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?