Thursday, December 27, 2007

Won't somebody come take me home?

Being home for winter break has afforded me the opportunity to play parent in some small roles. I have a seven-year-old brother and a seven-year-old sister, and I have been helping my parents out by taking care of them. On Friday I gave my mom a break and drove the older kids to school when they missed their bus and then got the younger kids dressed, packed their lunches, said prayers with them, and got them to their bus on time (well kinda, we had to run to catch it). It was so much fun! I dressed my sister in the cutest outfit- a purple sweatshirt with a giant dark purple snowflake on it and a cute skirt with matching purple leggings and a dark purple headband that matches the snowflake. My brother on his own picked out black jeans with a skull t-shirt and a sport coat. Yes, at 7 he is insisting on wearing a sport coat with the outfit. So trendy! Since he makes such a cute little punk I had to texturize his hair. And then I packed them lunches they would actually eat by asking them what they wanted . . . and it's still healthy (granola bar, handi-snacks, carrots and cup of fruit for the punk and a clementine, gram crackers, ritzbits, and applesauce for my sister). My brother said the prayer before they all left.

Last night I read my brother stories and put him to bed. It was so nice to have him falling asleep in my arms as I read the story, trying to make it interesting and sleepy at the same time. I had made sure that he had brushed his teeth and put some things away first. After the story, we kneeled next to his bed and he said his prayers. It was the most beautiful prayer I've ever heard. He prayed for what he needed and wanted and was grateful for. He prayed for each member of our family by name and by the specific things that they needed. If I ever have children, I will teach them how to pray. It is one of the most important things I ever learned as a child- knowing how to pray for myself and communicate with God on my own. I'm touched my parents have continued to instill that powerful principle in my siblings and long to pass it on to my posterity. After prayers, I tucked my brother in and turned on the night light and he went to sleep.

These simple tasks, getting a child off to school and putting a child to bed, were fulfilling and brought me a lot of joy and satisfaction. It has made me want to be a parent. The problem is, I am likely not going to marry a woman. If I were to marry a man, should I have children? I think I'd be a great dad. And I think I'd pick out a great other dad. A lot of people have a problem with that though.

My parents think that a gay couple adopting children goes beyond selfishness and is in fact abusive, and the people who do it are "sick." I, obviously, disagree. I am afraid, though, of the pain that would come from all the opposition they and others would provide. Sometimes I feel tired of fighting, and I just want to live my life free of scrutiny. If I were to marry a man, even if there were no kids, there would be pressure to have the perfect marriage just in an effort to legitimize it. (My dad told me that homosexual couples can't last- he challenged me to identify a couple that had been together for as long as he had been with my mom. JGW was all I could come up with at 15 years, 7 too short. The logic, however, is faulty). So you can imagine how hard it would be to legitimize a whole family. Would it be practical in our current society to raise children in a homosexual relationship?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Formerly Barred

I'm soooooo sorry that I had to change my url. I know how obnoxious it is, but it was something that I had to do. Forgive me?

Friday, December 21, 2007

Cause After All You Do Know Best

Being home makes me think about what it is that I want from my parents. I complain that I don’t like how they are reacting to me, but what is it that I really want from them?

I am happy that my mom prays so hard and so often for me. It means a lot to me. It bothers me, though, that she is praying for God to change me. She wants God to help me find the cure. She wants God to instill in me a desire to deny myself romantic involvement with those I am attracted to. She wants to change me.

I would like it much better if she would pray that the Church would change. If she would pray that society would make life easier on me. If she would pray that the leaders of the Church and the people around me would have a greater desire to understand me. If she would want to change the world.

I would like it best if she would pray that she would change. If she would pray that she would continue to feel a strong love for me. If she would pray for the strength to show me that love and acceptance despite the fact that we disagree. If she would want to change herself.

I suppose in the end, me wanting her to change, though, is no better than her wanting me to change. I guess in the end I just want to be able to bring a boy home for Christmas eventually. And if I ever get married, and it is to a man, I would want them to come. And to allow me to tell my siblings. I think that's all. That's not too much to ask, is it?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Make the Yuletide Gay

In case there was any question, I am gay. This proves it: I like wrapping presents. So much so that I spend a lot of time doing it. So much so that even if the only supplies I have are newspapers and tape, I can still create this:


I told you, I'm gay.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

How do you solve a problem like Maria?

While talking to Potentate about the word celibacy, I remarked that it made me think of monks and nuns. Then, when I thought about nuns, I thought about the Sound of Music. For the nuns in that musical, celibacy is a chosen lifestyle that brings fulfillment and happiness. There is a very strong sense of community, and their celibacy works because of that. They are able to deny themselves of things that most people consider part of life because they deny themselves together.

That is what celibate Mohos need. Gay Latter-day Saints need a community where they can choose to live in righteous celibacy. Perhaps within the Moho blogosphere population there could be a similar community, even if only on the Internet, but I think we need something more. In this community celibate Mohos would develop strength through shared self denial, spiritual experience and belief, and passion for a cause. Everyone helps each other to live the life that they believe is right for them, just like the with the nuns.

But even the nuns have a problem-- Maria. She just doesn't fit in as a nun-- not wired for the lifestyle. I think I am Maria. I can't do the whole nun thing. So how do you solve a problem like Maria?
I planned on ending the post there, but after sharing it with Potentate, he brought up a really important point that lead me down a thought path I have to share. He said that unlike the Mohos, the nuns weren't attracted to each other. And that certainly makes sense-- a valid monkey wrench in the theory. But the comment made me wonder- what if the nuns did have same gender attractions?

If I were a lesbian nun in the Sound of Music, I don't think I would have any problems at all. Except, of course, for Julie Andrews. That is why they sent her off to be a babysitter far away from the convent! Being so attractive, she was making it difficult for the lesbian nuns at the convent who were trying to be celibate. They solved the problem by sending her away. This would mean that I also must not be a part of the moho celibate community then. I would make it far too difficult for all of you that are trying to be faithful. Thus, for the greater good, I withdraw myself to the hills of Austria where I will run away with a dashing husband.

Never Plugged in at All

In creative writing, I have been working all semester on a short story about a character who comes home from his mission and deals the pain of having an older brother who committed suicide had committed suicide while he was gone. The older brother was gay. The story has been an interesting one to write, and has certainly been affected by the changes I have made through out the semester. I wrote with the idea in my mind that the younger brother was straight, that was just my assumption. Well, anyway, after writing a powerful scene with the character and his mother, I realized that my character was gay. It actually surprised me, because that wasn't my plan, but I ran with it and ended the story with a coming out scene.

Today for the creative writing final, we all turned in our portfolios and read one of the pieces we had written. I read this short story. At the end, when the younger brother announces that he too is gay, there was this loud gasp in the classroom. When I finished, all of the comments were about how shocked they were that he was gay. (I don't know why, I thought it was obvious). They really enjoyed the story, but I thought it was interesting that the younger brother's announcement seemed so hard for them to swallow. It was ok for the older brother as a dead, non-missionary to be gay. Especially since his gayness made him miserable enough to commit suicide. But the lovable RM, the protagonist, surely could not also be gay.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Reaching Out to Gays


At least they're trying. Surely there must be a better way to retain gays in the Church.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Born Into Emptiness

We have to be really careful with analogies. Too often we try and teach with analogies in the wrong circumstances. Sometimes metaphors can really enhance a lesson, but far too often people in the Church will use an analogy incorrectly in their attempts to understand and explain homosexuality. I think that my Bishop is such a person.

Weeks ago he compared my suffering to the suffering of blacks in the Church before Temple and priesthood opportunities were offered to them. He meant that the Church just didn't understand homosexuality yet, but that it eventually would. When I took it to mean that Temple blessings would one day be offered to same-gender couples, he immediately backed off the analogy saying that it was way different. Same-gender relationships will never be ok.

Today he used the new popular fat girl analogy. The church doesn't expect anything more from me than what it expects from any single person. It's like the fat girls in the church who, through no fault of their own, can't get a date or marry, and therefore can't have sex. Ok, so I can do what single people do, then, and (despite my fatness) do my best to attract someone that I like, hold hands, kiss, court, and ok I'll stop there because we can't get married. Sexual abstinence is fine, but that's not what they are asking. The Bishop was quick to say, "Ok that's not a good analogy either. You can't be romantically involved with a man." Ok. Celibacy.

There is no analogy in the Church for celibacy. (unless you can think of one, in which case, do share).

Clearly homosexuality in the Church is its own circumstance. It just doesn't compare to anything else; it is its own ballgame, with its own rules. The problem is, too many people are trying to write the rules, and too few are actually trying to play the game. (did you like how I hit the message home with that nice baseball analogy)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

as he goes left . . .

I came out to another friend last night. This time to the girl I thought I would marry. She is a girl from my stake back home. We have an interesting relationship. We would go on dates a lot and really enjoy ourselves talking and getting to know each other. Usually, though, these dates would be during a time when she had a boyfriend (and he wasn't me). Somehow everyone knew that this was ok. It fulfilled both our needs. I could be dating a girl and thus feel like I was making progress in my ultimate quest for straighthood, and yet I didn't have to kiss her or hold her hand. I could tell the other guys that there was a girl I liked, but it was obvious why I wasn't dating her. And I could have the female companionship that I enjoy and that is so much easier than male companionship. She, on the other hand, could have a fashionable guy take her out and treat her like a princess. She got to have intellectual conversations about things she cared about. She got to be with a guy who would notice her designer pants or the product in her hair or the way that a color flattered her complexion. And when she needed some loving, well that's what the boyfriend is for. (I hope I got that down right and am not putting words in her mouth or offending her). It was a great relationship we had going on!

Well, on my mission I decided that I would marry her. It would have been the perfect continuation of everything I had. She's from the unique cultural climate that I'm from. Her parents love me. We could host parties together and go shopping together and talk about intellectual stuff together as we perpetually sip speckled lemonades. She would be the perfect mom and I'd be the perfect dad. I'd buy her all the clothes she wanted, and she'd look great at all the events I would take her to. It was the social Mormon bliss I wanted, and I knew I could make it happen. But then she went and got married before I got home. Rats!

Anyway, the point of this post is that I told her all of that. I told her that I was gay and that I was grateful that all of that hadn't come to pass as I had once hoped. And you know what? She took it wonderfully! Yet another on my team. She was really sad to think that things might eventually affect my standing in the Church, but she was really supportive of me being honest with myself and others. She even gave me a book (Goodbye, I love you) that she had recently read that had shifted her compassion towards gay Latter-day Saints. Now she plans on doing some more reading and some more research so that she can understand what we go through better. She was even kinda excited that we could still have lunch and go shopping and the like and have it be ok!

Overall it was a confirmation to me that your real friends are still going to be your real friends no matter what.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

God and Sinners Reconciled!

Sacrament meeting today was one of the most spiritual meetings I've ever been in. I feel so good right now. A girl in my family home evening group sang a song called "Breath of Heaven." The song in and of itself was nothing spectacular, but you could tell how much it meant to her. When she got to one of the final choruses, she choked up and started to cry. She had to whisper the words, slowing gaining composure until she could sing the final chorus strong again. It was a beautiful moment, but its significance for me had to do with my sister.

My sister has such a beautiful voice, and at my farewell talk before I left on my mission, she sang a Kenneth Cope song called "His Hands." She sang it beautifully, until she got to the part about the men taking Christ's hands and piercing them to nail Him to the cross. Her voice choked and she started to cry. After a moment, she belted out the last part of the song through her tears. It is one of the most tender memories I have. Hearing my FHE "sister" do the something similar today brought back the sweet memory of that spiritual experience I had had listening to my real sister a few years ago.

While I was still reeling from the buzz of that experience, a recent convert got up to recite something he had written. It was beautiful. He talked about the joy the wise-men must have had when they found Jesus. He said that he had lived without Jesus for 22 years, and then had finally found him a few months ago. The joy he had finding Jesus must have been something similar to what the wise-men had experienced.

During the rest of the musical service, my thoughts were uncontrollably focused on the Savior, on previous spiritual experiences I had had, and on how wonderful the whole concept of Atonement was. I felt so utterly dependent on Christ, and so eternally grateful for His birth, sojourn on Earth, death, and all that that means for me. I may be confused about the Church and the role that I play both in the Church and in Eternity, but there is one thing as of today of which I am completely certain. I need a Savior every bit as much as I need a companion and lover.

I believe that God Himself came down to redeem mankind. God Himself condescended, took up flesh, and atoned for all mankind. What I realized today is how truly infinite that sacrifice was. It is a huge, eternal, magnificent, boundless, endless, divine, merciful, glorious sacrifice. God did not give of His life and suffer for sin and pain for Mormons. Nor for Christians. Nor for straight people. No. He came down to Bethlehem for all mankind. I see no limits to that ultimate sacrifice. Everyone needs it, and it is offered, likewise, to everyone.

Friday, December 7, 2007

and I won't tell them your name.

I hate the term "Same Sex Attractions." "Same Gender Attractions" is even worse. Gayness is soooooo much more than attractions. I am much more than a person who is attracted to those of the same gender. And it is much more than my sex drive that craves men. The love that I feel towards men is emotional, social, mental, and physical. It is something that is deep and rounded, not something as shallow as so many assume and say.

Straight people never think of themselves as straight. They never think of their relationships as differently gendered. They simple are. They simply go on dates with people they like. They simply fall in love with the one who stands out. Why can't I do the same?

I don't think of myself as gay. I don't think of my relationships as same gendered. I just am. And I'm just dating.

How many of you have actually had sex with someone of the same gender? No, you haven't? But you're still gay? Well I'm sure that you walk around craving gay sex all day, right? No, you don't? Hmmmm. I just wish that I could help others to understand that homosexuality is not about sex. It's so much more. Maybe we can find a term that will show the depth of what is at play here- a term that doesn't imply some sort of sexual disorder. Better yet, maybe we can get to the point where we don't need a term. Where we can just be.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Vindicated!

"I am vindicated! I am selfish. I am wrong. I am right; I swear I'm right, swear I knew it all along. And I am flawed, but I am cleaning up so well. I am seeing in me now the things you swore you saw yourself" (Dashboard Confessional).
Today was my last therapy session. I just don't need it anymore. I have the tools to get through life on my own now. A little while ago I posted about the transformation that I've undergone since coming home from my mission. Well, now I have had that change confirmed.

If you have ever been to BYU's counseling center, you will be familiar with the little questionnaires that have you fill out before each session. What you may not know is that your answers are compiled into an evaluation that is assigned a number. The number 120 coincides with intolerable amounts of distress. 63 is the magic number. Any number above 63 means that you need treatment. Any number below 63 means you are a normal person and don't need help.

My therapist and I were able to look back on my history all the way to fall of 2004 and track my mental health number. When I started therapy, I was in the high sixties. I went up and down insignificant amounts for a while. In February of 2005 I had a brief relationship with big boobs girl. My psychologist mentioned that though I said I was really happy during that period of time, my number actually spiked up to the high 70's. When it was over, I went back down to the high 50's. When I stopped therapy at the end of the school year, I was back in the low 60's. Then I went on my mission. I came back after two years with a 103. I stayed in the high 90's for a few weeks, until I started this blog. Then I went down to 77. I continued to go down until a family tragedy that bumped me up to 116- a dangerous level. That lasted 3 weeks, and then I started dating guys. I went down to the mid 60's again. Then on November 8th, I went down to 46. I continued to get better. Today I am 24. That is so far below the magical 63 it's not even funny!

Basically, this data tells me that dating guys, for me, is healthy. So much so that it did for my mental health what dating girls, celibacy, faithful church membership, and a mission couldn't do. To quote a letter from the CCC, "It appears that your current level of distress is more similar to persons who function well in society and who do not feel overly burdened by their levels of distress." No wonder I feel so happy! Literally, I've never been better!

Please be sensitive and respectable with the things that I have shared in this post. They are VERY personal and very private. I decided to share them in such a public way because I wanted to provide hope for those who need it. To those who may feel like they're in the 80's, or even at 116- I know how you feel, and it can go away! I had to find my own path to make it happen. You will find whatever it is that you need to make it happen for you.
"So turn up the corners of your lips. Part them and feel my finger tips. Trace the moment fall forever. Defense is paper thin, just one touch and I'll be in too deep now to ever swim against the current, so let me slip away" (Dashboard Confessional).

Looking Out the Window

For the longest time I was outside looking in the window on the "ideal" family I was barred from. It was a miserable existence I lead, always obsessed with the one thing I couldn't have. I didn't notice that there were all these wonderful things here in the outside. Like, taking the Peter Pan analogy farther, being able to fly around London.

Now that I've been able to let go of the window, I have really been able to enjoy life and find myself. In the month of November, for example, I had 3 or 4 bad days. ! Tell me that doesn't indicate something changing for the better. I have learned so much about myself- so much about what I like and believe and am. I have discovered a person that I can love and cherish and be with. It's wonderful.

But the window is still there. I'm not perched on the window sill looking in anymore, now it is my parents that are at the window looking out. They don't understand this world that I am flying around in. They only know the comforts and joys of their house- wonderful comforts and joys to be sure. I feel like in my new found joys they are left behind. My mom has asked me only to talk to her about the things we can agree on- which means not being able to tell her about my relationship and all the joy that I now have in day to day life. My dad, though more open to talking about it, likewise shuts down any notion of a same gender relationship being a possibility. I feel more distant from them than ever before- almost like our relationship is forced into becoming superficial and confined.

Things are getting better. Our limited subject conversations are cheerful and friendly. We are at least still talking- and we enjoy talking. I just wish they would stop pitying me and start trying to actually understand me.

I wonder if the window will always be there, or if some day we can get away from that barrier that separates us. What can I do to break down the window?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Beyond here and on to eternity

In my post yesterday, I mentioned the possibilities of using sealing power to seal two men together. At the time I was unaware of historical precedent for doing that. I now stand enlightened. Apparently (I would love confirmations on this) men have been sealed together by sealing authority in the Church under a principle called "The Law of Adoption." This is not the same as a homosexual union or marriage. Rather it was a way for two men (likely married to women) to enter into some sort of non-sexual, socially codependent relationship. Even still, the precedent opens up possibilities. It is possible to seal two men together with Priesthood authority.

Perhaps it would be different from exalted marriage, and therefore the eternal posterity would not come to those joined in this type of sealing. (solving the biggest doctrinal obstacle to the practice). I would imagine this fitting into our understanding of exaltation and the hereafter by resulting in two same gendered Celestial Angels sealed together. I'm ok being a Celestial Angel (still a God with divine power, but not a Heavenly Father). What I'm not ok with is being alone for eternity. Couldn't this reconcile that?

There is certainly historical precedence for men exercising creative powers together. Our world was created by Elohim, Jehovah, and Michael, for example (and both Jehovah and Michael were single and disembodied). Thus, a same gendered Godly couple could go around creating worlds. Maybe I'll let my straight God friends populate them for me . . .

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Wickedness thrust upon them?

I should be doing homework, but Abelard Enigma posted the most beautiful, realistic, appropriate, well-rounded, fair, qualified, informed, and educated descriptions of the three options that Latter-day Saints with SSA face. Please read them.

Option 1 Mixed Orientation Marriage
Option 2 Celibacy
Option 3 A Homosexual Relationship

Reading these options and the well developed pros and cons of each one sent me down a thought path I'd like to share. What do I expect from the Church, and is it a reasonable expectation?

Personally, I expect the Church to one day find a healthy option for same-gender-attracted Latter-day Saints. I don't believe that mixed orientation marriages or celibacy (or suicide) are healthy options. I believe that same gender relationships, even marriages, are healthy options. I won't say it's the only option, in case my imagination isn't good enough, but I will say it is a healthy option.

Is it reasonable (doctrinally and socially) to expect the Church to sanction same sex relationships? I vote yes. In fact, I believe the Church has several resources that put it in more of a position to accept same gender marriages than other religions. Here they are:

1. Revelation. We claim the divine right to learn new doctrines that haven't previously been revealed. We can make changes. We have a fluidity that other Churches don't allow. Generally speaking, the members of the Church follow these revelations when the Prophets receive them.

2. Three books of scripture written for our day that don't condemn or warn against homosexuality. Seriously, if homosexuality is such a big problem, why doesn't the Book of Mormon warn us against it when it was written with our day in vision? Unlike other Churches which rely solely on one book of ancient scripture, we have books of both modern and ancient scripture. And I don't see any incompatibility with any of those books, even the Bible. I think a same gender marriage would work with the standard works.

3. Sealing power. We have the power to seal people together beyond mortality. Why can't it be a man and a man? We use the sealing power to unite a child to parents who aren't biologically theirs. Why can't we use the power to unite a homosexual family? We don't need genes and blood to create families, we just need love, covenants, and Priesthood authority. Let's not forget we have a history of unorthodox marriages that were sealed with this power. Now, it is God's power, and we must use it the way He wants it used, but if he could sanction it for sealing a man to twenty seven women, or to children that aren't his, I have a hard time understanding why God wouldn't want to seal two same gendered people together.

See? It's not impossible for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to accept homosexuality. I think it would work quite well. I hope and pray that one day the Church will do it. I wish it would be more progressive about it, but historically speaking it's not a progressive Church. A black man and a black woman couldn't be sealed together in the Temple until 1979. That's disgusting. I hope that one day a man and a man can be sealed together. And I hope that my children will say, "That's disgusting" when they think that it couldn't happen until 2027.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Who has to know?

"I'll keep you my dirty little secret . . ." (All American Rejects). We all have secrets. Sometimes it's best to keep them secret. Sometimes the secrecy becomes a problem that festers in a relationship, or in my case, a family. I have had some realizations lately about traditions in my family that could have cycled onward in my life but that I have been able to escape.

Without disclosing things that aren't mine to disclose, I will say that I belong to a family with secrets. Sexual secrets that are swept under the rug. Secrets that are dirty, unhealthy, even disgusting. And I've been a part of it. I've had my own dirty little secrets. I'm referring to things that are degrading and harmful.

Another family tradition, however, is the appearance of perfection. We have this innate need for everyone to know that we are living normal, happy, righteous lives. The result is that we have lived double lives. We hide, ignore, suppress, and bottle up the problem, and then outwardly live the life we want others to see. But it caught up to us- to my dad specifically. Watching the pain that experience caused my family has taught me so much about what I can do to break this cycle.

Without that realization, I would likely have ended up getting married to a woman, pretending to be the perfect Mormon I wanted to be, but I would have had a secret. I would have lived a second life. I would have turned, at best, to pornography and masturbation. At worst I would have cheated on her. Either way would have been devastating to our relationship and to our family. Even if I had told her early on in the relationship that I had same gender attractions (and I would have), I would have quietly found ways to satisfy those attractions in unhealthy ways. I have seen many relationships where this is happening.

Now I am not in any way implying that this is what mixed orientation marriages always are. But it is something that I would have had because of my family tradition and the way that I have learned how to handle myself and my attractions growing up. I am so grateful I was able to recognize it. Some of you may be disappointed if I were to pursue a relationship with a man. I would rather, however, have a healthy, complete, honest relationship with a man than a fake relationship with a woman and a secret sexual impulse.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

It's up that I fell


We talk a lot about the plan of salvation and what our place is in the plan. I think it is appropriate to look at Adam and his role in the plan, and consider ourselves as having similar opportunities and choices in front of us.

When Adam was created he was innocent. He didn't know right from wrong, although he was told what he should and shouldn't do. He was commanded to be happy, to dress the Garden of Eden, to fulfil the measure of his creation, and to multiply and replenish the Earth. He was also commanded to be with Eve, who was created as a companion for him because man was not meant to be alone. They were commanded not to eat the forbidden fruit. In fact, they were told that if they did eat it they would die.

Often when we think about how the Adam and Eve story applies to us as gay Latter-day Saints, we get caught up in the Adam and Eve part- the gender. It's Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve. We also get very caught up in the commandment to multiply and have babies that fill the Earth. Though those are important parts of the story, I would like to point out some of the other aspects of the story that I believe are just as important.

1. Man was not meant to be alone. When Eve partook of the fruit Adam was not going to partake. He resisted the temptation until she reminded him that her absence would make him a lone man in the garden. That was the motivation for him to partake of the fruit. He couldn't fulfil all of God's commandments by himself.

2. Man is that he might have joy. One thing that hit me over and over in the temple the other day was how much God wanted us to be happy. He commanded Adam to be happy. Adam, however, couldn't be happy until he learned right from wrong. The only way he could learn right from wrong (that we know, at least) was to partake of the forbidden fruit and be cast out of the garden. That is what he did.

Many Latter-day Saints talk a lot about Adam's fall being a good thing. The reality is, though, that he was breaking a commandment! He was doing what God told him not to do and reaped the negative consequences of it- death! Despite this, it was what many Mormons call a fall up. Now I believe there is sin. I believe that sin is wrong. I don't think Adam's transgression justifies sin, but perhaps there is a point to be made here.

Like Adam, we all have the ability to choose. We all want to be happy. We all want to be with someone. For some people that means breaking God's commandment and partaking of the forbidden fruit. It brings negative consequences, no doubt. At the same time, it may be necessary for some (I will include myself) to learn for themselves out of their own experiences. It may also be necessary to have broken the one commandment to fulfil God's other commandment to be happy. I have decided that if I don't partake of the forbidden fruit I will be alone, unhappy, and unable to progress in the areas where I want to progress. I would rather live with all the thorns of the dreary world with someone than as a lone man in paradise.

The best part about Adam's fall, is that even before he fell God had set up a plan to redeem him from the negative effects of his choices. In Jesus Christ the "death" part of eating the forbidden fruit is swallowed up. I don't think it is a healthy attitude to go and do whatever you want believing that you can fall back on the Atonement in the end. I do want to point out, however, that despite wanting Adam to fall so that man could progress, God never gave permission or indicated acceptance for eating the fruit. I think that's the point of this post, that there are choices we all face that are somewhat similar. Because we are different people, we may choose different things. In the process we will experience different consequences and realizations, both positive and negative.

As I anticipate comments to this post, I expect there to be warnings about apostasy. I'm not claiming this to be revelation, just thoughts. I expect some to say that sinning and repenting doesn't make you stronger than resisting sin (I would agree. That is not the point I was trying to make here at all). I also anticipate a comment telling me that same gender togetherness is only temporary and will lead to loneliness in the eternities. I expect warnings about justification too. And I anticipate some thoughts about what happiness is and how pleasure can be confused with happiness. That's all fine. Perhaps those will be posts for another day. All I ask is that you be respectful of my opinions, reasonable and mature in your reaction, and apply the same allowance for learning by experience to me that you have already applied to yourself.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Criollo cocoa

I just downed a pint of Haagen Daz Reserve Amazon Valley Chocolate ice cream. It felt wonderful.

Monday, November 26, 2007

We won't hear a word they say


I would like to start a petition to remove the following words from our vocabulary:

Evil
This is an arbitrary word that weakens any argument. It is a word we use to distance ourselves from a person, idea, or thing so that it is easier to hate that thing. For example, child molesters are evil. Now you can hate child molesters. You don't have to empathize with them. You don't have to sympathize for them. You don't have to consider motives or individual circumstances. They are distant, generalized, and evil.

What would happen if we replaced the word evil with a word or phrase that actually means something? Molesting children causes a lot of pain and hurts children in terrible ways. Suddenly it's not distant. We still can see how harmful molesting children is, but we allow ourselves to think about the molester independent of molesting. Maybe the perpetrator is a child himself. Maybe he is a victim himself. Maybe there is something we don't know about him.

Gross
This word also weakens any argument. It is a word we use to categorize things that we don't like. It is so specific to personal preference, exposure, and cultural bias, however, that we just can't use it to say that something is bad. For example, I used to hate hamburgers. Growing up, I insisted that ground beef was gross, and I wouldn't eat it. I refused. Homemade or McDonald's didn't matter, it was gross.

I had my first hamburger on my mission, and it was delicious. Ever since I've had to limit my hamburger intake so I don't get fat. What made it suddenly not gross any more? Increased exposure. I tasted it! It helped that my preferences matured and I lived in a society that encourages burger eating. If I had served my mission in India, it might have been a different story.

Never
This is a word that I am as guilty of bastardizing as anyone else. Never. What a final, generalizing, hasty word to use. We should never say never. It implies knowing something that you don't know. We live in a changing world. The conditions that make something so now will eventually change. For example, I'll never be able to understand you. Well, then suddenly I find myself in a similar circumstance. Suddenly I understand. (that was a really unspecific example. sorry).

Clearly these words need to be eliminated from our vocabulary. Who's with me? Let's rid the world of ignorance one word at a time. Cause these aren't the only three. If I can get enough support with these words, then maybe I'll enlarge the blacklist. Before you know it, we'll have our own little censored community where no one gets offended and where all statements are perfectly neutralized. And, hopefully, where no one says anything stupid.

We've been giving in to wrong

I had an interesting conversation with my mother yesterday that has given me some thoughts I'd like to share. Perhaps I will make it two posts because the thoughts are somewhat unrelated.

My mom doesn't like being around me now. Although, she likes being around me much much much more so than she did the summer before my mission. Suddenly talking about that brought a huge point home to me. I recounted my history to her.

After I graduated high school, I was on top of the world. I was so happy. Everyone loved to be around me. I was passionate and confident and I had big dreams. I was full of life. Then I went to BYU and started change therapy with a referral from Evergreen. I started changing. That was the point, right? After two semesters of it, I went home. I was suicidal that summer. My mom hated me. No one liked being around me. I wanted to kill myself, and determined that I would do so after my mission.

My mission was wonderful. It brought the life back into me. I was so happy. I was in my element. I was on top of the world again, but my world revolved around one purpose. When I came home, suddenly I lost that purpose by default and was left with nothing. I went back to change therapy. I was miserable again. So I stopped. Now I am bouncing back. I'm taking my life in a new direction, but once again I feel alive. I hope that she'll recognize the new passion and confidence in me, and the big dreams. I hope she'll want to be around me again.

Friday, November 23, 2007

We should get jerseys . . .

I came out to my Aunt last night. She's pretty much awesome. I suppose I had been kinda obvious all day. I was wearing really hot jeans from banana republic and a slimming, loud designer shirt. And I acted unapologetically the way I wanted to act: like myself. I'm getting so good at that! It's amazing how naturally being yourself comes. . . almost like just being yourself. Oh wait.

Anyway, she was driving me home from a family event and she asked how I was doing. She's single, just turned 40, and as a born again Christian is one of two nonmembers in my close family. I told her that I was beginning to feel like she had previously described- isolated. She asked why. I explained that I was becoming liberal and everyone else was still conservative, and it made me feel isolated. Long story short, she told me that she was becoming liberal to, and that if I had a reason why I was becoming liberal, I could tell her and she wouldn't judge me. So I told her.

She wasn't surprised at all. What ensued was a very relieving and highly enjoyable conversation. I told her my whole story. I even told her about dating guys and how hard that was at BYU. She was very supportive. She told me not to make drastic decisions but to make gradual changes instead. I still can't get over how supportive she was! She told me how hard it was to hear about all the hell I had to go through, and about how much was still ahead of me. She laughed about all the little things that had made her suspicious and all the things that now made sense. It was a wonderful experience.

She is one more player on my team. That makes 7. Almost enough to play baseball. Almost. Maybe my dad will join the team. And maybe, just maybe, my mom.

From the movie Ratatouille:
"Dad, I. . . I don't know what to say." (Remy)
"I was wrong about your friend, and about you." (Django)
"I don't want you to think that I'm choosing this over family. I can't choose between two halves of myself." (Remy)
"I'm not talking about cooking, I'm talking about guts. This really means that much to you? . . . We're not cooks, but we are family. You tell us what to do and we'll get it done" (Django)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Struggle We Have Left to Win

Invincibility lasts 19 days. I didn't know that until yesterday. There is so much that I am learning about myself right now. I'm not putting it up in the blogging world because of how sacred it is to me. I often feel the public has a tendency to profane things that are personal and meaningful and judge them.

I remember when I really realized that my parents were fallible. It was a crushing discovery, but it was liberating. Realizing your own fallibility is likewise both crushing and liberating. Once it happens, you can really dig down and discover what your strengths and weaknesses are. What your joys and pains are. What your beliefs and hopes are.

In any event, I am now discovering what lasts more than 19 days. That is what I think my future is. I wish I had more support. But I am going to do it with or without support. In the end we have to do what is right for ourselves. We all have such individual needs, and such different ways of securing those needs. I believe that God wants our needs met, and that He has many resources with which to meet them. I'm tired of meeting everyone else's expectations. It's time to meet my own.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Forever Barred

A few blogs lately have been changing names with every post. It drives me nuts. That being said, I have changed my blog name. I am no longer Forever Barred. I am now Innumerable Ecstasies.

The phrase forever barred comes from J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan. As Peter is looking in Wendy's window, he sees the Darling family enjoying time together. "There could not have been a lovelier sight," wrote Barrie, referring to the family, "but there was none to see it except a little boy who was staring in at the window. He had ecstasies innumerable that other children can never know; but he was looking through the window at the one joy from which he must be forever barred."

On my blog and in my life I seemed to focus on that one joy that I felt I was forever barred from. Eternal family. I'm not attracted to women and thus am not pursuing marriage. In so many ways I just felt barred from that ideal, nuclear family.

Nothing has really changed about my situation. My attitudes about life, however, have changed a lot. I am no longer focused on that one joy from which I may be barred. Instead I am focused on the "ecstasies innumerable" that others may never know. Maybe I don't have and won't have the perfect family, but at least I get to hang out with fairies and mermaids and fight pirates and live in tree forts and above all fly. And love. I am not barred from learning how to love.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

What Happened in November is What I Needed

In his post, "What Happened," Therapevo Ydata said:
I do not know if anyone else has noticed the change in the MoHo world. This place used to be special to help those who are dealing with SSA and trying to find others who understand them. . . Quite frankly, it now seems to be the path from MoHo to MoHo whore to Homo. This is no good. . . It has also become really relaxed about every issue with the church and nobody is concerned with this!

Playasinmar indicated that I was one of the people that possibly demonstrates this trend. Whether or not Therapevo Ydata was referring to me when he wrote his post is irrelevant. The point is, he's right. I have noticed a drastic change in the "Moho" world, and I have been one of the ones who has changed the most.

So what is this transformation? (I don't think I became a mowhore, I'm not even going to address that.) I think the best way to show the transformation is to quote myself.

September 24: "I am an active Latter-day Saint who struggles with Same Sex Attractions (S.S.A.). There I said it. . . I live in hell.
September 26: "every time I see a good looking guy I distract myself by imagining myself standing over me and smashing my head with a baseball bat."
September 26: "I told my therapist how much I loved this new blog. I explained how much it meant to me to have these comments of support and to discover that there are other people in my age group going through exactly what I'm going through."
September 26: "I just got back from yet another date with a girl I'm not attracted to. Why do I subject myself to this? . . . You know, I have always clung to this hope that I would be cured- these horrible feelings ripped from me. I have now accepted that they will be with me for the rest of my life. I'm ok with that now."
September 27: "Today I was walking and I saw a hot guy, and I said to myself, "wow he's hot" and then I kept walking. It was awesome. I didn't have to stop and analyze it. I didn't beat myself up with a baseball bat. I didn't hate myself, because for the first time in my life I don't think that I'm a monster."
September 29: "if God is keeping His promise, and I have kept my promise, then isn't that proof enough that the Church is true and I should follow it? It is this promise that makes me stay in the Church."
September 30: "Church was, as usual lately, ridiculously unspiritual, cold, callous, demeaning, and unpleasant."
October 5: "I'm beginning to wonder if there is such thing as goodness and happiness, or if they are just vain hopes that we dream up to make up to get us to our graves."
October 13: "With every passing day I get more and more comfortable being me."
October 14: "Sometimes I am afraid that being a moho is just a transition from mo to ho. I have started to wonder why I am staying in the repressed Mormon lifestyle."
October 14: "I still receive revelation. I always thought that if I accepted the fact that I am attracted to men I wouldn't receive revelation. I also thought that if I ever questioned the Church, I wouldn't receive revelation. Well, today in church, I received revelation."
October 17: "It is so hard to be alone. I just want a companion, someone to be with. And I just want some affection."
October 21: "I got home last night at 3 AM and I was feeling really happy. And I was wondering why I didn't feel that happy in Church. . . Suddenly I realized that it was good that I felt good. And then I realized that Church should make me feel good. . . I went to Church and it was awesome. I haven't enjoyed Church like that in a very long time."
October 31: "I have let go of the expectation and the demand for change. I have given up the desire to have God remove my pain from me and am now submitting to what He apparently wants me to live through. That's the result of my journey so far."
November 3: "I have never felt this alive- this complete- this whole."
November 5: "After deliberating and dabbling in new things, I think I have found my path."
November 7: "I feel really empowered right now. Since I have accepted the fact that I have same gender attractions, realized that I am not a bad person for them, and experienced new emotions, I have been so happy. I have felt so comfortable. I have been so alive."


So in less than two months, I went from living in hell to being happy, comfortable, and alive. That's a big transformation. I don't think that I was "relaxed" or indifferent to Church issues at all. I think that both Church and spirituality played a big role in my transformation. I think I agonized over them. Maybe I've become a "Homo," but if being a "Homo" makes me feel like this and being a "Moho" makes me feel like I live in hell, then I want to be a "Homo."

(The first time my dad "caught" me he looked at me with more disgust than I have ever seen and said, "Are you a homo?" I will never forget the hatred and the fear and the anger in his voice as he said that. I said no, by the way.)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Feeling Things I've Never Felt

"We're both looking for something we've been afraid to find. It's easier to be broken. It's easier to hide. Looking at you, holding my breath. For once in my life, I'm scared to death. I'm taking a chance, letting you inside. Feeling alive all over again, As deep as the sky, under my skin. . . Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm feeling right where I belong with you tonight. Like being in love to feel for the first time" (Lifehouse).
This post is again really just an excuse to post lyrics.

I feel really empowered right now. Since I have accepted the fact that I have same gender attractions, realized that I am not a bad person for them, and experienced new emotions, I have been so happy. I have felt so comfortable. I have been so alive.

It makes me wonder- surely my parents have experienced this. When they were young, they must have had these feelings. Did they want me to never experience them? Did they want me to always hate myself and attack and suppress and deny my feelings? Did they want me to never know what it is like to want someone, to be with someone, to have someone?

I suppose they did want all of those things for me, they just wanted them accomplished in a way that I feel will never happen.
"Hearts need a beat, like awake needs asleep, Like a pen needs a page, to learn right you need a mistake. Oh, yeah. . . Strike all the bells, hit 'em hard make 'em all yell, celebrate, infatuate, lock us up, yeah, incarcerate, oh! Oh, I swear, I know, I believe it. Oh, I can't stop hearing all the singing. Oh, my soul has never had this feeling, and it feels like so, so, so much love in you. You got so much love in you. I'm amazed that I'm talkin' to you. You look like the songs that I've heard my whole life coming true" (The Rocket Summer).

Monday, November 5, 2007

Delusions of Grandeur

"Don't give up because you want to be heard. If silence keeps you I, I will break it for you. Everybody wants to be understood. Well I can hear you. Everybody wants to be loved. Don't give up" (Josh Groban).
Dating girls. I briefly mentioned that I wasn't going to date girls and referenced something that a former girlfriend said to justify it. I didn't expect it to start a small debate on the subject, but people have been talking about it. I have avoided the subject, but after Draco's post, I feel ready to revisit the topic.

The reason that I'm not dating girls right now is because of how unfulfilling it is for me. The last girl that I dated was great. She was cute and funny and liked musicals and good books. Every date, however, was like a homework assignment. I was constantly focused on what I needed to do and how to do it- like a series of chores. I just wasn't interested in her. I was only interested in having a wife and being "fixed." Nothing was natural, it was all deliberately accomplished in a failing effort to have something that I wanted but couldn't have.

So then deciding not to date left me wondering if I would ever learn how to love anyone. It left me wondering if I would always be alone. I couldn't stand the thought of that- a lifetime of celibacy is so much to ask of anyone. So what was I supposed to do? Start dating guys? Just hang out with friends constantly? Become a recluse? After deliberating and dabbling in new things, I think I have found my path.
"I'm so alive. I'm so enlightened. I can barely survive a night in my mind. I've got a plan. I'm gonna find out just how boring I am, and have a good time- Cause ever since I tried trying not to find every little meaning in my life it's been fine. I've been cool with my new golden rule . . .Stop trying to figure it out (you try to figure, you try to figure it out), it will only bring you down" (John Mayer).

Saturday, November 3, 2007

We Are All One Big Learning Gang

"Man I just saw something. I'm glad that you are here. I got to start to thinking, and seeing things so clear. . . What happened in November is what I needed. And I'm sorry, that it shows, but life ain't so bad you know. Now the sky's such a sweet blue. You made this come true. My heart feels so new." (The Rocket Summer).
I went to the temple today and it was an amazing experience. My head feels so clear right now. I feel really secure.

While I was in the temple, some things that my mom said came to me. I went home this past weekend and my mom spoke in Sacrament Meeting. She said some beautiful things that I think were directed towards me but that she didn't know how to say to me so she said them from the pulpit instead. Here are some excerpts from her talk (it's all her words except for the two Patricia Holland quotes):
“It’s easy to love those that are kind to us and we’re friends with, but we need to also love those that we have a difficult time loving.”

“Even when people bring upon themselves their own misery, we still have a responsibility to love them.”

“And so I went through and I tried to find characteristics of the Savior’s love, and I came up with four . . . And that is the Savior’s love is accepting, compassionate, empathetic, and unselfish.”

“The Savior’s love is accepting. He loved the leper, the Samaritan, the sinner, children, and even those, or you could say especially those, who society shunned.”

“The Lord is trying to teach us that He loves those who have utilized His atonement, and they in turn love Him.”

“What we want most of all is the approval, praise, and unconditional love of others. Can we give less that what we desire for ourselves?” (Patricia Holland).

“The Saviors love is compassionate. He healed the sick, calmed the storm, raised the dead, fed the hungry, served and allowed others to serve.”

“One of my favorite stories about His compassion, I think for me as a mother, is the story when He raises the son of a widow. In Luke chapter 7:11-15 it tells this story . . . The Savior gave real relief to the people. He actually met their needs.”

“As part of His infinite atonement, Jesus . . . has borne the sins, griefs, sorrows, and declared Jacob, ‘the pains of every man, woman, and child’ (2 Nephi 9:21). Having been perfected in His empathy, Jesus knows how to succor us . . . Nothing is beyond His redeeming reach or His encircling empathy” (Patricia Holland, Ensign, May 1987, 72).
Isn't it beautiful! What a powerful message of acceptance and love from the Savior.

"Past all thought of 'if' or 'when' - no use resisting. Abandon thought, and let the dream descend. What raging fire shall flood the soul? What rich desire unlocks its door? What sweet seduction lies before us? Past the point of no return, the final threshold, what warm, unspoken secrets will we learn? Beyond the point of no return" (Andrew Lloyd Weber).

I've never felt this healthy before

"I'll give you countless amounts of outright acceptance if you want it. I will give you encouragement to choose the path that you want if you need it. You can speak of anger and doubts your fears and freak outs and I'll hold it. You can share your so-called shame filled accounts of times in your life and I won't judge it. (and there are no strings attached to it)" (Alanis Morissette).
I have never felt this alive- this complete- this whole. It is an overload of me when before I was always ignoring me. It is wonderful and exciting and.

I claim to be indecisive. I talk like I'm confused. I say I don't know what I want or what I am going to do. The reality is my actions don't match up to that greatest of pretends. If you follow my actions, then I have already decided.

This post is really just an excuse to post lyrics. I'm going to go to the Temple today.
"You were taken with me to a point, a case of careful what you wish for, but what you knew was enough to begin. And so you called and courted fiercely, so you reached out, entirely fearless, and yet you knew of reservation and how it serves. And I salute you for your courage, and I applaud your perseverance, and I embrace you for your faith in the face of adversarial forces that I represent" (Alanis Morissette).

Friday, November 2, 2007

To being an us for once,

"You know what to say and you say it. You know the rules and you obey them, But I know you are alone. No structure feels like home to you" (Cary Judd).
Last night I saw the dress rehearsal for BYU's production of Chekhov's The Seagull. It was pretty good. There were two major themes that I and others saw in the play that I would like to blog about. One is the conflicts between artistic pursuits and family life. On my straight blog I used to blog about that conflict a lot. (I am an art major working towards a BFA)

The other theme was that the characters all want what they can't have, and the result is their unhappiness. The play uses realism to show the way people naturally want what they can't have and the pain that results from that. After the play, we all stayed for a conversation with the cast, and this theme seemed to dominate the conversation. Many commented that if only the characters would have changed their desires, then they could have been happy.

My first reaction was sarcastic, right, just switch what you want--- it's so easy. Just don't want what you can't have. But the more I was thinking about it, the more I have been trying to figure out what it is that we can't have. I used to think that an open relationship with a guy was something I couldn't have. The reality is, though, that I can have it. I can have a gay relationship. I don't want a sexual relationship with a man though. I want what I can't have.

So what are the things that I can't have? I can't have the attractions magically disappear. I can't have a gay relationship that is condoned by the Church. I can't have a gay relationship and hold a temple recommend. I can't expect to be happy living a double life. These are things that I literally can't do. I think that maybe there is some merit to what the play was showing then. Inasmuch as I want these things that I can't have, I can change what I want. I have done so with the first, so I can do so with the rest.

The question that remains then, is what can I have? Perhaps once I know what I can have, I will be able to intentionally start wanting it.
"But you're perfect tonight, captured by satellite. Perfect tonight, in silent waves of electric light. You are perfect tonight. You look for ghosts in empty basements, though real people are more amazing, Cause we all have something to touch even if it isn't much, not too much" (Cary Judd).

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

"Make Me Think Beautiful Unexpected Thoughts"

I appreciate all of your thoughtful comments. It has lead to a lot of thoughtful thinking on my end of things.

Atonement. It references Christ's suffering on our behalf. The price He paid for our sins. You will notice the picture on my blog is a picture of olive trees in Gethsemane and references the Atonement. In every way I believe in the redemption of His ultimate sacrifice. It demonstrates to me, as it does to most Latter-day Saints, the reality of Christ's power to heal and change.

On my mission I learned a lot about the Atonement and about healing and changing. I watched people change their lives, their character, their desires. I saw how they did it. Through out my life I have applied the same principles I taught them. I have applied the healing, changing power to so many aspect of my life, most especially my sexuality. I felt broken because of my attractions to guys and lack of attraction to girls, and I wanted desperately to be fixed by the Atonement. I prayed fervently, deeply, desperately. I gave of myself. I kept the commandments and lived a meticulously righteous life. I fasted countless days. I bathed my pillow in tears. I became an amateur scriptorian. I served an honorable full time mission. I worked hard on my end of things to learn how to control my thoughts and I regularly went to therapy through LDS social services. I dated a lot of girls. I ignored my feelings for men. I did everything I was supposed to do.

When I came home from my mission I was devastated that I was still attracted to guys. I felt I hadn't been healed even after the Atonement. I expected that it would all end in despair simply because I felt I hadn't changed. It didn't. Instead, I found myself with new perspective. I realized that I had been healed. I realized that I was whole. I looked back and saw that I had changed. In fact, as I've talked with my brother this weekend, I have really felt a great sense of fulfillment in the wonderful things the Atonement has done for me. Of course I still have many things to work on and to change about myself, but I am not broken.

The fact remains, though, that I am still gay. What does that mean? Does it mean that I didn't apply the Atonement enough? Does it mean that I didn't need to change my sexuality? Does it mean I wasn't broken in that area to begin with? I don't know. Those are the questions I am struggling with right now.

The point is, I have let go of the expectation and the demand for change. I have given up the desire to have God remove my pain from me and am now submitting to what He apparently wants me to live through. That's the result of my journey so far. The side effect is that I don't believe that I will ever not be attracted to guys. Maybe that's not true, but I still believe that I needed to let go of the expectation before I could ever really understand what the Atonement has and will do for me.

I don't pretend to know anything about the Atonement. I can't understand it all. I do know that I felt it in my life, though, and I feel it now. And it feels compassionate. My brother has spent the past few days with me, and he shared a realization he had recently with me. "You just don't know what goes on in someone's head. Even if they tell you, you still don't know. But God does."

Monday, October 29, 2007

". . . Terrified of Living Your Own Life?"

I'd like to know what people mean when they say, "You're just trying to convince yourself . . ."

This is something that my mother and roommate have said to me when I tell them that I don't believe I will change my sexuality. Do they actually think that I don't believe what I say, or do they just not believe what I say and assume that deep down inside I also know that they are right? Do I act like I am just trying to convince myself? What does that even look like? What does sincere belief look like?

Just hoping you all have some insights I'm missing.

"If it weren't for your maturity . . ."

"I am a question to the world, not an answer to be heard, or a moment that's held in your arms. And what do you think you'd ever say? I won't listen anyway. You don't know me, and I’ll never be what you want me to be. And what do you think you'd understand? I'm a boy, no, I'm a man. You can take me and throw me away. And how can you learn what's never shown? Yeah, you stand here on your own. They don't know me 'cause I'm not here. And I want a moment to be real, wanna touch things I don't feel, wanna hold on and feel I belong. And how can the world want me to change? They’re the ones that stay the same. They don’t know me, 'Cause I’m not here. (Johnny Rzeznik).
I saw big boobs girl today. Big boobs girl is a girl I dated my freshman year. I know that she has big boobs because my roommate told me that she has big boobs. Knowing that important fact made me sure that she was the one who would fix me. I made out with her in the library. It didn't do anything for me.

It was weird to run into her for the first time since my mission. She was there with her husband. I kinda felt guilty. As if to seal the guilt, my high school girlfriend called me. I wanted to tell her in person about me, but that meant waiting for Christmas. I couldn't wait. I told her. She was way understanding. It helped that I was the third x-boyfriend of hers to come out to her. Poor girl. She had very insightful things to say. She said that a lot of parents have a hard time with their kids coming out because it shatters their dreams/plans, one of which is grandchildren. Another thing she said was that I should never date girls. She said it's not fair to them or to me. And she's had three gay boyfriends now, so I trust her insight. I won't completely rule it out of my future, though.
"And you see the things they never see. All you wanted, I could be. Now you know me, and I'm not afraid, and I wanna tell you who I am. Can you help me be a man? They can't break me as long as I know who I am . . . They can’t tell me who to be, ‘Cause I’m not what they see. And the world is still sleepin’, while I keep on dreamin’ for me. And their words are just whispers and lies that I’ll never believe . . ." (Johnny Rzeznik).

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Getting to Know You

I have apparently met enough mohos now to run into them on campus daily. I'm not sure what that means, but I feel like it ought to mean something. The other day I walked onto the bus and was one of three mohos on the bus- which at one point was a majority. The original novelty and excitement of realizing that there are other Latter-day Saints who are attracted to the same gender is starting to wear off.

Does this mean I am exiting gay adolescence? Absolutely not. I still act like a thirteen year old girl.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

I wasn't even on drugs.

I like to start and end some posts with lyrics. Often they don't have anything to do with the post, but it is a nice reflection of the emotions I am feeling or the tunes I'm listening to. I just love music. Anyway, I just can't pick two sets of lyrics, so I will let you in on all of the songs on my itunes right now and you can pull the quotes you want. I Was So Alone, Chasing Cars, The Great Escape, You and Me, Open Your Eyes, and Oh What a World.
Yesterday I had a really good day. One of many small ecstasies was watching the movie Saved. You all MUST go and watch the movie. It completely changed the way that I look at the world and myself and God. I want to write a whole long review on the movie, but it would detract from the real point of this post.

I got home last night at 3 AM and I was feeling really happy. And I was wondering why I didn't feel that happy in Church. And then I started doing some deep thinking as I was wrapped up in the catharsis of the night. Thought turned to meditation turned to prayer turned to enlightenment.

Suddenly I realized that it was good that I felt good. And then I realized that Church should make me feel good. I should enjoy it. I should feel uplifted. I should feel spiritual. I decided to get what I wanted out of Church, and I want to get happy, uplifting, spiritual experiences out of church. To do that, I realized that I needed to give up my expectations and demands. I needed to stop putting conditions on what would make me feel good at Church.

Last night I didn't sleep at all- I just felt. And then I got up and I showered and I put on my new Sunday clothes that actually fit me and I went to Church and it was awesome. I haven't enjoyed Church like that in a very long time. I had fun. I was uplifted. I felt the Spirit. And all of this despite distasteful comments and offensive things. I just let those things that normally bug me fall off.

It was wonderful. And the best part is that this whole divine, euphoric, enlightening experience was not even drug induced.

Saved

"You didn't ruin my life, Mary"

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Cut from the Team

"It's easier to run, replacing this pain with something numb. It's so much easier to go than face all this pain here all alone. Something has been taken from deep inside of me. The secret I've kept locked away no one can ever see. Wounds so deep they never show they never go away, like moving pictures in my head for years and years they've played" (Linkin Park).
So last week I talked to my parents individually for the first time about what my life is actually like with these attractions. I knew they were having untold stresses of their own, and I hadn't really planned on telling them, but I needed to share it with someone. I thought the conversations went well. Apparently they didn't. (long story why)

Anyway, to be concise, my dad called me the morning after I had talked with my mom and said, "So let me get this straight, after two years on a mission, you're just going to give it all way to live a gay lifestyle?" If you could have seen me, you would have seen a classic wtf face. I never said anything like that.

So my parents just overreacted and freaked out. My mom thinks that blogs are akin to porn because both are on the internet. That's just one example of their ridiculous fears. Skipping ahead to the point, my mom and I had a three way conversation with my therapist to clarify some things. I asked her what she wanted, and she said she just wants me to be normal. I told her that was such a loaded word, and asked if I could replace it with the word healthy. She said no. So then I asked how important it was for me to be normal. I asked if being normal was worth the cost of being healthy. She couldn't answer the question.

My mom would rather me be who she wants than be a mentally healthy person.

I asked how this was going to be accomplished. She said that she didn't know, but that she was trying to find the solution. She said she thinks that we are on the verge of discovering the cure. I can understand why she would want a cure. I wanted one for many many years. But that's not what I want now. When I was hoping for a cure, then every day- every moment- that I wasn't cured was a disappointment. It was a terrible way for me to live. I don't have that expectation anymore. (unfortunately I have replaced it with another unhealthy expectation, but that's a whole new post).

My parents took a major loss this week. They have put themselves on another team. All I wanted was to feel like they were on my team, but they aren't. The result is that I don't trust them with my feelings any more. I can't tell them what's going on in my life. That is a major loss for them. They just severed communication. They also made me extremely bitter. It's too easy for me to blame the Church for their insensitivity, ignorance, and lack of compassion, unfair as that is. I'm just so tired of it all.
"I remember what they taught to me, remember condescending talk of who I ought to be, remember listening to all of that and this again. So I pretended up a person who was fittin' in, and now you think this person really is me and I'm trying to bend the truth. But the more I push the more I'm pulling away . . ." (Linkin Park).

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Lingering Again

How do you cope with the loneliness and ache?

It is so hard to be alone. I just want a companion, someone to be with. And I just want some affection. I want to cuddle. I want to hold hands. I want to kiss. I'm not asking for much. A guy like me should be able to do all of those things. I'm so tired of watching all the guys around me do them. I am not a loser. I am not ugly. I am not socially inept. *sigh*

Once again my finger lingers over the publish button. My dad says I should just not think about it. Just don't think about it and it will all go away.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Receiving Revelation

I still receive revelation. I always thought that if I accepted the fact that I am attracted to men I wouldn't receive revelation. I also thought that if I ever questioned the Church, I wouldn't receive revelation. Well, today in church, I received revelation. It was just as I have always received it.

I was feeling alright in Priesthood because of something the Bishop said about helping each other out when we feel "BLASTD"- bored, lonely, angry, sad, tired, or depressed. It made me realize how awesome my roommate is at recognizing that in me and in helping me. He's like the perfect example of what the Bishop said. It also made me realize how I can extend help to others, and how much the support of other mohos means to me.

So because I was feeling good about that, I suppose I was more open to the Spirit. During Conference, I had had a spiritual experience during the song "I Believe in Christ." It was a beautiful arrangement, and it just made me feel like being Mormon was such a beautiful thing. Anyway, in Sacrament Meeting we sang that song, and all of sudden these words jumped out at me: "I believe in Christ, He stands supreme. From Him I'll gain my fondest dream. And while I strive through grief and pain, His voice is heard: 'Ye shall obtain.'"

Yesterday I had a very good, meaningful conversation with my dad, and he told me that he just wants me to be happy. I have had that on my mind ever since. As I have been thinking about happiness, when I sang that line in the hymn, I suddenly realized that I could and would obtain happiness. I don't know how. I don't know when. I don't even know why, but happiness is not some hope we aim for in the afterlife. It is something obtained as part of the mortal experience. That much was revealed to me.

I have other thoughts stemming from this bit of insight, but I think I will leave the post at that.

Heroic Excuses

I wrote this the other day, and my finger has lingered over the publish button for a while.

Sometimes I am afraid that being a moho is just a transition from mo to ho. I have started to wonder why I am staying in the repressed Mormon lifestyle. I don't think that it is because of my testimony any more, as much as that would be nice to believe. So then I thought that it was because leaving the LDS lifestyle would mean leaving my support networks- specifically my parents. Then I realized that recent events have already taken away the support of my parents. They are not a support right now.

Now I think that it is because I am the support network. Now that my parents suddenly aren't, I am. My siblings are so traumatized right now, I can't disrupt the last stable thing for them. But even as I type this I wonder, am I really that self-sacrificing? It is a rather heroic excuse. Is that just because I want the reason to be heroic, or is it because I am really heroic?

Maybe the real reason is that I have no balls. Why is that so hard to accept?

P.S. This post makes me sound weak. It is really scary to allow myself to be seen as weak. I am still trying to maintain, however, this forum of honesty. Even now that I know some of you.
P.P.S. If you didn't, you should read Mormon Enigma's post, "What is it that we really want?"

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Never Knew

Wow. I have always loved the song Never Knew by The Rocket Summer. It is such a great song, but I never really realized what the song meant. It just popped up on my itunes shuffle, and suddenly the song resonated. It is all the emotions I have had since I started this blog. Here's the highlights:

"I just ran into a few someone's today, someone's that I never really knew. And I used to think how I had them all so figured out, but no, none of it's true 'cause I never knew you, and now the truth of it is, is I wanna be like you. So hello, good friend, I wanna be next to you for my head, for my heart, for what's true.

"So I'm burning the thoughts of the things that I once said. Because you tore down the walls that the world that has put inside my head. And I just get sick of the things that we think, we think we know . . .

"And as they strolled along, my heart broke out in song from all the things and the thoughts and assumptions that I had wrong. See now I'll be on my way to make this claim. I'll make it famous in every way. I'll make it stay when I will save it...

"No, none of it's true 'cause I never knew you, and now the truth of it is, is I wanna be like you. So hello, good friend, I wanna be next to you for my head, for my heart, for what's true" (The Rocket Summer).

More Comfortable

"Step one you say we need to talk. He walks, you say, 'sit down it's just a talk.' He smiles politely back at you. You stare politely right on through. Some sort of window to your right, as he goes left and you stay right between the lines of fear and blame, and you begin to wonder why you came" (The Fray).
Thursday I had an awesome time meeting even more of you mohos. (Thank you so much AtP) I also watched my first real "R" rated movie. (Passion of the Christ doesn't count). We watched V for Vendetta. It was good, but very political. I felt a billion times more comfortable with myself that night.

Today I decided to tell my roommate. He was suspicious, and I wanted to tell him rather than having him just find out. He took it so well. He didn't flinch at all. He was very understanding, and he hasn't treated me any different. He didn't even give me a lecture about the plan of salvation. He just talked and was there for me. I wish my parents had reacted like he did.

Tonight I watched the first three episodes of Heroes season 2. IT WAS AWESOME! The themes speak for themselves. I watched it with Romulus and Remus and Mulan. I just felt so comfortable- again! I could be myself. It was so weird not worrying about motives or how I appeared or being found out. With every passing day I get more and more comfortable being me.
"Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend somewhere along in the bitterness, and I would have stayed up with you all night had I known how to save a life" (The Fray).

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Love Unfeigned

"What if I was alright? What if I wasn't wound so tight? What if I had the balls to be bad? Would you still look at me like that? Would you be mad that I had held the old me back? Why can't I be somebody else? Somebody who isn't too cool to believe it's okay to be just me" (Bleu).
I started leaving Romulus a comment when I realized it was more of a post.

A few days after I came home from my mission, I went shopping with my brother, "Thomas." He is really my best friend. When we talk, it is amazing how similarly we think and yet we are different enough to let the conversations be provocative. Anyway, in the car ride home from this excursion, (and wow it was a fun excursion), I confided in him my fears about getting married. Suddenly I felt like that was my next step, but I knew that I wasn't ready for it. I had never had even as much as a relationship with a girl. (other than a somewhat short, hollow, non physical thing I had going with a girl in high school). On the other hand, Thomas has had great success with a girl whom he has been dating for two years. Their relationship is very deep. They're practically ready to elope. Anyway, I asked him how he had been able to make it work.

My brother started telling me about how he started dating her. There was competition. He described the challenges. He talked about all the schemes he came up with to get her to notice him. He talked about becoming her friend. He talked about how beautiful she was at prom. He talked about how deeply he was attracted to her- emotionally, mentally, and physically. Suddenly I was struck by this revelation. He worked HARD for that relationship. He invested everything into it. He tried so hard to make it work. He agonized over it, obsessed over it, loved it.

The reason I've never had a relationship like he has is because I've never even tried.

Why haven't I tried? That was when I realized I had never been attracted to girls. I have never wanted to put in the work for a girl because I've never wanted a girl. There was no driving motivation for me to do it. I thought I had been attracted to girls. I had pretended to be attracted to girls. I had pretended to work on a relationship. But it wasn't real.

My brother had something that I couldn't fake. He had something that was so real and yet mysterious to me. Something I couldn't have, no matter how much I had wanted to.

So what does that mean? Does it mean that I will never have it- will never love and never have loved? No. No. That's when I realized what I did have- what I had put work and investment into. Guys. I have worked really hard to make relationships work with guys. I may never have had a romantic relationship with a guy, but having something with guys has been important to me. It has been challenging. I have spent uncounted hours scheming ways to get guys to notice me. I have had to compete for it, but I have made such good friends. My attractions to guys is what has always driven me.

I think that this realization was the beginning of accepting who I am.
"Maybe I was too much. Maybe I'll take it down a notch. Maybe I'll have the guts to go mad. Maybe I'll mess me up real bad. Maybe I'll make you wish you had the old me back. Why can't I be somebody else? Somebody who isn't too cool to believe it's okay to be just me. What if I can't remember who I'm trying to be?" (Bleu).

Monday, October 8, 2007

Project: Function

So I watched the John Kovalenko Interview and I really liked it. There were so many good points that he made, but what struck me was just how secure he was. He was so secure and mature and . . . I just want that for me. I want to know what's up. I want to know who I am. I want to feel secure where I'm going. I really envied that in John, and wonder if his time away from the Church made that possible and if there is another way to do it.

But anyway, the reason that I'm posting right now is to give myself some accountability. I went and looked in the mirror and was completely disgusted. I was really scruffy and unshaven, my hair was greasy and messy and long, you could see my ribs and I just looked so sickly and nasty and ugly. I haven't really eaten since I had waffles yesterday morning. And you know what, the mirror looked almost as nasty as I did. My bathroom and bedroom are filthy. Piles of crap everywhere. Anyway, I've decided to take control, and so I am making a list of things to accomplish today. And I'm posting it up here so I can be accountable. So, if by midnight I haven't done these things, I expect sharp rebukes.

* Shower, Shave, Get dressed
* Do Laundry
* Clean Room
* Force roommate to help me clean bathroom
* Withdraw from honors polysci hell class
* Buy groceries
* Eat
* Do accounting homework.
* Do creative writing homework.
* Assemble bike
* Buy a zippered hoodie and some clothes that fit
* Buy some garments that fit
* Plan FHE with my FHE wife
* Do FHE
* Be Happy


Starting . . . NOW! Break.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

What a weekend.

"At Cavanaugh Park where I used to sit all alone in the dark, and dream about things that I cannot say. You always said destiny would blow me away, and nothing's gonna blow me away . . ." (Something Corporate).
General Conference is now over, and I am now faced with the dual reality that I have to do my homework and that I can't really accomplish tasks right now.

In case I have been too vague and you think that I'm being too dramatic in saying that I can't accomplish simple tasks, let me elaborate on all that has happened in the past week and a half. I realized that I wasn't going to change my orientation. I discovered three of my friends are also homosexual. I accepted myself and stopped some terribly self abusive habits. I discovered that someone I should be able to trust had betrayed me and the rest of my family. My family was torn apart by the sudden withdrawal of secrecy. The future of my family was jeopardized by legal consequences to the said betrayal. In short, in the same week, I experienced the best thing that has ever happened to me and the worst thing that has ever happened to me. That is actually not even an exaggeration. I am writing too much about this.

Despite all this emotional overload, I really enjoyed myself this weekend. I loved the one liners of the Priesthood Session. It was nice to be able to have someone to laugh about it with (I went with AttemptingthePath). I had a lot of fun at Drex and Salad's. I wouldn't have been ready to meet everyone had it not been for Romulus and Remus. I grew up with them, and it so it was so great to just . . . I don't even know. It just was great. That night I felt like I hadn't felt since July 1, 2003. And that's all I have to say about that.
"At Cavanaugh Park where you used to take me to play in the sand, and said to me, 'Son, one day you'll be a man. And men can do terrible things.' Yes they can. And there was never any place for someone like me to be totally happy. I'm running out of clock and that ain't a shock. Some things never do change, Never do change" (Something Corporate).

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Scared to Death

WOW! Did anyone just see that?! I am watching the live news conference introducing Elder Eyring and Elder Cook to the press on KBYU, and they just opened it up for questions, and poor President Eyring's first question was "What do you think about Same Sex Marriage and Same Gender Attraction?" The look on his face was priceless. He was scared. To me it looked like the mantle suddenly came crashing down on his shoulders. He couldn't answer the question, and delicately danced himself out of answering it. I'm not upset about that, he did a good job of it, but man- I would love to have the image of his face to put up here.

It is so sad that we have to be so scary.

On a completely different note, I changed my title and username from "ssa" to "forever barred." When I started this blog, I thought that SSA was going to be a creative title. I thought that a blog about the conflicts of same sex attraction and being an active Latter-day Saint was unique. Well, since I've discovered I'm not really that weird after all, I should create a username that is more reflective of me. And so, I decided to make an allusion to one of my favorite books, Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie. I thought about using "My Biggest Pretend" to refer to the quote: "I want always to be a boy and have fun." (Peter) "You say so, but I think it is your biggest pretend" (Wendy). But then I thought that this site is not my biggest pretend, because it is the one place I can be honest. So then I thought about using "Oh the cleverness of me!," but it is too long and it is too cocky. While it is the cockiness that makes Peter Pan so awesome, I haven't improved my self esteem enough to share such a virtue.

And so I, I decided to use "forever barred" as my username- a reference to some of the things that Peter was barred from, (or was he really barred from them?) It fits.

Friday, October 5, 2007

How do you know?

"I wanna heal, I wanna feel what I thought was never real. I wanna let go of the pain I've held so long. (Erase all the pain till it's gone) I wanna heal, I wanna feel like I'm close to something real. I wanna find something I've wanted all along. Somewhere I belong."
I am watching Meet Joe Black in front of my roommates. This is dangerous. Brad Pitt is so seductive in this movie.

At the end, Joe Black, representing Death (therefore one who can never love, until by accident he falls in love) confronts Quince and asks him how he knows that his wife loves him. His response: "Because she knows the worst thing about me, and its ok." That is making me think about love, and who loves me. It is an interesting definition to think about.
"I will never know myself until I do this on my own, And I will never feel anything else, until my wounds are healed. I will never be anything till I break away from me. I will break away, I'll find myself today" (Linkin Park).

Elusive Happiness

I discovered some very terrible things today, and I went into trauma mode. Romulus and Remus rescued me, and now I feel a teensy bit better. They had me laughing, at least, and that felt good.

One thing they mentioned was that my blog sounds a whole lot happier and more optimistic than I seem in person. I told them it was because I was trying to convince everyone of the Mo in moho. In any event, here's to honesty:

I'm beginning to wonder if there is such thing as goodness and happiness, or if they are just vain hopes that we dream up to make up to get us to our graves.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Anorexia

"I wanna know, can you show me? I wanna know about these strangers like me. Tell me more, please show me. Something's familiar about these strangers like me" (Phil Collins).
Last night one of my roommates was trying to force me to eat. I wouldn't, so he accused me of having an eating disorder, to which I replied that only girls have eating disorders. This prompted some internet research that shows that boys can also have eating disorders. We had a whole big conversation about the symptoms of anorexia, trying to determine if I was anorexic (of course this was 75% jest). As he read the symptoms, we would state whether or not I qualified. Here's the list:
* Food rituals
* Compulsive exercise and/or preoccupation with body mass, muscles, etc.
* Preoccupation with food
* Intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat, even though underweight
* Disturbance in the way in which one's body weight or shape is experienced
* Undue influence of body weight or shape on self-evaluation, or denial of the seriousness of current low body weight
* Lying about eating or difficulty eating around others
* Depression, isolation, loneliness
* Unrealistic and perfectionistic standards
* Difficulty expressing feelings
* Low self-esteem
* Need for control
* Possible sexual orientation and gender identity issues
* Decreased interest in sex, anxiety surrounding sexual activity
* Fatigue and muscle weakness
* Low blood pressure and body temperature
* Thinning hair or hair loss

Anyway, the point I'm getting to is that when he got to the symptom, "possible sexual orientation issues," we all started laughing, and he said, "Well I guess you're not anorexic."

That just made me laugh even more.
Come with me now to see my world, Where there's beauty beyond your dreams. Can you feel the things I feel, right now, with you? Take my hand. There's a world I need to know" (Phil Collins).