty that in just a few short years, they would probably get a chance to babysit their little cousin Edie.

June was understandably upset. She teared up. Would she get to babysit anyone? We told her that when she’s old enough to babysit, Ralph or Maude might be a parent, and she can babysit their kids. Obviously, we have no idea if and when our kids will become parents, but regardless, June was so excited!! You could see her little head calculating the future generations and trying to figure out who was going to babysit her own kids. It’s so satisfying and unbelievable to see your children start to comprehend past and future in a profound way. There are a whole lot of amazing things about being a parent, but watching your kids learn something right before your eyes is one of my favorite parts.

I think that’s it for today. Please feel free to respond to anything here, or bring up your own topic. I always love hearing what’s on your minds!

 P.S. — I post my random thoughts each month. You can find them all here.

137 thoughts on “A Collection of Random Thoughts”

  1. Hey Gabrielle, it looks like the permissions on that Facebook link aren’t calibrated for public viewing. So eager to read your thoughts — do you think that Ben Blair could adjust them? The same link should then work.

  2. I just finished reading your FB comment thread on the new policy and wanted to say thank you, thank you. I was raised LDS (and still have temple-president parents and super devout siblings) and left the church as soon as I escaped to college, in part because I didn’t know any feminist, gay-friendly Mormons and couldn’t see myself growing into the LDS adults I knew. I’ve been been fairly disdainfully watching policies change over the years – all too little, and too late. It’s so heartening to me to see practicing, highly visible Mormons disagree with this hateful policy, and to do so thoughtfully and eloquently. Please keep speaking up, whenever you can, and hopefully change can come from within. I’d never consider returning to the church myself, but for the sake of my (many) nieces and nephews, I’m desperate to see the church actually follow its loving core beliefs.

  3. My husband and I lived in Los Angeles (Santa Monica, to be exact) for a little over a year while he attended USC. In answer to your question, we arrived in the city big fans and moved away in dislike camp (and yes, I’m also one who love NYC … for visiting).

    We currently live outside Nashville and feel exactly the same way about our current location (the two cities are easy to draw comparisons to — and those from this area often do so as a selling point). Both cities have been wonderful for our personal life goals, both enabled us to make/keep lovely friends, both are pretty visual settings, both self-identify as creative metropolitan areas … and yet both don’t feel as good as that description would leave to be believe. For my husband and me, all the aspects that are supposed to be draws fall-flat, feel overblown, manufactured, etc.

    I would metaphorically liken it the feeling of finding your ideal home that in most other locations would be one price, but in it’s actual setting is ridiculously over-priced (and you don’t personally understand WHY) — so even if you could afford the price-tag you’re unsettled b/c it all doesn’t seem quite balanced or as it should. That’s then best explanation I have — you can probably tell it’s been a recent topic of conversation in our house!

    1. I felt the same way about the Facebook post. It was brutal to read – not necessarily because I disagree with the spirit of what you were saying but because the delivery came across as so sharp and disrespectful. It reminded me of a phase my young child went through… saying something cruel or hurtful or thoughtless and following it up with “just kidding!” It’s wrong to say terrible things and then blow off the hurt it causes with a disclaimer. It’s passive hate and designed to hurt. No one is laughing. Labeling an accusatory and extreme rant like that as satire does not make it right and effective in furthering this important conversation – it cheapens the discussion. Having read for many years, and knowing your kind heart, this approach truly shocked me. Making a hurtful joke out of something that is so deeply important and raw for so many (on both sides) was unfortunate. So sorry to see you contentiously fanning the fire rather than promoting understanding and progression in a kind, thoughtful way. With all that said, I choose to believe that it was an inadvertent slip of judgement because I truly believe your heart is in the right place. I hope to see you use your vast forum to promote civil discussion and sincere understanding.

      1. I could not (respectfully) disagree more with Leigh. Your Facebook post, Gabrielle, made me feel like I could finally exhale after holding it all in. Why do I feel so scared to voice the feelings that I know deep in my soul are Right? Thank goodness there are people in the Church who believe that expressing an internal moral compass is not tantamount to apostacy. I am so glad that you see this, not only in broad generalities, but specifically in this terrible, hurtful policy. This policy condones hate, and it condemns people I love, good people with good values, to lives of isolation. No, I don’t think your satire was too brash.

      2. Leigh, I left this comment below for Val, and I’m leaving it for you too, because I feel like you’re both expressing something similar. Please know, I was not trying to “say a terrible thing and then blow it off with a disclaimer.” And I don’t consider it a slip of judgement. I was intentionally trying to write something harsh that would make people think. I feel I succeeded.

        I rankle people with discussions frequently. When I talk about race, when I talk about education, when I talk about feminism, and sometimes when I talk about religion — it can stress people out. I don’t feel like my response to the new church policy is an aberration. I feel like it’s pretty normal for me.

        And while I would generally agree with you that this topic is sensitive and should be talked about carefully, in this instance it doesn’t feel right. It feels like I’m being asked to be sensitive to something that’s really wrong.

        I’m trying to think of a good way to express it. Imagine your friend’s child is taken and is being somehow hurt, hurt so much the child would rather die than endure it. You would do everything you possibly could to make sure the child is physically safe, that no further harm comes to the child. It would be your whole priority.

        And if in the middle of your efforts, before the child is safe, someone says to you, “But what about the people that took the child and are hurting the child. I don’t think they mean to hurt the child. I think they have the best intentions for the child. We need to think kindly about the people who took the child, and we need to think kindly about the people who agree that the child should have been taken.”

        I think you would be flabbergasted. I think you would want to make sure the child was no longer hurting before you gave any thought to the intentions of the people hurting the child. I think you would use strong language and you would say, “Stop talking about that! Let’s make sure the child is safe first and foremost! I don’t care what their intentions are, they are hurting a child!!”

        Can you see where I’m coming from? I’m less worried about tackling this topic delicately, and more worried about the families and children who are being horribly hurt by the policy.

        1. I’m confused. If you think the policy is terrible why not say so? Why does it have to be buried in satire. The satire left me wondering whether or not you agree with the policy. If your opinion is that the policy is wrong, then say so.

    2. I love that this has been on your mind, Constance. Do you feel like it’s a country life vs. city life thing? Meaning, are you a family who is going to prefer not living in a city no matter what?

      I’m definitely mixed on the subject, myself!

      1. Thanks for asking – and for writing so well on the completely different topic above (well done!).

        As for city vs county, with short-time exceptions, I have always in the middle or just outside an urban area until our currently location which is arguable rural-lite. Before our currently sort-of-rural location, we lived within the city limits of Chicago for 10 years. My favorite-ever city I have lived in is Minneapolis (which came before L.A. for us). It’s a good question, because after ALL this time, as part of me does consider the price or urban spaces (not just money, but traffic, noise, congestion, etc.). Nashville is currently experiencing aggressive urban sprawl and it’s not enjoyable for me to watch = a major reason we opted out of popular areas here and went further outside.

        The more I am learning to discern what I like vs what I want, I coming to terms with the fact that what I want place-wise is a often a fairy tale vision (there is not magically perfect town that looks the way I want it with a frugal-woman’s preferred cost of living and/or location and/or something else, etc.). You can zap me into Stars Hollow of Gilmore Girls, Cedar Cove (I admit Debbie Macomber isn’t too shabby in the town-fantasy game), or any Nora Ephron house + local anytime. All fictional towns or character-rich cities.

        We watched a movie based in Paris this weekend, and I was DROOLING over the fairy-tale Parisian apartment they lived in. Then I pick-up Southern Living and want to jump into the seemingly magically rehabbed Alabama farmhouse.

        The realities of these options never include what the neighbor’s houses look like, the taxes, how many confederate flags you pass on your drive to drop-off your child at school (a current reality for this northern), how far you have to drive to get groceries, or how loud the upstairs neighbors are (in the case of those gorgeous urban apartments).

        To end this free-form thought reply, I am big a fan of “more than one right path” — which means for me that at the end of the day, I can live anyway so long as it beautiful and welcoming and has trees. The more green space the better. I have been fortunate enough to live in some lovely spaces, but do still happily wonder where that magical place is with almost all of what feels right.

  4. I’ve been a longtime follower and huge fan of your blog. I have always appreciated how respectfully you share various viewpoints and encourage great dialogue.

    I am very disappointed in the way you’ve approached the topic of the LDS church’s change of policy. I don’t think it’s necessary to debate the topic here-the internet is awash with that already. I was, however, surprised that you didn’t link to the source (the official Church website and statement) and instead linked to second-hand information and interpretation. Also, it is disrespectful to generalize the body of the church as mindless followers and idiots. Disagreeing with you doesn’t make one heartless or foolish. It’s been a good run, but I think I’ll look elsewhere for inspiration as there seems to be very little left here.

    1. I couldn’t agree more, Whitney. I’m in the same boat as you, and I feel that the tone of her FB message was incredibly condescending and disrespectful to those who don’t 100% agree with her. How can you criticize people so pointedly for not questioning this policy and yet show no respect for the own thought process of those who disagree? As if anyone who has come to a different conclusion only does so because they clearly just haven’t thought it through correctly. The message is clear: if you don’t agree with Gabrielle, you’re a mindless lemming and unworthy of the acceptance and open-mindedness so willingly offered to others who do happen to agree with her.

      1. I agree with Whitney & Sarah.

        I have really enjoyed your blog, but will need to say ‘goodbye’.

        P.S. Slapping the word “satire” on something doesn’t make it any less hurtful.

          1. I agree. I understand what satire is but in this case it is an extremely disrespectful way to address this issue. I support the policy but I would never even think to express my support with a satirical post, it would be hurtful. I used to read this blog daily, but over the last couple of years I have noticed a definite shift in tone on social issues particularly those involving the church. I simply deleted the feed from my blog reader. No anger, just a personal choice. When this policy change was announced I decided to see if it would be addressed here and found this post and link to FB. I’m not surprised, but I am saddened by Gabrielle’s choice of satire. It’s hurtful.

    2. As Ben Blair noted, it is satire and meant to be extreme. I thought it was spot-on and pretty genius. What a horrible week for our faith. It feels like we will never be the same.

      1. As Gabrielle noted, this is an emotionally charged topic. Is it really appropriate for it to be addressed satirically and in such an extremely disrespectful way? I wish people on both sides of the issue (and everywhere in the middle) could discuss each others’ opinions with respect.

    3. I disagree. Gabby’s description here is so respectful to the difficulty of the subject. Her link to the NYT post is the first and most accurate source of information about it. There is nothing inappropriate about using that source or raising it here. One of the absolutely best things about Gabby is how personal her blog is. She puts herself out there in a vulnerable way. Admitting that she is really troubled by this policy is not disrespectful to people who agree with it. This is a lifestyle blog about motherhood and design. A religious policy that affects families fits within that framework perfectly. It is indeed a very troubling and divisive subject. Respect for everyone’s viewpoints is so important. There is no them. There is only us. Are we not all children of God walking eachother home? I am disappointed to hear that people would stop reading the blog just because Gabby has expressed pain over something that some readers may view differently.

      1. We’re referring to the post she put up on Facebook and not the content she’s posted here. I agree completely that what is posted here is entirely appropriate.

        1. I was actually trying to reply to the original post from Whitney, which said “I was, however, surprised that you didn’t link to the source (the official Church website and statement)”. Perhaps I clicked on the wrong reply from my phone. Those links are so very tiny on my iphone! I agree that the FB post is snarky. It is satire. I personally liked it but I can see how it would be troubling to others. I view it as a reflection of the pain of the writer, which pain is valid and real. I also recognize that it might be viewed as condescending to people also wrestling with this issue but coming to a different conclusion. I do not think that there is any reason to stop reading Gabby’s blog because she had one snarky FB day, particularly as that snark was simply linked and not actually a blog post. In general, I think we would all agree that Gabby tends to be exceptionally diplomatic and sensitive to a range of views. One slip up in her 15 years of blogging hardly seems a deal breaker to me! I am also of the view that this policy is so significant that many people, including apparently Gabby, feel the need to speak up in ways that they never have before. I say feel free to disagree but also try to listen.

    4. To Whitney, Sarah, Emily, Srb and Christine,

      Coming here to write that you will no longer read Design Mom is basically the equivalent of walking up to me and flipping the bird. I mean, you’re welcome to do it, but it’s a little silly isn’t it?

      Anyway, it’s true. The fake conversation I wrote is strong. That was intentional. The policy is harsh and strange and it deserves a strong response.

      You are of course allowed to feel however you want to about what I wrote, and you can interpret it any way you like. But I disagree that the fake conversation was disrespectful or condescending. I think it has sparked good thought and good conversation. My intention was to point out how unreasonable (and harmful) it is to say you’ll agree with something no matter what. And I think I did a very good job of that.

      Is what I wrote harsh toward people who say they agree with something no matter what? Yes. It is harsh. And I think, deservedly so. Because holding dearly to that closed mindset causes much pain and agony for our whole community.

      Now, if someone reads the fake conversation and doesn’t recognize herself in it — if she thinks, “But I don’t agree no matter what, I’m actually very confused and upset about this.” Well then, the conversation isn’t about her. And she has no need to feel upset by it. But I do hope she’ll express that confusion to her fellow church members and her leaders. I think it’s essential to let our leaders know if a church policy is causing harm.

      Do I think people who don’t agree with me 100% are mindless lemmings? No. I don’t think that and I never said that. Do I think that people who agree with the policy — no matter what — are mindless lemmings? No. But I sure hope that what I wrote will help them realize how thinking that way is not okay.

      People are calling for civility on both sides, and while I value civility (and honestly, I think the fake conversation I wrote was pretty darn civil), I’m less concerned about protecting one side than I am the other. Let me explain. The side I’m actively trying to protect is the side where families and children are being hurt, where suicide calls are being made, and where confusion and sadness are rampant.

      I confess, I’m currently less concerned about the people who are in full agreement with the policy. Why? Because their families are not being torn apart, because they are not committing suicide, and because they have the giant organization of the church fully beside them. They are not lonely and alone because of this policy, and they are not hurting because of this policy. At most, they are hurting because they read about how ridiculous it is to agree with something no matter what, saw themselves in that, and felt a sting.

      They do not need my protection. They do not need your protection. They will be fine. But there ARE people that definitely need your compassion and protection right now, and I promise you, they were not offended by what I wrote at all.

      1. Thank you for articulating all of that so well. Admittedly, I’ve jumped up to defend myself when others spoke harshly about practices and systems that oppress other people. It’s an ugly thing to recognize in myself, and I’m trying to be a better listener, especially to those that are hurting.

      2. Gabrielle, you and Ben are brave, courageous, independent, caring, compassionate, nurturing, good people. I love how good your heart is towards all humanity. This is what the world needs more of so we don’t have the hate, judgement, bullying and suicides that are rampant. Acceptance of each other, support of each other, fighting for goodness. I can only imagine how difficult it sometimes is to take a stand that is in opposition with your faith. I find it so refreshing that you are a feminist in a church that does not champion women equally as men, and quite honestly, that is one reason why I continue to read your blog. I stand behind you and push you and applaud you. Don’t stop what you are doing because you are raising children who are learning wonderful things from their parents and that will change our world. And your parents must have raised you to believe in all people, so well done to them as well. I’m sending you hugs and strength to continue your compassion.

        1. And now I am heartbroken, again, over what has happened in my beloved Paris yet again. This is what comes of hate, judgement, non acceptance and prejudice. Nothing good comes of prejudice. Absolutely nothing.

  5. As an outsider to the LDS community (I’m ELCA Lutheran) the part that sadden me the most was denying children their faith milestones/sacraments. I can respect not granting same sex marriages, but the actions against gay couples’ children is cruel. Children don’t get to chose how their parents live their lives, so why should they be punished for their actions? I can’t imagine as adults why those children would want to be part of a faith community that shames their family.

    1. Ellen,
      In the LDS faith, much of the core doctrine is centered around families living happily here and in eternity. One aspect of that core doctrine is that marriage, ordained by God, is between a man and a woman. Only a man and a woman, faithfully keeping the covenants of God, can be sealed together (with their posterity) for time and all eternity in an LDS temple.

      Because of this core doctrine, I believe it is merciful–both to the children and to their parents–to not have them participate in the ordinances until they are old enough to not only make their own heart-felt decision as to what is right, but also to allow the families they are in (which may not be living the standards of the LDS Church) to live free of the contention that comes from this debate. It is obviously a heated topic–can you imagine the stress it would cause a young child or a teenager to feel the church they have joined teaches something that contradicts their basic family unit?

      The LDS Church is very much centered around the doctrine of Jesus Christ and would prefer for families to be happy–with children given the right opportunities at the appropriate time. I hope this helps explain in a way that is both helpful and respectful (and accurate to the best of my understanding)! :)

      1. Emme, very well said. I pray that over time, those who have a misunderstanding of the new policy will come to see the compassion that it actually brings.

      2. Emme, this policy (not doctrine) is anything but merciful. It was ill thought-out and poorly worded, and singles out the most vulnerable among our fold. It is tearing apart families, quite literally. I would encourage you to go read how it is effecting our brothers and sisters. This link is a good start. http://www.feministmormonhousewives.org/2015/11/policy-affects-people-share-your-stories/

        Also, even IF you still agree with the policy, we are instructed by Jesus to mourn with those that mourn. Clearly, many of our members are hurting mightily. The very LEAST we can do is say, “This must be difficult for you. I’m sorry you’re hurting.”

        I pray that those who enacted this policy (not doctrine) in the first place, will come to see how harmful it truly is and make changes. (as they’ve done in the past)

        And, Gabby. High fives for having the gumption to post your feelings, knowing full well it might cost you some of your more conservative readership. I admire you greatly.

      3. Emme, while the idea of “protecting the children” may seem like good reasoning and logic behind this policy, it doesn’t really make sense. Every single child in the church is raised in a home where the parents do not act in accordance with every church doctrine or policy. Because no parent is perfect, and because the church isn’t perfect.

        Think of children who have one parent who is LDS and one parent who is atheist. If both parents approve, the child can still be baptized. Even though the child will hear things at church that could make him think his atheist parent is a sinner. Allowing baptism if both parents agree is a policy that has been working very well, and doesn’t target one particular group in such a harmful way. Why change an existing policy that’s working well?

        You could also apply this concept to a family where both parents are active Mormons. In that situation, there should be no confusion with church doctrine and what’s happening in the home, right? But that’s not actually true. All children will see their parents mess up in many ways that don’t align with christian teachings. But somehow they survive the confusion.

        If gay couples want to raise their children in the church, they are already aware of what the church teaches and are prepared to deal with those discussions in their homes. Their children do not need “protecting” any more than any child needs protecting. Wouldn’t you agree?

    2. Ellen, I agree, the idea of denying innocent children their faith milestones — for any reason — is so disturbing.

      To your last sentence though, I know it sounds odd, but there are indeed gay couples who are raising their kids in the church. If you’ve grown up in the church and experienced it positively (not everyone does), then I can see the appeal in wanting that experience for your children.

  6. I just want to thank you for how tactfully and kindly you always manage to address tough topics and opposing view points. My favorite thing about this blog is how honest you are with your readers, and that you are willing to share the “tough stuff”. Thank you so much!

  7. I am not Mormon, and I don’t know much about it at all, so I really can’t have or give any opinions. I can relate to being frustrated with organized religion (honestly, and organized politics) when they fail to adequately represent their members, or at least provide adequate explanation for their actions and policies. I am a born and raised (and still practicing) Catholic, and I have struggled on numerous occasions with the need to differentiate my own beliefs from the doctrine (or at times–it seems–whims) of the church’s administration. I hope you can reconcile your beliefs in whatever way serves you and your family best. Thanks for your thoughts as always.

  8. I appreciate your comments on the church policy, which I also find very baffling and hurtful. I was raised LDS, and to me it goes against the basic tenants of Christianity, and it specifically goes against the second Article of Faith. Why deny children the opportunity to join the LDS church if they want to? Disavowing your parents is so extreme and so anti-family. My heart hurts for the people affected.

    Thank you for your bold stance, it can’t be easy to be a public figure and to speak out against this. <3

      1. Can I ask, and I do so with all respect – please don’t read an ill tone because I am truly interested in your answer, but how might one disavow the practice and not the people? Could you paint a picture of that for me? My understanding is that disavowing the practice (which, again my apologies for my ignorance, are all LDS members expected to do or just children of gay parents?) involves not housing couples of same sex marriages, to repudiate interest in or support of those who practice same sex marriage, etc. And at the same time, one CAN support it politically, correct? Hasn’t the church said that as well? I’m not trying to be divisive. I’m truly trying to understand. How might one disavow a practice while still honoring their mother(s) and or father(s)?

        1. Have you ever had a friend or family member who did something that you felt was wrong and you loved them anyway, even though you disagreed with their actions? Same thing. People and actions are different–you can love a person without agreeing with all of their choices.

          1. No. Sorry. I don’t accept that answer. Disagreeing and disavowing are not the same. And second, I try really really hard not to pass judgments like right or wrong on people’s actions. I leave that to the ultimate judge who is much better at that sort of thing. I just try to love as the greatest commandment has implored me to do. I don’t say that self righteously.
            So help me here again, what does it look like to disavow? What specifically does it look like?

      2. Whitney, the children are being asked to both disavow their parent’s marriage, and also never live with their parents again. That’s an incredibly harsh thing to ask anyone to do.

        I don’t think it’s that hard to see why people are troubled by this.

  9. What I haven’t been able to find in this discussion regarding the LDS policy is an explanation of why same-sex parents would want to have their children blessed or baptized into the LDS church. Do they want to? If so, their interest or motivations might be enlightening as people think things through.

    1. Often times, the children are from a mixed orientation marriage and the parents are now divorced. This is a generality, but I’ve seen it happen several times, where one spouse remains a member while the other does not. The believing spouse often would like the children to be raised Mormon. Under this policy, they cannot have the same access to membership (blessing, baptism, Priesthood) because one of his/her parents are gay. Even if the gay parent is supportive. It is ridiculous.

    2. Interestingly, it’s not all that uncommon for a gay couple to want to raise their kids in the church. At least not where I live. And I get it. The church, for all its faults, still does and offers some really amazing and wonderful things. And if the gay parents grew up in the church and had a positive experience doing so, they want that same experience for their child.

      Remember, growing up in the church is not a simple thing. It becomes your culture and a part of who you are. It’s almost like saying, if you don’t like certain things about America, then why would you want to raise your children as U.S. citizens? Does that make sense?

    1. I watched this and it made my heart hurt more. The reasoning just doesn’t work for me. I believe him that they may INTEND to be loving, or at least I’m choosing to believe in their bona fides, but the policy on its face is divisive and unkind. Carefully thinking about the types of experiences that a child will have leaves me heart sick and I know that it is not in fact loving. Even if the parent consents and supports the child going through the rites of passage like baptism, ordination, temple baptims etc. that the child’s cousins, friends, step siblings get to go through, just because the child has a gay parent, that child is excluded with a scarlett letter on them. Shame and exclusion are not part of the gospel of love and compassion that I believe in.

  10. Thank-you so much for sharing your feelings about the LDS policy change. I share your feelings and experience of reading and reading and reading and thinking and talking. I truly believe that the brethren did not do this out of malice and that they believe that the approach is loving and respectful. However, the policy, on its face, is so horribly harmful. And it is so harmful to everyone: to affected children, to gay parents, to closeted LGBT youth who internalize these messages, to straight parents co-parenting with a gay ex, to every member of the church who now needs to figure out what all of this means. Is the fundamental tenet of our faith opposing gay marriage? That is what it seems to suggest. That’s not the faith I grew up with. Why was the message not a validation of how hard being LGBT is in this fallen world and an affirmation of their worth? My heart breaks. Where is Jesus in all of this? How can I as an active member stay silent when every fibre of my moral code screams that this is wrong? And speaking out is just so contrary to my conditioning and culture.

    1. Katie, your comment resonates so much with me, and I appreciate you sharing it.

      I agree that I don’t think the church leaders did this out of malice. I can imagine their intentions were good and noble, but they made a mistake. I can think of it as a poorly written first draft. And happily, since I have no expectation that church leaders will be perfect, it doesn’t stress me out when they make mistakes.

      This policy definitely stresses me out and I am being as vocal as I can in the hopes that the policy will change swiftly. But the idea that church leaders made a mistake is not stressful to me at all. They simply need to correct it.

      It’s like when Elder Packer would say something in a General Conference talk, and then they’d have to edit the talk before it went to print or was posted online. He made a mistake, they corrected it. No big deal. It happens to everyone.

    1. Emmy and Elisa, you are so good and kind to ask! There has actually been some very good news even in the last couple of days.

      At the request of her children, the doctors lowered one of her medication dosages and it has made a huge difference. The reports are that in her communication, she seems like her old self! Which is fabulous.

      My sister-in-law also posted a video of Julia doing some physical therapy which is a miracle to me when she was so recently on death’s bed. We couldn’t be happier about the progress! We are hoping she will be able to come home by Christmas.

      1. This is wonderful news! I’m glad to hear she’s recovering and I hope she is home by Christmas. That would be the best gift for your family.

          1. I’m so very happy about this wonderful update! It’s astonishing how quickly someone can turn around with just a bit of tweaking in medication doses. She’s so fortunate to have many strong and knowledgeable advocates on her side – it makes all the difference.

  11. Here is a random question for you Random Thoughts…..where is Olive’s green coat from in the Yosemite pics? It is so cute!

    1. Hi Barb, Olive picked up in France last year when she went back for a semester. Not very helpful, I know! But I’ve seen similar at Zara, and H&M. I think I even saw something like this at The Gap.

  12. Wow. I am completely blown away with how disrepectful your fb post was. Disagreeing with something is one thing, but being hurtful and condescending is another. I read it and then I actually went back to the top to see if I had misread it that you actually wrote that. Totally sad. I think there are definitely more appropriate and mature ways to handle a situation like this and posting a link to that, was not it. I’m sorry you are sadden by the new policy, but many have disagreed with lots of things and never took to social media to be hurtful. Saying it’s a “satire” doesn’t make ok or any less hurtful.

    1. Kristy, It’s true. The fake conversation I wrote is strong. That was intentional. The policy is harsh and strange and it deserves a strong response.

      You are of course allowed to feel however you want to about what I wrote, and you can interpret it any way you like. But I disagree that the fake conversation was disrespectful. I don’t know if you had the chance to read the comments on the thread, but in one of the comments I talk about how I actually wrote the fake conversation in two ways. One is between the Twelve and the Members, and then I wrote the exact same conversation, but between “Obedient Members” and “Questioning Members”. You can go read it if you like. If you do, I think you may realize that the conversation isn’t intended to be disrespectful toward church leaders, instead, it’s pointing out how silly (and harmful) it is to say you’ll agree with something no matter what.

      Is it harsh toward people who say they agree with something no matter what? Yes. It is harsh. And I think, deservedly so. Because holding dearly to that closed mindset causes much pain and agony for our whole community.

      Now, if someone reads the fake conversation and doesn’t recognize herself in it — if she thinks, “But I don’t agree no matter what, I’m actually very confused and upset about this.” Well then, the conversation isn’t about her. And she has no need to feel attacked. But I do hope she’ll express that confusion and upset to her fellow church members and her leaders. I think it’s essential to let our leaders know if a church policy is causing harm.

  13. Sigh …. Gabrielle … I visit your blog, enjoy reading your posts about families, travel, design, inspiring women. I am a bit older than most of your readers, 56, I live in Miami and have two grown children. I am a proud progressive thinker, I am unequivocally a Feminist, I stand up for equality for all people regardless of gender, race, nationality, belief system or sexual identification. I love your home state of Utah, my family has skied there most years for the last 25 years and our daughter got married on a beautiful snowy mountain in Park City two years ago. And again I sigh …. I have read this lovely blog of yours, I have read the interesting, passionate comments your readers make but today reading comments by Whitney and Sarah, Emily and Srb etc. I realized have been fooling myself. Lulled by your tone, your voice, the pretty pictures into thinking I could find common ground with many of your “religious” readers. These comments startlingly show me “organized religions” as opposed to beliefs, faith, and spirituality take every opportunity to condemn the “other.” That in the name of being Mormon ugliness, oppression, and condemnation are accepted and unquestioned by the very women I have come to see as sweet and compassionate. I am sad tonight. Sigh.

    1. I’m sad too, CC.

      And not sure what to tell you. I sometimes don’t recognize the church I belong to. In the last 10 years it has made some changes that I can’t really fathom. And yet, many of the best parts of me were formed or influenced by this church.

  14. 1st of all the LDS church never votes for anything. That is not how it is run. It has always been run that way.

    2nd of all the policy for gay families and children of theses families, is the exact same for polygamy families and their children. This is not a new policy to target a group of people. It is the same policy that has been used by the Church for those individuals who desire to define families a different way.

    Now back to the first thought. The LDS Church has never run based on majority opinion. I know one can argue about African Americans and the Priesthood, or when the law of polygamy changed. But there was also no vote involved or discussion from members on how to change or improve things back then. And there is not one now.

    Define it is ignorant, or revelation.

    1. Olga, your comment is troubling because I can see we’re not teaching our church history correctly. You know when we are asked to raise our hand in support of something, and then we are asked if anyone disagrees and no one really raises their hand? It’s become a mostly symbolic thing we do, but it wasn’t always that way. In the early church it was an actual vote.

  15. On a different topic–I hope you’ll share pics of Ralph’s Court of Honor. I hope to be planning one in a year or two. I know you want to do something to honor the occasion, but nothing too overboard. The shadowbox displays look great. If Ben or some uncles/ grands have shadowboxes, that might make a nice display. I also really dig the idea of this mother’s pin, but with a different pin to secure it all. I’m on the lookout for eagle pins that might look good.

  16. gabby
    please share where you stayed in yosemite?? i never know where to stay since no reasonably priced hotels within the park?? please advise thanks!!!

    1. Hi J. Both times we’ve visited, we stayed outside the park. It’s not ideal, because it means at the end of the day you’ve got like an hour long drive from the valley to your hotel. But for us, it’s still worth it!

  17. I am a therapist with a private practice in Utah. I am also a former member of the LDS church. I left the church about ten years ago after many years of activity and service because I could not reconcile it with my own standards, values and beliefs (many of which are ironically based in the teachings of my youth – the “faith of my fathers”). I almost think I’m a better “mormon” now that I am not mormon. My parents and extended family continue to be devout practicing Mormons. I have been sick at heart ever since this policy became public. I knew what I would see in my clinical practice and amongst many of my friends. So many people are suffering. Of course, the church can dictate it’s own standards, beliefs, doctrines and policies – that is what religious freedom is all about. However, I believe it to be abusive and discriminatory. Active, but questioning, members are suffering too – I’ve seen memes posted by the blindly faithful using quotes of church leaders that compare questioning members to Judas, dismissing the issue as the “the small stuff” etc. I just read your piece on your husband’s website. It saddens me to think just how spot on your satirical writing is – to the point that I would suggest it is not even really satirical. I have no idea what percentage of your readers are LDS or if there will be any repurcussions there will be to you. I just wanted to express appreciation that you wrote it and had the courage to link to it on your blog.

  18. Thankyou Gabby for posting this and your words on facebook, as a committed Atheist I find it hard to understand the treatment by religious groups of those who need our help and understanding. murderers, rapists, and other criminals are ok but LGBT people are not. Where is the love and compassion and treating others as you would be treated.

  19. Bravo to you for standing up for what you know to be right Gabrielle. I’m not LDS and have to admit to knowing only what typical non-LDS people know about the church – EXCEPT what I read here which doesn’t seem to coincide at all. I’m considered a liberal by those who know me (though I don’t like using titles like this), but I have not found much that I’ve disagreed with on your site (maybe your McDonald’s post :). I left the church I was brought up in because it wasn’t reflecting my values and absolutely wasn’t going to change. I guess my question is: What keeps Mormons from branching off and creating a more open denomination? Or does this exist? If not, why not?

  20. I’m a little taken aback at all of these people expressing deep hurt and offense at a satirical facebook post…about a decision that is causing so much pain for their fellow Mormons that suicide hotline numbers were immediately circulated (and used).

    If you didn’t want to kill yourself when you read Gabby’s facebook post, maybe seek out a fellow Mormon who is heartbroken right now and just listen to their pain.

    1. So would it be ok to write a satirical post in support of the policy? I think not. I think it would cause even more pain to those who don’t understand it. I feel compassion for those who find the policy unfair and painful. I am honestly praying for them. Responding to this issue with a very snarky Facebook post is wrong, no matter which side of the issue you stand on.

      1. Completely missing the point. People–KIDS–have and will consider killing themselves over the policy. Complaining that your feelings are hurt over a facebook post in light of that is ridiculous.

        1. Angela, my feelings are not hurt over the FB post. I simply think it is a rude way to voice an opinion on a very sensitive topic. If someone were to write a satirical post in favor of the policy it would certainly hurt those who do not support the policy. So why would it be ok for someone who opposes the policy to write a post like that? Is it Christlike? Is it an effective way to have open dialogue or does it simply stir people up on both sides of the issue?
          I do have compassion and I do hope to help people understand. I do want to mourn with those that mourn… But it’s hard when snarky dialogue gets in the way. It doesn’t make anyone more willing or more receptive.

          1. Christine, I agree with Angela. Who was my fake conversation rude to? It wasn’t rude to the people who this policy is hurting — to the children and the families. It wasn’t rude to the people who are considering suicide because of this policy. It wasn’t rude to the people who are troubled and confused by this policy.

            So who was it rude to? I guess you are saying it was rude to the people who agree with this policy no matter what. But they don’t really need protecting right now, do they? This policy is not hurting them at all. And they have the full support of the giant church organization behind them. Are people who agree with this policy no matter what calling suicide lines? No. They are not. They do not need your protection and they do not need my protection.

            I think they need to get called out. Which is what I did. And I stand by my actions. When people are being hurt, it’s more important to say something.

  21. Gabrielle, thank you for speaking out, and standing up for all families. I know it must be a source of personal pain that the church that has sustained you and your family for generations has taken the terrible damaging stance hating has.

  22. I was born and raised in Los Angeles, and I LOVE it! Only problem is, my husband (also a native Angeleno) kind of hates it! So we moved to Colorado over a year ago, to try out a new place. But people always say, once you move out of L.A., it’s super hard to move back (financially) and it’s true! My relatives here in CO don’t understand why I’d want to go back–they always say, “But you can buy a house here in Colorado!” but I don’t care. My family and lifelong friends are in LA, not to mention the amazing weather, insane food options, diversity (something sorely lacking here in CO) and just general culture. Sure there’s traffic and that sucks, but you never have to shovel snow off your sidewalk! Now I just have to convince my husband it’s worth moving back… ;)

    1. One more thing: growing up in LA/Southern California is a very egocentric/ethnocentric experience…I feel like I received the message starting at a very young age that we were lucky to live in California, and that pretty much everyone else in the world wants to live where we do. Now that I’m older and have friends from all over the U.S. and the world, I know that’s not true, but it’s hard to shake! :)

      1. I know what you mean about that message of being lucky to live in California. I was very young when we moved away — just 5 years old — but I remember having this internal pride that I was born in California. Hah!

  23. Kudos to you for your bravery in sharing your personal opinion of a clearly very divisive issue in your church. I don’t belong to any organized religion so I’ll let it go there.

    The reference above to the McDonald’s post reminded me that I read a recent New Yorker article about fast food. It mentioned McDonald’s move from margarine to butter – the impact that would have on dairy production, it’s ripple effect to other restaurants. It confirms the comment I made on that post, that if McDonald’s (and Walmart) would change their approach to food in a positive direction, it would have massive effects across the food industry.

  24. I grew up in El Segundo. It was great until I was ready to move on and I am glad that I did move up north (via Santa Cruz, Berkeley and Oakland). I get why my family stays in L.A. but it is not for me. I like to use public transit to avoid having a car and that is just not a possibility in L.A. I love the redwoods and the immediate nature that I am near rather than freeways, major airports and oil refineries. I still prefer the So Cal beaches though. ^_^

    One aspect that I felt immersed in growing up in L.A. is the entertainment industry and music culture. I attended so many concerts there and knew so much more about the film industry because it was all around me. Here I am more aware of the animated films that are made here instead.

    1. Interesting differences, Susan. I agree that having access to nature in Northern California is such a wonderful thing. I also agree about So Cal beaches — I make a point of at least walking out on the sand anytime I’m down there. I didn’t get a chance this time and I felt cheated. : )

    1. That is a beautiful piece to read—beautiful to hear of a supportive bishop, to understand the lure of the LDS church community, to read the enfolding comments of support. How utterly devastating and heartbreaking for this man and the LDS community.

  25. One of the things I love DesignMom for most, Gabby, is your incredible ability to show the beauty in all our humanity. Your interviews for the recurring series’ that appear here on your blog inevitably showcases the humanity of those who graciously share their lives with us. Your thoughtful questions lead to interviews that affect me deeply, and often elevate me, even when I don’t adore the design style or agree with their lifestyle or whatever. Because of your thoughtful writing style, I have learned many lovely and wonderful things, and I always come away from those types of blog posts (and you write this way very very often!) enlightened and grateful for the incredible diversity that exists in our world. It would be terrible if you only highlighted one particular design style or family type, or only stuck to “safe” issues, because then I would miss out on all the divinity that exists in places and people I will never personally have an opportunity to experience.

    So, with that in mind, and because I see you as a lovely person who has an incredible ability to find beauty and light and divinity in all corners of the world, I am baffled by the way you treat issues you have with your church. What rankles you so much that the gloves come off and the conversation devolves into acrimonious and snarky banter towards those who disagree with your position on these types of issues? As I view your humanity, the only thing I can imagine is that these kinds of issues reach so deeply into your soul, and you see and feel the pain of those suffering and in your love for them, you desire to help heal that pain by any means necessary. In this case, it was using *satire* to lash out at those you perceive are the cause of it. Sadly, this method has no power to accomplish the worthy goals I imagine you have… rather it leaves each of us viciously clinging to our current perspective, and we fail to see the divinity that exists in those who disagree with us.

    Instead of using divisive ways of pointing out these sensitive issues, I would love to see you use your talent to share with us the humanity that exists here too. I would welcome the opportunity to read thoughtful blog posts about these challenging issues through the lens of your divine humanity. Thank you for being such a lovely and thoughtful person, one I truly admire — even when we disagree.

    1. Val, thank you for thinking I’m a lovely person much of the time. You said such kind things in your comment. But I fear I’ve unintentionally given you the wrong impression. I rankle people with discussions frequently. When I talk about race, when I talk about education, when I talk about feminism, and sometimes when I talk about religion — it can stress people out. I don’t feel like my response to the new church policy is an aberration. I feel like it’s pretty normal for me.

      And while I would generally agree with you that this topic is sensitive and should be talked about carefully, in this instance it doesn’t feel right. It feels like I’m being asked to be sensitive to something that is truly wrong.

      I’m trying to think of a good way to express it. Imagine your friend’s child is taken and is being somehow hurt, hurt so much they would rather die than endure it. You would do everything you possibly could to make sure the child is physically safe, that no further harm comes to the child. It would be your whole priority.

      And if in the middle of your efforts, before the child is safe, someone says to you, “But what about the people that took the child and are hurting the child. I don’t think they mean to hurt the child. I think they have the best intentions for the child. We need to think kindly about the people who took the child, and we need to think kindly about the people who agree that the child should have been taken.”

      I think you would be flabbergasted. I think you would want to make sure the child was no longer hurting before you gave any thought to the intentions of the people hurting the child. I think you would use strong language and you would say, “Stop talking about that! Let’s make sure the child is safe first and foremost! I don’t care what their intentions are, they are hurting a child!!”

      Can you see where I’m coming from? I’m less worried about tackling this topic delicately, and more worried about the families and children who are being horribly hurt by the policy.

      1. Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my comment. I truly appreciate it. And yes, I see where you are coming from. But, I can see that my inability to express my thoughts in writing have kept you from truly understanding why I said what I did, because “delicate” isn’t really what I was going for. In the example you use, you did a thorough job of showing that we all want no further harm to come to the child and their family. This is what I want too! But, at its core, we fundamentally disagree on the best way to protect that child (and their families) from harm.

        Using your fabulous example of the hurt child, in connection with the method I’m advocating, and using the satirical piece you wrote as the method you are advocating, I’d like to show you two different scenarios that I hope will clarify what I’m trying to say. It is my hope that you will read my ramblings with an open heart, and with the understanding that I am much better at articulating myself in person than I am in writing, so I recognize that there may still be some confusion on your part when I am finished, and I would relish the opportunity to continue the conversation with further dialogue.

        First, I must explain that my method is based on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s ideas of nonviolent resistance. The following words are not my own, but come from the kingencyclopedia.standford.edu article on nonviolent resistance, and teach us that King’s notion of nonviolence had six key principles.

        FIRST: one can resist evil without resorting to violence.
        SECOND: nonviolence seeks to win the ‘‘friendship and understanding’’ of the opponent, not to humiliate him (King, Stride, 84).
        THIRD, evil itself, not the people committing evil acts, should be opposed.
        FOURTH, those committed to nonviolence must be willing to suffer without retaliation as suffering itself can be redemptive.
        FIFTH, nonviolent resistance avoids ‘‘external physical violence’’ and ‘‘internal violence of spirit’’ as well: ‘‘The nonviolent resister not only refuses to shoot his opponent but he also refuses to hate him’’ (King, Stride, 85). The resister should be motivated by love in the sense of the Greek word agape, which means ‘‘understanding,’’ or ‘‘redeeming good will for all men’’ (King, Stride, 86).
        The SIXTH principle is that the nonviolent resister must have a ‘‘deep faith in the future,’’ stemming from the conviction that ‘‘the universe is on the side of justice’’ (King, Stride, 88).”

        These are hard principles! #5 — to avoid external physical violence AND internal violence of spirit is super challenging! And #6, to be patient in the here and now, having faith in the future! Wow! But as I have studied them and tried to apply them in my life, I have come to see their power. I deeply believe in them, and I know that they can change the world! In fact, they have, in many, many instances, and I’d love to share some specifics with you later if you are interested. While I am certainly not perfect at living them, I strive every day to see if I can live by these six powerful principles. With those as a reference, I will explain two different scenarios and hopefully show how there are slight but definite differences.

        Scenario ONE — using King’s method of nonviolent, loving resistance with your example of the hurt child: Let’s say that the child is being hurt by flinging stones. Seeing the hurting child who is getting many wounds, I would jump into the fray, and use my body as a shield to protect the child from further harm. All of my energies would be consumed with protecting the child, but I would also move closer to the attacker so that I could express my love for him (see his divinity), and try to engage him with love, and help him to see the child’s humanity and divinity (and perhaps mine, too). Even if it didn’t work, and I died protecting the child, I would do so with the hope that another loving resistor would jump in and continue the process. In time, I believe that this process both resists and engages the attacker’s violence in a reflective way so that he can begin to see the injustice of his own position and thereby create real, lasting change.

        Scenario TWO — using your satirical piece to demonstrate a different perspective, with the understanding that while the satire has no actual power to hurt the attackers, it does provide ammunition: The child is being hurt by flinging stones, so you jump into the fray (writing the satirical piece). In this scenario you stand next to him and begin throwing your own pile of stones at those who are attacking the child (because your satirical piece was intended to attack and humiliate the people throwing the stones rather than to protect the child or to see the humanity of the attackers). By employing this method, I believe that all sides have simply gained access to an increasing number of stones, so the fighting becomes more intense and destructive. More than just the child and his family are harmed! In this instance, the child is not protected, and now you are harmed, as are the attackers. In this scenario, I believe that no one wins. There is no power to effect real lasting change because the focus continues to be on the stones, rather than on the individuals.

        The piece that Beth (the commenter above me) linked to is an incredible example King’s method. The gentleman engaged every reader, asking them to see his humanity. And based on many of the commenters, I believe he did just that. I believe that he exemplifies all six of King’s principles in his writing. By being courageous and sharing his story of pain and heartache, his approach actually has power to change the hearts of his attackers while the satirical piece only superficially assuaged your pain (and perhaps the pain of those who agree with you) for a brief moment. When the next assault begins, your pain will emerge again, perhaps even more deeply.

        So, my suggestion that you take your incredible skill as a writer, and oppose the evil that you see, was not meant for you to stand on the sidelines and “delicately” hope for a good outcome. That’s definitely not what I am advocating. I meant for it to continue to be a frontal attack, albeit a very different one! It will take incredible courage to enter the fray in this different way. And, I’ll be honest, I’m not sure what it looks like. But I have faith that you can use your skill and talent to actually make a difference in this fight. I am advocating for both sides of the disagreement to engage with these methods. If we all began to engage each other with King’s method, I see understanding and love emerging, certainly in process of time — maybe a LONG time, but I don’t see how scenario two will ever lead to love and understanding. Instead, I perceive that each side hopes to kill off the attackers and win simply by means of overpowering them (again, BOTH sides are using this method). Can you see how this ultimately destroys all of us? And how scenario one has at least the power to help the child? And maybe end the violence and hate for good? Thereby preserving and redeeming everyone?

        So, in response to your idea that I would be flabbergasted to think about the attackers in the middle of the fray, I assure you that I am not. King’s second principle espouses exactly this! And, I desire for all of us to be protected and even “redeemed” as King suggested in principle four, and that truly means that at some point I must think about the attackers (certainly after I have done all in my power to protect the child). All evidence for this divisive issue suggests that until we begin to see each other’s humanity and divinity, there will be no end to the fighting, destruction, or devastation of everyone involved. Especially those who disagree with us.

        Thanks again for taking the time to read my response. I hope that I have been better able to articulate what I meant, and that I have not offended you. As my previous response indicated, I think you are an incredible woman who is already skilled in this type of loving warfare, and that perhaps you simply didn’t recognize it for what it was, or that it has power to do exactly what you desire most — help the families who are being hurt.

  26. Just wanted to send my support for your courageous post. I did choose to leave the church with which I was raised, and in which both of my parents are active members, because I could not abide by the doctrine that affected so many of my friends and loved ones. It takes true courage to share as you did. Stay strong, and keep writing. I will still be reading.

  27. I can’t believe I did it- I broke my number one rule: NEVER READ THE COMMENTS! I will, however, continue to read your posts. I admire how not only do you stand up for what you believe, but you do so publicly. Thank you for using your voice!

  28. Hi, I just wanted to say that I’m enjoying your blog. My wife is a reader of yours, and when I started my own blog, she told me I needed to look at yours as an example of what I should shoot for. So, now I’m a reader of yours too. Your trip to Yosemite reminded me of our one and only visit to the park. We went a little later in the year when snow was on the ground. I decided to collect my thoughts about it in my latest post. You’re right, it’s good for the soul. And. In my humble opinion, Oreos are better than Joe Joe’s.

  29. i have also noticed that you have recently been writing disparaging remarks about your church….especially when it comes to gay issues. is someone making you stay? why don’t you and your family find a church that accomodates your beliefs and troubles you no more?

    1. What an odd thing to say, Nancy. So I express disagreement with one church policy, and your instinct is to tell me to leave the church? Are you an American? Do you agree with everything happening in America? If not, why don’t you leave America?

  30. Wow, I can’t believe the antiquated views of some of your readers.
    It sounds as though they are among the lucky few who hit the age of twelve or so, and Decided to be heterosexual. I’d love to hear from one of your readers who chose to be hetero- was it a hard choice? Did you struggle to follow the easier path?
    Ladies, Nobody chooses their sexuality, and barring people from your church because of their sexuality, and their choice of partner, is bigotry.
    If your son or daughter came to you and said “I’m Gay” would you simply reject them? or will you force them into “counselling” to change them?
    Will they not be allowed to practice the religion that they love and have learned so much from
    As well, I don’t know what kind of 18 year old you’ve met but I’ve never met one who gets to the age of majority and decides to join a church.

    1. I am LDS and if my son or daughter came to me and said “I’m gay” I would give them a big hug, say “I love you” and encourage them to make the choice that will best allow them to feel God’s love in their life. Recognizing that their choice would either be to never marry or to give up the religion they have grown up in, I hope I would be more compassionate and more loving. I have a family member in this situation and I (and my husband and my kids) love her dearly, have her over for dinner often and will be there for her no matter what. I completely understand that looking at the LDS church just through this one issue would give you a picture of people who are mean and bigoted and I don’t think without really knowing each other I can change that idea, but I feel like whatever love and compassion I have is in large part because of my church and not in spite of it.

      PS – Design Mom if you read this comment, I’ve really appreciated your responses (to both sides) on this issue.

  31. Gabrielle, what I’ve noticed here on Design Mom, is that you encourage discussion of this type of topic and say that you struggle with these ideas or are saddened by how little equality there is out there.
    I applaud you for writing about provacative ideas and encouraging discussion on your blog. I will remain a devoted reader, and am glad I got to read ALL of the views expressed here in the comments.
    Your blog is one of two that I read that is written by a woman who is happy to discuss her faith and I really appreciate that openness.

  32. I do not believe speaking ones opinion about issues within the church is apostasy. Haven’t they always told us we have the right to question. This policy is wrong. At first I was leaning towards it as I could see children being put in a religious and family tug of war. But I disagree now! I really don’t understand the motives behind this policy. I am not sure what they are scared of! The policy has always been that if both parents are not in agreement to baptism than the child can’t be baptized than why can’t we just keep it this way.

  33. Ah sweet June! My youngest, Gabe, is also 5 and it is a magical, awe-inspiring experience to watch them figure out how the world works! I think it’s made especially sweet because we think that this will probably be the last time we have a little person in our family learning to be big. Gabe also has big love for his baby cousins and loves being the babysitter with me when my brothers and sisters-in-law go for a night out. June could be the assistant babysitter to her older siblings.

    I’m no LDS/Morman expert but I’ve thought more than once that some of this pain and controversy is because it’s such a young religion. In Judaism we have several formal denominations. Orthodox views on women, sexuality etc do not match our values so we’re members of a “conservative” congregation (which is actually much more progressive) instead. There’s none of this “if you don’t like it leave the religion” stuff because there are other communities and congregations to join. Maybe the same will happen in the LDS church eventually?

      1. To me the different denominations in Judaism don’t feel like a “schism” at all. More like branches from the same tree.

        1. Is schism the wrong word? It’s hard for me to imagine Mormons thinking of it in a positive way — like branches of a tree. But maybe it’s possible. Groups have broken off from Mormonism in the past (some of those groups still exist — like polygamist communities), but none have ever come close to the strength of the remaining core of the church.

  34. Just wanted to add another voice of appreciation for your response on FB, and linking us to it from your blog. I’m just grateful I live in a time where I can get on the internet and feel support and comfort to know I’m not alone in my beliefs- when I’m not able to get that in my local congregation. Keep the convos coming, I live for some REAL discussion and debate!

  35. In Mormonism until 1978 black members of African descent could not be ordained to the priesthood or attend the temple. There are many stories of church members’ joyous reactions upon hearing the news that these restrictions were changed. There are not enough stories of church members loudly voicing their disagreement with the exclusion of black members prior to the change. So glad you are letting your voice be heard on your platform. Pilot knew Christ was blameless yet feared the people. Seeking a way out he gave the masses a choice: “Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?” We too must choose between Christ and Barabbas. The choice can not be outsourced to another. Someday each of us will stand at the judgment bar. We will be asked to account for the choices we made. God will take into consideration our personal circumstances, our cultural biases and our motivations. And then He will render his perfect, terrible judgment. I do not believe he will punish anyone for standing up for the downtrodden or loving too much.

  36. I am so happy that you took a public stance! I grew up Mormon and I left the church during Prop 8. My husband is Jewish and feels strongly that a reform sect will break off because he said these policies are the in the same manner of the orthodox, as in this is the way it is and if you don’t like it why don’t you just leave. My fear is that this will take a church that is full of good people and only be left with those with more “orthodox” views..

  37. I love that you aren’t afraid to think critically about your church or speak out when policy doesn’t sit right with you. This policy seems to jive particularly badly with Acts 8:36-38, which speaks about the ONLY requirement for baptism.

    “As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?” Philip answered “If you believe with all your heart you may.” The eunuch answered “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.”

  38. Bravo to you for supporting love and compassion even when it puts you in a difficult position. I hope that my children will grow up without being tempted to judge others for who they love.

  39. Gabby, I’ve been a long time reader of your blog and followed your family since you were in NYC. I love the honesty with which you approach life and your blog and I’ve often wondered how you reconciled your LDS faith with how I (from a distance) viewed your more progressive views on other topics. Thank you so much for publicly addressing this topic. I was finally able to be married this summer after 20 years with my wife and our 2 children (ages 3 and 11) were able to finally be adopted by their other mom who now had a legal relationship to them (although she had always been their mom). It has been an amazing year for our family! We are still basking in all of the joy and love that has surrounded us this year. When I hear of things like this LDS decision, it feels to me at a very deep level like a step backwards and not a step forward in love. I can’t speak to the church doctrine (we are former Catholics who are now Episcopalian) but I can speak to what it feels like as a gay person to finally be accepted by my country and to have others like yourself be honest and speak out when something does not feel right to them. Thank you. That is what I try to teach my kids, no matter what they are being told, listen to your heart. I think this world needs more love and kindness and acceptance right now. I look forward to seeing more LGBT families featured on your blog in house tours, etc ;-) Sending you love from Michigan.

  40. I’ve been trying to pinpoint what it is weirding me out about arguments like this (posts from fully participating/active members of the church who are *absolutely* certain it is a mistake and wrong…is this you, Gabby? I’m sorry, I can’t really tell, and this is more a general message to put “out there” than directed specifically at you)…and I think it’s because there seems to be zero room for faith in it. Or at least zero respect for the faith of others…?

    I am still struggling with the policy…but even though I’m not convinced it’s inspired, I will always admit that there is absolutely the possibility that God is actually in charge and sees this policy as necessary with His eternal perspective, and that maybe not getting baptized until you’re 18 is not the worst thing that could happen…and that maybe, just maybe He loves his gay children and their babies MORE than I do, running around down here all offended. I think in order to gain any kind of understanding or progress on this we all have to have the wisdom to believe the possibility that we’re wrong (as in this could be inspired, it could also not be). Haven’t we all had experiences in our lives where we were convinced of something only to figure out later (with greater experience or understanding) that we were way off base? I mean, seriously, weren’t we all teenagers once? Haaa…maybe that was just me.

    I guess it just seems strange when members are all “fight the man” and “eww bureaucracy” in this situation without mentioning God at all. I mean, that’s weird, right? This is a religion, not a secular organization, and if we are here then we have to at least have some element of faith in a higher, wiser being not of this earth. I don’t think it means blind obedience in the least, but I think it means we need to make room for that in our perspective and our TONE in these discussions, for sure.

    I just don’t think we’re going to get anywhere on this as a church without maintaining a little humility and open-mindedness (and open-heartedness, for goodness sake)…on BOTH sides. I think we can be passionate about something while always tempering it with a little of that wisdom.

  41. While there may have been some members of the LDS church who are worthy of your satire, I believe the vast majority of our church reacted differently. Those members pondered deeply what it means to have a living prophet, they thought about how they treat others and how the Savior would treat others, those members searched the scriptures, they had many discussions with family, friends and other church members, they prayed for understanding and personal revelation. I’m sure that you did these things as well. My own personal answer is that I do believe that we have a living prophet and I choose to trust in the Lord. While everyone’s personal revelation varies, I do know those with similar feelings to mine are some of the kindest, loving, accepting and tolerant people I know. Some don’t understand how the two can co-exist. But I think they can and do.
    The way your satire saddens me is by lumping those who blindly accept and those who are waiting on the Lord after much effort on their part. The two groups are very different, at least to me. But I also realize my dismay means very little in the grand scheme of things and that there are many people with hurt much larger and deeper than mine. Because of that hurt, I am grateful for a Savior that knows each of us, sees our hearts and can soothe those who are in pain.

  42. I just wanted to add my perspective. I grew up during my teen years with a single parent who became increasingly hostile toward the church. It’s hard to hear constant negativity and scorn about it, even pressure to go against church standards. I’m just saying there’s some validation to the church’s desire to keep harmony in the home. When I read the policy, I simply thought it was aimed at bishops and missionaries to respect homes of same sex couples to allow them to raise their children the way they want to without introducing concepts that will cause contention. I am aware that there are Mormon same sex couples who wish to raise their children in the church, but I still believe the point of the policy is to keep missionaries from seeking out young teens and CREATING contention in the home, not an attack on current gay members and their families.
    Finally, I just want to add that in many ways I found I wasn’t able to live my religion until I moved out of my parent’s house. In that way I understand the requirement to move out. Again, I am aware that there are same sex couples who would not put the negative pressure and ridicule on their child and would support them, but I’m just saying from my own experience there is some validation to what the church is saying.
    I’m still working out all my feelings on the policy, especially with the 1st presidency clarifications, but I’ve noticed that there hasn’t been a lot of discussion about what it’s like to grow up with religious contention in the home.

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