Monday, March 30, 2009

A neighborly response...

Update to my last post:

Though I am not an activist, nor one to pick a fight, I did feel the need to say something about my neighbor's email. I saw him from a distance in church yesterday and I felt the need to say something, but it wasn't the right place and time. I knew that eventually I would have to, and I didn't want to belabor this any more than I already have. So, this morning, I sent (thanks to the wise advice from this community) him this email response:

Dear (Neighbor):
Thank you for your invitation to participate in your neighborhood meeting. I appreciate your passion.
After reviewing the Sutherland Institute's perspective, I feel they do not represent the Church's best interests, nor mine, in this regard. The Church has come out against "gay marriage" but has not come out against civil unions or basic protections (like hospital visitation rights etc.) for same-sex couples. The Church even said they were not against such things in California, and though they sat silent during the last legislative session here in Utah, they did not raise a voice, like the Sutherland Institute did, to treat anyone unfairly.
I feel that we need to use a much more loving approach, as the Savior would use, toward our brothers and sisters (gay or otherwise). Don't you?
So, now what do you think? Did I open a can of worms that I wish I hadn't? I did not send it anonymously and so he knows it is I who sent it. Will this bring down the wrath of God onto me and my family? Will there no longer be accord and brotherhood in the quorum? Will I need to ask for a release from my leadership calling? Will I be brave now and finally step up and become the neighborhood gay sympathizer? Is this good or is this bad?
Fortunately, it was the 5th Sunday yesterday and so there was no audience for a "public announcement" on his part in Priesthood, and with General Conference and Easter both coming up in the next couple of weeks, I hope this will die and go away. Can one hope?
There is always hope.

Friday, March 27, 2009


For the most part, I have been spared the barrage of personal confrontations regarding the political/religious war that most have had to deal with - until now...

I received this in an email from my neighbor (a couple of houses down my street).

Dear Neighbor:

The Sutherland Institute has taken the lead in the fight for the preservation of marriage as between a man and a woman in Utah. They testified forcefully and convincingly in the last legislature to the end that all of the proposals of the (misnamed) homosexual group "Equality Utah"*, were soundly defeated. (My wife and I) attended both a "State of the Union II" presentation that Sutherland sponsored on this subject at Thanksgiving Point and the debate that they sponsored between themselves and "Equality Utah" representatives at the University of Utah. We were very impressed by their message and their personnel.

Unfortunately, although all of the 2009 "Equality Utah" initiatives were defeated, they have vowed to return to the legislature next year and every year thereafter until they get what they want. In response to this challenge, The Sutherland Institute is initiating a Neighbor-to-Neighbor effort to educate Utahans regarding the homosexual agenda and ways we, as citizens, can become involved.

(My wife and I) are planning to hold a meeting here in our home with personnel from The Sutherland Institute and any of you who would like to attend. We don't know when this meeting will take place but would like to find out who is interested and then coordinate with Sutherland. Would you please reply to this e-mail if you are interested? We are looking forward to an exciting meeting with you and Sutherland.


* I have placed the name of this group in quotation marks because their objectives are aimed at achieving special treatment for homosexuals instead of equality.

He is a fellow high priest, and as such, I am his priesthood leader. He is the one who has always made strong and hurtful statements in quorum discussions (regarding gays and marriage) that I have alluded to in the past, and where I end up hanging and shaking my head in disgust, but remain silent... and then proceed to get upset at myself for biting my tongue instead of speaking out for fear of exposure.

Now it has become personal. He is rallying the "troops" of the neighborhood (obviously fellow quorum and ward members) to his house. I know I will be confronted with this personally. He will ask me personally, I am sure.

So, before he does, how shall I handle this?

1. Should I ignore the email and hope it just goes away?
2. Should I acknowledge the email, but decline to participate due to lack of interest?
3. Should I acknowledge the email, and spell out my reasons for not wanting to participate?
4. Should I face him personally and tell him thanks for his offer, but "no thanks"?
5. Should I offer him any explanation?

I fear, knowing how vocal and outspoken he is on this issue, that he will make reference to his "meeting" and invite all in the quorum to come and become "educated". If he brings it into the church meetings, I will have to speak up and shut him down.

So, how shall I handle this situation?

1. Should I let him have his say and let it go, not adding any undo attention to it?
2. Should I politely tell him that political announcements are not part of the quorum meeting and to take his rhetoric outside?
3. Should I have a pre-prepared statement reiterating the church's stance (though they don't follow it) on the gay-rights initiatives?
4. Should I taken him on in a debate right then and there?
5. Should I "out" myself in front of the quorum and see their reactions then to one of their leaders being gay, ripping my shirt off and throwing my temple recommend at him?
6. Should I have a "neighbor-to-neighbor" meeting and invite Scott and Sarah to help me "educate" the ward neighbors in a fireside setting, and have Cog and his family there as guest speakers?

I thought this would be going away... It obviously isn't, and more likely sooner than later, I will be forced to stop being a fence-sitter...

Monday, March 23, 2009

You know when...

Comments from my previous post gave me many analogies to think about as I contemplate my progress / or lack thereof, and I want to think about that some more as I come to grips with a perspective of where I am, but…

In the spirit of Jeff Foxworthy’s “You know you’re a redneck when” one-liners…

1. You know you’re a married, fear-laden, closeted gay-celibate when you still keep thinking about the hot landscape guy all weekend… Yeah, my wife hires a sprinkler guy to repair our irrigation system and you meet him in a snowstorm a couple of weeks ago and he’s wearing a coat and hoodie and I think he’s kind of cute but don’t give it a lot more thought, and then Friday he comes with a tight tee-shirt covering a fit and ripped body and a smile and blue eyes to die for and it’s all you can do to stop staring and try to carry on a conversation without becoming weak in the knees. Thank goodness it snowed today and he didn’t show up again, or I’d be getting even less done than I am.

2. You know you’re a married, fear-laden, closeted gay-celibate when you are trying to stay interested in your client’s conversation at a business lunch, but instead you get caught staring at the eye candy at the neighboring booth at a local sports bar… Yeah, I had a client take me to lunch and offer me a couple of great leads for future projects, and he catches me staring at the 20-something eye candy guys who seemed pretty open and friendly and touchy-feely with each other who were sitting behind his back. Fortunately, there were plenty of flat screens with the NCAA tournament on and I just changed his noticing my stares to the game at hand, acting like I care about basketball, and successfully dodged a gay-bullet.

3. You know you’re a married, fear-laden, closeted gay-celibate when you go to an art exhibit and spend more time spying the artists on display verses their artwork… We were invited on Friday to the Conference Center to see the opening of the new LDS art exhibit and there were some beautiful pieces there (and I don’t mean those made of canvas or clay).

4. You know you’re a married, fear-laden, closeted gay-celibate when you attend the musical production at the local high school with your family and you instantly spot the obvious gay guys in the play and spend the rest of the time wondering what it would have been like to be open and honest so many years ago when you were in high school, and break out in tears, but not because of the sad, emotional scene being portrayed on stage… My wife leans over and asks if I’m okay and I just shrug it off.

5. You know you’re progressing in this coming-to-terms with your married, fear-laden, closeted gay-celibacy when you no longer freak out about any of the above... Yeah, the landscape guy is way hot and I certainly am alive and well in still noticing. Yeah, the other situations are what they are. But I wish I could be more engaging and upfront and honest with these feelings, and with guys I meet or see or notice… but, I’m not. It’s still a bit of torture inside my fear-laden closet. But, I’m okay with it… who knows; maybe the landscape guy can be my new crush…

As always... these are real, not made up views into my weekend. Do any of you have others - maybe more clever and funny one-liners about when you "know"?...

Thursday, March 19, 2009


As I quickly approach three years of blogging, I wonder if I am so close to it that I cannot see the progress or growth that I have achieved in the last three years of being open and honest and dialoguing with myself about my attractions to men. I wonder why I am still here typing away.

When I began this blogging, I never anticipated that I would still be around three years later. And yet, to your detriment, I am still here hanging around and blogging.

I feel that I have grown in my acceptance of who I am deep inside myself and the self-loathing and self-hatred is almost completely gone. I have gone from struggling to accept my attractions to embracing them as a fundamental base of my core self. This path of self-acceptance has occurred mainly through my blogging and associations within this community.

I still have a long way to go. I still hide things from my wife. I still live in the closet. I still seek "crushes" and "bromances" as ways of coping with my cravings for male companionship. But even with these, I've come to conclude that they can be good and healthy and purposeful and rewarding and necessary. Yes, I'm still pathetically "lonely" as some have declared, but I'm not hating myself for it.

I no longer ask "why". But I still ask "what" I want and "how" I get what I want...

And I wonder - am I really progressing? I feel stagnating. Is there growth? Am I becoming a better person, father, husband? Am I still contributing to this community?

* I'm still living in the closet...

* I'm still hiding many things from my wife and family...

* I'm still hiding from my church family...

* I'm still coping verses thriving...

I wonder if I should read my blog from the beginning all the way through - like a novel of sorts - and stand back and see if there has been any growth or progress - and evaluate where I've been and where I'm going, for from here, it seems that I am stagnating and going nowhere and if I'm going nowhere, then I'm not progressing. Maybe it would be fun to realize that I have changed and grown and come to some sort of "thriving". But, frankly - the thought of reading it makes me shiver with fright. Maybe it would be too scary to read my blog and realize the stagnation and hopelessness of an unauthentic life partially lived. I never have gone back. I'm kind of afraid to do so... kind of like reading a pending train wreck! It would be like really looking at yourself in the mirror... not a pretty thought!

I've lost perspective. I need to stand back somehow to see the forest from the trees. How do I see myself as others see me from a distance? How do I gain that perspective?

What do you think? Is there any growth happening? Or am I pathetically lonely and eternally lost in the woods?... Is my train racing to the station, or did it already wreck and I'm seeing the world wiz by - giving me the allusion of thinking that I'm moving but instead I'm standing still while everyone is passing me by?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Need to find me a crush!


I'm going nuts!

I'm going through serious withdrawals...

I've got a major deadline and I can't concentrate - I can't work...

I can't think straight (though I never could)...

I really, really need to find me a boy-crush!

If I don't find someone to crush on pretty soon, I may join a gym or take a photography class, or who knows what... maybe even get a massage from a hot male masseuse... or maybe disappear to Italy.

Help! Any suggestions on where I can find me a good "crush"? All my typical resources have dried up.
Just a little crush - nothing too serious - but something to get me going again. I can be a great friend, very kind and sweet and mentoring and financially helpful, and ... :)
This gay-adolescent phase of mine has kicked in again in earnest...
When will it ever end? (Don't answer that!)

! SLAP ! (firmly on the back of the head)
Thanks, I needed that... back to the grindstone...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Everywhere a dead end...

Have you ever been caught in a real-life rat maze where every alley and path you take leads to a dead end? And as you search for a way out, you begin to panic with fear of being trapped and hopelessly caught?

I have. It happened several years ago in Venice, Italy. I was with my wife and it was very late at night and we needed to pick up our ferry taxi in a really remote and dark end of the city away from all of the tourist centers. Usually, I have a great sense of direction and know where I am or a sense of my bearings to work my way through a strange place without getting lost. But in this maze of back alleys and canals and buildings so tightly compacted together without any monuments, I couldn't find my bearings. And every turn we took led to seeing sex acts and drug deals and darkness, and the feelings of uncomfortable panic began to settle over us. It was one of the darkest, anxious moments of my life that I will never forget. The panic set in because it was so late into the early morning hours that we knew we were going to miss the last ferry and we would be stuck for the rest of the night. We were in a perpetual dead end to no where, and all we could do was to work our way back to where we recognized some landmark to then change our direction onto the correct path. Though I didn't feel we had the time to backtrack, we had to in order to go forward.

I am really beginning to feel this anxious moment inside me of the walls and dead ends of my life coming in on me and I have no time to backtrack and start over. I am feeling like I'm searching for a path that does not exist. And maybe I shouldn't even be looking for the path, but my heart still aches for the search.


Without sounding too emo or pathetic, I am lonely. There is no one in my ward, neighborhood, or working environment that gets me excited to be with. My whole life has been spent looking for guys that get my heart beating. At times, these guys have filled my life with hope and joy, friendship and excitement.

I have described in this blog, relationships with certain young men, who are now young married men who are gone and have moved on with their lives, who I see maybe once a year - and the occasional emails and chats, though warmly embraced and exciting for a time, are no longer enough. The rekindled bromance of my dear Italian brother, though passionate and loving, is disconnected for the most part due to the distance of half a world.

In my working environment, I have a clientele that does not fit the bill. Not that I'm actively looking, but there aren't real relationships beyond business, and that is the way it should be.

In my ward, there is currently no one. I have brethren who "love me" in that brotherly way, and would do anything for me if I simply asked, and would rally around me in a moment's notice to lend their support, but nothing more. And I want and long for more...

Even in the blogosphere, I've met wonderful, amazing, intelligent and beautiful people, but my connections have been short-circuited, and that is mostly due to my feelings of inadequacy and inappropriateness as I have done this clandestinely, secretly and dishonestly.

I realize that I should be looking no further than my own home, my own marriage. Most of the time, that works well, and we're happy together and making things work in true love and companionship, while at other times, as recent as Monday, I find my wife crying in her pillow and rushing to the bathroom to weep openly under the hope that I didn't hear or notice her broken heart and pain that she still feels. And if I do reach out too much, then my motives are viewed as as suspect instead of honest feelings. It's the quintessential no-win situation.

I need better connections. I need connections in the flesh (and not in the cyberspace) that are real and engaging and honest. How can I have these connections and relationships in my life when I am not honest with who I am and where I am? How do I reach out to new circles when my life is becoming more isolated, insulated and cloaked?

Even the dear relationships I have kindled and rekindled through the years are always the wrong guy in the wrong place where we can't really move forward together due to other circumstances. So, if I'm always looking for something I can't have, and if I still want to have what I don't have while still living with what I don't want but have, where is there any hope of finding someone to love?


Ned talked about his TMIL (the man I love) in his ward. I commented: "Man... I really need to get a new TMIL who is closer in vicinity to me. My TMILs are all somewhere else and not physically in my neighborhood anymore. Though there are emails and chats, it just isn't the same as a hug, or simply standing next to him."

And a followup comment:

"There is no one in my ward, neighborhood or blogosphere that shows me love in the way I want. I used to have it, but it's gone. I'd like to talk about it, but I've "broken bread" with many in this community and in the end it's all emptiness..."

I've envied the connections of others in this community, particularly reading about the "Matis firesides" and the "Scott and Sarah gigs". I'm not in a position to go to these events, even though I want to. And I wonder, even if I did, would it just be me continuing a lifelong pattern of looking in all the wrong places for connections that won't fill the void inside me in the end? And can that void be filled by anyone as long as I'm conflicted inside regarding what I want?

I hope this doesn't come across as being harsh or mean-spirited or hurtful, particularly to those of you I consider to be dear personal friends that I truly cherish and love. I don't mean to offend and I'm not sure this will be taken in the spirit it is intended - but I'm just feeling like every path and choice and connection out there before me leads to another anxious dead end.

Monday, March 09, 2009

It just is...

Bravone has recently posted on the subject of searching to find the "why" behind these things we discuss here in the hope of finding inner-peace. I responded:

I personally do not put a lot of credence in the "whys" of this, (particularly from either professionals or ecclesiastical leaders). No one has been able to explain it away to me. I do not fit the stereotype of an abused child, of having a distant father, of being raised by a dominant mother, of being exposed to pornography, of early (or any) sexual experimentation with my male peers, of being overly effeminate in nature. Yes, I'm the sensitive type, the non-athlete, the good student and good-boy stereotype.

But, even if I did know the exact reason, would it ease my shame "for so many years while I was in denial"? No, that was inflicted by a non-understanding and insensitive society and culture.

But, I am not you. You must decide for yourself. If you are wrestling with the "peace with (your) past", then search and find that peace in whatever form you can. If that is achieved through answering this eternal "why", then go for it.

But, I hope someday you can stop the wrestling match with yourself and truly be "grateful for so much of (your) gay nature" and just be YOU! Just be the wonderful, sensitive, caring, loving (and imperfect) YOU!

Have faith in the path... (See D&C 58:3) and know that He knows and sees the "design" of these things.

I really like this scripture:

Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time the DESIGN of your God concerning these things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow AFTER much tribulation.

The Saints in Jackson County could not understand the "whys" of their trials and their path they were on. They had no clue what purpose their "tribulations" served in the bigger picture. They just had faith that God did see and know them, did have a "design" for them.

The scripture continues:

For after much tribulation comes the blessing.

For some, this may be a cop-out answer. For me, it brings me peace. I am not saying this gay-gig is a tribulation (though it has brought me much confusion and angst). I do not worry why I am this way. In fact, I embrace my homosexuality as who I am and who I always have been and who I always will be. I see no "why" anymore to answer. For me, to view this as just a "mortal" condition (self inflicted or from some outside source) does not ring true. I see this as part of who I have always been as a soul, as a spirit, as an intelligence, and find no "blame", no "defect", no "trigger" for these things. They just are. And I have faith that my God "sees" me with eternal eyes, not natural eyes, and has "designed" these things for me now and for me hereafter.

I love men. I love admiring men. I love connecting with men. I love embracing men. I love being me. For now, that is good enough.

Where I struggle still, is how being me fits into my marriage, my family, my culture. God certainly has a sense of humor in this "Jackson County design" He has put me in.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Too much of a good thing?

I have a confession...

If you didn't already know, I really like guy eye-candy.

At first it was an innocent flirtation - a few minutes a day. My "collection" grew and grew and I always wanted more. Then, when I got caught by my son (almost a year ago), and confronted my wife about it, I deleted my entire collection and swore it off completely and went cold turkey for months.

Slowly, I've crawled back into the guy eye-candy search and collection mode. It's never journeyed into the p&m addiction, as I've been able to set and keep personal limits in those regards. But, now as the "collection" grows again, I find myself thick in the hunt for more. And more. And more. It's consuming too much time.

I love the bromancing pictures, the artsy compositions of the male form, the romancing pictures, the good looking guy that I envy. It's not something that is sexual (or is that me just in denial?). It's not even an arousal thing (I find no desire to go to harder stuff - in fact it turns me off). So what is it? Why do I allow myself to get into this search mode of finding beautiful guys?

Is it a substitute for a male relationship that I've never satisfied? Is it because I'm getting older and regretting the lost youth (as noted in my last post)? Is it because I don't satisfy my needs with p&m? Is it because I don't watch cable TV?

I've been able to keep this controlled, but I'm concerned it's becoming too much of a habit.

Am I alone in this? Any thoughts or advice or counsel?

Monday, March 02, 2009

On the verge of a new decade...

In about a month, I'll be transitioning from one decade to another. This has been weighing heavily on my mind and thoughts, probably moreso than it should. I keep telling myself this age milestone is "just a number" and doesn't mean anything and that I'm still the same person I was prior to reaching "this number", except a day older. I don't feel old and don't think that I act old, and I don't want to be old. But, I can't help but feel that my "good years" are behind me and this is it...

We went and saw "Benjamin Buttons" as a family and that didn't help. I found myself contemplating how many times I have dreamed of aging backward, at least back into my prime! How many times have I fantasized about being younger, stronger, fitter, better looking, more attractive? To see Benjamin turn into "Brad Pitt" perfection was about all I needed to put me certifiably over the edge.

So why is this such a big deal? How come I can't accept this inevitability with open arms? Why do I feel the need to be dragged into the next decade kicking and screaming? Could it be that I have led a life half-lived? Could it be that my closeted and late-coming-out-ness has filled me up with nothing but regrets and time wasted? Or am I just an old geezer deep in a midlife crisis and should get over it and look forward to a bright future of old age?

In this blogging community the majority are much younger and are making their choices that I should have faced and made decades ago. They have their whole futures ahead with lives full of confidence and authenticity behind them. What can I learn from them? They are already so much further down life's journey than I am. Is there really anything more that I can say to contribute to this community? Particularly from someone soooo old, but void of wisdom?

This is so shallow and frivolous a post...

P.S. My wife knows that I don't want to be around on my birthday and that I DO NOT want a birthday party of any kind this year. She knows that my family (my sisters in particular) are driving me crazy and teasing about this change in decade. So, she's promised to take me away on a secret junket far away from here - I don't know where, but just knowing she's scheming something up means a lot.