Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Episode 27: "I came out of the womb singing" — The Divine Worth of a Lesbian

Right click here to download the mp3.



Art by Mara Berendt Friedman
As a teen, Janice converted to the LDS church as part of an attempt to cure herself of her lesbianism. She served a mission and married in the temple as part of her determination to be "fixed." Her journey to find her whole self — the wild woman, the lesbian, the feminist — led her into the depths of depression and to the brink of taking her own life where she was gifted with a deep realization that God loved her.

Janice will be watching the comments so she can respond to questions and issues brought up in her story.

As you leave comments, remember that Daughters of Mormonism seeks to provide a safe place for women to share their stories. This is a real story from a real person. Please see the Comment Policy for further details.

Janice's Recommended Resources
You can contact Janice at outofthewombsinging @ gmail.com

14 comments:

  1. great interview. janice, i have a question. you resigned from the church, but you are still invested in it to some degree, it seems, especially being a 'cultural mormon.' why and how do you stay engaged in this church?

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  2. This was just beautiful. I was really touched by how open you were about so many painful experiences. (And I found myself really rooting for you to find love and peace, and so overjoyed at the end when you talked about your relationship!) Thank you for being willing to share.

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  3. I'm so glad you didn't follow through with your plan to kill yourself! So glad! There's something I'd really like to know more about so I can understand and be there for lesbians I know--but don't feel pressured if it's too personal. What was it like to own your sexual orientation? Did it happen while you were attending your father as he was dying? Was it later when you let your wild woman out? What was your mental process to go from red light to green light?

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  4. Thank you for sharing your story with us, Janice. I'm so glad, with all you've been through, you are in a happy place now. :-)

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  5. Beautiful story Janice. Thank you for sharing some of your most personal experiences. I too am very glad that you didn't go through with your plan in the desert. I hope that your story will bless many women who are struggling.

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  6. To anonymous 1: Yes, I am invested to a degree. I have double digit family members and friends within the LDS church. I enjoy listening to this podcast, and many other liberal LDS podcasts. I enjoy the history - the true history. I don't subscribe to the current correlated regimen and teachings. But, I "speak" Mormon, to use Jan Shipps word and mingle with the Saints daily...my family :-)

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  7. To anonymous 2: Thank you for you kind comments. Tammy and I both grinned ear to ear after reading your comment. Thanks for rooting for me! Life is pretty amazing, that is for sure. You can bottle my sunshine and happiness now!

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  8. Tara: To actually own my sexuality took a little time. It was after the death of my father and coincided with releasing my "wild woman." Validating my inner voice and core-self enabled me to embrace and accept my sexuality.

    I punched on the gas, so to speak, in going from red light to green light. I initially announced my sexuality to the world with an extremely loud voice. (I think most of us go through that phase.) It had taken me years to accept my sexuality and I expected everyone else to be on board with it.

    The mental process was contradicting at times. Mind you, I had to undo a lot of cognitive patterns that consisted of black and white thinking. While I accepted the fact that I was a lesbian, and I wasn't afraid for anyone to know; it was easier said than done to align myself and find peace. Disentangling completely from the McConkie/Kimball-esque teachings did not come overnight.

    I don't know if I answered your question or not, Tara. In a nutshell, I let all the years of squishing my inner feminine consciousness out with one primal scream. With that scream, came the empowerment and ownership of my sexuality. And with the acceptance of my sexuality, I started to learn how to live.

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  9. Dear Janice,

    Yours is quite a profound and reflective story. It took me through much sadness, anger, joy, happiness and understanding. Although I do not speak "Mormon" and some of what you spoke was foreign (smile), the meaning of your words was loud and clear. It is especially difficult trying to "overwrite" the dogma of fire & damnation associated with homosexuality.

    While I truly believe religion brings joy to many it assuredly brings agony to more. Therefore, finding one's personal spiritual path, which removes the sense of "not belonging", changes the dynamics of accepting one's sexuality.

    The world is not black & white. It never has been. Trying to place everyone into one "truth" is ludicrous. I read many years ago where a woman wrote "I simply pray to the Power which holds all the stars in place". Isn't that refreshing?

    Even though it is gaining more acceptance as time passes, being gay is still not easy. Being gay is not What we are, it is Who we are.

    You spoke very eloquently, moving and truthfully. It could not have been easy to open your life's experiences to others. Thank you for doing so. Kudos to your courage. As it is written, "that which does not kill us, makes us stronger". You have obviously come away a very strong woman.

    May you and Tammy have many many years brimming with joy, happiness and love!

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  10. Janice,

    Thank you for sharing your journey from the balck and white world of false promises and attempts to pray, work and obey away the gay out into the rainbow world of love and true companionship.

    I always wanted that oneness that is talked about in scripture that we are supposed to have with our male counterpart. Our sexual orientation makes it impossible to have that oneness that I found with women so easily after I finally came out.

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  11. Katrina and Molly: Thank so for listening and for your kind comments. It means a lot to me and makes me feel warm and grateful inside. That may sound a little trite, but it's the truth.

    Anon 3: Yes, it is refreshing to "simply pray to the Power that holds all the stars". How beautiful and peaceful. And amen, to "that which does kill us, makes us stronger." I'm glad that the roadway is being paved for our younger generations. It's still not an easy one, but to quote Dylan "the times they are a-changin'." (sing along with the harmonica, everyone)

    Thank you for not only listening, but hearing, in spite of the foreign 'speak'. It really all boils down to the same thing...throwing away the toxic dogma and embracing who we are. Listening to our inner voices and the voice/s of whatever Higher Power we find. I take it, you too walked down that damnation alley. Congratulations to you for finding your personal spiritual path. It sure feels good, doesn't it?

    Thank you for the blessings of happiness, love, and joy!

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  12. Thank you for sharing your story! I truly admire your bravery and the way in which you took control of your life and your happiness. I personally have been struggling with telling family & friends that I no longer believe in the LDS church. Hearing your story makes me feel much more encouraged!

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  13. Thank you so much for sharing your story Janice. The part about not staying in a toxic environment really resonated with me and I cried at the part where God spoke to you out in the desert. I was so moved by your experiences and I am so glad to hear you have found authenticity and happiness in accepting and showing the world who you are.

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  14. Michelle: Thank you for your kind words. It is a difficult position to be in when we no longer believe the doctrines, teachings, etc; or question them. Although I have had my name removed and most of my family supports this, they have no idea where I currently stand in my beliefs. Coming out of the closet sexually was easier than coming out of the closet on doctrinal views. I feel for you and wish you the best of luck and courage!

    Courtney: Thank you for listening and for your comments. Although I have been an activist in one form or another since childhood, I was somewhat nervous in doing the podcast. Never hesitant, but nervous. I'm neither a scholar nor hold a PhD, as so many of the fringe LDS podcasters. I'm happy to have resonated and touched you and a few other listeners out there. Thank you!

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