Homosexuality in a Heterosexual Heaven

Artwork by Nick Stephens

If you want to understand my church’s opposition to same-sex marriage, you need to start with a clear picture of how Latter-day Saints think about sexual orientation itself. “Same-sex attraction,” in the Mormon view, is a temporary, mortal experience — a trial to be endured or, in its previous iteration, a disorder to be cured. It is, essentially, an aberration from the correct, godly model, and will eventually be resolved upon completion of our earthly “probationary period.”

This belief need not necessarily imply a particular animus on the part of the average worshipper. Most of the church members I know…

In memoriam: Gil Fairholm, 1932–2021

My grandfather worked with wood. The musty oak smell of his old Virginia home lingers in my memory like a ghost. Open the rickety side door, and a puff of sawdust greets you as you pass by the woodshop and up the creaky steps toward the kitchen. The old shop is littered with lathes and saws and gizmos of every kind, worn out with years of loving labor. It stands as a sanctuary for works in progress — a handsome dresser in need of polish, a spindly nightstand with a wobbly leg, a wooden chest yet to be carved.


the glory of god is intelligence
or in other words light and truth
glimmering speckles in rocky terrain
a shovel lodged knee-deep in cool soggy earth,
its treasures sifted and polished
and lovingly laid to rest in the pitch-dark chasms of a hat
and then allowed to glow

or maybe it’s through a glass I see
darkly at first and only in part
shattered shards scraping my feet
as piece by piece, I forge the mosaic
and seeing is bleeding
and mending makes whole

oaks of righteousness
the planting of the Lord
which, tonight at least, obscure my view
the moon-kissed night tucked safe behind
boughs and bark and scraggly limbs
stretching skyward but keeping silent
and all I can do is peer between the cracks

Finding out God. And finding out that I’m gay.

Washington, D.C. Temple, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

I first felt God in the textures of my childhood, nestled somewhere in the tough tweed upholstery of pale blue chapel pews, in the scratchy burlap lining the halls, and in the soft family room rug where we knelt in prayer every night. I felt Him in the cold, unforgiving metal of foldable overflow chairs and in the stringy net of a basketball hoop tucked away neatly for Sunday service.

Faith, fire, and the art of princess-killing

Cinderella is on fire. Her platinum hair melts away in thick, waxy puddles. To be honest, there’s something kind of mesmerizing about it — jarring, sure, but oddly captivating. Kind of like how you can’t look away from a nasty car wreck even though you know you probably should. Her blue dress, yellow hair, white skin, all distilled to their most essential and vibrant colors, lie in tiny pools like acrylic paints.

I’m nineteen years old and wondering how I ever ended up spending Thanksgiving dinner alone with a hairy Russian. But here we are, in white shirts and ties…

Tom Fairholm

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