Oh My Heck! Episode 10 – Fast & Testimony Meeting

A 12 year old girl came out to her Mormon church and they turned the microphone off. What’s that all about? And what was really going in her church that week? Listen to this week’s episode and learn what Fast & Testimony meeting is, and by the end you might be put off food and ready to stand and shout your fervent beliefs, too!

And remember, sharing links and leaving reviews keeps this (free for you!) podcast on air. And we (I) thank you for your support!

(I’ll no longer be posting to Soundcloud due to $$, so please refer to my podcast’s Complete Guide page to catch up on any episodes you may have missed!)

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My Grandmother’s Secret

It’s hard to keep a secret in a small town. Even harder is keeping a secret in a deeply religious town where everyone keeps moral tabs one each other, and often under the direction of their religious leaders. My grandparents had a huge farm in a small mountain town, Lehi, Utah. My father’s high school class of 1965 had eighty-six kids. When I lived with my grandmother during college, there were about 7,000 people in the whole town. Small. Everyone knew everyone else.

Lehi Utah Mormon LGBT

“Now I gotta cut loose! Footloose!” Lehi’s claim to fame

Lehi is also deeply Mormon. It’s just up the Wasatch front from Provo, Utah, home to BYU and the Missionary Training Center.

For those unfamiliar, when you’re an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it’s more than just attending Sunday meetings with your neighbors. You have morning Seminary for teens, daily Institute if you’re in college, Home Teaching, Visiting Teaching, Relief Society, Sunday night Firesides, Monday night Family Home Evening activities, youth activities on Wednesdays, and of course, Sunday service, which is three hours long.

It’s a lifestyle. Mormons prefer mingling with other Mormons, so you’re usually in each other’s pockets, especially in a small community like Lehi. Secrets aren’t easy to keep.

In the early ’90s, my grandmother had a stroke, and I moved in to care of her. Those were some of the best months of my life, even though they were tinged with the knowledge that her time was coming to an end. I got to know her in a way most people never do with a grandparent.

She’d grown up the middle sister, her older sister a wildly dynamic and popular young lady. In her 20s, she developed a skin-disease–neurofibromas, raised tumors over her face and body–that always left her feeling like the ugly duckling, ashamed to be out in public. She’d been the second wife to an older husband who spoke lovingly of his first wife (and who was still “sealed” for time and all eternity to this first wife, meaning my grandma would share her husband with his first wife, Florence, forever). She’d become the caregiver for a rapidly declining husband thirty years her senior while taking over as the main breadwinner for the family. And through all of this, she always honored her church callings. She never failed to miss a meeting, visit the sick, or feed the hungry.

After her stroke, she was just tired. She wanted to be left alone and didn’t care for what felt like false sympathy from the neighbors she’d known for decades, able to see the performance for what it was. Instead of entertaining visitors, my job was to turn people away with kindness and help carry her to her Big Chair where she would read.

And this is when I learned of her secret. Continue reading

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Please take a moment to consider our LGBTQ brothers and sisters in Chechnya

If you have somehow missed the horrorshow that is the current climate in Chechnya, gay and bisexual men (in particular, but I fear this is just the start) are being rounded up, tortured and killed for the simple fact that they are not straight.

This is terrifying. This is also unacceptable. Several writers and publishers of LGBT literature have decided to do something to raise money and awareness for this dreadful situation.

BOOKS SAVE LIVES

There’s no question that access to information is life-changing. But also as important (and something many don’t consider) is the fact that just seeing yourself represented can be life-changing. In some cases, it can save a person’s life.

We’re taking that idea and raising money to help our queer friends in Chechnya as best as we can. David Lowery is hosting a fundraiser and charity auction from May 5 – 12th, whose proceeds will benefit vetted LGBT charities for Russians under attack. I’ll be donating 3 signed copies of my books.

Please follow the link to see all of the amazing authors donating books and services and see how you can help our community.

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Oh My Heck! Episode 8 – SEX

It’s time to talk about sex. Awww, yeah, we’re talking the talk now! Except you shouldn’t be thinking of sex! Oh my gosh, are you thinking about it right now? Oh, no… Stop it! I don’t know, sing a hymn at your crotch!* GO EAT A MAPLE-GLAZED DONUT. Did you stop thinking of sex? Well why on earth not? GREAT. There goes God’s plan. Thanks for nothing, buddy.

This week I’ll discuss the positively baffling and obsessive mindset Mormons have about sex. (I mean, you don’t get those big Mormon families from a handshake… Or do you?)

*Actual instruction from the Church for ridding oneself of an erection. Listen and find out more ways to control yourself, even while asleep!

 

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Oh My Heck! Episode 7 – LGBT LDS wth?

Gay Mormons? (And Lesbian Mormons, Trans Mormons, Bi-Mormons, which does anyone even think they acknowledge bisexuality? Pfft!) Are there LGBTQ Mormons? How does that even work? Surprise! It doesn’t! Well, they’re trying, both the church and the members. Sometimes. Well, kind of? Listen to this week’s episode and let’s see if we can figure out what the heck and how the heck. (And you’ll get a little sneak peek at my upcoming novel, AND IT CAME TO PASS, about a missionary who realizes he’s gay while serving in Barcelona, Spain. Oh my heck!)

Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss a thing! (And thanks for listening!)

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Oh My Heck! Episode 6 – Polygamy Pt. 2: the one with the top secret raid

We’re back with the final polygamy episode where I’ll go into some more detail about how groups like Warren Jeff’s YFZ Ranch came to be, how accurate the show Big Love was, and the (small) part I played with the Texas Rangers taking out a bunch of real low-lifes out in ElDorado, TX. Some of what I share has never been spoken of publicly… You won’t want to miss this one!

Be sure to subscribe and download–the episodes disappear! (That is, until I upgrade my podcasting host.)

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Oh My Heck! Episode 5 – The Polygamy podcast part 1 (the early Utah remix)

It’s finally here: the Polygamy Papers! Well, not paper, because it’s an audiofile. Podcast. WHATEVER. Look, it’s all the dirty details of how polygamy got started, and it’s so big a topic that we’re breaking it into multiple episodes. This particular episode is voiced by the one and only Kathleen Turner! By which I mean a congested me.

*No Kathleen Turners were harmed in the making of this podcast.

Be sure to share the podcast with friends–or your enemies! I’m not the judge of you!–and leave me comments or questions right here.

(The final episode of the polygamy series will have a list of resources and a reading list, should that be a thing you’re into!)

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Oh My Heck! Episode 4 – Missions

What do teenagers, flesh-eating bacterias and $244 million dollars a year all have in common? Mormon Missions!

This week’s episode is twice as long with triple the content (that math could work if you’d just let it be) with loads of stories about what really happens on missions, and a whole lot of information the LDS Church would prefer you didn’t pay attention to…

And if you want to read my novel about life on an LDS mission and coming out “while Mormon”, you can pre-order AND IT CAME TO PASS here.

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Oh, how I love a taciturn man… in books (A Bitter Springs excerpt)

Most of my paternal family are a mix of ranchers, farmers and a coal miner or two, and they’re not known for running off at the mouth. I think there’s a type of man who delights in using as few words as possible. And as much as I love loud, take-no-prisoner type women, I also love a still-waters-run-deep sort of fella.

Horses cowboys vintage LGBT

Sweet Abuelita, an illustration in the book.

black cowboys gay vintage

Henry “Hank” Burnett, from the book cover


 

In my second novel, Bitter Springs, an historical Western set in Del Rio, Texas in the 1870s, I had a lot of fun with Henry “Hank” Burnett, the freed slave turned mesteñeros, stepping in as the quintessential cowboy. (And for more on how he absolutely was the quintessential cowboy–most likely not straight nor white–click here.) In the following excerpts, Renaldo is a young, coming of age horse-trainer (21) the baby of a boisterous, loving Texican family. He’s made a faux pas and… well, maybe it’s best you read it. (And get a glass of water, ’cause brother, Hank is dry.)
Continue reading

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Oh My Heck! Episode 3 – Baptisms for the Dead

…did you say Mormons baptize dead people?? Well, yes. But not like you think. They aren’t grave robbing and plopping corpses into tubs of water in the temple. They’re just stealing the names of dead people!

That doesn’t make it sound better, huh?

Listen to this week’s episode and learn some of the famous people who are now Mormon! Like Golda Meir! *cough*

Be sure to subscribe on Soundcloud or through iTunes/Stitcher so you don’t miss an episode!

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