Saturday, December 23, 2006

February 1986

1 February 1986 Saturday:
I called our landlord today and said we could only pay half our rent until the 15th because our fuel bill is so high. If we don't pay it, they will cut it off. Gee I hated doing that.

I went to the LDS Genealogical Library and spent most of the day looking up my wife's Norwegian Ancestors in the 1840's. I don't know Norwegian but can figure enough out to find things.

I walked home from the Library, about two miles because it was such a pretty day and I didn't have the bus fare. It's only 40 cents but I didn't even have that on me.

In the evenings our married friends from Provo invited my wife and I to the show. We saw "Down and Out In Beverly Hills". I just love Bette Midler so I thought the movie was great: especially Matisse the dog. The theme of the movie was that rich or poor if you don't have people in your life that love you, then you really don't have much.
Additional Material Vice Squad arrested 12 people in a drug raid at the Sun Club. Seven of those arrested were Sun employees. Attorney Howard Johnson represented the Sun against the city. The vice squad prompted the city to hold a hearing with the department of business to take away the Sun’s business license. Joe Redburn as owner of the Club stated that closing the Club would hurt paying off creditors since the private club had been in Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The Sun began requesting “from our patrons a cover charge of one dollar for members and $4 for non members for a legal defense fund.”
• "That's What Friends Are For" by Dionne & Friends number one song on national Charts.

3 February 1986 Monday:
While listening to Radio Free Utah's program "Concerning Gays and Lesbians" at work, they mentioned at the end of the show a list of organizations and their phone numbers. I wrote down the numbers for Affirmation, the Metropolitan Community Church, and Gay Alcoholics Anonymous. Now that I have these numbers what do I do with them?

4 February 1986 Tuesday
While at the central library downtown, near the men's room on the 3rd floor, I was “cruised” again by this guy wanting sex. I was so turned on by his making a pass at me but I was petrified to do anything. Then this third man blatantly came up to the two of us and makes a pass at us and invites us over to his apartment at the Ben Albert on 5th East. I was drawn to these guys like a magnate, even thought my head kept saying, "No! No! No!"

I drove over to this kid's place where we fumbled getting out of our clothes and falling upon each other as we scrambled into bed. After we were spent of our passions and before I could start feeling guilty something simply illuminating happened. We began to talk.

We began to talk openly about being Gay. I awkwardly confessed that I was a married man, sure that they would shrink from me but they simply said that it didn't matter to them. We laid in bed, in a bond of sweet familiarity, and we began to talk about our work, our feelings, and strangely even our relationships with our fathers. We talked about so much more then that but because my senses are reeling I cannot recall all that we talked about. It was magic. It was unbelievably soul fulfilling.

For the first time in my thirty-four years I am really communicating. I am communicating with people who speak the same language that I do. I am finally talking to people I can understand and who understand me! To say that I was almost giddy is not quite right because I also almost wanted to cry; because something deep and longing within me, long parched and barely viable, was being renewed, reborn, saved.

I realized during this epiphany that I have spent the majority of my life as a wanderer in a foreign land, among people, while appearing to be like me, are not. I even learned to speak their language which is truly not mine and I have learned it well enough to communicate fluently with them, enough to pass among them, but I am not of them. I always knew that fundamentally there is no understanding between us. But now, today with these beautiful men I discovered that there are others like me who are seemingly also strangers in a strange land and who like I, have been searching for others of our kind.

I can't explain it any better then this. Something transcendental poured through me today. Call it my Gay Pentecostal revival. It is soul satisfying to be with your own kind. It is like I was dying of thirst and being with these men, I reached an oasis of clear cool water from which all thirst has been quenched.

I want male sex so much but I am afraid of what the guilt will do to my marriage and my relationship to the church. What about my wife? We have been married for nine years and I love her so much but this is something so basic to my nature. So deep in me and is a well spring of my entire being. Even if my wife could forgive me for what I did today, would the church? I think not.

But it feels so right, so good, being with these men. I feel like I have come into my own, finally. I am therefore resolved to come to terms with my sexuality no matter where it leads me. I have no choice. Something deep within me, struggling to stay alive compels me. If I don't go forward with this I literal feel like I will die.

O Father in Heaven, help me find out who I am and why I am. If being Gay is not an issue with you but indeed a spiritual gift to me then help me learn what I must do. Like Lot’s wife I must not look back.

6 February 1986 Thursday:
I called the Salt Lake Affirmation's hot line number and spoke only to a recording. Thank God! I was afraid I would have to speak to some one live. I am not ready for that. The recording said that Affirmation meets downtown at the Crossroads Urban Center, twice a month on Wednesdays. Yesterday was the first meeting of February so I missed that one. There won't be another meeting until the 17th.

My wife will want to know where I am going that night. I hate to lie but I will simply tell her that I am going to an Overeater's Anonymous meeting. If I told her the truth, I'm afraid that she would freak out. Besides if Affirmation is too weird, I'll never go back and none will be the wiser.

7 February 1986 Friday:
This week has gone fast and nothing special going on at work. Today my wife went out to dinner with her Taylor Maid friends so I decided to go up to the University of Utah and sit in the sauna there in the HPER* Building. I need to soak my pores and get some of the toxins out. To be truthful I know I like sitting in the sauna for other reasons too. Why are men such a turn on?
Additional Material -*Health, Physical Education, and Recreation Building

Additional Material 8 February 1986- Elder Antonio A. Feliz and Pamela Calkins and David Ewing addressed a dozen curiosity seekers in Salt Lake Public Library representing The Restoration Church of Jesus Christ. Purpose was “to see if there was a need for a branch of the church here, and if so, what the reception would be.” Antonio Feliz co-founder stated: “We have established a church based on the Mormon beliefs set forth by the first prophet of the Mormon Churches, Joseph Smith…We feel that the Lord is guiding our steps for the blessing of all people, including Gay and Lesbians.
• The Restoration Church of Jesus Christ, alternately known as the Church of Jesus Christ of All Latter-day Saints, provides a setting in which Gay and Lesbian Mormons can practice the faith of their fathers and mothers supportive of their needs. The RCJC is set up similarly to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- day Saints, with a First Presidency (presently Douglas B. Madrid, President, and Larry Tidwell, Counselor) and Quorum of the Twelve (Robert McIntier, President). They accept as scripture the four standard works of the LDS Church, the Lectures of Faith, which were included in the original 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, the RLDS D&C (in a limited sense), and their own book of revelations, Hidden Treasures and Promises. They operate a Temple, which is actually more a Tabernacle after the style of the Israelites' mobile Beth Elohim.
• The Restoration Church was founded in August 1985 by Antonio A. Feliz, Lamar Hamilton, John Crane, Pamela Calkins and other members of the Los Angeles Chapter of Affirmation. It is sometimes called the "Gay Mormon Church" due to its overwhelmingly homosexual membership. Antonio A. Feliz by revelation originally named the church the Church of Jesus Christ of All Latter Day Saints, but when The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints informed him of their intent to sue, he changed the name to legally the Restoration Church of Jesus Christ. At a church conference in Sacramento, California, in May 1987, Antonio A. Feliz resigned as president after a vote of no confidence. He was succeeded by Robert A. McIntier, an engineer, current president of the church (as of 2006).
• A Brief Overview of the History and Teachings of the Restoration Church of Jesus Christ from their web site; The Restoration Church of Jesus Christ was officially organized in Los Angeles, California, in 1985. Most of the original members were people who had been excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints ("Mormons") because of their sexual orientation. These were good people who loved the Lord and His gospel. They wanted to serve Him, and keep the commitments they had made to Him, both at the waters of baptism and (in some cases) in His holy temple. But they were not allowed because they refused to deny who they really were. These people believed that the Lord was willing to reveal Himself to ALL people who would strive to keep His commandments. They believed then, and we are witnesses today, that the Lord can and does reveal Himself "...to persons of all nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples according to their own understanding, culture, time, and society." (Mission Statement) Those things which God has revealed to the leaders of this church are compiled in a book called Hidden Treasures and Promises, which we accept along with "traditional" restoration scriptures as the word of the Lord to us. We believe that there are many churches who have great truth for the benefit of all who seek it, and we do not claim to be "the only true church." We believe that the LDS and RLDS churches do a great service in their part of the Lord's work, but we also testify that God has called us to extend the blessings of the Gospel to those who cannot be reached by these and other restoration churches. We testify that God has called prophets and apostles from among our people, in addition to those whom He has called among other peoples. We believe the role of the Church is not to dominate our lives, but to be a tool, which we may choose to use, in furthering our own spiritual progression. It is the duty of each individual, not the Church, to do those things which will lead to Eternal lives. We believe in the Holy Priesthood, and we claim all of its benefits for all who are willing to accept the responsibility that goes with it, including women. The sacred authority to seal loving individuals for time and all eternity also exists among us, and is used to bless the lives of those who are prepared to keep the covenants that go with this blessing, regardless of their race, gender, or sexual orientation. Our local units are called "families," rather than wards or stakes. We feel this better describes their functions, because for many, their Church associations are the only family they can really turn to for help in some of the most important aspects of their lives. We have organized families and/or individual members in many parts of the country. We are legally incorporated in the states of California and Utah. We invite all who seek the truth to investigate our claims, because we know that the Spirit of the Lord will confirm our witness to those who sincerely seek to know about us.
• Antonio (Tony) Feliz was a High Priest in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A graduate of BYU, he worked for the Church in various capacities including service in the Church Welfare System and served as the Director of Church Welfare for the Andean Region of the LDS Church during the 1970's. He is the father of three children. In the process of doing some research in the Church archives, he ran across some information concerning Joseph Smith, Wilford Woodruff, and others, that bothers him. He begins to read the early documents to support the idea that same sex unions can be blessed as well as heterosexual unions. He also reads in the early documents the idea that women were ordained to priesthood during Joseph Smith's years. Both practices were discontinued after Joseph's death. Central to Feliz's premise is that priesthood authority can be exercised outside the auspices of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He believes that the endowments he received while in the Church are still with him, and he needs no permission to continue exercising this authority. As he distanced himself more and more from the modern-day Church, he found himself more and more attracted to the raw religion of the early Joseph Smith days. He authored a book Out of the Bishop's Closet in 1992 detailing his coming out and spiritual journey but excluding any of his experiences as a leader in the Restoration Church, and Becoming Open Souls, “an unabashedly theological work which explores the connection between the LDS church and Native American traditions”.
• "When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going" by Billy Ocean is number one song on national charts

Additional material 9 February 1986 Comet Halley reaches its perihelion, the closest point to the Earth, during its second visit to the solar system in the 20th Century.

Additional material 14 February 1986 The Murray School District policy on AIDS follows recommendations from the CDC in Atlanta calls for a student to be placed in an alternative study program away from school when AIDS is first diagnosed. Employees with the disease will not be allowed to work until a decision is made in how to deal with the problem. A contracted employee may be entitled to benefits while off the job. (B3 SLTribune)

Additional Material 15 February 1986 “How Will I Know" by Whitney Houston number one song on national charts

17 February 1986 Wednesday
I can't believe that I went to Affirmation, a support group for Gay and Lesbian Mormons. They meet at seven-thirty p.m. at 347 South 400 East in an old two story Victorian House. I was so nervous about going for the first time that I sat in my car for twenty minutes deciding whether to go inside or go home.

It was the same gut wrenching feeling I had back in 1971 when I paced back and forth deciding whether to attend a Gay Student group on the campus of Cal-State Fullerton. And that did not go well. All kinds of fearful thoughts flooded my mind. What if some one I know sees me? What if the police are there? What if...What if... What if... I was paralyzing myself with what ifs.

Finally around a quarter to eight I saw some guys go inside the building who I felt were obviously Gay so I steeled my nerve and decided to get out of the car. I thought to myself, "What do I care if they think I am Gay or not? They must be Gay themselves or they wouldn't be here either."

Steadied by this bit of strange logic, I walked across the street, climbed the porch steps, and entered the Crossroads Urban Center for the first time. Crossing the threshold, to my left I saw an open parlor filled with couches and men sitting on them. I knew that there was no going back now. I had crossed the Rubicon.

I nonchalantly sauntered in, treating the meeting the same as I would an OA session. I found a seat and discreetly started to observe then men in the room. I must say that I was slightly turned on at first being in a room with so many Gay men at one time. There must have been nine or ten men there. I couldn't help looking them over. They all seemed normal enough.

A kid named Paul, dressed in levis and kind of a hippie with a pony tail, about 25 years old, was the moderator of the group. He welcomed everyone to the meeting and then this skinny blond boy named Gordon J. stood up. He had on a leather civil war looking cap and a levi vest and spoke with a Southern accent. Gordon asked if they could start the meeting with a prayer, but Paul vetoed that idea. He did agree to have a poetry reading as a spiritual opening for the meeting. Then Gordon spoke up again to announce that Elders from a group calling themselves The Church of Jesus Christ of All Latter Day Saints were coming to Salt Lake to tell of the founding of a Gay Mormon Church.

Paul told Gordon that he was welcome to attend Affirmation but not to proselytize for this new church. Gordon was put out and I think had his feelings hurt. I found it all fascinating! It was thrilling to hear people actually conversing about being Gay and Mormon without the usual guilt trips.

Since the meeting was geared to being more or less a consciousness raising rap group of sorts, I was comfortable joining in with the others to talk about my experiences in the church as a Gay man. I introduced myself to the group as Edgar which felt kind of weird. I didn't really want to share my real name with the group but in actuality my so called fake name is my real name. Bizarre I know. But I have gone down the rabbit hole where I know things will get "curiouser and curiouser".

On the whole, I really enjoyed my Affirmation experience. It felt like a safe place to talk about being Gay and Mormon and to express myself to people who understand my language. I am going to go back but the next meeting isn't for two weeks and then it will be March. I am also very interested in meeting with those

Additional Material 18 February 1986 State Senator Jack Bangerter (R-Bountiful) introduced bill in Utah Legislature to make it a 3rd degree felony to knowingly transmit a communicable disease. Bill was intended to punish people with AIDS. Bill was killed in Senate ten-14.

Additional Material 19 February 1986 The Soviet Union launches the Mir space station.

Additional Material 20 February 1986- Michael Aaron, Gay and Lesbian liaison to the Utah State Senate District 1 sought an amendment to an existing Heath Department appropriation bill to provide funding for AIDS education. Senator Terry Williams (D-SLC) spokesman for the measure. To date agencies such as the Salt Lake AIDS Foundation have not received funding from the state.

Additional Material 22 February 1986- The In-between opens at 579 West 2nd South. Grand opening held for the In-between which occupied the building once known as the Three Aces. Bar owners were Bob Dubray and his lover Donny Eastepp. Home bar of the Gay Rodeo Association. Dubray is president of the Gay Rodeo Association while Donny Eastepp served as Mr. Utah Gay Rodeo for the past two years. Bobby Joe Dubray died 18 Sept 1990 age 42 of AIDS. Donald Eastepp born 19 February 1961 died July 1, 2004 in Houston Texas of complications from AIDS.
• How Will I Know" by Whitney Houston number one song on national charts

Additional Material 25 February 1986 Michael Dan Buttars died of AIDS at age 38, co-creator of perennial barbed witted “Saturday’s Voyeur”. Michael Dan Buttars was born in Lewiston, Cache County Utah on April 17, 1948 to Ted and Nadean Buttars. He died in Los Angeles, CA, on February 25, 1986.
• President Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines goes into exile in Hawaii after 20 years of rule; Corazon Aquino becomes the first Filipino woman president, first as an interim president.

Additional Material 26 February 1986 Five new cases of AIDS have been reported in Utah this year all within the Wasatch Front. The reports bring the total number of Utah victims to thirty-five since 1980. Roughly ½ of those patients and 2 who reported disease since January 1 have died. Of the five new 1986 cases all the patients are male and members of high risk group. Those afflicted with AIDS in Utah include 3 females and 2 children, who were male have died as have two of the 3 women. (C8 SLTribune)
• In Fealty and homage Gay royalty from all over the western United States and Canada convened in San Francisco over a weekend in late February for the Last Walk of The Imperial Butterfly Galactica Court of Empress Sissy Spaceout and the coronation of their successors. The Third International Court Conference of the Americas was held in conjunction with the coronation.

Additional material 27 February 1986 The United States Senate allows its debates to be televised on a trial basis.

28 February 1986 Friday
My wife and I spent much of February trying to stay on top of our bills which were compounded by very high fuel bills. My wife only made $100 during the whole month and that didn't even begin to pay the gas bill. Half of my month's salary went to pay rent alone.

It would have been a tough month with just the two of us but on the 15th last, Tony S., the twenty-two year old son of a friend of my wife, asked if he could stay with us while he looked for work in Salt Lake. My wife felt like she had to for her friend's sake. Tony and I have nothing in common. He's a fairly good looking kid but between the two of them I have really felt put upon for the past two weeks.

Not only am I the only one working full time, I had to cook dinner, and manage to scrape up enough food for all of us. I am just wearing myself out. The house is a wreck unless I clean it. I cook the food, do the grocery shopping, and when those two are together I feel completely shut out. They play games, they laugh and tell stories, while I worry about how I am going to keep this all together.

One of the reasons we were so broke was a $150 phone bill my wife racked up that I had to pay to keep it from being disconnected.

Shortly after Tony came to live with us, my wife's nephew and his buddy called me at four-thirty a.m. to take them back to Camp Williams after spending the night out drinking. Since our car's heater is broken, I had to drive with my window partially down to keep the windshield from fogging up and I caught a cold again. I've been sick for two weeks but not nearly as miserable as I was in January. I think that is one of the reasons I am so aggravated with Tony and my wife.

At work Bob put me totally in charge of entering all the title searches in the computer to search the General Index. I don't have to do searches myself any more unless I want to. I have created my own little department, my own niche, where my boss can't push me because he doesn't understand what I am doing.

I still don't have any people at work who I could call friends. Lynn F. and I hang out because we are both outsiders. The rest of the people I work with are typical Mormons, distrustful of those without a solid Utah connection. I think the main reason I don't have a lot of friends at work is because I don't go along with the flow. For example I stand up for human rights and call people on the carpet when they say totally asinine things.

Like last January, Coretta King, the widow of Martin Luther King Jr., came to Utah to lobby the state legislature to make her late husband's birthday a state holiday.

I think Arizona and we are the last hold outs in the nation. Almost everyone at work was so upset that they might even consider Martin Luther King's birthday for holiday. It pissed me off so I left work and went up to the First Baptist Church on 13th East to hear Mrs. King speak. I had my own reasons also. I needed to atone for my teenage racial prejudice.

The state compromised over the issue and officially made Martin Luther King's birthday a state holiday but they called the day "Human Rights Day" rather then honor Dr. King. Even this made people at work mad. I know that it is not my job to change their thinking but I do let these narrow minded kids know that their bigoted views won't go unchallenged. At least by me.

Also in the news the Marcos government in the Philippines was over thrown. I really didn't think Marcos would ever give up his power over a country he ruled as a dictator for 20 years. He's in Hawaii now with millions of dollars he looted from the Philippine people. I think he should be shot but our President Reagan couldn't wait to give him refuge like we did the Shah of Iran. Well enough of that.

The weather has been absolutely beautiful for the past two weeks and very spring like. The cold and the inversions are gone and the temperatures have been in the mid-sixties. Plants are starting to bud and it is really nice outside. We deserve the break after such a nasty December and January

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