"People only see what is visible, measurable. God sees into the heart. He not only forgives our failures, He sees successes where no one else does - not even ourselves. Only God can give us credit for the angry words we did not speak, the temptations we resisted, the patience and gentleness little noticed and long forgotten by those around us. Just being human gives us value in His eyes, and trying to live with integrity makes us successful before Him. God redeems us from the sense and fear of failure because He sees us as no human eyes can see us. Some religions teach that God sees so clearly that He knows all our shameful thoughts and nasty secrets. I prefer to believe that God sees us so clearly that He knows better than anyone else our wounds and sorrows, the scars on our hearts from having wanted to do more and do better, and being told by the world that we never would." ~Rabbi Harold Kushner

12 April 2013

Just so you know...

...this is what I believe

-the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored on the earth.
-it was done through Joseph Smith who, for all his imperfections, is a prophet who was called by God.
-the Book of Mormon is indeed another testament of Jesus Christ.
-it is a book written thousands of years ago; though it was written for this day in age.
-Jesus Christ suffered in the garden of Gethsemane. He suffered at the hands of Roman guards, and then as a final insult was hung on a cross. After which, having completed his earthly mission, he commended his soul to God, his literal Father.
-through these actions, known as the Atonement, I can overcome adversity, be forgiven of my sins, and find peace in this life despite the tribulation around me.
-the Savior taught us to love one another as he loves us.
-in loving, the Savior treated all with love and respect.  He did good to his fellow man.
-in our loving one another as he loves us, we must do the same.
-marriage is an eternal institution.
-Heavenly Father intended marriage to be the sealing of one man and one woman to each other.
-this country was founded by people seeking freedom OF religion.
-this country was founded by people seeking freedom FROM religion.
-I prefer to be in an intimate, romantic relationship with a woman.
-sex is something that should be reserved for the bonds of marriage.
-My preference for the ladies is not a choice.
-I have preferred the ladies as far back as I can remember.
-I have the freedom to choose how to live my life.
-all people have this freedom.
-people are free to agree or disagree with one another.
-I cannot tell another person how to live their life.
-I cannot tell another person what their beliefs should be.
-I believe in absolute truth.
-I live in a world where everyone does not believe in absolute truth.
-I base my choices on my beliefs.
-I do not have all the answers.
-I do not expect all people to base their choices on my beliefs.
-I believe in following the laws of the land.
-I believe in our judicial process.
-Children deserve loving homes.
-there is something to be said for the absence/presence of a strong and loving female influence and a strong and loving male influence in a child's immediate surroundings.
-loving homes come in all shapes and sizes.
-I am a daughter of my Father in Heaven. He is the father of my spirit. I have the potential to be like him.
-ultimately my life is between myself and my Father in Heaven.

Also...my sister Kelli made this amazing video a few months back.  I believe in this video.

11 October 2011

"...but his hand is stretched out still."

Lately I've been struggling with my faith...not faith in the sense of my religious beliefs, but my faith in myself and also my faith in Heavenly Father and the Savior.  I don't doubt the existence of my Father or the Savior or the truthfulness of the gospel...no...I just have really been doubting my ability to succeed in life I guess is what it is.  Don't ask me what my standard is for success...I'm not really sure (which actually could be part of the problem...but I'll ponder that later).  I've just felt like my best is not as good as other people's bests or as good as it should be.  And I know that it is silly to compare...everyone's best is different...and what is my best one day might not be my best the next day.  I just feel like I can do better...physically (although I did enjoy a 20 mile bike ride yesterday), mentally, spiritually, emotionally...I've been in a funk, YES!  That is the word...funk.  I haven't been depressed...just "ho hum"...especially spiritually.  And having been in a spiritual funk before, I know the primary answers to getting out of it...pray, read scriptures, go to church, listen to conference...all good things to be sure.  But in my funk, I have really been struggling with those things.  Lacking faith in myself has proven to be a fairly tough road block to get around in order to do any of them.  But do not despair...this is not a tell of sadness.

Yesterday, while on my bike ride...actually, while sitting on a rock out at Saltair an older gentleman came by on his bike and said hello and we chatted about the perfect day it was for biking and how it felt so good.  He said,  "It really makes you feel alive."  He hit the nail on the head.  That is exactly what I felt.  I watched all these cars that had driven out there to look around and I thought, "how boring...I-80 is such a boring road out here.  A bike is WAY better."  (This is not to say that I'm ready to bike up Emigration canyon to Ruth's, but I did love it).  And as you may have read in the previous post, riding bikes was like being 13 again.  Well I guess that ride sparked something inside me...besides just some very sore body parts.  This morning I woke up at about 7:50am and realized that it was fast Sunday.  And for the first time in, I'll just say a while, I got on my knees and basically just told Heavenly Father that I really needed to "feel the fire again".  I acknowledged that my fast would not be all day, but I hoped that it was enough so that somehow I could feel that "alive" feeling I felt on my bike ride more powerfully.  I got up and got ready and off to church I went.  Scott gave Lyla a beautiful blessing and as the testimony meeting began the thought occurred to me that despite my lacking in spirituality, I do have a testimony and I can share it.  But it wasn't my ward and I feel awkward bearing my testimony in other people's wards.  But with about ten minutes left in the meeting, and Kerri joking that she would go up if I would, I finally said, "ok" and got up.  Which I think surprised Kerri.  It surprised me.  Usually when I bear my testimony I tend to feel an overwhelming push to do so.  Today...I didn't feel that...I don't think I could.  But I somehow knew that getting up was the right thing to do.  It was the answer I was looking for.  

And it was.  The second I got up I felt something again.  And when I got to the pulpit I was so overwhelmed with gratitude and the reassurance that I have a Father in Heaven who loves me I could barely get two words out.  I did manage.  I know he loves me because as I got to that pulpit I saw my family sitting in the congregation and if you know my family you know how awesome they are.  And I know that my family is an expression of the love my Father in Heaven has for me.  I also thought about the drive home from Cedar with my mom last weekend and Cannon Beach, and the north shore of Oahu and how I feel his presence and love overwhelmingly when I am in nature.  

As I sat down I thought about how I had felt so undeserving asking for that "fire" again and two scriptures came to my mind:

Matthew 14: 31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? 

The second scripture wasn't a specific verse since the phrase is found in the Book of Mormon quite a few times and is the title of this post:

"...For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still."

I was so blown away that a simple, short request that I had uttered only an hour or so previous was so immediately answered.  And so comforted by the fact that though I am not a "gold star member of primary" right now, his hand is stretched out still.  

It is funny, how a principle can be such a part of my life for the last 32 years and yet, I am amazed each time I see the principle illustrated in my life.  

I know that the "alive fiery feeling" is something that I am going to have to continue to work for, but knowing that it is there for me to feel, that is an amazing feeling and enough spark to keep me going.

06 September 2011


As some of you may notice, my name has suddenly changed.  For those who have JUST started reading let me explain.

When I first started this blog it was not for anyone.  It was for me.  A place to let out frustration, thoughts, steam, excitement, questions, confusion, etc...about liking girls and being an active member of the LDS church.  But like most things in life, my blog has evolved and changed.  I still think I do those same things, but perhaps to a wider audience, and more than that...I have evolved and changed.  I am continuing to do so...I hope.  Anyway...for a long time revealing my identity was something I was not prepared to do.  At first, for my sake, then for the sake of those in my life...but the other day...I don't know what happened.  I suddenly changed my mind.  I didn't care anymore if anyone knew I fall somewhere between a 4 and 5 on the Kinsey scale.  I realize this may come as a shock to some people...if they find the blog.  But to most...to those who really know me, who I am closest to, who mean the most to me...they shouldn't be surprised...at least not about the fact that I prefer the ladies...perhaps some things I write will be surprising...or uncomfortable...but here is the deal...I am using my blog, not to convince anyone to choose any specific path, nor am I hear to judge the paths that others are taking...I am here, writing as a way to work out who I am, work out my salvation...so there you have it.
My name is Brooke Lee Russell.  I love the water. I love to travel the U.S. I love the ladies and 
I'm a Mormon.  

29 August 2011

My End Goal

Yesterday I noticed the title of my blog...Enduring to the End...not that I don't always notice it or know what it is called...but as usual, I digress...anyway...I would like to make a few things clear.  These are thoughts I've been mulling over in the forefront and back of my mind the last while and my blog title...noticing it yesterday...has been a catalyst for an attempt to articulate the following...bear with me as I don't know that I've quite yet reached supreme articulation...this may be all over the place.

Often times homosexuality is compared, by members of the LDS faith, other faiths, people who believe it is a weakness...to an addiction to drugs, alcohol, pornography, etc...while I've accepted that comparison for conversation sake...it is never sat super well with me...it has sat more like a small primary child sitting in the teacher's chair and almost falling out the back...or the teacher sitting in the small chair meant for the child and never really being able to find a comfortable position.  The reason...I think...is twofold...or maybe morethantwofold...

a BIG FAT NUMBER ONE is that drug, alcohol, pornography...those addictions involve inanimate objects* as opposed to ACTUAL HUMAN BEINGS.  I am not addicted to a person...I'm not addicted to a behavior...I'm ATTRACTED TO A HUMAN BEING.  Definitions below for your convenience...thoughts continued below those...

ad·dic·tion    noun uh-dik-shuhn
the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics,to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.

at·trac·tion noun /əˈtrakSHən/
a force acting mutually between particles of matter, tending to draw them together, and resisting their separation;  to draw by appeal to natural or excited interest, emotion, or aesthetic sense

A person struggling with addiction is taught to avoid the substance/activity/etc...that they are addicted to.  If this was comparable then I should be avoiding girls, relationships with girls, looking at girls at all.  I am not trying to be dramatic here....I am trying to make a point.  Working out my sexual orientation within a paradigm of the gospel of Jesus Christ cannot be done by throwing it in a category with addiction.  While on the very, Very, VERY outside it may seem like that will work, it won't...not for me anyway.  Perhaps...for some it does...I know that I use to subscribe to that school of thought.  I don't anymore.  I'm not saying people are wrong for approaching things that way...I do think it is wrong to say they are the same...but if approaching your sexuality that way allows you to work for your end goal, then truly, more power to you.  That approach may have worked for me if my end goal was to find a man and get married in the temple.  And while I know that is what needs to happen for my course of eternal salvation to continue into the eternities (is there actually more than one?) it does not have to happen right now.  

Frankly, I don't want it to.  I agree with Justin and feel that it is "good how it is".  I haven't always felt that way...and perhaps in this life I won't always feel that way.  But I do right now.  I don't want to worry about finding a nice man to settle down and raise a family with.  I don't want to worry about suppressing or getting rid of the feelings I have for the women of the world.  I know it causes me frustration at times, and some sadness and some loneliness and hurt and anger...but it has brought me some of the greatest relationships of my life, some of the most joyful and happy moments of my life.  It has taught me invaluable lessons and shaped me into who I am and who I continue to become...I will NOT give any of that up to get rid of the negative.  I.  Will.  Not. 

Besides, I have plenty of faults that I need to work on, plenty of temple attending I need to do, plenty of scripture reading, plenty of word of wisdom keeping, plenty of living my life working to be closer to the spirit...why try and change something that doesn't need to change.  If my attraction where a hinderance to any of those things I am working on previously mentioned...then I think perhaps my end goal would be to suppress the feelings...but it is not a hinderance.  

I genuinely believe, truly...that it will work it self out.  I will keep trying to live my life the best I can...between me and Heavenly Father...and I know if I do that things will work out...I have it on good authority that is true:

"Things will work out. Keep trying. Be believing. Don't get discouraged. Things will work out."          Gordon B Hinckley

I have no plans to begin dating women or to leave the church or the gospel behind.  But I also have no plans to make an effort to date men.  I DO have plans to continue to be the social girl that I am.  And if a fella' does want to ask me out, if he is interesting, fun, funny, engaging...I will say yes.  I like engaging, kind, funny people.  That is who I want to spend my time with.  And if a cute girl passes my way and we click and I feel my attraction going beyond the boundaries of friendship, I will remind myself where my boundaries are and build a fantastic friendship with her.  And whether they (my girl friends) know it or not, most of our friendships started that way for me :)  That attraction has been a blessing.  I am the friend that I am in large part because of what comes with being attracted to girls...along with all the other fantastically charming aspects of my personality.  I am like a breath of fresh air and a ray of sunshine!  And my goal is to continue to be just that.

*(I would like to clarify that I am not in anyway whatsoever meaning to belittle any person's struggle with any addiction.  While I myself do not struggle with one, I do have friends who do and I have seen small glimpses of the pain and suffering...and also great triumph :)...that comes...so I am not saying my life is worse/better/easier...just different) 

a dichotomy to be sure...? part II

In thinking more about what I wrote yesterday...or in the wee small hours of this morning...I realize that my thoughts may have been a bit jumbled...it was pretty late...cut me some slack...or perhaps I should learn not to post when I can't think straight...ha ha...no pun intended...funny how that word "straight" has come to mean so much more than just extending in one direction with no curve...but I digress...in light of the lateness of my hour of writing, I am going to attempt to perhaps get my thoughts in a better order and perhaps add a couple more.  And P.S.  this is a selfish post because it is more or less so that I can get my thought ducks in a row.

As I mentioned in the previous post...I do not think the doctrine of the gospel will change.  I do not think there will come a day when I will be able to be sealed to a woman in the temple.  But I do think it is possible for the subject of homosexuality will not be so taboo...that a member of the church, an active member of the church being gay will not be grounds for gossip and whispers.  Keeping my sexual preference a secret from the masses is exhausting.  It is wonderful that so many friends and family know...but in conversations with people I'm meeting for the first time I do have to watch what I say at times.  And in conversations with some family and friends it is still an uncomfortable topic.  It is in this respect that I do hope the constraints of the separation of homosexuality and my religion begin to blur and fade away.

I've chosen to not date women.  I've chosen instead to live a life that allows me to hold a temple recommend.  This is where I suppose I will take back a bit about what I said about no dichotomy existing...it does exist.  Because if I do want to be in a committed relationship with a woman, I will not be able to hold a temple recommend.  It will always be one or the other...one will ALWAYS have to give.  And while I can be open about liking girls and being an active member of the LDS church...I can only live one of those aspects of my life to a fullness.  But I do truly hope and (want) to believe that I can somehow live my life without some much exhaustion because of these conflicting aspects.

Perhaps this has cleared up any confusion from my previous post.  It has for me :)

a dichotomy to be sure...?

I like girls.  I am an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  A dichotomy if there ever was one.  

While I realize that the standards of the gospel of Jesus Christ do not allow for a relationship of my preference, I don't know that I feel like these two (of many) parts of me are not overlapping.  I've liked girls for, I would say, pretty much my entire life.  I have been a member of the LDS church for my entire life.  And while it was not until college that I seriously began to wrap my head around my attraction to the wonderful world of females and had a relationship with a wonderful girl :)... it was something that I really did struggle with when I was about 13...and yet it did not hinder my faith or participation in the gospel.  I will concede that for many of those years...between the ages of 13 and 20...my choice to be active and not pursue the ladies was motivated in part by fear, by not having a frame of reference for the feelings I was having, and because being gay is wrong and I "chose the right" (perhaps not always by my own self-actualized choice, but by social pressure).  But now I DO have a frame of reference for my feelings, I am NOT afraid and my choices in life are motivated by what I have come to know for MYSELF and NOT by any sort of pressure that I feel.  And with all of that...I still VERY MUCH love the ladies.  And I still VERY MUCH love the gospel.  And I VERY MUCH believe that those two things don't have to change in order for me to have a happy and fulfilled life.  I don't think I necessarily have to choose one or the other...in fact...I don't believe that is even an option...to choose one or the other I mean.  Both my faith and attraction are "done deals" so to speak.  

Now, none of this is to say that I am going to have a serious girlfriend and still attend the temple...I don't believe that doctrine will ever change.  I guess what I am saying...is that I don't think anything is wrong with me because I am attracted to girls...I don't think that I have to try and find a wonderful man to take me to the temple...I don't think I have to keep my sexual orientation a secret from the masses*. 

So though these two aspects of my life, dogmatically, do not overlap, I don't think it means they can't exist in peace and harmony.  I don't think that I should always be living my life in such exhaustion because of the conflict.  

But what do I know?

*(Though that is not to say I feel the need to come out over the pulpit in a meeting.  Maybe someday I will feel that way, but now...now I am content to be who I am, to be open when the situation or conversation ends up there...but I don't need a t-shirt or a bumper sticker.  Because why would I?  My sexual orientation is not my defining characteristic.  There is so much more to me than who I want to be kissing.  So just like what I do to make a living, or details about my family...my sexual orientation can be discussed if the conversation calls for it or if people find this blog, etc...)

28 August 2011

It's been a rough while

I haven't posted in just over six months.  I haven't forgotten about my blog...I've just...it's been a rough while.  I've missed posting...I've had things to say that I knew would be worth sharing on the blog...I just haven't managed to put pen to paper so to speak.  But the other day someone left a comment on one of my more "recent" posts and it reminded me that I do indeed love getting my thoughts out on "paper" regardless of whether or not anyone is reading.  So, I'm back...and hopefully it won't be another six months.

Last night I have the privilege of seeing a production of Little Happy Secrets at Salt Lake Acting Company (SLAC).  It was as wonderful as I thought it would be.  I've heard an audio recording of the play with each characters part read by an actor (It is a free podcast download on iTunes, just fyi.) but I had never seen it.  The second I knew it was being produced in Salt Lake I jumped at the chance to go and immediately purchased two tickets.  

Cy ended up coming with me.  I had to be a bit choosy about who I invited...at least that is what I thought.  After watching it I wished that I'd somehow convinced all of my family to attend.  It really was like watching my life play out on stage in front of a bunch of strangers.  I wanted so badly to know what people thought...not just about the job that actors did, but about the choices that Claire (the main character) makes. 

A brief synopsis, Claire is a BYU student, a returned missionaries and an active member of the LDS church.  She comes back from her mission and is once again roommates with her best friend Brennan who has also returned from her mission.  Over the course of the store Claire deals with her growing feelings for Brennan while Brennan is dating Carter.  

What I love so much about this show is that it isn't about sensationalism...it is simply about Claire's struggling between life and the gospel that she loves...sounds so familiar :)  

Seeing the show reminded me of the path I've chosen...why I've chosen it.  I've been struggling so much lately...with my choice to live the gospel and not date girls...not that I doubt my decision is right...I just don't want to choose it.  But how can I choose something else and I already know what is true...I'm not saying that I feel like my agency has been taken away...and it isn't as if I don't make wrong choices all the time...but for some reason...with this decision...it just seems so silly to choose anything else when I already know what is true.  Lots of times I wish I didn't really feel the truthfulness with such conviction.  I know it is a blessing and probably blasphemous of me to wish that...but I do.  If such was the case I might be able to date the person I want to date.  But I do know what is true...deep down in my soul I know what is true.  And so with that, I will continue to choose the gospel path...albeit grudgingly at times.  (hey...I'm not perfect)

"I did make it home.  How?  I'll say divine intervention; and you'll likely smile at that.  But it's what I know." ~Little Happy Secrets