Saturday, December 29, 2007

Year end reflections - part II...

So it's been three years. Am I any different? How have things changed? For the better or for worse? I'll leave those to be dealt with in the next post in this series...

But, an odd thing happened this post-Christmas week that is related directly to this quest for self-reflection at year's end:

Over the course of the last couple of days I've been visited twice (separate and unrelated) by Tim and Will (my two boy-toy heart throbs, if you will, who started the whole "coming to terms" with my attraction issues and eventually opening up about them to myself and to my wife).

It's a coincidence that:

1. each of them came to me of their own will and accord (I did not solicit or even invite such meetings) at my home office,

2. each of them sought out their "old mate" to have a "chat" and to get updated with me over the holidays (seeing that we don't see each other much anymore as both are away to school otherwise),

3. each of them have nearly-engaged fiancees and are planning weddings in the near future,

4. each of them came to discuss the complications and intricacies of the female relationship and the path that leads to marital bliss - um..yes, they came to me, the ol' gay guy, their mate hug-buddy who is such an expert at marriage,

5. each of them stayed over 2-1/2 hours discussing their lives with me - and yet it seemed like only a few precious minutes,

6. each of them confessed their love for me and I for them,

7. each "chat in the flesh" session ended affectionately with our famous hugs-and-kisses scene at the door (need I rehearse the familiarity and beauty of the magic of that sense of touch???).

Now, I personally find it interesting enough that these two guys (who, though they may not know entirely, started it all in waking up my internal volcano, and who independently nearly ended my marriage in divorce three years ago!) are still around, actively in my life, anxious for our relationship to continue and to grow and to be reinforced.

But, the really interesting part is that Tim and Will both came to my house and in both cases, my wife came down and saw us together (talking) and she was very friendly, interested in their lives and not upset that they were with me. And, to further confuse the situation, she never said one thing to me about them coming over (nor the odd coincident of two occasions on top of each other like that), whether I had called them, if I knew they were home for the holidays, whether I arranged to meet them etc. etc. In fact, she hasn't brought them up at all in any subsequent conversations with me. Now, that is what is freaking me out - for you see - Tim and Will are symbols of all that I desire that she can't offer me - and thus, they are a source, a huge source of frustration and jealousy in our marriage. In the last couple of years, even mentioning their names, or encountering them at church, or heaven-for-bid at home, was ammunition for interrogations - questioning my motives and not seeing how painful and hurtful it is to have them still in my life after all that I've confessed that I feel toward them.

And now - nothing - no interrogation at all. Instead, polite pleasantries that are truly sincere. What is going on here? Is she planning the big ax to drop on me in my sleep? Or has she changed and come around to see that these "boyfriends" of mine are just that - friends - friends that are boys (dang cute boys I might add :)) that I need in a special, unique sort of coming-to-terms-with-being-gay-and-married way - and yet not in a way to destroy my marriage, love and loyalty to her? In other words, after dropping the bomb on her that I'm gay and "out" (at least to ourselves), I've suspected that she's anticipated the next bomb dropping that "oh by the way... I've got a boyfriend and I'm leaving you for him" announcement. And, since that second bomb has never come, is it possible to think that she is beginning to trust me? Can she believe that despite my attractions to these boys (that are a strong as ever, if not stronger), I'm still hers and am not going any place? Can she possibly be viewing them no longer as a threat to her and to our marriage? Can she be beginning to accept me for who I am?

to be continued...

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Year end reflections - part 1...

Three years ago tomorrow, I attended the funeral of a dear, close friend. It was sad enough that it happened just after Christmas, but it was even worse that he had committed suicide and left four small children and a widow to wonder those "whys" that cannot ever be answered. I am still haunted by his suicide and how he got to the place that made it all make sense to take his own life and to conclude that his family would be better off without him. The days after Christmas continue to be a difficult ones for me...

It was also three years ago, that coincidentally, I was seriously contemplating the same thing. We had made it through another holiday season and we were able to "put on the great facade" in front of friends and family that all was fine in the Beck home. Of course, it wasn't... I had recently come to the conclusion that I was gay - a revelation in the making that took twenty three years of marriage to accept. My wife knew that something was changing inside me as I became more and more distant from her, pulling away from family and all things marital.

After attending the funeral of my friend, I literally fell apart. I couldn't understand so many things. I started crying all the time. I couldn't stop. I was in so much pain and torment. I knew what I was doing to her and I couldn't live with myself, knowing what I was doing to destroy her life and all that she thought she had created with me. I knew that either I would have to confront my wife and bring her into full understanding of what was going on inside of me, (which was something that I just couldn't imagine doing) or I would have to leave the situation all together (moving myself from my wife and kids - running away - or worse - just ending it... my buddy just did it - so why couldn't I?) I was very frightened!

These thoughts and emotions, these feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness overwhelmed me. I knew I had to confront her and I prayed that she would confront me so that I wouldn't have to bring it up. I knew that if I didn't do something to reach out to her for help, I would end up doing something frightening... and again, I wept for my friend and wept that I was heading for the same result.

Fast-forward three years: A lot has changed and evolved in the last three years, mostly for the better... Forester asked me recently whether I regret having come "out" to my wife. That's intriguing me. I know some have advised me to let the past go and that what is done is done... but as this year ends, and I come to my third anniversary of my "outing" to my wife, I feel an evaluation of these last three years is appropriate as I look forward to realizing and marking the "progress" made instead of the lack of progress (though I'm certainly not as far down the road that I thought I would be by now - but, hey... I'm still on the road and I'm still going forward)...

To be continued...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Buon Natale...

In this strange medium called blogging, I have shared personal thoughts, feelings, and actions that I would never dream of sharing with my closest friends, family, Bishop, even my wife... it has served me well as an outlet and a source for information and a means whereby I can grasp for some self/group therapy. And yet, because of my being willing to open up and share my very private vulnerabilities with you (which I wonder at times if I'm not too honest and too revealing of my personal foibles and follies), and if you are following along, we have come to "know" each other (or at least this aspect that I reveal to you) through this miracle of MOHO queerosphere.

Many of you have become friends -dear friends... friends that know things about me that I don't even know about myself as you advise me in ways that I can't see, and you comment, and share, and support me as true friends. I thank you for your kindness and sensitivity for this confused and slow-to-learn gay boy.

With another Christmas upon us, may I say that I truly wish you joy and peace in your lives. We may be on different paths, (you may find it crazy and inconceivable that I've chosen to stay faithful to the Church and to my marriage and family), but, I learn from you, and have come to love you in ways that even a year ago I didn't think were possible... There is always room for you at my table.

Love and hugs,


Friday, December 21, 2007

Early Christmas present...

In the last week, it has come to my attention (through these endless surveys and "studies" - I mean, is there anything left to be studied out there?) that:

1. Utah ranks no. 1 in the nation for people who are depressed...


2. SLC is the vainest city in the nation...

So, depression (in the sense of not being happy with life verses chemical depression) signals either a) a population that is trying to always be better (which is a good thing verses not trying at all) or b) a population that is working hard to achieve goals that might be set too high and so there is a built-in / self-imposed failure rate for not ever being "good enough" or "measuring up" to always higher standards. The Church often inspires such thoughts, which in general, are good so that we always keep trying to improve - but these thoughts can focus our attentions solely on "perfecting ourselves" and falling short of perfection leads to unhappiness or unworthiness... such thoughts were never the Savior's! As a people, we fail to allow the Savior in our lives to bring the peace that the Gospel is supposed to bring as we do what we can. Is it any wonder why we are depressed instead of joyful for having the everlasting Gospel plan in our lives?

The vanity thing is interesting... When I was in NYC last month with my wife, we went into the Sephora store and were overwhelmed by perfumes and beauty products and gay-boys promoting the latest items. My wife commented: "there are a lot of people out there hungry to be loved". Now for NYC or L.A. to be concerned about beauty and vanity is one thing, but SLC? I guess it was determined by the amount of money spent on beauty products and cosmetic surgery, and the number per capita of plastic surgeons. Does this ranking of SLC have anything to do with a people wanting to "look good" for the sake of caring about their appearances (in a positive sense - good health, good hygiene etc.) or is this people "hungry for love"? And does that have anything to do with the unhappiness / depression ranking noted above?

On that vein, I finally cut my hair! For anyone who follows (the two or three of you out there), I really have a thing for long hair. I've concluded that it is a symbol of rebellion and since I don't "fit in" and never have (i.e. I'm not like other guys - especially those in my High Priest Quorum and neighborhood) I've always used my hair as a personal symbol of rebellion, purposefully setting myself apart from the rest of the gang. I don't remember the last time I got a haircut. This time, my hair was long enough to pull into a pony tail. But, alas, following the desires of my true love (read "wife" here) I cut my hair as an early Christmas present for her... (wasn't that kind and thoughtful of me???).

It's now missionary-short and spikey and ugly and I hate it... but she likes it. She says I look younger. I don't believe her. It shows that I'm turning gray... I hate that, too. When it's longer it hides that touch of gray that gives me the "air of distinction" (her words). In my view, I'm just getting older. It's another example of where I don't know who I am, that I try to be what others want me to be, and that I continue to live behind a facade... *sigh*

So do you think my vanity has anything to do with my depression?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Good will toward men?

I wasn't going to post about this, but OneofsoMany recently said the following and it triggers a conflict currently burning inside me:

"I feel bad because I know I’ve tried to control him and direct his life. The intents were always good. I just want him to be and feel happy and help him through his struggles. It’s hard to back off and let him live and experience HIS life, make HIS choices and suffer HIS consequences. I try to always be there for him and hope he feels that I am, or at least try..."

I really can relate to this. Recently, Tim and I spoke about a situation that he's in where there are some money issues which has led to some debt that he needs to pay off. As a result, some of his plans for the near future may have to be put on hold - good plans, good things, righteous desires, etc.

Naturally, because of my close, brotherly relationship with him (and because I'm in love with him on several levels), I find my desires to get out my checkbook and write off his debts are almost overwhelming me. To his credit, he has begged me NOT to do this... And yet, here I sit wanting so much to run to his bank and make a deposit.

And I ask myself, why? Isn't it good to have friends to come to your aid in times of need? Aren't I trying to be helpful - is that bad? I don't want anything in return - I've even mentioned that for the sake of his pride, he could consider it a loan and pay me off when he's rich and famous.

But, he wants to learn and go through this and work his way out of it. So far, I've resisted the urges to step in and take away this learning opportunity from him - and it's hard - because I can. I have the means to step in and erase all his debts... and I want so much to do so.

So, do I step back and let my dear indescribable good friend "struggle", and be a good friend by just "being there"? Or do I bail him out? I mean, it's Christmastime, right? "Good will toward men" and all that good cheer?

And the really tough rhetorical question of the day: Do I feel this overwhelming desire to assist him out of his struggles and bail him out, not because of my love for him, but to help me ease my guilt because of my love for him???

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Spirit of the Season

I know, I know... I've been known to be the biggest proponent of calling Deseret Book the ultimate peddler of priestcraft, yet here I am, preaching in the spirit of Abelard's most recent posts, offering my two-cents worth on a "must-have" item for anyone loving classical Christmas music... The CD "Spirit of the Season" by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir with Sissel is incredible. Go get it now and listen to it while you're in the mood for Christmas music - don't wait until Christmas! (Am I over-selling here?)

Of course, you've got to be stone deaf to not appreciate the gift of pure magic that is Sissel's smooth, effortless soprano voice with that Norwegian touch of angelic beauty!

I saw the performance live twice last year - and by far I'm completely blown-away, swept-off-my-feet in love with another woman! For this gay-boy, that's saying something!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Lost Sheep Among Us...

On Sunday, I was asked to present a special lesson in Priesthood Meeting. I gave a lot of thought and prayer to what I was to present.

I talked about how easy it is to love those who love us first, how eager we are to volunteer in priesthood assignments to help a fellow brother or sister who has been a model of love and a champion of righteous living in our lives as we feel an obligation of sorts, and rightfully so, to pay back in some small way, when that person is now in need of our assistance. It is easy to remember the obvious widow or widower at Christmastime - but what about during the rest of the year? It is easy to reach out to the recent young widow whose husband prematurely died of a sudden heart attack leaving her with eight children - but what about months from now when the flower displays from the funeral have wilted and faded away?

But then I led a discussion of how the Savior loved everyone unconditionally. I twisted the Parable of the Lost Sheep (hopefully within the intent of Christ's words) to not be focused solely on the ONE who has sinned and needs repentance and has left the fold, or is "less active" and has turned from the Gospel (and the Church family associations), but more so, as the ONE who is around us within the Church family who is in silent pain, who is suffering quietly, who has issues (even SSA) that keeps one from connecting with the fellowship of the Saints, who is lonely and all alone - even when surrounded by people. This is the ONE who most likely does not PUBLISH their pain or disconnectivity or his loneliness and puts on a facade that all is well in Zion, when in reality they are screaming for help.

When we address the Lost Sheep, we usually place ourselves within the group of the 90-and-9. We are still in the fold. We are faithful. We are the good ones. In Luke 15:7, the Savior states: "... joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance." But, who doesn't need to repent? Aren't we all sinners? And thus, isn't it logical that in reality we are ALL the "ONE" referred to in the parable?

The conversation evolved to where we admitted that it was easy to love and assist, to reach out and touch the obvious, the more visible, the loved brother or sister with a health problem - but that it is much more difficult to remember to reach out to those who don't have such visible ailments, but who are suffering ever so much. CONNECTIVITY - reaching out, touching each other, giving hugs, being kind, saying hello, befriending the friendless, the lonely, the one on the fringe, lifting the spirits of the one that isn't so "popular" for our affection, risking our own feelings and comfort zones by being willing to offer our assistance and affection as the spirit dictates, especially to the "unpopular" among us, or the ones with issues we may not understand (such as depression, SSA etc.) That is what the Savior did. He sought out the "unpopular" among us, not just the obvious, and he made each of us feel as we were the "ONE".

In the end, after the lesson, many stiff High Priests came up to me and thanked me for touching their hearts and making them think in a new way. Then, an interesting phenomenon occurred... they lined up and gave me a hug! I didn't ask for these hugs, especially from older men who I never thought to hug before. Though these hugs were rigid and stiff - the good ol' priesthood quick embrace and three pats on the back (not two, not four - just three), they were still hugs and signs of affection for me - from men that I would not expect to demonstrate such sensitivities in such a public forum. It felt good. I felt blessed and humbled for having been there to be edified by the power of the spirit and the power of brotherhood. (Granted, I couldn't help but wonder why it is that as men get older we often become less open in our expressions of affection - we become more distant in our public expressions - why is that? I don't ever wnat to to do that. I never want to change! I wish with all my heart that I could truly connect with them as I do with my "younger" brethren who aren't afraid to truly be "connected" with me, and openly embrace me with the affectionate brotherly love of David and Jonathan - but that's for another day - for now I should be grateful that some level of connection was made with the seasoned members of the ward... But I couldn't help but wonder why it is that so many have such a problem with physical affection, with touching each other, with truly hugging without reservation - I guess there are those of us who are "touchy feely" and then there are those who are not - I'm just glad I'm a touchy-feely guy, and I love to encourage others to open themselves to the power of TOUCH!)

I hope to live up to my own lesson: Be not afraid to reach out with love and kindness to the ONE among us! (P.S. Remember that YOU are the "one"!)

Monday, December 10, 2007

I love the white stuff...

What is it about a good ol' snowstorm to lift my spirits?

I mean, snow is cold and wet and slushy and it sticks to my car and ices up my door and I get stuck in the gutter or even my own driveway, let alone being bogged down on the freeway, right?

And yet, snow can take a dreary bland Utah landscape of the post fall leaf-changing burst of color and change it into a magical, bright place blanketed in light.

I love snow. I don't really ski (some cross-country, but never got into downhill), but I love to hike in it, build snowmen, and who doesn't love a good snowball fight with the kids!
I love it's acoustical value... Have you ever noticed how the world becomes insulated in sound-attenuated blankets and the harshness of surrounding sounds are softened by snow?

I hiked the neighborhood hollow and felt renewed in my spirit. Why does this happen?

The recent snow this weekend even made me excited to go shopping. I never go shopping this early in the season. I hate shopping! But I went out to join the throngs of holiday commercialists and it felt like everyone was a bit more happy spending their money because of the snow. Have we been so brainwashed by traditional images of what it's supposed to feel like that we actually "feel" it?

Or is there really magic in all that white stuff?
You know what?... this post is so gay...

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The cycle...

Been out of town again, but was joined by my wife for the weekend.

Took in the magic and lights and spectacle of the season at one of the greatest cities on earth...

Did some Christmas shopping, took in a play, and had some fun and great times together, creating cherished memories...

Enjoyed the time together away from the kids - just the two of us, but...

that wasn't enough. She wanted more than "good times". She needed more bonding and renewal, much more so than I - and our needing each other being on different waves created anxiety when all else was there to create the "magical moment" that she craved... and so...

Just as I sometimes boil over, or go into a panic, or desire things that aren't conducive to a happy marriage due to my attractions, so she desires things for our marriage that sometimes I can't provide, and that leads to stress, anxiety and insecurity on both our parts. I'm never exactly sure when these desires or needs of companionship, security, interest and focus on her, attention and attraction that is genuine and reciprocated, need to be manifested in a certain precise way in order for her to feel anchored in our relationship... and when I don't manifest them in the exact way she needs, tears begin to flow and angst, heartache, loneliness and insecurity rise to the surface - for a while - boiling over a bit - and then we simmer down and back together again.

It was this time this weekend that it happened that I realized my inabilities or incapacity to truly connect with her in a real sense - more than intimacy - an emotional and total connection of souls - in the way that she needed to be reassured that I'm still "with her" together, forever - was so painful to her because she truly LOVES me and she doesn't, at times, feel that I love her back. Being good friends, best friends, companions committed to each other, focusing on each other, isn't good enough. At times, I need to truly be bonded in LOVE with her as she is with me. And when I'm distant, or not as connected, or I just can't, or when I'm giving all that I have and it's not enough to satisfy her inner needs - it hurts her. All the consoling and empathy, all the increased amounts of affection and attention can't make up for what is missing at that moment. She knows right then and there, and is painfully reminded, that my attractions aren't focused on her no matter how hard I try. She knows that I long for something she can't give me, even as much as I try only to long for her to be happy.

Why does she so deeply LOVE me? What have I done to completely inflict such intense stress on her because of this love she feels for me? Knowing all that I am and all that I am not, how come her love for me grows - and thus hurts more when she needs me to feel the same (and I feel in so many ways that I do) and yet it isn't enough? Because, in the back of her mind, though we may not discuss it in so many words, she knows that I will never be totally focused on her in the way she needs - and yet she can't stop loving me, in fact, she loves me even more because of it...

and so we cycle through another round. I try to comfort her the best I can. I try to not feel uptight or frustrated that I can't do my "job" as a husband and eternal companion better than I do, and turn the whole thing to a "woe is me" or a "look at the poor gay boy not being able to measure up to an impossible task of a happy heterosexual marriage" kind of thing, though that is the most logical and immediate reaction to have. I try to talk about it with her. She doesn't want to talk about it because it's "too painful". I try to not take offense - though deep down I'm angry with myself that I am doing this to her, that I cause her so much unintentional grief and pain, that I'm unable to console her in the way that she needs to be consoled, that I'm such an inadequate and broken figure of a man... So, I just hold her in my arms and squeeze tightly as she breaks down... (this time I was void of emotion other than frustration that I'm doing this to her) and then, it's over and we go on - and life is normal and other problems and living life's adventure takes over and this gets pushed down to lower levels of immediacy - at least until the next time...

Someday, we are going to need to find the right person to talk to, to help us to get through these boiling over moments and come to some higher level of resolution. I don't know when, but we can't keep going on this cyclical path we're on...

Forester recently posted about whether our challenges are unique. I don't think they are unique. If it weren't this particular challenge, it would be another. We all have challenges and I'm not about to compare mine against yours or anyone else's. I am convinced that the real challenge here is centered on what we do about our trials, temptations, challenges... not weighing them and bemoaning over them.

So... um, how was your weekend at this festive time?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A bigger slice...

Often, this blog becomes my rant on self-centered thoughts. I guess that is what this is supposed to be for me. This isn't my journal, or life history, a chronology of events. It is simply one slice of life focused on coming to terms with one small but crucial part of who I am.

In reflecting on the bigger slices of life, I am mindful of and grateful for all the good, the bounty, the peace, the love that feels my existence. Much of my life is full and rich and beautiful.

Instead of bemoaning the difficulties of my marriage due to my same-sex attraction, I am deeply thankful for a loving spouse who anchors me and focuses me on the "bigger picture", who strives to help me to become the best I can be, who loves me unconditionally despite my shortcomings and faults, and who sees in me her prince, her protector, her help-meet, her eternal companion. I recognize and am so grateful for her convictions and strength, her testimony and sensitivities, her devoted kindness and love for me. I am thankful for LOVE that I have for her - such love that makes me all the good and honorable and praiseworthy that I am, and I honor her and thank God that I was and am attracted to this one woman in a way that binds me together forever with her. This is my greatest miracle!

Instead of bemoaning the trials and struggles of raising a family of teenagers, I am grateful for my teenagers in my life, for their trials and struggles - they give me such focus on true joy, by helping them take the steps that grow and stretch them into the amazing people that they are. My daughter came home from college this week - how amazing it feels as a father to have the entire family around the table again, anchored in each other, knowing that no matter what, we are in this gig together and none of us are ever going to abandon the others. Life isn't easy, but family around us certainly helps ease our burdens. Some burdens right now are very heavy, very hard, very hopeless. I am grateful to be a father, the one calling from which I can never be released! My children are my greatest blessing!

Instead of bemoaning the fact that I have too much work, I am thankful for the ability to work, to provide for my family, to assist others along their way with my successes. I am mindful of the creative process that work brings to my life, and the joy in conceptualizing, developing and constructing positive environments for others along the way.

Instead of bemoaning that I'm not getting any younger, and desiring to relive my youth again, associating and longing for a life with my fantasy-boys, and being an adolescent in so many ways, ponytail and all, I am grateful for health, for strength to be able to do what I want to do, for wisdom and knowledge that comes from experience and age. And I have dreams and desires to experience and know so much more - I never want to stop living. I am grateful for life. I want to live.

Instead of bemoaning that I'm a gay man trapped in a hetero life where things don't add up right, and I'm left to fantasize and long for the "what ifs", I am grateful for the "gifts" I've been given, the "talents" that God has granted me, and the knowledge of Him whereby I can use these talents and magnify them as I seek to follow His plan. I do not bemoan that I am gay. I just sometimes struggle with how that applies to the Plan and where I fit in with what I should be doing with it. I may not have a trail guide, but I have the Spirit, and I'm grateful for those promptings to keep me on the path. This is a tender mercy. This, too, is a miracle!

Instead of bemoaning that I am all alone in these struggles along this path, I recognize how grateful I am for cyber-friends who I have come to know and cherish - electronically, telephonically, and in the flesh - who I have come to love as dear brothers and sisters, and who I hope to be able to lift and strengthen and help along the way ever as much as I have been lifted, strengthened and helped. We are not yet as Job, as we still have friends, we still have each other. Though some may bemoan the change in tone of this community, I see only hope as I have been given the gift of hope through it. If I may be so bold as to think that I might give that same gift of hope to others, I will continue on believing that there is a purpose for my being here chattering away in the queerosphere. I love you!

Instead of bemoaning that God has forsaken me, I am thankful for His love, for His Grace - that I am acceptable to Him, despite what I do, but also as I do the best I can with what I've been given...

Thank you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

My Trail Guide called "LIFE"...

As John G-W compassionately pointed out in my last post, I have "complained" that there isn't a trail guide or Handbook of Instructions for married gay Mormons like myself and others, who are trying to be faithful to our covenants to our spouse and to our testimonies, while still very much being attracted to the same sex, and that we are very much left to our own resources and spirit to sort these things out. It has triggered some thoughts, particularly since my recent encounter with Tim (see previous post), including:

1. The Brethren don't know that I (or my type) exist. Or, they would like to wish that we don't exist. If they did know, then they would like to suggest that I just don't say anything and go back to where I was where things are easily brushed under the carpet and locked away in the deep compartments of my closet. Now, that may sound harsh, but I don't mean it to be. I am not expecting, nor desiring the Brethren to do anything for me regarding being a MOM MOHO, particularly at this point in my life. As I've stated before, I have a firm witness of their stewardship and mantle and I have no qualms about following them as Prophets, Seers and Revelators. Per my individual trail guide that I am making up as I go, I have chosen and will follow them and sustain them in their callings. They are doing the best they can with what they've been given. Obviously, if I've been able to hold together pretty successfully my wife and kids in a family unit of faithful devotion and love for 26 years then something is going right - and I'm sure that they would say: "Good job, Brother Beck! You're doing great building the Kingdom and strengthening your family. Keep doing the good things you're doing and don't dwell on that attraction stuff too much".

2. The Brethren counsel us to not dwell on or put undo attention to this issue, and to not associate with others who do put undo attention to this issue. I would suggest that some would counsel that this Blog does just the opposite, that I have allowed, by blogging for some 20 months now, myself to be placing a lot of attention on this issue. And I suggest, per my own individual trail guide that I am making up as I go, that this Blog has given me direction and guidance, counsel and support, a sustaining influence in times of complete angst beset by self-destructive thoughts and guilt. This community has brought me a sense of resource, a guidepost along my way, if you will, and returning to the world of never discussing this with anyone but myself inside my head would only turn me off the path to a point of destruction again. So, I argue that this Blog and its sustaining influence to "help me along the way" has been and remains a good thing. So, I will continue to blog.

3. Confiding in my wife and focusing on her as we continue to worth through the "coming out" experience has been a path into uncharted territory for me. I did so with no example before me. I had no knowledge of the MOHO world at that time. Other married gay Mormons weren't even on my radar screen at the time, or if they were, I only saw divorce as the answer to my problems. My one gay friend (with whom I became reacquainted through the Internet in googling "Gay Mormon") who encouraged me to be forthright and up front with my wife, as the only way forward (he speaking from his own experience) did so in hopes that I would find peace with myself and that this peace would lead to ending our marriage, as his had. That was the trail guide before me! At the time, I had no knowledge of "others like me" and all I saw was failed marriages leading to the next step of moving into a true and honest gay lifestyle. (BTW, no judgment here at all... I dreamed of what it would be like to be in a gay lifestyle and came to the conclusion that this was my path, my destiny, and I was willing to accept it). With this example before me, I reached the point where I had to "come out" to her or destroy myself. There was no other choice and I was willing to pay whatever price and consequence. Because I was so late in coming out to myself (45 years old), my life had already been well entrenched and well established in the path of a confused and struggling heterosexual marriage. Now nearly three years later, we are still struggling, and I've come to learn that these things take time. But I've also been surprised to discover that our marriage has become stronger, more united, and more intimate BECAUSE of my "coming out", not the opposite results that I was expecting. Unexpected blessings shockingly came to us! We have developed better communication skills, more physical bonding, and stronger ties emotionally to each other because of this path taken. She did not leave me, as I had predicted and as my friend had prognosticated. Though it was rough going and very painful, with a period that continues to this day of nearly destroying her self-worth and self-esteem, we looked to each other for strength and found it in each other's arms. Had I not taken this trail, I am convinced that our marriage would have ended. Because I took this trail expecting to end our marriage, I have strengthened it. Now, try to explain that one!

4. For a period of time after my "coming out", my angst settled down and I was able to concentrate on her and we celebrated a new "honeymoon period" of renewal in our marriage. I came to find that there was an attraction for her deep inside me that could not be extinguished, though difficult to always be there for her, but now there was a spirit of cooperation and understanding between us, and for a while, my desires for men in my life diminished. This trail I was and am taking was and is good.

5. But then, the volcano within me, my desires to be with men, to be loved and held by men, to have close male friends - returned, and with an errupting vengeance. That is when I started to blog and I have continued now over 20 months to determine how to keep my marital path and covenants in check while still desiring and craving male associations in my life. I have always been affectionate and have a "need" for affection and closeness, particularly from men. On my mission I discovered the joy of male bonding that allowed me to cross cultural lines and embrace a freedom of expression between men that became a goal post from then on in my life. Some may say that I've never moved on from that "culturally sinful" behavior of my mission. I say, for me, it established a fulfillment and sense of joy that I have not found anywhere else, and I desire it and need it to feel "complete" and "balanced" and "honest" with myself. Thus, in my uncharted path, I have sought these experiences of intense brotherhood, to rekindle the feelings of belonging, acceptance, comfort and peace. I feel so different and isolated from even the brothers in this community when I use such words - for they are foreign and strange to what should become a 'sexual' relationship.

6. I have chosen to not go down the path of 'sexual' relationships with men. I have sought and been very successful at staying away from hard core pornography and masturbation. This is my path and my choice. Following the spirit through these choices has been very helpful along the way.

7. But, my desires to be held by a man, to be in a platonic relationship with a man have never, ever diminished. In fact, of recent, these desires have INCREASED! And two young men, at just the right time in my life, came along and appeared on my trail when I needed them. First "Will" (who was the reason for my truly coming to the self-realization that I am emphatically a core "scale 5" GAY man) befriended me in a way that no one had since my mission and brought a bonding that I began to recrave in earnest. It was like I was dead, and was now coming alive again inside myself. And then two years later came "Tim", who as of late, is still there in my life, walking occasionally alongside me on this trail I'm on. These young men have shown me complete and full brotherly love in a way that I don't even begin to phathom or witness in others. I, in turn, become a different person around them: affectionate, warm, caring, loving... I like the person that I become when I am with them. I really like that person that I become! And I ask again: Is this a bad thing?

8. With Will, my affection began to run me scared - full force in the direction of a cliff. I was going to jump off the deep end and I knew it - and I knew through the Spirit that I had to confess to my wife to bring me back to solid ground. So, instead of jumping off the cliff into a gay lifestyle, the direction where my path and emotions and thoughts and desires were leading me to, I chose to stop and place "boundaries" between me and Will. I pulled back. I distanced myself from him. And my angst returned, along with my guilt, my self-destructive patterns, and my beating-myself-up cycle. I reluctantly, though resolutely, find myself in that pattern to this day!

9. So as good as these boundaries are on my trail, they lead me to confusion and angst and guilt and self-doubts. I have distanced myself from Tim as well, and yet every few months we are drawn back together in some amazing crossing-of-paths experience of bonding, of spiritual communication, of physical affection, of brotherly love. Some have called me on this and warned me that I should concentrate ALL my focus on my wife. I know in many ways this is a true and wise warning. But over the course of these last three years, my path has not become more black and white. Instead, it has fallen into a gray and cloudy existence where choices aren't so crisp and exact and obvious.

10. I love my wife. I love my kids. I love the Gospel. I have a firm witness of the spirit working within me. I do not want to hurt them or destroy them. I have thus, maintained my "boundaries" and am firm in holding to them.

11. I have that Spirit to help me as a guide along the way.The Spirit, however, did NOT tell me to stay away from Tim last week. I needed to be there at that time and in that place to lift and strengthen him and I was able to do so in a real and amazing way. In turn, he has fulfilled a "need" in me and I feel "good" and "whole" and "complete" when he holds me in his arms. He knows he fulfills this need of mine (though we do not speak about it - he instinctively just does it) and is a willing participant to see that my needs are met. I can't explain it in any other way. And I'll be DAMNED if anyone sees fit to take this away from me!!!

12. Selfish as it may seem, I need to have male-to-male bonding in my life to keep some sense of sanity. On my chosen path (and it is a conscientious choice) I have not had sex with a man. Though my fantasy life may have desired it, craved for it, wondered about it, contemplated it, I have not chosen that path and am seeking constant peace and reassurance that this is the right path for me. However, to rob me of knowing, feeling, sensing and craving male-to-male bonding of a non-sexual nature (particularly for one in my situation and circumstance) because of "cultural reasons" or because I am married, is complete and total hog-wash! I refuse to be placed in those limitations. For, for MY path, maybe not yours, such relationships, such brotherhood brings me therapeutic sanity, personal strength, and inner peace to an otherwise pathetic life of unfortunate events.

This is MY trail. I don't recommend it to anyone. (I've thought once of writing a book when I've outgrown my gay adolescence in hopes of helping others that might be seeking a "trail guide" in their lives - though I quickly squash that idea because I really don't wish this trail on anyone - for the overriding lesson is that we are all unique and must ultimately find our own way through our own experiences). But, I continue to seek outside advice through the means of this blog because I can't talk to anyone else about this. I seek contrary points of view, not just "slaps on the back". I beg for "slaps on the head" as warning voices in my life to be careful as I walk along the precipice edge. I see and recognize the warning signs from the Brethren and from you fellow bloggers. I see and recognize the warning voice of the Spirit.

But I also feel and know the warmth of the spirit when I choose to remain faithful to my covenants and vows, as well as have some sense of indescribable bonding with my fellow brothers.

Is that too much to ask? Am I playing with fire? Am I asking for trouble? Do I want my cake and eat it too? You're damn right I do! And I'm not going to be made to feel GUILTY about it anymore!

There, John... I did it. I didn't tear myself down! How about that?

Saturday, November 17, 2007



Do you believe in them? Or are you one of those that believes "everything has a purpose"?

As noted previously, I'm going through some severe struggles with my family in crisis as well as needing to rebuild my business while juggling my own sense of self-worth (or lack thereof) in the universe, gay attractions notwithstanding.

So, in that spirit, out of the blue, an independent consultant offered a name of a person that I should consider hiring - someone that he felt would fit my company's needs perfectly. I hate hiring people. I don't like change. I would rather overwork myself than train somebody new. Was it a coincidence that this person made such a suggestion right when I needed it? I talked to him by phone (as he is out of town) and things felt good. So, we agreed to meet at a mutually convenient place in a public food court at a mall where we could decide if a working relationship could work for both of us. He suggested a place that I had not been to before and I agreed to meet him there at the appointed hour.

The interview went well and I was pleased with the prospects of hiring this person. We got along well from the start and my consultant friend was right - it was a "good fit".

Then it happened -


another "coincidence". While sitting there in animated dialogue, I look up and catch out of the corner of my eye - Tim - my "Tim" walking by! He was wearing a dark blue dress shirt with a sharp golden tie, his hair perfectly cut to grooming perfection reflecting maturity, style and refinement. My heart leaped. I haven't had my heart leap out of my chest in years, but it leaped - to the point of my feeling the need to catch it before it fell out of my body.

After noticing "him" pass by, I really couldn't concentrate on much else. I ended the interview and we walked out to our respective cars. As I did so, I noticed Tim again, this time at the store where he was working. He didn't see me as I nervously proceeded to my car.

I sat in the car, contented that I had solved one of my work-related stressful situations, and contemplated another. Let me explain for those of you who are not following along with my gay soap opera (which is probably everyone of my vast reading audience):

Tim is a tall, gorgeously handsome, young man that I have known now for nearly ten years. Our relationship has evolved from teacher-student, to mentor-"mentee", to older friend-younger friend, to brother-brother to confidants to my fantasy world of infatuation and obsession. He literally saved my life once and I have felt a bond, a kinship, a brotherhood, an affection and affinity for him ever since - and to my pleasant surprise - instead of the normal evolution of multi-generational friendships over time - it has been reciprocated and strengthened, not weakened over the passing of time... I have recognized this evolution and thus have distanced myself purposefully so as to not make a wonderful friendship into something that it is not - and trying to balance my strong-felt feelings for him with my commitments and covenants. In that distancing, I have seen him sparingly this last year, the last time being over five months ago.

But even with distance, as my stress levels increase, my pon-farr increases proportionally, and thus my fantasies of him increase as well. This has become unwise. One of my fellow MOHOs has pointed out that this has become an obsession of mine. I know my obsession is inside my mind. I am aware of it. I have used "him" as a personification of my gay adolescent needs and I'm not proud of it. Like with all my intimate relationships I haven't been completely "truthful" about my emotional attraction needs. In being honest about him with my wife, I nearly destroyed my marriage, and have attempted, to no avail, to move beyond him. In finding no strength to "confess my attraction" to him other than my physical and emotional sense of bonding I "need" with him - I have permitted our relationship to continue into whatever you will make of it - he being a willing participant.

I sat in my car contemplating the "coincidence" factor of meeting with someone just at the right moment and in the right place to catch a glimpse of my fantasy-boy. Was this supposed to mean something? Should I go in and find him? What would I say - that I was scoping him out and found out where he worked? He hadn't seen me, so it would be safe to drive off and forget about the whole thing. As such thoughts went through my head, my heart kept beating faster. My head, heart, and spirit weren't communicating very well, and I didn't know what to do - but the overwhelming thought was this: He is my friend. We have continued to correspond and he has shared things with me that only I know of. Our level of mutual love and brotherhood has never been stronger, despite the distance between us. He has declared his "love" for me and I for him. We mutually recognize our "odd and unique" relationship that goes beyond the boundaries of normalcy, and cannot be reasoned or explained to the innocent bystander.

I thought to myself - this is so stupid. I didn't do anything wrong! I'm not rendezvousing with him. It's an innocent coincidence... that's all... and shouldn't friends, particularly with our kind of friendship, be able to meet in a public emporium and say "hi"? So, I got out of the car and went back into the mall. Nervous, but confident, I walked into the store and he wasn't there. I asked the manager if "Tim" worked there, to be sure I wasn't imagining things - my fantasy world running wild and overriding my reality world. No, I wasn't imagining things - Tim did work there, but had just gone on a quick errand and would return shortly. He asked for my name and I told him I was "just a friend" and that I would return later.

I walked around the mall feeling like a school girl. Should I return later? I was giddy inside. What was I doing? I'm supposed to be the mature one here! I had business to take care of! I had family needs to be met! I needed to keep my pon-farr in check and here I was in the middle of the day, roaming a mall lost in thought of his reaction to my showing up. I felt nervous like I did on my first date in high school. I thought to myself: "You're such a drama queen! This is so gay!"

As I rounded the corner of his store, I caught sight of him talking to the manager, his back turned away from me. My heart beating stronger than normal, I entered the store. The manager saw me and was about to indicate my presence to Tim, when I asked if either of the gentlemen could help me make a selection of one of the fine items there behind the counter. Hearing my voice, Tim turned around and broke into an enormous smile of surprise.

"What are you doing here?" he asked, obviously not expecting me, as he came around the counter quickly and instinctively enveloped me in one of his classic all-body hugs, our bodies welding together as one in the middle of the store. I fell into his embrace and kissed his neck. We held each other tightly, forgetting that his boss (and other customers) were standing there watching us. NOTE: It was one thing to do "our thing" in the corridors of the church where such "brotherhood affection" had become common place between Beck-n-Tim, but in a store in a mall in front of his boss?

Still holding each other hip-to-hip around our waists, I asked the manager if I could steal Tim for a few minutes. Fortunately, he agreed, and Tim and I walked out arm-in-arm and found a place to sit and talk. Many things have been going on in my life. Even more things have been going on in his - hard, difficult choices to be made and situations to be resolved. I noticed as we spoke just how beautiful he was, as if I was seeing him for the first time. I studied his deep blue eyes and noticed how stunning they were - they made my heart melt. I was completely twitterpated. My gay adolescence kicked in and I was in love-lust-infatuation all over again. The cliche sounds not so stupid when you really feel "putty in his hands". We ended up talking for well over an hour, arm-in-arm, completely oblivious to others that might have been watching us. Tears were shed. Comfort given on both parts. I really felt a weird sense of romance-spirit-brotherhood-boyfriend-ship all at once. Yes, I really did feel the spirit as we communicated very intimate things to each other.

I told him that I was worried about keeping him from his job. He didn't seem to be so worried. Even so, I told him I needed to go. We returned to the store where I saw the manager smile at me. Tim and I embraced again, caressing each other. I cuddled into him, he did the same. And then it was over, and I left.

As I drove onto the freeway, I felt so good and warm inside. I didn't feel the least bit guilty about it, even if I should have. I genuinely smiled as I couldn't help but marvel at the "coincidences" in our lives...

Friday, November 16, 2007


How do you wish your will on someone else? Should you? Is that even something that is right to do?

How do you will someone to live? How do you rekindle a desire to eat? to breathe? When the body has decided to shut down and no longer processes normal things such as thoughts and food and air, can it be retaught to care, to function, to live?

How do you restore hope that has been shattered? Once hope has been lost, can it be found?

How do you love someone that doesn't want to be loved? How can you offer yourself to someone that won't receive you?

What do you wish for someone?

What do you live for?

What do you hope for?

What makes you want to get up each day and eat, and breathe, and live?

What keeps you loving when you don't get love in return?

I don't mean to be down, but this road we are on in our family is a long discouraging one. It's draining. It's fatiguing. It's frustrating. I want things to be better now, not later. I want solutions and actions, not indecision and apathy. I don't want two steps forward and one-and-a-half back.

I have no answers. Do you?
I want lots of things that I can't have.
I'm sorry to be negative and consumed in my own world here (of course that is what all blogs are for, no?) I promise to get back soon to my own angsty self-centered Beck posts.

Thursday, November 08, 2007


There's nothing like a good ol' trial to set your reflections in a corrected direction and re-evaluate your priorities... This particular trial isn't my own. But as I watch a dear loved one suffer so intensely, to feel no connection with anyone or anything, to lose perspective of anything beautiful (even losing the sense of color), to have no hope, and to desire death over life - it really makes you think...

My heart tonight is hurting. I feel so helpless. I don't know quite what to do... to connect with this dear loved one and restore hope.

You know, these things I write about in this little blog of mine are really pretty silly. They are my foolish gay adolescent thoughts and fantasies, my infatuations and crushes, my foibles and follies. In reality, what my dear loved one is going through makes my little angsts seem so insignificant and irrelevant.

What really is important is family!

What really is important is love, and feeling loved, enough to want to live!

What really is important is connection with others, with each other!

So many people over the course of time have disconnected with this dear loved one. So many gospel-centered / Holy-Ghost-companioned folks have missed the boat and not seen the pain and suffering of a child of God in front of their eyes and have either allowed themselves to be spiritually tuned out and blind to the situation before them, or their not knowing what to do has paralyzed their actions to the point of no-action. We're embarrassed and feel uncomfortable. It's not easy to reach out. We second guess our natural instincts to help. Or even worse, we don't like the uncomfortable feelings we get around unhappy people so we talk about them and gossip and even "turn them in to the Honor Code Violations office" because they scare us and we'd rather they just go away!
These misconnections and disconnections we have with people can add up to life-threatening outcomes of whether the one really hurting and suffering even cares to take that next breath.

I believe in life. I believe in family. I believe in hope. But, we can't do this alone. As parents of children, we do all that we can, and it's not enough. We fall short. We need the fellowship of the Saints, the love of each other to fill in the gaps.

So I have this little attraction issue going on... big deal!! I still have my wife, my family, my testimony (yes, for those who really haven't read between the lines- and I apologize if I've hidden my candle too far under the bushel - may I declare emphatically that I have a testimony!), and my hope. I also have this community. This community of MOHO saints is of value to me because it brings me connectivity to others who understand me in a way that I have found nowhere else - and that brings me hope.

I know of someone tonight who hears nothing but voices bouncing inside declaring with convincing anger that there is no hope, to the point of wanting to stop living and they are doing everything in their power to make it happen.

No one is to blame for this... unless we "see" the need of that someone and choose to do nothing about it... Please remember that you can be the Lord's hands in lifting someone who feels that there is no way to be lifted. Please don't be afraid to do something for someone when you are prompted to do so. Listen to those little promptings in your head - you never know what your smile, your kindness, your tenderness and care can mean to someone feeling so lost and alone.

Please remember to connect!

Monday, November 05, 2007

The workings of a stressed mind...

I'm really going through some interesting times right now:

1. I've had a critical employee quit on me, leaving me with more work than I can handle, with more work coming in on two large jobs that I just landed, and no real way to climb out of the hole I've created. Needless to say, it is stressful to be "all alone at the top". Now, in my case there isn't a whole lot of difference between the top and the bottom when you're self-employed. :)

2. More importantly, my family is going through some serious and difficult times. I really have tried to keep these issues outside this blog. The family issues are separate from this blog theme - and yet, right now they are really inter-related. One member in particular is really suffering some tremendous personal trials of a physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual nature. It is not a fun time and I feel so helpless, so unable to assist where I should but can't. Needless to say, it is stressful on the home front, which just adds to normal life pressures. I can offer advice, I can counsel, I can give a blessing, I can be of comfort and support, I can give my love - but in this particular case, all these things seem to come up short, even empty. I know it is a time for much "prayer and fasting", but it is also a time for the professionals. If you know me, this is a big step to recognize the need for "professionals" to help, particularly when I've been so leery and distant from receiving any personal professional help with my coping with my attraction dimension of my life. But now I feel helpless and frustrated.

3. And right when I should be an anchor of support and stability, of sound reason and spiritual strength, I feel myself entering a mini (yet intense) "pon farr" (to steal the term from Abelard- and if you don't know the meaning, then ask him because I'm not able to explain the Vulcan mating cycle). All day today I am obsessed with things that are distracting me from work, family, the spirit... I am drawn to the need to "kiss-a-guy" thoughts, to the point of insanity! This is so absurd. Why are these thoughts overwhelming me when I have such serious other matters to attend to? I mean, it's to the point that I want to go to my "other apartment" where I "keep" my boyfriend.

It reminds me of the movie "Breakfast at Tiffany's" where George Peppard is "kept" by Patricia O'Neal. For a long time I couldn't figure out their relationship, until I realized how perfect it would be to "keep" someone. So my pon farr thoughts have been concentrating on what it would be like to "keep" a boyfriend for emotional and physical gratification when needed. I would get what I need when I need it and he would have an apartment and expense account for what he needed. We'd both benefit, both using each other in some kind of odd symbiotic relationship.

I don't know... I know this post is stupid, but I'm trying to be real in my thoughts even if they are stupid and even if I show my weaknesses and foibles. It's got to be the mini- pon farr, right? Or is it the stress? Or is it both?

Either way, is there anyone out there who wants to be "kept"?

Friday, November 02, 2007

Articulating reflections...

I think I need to clarify something from my last post...

As I've had a few days to think about it, my feelings I'm feeling about what my wife said and thinks isn't necessarily "hurt" as it is "disappointment". I'm disappointed that after nearly three years of being more "open" about the situation, we have not ventured much past the common notion of any distinction between "gay feelings" and embracing the "gay way".

And as I'm concluding here, this disappointment has more to do with ME than with HER because I have not helped her, or educated her on the distinction, but I've refused to articulate it better. I need to do a better job at this communication gig. This is my responsibility. As I learn and grow and accept, I need to invite her to understand the same thing.

Over the course of many years now, I've had all this time to really take a good look at myself, and to study myself, to reflect on the reflection staring back at me in the mirror. I've had time to think and meditate and pray and fast and find comfort in the Lord and find comfort in that acceptance of Love from the Lord and from myself. I've grown from self-hatred to self-acceptance. I've been able to make a distinction. She has not had these years of contemplation and, even now, is willing to put them "out of sight / out of mind" as they are too painful to deal with. Contemplating that her husband has very strong attractions for other men, and that despite all of her efforts to love and be attractive and provocative, he remains attracted to other men, is something that destroys her self-esteem, self-worth and image as a woman. As much as she tries to wrap her brain around this concept, in her world, in her mind, it is too incomprehensible. To blame her for her reaction or how she's coping is unfair and unjust. I am not here to do that. She is wonderfully sensitive to my needs and hopes and dreams and desires and I don't want to portray it otherwise.

But to expect her to be "up to speed" with me, isn't her fault, it's mine. I need to bring her along carefully and lovingly.

This is not easy. In fact, it's damn hard!

But in the end, I'm convinced it is the right thing to do!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Stop being so sensitive!

Sometimes you hear things that your spouse (or friend, parent, family member etc.) says to others with you standing there and it seems innocent enough when taken at face value, but when you think about it, it hurts inside. It wasn't intended to be "personal" or reflecting negatively on you, per se, but all the same it does. But, you let it bounce off and you don't say anything, but you still feel the hurt. Should you just get over it, toughen up and get on with life and stop being such a sensitive drama queen?

Case in point: On Sunday, I heard a discussion between the Bishop and my wife about how Dumbledore's sexual orientation came up in a Young Women discussion in class, and how it was used, as a result, by my wife, since it was brought up by the girls, to point out the willing acceptance by the world at large for evil.

Now I don't really care about JK Rowling's motives for revealing her character's orientation in the way she did. That is not the discussion point here. What is the point is how my wife interpreted the event and associated the acceptance of such an orientation by the world as being an acceptance of "evil". Somehow this has begun to fester inside me and make me "hurt" inside.

I know when she says this, she is referring to the "gay lifestyle" and / or the "gay way" as some call it, and in a teaching situation of moral aptitude for young women in a church setting, she is making a point of distinction between the "gospel way" and the "world's way". I get that. I understand it. I've been in that situation as a teacher as well (though now that I am more assure of myself, I don't think I'll allow such comments to pass in such a teaching opportunity in the future - though having said that, in front of the Bishop, I reverted back to my position of "saying nothing").

But I can't help but wonder:

1. Does she really feel that simply being "oriented that way" is "evil"?

2. Does she feel that applauding one's "coming out" even as a fictional character, is supporting "evil"?

3. Does she feel that my thoughts, my feelings, my attractions are "evil"?

4. Does she feel that this blog is "evil"?

5. Am I "evil" for associating with and applauding others in their "orientation choices"?

It has made me wonder that she is fine with me being "gay" as long as I don't do anything about it. She can accept me as her "gay" husband as long as I never even use the word or mention it again...

I feel very hurt and confused right now... Don't tell me to talk to her because I can't right now. We have bigger concerns to deal with (that are beyond the scope of this post or this blog) than my confused feelings. Pretending that it doesn't bother me is much easier, don't you agree? After all, I need to toughen up and stop being so sensitive, right?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Within the shadows of my everlasting closet...

I'm a hypocrite.

That is all there is to it.

I'm a big fat, scared and afraid hypocrite!

That is what we all "closet dwellers" are. We are afraid of being found out for who we really are. We are ashamed and cowardly and weak. We rarely stand up for our gay brothers and sisters (except under the veil of anonymity) because we feel guilty for doing so; we feel that somehow associating with "them" will make others feel less of us or question the facade of who we have pretended to be, that somehow we may be considered one of "them" as well...

Why else am I so worried about the wrath of others and how their homophobic beliefs may reflect on me? What a selfish attitude... No wonder the "out" brethren are so disgusted with my type...

What am I so afraid of?

I pretend to be somebody I'm not. I've done this all my life. I'm not as strong as I think I am. I am weak and cowardly and I allow my fears to control my actions. As much as I think I am "out" and "free-thinking" and "open" to love with no judgment, not prejudice, no shame... I really am not, as long as I do so within the shadows of my everlasting closet.

I have been carefully taught to be self-righteous, to be homophobic, to be unkind to those who are "different" than "US". What a wonderful mess this has turned out to be... There is so much more to work on here than just "accepting" the fact I'm gay. Sure, that was a first step, and I've become comfortable in that place (even though the Brethren say I shouldn't feel so comfortable), but there is so much more to learn about love and acceptance and Christlike attitudes toward ALL...

As was articulated by Parallel, when I came "out" to my wife, all I did was bring her in to my closet and doom her to my world of secrecy, shame and fear.

As Beck, be it on these electronic pages or in the flesh, I am under some facade of being "liberated" and "out" and non-judgmental and without prejudice, but in reality, this blog world is a facade as well... this whole life is a facade... I'm a joke. As long as I cannot be ONE with who I really am and truly LOVE myself and ALL others, then "Beck" is just as much a hypocrite and facade as the closet-dwelling me over there cowering in the shadows under the long trench coat... who thinks he can't be seen, though in reality his closet is as thin and see-through as a white veil.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

somewhere in time...

In the cheesy movie "Somewhere in Time" Christopher Reeve crosses between two worlds with the sight of a 1979 penny in his pocket. As much as he wants to be in one world, he's dragged back to reality that he's not really in that world and has to commit himself completely to the other world and die to make that leap of faith...

I kind of had that experience yesterday... not to that level of cheesy melodrama, but there was a level of internal drama being played out between two worlds that up until yesterday, did not connect, overlap or intersect.

I was sitting as "Beck" in a time-warped restaurant with John G-W and Goran, two amazingly beautiful people in this MOHO community, when one of my longtime consultants comes over to my table and shakes my hand and asks me how I'm doing. For a moment I was in shock... the inner turmoil of "Me" and "Beck" being in the same dimension of time and space at that table in that time-warped restaurant. It was all so bizarre. I froze for a moment and didn't even have the sense of mind to introduce my guests at the table to my consultant. I didn't know what to do... I was living in two worlds at the same instant and I froze.

I don't think that John or Goran even recognized the turmoil going on inside me. It wasn't that I was embarrassed for being with them - just the opposite is true - I was so excited and felt so honored and privileged to be sitting and enjoying the company of such loving, great people. The turmoil was in not wanting to be drawn back (like the 1979 penny) into the real world of "Me". I wanted to be Beck! I wanted to stay as Beck! I was proud to be Beck... and here I was dragged back to reality of the other world.

It is hard living two lives. It is very hard and stressful, especially when those lives intersect. I've read that stress and anxiety lead to memory-loss and dementia. I think they're right... I'm losing my mind! This split personality thing is getting awfully hard to pull off, especially when I allow myself to almost want my two worlds, my two identities to "accidentally" meet and collide, overlap and intersect.

It's like I almost want the two sides to be forced together to where I can stand up in that time-warped restaurant and scream:
"Hey, everyone... yeah, especially you Mr. Engineering consultant over there at the next table - yeah, you in your tan jacket you wear to every meeting... I'm Beck and I'm gay and I'm okay with it and these two fine friends of mine are a fantastically fine couple and I'm proud that they are my friends! And oh, yeah... did I mention that I'm gay?"

It was a confusing moment there - I'm sorry to John and Goran for being a bit unfocused, but I think I'm getting tired of this facade...

I'm not saying the facade of the life I'm living (I have chosen to stay married and am devoted to my wife and family and my covenants and commitments and am choosing to do this as the best course for me), but the facade of TWO people inside me... I can't keep pulling this off. It's getting old.

I just want to go get lost.... somewhere in time...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A bit unnerved...

I've had this reoccurring dream again... it freaks me out. I'm not sure whether I should admit that I've dreamt this or not. It reveals a part of my subconscious mind that is troublesome and I'm not proud of it... But this is my blog and if nothing else, this is where I shed such upleasantries - (my dirty laundry so to speak, which I don't show anywhere else) to your detriment and hopefully my benefit - as I'm always searching for more understanding of who I am and why I feel and think this way about these things.

May I say, that I truly do love my wife and kids with all my heart - and I'm not just saying this to soften the blow here... I think I've demostrated that through decades of faithfulness and devotion. They are the center of my world and I am where I am because of them and I want to be the best I can be for them, and I want to be a part of them forever...

But in general, the dream goes something like this:

I find myself a widower. My wife is killed (typically) in a tragic automobile accident and typically the kids are killed as well. It it usually sudden (a head-on collision in a mountain canyon) and they did not suffer.

I find myself mourning and alone.

I find, however, that I'm somewhat relieved and now "free" to be me and to live a life with a boyfriend in a loving committed gay relationship.

I usually wake up feeling very guilty and depressed that such subconscious thoughts would even exist. Never am I the cause of the accident (I don't tamper with the car breaks, I don't push the car off a cliff etc., and I don't drive my car into them) but I find it odd that I don't find myself grieving for the loss as much as I should and that makes me really dislike this dream and dislike me... I do find myself discovering "freedom" to go forward with a committed gay relationship and finding peace and satisfaction with that.

These thoughts most likely have been triggered recently by an event that took place in a suburb of SLC a couple of weeks ago where a 62 year old man in a very wealthy upper class neighborhood discovered his wife's body run over on the quiet secluded posh neighborhood street - no witnesses other than somebody saw a white truck... He publicly grieves a little and questions the media on how such a thing could happen and not have the driver recognize what he had done. Come to find out this last week, that HE was the driver. He bought a white truck, planned the hit and run (motive: claiming her life insurance), and then hid the truck. Oh... and he did it for his GIRLfriend, not his BOYfriend (it would be way too surreal if it was over a boyfriend).

Out of the blue, my wife stated to me in a smiling informative manner this past weekend, that if I got to that point where I wanted to be with a guy instead of with her, to remember that she has NO life insurance! It was said in jest, but all the same, it freaked me out...

The timing of this tragic event, her comment and my reoccurring dream has me feeling a bit unnerved...

Monday, October 08, 2007

A few observations...

A few conference observations / impressions:

1. I really hope that I will have the finely tuned and sharp-as-a-tack sense of humor when I'm 97 years old as President Hinckley has. Though noticeably weaker in strength, his vigor and spiritual strength, inspiration and love are as strong and inspiring as ever.

2. One of the Savior's last strong messages before leaving his ministry was LOVE. When Nephi, King Benjamin, Mormon and Moroni finished their writings or delivered their final addresses, they were focused on Christ-centered love. When Elders Bruce R. McConkie, Neal A. Maxwell, or James E. Faust delivered their last addresses they were noted for their strength and power of Christ-centered love. Does not Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin's address from Saturday rank in the same amazing category among these brethren?

3. President Henry B. Eyring's double home-run hit of "remembering the assurance of the Lord" when we are feeling inadequate for our measuring up to the task at hand, as well as REMEMBERING the small and simple spiritual experiences that come DAILY with the Spirit in our lives when we are doubting the Lord's hand in our lives - these experiences happen to each of us, if only we'll stop and ponder and recognize them - really hit home to me. In my life, this has been the message of the Book of Mormon - be it from Nephi, or Alma, or Moroni - I need to remember the Lord's goodness and help in my life... I need to remember why I do or don't feel so now! If I've forgotten, is it me or the Lord who has moved???

I like conference... It helps me to laugh with and feel inspired by the Prophet, feel the Lord's love and to remember other feelings... the unsaid, unwritten kind.

Friday, October 05, 2007

A confession...

I'm a bit embarrassed to mention this (especially after my last rant on "priestcraft" and the local church bookstore), but I feel guilty for not being truthful...

So, in the spirit of openness (and heaven knows that I need more of that spirit in my life), I confess that the DB television commercial that was broadcast a couple of years ago (maybe still in circulation, I don't know...) that was very sweet and innocent, warm and cozy.

well... um... it was actually filmed in our house!

Don't hit me with that Christus statue, AtP!

I know, I know... I'm a hypocrite. It was actually arranged through my wife. The producer spotted our home and asked if he could look inside and she let him in and the rest is history. When the filming crew came in, they literally took over our house with people and equipment and lighting and actors and makeup and cameras and wiring and cables and you name it. It was a disaster! They took over from early morning to past midnight. When they left, I do admit, they returned everything to its proper place. It was also amazing that so much effort, money, expense, food, etc. went into a simple 30 second spot.

I think we got a "Family illustrated Book of Mormon" out of the deal... :)

There... I feel better for being more honest!

Thursday, October 04, 2007


I really enjoy conference! I'm serious - I really do! I enjoy being able to go to church in my pajamas. I enjoy the family gatherings. I enjoy the sense of priesthood strength singing together as a worldwide community of brethren. I enjoy learning from the spirit.

But... I also really detest the "cultural" aspects of conference. And is it just me, or is this getting worse and worse with each passing year?

What I mean by this (for those of you fortunate enough to live outside Zion) is the bombardment of ads in the paper, on the radio, on television etc. for you to "buy" the latest CD, the latest and greatest GA book, or your own personalized latest design-CTR ring. It is getting to be worse than Christmas. UUGGGHHH!

I can't stand it! I know I've said this before, but it feels so much like Priestcraft! Just as I hate the commercialization of Christmas, I can't stand the commercialization of Conference and of the Church as a whole. Sure they sell sweet and inspirational syrup for you to consume in every available way to take your money. Look at some of the most recent offerings:

1. Jospeph B. Worthlin's Press On... Can you tell me why Elder Worthlin has to write such a book? Is it really necessary? And must I endure the ads that remind me how long he's lived (he's 87 and yet the ad says he's 90) and what an example of "pressing on"???

2. Emily Freeman's 21 Days Closer to Christ - now if that isn't a poster child for Priestcraft, I don't know the meaning of the word...

3. Ardeth Kapp's Joy of Believing... Ditto.

4. A twenty-something's Guide to Spirituality? Give me a break!

5. How do I change my husband? Now that;s just what my wife needs. Maybe I'll buy it for her so she can learn how to make fun of men and the stupid things we do...

6. Of course don't forget your personal 19" Christus marble statue that you can use for a book end. (And to think that all those crucifixes and Mary statues in homes in Italy were looked upon by missionaries to be idol worshipping).

I know I'm ruining the spirit of conference with this satirical post, and maybe I should be above and beyond such things, but I am sick of it! I want to get out a protesting poster blaring "PRIESTCRAFT" and rally the troops to protest in front of each DB store this weekend. Are you with me?

Why can't we just get back to listening to the messages and leaving it at that? Why do the Brethren allow such commercialism of testimonies? Why do we as a culture buy such crap? What's wrong with reading the scriptures? Have you tried that?

It makes me want to leave Zion. I know of non-member friends who have noticed it as well. I've one friend who has asked me how he can take our religion seriously when there is such a barrage of inspirational fluff at the core of what is portrayed to the community at large. He misses the message of humanitarian service, education, missionary work, relief efforts with the welfare program, etc. because he sees DB as equaling the Church's real mission. It's a fair question and I feel fortunate that so far (I hope) it has contaminated only the Wasatch Front, but I'm fearful that the disease of sweetness will spread to "all the world".

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Our leaders are human...

A few weeks ago on NL and other sites there have been discussions on the shortcomings and fallibility of the General Authorities of the Church. Additional comments this last week have flowed in regarding Elder Holland’s recent article in the October Ensign - some eager to learn from these men, others eager to criticise and pick apart their every nuance of every word.

I am reminded of a few occasions of personal encounters with or about Church Leaders I’d like to share:

STORY 1: When I was a kid in the stake where I lived, President Kimball came often to visit because his grandchildren also lived in my stake. When there was a special Primary or scouting activity or even the Bicentennial Celebration, Pres. Kimball would be there, sometimes as a General Authority, sometimes eventually as the Prophet, but most of the time as a proud grandpa. I remember several occasions where I, along with my friends, would shake his hand, sit on his lap, or give him a hug along with the other kids. It was this very human and grandfatherly relationship that endeared me to him and we had a connection of sorts that carried over to him issuing me my mission call.

STORY 2: A few years into our marriage, I served in an Elders quorum presidency. We lived in a stake where Richard Hinckley (President Hinckley’s son) was in the stake presidency. We invited Richard Hinckley to come speak to our quorum in a fireside setting and talk to us about his father, the man. I remember how candid he was with us about the “humanness” of his father. He spoke of him as “Dad did this” and “Dad did that” as if he were talking about our dads as well. I remember specifically he mentioned an incident when his Dad came home very frustrated from work (at the Church offices) and Richard hadn’t done his chores as he was supposed to, and his Dad exploded and took it out on him and started swearing at him for not being obedient. We were shocked that he would mention that his Dad had a temper and swore at him. Richard said: “My dad is a wonderful man. But he is human! Don’t make him out to be more than that. He is doing the best he can.” I will never forget that.

STORY 3: About a month ago, we attended a wedding reception of the daughter of our neighbors. It was in a gloriously landscaped backyard of a beautiful home a few miles away. As we approached the house and stood in line, we noticed that Elder Packer was standing directly in front of us in line with an assistant of some kind at his side. He was a bit stooped and stood with a cane. We instantly noticed who he was and respectfully shook his hand. Without time for dialogue, grandchildren surrounded “Grandpa Packer” and gingerly escorted him to the front of the line and eventually to sit down at one of the garden tables. Come to find out that he was the grandfather of the groom. After we had made our way through the “line” and extended our congratulations to the bride and groom, I noted how Elder Packer was sitting all alone at a table. Occasionally, I observed, a family member would come up from behind and give him a hug, but no guests would approach him. It was like he was “off limits” and “needed to be given his privacy”, but I couldn’t help but think that he was lonely and quite vulnerable and that we should have been more willing to engage him in conversation, but we didn’t. As I watched him, he didn't seem stern and rigid or authoritative. Instead, he appeared very human...

I, like many of you have had issues with these three men over my own personal issues. With Pres. Kimball, it has been the harshness of the words of the Miracle of Forgiveness regarding homosexuality (where I have to remind myself that he wasn’t addressing people like me as he couldn’t fathom – in his experience and mentality - of people like me existing at the time). With President Hinckley, to a minor extent, it has been to desire that he address personally his understanding and love for “my kind” in a sign of love and of encouragement (not sending Elder Oaks or Elder Holland to do the filtered talking for him). With Elder Packer it most certainly goes back to 1976 and that notorious General Priesthood address that shocked me into the deepest closet of my young adolescent confused life – that ended up taking me nearly three more decades even to be brave enough to unlock the door.

I must say, further, that I have also felt their personal love through their words and have drawn from their wisdom, spirit and strength over the course of the years, and have come to love each of them for the men they are and for the mantle they carry.

Now my point… As I’ve noted and reminded myself, these are very human men. They are family men. They are dads and granddads. They are fallible. They make mistakes. They are doing the best they can with what they’ve been given, just as each of us. They are products of their culture and their mentality, their time and their upbringings, just as each of us are. They learn line-upon-line as do we. The Lord works through them as imperfect humans just as He worked through Joseph Smith or the prophets of old. None of them are perfect.

Yet, I have a conviction of the mantle of the office. In my own sphere, I have felt the mantle change me as a person. I know they feel the burden of their office and the responsibility that comes with it. But, I am willing to accept and remember, even cherish, their imperfections and shortcomings – their “HUMANNESS” just as I hope others accept mine. I have enough faith that the Lord allows His time and means of “revelation” to come to the man in charge at the right time. To demand that things be “changed” in my timetable is not appropriate of me to say. I subscribe to the hope of "change" coming from within as I strive to live my life honestly and as whole as possible along with the rest of you - seeking to learn from the spirit and our common human experience.

I need to keep such things in mind as I prepare to be fed at their feet as conference time quickly approaches.