Saturday, December 06, 2008

A letter to JG...

Dear JG:

I am deeply honored that you posted a comment on this blog. I am sure that I am not alone in saying that you are one of my heroes. I started blogging a few months before you came on the scene and I followed your story with great interest and intrigue – more obvious now because of my feelings for my Italian brother. Your descriptions of your love for Isaac and for finding a way that the two of you could be together and have this special bond forever, including the physical aspect of the relationship, was so endearing to me as I felt the same thing. I felt as if I were living through your experience as you opened up your feelings for your family and the Gospel and the tug that they were on your life to pull back, the retrench and to start over. Those words expressed were with great passion and emotion and they touched me deeply. I admired your example and strength to come back to America and break your ties with Isaac and allow him to move on with his life, be baptized and find his own path in the Gospel.

I am thrilled that you continue to feel that the choices you made 18 months ago were the correct one that you’ve experienced countless miracles and have felt the Spirit back in your life again as a dad and husband. What joy this brings to my heart. I’ve always wanted to know “the rest of the story” and thanks for sharing what you have.

I am grateful to know that Isaac is doing well, as well, and that his testimony is strong and growing and is preparing to enter the House of the Lord. What an amazing blessing for you! What a miracle for the both of you! I needed to hear that the Spirit you feel back in your life outweighs anything you gave up (“sex with your man”). I am thrilled that you’ve found a way to still be brothers together and to love your man in a more spiritual way. Thank you again for being my hero!

I am saddened that you are saddened by my blog. I didn’t expect that reaction from you. You are disturbed by the photos I’ve been posting. I guess that is to be expected. I don’t excuse that behavior, but I guess it is a continuation of the “adolescent phase” with which I find myself. I ask myself why I use them – I guess I am visually oriented, I use and create images in my profession and beautiful images or thought-provoking images interest me and communicate to me and others in ways that words cannot. I do not use them to be offensive or cruel or evil. Maybe I push the edge a bit, but I use my blog for that purpose, in a way of coping with reality, and I find that in allowing my blog to be an alter-ego of myself and push the limits a bit, I am able to better respond to that reality as I go about living my life away from this blog. I hope that makes sense and I am sorry that you’ve taken offense.

You say that you “don’t see any sign of a fight” in me and that I “seem to have already given up”. I don’t expect you, or anyone, to read my entire story, and you know very well that a blog is just a miniscule slice of who the author is behind the words, and understanding this, you must realize that you cannot judge me like this. Yes, I am toying with ideas and feelings that may seem to place me on the edge of apostasy or inevitability, but I assure you that I am not you. I have not gone to him! I have not left me family to run to his open arms. I have not violated my covenants. I do not intend to violate those covenants!

I have been fighting all my life as I’m sure you have and you must continue to do so, whether you admit it or not. I have been chaste my whole life. I do not know what gay love feels like as you do. I do not have that knowledge of intimacy with another man, yet I long for it. It is something I crave. Yet, through all my youth, and mission, and marriage of 27 years, I have not given up the fight to resist that craving! I am not blaming you for misunderstanding me, for my words sometimes betray the real me. Be it clear: just because I long for that relationship of physical, emotional electricity with another man that I love completely, does not mean that I have given up the fight! And if this blog, as imperfect and worldly at times as it may be, helps me to keep up the fight, then I will see it as achieving one of its prime purposes for existing.

You tell me: You’ve lost sight of reality: who you were before you were born, all that you have been given and promised and the royal Priesthood that you hold.” I want you to know that I have a firm and solid and unshakeable testimony of the PLAN. It is one of very few things that I am sure of. I know who I am! I know that I am a Child of God and that God loves me. I know that I am eternal and have always existed and that the essence of who I am today is who I always have been and who I am today will be the essence of who I will be someday! My vision is clear! I know the power of the Priesthood that I hold. I have seen it work miracles in others lives as well as my own. I know that I have stepped off the path and may be “testing the waters” at times, but that does not mean that I have lost sight of who I am or the promises in store for me as I hold on.

My struggle is with wanting to hold on, not in not knowing. I do know. And sure, it is exhilarating to have someone, a dear brother come to realize that after all these years he loves me as much as I love him. Sure it’s addicting and I love that feeling. But I disagree that this feeling is ultimately “empty”. I have nothing but good feelings and desires for my “Isaac” and our relationship has been built on the Spirit and the desires to do good that the Spirit prompts us to do. Nothing but good has come from these feelings. I do not consider them “empty”. Maybe in the particular path that you chose, you found them to end in emptiness. With your example, I want to not have that same conclusion.

I count these feelings as a gift, as a blessing from God and I am alive and exhilarated and thrilled to be able to feel this love. It is not evil! This is not something that Satan is using to chain me to hell. I do not believe that. I cannot believe that. Though I may long for the relationship that you and Isaac so beautifully shared, and you may regret to have shared such things with this community for fear of setting the course in doing that very thing for others of us to follow, this longing does not mean that is the course I am on.

Thomas is a real man. He is not fictional. My feelings for him may be romanticized and naïve, but they are not make-believe. And to say that he is my “gay lover” is overstating it. Again, I love him, I even admit that I am “in love” with him in a real way, but he is not my “gay lover” and never will be. He is my brother. We are more than friends. Our friendship has lasted and intensified over these 29 years. We still feel the spirit beating in our hearts and the connection between us after all these years. Is this a lie? Is what we feel not real?

Yes, I’m holding onto a dream, just as you did. I was hoping to have received more understanding words and a measure of comfort from you as you, of all people, know from where I speak as you have gone before me on this path. Where is your heart? Where is your compassion? Why are you so angry and bitter about this? What have you seen that I don’t understand? Is it that you see anguish and regret in my path? Do you feel that it was a mistake to know Isaac, to share your life with him, to love him? Why, if it all ended up so well for you, is it still such a nightmare of torture to see me following your path? Don’t you see that I want to learn from you and to be understood by you, and to make the right choices, instead of being treated as a delusional mess?

You disappeared from the blogging world and I hang on. You’ve moved on and I’m still languishing in the muck of my photos and blogging cronies. You’re on higher ground fighting and you see me low and debased and quitting the fight. I apologize for that misconception. I reiterate: I am not ready to give up!

I again thank you for coming back, even if just for this brief moment for me to internalize the fight which is still within me! I hope you will come back soon and often and be willing to teach and encourage and help others who are struggling with what you once struggled, and hope that you and others like you, who have moved on, can show us the way.

I’ve said this before: There is no guide book on how to be a married Mormon man with these feelings raging inside him. The Church doesn’t want to even admit that we, our kind, even exist. It never was meant to be easy, nor fair, and I’m not asking for it to be anything but what it is. But, I do know one thing – I am grateful for these feelings raging inside me, because they are who I am, and they help me to be a better person, a kinder person, a more compassionate and loving person for feeling them. I am not ashamed of who I am nor why I feel the way I do. I do not blame God. I praise Him for giving me this gift.

Thank you again for responding to my request, and may God bless you and your family, and Isaac and his, as you journey on this common quest for eternal joy,

Beck.

20 comments:

Bravone said...

Comprendo completamente e ti ammiro per tua testimonianza, fede, e compassione. Ho fede che farai ciò che Padre vorrebbe che facessi. Il fatto che non hai mai fatto ciò che ho fatto io 'e prova che hai l'autocontrollonecessario di succedere in questo soggiorno eterno.

Con tanto affetto,
Bravone

Neal said...

I think your pictures are an extension of YOU; your thoughts, feelings, memories, and frustrations. That's how I know you, even though I can't see you. Combined with your words they become, at least for me, your cyber-personality. I think they're honest - don't change them...

playasinmar said...

I've already gone over the image issue in its entirety.

Anonymous said...

OK, so your're not going to go to Italy... What if he comes here?

Beck said...

BRAVONE: Grazie a te con tutto il mio cuore sincerissimo! Un abbraccione da Beckone.

NEAL: I appreciate you seeing through the madness of the photo debate, and that you can see past it to the cyber-personality that is a slice of my honest inner self.

PLAYA: I know, I know... here we go again! But my issue isn't the photos as much anymore as it is in how a person can be completely into a gay relationship and than cold-turkey be out of it and denying those passions and feelings... maybe "denying" is too strong of a word, but it certainly implies that I can switch this gay button off and on at will if I just had enough faith and if I just would stop blogging and feeding the stuck-on-switch with these photos... I'm struggling as a struggler to know how to do that. I want to learn, for having such a switch as simple as repentance, would be great. Is that all it takes?

Beck said...

ANON: Simply put, I highly doubt it. He is not in an economic situation with his obligations that would permit him to have disposable means whereby to come to America. Whereas I do. So the question remains whether I will go there, not visa versa, though I do understand your point.

If, for instance, he did show up at my door, would I be as available to him as my messages suggest? That is a good question and shows my immaturity and disingenuousness. Yes, I would still be open to him, but it is easier to imagine such openness on his turf and not on my own, at least as my "turf" is certainly defined today.

robert said...

Why do you allow this JG person to have such an effect on you? His comments on the last blog post sounded nothing more than, how can I say this...."un-happy" to me. I would not be so certain as to who is delusional between the two of you. I don't know why he feels the way he does, but I doubt it has all been tied up for him into a nice little package and left out in the rain.

Beck said...

ROBERT: It is because I still have a delusional hope that this is just a phase, and I can move on and flip the switch off. When I hear how some people have done this and are "happy" about their off switch, it makes me wonder if this is possible for me. Am I concentrating too much time and energy to keep my switch turned on? Am I blogging too much and worrying too much about this to "feed the need" of my homosexuality? Or are these thoughts nothing but steps backward to where I was?

Public Loneliness said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Public Loneliness said...

Sorry, didn't articulate things right the 1st time...With all due respect to John Galt, I've read his blog and understand the kinds of things that he is trying to warn you, but there's one big difference that maybe no one dares mention: He has had the man, the sex, the relationship and the lifestye...wrong as he may think it it is now, he's lived it and as far as I can tell you haven't. Lots of wisdom can come from his experience, but aren't we better off sometimes having lived and experienced things for ourselves than being told by anyone else? I honestly mean no judgement to him, heck, if any of us could get away with what he has and come alive on the other end he can only be a hero in our eyes, but I think that circumstances as they may be are way different for the two of you. That's just my two cents...

Beck said...

PL said: "... Lots of wisdom can come from his experience, but aren't we better off sometimes having lived and experienced things for ourselves than being told by anyone else?"

Yes and no. I certainly don't need to smoke for myself or take drugs or do wreckless sex as a prostitute to know that such things are bad for me. I don't need to drink and drive and get in a car accident to learn that it isn't a wise thing to do, but now I know it and won't do it again... You see my point...

But I also know that sometimes, particularly with these emotions inside me as I interpret them for me, I need to experience them for myself to mature and to find out who is this man inside me that wants to come out? That is something that no one can say "not to do" because of their experience. It isn't that same as the examples above and for that reason alone, I agree that I shouldn't compare my situations with theirs... and yes, there are more than one, not just JG.

What I was trying to say here is that I HAVEN'T gone down THEIR path, for it is MY path, and as similar as it may seem, it is just as different.

You said: "... I honestly mean no judgement to him, heck, if any of us could get away with what he has and come alive on the other end he can only be a hero in our eyes, but I think that circumstances as they may be are way different for the two of you."

Amen. I think they've gotten away with a lot of things I'll never do, and more power to them, and I place no judgment - only on myself and my choices here, and so far, I think I'm doing a pretty damn good job with what I've been given to work with...

Anonymous said...

John Galt is my hero.

Beck said...

ANON: JG is my hero, too! I've stated that as plain as day.

All I want to know is HOW he and you did it. That's all.

duck said...

Beck, I have looked at your blog for a while. Everyone has their opinions of what you, and even me, should do with our lives as gay members of the Church. A year and a half ago, my mission president, an emeritus General Authority, told m he is not the same GA I knew in the mission-field. He told me to act on my being gay, that I should keep it private, that I should lie in my temple recommend interview, give them "the answers they want", that the closest we can feel to feeling like God is to have an orgasm, that Elder Nelson of the Quorum of the 12 does not know Christ, does not know how to love, and that he was telling me these many things and "not to be a traitor" to him. As soon as I hear the "traitor" word being used, I know the other guy has a serious problem. And, other members of the Church have told me NOT to act on my being gay. My being a gay member of the Church has led me to the doors of suicide many times. I felt like God would rather have me dead than to love someone of the same sex. But, on my way to do "the deed", God actually intervened and stopped me from doing it. He also sent His love and His understanding that He loves me no matter my choices, that He does not want me dead over a conflict such as this. SHortly thereafter, I came to a peace about being gay. I can be gay member of the Church. I do not have to act on it to prove anything to anyone. These are MY choices and MY understanding and MY desires. But, they may not be yours. You are the one who gets to choose what it is that you are going to do about being a gay member of the Church. Many who have acted out on their gayness and now do not tell you not to pursue it. But, they got to THEIR point of understanding going through THEIR choices and experiences. SOme of us can learn from others' experiences. Some of us learn by going through our own. You do what YOU have to do, to gain YOUR experience, YOUR lessons. Obviously, chosing to act on one's gayness and trying to maintain integrity within the structure of the Church's guidelines and laws is next to impossible. If one is truly an honest person, (s)he cannot act on their gayness indefinitely and be an active member of the Church. One cannot have it both ways. So, everyone can tell you what to do o what to not do. You get to weigh the pros and the cons. You get to choose what you will do. Of course, their are people who will be affected by your choices- your wife, your children, etc. When I was dealing with the magnificent struggles of being a gay member of the Church, I told my therapist one day that I could not act on it because of the covenants I made in the temple when I went on a mission. She asked how old I was at that time- I told her. She asked how could I abide by covenants for the rest of my life based on what I made when I was a young missionary. I know she was trying to get me to see many sides of the argument. For me, acting on my gayness in NOT an option. You asked how can someone be gay, and not think about those things, not act on them, and if they say they no longer wish to act out, they are liars. Sometimes, the thoughts cross my mind about acting out on my gayness. But, I quickly dismiss them from my mind. I concentrte on other things. I do not allow my gay feelings and thoughts, desires and wishes take over what it is I want to do. Yes, I am still gay. Very. But, I do not wallow in the gay aspects of my life. I am very careful about what I will watch on TV, what I allow myself to think about, the fantasies I allow myself to conjeur up in my mind. If I even let my gaurd down briefely, I am swallowed up in the deires to act on my gayness. For ME, I have decided I DO NOT want to act on it. So, there are my two cents worth for you. Good luck in your choices. Thank you for sharing your story. Duck

playasinmar said...

Duck. Paragraph. Please.

Beck said...

DUCK: I am grateful to you for feeling the need to share your story here on my blog. Your story touches me deeply, but also confuses me, especially the comments from your mission president who obviously has come to different conclusions. (I'd love to know more about this advice you've been given and why it is being given in the way that it is). I am intrigued by that, and by your actions to follow the path you have chosen just the same.

I admire your determination to follow your path and keep your standards and show others like me that it is possible.

Thank you.

duck said...

I got the sarcasm, Beck, by you and playasinmar, about the amount of sharing I did o your blog. Please accept my apologies. It will not happen again.

Beck said...

DUCK: You are totally wrong... I was not sarcastic at all. I am serious. I don't want you to think I'm making fun of you at all... I'm just curious about your story and your mission president's advice. There is no sarcasm here. Please understand that.

You can ask Bravone and others that you respect what they know of me. I'm not here to make fun of anyone. I'm sincerely glad that you felt the desire to communicate part of your story on my blog and I respect that.

All I can say is that I hope you continue to comment and contribute to this community as your voice is necessary.

Bravone said...

Beck, funny, I just posted on my blog to Duck that you are sincere and would never intend to offend anyone. Duck is a dear friend and I hope she will know how much she is appreciated.

playasinmar said...

Nevertheless. Paragraphs. Please.