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.