Queer Mormon Histories and the Politics of a Usable Past

Dialogue 54.1 (Spring 2021): 1–16
Essentially, the debate becomes whether it is appropriate to apply the adjectives “gay,” “homosexual,” “transgender,” or similar terms to persons who lived before these terms had any meaning. Yale historian John Boswell freely used the term “gay” for medieval and ancient subjects who expressed a preference for same-sex romantic and sexual relationships, while recognizing it was a label impossible for them to apply to themselves, “making the question anachronistic and to some extent unanswerable.”

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Find a podcast reading of “Confession” in this Out Loud production Note: The Dialogue Foundation provides the web format of this article as a courtesy. Please note that there may be unintentional differences from the printed version. Also, as of now, footnotes are not available for the online version. For...

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Personal Voices

Assuming Power

Dialogue 54.1 (Spring 2021): 53–57
Some feel that “smashing the patriarchy” is the ultimate goal of what they define as “feminism.” That is not my opinion. Each of us—female and male—have power given us to serve and lead, speak out and nurture, preach doctrine, and clean the bathrooms in the ward building.

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Called Not to Serve

Podcast version of this Personal Essay. My brain is slightly broken. The natural lows and highs of life are amplified by chemical imbalance into deep emotional troughs and crazed manic waves that can strike anytime…

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Excommunication and Finding Wholeness

Dialogue 54.1 (Spring 2021): 69–79
Five years after my excommunication, I met and entered into a relationship with the man who is my husband to this day. We became a couple in 1991; we held a public commitment ceremony in 1995, a time when same-sex marriage was legal nowhere in the United States; we purchased a home together in 1996; and we legally married in California in 2008. Regardless of how or why I was excommunicated in 1986, current Church policy is such that if I were a member, my bishop would have grounds for excommunicating me now, and I cannot currently be reinstated into membership.

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The Complementarity Principle

In 2008, I turned forty-five, Wall Street collapsed, California voters banned gay marriage, and I lost my virginity. The financial system’s meltdown changed the air I breathed, in the same way fire distributes ash for…

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Finding Rebecca: A Eulogy

Podcast version of this Personal Essay. The DAILY ENQUIRER—April 24, 1897A Poor Widow Distracted by Life’s Burdens “One of those events occurred this morning which causes the heart to grow sad and go out in…

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Until You Come

Taipei, ’97. I walk past side-streetvendors selling lychee nuts and blackrice cakes, to an acre of bare dirt,concrete pylons lifting a cloverleaf.A grizzled man by a beat-up Buickthrows gobbets of meat from the trunkto a…

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Praying on Gravel

Not yet March, already weedsbring me to my kneeswith trowel and bare fingers. Under the loblollythe hellebore are in bloom,a periwinkle or two. The weeds are in the white gravelof the walk. My son has…

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Matriarchal Blessing

Your hands were on my head first. No formal ceremony. I was an infantand shouting clouds trundled and thundered,atmospheric pressure strangled my stubborn ears refusing airflow.The blue chair in the living room rocked,my cries received…

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She says she was eating or opening a window or just walkingdully along, and always had been, but tonight there might befew angels. These things. Our dogwagging across the foreground, the porchthat still needs fixing…

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I Was a Stranger . . .

One hundred seventy-two years ago this coming Wednesday, July 24, the first company of Mormon pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley, which was to be their new home. Being mostly a desert, it didn’t look…

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