Tuesday, June 24, 2014

An Update Email From Jordan's Friend

Here is an email from one of Jordan's good friends.

"I need to touch on his health. Not too long ago, Jordan went on an engagement and returned from it dehydrated and tired. That snowballed into infections. Most tragic, his T cell count has fallen into the single-digits which means that he has almost no immunity at all. He’s worked so hard with his doctors to build that count up so that he can be out and doing things in the world, but today it is gone. Jordan accepts his doctors’ instruction that he should go nowhere for at least this next month – not to church or anyplace he does not need to go for his health – and that he should nurse his body in near-sterile, protective isolation to re-establish his body’s immunity. This sudden blind-side is a big shock to us and to his many friends in the gay community in Seattle, Portland and Boise. I am committed to taking good care of him and coordinating with those who also love him to make sure that this happens. Jordan is precious to me and it is hard to see him struggling this way. 
There have been a lot of exciting doings over the last months. Just touching them lightly, for Valentines week, Jordan spent ten days in Nevada with Donnie and Marie. Jordan did book signings and said his time with them was a true spiritual high. He is invited back for later this year and Jordan says he felt that Marie especially revealed a new kind of Godly love to him that he wants to learn and practice. 
Then, on Easter Sunday Jordan went on a special mission to Maui for three weeks to minister for the “YWAM” Youth-with-a-Mission and the Church on the Beach which had read his book Out of the Closet, Into the Light and wanted to bring him there to work with children, youth and adults affected by incest and ritual abuse. He poured himself into that work and developed activities for the broken families to begin to find solid ground again, using the resources he could find including every social celebration on the island and our holidays: May Day, Cinco De Mayo, Mother’s Day, early Memorial Day activities and more. He came home exhausted and overflowing. I love that the message of hope and healing was recognized and wanted. 
Both before and after the Maui trip, Jordan spoke at Jewish Family and Child Services events at various luncheons throughout the Pacific Northwest. These addresses are specifically for abused children and Holocaust victims and their families who are still learning to overcome their wounds. Jordan brings them Voices of Hope and Out of the Closet, Into the Light as a non-threatening way to discuss woundedness and demonstrate how to heal.
At the end of May, Jordan went to Northstar’s summer convention. I am less familiar with Northstar but I know they produced Jordan’s life story into a video format so it could travel further, and I’ll share that again here because I find so much meaning in it:

While Jordan was out there he was able to spend time with his family. Jordan seems to break open with happiness when he talks about them. It is contagious; I like them now, too. Before Jordan became so exhausted, he was excited to tell me all of the things he had learned at Northstar (and I do hope to hear that soon) but I heard his primary take-away: Jordan felt empowered and restored by what he learned, even as his body’s strength was beginning to crumble. He has special hope that through Northstar and Voices of Hope, God can continue to use his unique gifts in the Pacific Northwest. I was very gratified to see that he was added to the Ecclesiastic group at the convention and in many other ways has been coordinating and working with Stake Presidents far and wide who want to understand how to better serve their flocks.

A few days after he returned, I brought someone who is very special to me to church to see Jordan and our friends, but Jordan was too exhausted to get out of his home that week. As we drove away, Jordan called me and I put him on speaker so that he could greet my special someone who has been held down her whole life and never had a chance to grow or have a friend. Jordan communicated so lovingly with my special someone that after the call she said, “Oh my gosh, he likes me already!”
The timing of all of this next part was rather important and I’m not sure I can convey it but I am going to try:
The following day, Jordan was contacted by officials in Portland and many other business associates from the Portland gay community, which community is gearing up for its annual bash, the Portland Pride Parade, happening as always on Father’s Day. Jordan has been a member of the church for more than seven years and in that time those who have known him since he moved to Portland as a nineteen year old have watched his transformation. I’ve observed these people with Jordan. A person viewing these strong relationships could not tell the difference between the level of love and respect for Jordan in the gay community and in the church community, and this reaches across cultures as well.

Jordan has used the Ensign to teach values that bring happiness and they call it “a self-help magazine.” He has been consistent in his pattern of making choices for his own growth and that GROWTH is what is visible to his family in the gay community. Here’s what blew me away: they wanted him to bring that message to the parade or better, man a booth that they would provide. They hoped he could bring video equipment and play his Voices of Hope message and bring his books. I have met his friends in Portland and seen their happiness with Jordan’s transformation, especially coming from the industry. They had supported him then and they support him now that he has found God and healing. Of course I fully supported Jordan taking that message to Pride.

In time, it appeared that Jordan might not be able to do any of that, regardless of how many people wanted to hear that message, because there was a Mormons for Equality entry in the parade. Now, I knew all about that because – as Jordan came to find (he hadn’t quite appreciated this about me) – I *am* the Mormons for Equality organizer for our area. I just could never sit down when the question was about civil rights and equal protection of the law. I hate abuse and would never want people to be without legal standing in the world… The upshot: some felt that the 1) Mormons for Equality message and 2) Jordan’s message could not go out in the same area. I was so sad about this I decided to do something about it. Equal legal protection has been achieved in Oregon. I did not want an opportunity for Jordan’s important healing message to pass us all by because of Mormons for Equality’s vestigial presence at the parade. I offered to shut the MFE message down and replace it with Jordan’s message. I ordered a new banner, saying “Voices of Hope.”

I wish that all that excitement did not contribute to the stress leading to his collapse, but I worry it did. I’m mother-henning him as much as he’ll allow (we all know how independent and protective of his personal space he is) and he’s following all the good medical advice and is committed to his health restoration but I am very sad that this weekend will not have Jordan at a booth teaching his friends about what Jesus can do in any life, no matter what has happened. 
Though Jordan cannot participate this year, I am still glad I shut down the Mormons for Equality showing. I believe Jordan will be back on his feet soon and his faithful friend Den will surely be putting together a detailed newsletter that will explain more about those activities I so lightly brushed in, but I did want to get this health update out to everyone. I look forward with hope for Jordan’s July plans as a coach and speaker for the Special Olympics in Arizona. My friend can speak to those who have felt left behind, separated and abandoned. Those kids maul him and he mauls them right back. I soooo want that to happen so his at-least-four-weeks-of-sterility-and- exhaustion-recovery is my goal. 
I wanted to close with some of my own thoughts about healing and the atonement. I know many people know Jordan in just one way – through the Voices of Hope video or from these newsletters. I think that what caught my attention was the book, though. That may be because I am a very ‘written’ creature or maybe because its message touched something wounded in myself. Though Jordan has been a member for seven years, it is clear that his soul’s reconstruction through the atonement is an on-going process between him, the Lord, his priesthood leaders, and sometimes through friends like me. He puts himself in the Lord’s hands as a willing heart and messenger, yes, but he is learning as each obstructive lack is removed by friends who are gracious influences in his life. I saw this happen with a special dentist in Gresham, Oregon and a special airline pilot in San Clemente, California. This seems to be the Lord’s program to reconstruct trust inside of a heart that has experienced extraordinary abandonment and it is working, my two years of observation tell me. 
Then, I got to see the atonement reach further. One morning, Jordan told me he’d had a dream. In the dream, he looked inside a stack of boxes and found a letter from the woman who had arranged for his sale as a small child to her sister, away from the biological mother who had kept him in a closet. Upon waking, Jordan checked the stack of boxes and *did* find that letter. This angel is now in her mid-nineties and her birthday was coming up. Jordan flew into action to deliver a present next-day air to arrive in time. Those who have read the book know that this woman brought Jordan out of the physical closet but Jordan struggled in his new family, which finally broke under the strain. In one day, Jordan spoke to this beloved adoptive auntie, and then after many decades without contact, to his adoptive mother. Although that conversation began with the pain and shame of the family-brokenness they’d experienced, Jordan’s healing – the atonement in Jordan’s life – washed away the obstacles between them, creating a new atonement between his mother and himself, though she, also in her nineties, may never know Jesus in this life. That is a profound reach. Jesus’s gift restores us to each other.

I’ve thought about that dynamic many times since. My husband is fond of saying that our acts – good and bad—are like ripples in a pond, stretching out far after the event is past for ourselves. I see in Jordan’s life that Jesus’ atonement resonates and affects all the water when obstacles are removed …and that the atonement can remove the obstacles, too.
We are committed to getting Jordan back from exhaustion, to the life that is calling him out of the closet and into the light that he brings to others. He has many speaking engagements and seminars already planned at which he will present CDs of the Voices of Hope videos and talk about and sign his books. As always Jordan is devoted to bettering the lives of children and raising awareness. While he cannot allow many visitors right now, please feel free to contact him through me, his friends, Den and Yiyang, and his Stake President, Allen Oyler. With the finest physicians in Portland, we have chosen to love him together and to make my friend and your brother physically strong again."

Marni Zollinger


  1. Just spoke with my friend Jordan in Portland, OR. He is doing great and is an inspiration to us all. He is always a light with humans from all walks of life. I am proud of your honesty Jordan.

  2. Light you give after opening your true self up to judgment and people rippling through your life I Jordan please make the noise of anger people never stop your truth of transfma u ti on hurt your voice of hooey you are a light in the coun I think who loves you since you came into the portland oregon when you were. Just new friend at the agree of 20 we support the light you bring to children all over this world through your god you speak about we love y Oulu we need your light in portland

  3. Jordan continues to inspire me with is positive attitude, his constant desire to help others and his continual love for The Lord. Every time I talk with Jordan I come away wanting to be and do better. Would that we all had that influence on those around us. Keep up the good work Jordan!