Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Lines of honor...

Last week we took the family to Rexburg to participate in the open house of the new temple there. We weren't alone in thinking the last day of the open house would be a good time to go and to have a special family time together. The place was packed and the lines and wait were long, but it was well worth it. As much as I hate "church architecture", the Rexburg Temple is really quite stunning and aesthetically impressive. The finishes of Israeli tile and African wood trim, the brilliant chandeliers, and the original murals on the walls all add to the beauty of this building making it a uniquely inspiring space. Oh yeah, and there was a sweet and serene spirit present as well...

Friday we took the family to SLC to participate on the last day of the viewing of President Hinckley. It was a very cold, crisp, but sunny winter's day - one that we spent two hours outside in line, and then two-and-one-half hours inside for a total of 4-1/2 hours working our way through the incredibly respectful and reverent lines with fellow saints. Had we gone on Thursday it may have taken us as little as 20 minutes... But, the investment of time and effort seemed more valid and the offering of respect seemed more valuable with the passing of each hour. 4-1/2 hours seems impossible to phathom with small children with no food, no distractions, no books - and yet the miracle of it all was how peaceful it ended up being and well worth it - to honor and say farewell to our prophet dear.


Damon said...

Hi Beck-

I'm a gay Mormon man, I'm not married, probably won't ever be. So...there are just a couple of things I want to say to you about everything in general not about the post about President Hinckley and the Temple.

Over Christmas I discovered your blog and have slowly caught up to your most recent post.

First, I want to say that I am proud of you! You've made commitments to your wife, your spouse and you are living those commitments with a great deal of tempation and frustration...you are making a good choice. What faith and power that takes! And as someone previously said in her response. How wonderful that you offer to the Lord and your wife your choice to remain faithful and true to convenants in the midst of such adversity.

I would love to recommend two books to you, one in particular. Both are by Carol Lynn Pearson. I can't imagine you haven't read or heard of them, but perhaps not. "Goodbye, I Love You" is her book about her marriage to her gay husband.

Their relationship ended in divorce. He died of AIDS and she brought him home to care for him as he died. The book is good, though. Carol Lynn's spirit is amazing. She loves with truly a Christlike love. Her perspective, her ideas and her choice to love and try to understand is outstanding. It might be helpful for you and perhaps your wife. I'd suggest you read it first and then decide. It will give you perspective on each other. Although,I would say again. Her marriage ended in divorce because her husband didn't feel he could stay married. Your situation is different, but still you could gain wisdom and insight from her story.

Carol Lynn is very open with her readers. You can email her and she'll respond. She also hosts women's events at her home in Walnut Creek, CA. You and your wife might benefit in talking to her.

Carol Lynn lays it out so well. She says that women...in the Church especially, gain esteem and worth because they are desired by men because of their femaleness. Indirectly it's what they've been taught. When you're married to a gay man that's taken away, and then where is your worth?

What you have is beautiful. You love your wife because of the PERSON she is not for the superficial things. There is so much value in that...so much more worth and depth. Even so, sometimes one longs for raw passion. But then, that's a sacrifice you both are making.

Carol Lynn also wrote "No More Goodbyes: Circling the Wagon Around Our Gay Loved Ones." This one approaches homosexuality in the Church in general. It's good too, but I'm not sure it would provide as much insight. The stories amaze me.

I will be honest with you in my position with the Church and homosexuality. I'm not active. That saddens me. However, I feel like in my life, no matter which choice I make, I lose something in the mix. I simply couldn't bear the lonliness.

I'm trying to be the best person I can be with what I've been given. I'm not sure, as many have said, that homosexuality gets taken from you in this life or in the next. I am not comfortable, and I have tried to be, making the decision to never have love in my life. So...I am inactive because this is in violation of Church Standards.

The part that makes it harder is judgement from members, who by covenant have agreed to bear my burdens, but instead add to them because they believe that I must be less than worthy or less than human simply by being gay. The excuse is always that they are human, and make mistakes. True, but aren't we all? And this explanation doesn't make the struggle easier nor the pain better. More than being an excuse, it is a cold reality that people will judge you without knowing you.

Again, I want to reiterate how much I admire the resolution and strength in your choices.

If ever you do want to talk, although it would seem you have ample support here, you can always reach me at dtala@msn.com

Best wishes and much luck to you, Beck!

Crisco said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds church architecture less than stunning. Give me some Baroque!

I once read someone's review of going through a temple open house--either Redlands or Newport--that compared the celestial room to a hotel lobby. There's some truth to that, but the Spirit is what makes it so much different.

Neal said...

Try the Nauvoo Temple. Incredibly well done and the furniture is actually period..


Beck said...

DAMON: Thank you so much for reading and following along with my little insignificant story here... I'm always overwhelmed that someone would take the time to read it. I offer it in a hope that I can find peace and resolution in the confusion of being a married active member of the Church, but ever so much a gay man. Though my struggles are real and intense at times, I still find peace and assurance that the path I'm on is still the right course for me, including staying married and staying faithful, despite pressures and temptations to do otherwise.

Thank you for your reading recommendations. I know of both books but have not read them. Your reminder may push me to do so.

I'm sorry for your struggles of dealing with the judgment of others. I do not judge you or your choices. I'm grateful for your offer to talk. I hope to be of help to you, too.

Beck said...

CRISCO: Church architecture has always been designed "by committee". When that happens, oft times the creativity is watered down to functionality and practicality - like a hotel lobby.

But, despite that, it is the Spirit that makes the difference. I just wish it didn't have to be that way... Just once it would be fun to see what the Spirit of an inspired designer could create for a future temple design without the restraints of the "committee".

Beck said...

NEAL: I've been to Nauvoo when the temple was nearly complete (the exterior stone skin was being installed) but have never been inside. I need to do this...

I find the Manti Temple pioneer crafstmanship exhilerating. It is amazing to me the contrast with the Logan temple that has been gutted of all beauty and stripped of all craftsmanship and turned into a generic office building of the 1970s inside the historic shell. What a shame!

GeckoMan said...

Thanks Beck, for sharing your family's experiences together. Taking time together to reflect on what is most important plants deeper seeds of faith. We have done similar things in our family, and those times remain fond memories.

This is the first picture I have seen of the Rexburg temple. Its compounding symmetry reminds me of the beautiful chapel that is on the BYUI campus. Have you been in that interior space? It is angular and symmetrical and tall as well. I wish we had more such unique architecture in the church. And you say there are murals inside--how wonderful! The murals inside the Nauvoo temple are some of the best I've seen, so you'll have to make it a point to get to Nauvoo, as now I'll have to get to Rexburg.

Neal said...

Actually, the Church lets local architects do much of the design work on larger temples. They are given guidelines and examples from existing Temples, and then allowed to put their own spin on it. The little temples are somewhat cookie-cutter, although a few have been quite customized and localized, like Nigeria.

Examples I like are San Diego, Houston, Portland, St. Louis, DC, Bolivia, Copenhagen.

Anonymous said...

All the temples I have been able to visit have been very different inside except by one thing and its the Spirit that is presides in all of them. I was married in Manti and it's so beautiful and historical. I love the Temple in Finland. We waited for one a long time. I was very curious if the design would allow any cultural architectural and or interior design. I was so deligted that that was allowed. It is built and designed by Finns. It preserved what we hold dear. The murals are beautiful. I will not even attemp to start describing. My words will not do justice for it.I looked for pictures of the interior
but I cannot find them anymore. If anyone is interested in the contruction process here are two links for pictures: Temple completed
http://www.meridianmagazine.com/churchupdate/061031finlandtemple.html and under construction http://www.lds.org/temples/construction/0,11437,1940-1-166-0,00.html
It was the last temple dedicated by President Hinckley. Because of his mission- we finally have a beautiful Temple of our own to go to. I'm excited that more and more people in the world will have access to temples and be able to serve in them. No matter how big or small, they serve the same purpose bringing people to Christ.

Beck said...

GECKO: Good to see you around. Planting seeds - ah yes - the never ending task of a parent. Both experiences strengthened our relationship with our kids. We need to be doing more of these strengthening experiences as a family!

I have been to the chapel on campus at BYU-I. It does have similar features. The Rexburg Temple sits on a hill all by itself with no trees around it so you can see it from miles away as you approach the town from either direction. To the east and south are just open plowed fields. Someday soon it will be all built up with expensive houses I'm sure, but for now, it really is an iconic beacon on the hill.

Beck said...

NEAL: I know the local architects get some freedom for creativity, local touches here and there, but in many ways, the plans and designs are very much centrally controlled.

I think it would be fun if there was a chance to design a temple with real symbols of running water, fountains inside with trees and gardens as part of the structure instead of just lobby furniture.

But, I recognize it's what happens within these structures, and not the structures themselves that really matter...

Beck said...

ANON: Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the spirit of your remarks. I'm curious what drew you to my blog in the first place?

Anonymous said...

Thank You and a confession: Your blog name is easy to remember and you are am interesting person to read about( when I do go on-line blogs). I found your site by accident about few weeks after my husband came out. I have used your site as a launching pad-sorry!. I noticed you had a list of other blogs that were also LDS and thought maybe I can find some blogs that some wives (of husband's who have SGA) may be posting on. Have not found that many..to be honest just one. I hope you do not mind that I have used your blog as a starting page for my searches.

Neal said...

"I think it would be fun if there was a chance to design a temple with real symbols of running water, fountains inside with trees and gardens as part of the structure instead of just lobby furniture."

You haven't seen the San Diego Temple, have you?

Another one I like is Wash. DC. The windows are actually marble shaved so thin they're translucent. From the outside it looks like there are no windows! And there's a stained glass window that starts at the bottom of the main tower and goes all the way to the top - changing from brilliant colors at the bottom to almost all crystal-white at the top. You have to climb the staircase to see it from the inside.

I do want to see Rexburg, though. That's where I served my mission (Idaho), and Rexburg was my first area. It was about a year after the flood. I'm sure the place has changed completely since those days...