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


"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.