Monday, December 29, 2008

Secondary Blog

I just wanted to let you all know about my 2nd blog which can be found at:

I am going to have that blog be one that is not pointed or anything. Just a Tommy blog where I talk about whatever and can post the link on Facebook and send it to family so they can keep up with me and whatnot. I will still post on this one about things I don't want everyone I know to be able to read.

So I am not going anywhere, just expanding my blogging horizons.


Friday, December 19, 2008


In January, I will have been having this recurring dream for about a year now. It goes like this:

I am at some venue in my hometown. It is sometimes a restaurant, other times a furniture store, sometimes it is in someone's home, but it has always been in a different location.

I am with a girl who I am at least somewhat attracted to (I guess). It is always a different girl.

The details of what exactly is going on are fairly fuzzy (nothing specific happens), but I know that we are always laying down and there are sexual undertones to the situation (thought everyone remains fully clothed throughout the dream). It isn't outwardly explicit but certainly there is an element of eroticism.

In the dream, my sentiments toward what is going on are a little apathetic. It is kind of nice, I guess, but nothing special or amazing.

Then suddenly a guy walks in. Again, it is always a different guy. My attention turns toward him, and the girl fades away. I am filled with incredible sensations, my veins are like fire and my stomach is full of butterflies. I feel a sense of comfort and relief. It feels good. It feels right.

And then the dream ends.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Updates and a Reply

Well, it's all pretty much finalized in my mind. I will apply to begin at the University of Washington beginning in March, and my time left in Utah grows short. It was a tough and very multi-faceted decision. In the end I guess the final straw was realizing that attending a university that brings conditions into my life that make me feel like killing myself is not worth it no matter what. So I am getting out.

Also, I haven't been posting much, so I figured I would let you all in on an email I recieved from my aunt the other week. The circumstances were brought about by facebook and a group I joined but then promptly left. She saw it and was offending which resulted in:

Dear Tommy,

27 October 2008

I'm worried about you. I figured all of the stress and hype about proposition 8 might be unpleasant for you, and I've tried to keep in touch to make sure that you were handling it okay.

When your post on email said that you had joined the Nazis for CA's Prop.8, I checked it out. Like so many other No on 8 places, it seemed to be lacking in tolerance, at least.

I understand that you were being facetious and that you probably weren't trying to hurt my feelings, or anyone else's.

My concern is with the intensity of some of your comments. We've discussed the importance in your situation, in everyone's situation, of following the Spirit in our lives. An earmark of someone who is filled with the Spirit is the abundance of genuine love for other people. You expressed that to me in a phone call a while ago.

Since then it seems like your life has taken a terrible turn for the worse. Honestly, I don't think someone who is filled with the Spirit would choose to associate himself with such a hateful post. It is a manifestation of the harsh turmoil and confusion that seems to surround you these days.

I am concerned that, instead of trying to align yourself with the Lord's will for you and His plan for your life, you are trying to make Him (and His Church) bend to your will or be ridiculed for not doing so. This is a clear earmark of pride, and, pride, if allowed to remain unchecked, always leads to unhappiness.

I really want you to have a satisfying, happy life. I know that you have had a testimony of the gospel. I know that your spirit is strong enough and has been close enough to the Lord that you will never be content with partial closeness to the Lord, or to His Spirit.

As one who loves you, I beg you to humbly pray to Heavenly Father, with a willingness to follow His will no matter how hard it is, until you are again filled with love and peace. I know that this is the only path to happiness in this life and the next.

I have no desire to hurt or offend you. If I have misspoken or given any offense, I hope you can temper it with the understanding that no matter what you do, there will always be a unique place in my heart for only you, and that that place is filled with love and affection.

Sincerely and with love"

To which I (eventually) replied:

Hi! Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you. I planned on waiting a week before replying, but with me spending 10+ hours every day on campus alone it has dragged beyond that.

Also, I have written about 3 different drafts of this email (all of which were fairly long and were brilliant writings...), but in the end I think it best to keep it short.

I understand your concerns and appreciate your concern. I have a quite a few thoughts in response, but will only share these: Firstly, if you are trying to track/determine the condition of another's soul and character, Facebook is not the best source for that. I might equate it with getting news from the tabloids. Secondly, I knew how I would be received from the beginning. I knew emails like this would come, and that this is how I would be viewed. I am actually suprised at how long it has taken for that to occur. (Although intellectual preperation doesn't make the misunderstanding any more easy to deal with when it comes.) In the first few months of this year I realized that my own self respect and dignity are perhaps two of the best gifts I can give the world, and I reject the notion that I owe one person an apology/explanation for my choices.

Just know that I have left no stone unturned and I have extensively, deeply, methodically, and prayerfully considered every aspect of this issue. I am fully aware of the potential repurcussions on all sides and of every choice. You might think this naive of me, and while I dont know and cannot predict what the future holds, I know what my heart holds and am prepared for all that I will face. Of course I will make mistakes along the way, but that is just the human condition and I apologize if one of these mistakes has offended you or hurt your feelings.

Additionally, the Lord (and the Lord alone) understands my heart and if I were to face him today, I would not be embarassed. He knows and understands. Just realize that as you are indeed on "the outside looking in," there is so much that you cannot understand, and therefore I accept your views and will take the heat.

With deepest love,

Friday, November 7, 2008

Pros and Cons

Yes, yes I did. I actually made a pro and con list, and perhaps for the first time. Here are the ups and downs of transferring to the University of Washington. I might add more as I think of them.

Transferring to UW, Pros and Cons

• I would be free from Big Brother (the Honor Code) constantly breathing down my neck.
• I would be in Seattle. I LOVE Seattle…
• I would be able to be truly open and authentic.
• I would be reunited with many of my best friends.
• I would be close to my hometown and family.
• I love the energy/vibes the Northwest seems to have.
• I have a lot more fun with my Washingtonian friends… not that I don’t like my friends here, but somehow its different
• I would be free from mandated religion and would be able to choose the role the Church plays in my life.
• I would have a circle of straight friends, which I long for. At BYU its hard to find straight people I can truly be open around without risking honor code discipline.
• Because of that, I can only be open in gay circles, and therefore I spend most of my time with gay people and all they seem to be able to talk about is being gay which is annoying.
• The gay circle I hang out with now will all graduate at least 3 semesters before me, if not more, so I would have to find all new friends

• My roots are already set in Provo. My systems are up. I am settled in.
• I have just finished breaking all the way into a social circle and would have to do it all over.
• I wouldn’t have as strong of a gay mormon support group.
• Potentially lesser chances of a finding a decent guy.
• I wouldn’t be able to do as much to promote understanding and build bridges between the gay and straight worlds. I could make more of a difference here.
• I would miss all the wonderful friends I have made.
• I like the academics at BYU.
• BYU is so inexpensive!
• I would have to figure out how to get all my stuff back from provo to seattle
• Would I just be running from my problems? Or is it that BYU is the source of my problems?
• Would I still be forced to think and analyze my personal life and truly figure things out? In an environment like BYU, one has to know exactly what they believe and why they believe that.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Momentous Decision

I have been thinking about something a lot lately and I think I have made my decision about it now.

Bittersweetly, my tenure at BYU is coming to a close and this will be my last semester. I am going to transfer to the University of Washington in Seattle.

I feel very good about this choice. Immediately after realizing this is what I want to do, I felt a large weight lifted from my shoulders. I suppose I still might decide to finish out Winter semester here at BYU, but I think the sooner I transfer the easier it will be. Having 4 full semesters before transferring begins to make it difficult.

But I truly do feel good about this and am looking forward to heading back to my homeland. It's time.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Lies Surrounding Prop 8 and Arguments Against it (from my Facebook)

I originally wrote this as a note that I posted on Facebook, but it has been forever since I have posted on here, so I'm putting it up here also. Although most of my blog readers are also on Facebook and have probably already seen it.

After reading the responses to my last note, I have realized how much complete misinformation about Prop 8 is being spread.

It is true that California does have the most extensive system of domestic partnerships and Prop 8 does not legally change very much for same sex couples. Regardless, there are still many myths being circulated among volunteers that are not only unfounded and untrue (it takes very little research to put each of these myths to rest), but are a form of scare tactics, which are sadly working quite well. It is a sad day when the "Yes on 8" people resort to lies and the spreading of fear as a sort of last stand against gay marriages. I have heard some people even citing General Authorities as believing in some of these myths, which just about makes me want to vomit.

No matter what happens in November, there will be large groups of people who are upset and/or hurt. The 1st and 14th Amendments are in a very, very precarious dance and even the slightest change could tip the scales. Certainly religion will not go completely unaffected if gay marriage is allowed to continue, but I seriously doubt it will be a drastic change for the worse.

Lets begin by looking at a few of the untruths, and then I will link you to sources that more fully discuss the issues, which you should look at if you are planning on voting in good conscious in November.

Churches may be sued over their tax-exempt status if they refuse to allow same-sex marriage ceremonies in their buildings.
This is theoretically and potentially possible, but will almost certainly not occur. In order to do this, the IRS would have to prove that the LDS Church's stance is not in harmony with public interest and is completely at odds with the community conscience, so far so that any benefit that the Church provides to society is completely undermined. It is extremely unlikely that the IRS would take or succeed in such an action.
Additionally, the Church is not forced to marry same-sex couples in Massachusetts, where gay marriage has been legal for some time now. The Church is not forced to allow, say, Jehovah's Witnesses to marry in our temples. The temples aren't open to the public to begin with. No, legalizing gay marriage will not result in the Church's loss of tax breaks.

Churches will be forced to marry same sex couples even if they don't want to.
This is taken directly from page of 117 the Court’s decision. "Finally, affording same-sex couples the opportunity to obtain the designation of marriage will not impinge upon the religious freedom of any religious organization, official, or any other person; no religion will be required to change its religious policies or practices with regard to same-sex couples, and no religious officiant will be required to solemnize a marriage in contravention of his or her religious beliefs."
Well, there goes that myth.

But if we legalize gay marriage, next polygamy will have to be legal! Then people will want to marry animals next!
This is a prime example of the fallacy of the slippery slope. Also, Mormons should be the very last group to make this argument. Who wants to marry an animal anyways? Could the animal sign the wedding certificate? Need I go on?

Children in public schools will have to be taught that same-sex marriage is just as good as traditional marriage.
Regarding curriculum in California, the law states:

  • Instruction and materials shall teach respect for marriage and committed relationships.
  • Instruction and materials shall be appropriate for use with pupils of all races, genders, sexual orientations, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and pupils with disabilities.
  • Instruction and materials shall be age appropriate.
  • All factual information presented shall be medically accurate and objective.
  • Instruction and materials shall encourage a pupil to communicate with his or her parents or guardians about human sexuality.

There is little evidence any of this will change regardless of the outcome of the vote. Teaching respect for marriage and committed relationships, and teaching about the responsibilities of marriage and parenthood are good lessons for students regardless of sexual orientation.
Plus, God forbid a homosexual child might grow up thinking his/her future relationships might be legitimate. God forbid a young homosexual child might grow up without all the pain and self-loathing that comes with being gay. A gay child allowed to be open and authentic from the beginning? Unthinkable! God forbid that the next generation of children will not grow up being prejudiced towards homosexuals.

In their letter to the members of California in June, the First Presidency said, "In March 2000 California voters overwhelmingly approved a state law providing the 'Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.' The California Supreme Court recently reversed this vote of the people." This seems to imply large distaste for the Courts. May I point out that perhaps it is part of the duty of the courts to overrule the people when the actions they are taking and voting for are discriminatory?

During one of the lectures in my LDS Marriage and Family class, we learned that 100% of marriages not performed in the Temple end in divorce (upon death, the pair is no longer bound). While I don't believe that,it is the line of Mormon thought. Continuing down that path, it would seem to mean that a heterosexual marriage and a homosexual marriage not performed in the temple would have equal eternal worth: none. So after you pass Prop 8, please try to legislate it so that no one who is not LDS can marry at all, since it doesn't matter anyways. (Note my facetiousness.)

We must ‘preserve the traditional marriage and family’ and ‘children deserve to grow up with traditional parents.”
First of all, the notion of a “traditional family” is a bit of an illusion. What tradition? Where? Early 19th century traditional marriages when married women had no legal standing, could not own property, sign contracts, or legally control any earned wages? ‘Traditional’ LDS marriages involving more than one bride? Did you know that even today there are more polygamous societies than monogamous? The purposes of marriage vary greatly over cultures and short periods of time.
If I, as a single gay man were to adopt children, no one would have any beef with it. But add another man to the mix and suddenly everything is changed. Is it better that a child spends their entire life in the adoption system, never receiving a family or the love they deserve than with a gay couple? Heterosexuals often have children by accident. Homosexuals have a history of having to fight very hard in order to become parents. If a gay couple is looking to adopt, one can be assured they really want it. I think homosexuals make absolutely fabulous parents!

“God has made his position on homosexuality and homosexual relationships/marriages very clear.”
Where? The Book of Mormon? The words of Christ? The Church leaders surely have a stance, however that stance and their procedures of dealing with homosexuals has changed dramatically over the past 30 or 40 years. Who is to say it will not continue to change? Do I need to pull out the quotes of Church leaders regarding blacks and the Priesthood? The LDS Church evolves rapidly.
For me, it all comes down to personal revelation. After immense soul searching God told me quite differently. I had to fight for every ounce of revelation I have gotten, and it was a long and arduous road (and one that I am still on). It is not a path for the faint of heart. Though all this, I have been able to come to no conclusion other than 1: personal revelation trumps the blanket advice of the Bretheren and 2: God endorses my homosexuality and perusal of a relationship in the status thereof. If there is anything I have spiritual confirmation of in the whole world, it is this. While I will never deny the spiritual experiences of others, neither will I allow them to deny mine.

One more thing on a more personal note. In response to my last note, a friend wrote me regarding their support of me entering a domestic partnership and being happy, but at the same time expressing their devotion to marriage as being divinely instituted to be between a man and a woman. In response, I said: " day if I ever have a life partner, what you said in your message implicitly states that my relationship with him is not as important nor as valid as your relationship with your spouse is. And that is what hurts the most about it." It is true, and is a point I have yet to hear anyone successfully argue against. They all express their love for me and at the same time reinforce those notions and deny us respect and dignity.

The sky will not and has not fallen with the ushering in of gay marriage.

PS (Congratulations to Connecticut)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Flip Flop

I wanted to say a little about my feelings about the Church. If you can't tell from some of my previous posts, I go back and forth a lot.

Some days, I am terribly bitter. I get upset at the institution of the Church and its leaders. I feel like I never want to step into another chapel again.

Other days, I am intensely nostalgic. I desperately miss the Church and all that it was to me during high school. It makes me really sad that this is how things have to be.

Oftentimes, I will compose a blog entry, but not post it. The next day I go back to read it and I don't feel the same way anymore, so I don't end up posting it. I suppose one day my flip-flopiness will balance out to a pleasant equilibrium, or at least that is what I hope will happen.

And this video is fantastic. Beautiful and profound.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Out and About

I officially came out to my first friend on January 29, 2008.

As of August 15, 2008, I officially have no one left on my list to come out to.

I am now completely out to everyone in my life. It feels strange; it feels surreal. I never would have thought that I would ever get to the point I am at. Throughout my adolescence my homosexuality seemed as if it was going to be something that I kept to myself my entire life. At best, I only thought a few people would ever know. Now everyone knows, and I couldn't go back even if I wanted to.

A part of me still feels vulnerable, but above all, I feel great. I don't have to hide anything from anyone anymore. I can be who I want to be and do what I want to do without worrying about other people. A lot of people don't necessarily agree with my plans for the future, but they still trust and love me and aren't going to let that get in the way of our relationship.

I feel so free and so open and so much better than I had expected.

Monday, August 11, 2008


Here I am! The first one and the last one are especially good.

Monday, August 4, 2008


I was so happy I cried.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Censorship and Authenticity

I do not believe in censorship.

I do not believe in hiding who you are.

It is no way to live.

Therefore, I am now done with every aspect of the facade.

Every tiny aspect.

Totally, completely, one hundred percent.


My name is not neo.

My name is Thomas Edward Johnson.

I go by Tommy.

I was born on July 25, 1989, at 4:23 PM in American Fork, Utah.

I am gay.

I love who I am.

I would not change it for anything.

I attend BYU.

The link to my facebook:

This is what I look like.

My social security number is... just kidding.

I make a pledge, right here right now, to never delete this post.

Now, come what may.

Truth always wins out.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I <3 Rain!

I had a sudden urge to be productive and write. At first, I couldn’t figure out why. Then I realized it was because it started raining outside, and rain really puts me in my groove. Oh I am such a product of Seattle.

In other news, the 7 year old girl I nanny for called me out today for wearing a girl’s shirt. In my defense, I bought it without realizing it was a girl’s shirt; it was super cheap so I just grabbed it. The design on it is gender neutral, but the fit is definitely more feminine; the neck is a little wider, the sleeves shorter, and very fitted. However, I do not say so apologetically. I am by no means opposed to wearing women’s shirts. I often browse the women’s department for clothes that I could pull off (especially the jeans). The only
shirt I have bought consciously knowing it was a girl’s shirt was this one:

What can I say? It was on clearance and I needed something to wear to Pride… ;-)

Speaking of jeans, I have a funny progression in my jean sizes to describe.

In 10th grade, I used to buy size 32x32. Then I realized I was a 32x30. I had one pair of 31x30 but didn’t like them. In 12th grade, I bought two pairs of Levi’s size 30x30. That was a big step for me. One was the Slim Straight fit and I didn’t wear them for a long time because I was embarrassed that they were too tight and I felt emo. My freshman year of college they became my favorite jeans. Now, I wear those jeans when I want to wear something a little looser and more airy. The jeans I buy now are slim fitted 28x30’s. (and its not because I am skinnier) That is about as small as i can wear. Also, I regularly try on girl pants but haven’t found any I really like yet (I think I wear a size 6 though). When I do though, I will not hesitate nor be embarrassed to buy them.

The housekeeper came earlier this week and I realized that I was totally outed to her as she tidied my bathroom and room.

Incriminating Evidence:

  • The rainbow “embrace diversity” banner on the dresser
  • Three kinds of pink lip gloss (roll on, brush on, squeeze on) on the dest
  • A copy of The Advocate on the dresser
  • A flyer for a dance party coming up with Queer written in big bold letters across it on the nightstand
  • 8 pairs of shoes on the floor
  • My knitting on the bed
  • Clothes in closet organized according to color
  • etc.

  • Medicine cabinet full of hair and face products such as:
  • Apricot Mango Radiance Shave Gel
  • Herbal Essences hair spray (Cactus Flower and Bamboo scented…. Mmm)
  • Rose Hip scented Herbal Essences Shampoo & Conditioner (my ALL TIME favorite)
  • Garnier Fructis Molding Wax
  • Well-used tweezers
  • etc.

Very gay.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Bits and Pieces.

I don't feel like composing a whole post. So here are a bunch of random thoughts.

I sprained my left oblique abdominal muscle last week coughing. It really hurts.

I went to the Burlington, Vermont Pride Fest (Cirque du So Gay) recently and I LOVED it.

I am so over and done with the LDS Church.

Everyone has me feeling like I am marching off to my doom by returning to BYU, and they might be correct.

I have made a lot of friends out here in NY/VT but they all live an hour drive and a $20 ferry ticket away.

I love earl gray tea and decaf soy lattes.

I really love hazelnut espresso milkshakes. mmmm

I feel happy and satisfied with life but still feel I am in need of a good session of bawl-my-eyes out catharsis.

My favorite song of all time is Into The West, as sung by Annie Lennox.

I understand that many gay and lds people are very conflicted and are in great pain, but I don't want to be around their depression anymore.

I feel like taking a break from blogging.

I miss my friends from high school and college and church and elsewhere who are now spread across the country.

I've never been in a relationship before. I want to.

I've never tasted alcohol. I don't want to.

Two days after the consumption of caffeine, I get a migraine.

I still have issues being able to express my feelings to anyone. Damn closet.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Still Just Me

A wave of gratitude just hit me so I'm posting about it.

I came out in March and:

To my parents, I am still just their son. Not their gay son.

To my siblings, I am their still just brother. Not their gay brother.

To my aunts and uncles, I am still just their nephew. Not their gay nephew.

The same goes for my friends. Although we have a lot of fun with the gay thing.

And that is awesome.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Blacks and Gays

In one of my political science classes at BYU last fall, we had a guest speaker come and talk about civil rights. Incidentally, he was the first black man to go through the temple after the ban was lifted.

During question and answer time, someone raised their hand and asked what he thought about people drawing parallels between the civil rights movement and the gay rights movement. The guest speaker thought that the notion was highly offensive and asked if gays were sprayed with firehoses and segregated etc..

I suppose he is right in a way, but I still must disagree.

The volume of incidents against blacks is indeed much greater and more extreme. The history of the civil rights movement is a violent one. And though we cannot go so far as to say that the two are exactly alike, neither can we say that they are incomparable.

I think it all comes down to the closet. According the 2000 US Census, 12.3% of American citizens are African American. And although estimates range from an extreme low of 2% to an extreme high of 10-15%, I'd say between 6 and 8% of the population are gay. If there was some undeniable, unmistakable and unavoidable biological marker of homosexuality, I think that the similarities between the two groups would be much greater. If one could tell that someone was gay from a mile away, it is probable that the number of gay hate crimes would be much, much higher.

One cannot conceal being black. One can conceal being gay. If it weren't for this, I do not think it implausible to think that the history of homosexuality would be inordinately different and much more violent.

And now, a little relevant satire.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Disappointing Yet Expected

On Sunday, June 29, 2008, a letter regarding the recent decision of the California Supreme Court will be read from the pulpit in all Wards and Branches of that state. The letter has been confirmed by the Church Spokesman as authentic. This is the letter in full.

Dear Brethren and Sisters,

In March 2000 California voters overwhelmingly approved a state law providing the "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." The California Supreme Court recently reversed this vote of the people. On November 4, 2008, Californians will vote on a proposed amendment to the California state constitution that will now restore the March 2000 definition of marriage approved by the voters.

The Church's teachings and position on this moral issue are unequivocal. Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God, and the formation of families is central to the Creator's plan for His children. Children are entitled to be born within this bond of marriage.

A broad-based coalition of churches and other organizations placed the proposed amendment on the ballot. The Church will participate with this coalition in seeking its passage. Local Church leaders will provide information about how you may become involved in this important cause.

We ask that you do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time to assure that marriage in California is legally defined as being between a man and a woman. Our best efforts are required to preserve the sacred institution of marriage.

Sincerely Yours,

Thomas S. Monson
Henry B. Eyring
Dieter F. Uchtdorf

The First Presidency

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Somehow I doubt it works like this, but still.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Going Back. Rolling Forward.

Some people have asked me, “Why are you going back to that hell hole [meaning BYU] in Fall?”

To start, I didn’t hate BYU. It was tough being there, but I didn’t hate it. I loved my classes. I liked campus. I liked the people in my Ward. I liked my Bishop. I enjoyed my friends and roommates. It was inexpensive. I was just going through an intense spiritual journey that didn’t mesh with Mormon doctrine very well, which is where things got interesting for me.

I wont hesitate to tell you that my time at BYU was difficult and probably the most painful 8 or 9 months of my life, but I don’t lay all of the blame on the school for that. I don’t think of my time there as time spent in a “hell hole.” There were things that I needed to go through as part of my life’s spiritual journey that were inherently painful, and just because I happened to be at the location of BYU doesn’t mean that its is totally BYU’s fault.

That being said, BYU did play a big part in inciting all of the inner turmoil I was in. I was in the throes of re-evaluating my true-believing-Mormon paradigm. I had reached a point in my life where I no longer could continue to just trust every word that came out of the mouths of the Brethren. I was exploring the intricacies of doubt and paradox and faith. I was finding out what rang true for me spiritually and what did not, what I was comfortable with and what I could not allow myself to believe. I was attempting to throw out the bathwater but keep the baby. Apart from re-thinking my faith, I was simultaneously coming to an acceptance of my own homosexuality.

Having a parting of ways with one’s religion and coming to term with one’s homosexuality is a lot for one plate to handle, but I think it was vital for my journey.

Being at BYU and in that ultra-Mormon environment forced me to do several things. At a secular school, I could have believed and done anything that I wanted, and no one would have cared either way. I would have had no pressure to do any one thing.

At a religious school (especially BYU), it did matter a whole lot what I thought and what I believed and what I did. Being there forced me to analyze my beliefs and my hypocrisies. I had to think about things from different angles and truly battle with what I believed. The tension and the discomfort I felt were strong motivators to figure things out. I needed the extremism that is found there to be a counterpoint to me deciding for myself what resounds as Truth in my soul.

Now that I am away from BYU for the summer, I am surrounded by many people who are quite liberal and don’t care what I do either way. On one hand, it has been a much-needed escape to all of the pressure and tension of BYU. I really did need a break from all the intense soul searching I did there; the tension I felt at BYU was pretty profound. I have been away for almost two months now and have had the emotional rest and recuperation time I needed.

On the other hand, I haven’t been advancing in my spirituality as quickly as I did while at BYU. I don’t feel any stress in the situation I am currently in, so there is no natural motivator to get me to think deeply. There are still things in my life that I need to resolve with religion, both as it relates to my sexuality and independently.

So I am going back. I could use another round of deep introspection. I still have questions I need to answer before I can move on to the next stage of my life. I know it will probably somewhat painful again, but I am prepared for it this time.

Aside from the philosophical motivations in returning, I have social motivations also. I think that having a support group of other homosexuals is important for anyone with sexual identity questions. At BYU, there is a support group of people who are not only gay but are also Mormon and at the same stage of life that I am in. I think that is especially important. So I am also going back for that.

There are several things I am apprehensive about (a post all on its own), but generally I am looking forward to returning. In fact, the more I think about it the more I miss it.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Chicken or Egg?

Did I ever mention that when I was a child I had to go to the speech pathologist for a while? What was my impediment? You guessed it. A lisp. Hmmmm, interesting.

Yeah, Yeah. Correlation is not causation, or whatever. Admittedly, my lisp probably wasn't associated with with my gayness, but I'd still say it's at least worthy of note. And I am allowed to believe whatever I want.

PS Some posts with actual substance coming soon.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Slipping Through The Cracks

I have been told that there is a nice little branch up here in the part of New York I'm living in. And BYU does require church attendance as part of going there. But I've realized that I could fall through the cracks in the church attendance department this summer. In other words, I could not go to church for the next three months and BYU wouldn't find out.

I thought about it a lot on the plane over here, and I think I'm going to take this chance. Give it a go and see how things turn out. I have been strongly attached to the culture of Mormondom in the past. I will miss that culture. I already do, and I'm just starting my second week my little experiment. Somehow though, it seems like a natural course of action. I don't know how this is going to work out, but I feel good about it.

And now, it is a bright beautiful Sunday morning. 92 degrees, clear sky, low humidity, and my day off. Carpe Diem.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Pill

"If there was a pill that would truly transform you from a homosexual into an authentic heterosexual, would you take it?"

I hear of or read about people asking themselves that question all the time, so I thought I would throw my answer out there....


Friday, June 6, 2008


Today was a long and hard day. The kids a real handful. They are incredibly unruly and are testing their parents and especially me to see how much they can get away with. I'm too tired to write too much tonight, but for how much of a grind the day to day is for the parents, this project they have taken on is one of the most holy things I have ever seen.

I was talking with Ann tonight and I was filled with that feeling described within Mormonism as the Spirit. Its a tough thing they are doing and who knows how it will turn out, but I just can't get over how intensely holy it is. I have felt the Spirit in testimony meetings before, but what I felt tonight was different. This was truer, deeper, and more authentic than any of the temporary and almost fabricated (not to sound disrespectful) feelings I have had at Sacrament Meeting. Maybe the difference was that this was that same feeling but applied to real life, not a vacuum.

But this post is not about church. It is about how amazing and sacred the things that are going on in this house are. So incredibly sacred. That's the only word I can think of to describe it.

More on this later. Goodnight.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Well this was unexpected

I had an interesting opportunity come up about two weeks ago and along with other things, I could not resist the call of the adventure so I took it. So, last Saturday I flew to upstate New York for the rest of the summer! It was quite spontaneous. The space between when I first heard about this opportunity and when I flew out was about a week and a half. All my friends from home are mad at me for cutting down my time there by 75%.

I am helping out a couple that has five freshly adopted children from the Bronx. As you might guess, things have been rather intense ‘round these parts. This couple was in dire need of help and had already used up their reserves of extended family members so I flew out (as soon as I could quit the job I only had for a total of three weeks, haha). Now that I am here, I have no idea how they managed to go a week and a half just by themselves without any additional help.

The ages are 10, 9, 9, 7 and 5. As you might guess, things can get out of control pretty fast. They all have their various issues but are still really really good kids. And I love the parents a ton. We mesh really well. The mom has a mormon background but hasn't been a faithful member for a really long time. She has a fascinating story regarding her experience with the church! Also, she is totally cool with having a gay guy as her live-in help. I mean, she went to college at a music school which we all know means gay people coming out of the woodwork. How could she not love gay people? (she is a world class french horn player).

It was somewhat strange, but for the month that I was at home I felt uneasy. It felt like there was something else coming or somewhere I was supposed to be. Its tough to describe but the gears weren’t quite meshing correctly. The day I got to New York though things got better and I feel good about the summer. This is where I need to be. There have been tough days already but I think it is going a really fantastic summer.

Big news though, huh?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Weighing the Scales

My dilemma of the month...

Which is hotter?

Wentworth Miller


The Crumpton SL Road Bike (Dream Bike of 2008)

The world may never know...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

When We Know...

The other day at the library, I found a book called WHEN I KNEW. Here are a few of my favorite entries.

1969- My father was watching the evening news. The announcer said that Judy Garland had died. I fainted. I was nine. -Andrew Freedman

So my mother began the conversation. “Well, I was watching Oprah last week, and the show was about married men who turned out to be gay.” A lump sank through my throat. She continued. “And Oprah said something that made a lot of sense to me.”
“If you walk like a duck and quack like a duck, you’re usually a duck,” recited my mother. I quickly closed my eyes and prayed for an opportunity to escape her presence, but she somehow found the courage. “Are you a duck, Darin?”
-Darin Johnson

My father was tossing a football with my brothers in the front yard. Seeing me sitting alone on the steps, my mother took my dad aside. “Dub.” She said, calling my dad by his nickname, “I think Steve is feeling a little left out. Why don’t you ask him if he’d like to play too?”
So my dad walked over. “Wanna throw the football some?” he asked.

“I’d really rather go pick some flowers,” I replied.

And we did.
My father, a former football coach, spent the rest of the afternoon picking flowers with me in a nearby field.
-Stephen Orr

I knew I was gay when the most exciting part of my Bar Mitzvah was meeting with the party planner. -Howard Bragman

On out summer school field trip we went to Dallas/Fort Worth airport to see Braniff Airlines. The boys got to see the cockpit, and the girls got to see how the stewardesses changed their Pucci outfits mid-flight. On the way back home, out class went to a diner for lunch. There were twenty-five kids who ordered twenty-four burger and fry combos…and one fruit plate with cottage cheese. What can I say? It was what I wanted. -Randy Smith

I was eight years old, playing hopscotch on the street. My dad and his friend Mickey Herzog are standing against Mickey’s car watching me skip and hop around for a while. Mickey finally turns to my dad and says, “Ben, I think you got a problem.-Barry Karas

When I was ten I wound put on my mother’s leather evening gloves—they came all the way up to my elbows. I would sing “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” into the mirror. One day my mother walked in and caught me mid-song—I tried to cover, screaming out, “To the Bat Cave, Robin!” -Michael Frank

When the Maid Knew.
At ten, I was infatuated with Barbra Streisand. I bought liquid black eyeliner and would lock myself in the bathroom and practice drawing her Nefertiti-like eye extensions. One day the maid knocked. “Open up, I need the Comet,” she said. “Give me a minute.” I asked, both eyes finally done. “Open up now. I got work to do.” “Just a second.” I pleaded. “I don’t have a second.” She wasn’t going away. It would take too long to wash the eyeliner off. I WAS TRAPPED. I opened the door a crack. Our eyes locked as I handed over the Comet. “You should meet my nephew Bobby. You two would get along,” she said as she turned back to work. –Michael Grana

My mom picked me up from school in our Oldsmobile Cutlass that smoked when you stepped on the gas. Anyway, as she drove, we made small talk. Then, at the front of the house, sitting in the car, I turned to her and said, “Mom, I know you probably know already, but I’m gay. It’s not a phase. It’s just me. And I’m happy about it…”
She looked at me, and then smiled. I was waiting for the hysteria I had heard about. But instead, she said, “Well, if you ever get Burt Reynolds, he’s mine first.” –Karel Bouley

I knew fairly early on. In fact, right after the doctor slapped me on the ass in the delivery room, I looked up and said,Don’t you think it’s a little soon for that? I mean, you’re totally hot, but let’s at least have drinks first.” –Chip Kidd

The FISHERMAN, fifty-one, sits in his recliner in front of the television, flipping the remote, the volume blaring. Across the room, on the couch, sits his son, twenty seven, staring at him; anxious, something on his mind. After several false starts and what seems like an eternity the son speaks.
Dad, I’m Gay.
The fisherman hits the mute on the remote. The room goes silent. A long, agonizing moment. For the son, the world has stopped. He stares at his father, waiting for a response. Anything—the silence is maddening.
I figured it was that.
His son is confused.
You figured what was that?
More silence.
Why we never talk.
Both men sit there, staring at the muted televison.
-Kevin Williamson

I remember I was about eight and it was Christmas morning. My three brothers and I tore into the mountain of presents. While they’re pulling out Hot Wheels and baseball equipment, I’m digging for the long, thin boxes. I rip open the first one I find and scream “All right! Pajamas with matching robe…how cute!” And I remember the silent, confused stare from my brothers. –Rusty Updegraff

I was watching a James Bond movie on the TV in my parents’ bedroom—at least I think I was a Bond film…There’s a scene where 007 forcefully embraces his Bond girl. He then proceeds to cut the straps of her evening gown so it falls to the floor leaving this gorgeous woman standing stark naked right in front of me. Of course, this was TV pre-cable and she wasn’t really naked, but I was eight and this was supposed to be hot stuff for me. But all I can remember thinking was, “Why did he have to go and ruin such a beautiful dress?–George Kotsiopoulos

Maybe it was when I planned the marriage to my high-school sweetheart—sting quartet, candlelight sconces, amazing flowers, choice of rings, design and execution of the wedding dress. It was only later—like immediately later, that I realized:
1 I’ve made a terrible mistake.
2 Wasn’t the wedding fabulous!
3 How an I going to get it up?
-Steve Kmetko

I suppose I was a musical prodigy, but…it was my third birthday, and my copy of the soundtrack album of The King and I had broken. Hearing of my heartbreak over the loss, my aunt bought me a new copy. I remember unwrapping it, instantly filled with disappointment. “This is the show! I wanted to movie soundtrack! The orchestrations are so much better!”
-Scott Miller

MY DAD WAS A BIG, TALL TEXAN WHO CO-OWNED A FEEDLOT. When I was in fourth grade, he told me that about two dozen of the cattle belonged to me. They would be slaughtered and the proceeds would be put into my savings account. I asked if I could give the cattle names, and he said yes, thrilled that his son was suddenly more interested in the feedlot than Bewitched and decorating the house. The next day as we drove to the feedlot, he asked me if I had come up with any names. I told him I had. I was going to name each of the cattle after precious stones.
-Jess Cagle

I knew WHEN I saw the first kid get beaten up at school. WHEN I feared for Bambi’s mother. WHEN Miss Gulch morphed into the cackling Wicked Witch of the West inside the twister. WHEN my babysitter Lori came over and put on the album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and I heard the first notes of “Bennie and the Jets.” WHEN the boy from down the street came to mow the front lawn and finished in a cloud of hairy legs, sweat, and green grass clippings. WHEN at twelve I was mortified about approaching the counter at 7-Eleven to make my purchase: a Gentleman’s Quarterly. WHEN I opened that magazine and saw Calvin Klein’s first underwear ad, the bronzed god leaning back against a white pillar and azure sky. WHEN I got my first spread eagle glimpse of Penthouse… and felt nothing. WHEN I crashed riding my ten-speed down Keystone Avenue because I was distracted singing, “The hills are alive with the sound of music…” WHEN I finally had sex with my high-school girlfriend to convince myself that “this was just a phase.” WHEN he turned and kissed me on the hills behind campus and I felt his stubble on my face and it was like an anthem from the future singing yes, finally, finally, you will know what it is to feel LOVE.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Oracle, Mary Poppins, and Grass

No, not that kind of grass! Stop it.

Remember the scene in The Matrix where Neo has gone to visit the Oracle to find out if he's The One? Oracle tells him, "Don't worry about the vase." "What vase?" asks Neo, as he knocks a vase of flowers off a table. "I told you not to worry about it," she responds. The Big Question is if Neo would have knocked the vase over if the Oracle hadn't said anything. This implies to me that he wouldn't have, and that the Oracle, in fact, set Neo up, as she set up all the other characters. Now think about Mary Poppins. Did she not set the Banks family up? Remember the scene where she manipulates Mr. Banks into taking the children on an outing to the bank? Then think of the next scene in which she describes the bird woman of St. Paul's Cathedral to the children. Wasn't she setting the children up to feed the birds? Of course, it is on the outing to the bank that the climax of the movie plays out -- and you can't say Mary Poppins didn't intend it all in the first place.

So think about it. We all walk around feeling free -- but can we be sure we haven't been set up as well, by someone somewhere somehow?

Here's a fun tease. Maybe we're being setup by a most unlikely source! Take a look at this video and see if it doesn't twist your mind a bit. There are some other fun ideas here too so enjoy.


I decided to take down a lot of my past posts. I wrote those for myself more than I wrote them for everyone else to read. I don’t regret putting them up or wish that you all hadn’t read them, but it is just too personal. It made me feel pretty vulnerable and I feel better being in complete control of who reads my story when it is in that level of detail. I’m working on a much shorter version to post.

Also, it would be pretty easy to figure out who I am from those posts, which could potentially get me into some sticky situations if my blog gets back to the wrong people (aka ecclesiastical leaders).

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Summer is in motion...

Fast forward for a minute to today. I have a few things I want to talk about.

I got asked to Prom last night. (Haha, yes by a girl ☺) It involved lots of whipped cream on my car, which has left a layer of butter fat on my windows so I need to go wash it. I never thought I would ever be one of the types who returns to high school like that, but I guess I am now. It should actually be pretty fun though. I have quite a lot of friends who are still in high school, so it wont be bad. But still…

Also, Prom is on the same night as one of my mom’s orchestra concerts (she plays bassoon), which is upsetting. No one ever goes and supports my mom in her concerts, and I promised myself I would go to as many as I could while I am home. I missed one when I came back for a weekend in March too. (They were playing Rachmaninoff, I love him.) Aside from just supporting her in her endeavors, I really like going to classical orchestra concerts. So that is quite disappointing.

Also, my aunt and uncle from Portland are visiting for the weekend. I had a few things I’ve been wanting to do down there, and so we spontaneously decided an hour ago that I would go back down with them. It's a good thing I haven't fully unpacked yet so I didn't have much packing to do. I’ll be leaving any minute now. I’m excited, I get to go to my aunt’s cycling classes that she teaches at their fancy gym, I get to go to the Nike employee store and get 50% of all the new stuff, and also I’m going to buy a snazzy new suit which is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. However, I need to hurry back because there is going to be a job opening at a gym downtown that I applied to so I need to be around.

That is exciting, but my Grandparents live in Portland also. I haven’t gotten to that part of my story yet but they are the ones taking my coming out the hardest. So there will be tension, and I know that they are going to corner me to talk about my homosexuality and give me the religion talk. They even used to give me the religion talk when I was Mr. Testimony so who knows what it will be like now. I’m a little worried about that, but I’ll survive, I’m learning how to deal with the G-parents and it will be okay.

Those are my recent developments of the summer.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Ah, noodles!

I was honored when Neo asked me to blog with him. More than that, though, I was touched. I don’t suppose I need to explain why. Neo’s journey has been (and will continue to be) a marvelous surprise to me and I’m delighted to be along for the ride. Even though he calls me his apostate mom, I will confess that I have recently felt that I have been prepared to be his mother. That idea is very mormon-ish, as many of you will recognize, yet my preparation has been anything but orthodox. I promise I will speak more of this preparation as things progress here.

The Oracle is, of course, another reference to The Matrix. I thought it would be a good idea to keep the theme going. Though I could probably go all symbolic on y’all, let’s just say I chose the Oracle because she is always in the kitchen baking cookies – an appropriately motherly activity. The Oracle knows “enough” and that also seems appropriate. Finally, she likes to bake people’s noodles and that sounds like fun to me.

Here’s to baked noodles…..

Good News


I convinced my mom to co-author my blog (not that it was hard, she wanted to). She is really neato. And smart. And has some good things to say, and I think you will all enjoy her posts throughly. I love my mom, I wish all your moms were as good as she has been with the issues at hand. She is using "Oracle" as her handle. You should all be looking forward to her posts, I know I am.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Red Pill

I am posting this to explain the meaning behind “Taking the Red Pill” for those of you who do not understand. In the smallest, most concise nutshell I can put it in, "Taking the Red Pill" means being forcefully and painfully removed from one paradigm about life and being shoved into a new one. It means having your perspective on reality shattered and then be replaced with something new and something utterly unexpected. And Neo is the character who that happens to.

The red pill (as opposed to the blue pill) is in reference to a scene from The Matrix. Yes, it is rated R (I’m not sure why though… I found nothing particularly offensive about it) so with our Mormon backgrounds I assume that many of you have not seen it... yet. If you have not seen it, I would highly recommend it, it contains some powerful archetypal symbols. I feel a real affinity for it. Here is the clip from the movie about the red pill. It also somewhat explains what the Matrix is. The film however is quite intricate and involved and has many levels, so you would get the most out of watching it yourself, but this should help.

I feel like I took the red pill last August, and have since been experiencing the painful process of falling down the rabbit hole and leaving the Matrix. It makes me feel so apostate but I think of the Church as my matrix... I will explain more fully in the future, but hopefully this at least gives some insight.

If you cant tell, I also got the name "Neo" from The Matrix. At first I thought that it might be a little egotistical. If you have seen the movie, you know that he is the "One" who will destroy the Matrix and become an almost Messiah-like figure. I am not trying to say that I have some great truth to deliver to society or that I view myself as the One or anything. The thing about The Matrix is that everything that happens is a physical projection on a screen of a process entirely contained within oneself-- a process that we all have the potential of going through. Each of the characters in the movie represents a different part of oneself. In the end, we are all, at least in part, Neo unto ourselves. Neo just stood out to me like a nice pseudonym, and is not just me being arrogant. :)

PS I own a copy of the film. You are welcome to borrow it.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

On Writing

On February 28th, 2008 I was having one of those beloved all day parties with my friend the HBLL. It was midterm time and I was about half way through my paper when this thought washed over me: “Tommy, you need to start writing. Who cares what it is, just write. Something more formal than a journal, but still casual enough to be a pleasant experience. You have too much going through your mind these days not to record it.” That was at least the effect of it at least. I recorded what I thought more accurately, but that slip of paper is currently on the very bottom of an overfilled box that is 1,000 miles away.

I acted on that prompting and began exploring a proper outlet for my new desire to write. I thought about writing poetry. I love reading it, so why not have a go at writing it? That experiment did not go so well, I need more schooling in the forms I like before attempting to write my own. I did lots of theater in high school so I considered writing a play, or at least a series of monologues. I found that all the thoughts that were running through my mind that I desired to get down on paper were too disjointed to form into a coherent play. After not being able to find a satisfactory outlet, I gave up slightly. I had done my looking, so decided that life would place the proper outlet in front of me when the time came. When it did come, I vowed to snatch it up.

Life has come through for me once again (it seems to have a knack for doing that). I have found the world of blogs. I have the perfect place to express the thoughts I have wanted to get out and the perfect community to receive them. And though I hope I have something new to contribute to this blogsphere, I am mainly writing for myself. I want to record all the things that have happened to me in the last year so that I can look back on this part of my life and know exactly what was running through my head.

This blog makes me feel slightly vulnerable. I am going to be putting my deepest, most precious and important thoughts online for all to see. I will be discussing events in my past that I am not proud of (sorry if I shock you Mom!). Some of you may agree with every word I have to say, others may disagree and think me a poor misled young fool, which is fine—I’m getting used to that and need to prepare for more of it. ;) But just remember, I am not writing to please anyone but myself, so there will be no censorship.

I hope you enjoy what I have to say! I will be posting a rapid series of foundational entries here within the next week, but things should slow down after that. I have so much to say! I am clueless as to where to start, but am looking forward to joining the world of blogs.