Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Keep your mouth shut!

As I recently misinterpreted the post of "Here's to Hope" and rained on his parade and was called a turd for doing so, it made me realize just how much "we" in cyberspace really don't know each other, though we readily throw out our two-cents worth of advice, opinion and counsel to "friends" who are truly just strangers.

You don't really know me. I don't really know you. This whole blog thing is such a game... it's an illusion! It's a facsimile, not the real thing.

I apologize if I've offended you - any one of you - and hope you understand that if I've offered my opinion on your life through your blogs, it is only because I've thought I was trying to help and I've felt a connection and need to care. I recognize I may come across at times as being "holier than thou", though I've tried to reveal my insecurities, frailties, imperfections and shortcomings as well, in hopes that you see how vulnerable I am and how many answers I don't know - especially at this stage in my life. I truly apologize for any arrogance or superiority. I'm feeling pretty stupid and naive right now.

Maybe Mark Twain was right when he said...

"It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt!"

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Chick Magnet...

Coincidentally, in the same week, Tim and Will (my two RM guys who over the last few years have both made a connection with me in a real and unique way, where all I wanted was to have an emotional, dare I say 'romantic', close male friendship where we could really talk, feel, and connect in a bonding / non-sexual way, and because of that connection, I was forced into a realization once-and-for-all, confronting myself for the very first time in a serious and deep way, that I was forever and completely "gay" and to get over it and get on with it - and so I came out to myself and eventually to my wife as well and then started this blog and here I am rambling in the most ridiculous run-on sentence ever written that my AP English teacher would scold me with vehement delight - let's see where was I... oh, yeah, who write me or email me almost every week, something they've both done since their missions and who continue to do so, keep in touch - now how weird and uncommon is that - particularly to an old buzzard like me) who are far away at different universities studying their hearts out for finals week, wrote to me about the same subject. It seems my two guys have "girl problems".

So, obviously, since I'm the biggest CHICK MAGNET this planet has ever seen, and since I know everything there is to know about girls and their thoughts and wants and desires, they both in the same week came to ME asking for advice!

I don't know about you, but I feel honored in a certain way that they feel close enough to me and see me as one who can offer "wisdom" in this time of need, in this time of "decision" as, as it turns out, each is seriously contemplating taking the step into that world of "we're moving beyond really good friends and into the commitment stage". But, then I think... how stupid are these two guys? I mean, really - I'm the gay guy here, right? I'm the one who...

1. loved talking to girls in high school and studying together and the like, but you know, just as friends.

2. never kissed anyone seriously except my wife to be (okay there was one girl in high school, but she kissed me just so that when I went on my mission I'd be able to join in in the conversation with my companions admitting that I really had kissed a girl, so I wouldn't have to be embarrassed to admit that I really didn't ever kiss a girl - but of course, that doesn't really count when you analyze the motivation behind such a kiss...)

3. never seriously dated anyone but my wife-to-be and then really our first "real" date was the day AFTER we got engaged - there's a story behind that one, but no one cares to know the "why" behind such a confused and befuddled boy like myself in those difficult college years...

So, why would they come to me - the sensitive gay guy - now to ask for advice about women?

I would be dishonest if I didn't admit that I have mixed emotions about this new development in our relationships. I mean, I know that it was inevitable that this day would come that they would both find fine women to "change their worlds", as is only natural for straight (and sometimes gay guys - yes it really does happen!) and yes, though some following my saga may have doubts as how straight Tim really is (especially with our romantic embraces) I have no doubt... there is a longing for the magic that we once had, that time and distance are robbing us of. I'm happy for them. I'm truly not sad. But, looking from one step removed, though I'm convinced they will ever hold a firm and secure place in their hearts for what we have shared and experienced together, as I've allowed to be firm and secure in mine, there is a melancholy spirit to this new development for this gay man...

So, we now enter the phase where I share all of my knowledge about women! Hurry! Help me! Where is the address to wickopedia when you need it?...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

"Commute" is another word for torture...

I hate rush hour. I try very hard to work my schedule around it. I am my own boss so you would think I could have more freedom, but when the client calls, you quickly learn who the "real boss" is...

Anyway, as I was on the road this morning, and as is my tendency when I get stuck in traffic, I start flipping through the stations on the radio... (trying not to start flipping anyone else off ;-) ) and I landed on one where the radio geek was going off on the "new honor code standards" for gay students at BYU. I didn't catch his whole report, so maybe it's unfair to even bring it up here, but what I did hear made me upset at the "ignorance" that I was once a blind part of. His take was that students were upset, once they got to school at BYU, with the rules that they had signed up to honor and now that they were "in the door" they wanted to change the Honor Code. In his mind, it was like "we are gay, and you can't stop us, so now that we're here, you got to love us and tolerate our lifestyle, and we're going to force you to accept us..." In his mind, he made it clear that there is no difference between being gay, and living an immoral life. In his mind, there is no difference between temptation and transgression. In his mind there is no difference between orientation, and deviant behavior!

It really shows how far "we" still have to go... I missed any call-in comments to set him straight but the seven commercials at the end of the hour ended the program and that was that.

NOTE: I find it interesting that KSL (the Church-owned station) noted the change in the Honor Code in a one-sentence matter-of-fact way on their news report. No other commentary (at least that I caught).

* * *

At Church on Sunday in Priesthood Meeting, there was a discussion that got off on how "women are more sensitive to the spirit and to the promptings of compassion than men are" and how we need to be more like women and find our 'sensitive sides' and be more compassionate, caring, and selfless in our service toward others. The teacher even grew a chart where men peak (in a bell curve) at a different point than women (drawing another bell curve off about half) but that there was a portion where men and women find overlap in their "qualities", and that we as priesthood brethren needed to stretch ourselves toward the "feminine" side of the curve to be able to be as compassionate and caring and in touch with each other as the Lord would have us.

Though I don't believe in the stereotypes of "manly men" and "sensitive women", as I find myself somewhere comfortably in-between (as I've been comfortable burping in public and making other disgusting and crude noises and remarks while at the same time being comfortable in showing emotion, and being touchy-feely and sensitive to others' feelings and needs, all the while never taking up sewing or scrap booking (yuck!)), and though I don't believe that men are not sensitive, caring and compassionate (as my experience has shown multiple examples of many "straight men" who have cried like babies when touched by the spirit, and have shown great compassion when moved upon by that spirit), I still found it a bit odd to look around at all the old half-dead high priest buggers in the quorum meeting staring at the instructor as he tried to convince them to be more "feminine". I just had to laugh inside... Some looked totally lost and befuddled, with questions on their wrinkled grey, bushy brow like "what the heck is Brother Jones talking about?"

However, the thought occurred to me that maybe with a bit more sensitivity training in priesthood meeting (answering -L-'s question of what resources the Church needs to provide), there might be more compassion and understanding of those that do experience the world with different eyes and experiences (and orientations and temptations) than they might ever feel or know... and maybe with a bit more of this reaching out, there would be less of the ignorance, intolerance, and arrogance of a very myopic view expressed by a certain self-righteous radio geek spreading his "manly" insensitivity...

And maybe with a bit more of the current crop of trailblazing, brave, bold and honorable BYU students being willing to speak out and show the insensitive, ignorant and arrogant radio-geek "holier than thou" Utah Mormon types (enough stereotype labeling for you yet?) that there is another FACE, another point-of-view, a real student body of faithful LDS gay (dare I use that word?)students who aren't deviant and immoral and disrespectful of all things holy, including the Honor Code, we might just get one step closer to putting all stereotypes behind us and just go on living compassionately as the Lord would have us live!


Just some rambling thoughts from this morning's commute from this old bugger (who by the way keeps his brow from being too wrinkled, too grey or too bushy, I'll have you know) ...

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Another Bloggiversary...

What is it about mile posts that makes one reflect, take stock of where one is, and re-evaluates where one is going? The New Year, birthdays, graduations, anniversaries... they all have this influence to reflect.

Today marks my 100th post!

And tomorrow marks my 1st bloggiversary!

In this past year, I've gone from...

* full of angst... to not quite so angsty, at least not on a daily basis.

* full of self-doubt and self-loathing... to being more accepting of myself.

* questioning whether I truly am "gay"... to embracing the idea that having "gay" attributes make up, in part, who I am, but not necessarily who I will ultimately become.

Yet, I've continued to struggle...

* in my marriage and my dialogue with my wife about these feelings and issues, and learning to cope with and hold on to the commitments made in a mixed-oriented marriage now in it's 25 year...

* with my testimony and where I fit into His kingdom... the fears and doubts.

* with my continued and longing desires to be with a man in an emotional, romantic and physical way (still falling apart inside anytime I'm around my dear and sweet "Tim")

* with the delay of my coming "out" to myself, and all that has resulted from that "delay".

* with how far I still have to go in so many ways...

I've become "acquainted" with a community of incredibly amazing people in this MOHO queerosphere of bloggers, and have felt myself attached to a "community of saints" (used in the sense of Paul in the New Testament - both LDS and non-LDS alike) that exists in no other forum or sphere. I have felt love, support, encouragement, enlightenment from so many of you. I have felt a bond, a commonality, a strength from your varied, yet similar, paths. I've become more accepting of choices individuals make, recognizing the individuality of those choices. I am learning and becoming better because of my association with YOU!

I've felt lonely in the path I've chosen to take. I don't live in a world where these thoughts, feelings, emotions, struggles, choices can be discussed, felt, embraced or understood by anyone in my immediate surroundings of family, work, church, or community. This blog has given me a home to come to. I have felt challenged, questioned, stretched and yet never abused or disrespected. Isn't it an amazing thing to see this "community" develop (without rules or regulation, without leaders, without membership etc.) from such a wide variety of backgrounds, ages, circumstances - but with such respect, common strength, and unique "love" for each other. I continue to be astonished how this has evolved over the course of this last year...

As noted in my last post, there is a deafening silence of those who have gone on before me on this road of life as SSA/SGA MOHO MOMs. I want to give A voice to one such man trying to live a happy and mostly-contented life doing so. This road I'm on may end at a cliff, or a dead end. I don't know... as I truly don't see the light in front of me...

But I still give voice. This blog gives "voice" of hope, in spite of the angst and struggles along the way. There is always room for HOPE!!!!!!

And every "voice" counts. As I was reading my most favorite Dr. Suess story to my young daughter the other night:

And he climbed with the lad up the Eiffelberg Tower.
"This," cried the Mayor, "is your town's darkest hour!
The time for all Whos who have blood that is red
To come to the aid of their country!" he said.
"We've GOT to make noises in greater amounts!
So, open your mouth, lad! For every voice counts!"

Thus he spoke as he climbed. When they got to the top,
The lad clared his throat and he shouted out, "Yopp!"
And that Yopp...

That one small, extra Yopp put it over!
Finally, at last! From that speck on the clover
Their voices were heard! They rang out clear and clean.
And the elephant smiled. "Do you see what I mean?...
They've proven they ARE persons, no matter how small.
And their whole world was saved by the Smallest of All!"

I don't pretend to think that this blog is more important than it really is - just a loose collection of angsty ramblings, often whining and complaining. But the strength comes with common and unique bonding of voices. I add my voice, one of the "smallest" in this community...
Thanks for indulging... and for coming along for the ride...

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Older examples...

The average age of this blogging community is probably in the mid 20s, I would guess. There are some younger and a few of us older. Of "us" older bloggers, there are examples of various paths that have been chosen, taken, lived - that reflect a variety of expressions of what it means to be gay AND Mormon (whether culturally, spiritually, religiously or otherwise). These examples are out there for the 20-somethings and younger generation to look at and see as models of what "not to do" or as models of "that could work for me", etc.

I don't pretend to be a model for anyone - this isn't my point. What I'm getting at is: I don't see examples of gay married Mormon men who are twenty or thirty years older than me, that I can look to as models of what "not to do" or as models of "that could work for me", etc. I just see a void, an unknown... a path that I'm sure others like me have trodden, but they haven't expressed in any open fashion what they learned and went through along the way. They are silent. This generation before me did not and does not talk about what is discussed in this blogging community. And for the most part, they don't blog. And maybe that's a good thing...

But I long to hear stories and examples and experiences of older men who are still happily married after 50 years, who have remained faithful to the Church and devoted to their wives, and who are completely and undoubtedly GAY to the core through it all. Or, I want to hear stories and examples and experiences of older men who finally decided they couldn't make it - it isn't possible - there is no hope and they've gone off into the sunset in other paths. Do such men in either case exist?

The youngin's of this community have a ton of compatriots to pull from. There is a shared openness and community. And undoubtedly, the generation to come (both in and out of the Church) will have an even more inviting community in which to be engaged. The society at large has allowed for them to pull together and be together and discuss more openly "their issues". And, they have examples of those a generation ahead of them who struggled and are struggling through a much more closed society and lack of openness that have allowed some to inadvertently or unconscientiously "delay" their outing and openness.

But, just as I exist, there must be others ahead of me that exist. But where?

For the most part, I find images of older gay men revolting! I find the thought of images of me becoming an older gay man revolting! The media doesn't show this, for the most part - thank goodness - as the images of young 20-somethings frolicking on the beach together are much more pleasing to the eye... but that's beside the point...

Especially in the Church, is there a gay faithful Mormon man married 50 years that has done it? Is it possible to hold on? Does it get easier with time? Or do we all eventually get divorced, commit suicide, or otherwise disappear as a dying breed?
I'd be interested in the "youngin's" perspective, because believe it or not, you'll all be there someday..... (SCREAM!!!!!!) :)

Friday, April 06, 2007

Kick in the door...

"When we accept Christ and enter into his covenant, the demands of justice, which are demands for a perfection we do not have, are met by the grace of God, and we are saved. Thus, the saving principles of the gospel covenant are offered to us as a favor, as an act of grace or goodwill. But we can still refuse grace. We can resist God's love and reject his covenant. Christ stands at the door and knocks, but he never kicks it in. We must open the door."

"The good news of the gospel is good news to me not because it promises that other people who are better than I am can be saved, but because it promises that I can be saved - wretched, inadequate, and imperfect (and confused and befuddled and angsty-gay) me. And until I accept that possibility, I have not really accepted the good news of the gospel."

-- Stephen E. Robinson: Believing Christ.

I love this book. I'm re-reading it in preparation for some things I'm doing for Easter. I sometimes wish that He would just "kick in the door" with a spinning karate-chop smooth move, surprising the crap out of me to get my attention that He's there waiting to help fill in the voids, and make me completely solid. I mean, He's done everything else, why can't He do just this one simple final act of kicking in the freakin' knobless door?! Why do I have to get up off my butt, walk across the room and open the stupid door for Him? I don't get it...
Buona Pasqua!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

However faint the light may glow...

Here's to Hope's recent post has stirred a thought I have regarding why some who profess to be "Mormon" but don't believe in the precepts absolutely, still associate themselves with the Church. The Church is a hard thing to give up.

I've watched over the last year, as I've participated in the MOHO queerosphere, as some in this community have decided to take steps to leave the Church but still associate themselves (maybe on the periphery) with it. I'm okay with that. I'm not saying I'm choosing the same path, but I'm okay with understanding how some come to that decision, for I've seriously contemplated it myself - and who knows - may still do so in time - but for now I have not and am not taking those steps.

I'm okay with a lot of things that I wasn't so okay with in the past. My coming to terms with my own essence of who I am and why I'm the way I am, including my gayness, has altered my thinking to realize I'm not as black-and-white as I once was, though the Church remains black-and-white, because my reality has become more gray. Does this mean I don't believe? Of course not. Does that make me an apostate? I hope not! It just means that I'm questioning more, and I'm open to other thoughts more than I was before as my world has become a mix of black-and-white with a lot of gray.

So why do some continue to want to associate with the Church and its teachings? Why is there the great interest to influence those teachings and principles if they don't have any personal meaning? Why worry about the Church and the prophet and General Conference and what was said or not said, if its all a fairy-tale anyway?

Good questions all... I had a dear friend (the first person I came out to - or actually he helped me out of the closet for the first time) who, when I was worried about the Church, and my family, and my marriage etc. and how they fit in or didn't fit with my "coming out to myself", stated that I would have to allow my feelings for the Church follow their own separate path as I came to terms with my gayness. He wisely advised that I needed to re-establish my own self-worth (which was destroyed at the time) and let other things fall where they may in their own time and place and manner... He didn't debate with me the teachings of the Church - but let me come to my own conclusions. NOTE: I think he thought I would end my marriage and end my relationship with the Church as he had done - but it's now 2-1/2 years later and I'm still here: married and an active, believing follower in the Church, and self-aware even more than ever of my unique "gayness".

The answer, for me at least, lies in a quote I have stuck in my scriptures that I keep to remind me of a perspective of my own waffling testimony:

It is my hope and my belief that the Lord never permits the light of faith wholly to be extinguished in any human heart, however faint the light may glow. The Lord has provided that there shall still be there a spark which, with teaching, with the spirit of righteousness, with love, with tenderness, with example, with living the Gospel, shall brighten and glow again, however darkened the mind may have been. And if we shall fail so to reach those among us of our own whose faith has dwindled low, we shall fail in one of the main things which the Lord expects at our hands." -- J. Reuben Clark, Oct 1936.
I continue to blog because I sense there needs to be some of us out there with a small voice "to reach those among us of our own"... who can show that we are married, we are gay, we are active card-carrying LDS members with testimonies, and yes - still somewhat sane... and though we may still have doubts, questions, and struggles with the absoluteness of all things, the light, though flickering and weak as it may be, is still glowing...

Monday, April 02, 2007

Be Still My Soul...

I wanted to be touched by something during conference. Instead, I found from one session to the other, that it was the same ol' thing and I found myself getting more and more cynical as each session passed. I mean, was it just me, or did President Hinckley appear, and even say, that he's tired and ready to call it quits... even the rededicatory prayer lacked "umph" and punch of one excited with the spirit for such an "historic" occasion. It just seemed lethargic. Maybe it's my spirit that is lethargic.

From spiritual vertigo to being clean, from divorce resulting from a lack of repentance (change) for either or both parties, to the miracle of Joseph Smith and the restoration, it's all the same... though, I must admit, I did enjoy the imagery of the point-of-safe-return (verses point-of-no-return) where we always have the HOPE of the Savior in our lives, no matter how far we've traveled away from Him - that there always is a point-of-safe-return!

I sat in the front of Priesthood Session in our Stake Center with my son, praying for him to be touched - and wondering how I could expect such a thing when I was so "untouched". Obviously, my soul was troubled and I prayed for it to be at peace, to sense some calm, to be touched in some way. The talks brought memories of familiarity to my spirit, but not the still small voice that I sought. I was finding myself more and more cynical as the session proceeded and desperately fought such feelings, trying to have some sense of peace.

And then it came... it was during the closing hymn of the Priesthood Session. The BYU combined men's choir sang A Capella and the spirit started burning in my heart. My soul was stilled... I was completely overcome. I started crying, weeping tears down my cheeks. Thank goodness the lights were dimmed. I tried to stay controlled but my emotions got the best of me. I was overcome with spiritual assurance that peace will come, that my heart is still soft, not totally rock-hard, and that there is a peace and hope for ME personally. I was touched in a very unique way. It wasn't through anything anyone said. It was through the solemn, amazing message through that perfect music. It spoke to my soul in a way that I won't soon forget - though I'm sure eventually I will, and will need to be reminded again.

My troubled, conflicted, struggling, cynical gay heart was touched. My soul was stilled... It's been a long time... but I finally felt something!