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Magical World

Wouldn't it be lovely if, with just a twitch of the nose, life, or any aspect of it could be changed. Instead, positive changes always seem to involve tremendously hard work, determination, and endless setbacks. How lovely it would be to have the powers of Samantha Stephens.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Public Answers to Private Email

I've had some interesting email lately. I haven't answered it, because, quite frankly, I didn't want to. However, I have been thinking about what was said to me, and I've decided to respond to some of those comments and opinions. I'm doing it here because there might be others with the same questions or comments posed to me in the emails, and I can perhaps nip similar correspondence in the bud by posting the following email excerpts and my responses to them:

1. I'm concerned at your lack of propriety as you discuss your sex-life on your blog. You say you're LDS, but I can't imagine a person in good standing in the church publishing whether or not they have sex each night. What would your husband think if he had access to your blog? How about your children or parents? Sex is sacred and private and should only be discussed with your bishop, husband, or counselor, if you're having problems.

Response: First of all, as I keep quoting my good friend Ward (who, by the way is much better at being sexually explicit than I am--I learned from the very best!!), THIS IS MY BLOG!! And if you're here asking that question, please remember that I didn't invite you to come. Secondly, if you really ARE concerned, you need to read my archives (which should only take you a few days--well worth the investment, considering your closed-mindedness). In them you will find the information necessary to understand why I need to discuss sex, my sex-life, homosexuality, heterosexuality, emotions connected to sex, sexual deviance, and any other thing I see fit to put in the sexuality category. My religion is only peripherally connected to my sex discussions. However, I've never seen a church handbook that says, "Don't tell people whether or not you're having sex." In fact, given the large family sizes commonly found in the church, it should be widely accepted that a good number of LDS people are actually indulging in sexual practices, and no one should be shocked about that. I think I'll get a bumper sticker that says, "I'm LDS and I have sex frequently." I'll put my blog address at the bottom of the sticker. By the way, your pronoun agreement sucks!! If you use "a person", the following pronoun agreement should be the singular "he/she", not the plural "they." Just thought you'd like to know. Thirdly, my husband is not only aware of the content of my blog, he encourages me to write often. It improves his sex-life. Obviously I won't share my blog with my children. They need to think about their own sexuality, not mine. The same is true for my parents. Honestly, I don't view sex as a taboo subject. If you do, you came to the wrong place. Next time you come, if you have similar comments, I invite you to state them publicly. It will allow others to voice their opinions, as well.

2. You mentioned that you felt "weird" about the sexual nature of the things you discussed with your young friend. I don't think it was necessary or appropriate for you to talk to him about the subjects you raised. He is only a teen. I believe your "talks" will incite undue curiosity, and he'll feel entitled to experiment with the information you've given him. The fact that he thinks he's homosexual lends an even greater seriousness to the fact that you've introduced him to topics he probably wouldn't encounter for another couple of years. I read the article you cited. It has brief reference to anal sex. Your friend will now probably wonder about, and want to experiment with, that. You have, indeed, opened a can of worms. I hope you're ready to accept the consequences of your actions and words.

Response: Again, I believe I'm talking to someone who has not taken the time to read all the information available on my blog. But if you have, well, I just have to resolutely disagree with your stated views. It is ABSOLUTELY necessary for my friend to talk about the subjects we discussed. There is no need for me to incite curiosity--that happened when he was about fifteen. As for his experimentation entitlement, well, that came in the pre-earth life when he was granted agency. He's perfectly free to any experimentation he chooses. I would much prefer he DISCUSS the topics with me, than EXPERIENCE the real thing before he's ready, just to satisfy his curiosity. Two sides to the same coin. The article I gave him DOES have reference to anal sex, but does not promote or glorify it in any way. And because my friend IS (no "thinks he is" about it) homosexual, this is a part of sexuality that he will definitely think about. As for that proverbial can of worms--well, I'm used to worms in my life, and I never run from any consequence for which I am responsible. And by the way, in case you missed it, I asked permission from his mother before I ever approached the boy about our sex talk.

3. I'm not sure why you feel qualified to talk to your friend about anything. After reading through your blog, it is obvious that you're unstable, emotionally, and that you need to spend time dealing with your own issues. I think you use him as a crutch. You enjoy the fact that he needs you, and you like the emotional support he gives you as he expresses love to you. By the way, doesn't it seem a little bizarre that a seventeen-year-old boy e-mails you and says, "I love you more than words describe...", and "I love you so much..." I have a son who is near that age, and I'd be pretty concerned if he was saying similar things to an unrelated female friend.

Response: Hmmmm.... this is an interesting comment. There's no question about my emotional instability. It's one of the reasons this blog exists. And at one point in the last seven months, I would have to admit that I DID need my friend (perhaps I used him as a crutch--can't rule that out). I certainly don't hate it when he tells me he loves me--which he does OFTEN, both in person and in email--and I express love to him, as well. As to whether or not I'm qualified to talk to him, well, that's water under the bridge, and I don't believe I've done more harm than good. I wish you well as you monitor your own son's interactions with others. However, if he ever starts cutting, or falling in love with other boys, and you want him to discuss that with an unqualified, emotionally unstable, older woman--well, you know where to find me.

My purpose in making your email comments public, is not to offend or embarrass you (although I really don't care if that is the result), but to answer globally, a series of emails that I don't wish to address individually. If you don't ever visit again, your email won't be answered, and I don't care about that either. I can't apologize for my rudeness--it is intentional.


  • At Sunday, July 23, 2006 12:52:00 AM, Blogger Another Other said…

    While I can see how confusion would come with limited exposure to some of your writing, I can't believe that people have the audacity to so precipitously judge you or your situation, especially when they clearly don't have all the facts. It's the equivalent to scribbling critiques in the margins of your personal journal or something. How sanctimonious. They question you as an authority to counsel David. I, personally, question them as an authority to counsel you. Pretty hypocritical, really.

    Other reactions:
    1. As a former teen-who-struggled-with-SSA (and someone who still does) I applaud your efforts in helping David. I would have greatly benefited from someone like you 9 years ago when I was David's age myself, and would like to point out the fact that there is very little risk for inappropriate fallout to your relationship inasmuch as YOU ARE BOTH SAME-SEX ATTRACTED. Clearly some people have difficulty believing this is real. Fortunately David's parents do not, which is all that really matters.
    2. Uhh, trust me, a 17 year old SSA teen who is as honest with himself about his difficulties as David seems to be has already thought about anal sex. No exposure to excellent articles that refer to the practice peripherally and pejoratively are needed for that. (Did your emailers even understand the point of the article I wonder?)
    3. You, Samantha, do not seem to be any more emotionally unstable than many people I know. In fact, to your credit, the existence of this blog itself testifies to your ability and desire to work through the huge challenges life has thrown your way, and to make your life what it needs to be, whereas many less courageous individuals hide their challenges from themselves in fear.
    4. I have found your blog to be nothing but inspiring and uplifting, and I don't use those terms lightly. There are many blogs I have visited that I do not find to be inspiring and uplifting. Yours, on several specific occasions and in general, has made me want to be a better and stronger person.
    5. To me, it seems you handled your discussions of your sex-life and other sensitive material with utmost respect and care. I am not offended in the slightest, and, in contrast to your detractors, I most certainly can imagine an LDS person in good standing with the church discussing such matters in an anonymous arena like a blog. I’ve done so myself, and I would deeply hope not to be judged for that. My philosophy is that sex-lives are very personal, and that, because of the nature of what you're trying to do in self-reparation, it is OK for you to refer to your sex-life among other personal struggles (for reasons that seem very apparent to me). It seems to me that those judging and criticizing your probably difficult decision to publicly (though anonymously) discuss these details do far more trampling on sacred issues than you could ever do in the sharing--especially in light of the catharsis it provides you and the aid it provides those who struggle in a similar way as you.

    Finally, I must admit that this analysis is probably a little harsh, and that the person(s) who wrote you probably had very good intentions. In one sense I applaud their desires to promote righteousness. I guess I just hope that more sympathy, empathy, research and understanding are extended in future efforts to do so.

    This is Another Other, signing out to go to bed.

  • At Sunday, July 23, 2006 9:28:00 AM, Blogger Ward Cleaver said…

    Your responses seem to have been RIGHT ON! I applaud you!

    I, also, appreciate Another Other's comments.

    Your posting here seems to come from a different place other than that mood of the other day.

    Please know that I appreciate the complexity of you.
    Because I share many of the same complexities and feelings.

    I do discuss my sex life explicitly for the exact reasons you have mentioned.
    EXPLORATION of myself!!!!!

    Please, continue........

  • At Sunday, July 23, 2006 11:58:00 AM, Blogger -L- said…

    I can't apologize for my rudeness--it is intentional.

    This, of course, was my favorite part. ;-) My reaction to the e-mail was constant flip-flopping between disdain and a struggling for empathy. The fact is, many of my family members have strict enough mindsets to have written something very much like the e-mail you received. And because I love them desperately regardless of our disagreements, I tend to spend extra time trying to understand where one like that is coming from.

    Modesty and propriety are important considerations in our society's in-your-face tolerance for graphic sexuality, but careful exploration of difficult issues and fully preparing youth for the sexual pressures they will face is another. I think you've discussed the issues in an appropriate way both with David and on the blog. Unfortunately, I think I sometimes become glib about such topics, and that is probably worthy of scorn.

    For whatever reason, I get few nasty comments or e-mails. I've seen some hum-dingers from anonymous commenters on lots of other blogs and I couldn't imagine why I was being spared. (Maybe the more conservative crowd never get past my potty mouth!) But then not long ago I wrote something that got all manner of negative comments from folks I had never seen comment before (you may remember the occasion--you defended me very kindly). It's only been a few months of blogging, but I think I'm getting thicker skin by degrees. There are a lot of people with a lot of crazy opinions out there, and it seems knowing what to do with each one is an art.

    Your blog is amazing for several reasons:
    - You are a great writer
    - You have such an interesting story to tell
    - Your efforts are a combination of personal investigation and service
    - You have both successes and weaknesses to share (you are real)

    Thanks for your influence in my life.

  • At Sunday, July 23, 2006 6:08:00 PM, Blogger Samantha said…

    Okay, I think you all knew that my purpose in posting this entry was to blow off some steam and allow myself to be defensive and offended. But your responses made my day--THANKS!!

    I got four negative e-mails (two from the same person, and I'm going to be nasty and say he paid the other two to write me, even if it's not true), which is not a welcome sight in an email-box (I know, not a word--don't care).

    AO: Thanks for the affirmation. It did my heart good to know I wasn't the only one who got a little testy at those comments. And I really appreciated your perspective. However, you were more generous than I was in your closing remarks--thanks for making me look BAD!! I'll forgive you since you posted after midnight and were obviously giving in to a weak moment caused by fatigue. OH ALL RIGHT!!! You were right to be generous, and someday I'll have to stop being mad at the bigotted ignorance of those who think they've got salvation all figured out and it has to do with flossing regularly and never discussing anything of REAL worth...AHHHHH!!!

    Ward: I'm still mad at you because you called me on my "Out of Control" post, and made me realize that I'm being selfish, cowardly, hypocritical, and dishonest. That's a lot to work through in just a couple of days. So I was glad you didn't give me anymore to feel guilty about in your latest comment. And even though I'm mad, I REALLY appreciate your comments and the fact that you make me face reality, regardless of how ugly I find it. I'll say thanks when I'm not mad anymore, okay? But I will thank you for the tutelage in the "sexually explicit writing" field. It's certainly come in handy.

    L: I, too, have people in my family from which these e-mails could have come (MAYBE THEY DID!!!), but I have stopped being tolerant because it just ticks me off. I think it's time for THEM to be tolerant instead. So it's good that you're still trying. One of us needs to...Thanks for your very sweet assessment of my blog--it salved my wounded ego. True praise, indeed, coming from you. But just so you know, one of the reasons I haven't entered the fray in the most recent heated discussion on YOUR blog, is because I was trying to decide what to do with these e-mails...I have a difficult time multi-tasking, and as such, am not a REAL newsflash there... :)

  • At Monday, July 24, 2006 6:57:00 AM, Blogger Ward Cleaver said…

    What are true friends for, if not the truth?

    I expect the same from you!

    With deep binding love in Christ,

  • At Monday, July 24, 2006 9:27:00 AM, Blogger That One Guy said…

    Samantha, the world is full of people who are so closed-minded that they have never explored even their own feelings, especially in the sexual context, because they are ashamed or embarrassed. (scared, oppressed?) They choose instead to take offense at every little "thing" - taking the stance of being the moral police, instead of celebrating the fact the there are actually people out there who THINK FOR THEMSELVES.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: if there were more people like you (inside and outside of the Church) this place we live in would be a lot better off.

    (Frankly, if there were more people like you in the Church, I probably would still be too...)

    I for one would have NO problem sending my 16 year old daughter to your YW class, and think you would make a wonderfully compasionate RS president... but the TIME... that's the kicker...

  • At Monday, July 24, 2006 9:25:00 PM, Blogger Kim Mack said…

    People are amazing. ::shaking my head::

    You go, girl!


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