Sunday, June 3, 2012

No More Goodbyes: Circling the Wagons Around Our Gay Loved OnesNo More Goodbyes: Circling the Wagons Around Our Gay Loved Ones by Carol Lynn Pearson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a library book & I liked it so much I purchased a copy of my own. I'd like everyone to read it, especially those in leadership positions. Unfortunately most people are laboring under a gross misunderstanding that gay persons can choose who they are and what they feel sexually, when in reality they cannot. LGBT persons did not seek to be so. They want to be straight but they cannot despite counseling, therapy, treatments, despite a profound desire to change, despite religious activity, including fasting, serving missions, marrying in the temple, despite repeated fasting and prayer, despite living a chaste life. Being gay is difficult. Being gay and LDS (or most other devout religious affiliation) is a terrible struggle.

They did not ask to be this way; they just are. And for the most part they are profoundly unhappy. We have no right to inflict additional pain or feelings of isolation. We have no right to judge or criticize them for who they are. Christ said to love everyone, not just those who are like ourselves. The quote on the cover by the Rabbi Harold Kushnor says it all, "The task of any religion is to teach us whom we're required to love, not whom we're entitled to hate."

The book clarifies misunderstandings about a complex issue and teaches generalities of love, compassion and appreciation. The underlying message is simple: to love. I've read, and own, all of Carol Lynn Pearson's books, which indicates that I am a fan of hers, but I wish she had included specifics of what the reader can do to help, i.e. how to circle our wagons around our gay loved ones. I believe one of the ways we can help is to stand up for them, i.e. to object when others tell gay jokes and ridicule them. The likelihood of my being able to get many of my friends to read this book are slim, but I can take a stand and express the author's opinion, that none of us can afford to criticize, make fun of, or not love someone because they are different from us. I can express my opinion that jokes at their expense are as offensive to me as jokes about Blacks, Jews, the handicapped, and other minorities. We are not better than they and to ridicule anyone is insulting, vulgar behavior.

I have become aware of another book which apparently deals with this topic in a less emotional and more practical way: In Quiet Desperation. I look forward to reading that book as well.

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Dancing at the Rascal FairDancing at the Rascal Fair by Ivan Doig
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Like Montana winters, this was way too long. I got bogged down a little halfway through, but I continued because the narrator, Robert Ian Mckenzie was terrific. I kept thinking I'd never finish the book if I had to read it, and was almost gleeful when there were only 2 cds (of 17) left and the end was in sight! That ending is not only depressing, but there is no satisfying resolution. Whistling Season is much better, and you'll like the ending, but this not one. I read it first and consider it one of the best books I read this year, so I read this hoping for more of the same but was hugely disappointed. The story drags; I wanted to slap the 2 main characters upside the head; and there is precious little humor in it. I give the author, Doig, credit for ably conveying the homesteaders' exhaustion and defeat to the reader. I was exhausted and relieved when the narrative ended.

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