Thursday, March 29, 2007

Book Review

This month, the MoHo book club chose to read "Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell" by Susanna Clarke. . Being one of the newest members of the club, I anxiously went and bought my copy and started to read it. Yesterday, March 28th, was the day we were supposed to post our review.

I have to confess that I haven't finished reading it yet. It's a long book (over 1,000 pages) and I have nearly 300 pages left to read. Initially, I thought I would wait until I finished the book before I posted my review. But, when I was talking about it with my wife, she pointed out that the fact that I haven't finished it yet says something about how I feel about the book. It's not that I haven't had the time. I've managed to find time to read my photography magazines (that's photography, not pornography), to watch TV, to read blogs, & to write in my blog. If finishing this book was important enough to me then I would have found the time.

The truth of the matter is, the book just isn't enthralling me that much. I wouldn't go so far as to recommend against reading it. It's an OK book, just not a great book. I did much better than my wife. Before I bought it, I had reserved it at our local library. After purchasing it, the library called to say the book was in. So, my wife decided to go ahead and check it out to read with me. But, she only made it to page 20 before she lost total interest in the book. To be fair, it's not the type of book she normally reads (she prefers historical novels).

First of all, let me point out that I enjoy reading SciFi/Fantasy books, so that isn't the reason I haven't gotten into it as much as I wanted to. Second, while I loved the Lord of the Rings movies, I don't think J.R.R. Tolkien was that great of a writer either. I found his books to be dry in places and parts were almost a drugery to read (I never could finish "The Silmarillion"). So, Susanna Clarke is in good company

One thing I particularly didn't like about the book was the numerous footnotes with made up references. I found these to be annoying. It felt as though the author had other things she wanted to include, but couldn't figure out how to work it into the story line, so she put them in as footnotes.

Although the book is long, much of it seems like fluff. The same story could have been told in a more concise form (without losing anything). I'm not saying a 1,000 page book could be condensed into a 50 page short story. But, surely all that needed to be said could have been written in 500-700 pages.

I still plan on finishing the book. And, maybe, my opinion will change at that time. But, for now, my review can be summed up as
It's OK.

BTW, I'm still new to this. Am I supposed to put a gay twist into my review? I don't think Jonathan Strange was gay. Mr. Norrell, on the other hand ... (just kidding, or am I?)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Windows Vista Annoyances

I thought I would take a break from being gay and blog about something else that has been on my mind these days.

Warning: This blog post contains some techno-babble.

I went over to the dark side and installed Windows Vista on my home PC. I had upgraded my PC a few months ago with an Abit KN8 SLI motherboard, 2Gig of RAM, and an AMD dual core processor. However, given that the release of Vista was imminent, I decided to not purchase a Windows XP license. Instead, I opted to install Windows 2000 (for which I already owned a license which wouldn't' have been used otherwise).

My son was strongly encouraging me to install Linux - which was tempting. But, most of the applications I run are Windows-only, and I wasn't sure how well they would run under Linux using WINE (a Windows emulator).

My first big decision was to decide which edition of Vista I wanted (thank you Micro$oft for making this as complicated as possible). After doing some research, I determined that Vista Home Premium would meet my needs.

Overall, there are a lot of things I like about Windows Vista (especially coming from Windows 2000). But there is a growing list of things that really bug me. Maybe I'll blog about the stuff I like later (when I'm not feeling so annoyed). But, for now ...

My list of Windows Vista Annoyances
  • Lack of drivers
To be fair, this really is more of a problem with the manufacturers than with Micro$oft. But, I still think M$ could have done a better job of allowing older drivers to work in some sort of legacy compatibility mode (albeit, perhaps not as efficiently)

My motherboard has a built-in RAID controller, and I had two 300GB drives setup as a RAID 1 (mirror) array. When I first installed Vista and loaded the lastest nForce4 drivers, Vista was able to recognize my RAID drive, but could not read it. Fortunatley, I had backed everything up to an external harddrive. So, I decided to reformat my RAID drive and then copy all of the data. This worked - for a couple of days. Then something happened, I'm not exactly sure when. But, now it no longer recognizes my RAID array - instead, I see two separate drives. They each have the data that I copied from the external drive after I reformatted, but changes to one drive are not reflected on the other. Aaarrrggg!!! I guess I'll just have to live with this until Nvidia comes out with nForce4 drivers for Vista that actually work.

My motherboard has built-in sound. Unfortunately, under Vista, everytime a sound is played, the speakers pop. I've never been very impressed by the quality of the sound with this motherboard. So, I may purchase a dedicated sound card (one that has Vista drivers)

I have three printers attached to my Vista computer which are shared with all of the computers in our home - one of them being an older laser printer that requires a parallel port. My new motherboard doesn't have a built-in parallel port. So, I installed a PCI parallel port card. It worked great under Win2K. But, alas, I contacted the manufacturer and they said that they didn't have any Vista drivers for it (and the way they worded their response, didn't have any plans to write one). So, I guess I'll just have to purchase a USB parallel port (which I should have done in the first place).

I have a USB switch that one of my laser printers is connected to so that I can share the printer with both my home computer and my work laptop. I usually just print to it as a network shared printer. But, sometimes my home computer is turned off and it's easier to just switch the printer to my laptop rather than having to turn on my home computer and wait for it to boot. But, you guessed it - no Vista drivers. I haven't come up with a workaround for this one yet. I guess I'll just have to never turn off my Vista based computer
  • Sleeping turns into a coma
Something that Micro$oft touts about Vista is that you never have to logoff or shutdown your computer. You can just let it go to sleep. It will save it's state (memory, etc.) to the harddrive so that when you wake it up again, it will quickly bring you right back to where you were. This sounds great! Unfortunately, when I let my computer go to sleep - it went into a coma and wouldn't wake again. My motherboard has a couple of LED's that light up even when the computer is turned off (yes, I'm a nerd, I have a computer case with a clear panel so that I can see the insides). Even these lights were off which concerned me thinking that my motherboard was fried. I found that I had to physically disconnect the power from the computer for at least 30 seconds. I could then turn it on and it would wake up and return me right back to where I was. But, it didn't appear to me that restoring its previous state was really that much quicker than rebooting. Perhaps this is another problem with the buggy nForce4 motherboard drivers. For now, I've disabled sleep.
  • Windows Photo Gallery
This was the one feature in Vista that I was genuinely excited about. Supposedly, Micro$oft worked with professional photographers and camera manufacturers (Nikon, Canon, etc.) to come up with a tool to organize digital images. Being an amateur photographer, I have literally 1,000's of images. There are other tools for organizing images which I've researched. But, I haven't been satisfied with any of them. I wanted something that allowed me to use the Windows filesystem to organize my photos, but would allow me to tag the images to help me find the images I want. Windows Photo Gallery seemed like a match made in heaven, especially since I was able to load the Nikon codec which enables me to view my raw images directly within windows.

There are a few minor annoyances that I've come across
  • Some of the user interface actions aren't as intuitive as I think they should be
  • I can view thumbnails of my raw images, but occasionally I come across one that it says is corrupted. However, I can open the image just fine in my raw image editor.
  • When using tags to find images, there doesn't seem to be a way to search for an image using multiple tags (for example, "images that have tag1 and tag2" or "images that have tag1 but not tag2")
But, the biggest problem I'm having is that the image catalog is unique to the logged in user. If you log in as another user, you can no longer see the images in Photo Gallery (you can see them on the harddrive, but not within the Photo Gallery application). Supposedly, according to the online help, there is a way to share the image catalog with all users on the same computer - but I haven't been able to get it to work. I just want my wife to be able to see my image gallery when she is logged in using her userid. Is that really too much to ask?
BTW, everyone else was doing this, so I did it too

Superhero Personality Quiz
Your results: You are Spider-Man

Iron Man
Wonder Woman
Green Lantern
The Flash
You are intelligent, witty, a bit geeky and have great power and responsibility.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Saint Patricks Day parade

I went to the Saint Patrick's Day parade on Saturday. Below are a few of the pictures I posted to flickr. You can click on each picture to see a larger version. If you want to see more pictures then click on the following link:
2007 Saint Patricks Day parade

Also, if you are interested in seeing more of my pictures, send me an email and I'll add you as a friend to my private collection:

Mormon Enigma Private Collection
(requires approval in order to view)


In order to avoid the traffic, I drove to a metro station a couple of miles from the parade route and took the train the rest of the way.

There were a lot of people (think 1,000's). Here is the crowd waiting for the parade to start


Unfortunately, I was standing next to a couple of bimbo's who kept waving their hands in front of my camera clamoring for beads and other stuff being tossed. This is what I normally saw when I looked in my camera viewfinder


Some of the floats were quite elaborate

While others were quite simple2007-03-17_7274

Sorry, this just doesn't do it for me.

Do straight guys really go for this???

Do you think this was a BSA approved activity? I wonder if they got a tour permit?2007-03-17_7284

Of course, there was some of the more traditional things as well

And the aftermath...


Monday, March 19, 2007

Bad day

I'm having a bad day!

First of all, it's Monday. Monday's are never good because it means the weekend is over and it's back to the old grind.

But, to make this a particularly bleak Monday, I came upstairs to my home office, switched on my work laptop. I hear two beeps, it flashes up "fan error", and then it turns off. Incredulous, I tried it again. And then I tried it again, and again (what is it they say about insanity - a person who keeps doing the same thing repeatedly expecting different results). It was working fine last night when I shut it down. This morning it's not working.


I called up technical support and they are overnight shipping me a replacement laptop which I should have tomorrow morning. But, today I'm dead in the water.

I was able to contact a co-worker and get the call-in details for the teleconferences I have today. But, I can't do much other than listen since I can't access anything on my laptop (email, files, documents). It will be just like working, but with my hands tied behind my back.

The only good news here is that the replacement laptop they are sending me is the same exact model as the one I have. So, I should be able to move my harddrive from the old to the new and be back up and running (with all of my files intact).

Friday, March 16, 2007


My wife and I were sitting in Wendy's yesterday afternoon eating a late lunch, early dinner. She looked up at me and said:
Her: So, how are you doing?

Me: I'm doing OK

Her: What about your other life?

Me: (caught off guard) Huh? what other life?

Her: You know, your secret life

Her: How are your blogging friends doing?

I'll have to admit, this conversation took me by surprise and I wasn't sure how to proceed. So, I muttered

Me: They're doing OK, for the most part

I took a couple more bites of my food while I pondered this turn of events. I then decided to open up with her. So, I started to explain how some of my MoHo friends are doing (although, I didn't say "MoHo friends" to her). Without mentioning names (using terms like "this one guy" and "this other guy"), I talked about Gay BYU Student (an update really, since I had talked about him on a couple of other occasions). I talked about drex and salad. I talked about Elbow, and how worried I was about him. I talked about how it felt kind of weird to care so much about these people whom I've never even met (and likely never will) and who I only know through a pseudonym.

She then talked about how, for the first time in our marriage, she is having feelings of insecurity. That kind of floored me, so I started apologizing profusely. But, she stopped me. She said she doesn't want me to be sorry because that makes her feel bad. She just wanted me to understand how she is feeling. I thanked her for sharing that with me.

I've been talking the last couple of weeks about going to the Saint Patrick's Day parade this weekend to take pictures. So, she told me that she was concerned about me doing that because of the kind of people who will be there. That took me by surprise too. Having gone last year, I tried to assure her that it wasn't like that. It wasn't a Gay Pride parade, it was more like a college frat boy thing with lots of beer drinking (although, I'm not sure that made it sound any better). She repeated that she was concerned, but it didn't mean I shouldn't go. She just wanted me to know of her concerns.

Lately, I've been recording some shows on Logo TV (a GLBT cable station) as well as other gay themed shows on our DVR. We talked about those. She had reviewed the shows I had recorded and/or scheduled and talked about a couple that she was interested in watching with me (such as the Montel Williams show that aired Thursday discussing Reparative Therapy). She expressed concern about having these shows on the DVR. I explained that I wasn't concerned about our daughter seeing them since she is never home anyway (spending all of her free time with her boyfriend), but that I was going to be much more cautious when our son comes home from BYU-Idaho.

So, what's the problem? We're talking, we're opening up to each other. She is even watching gay themed shows with me (so far, she has watched "Latter Days", "Beautiful Thing", and "The Hard Pill"). Everything should be hunky doorey, right?

The truth of the matter is, while I have been opening up to her, I haven't told her everything. I still have secrets. For example

  • She knows that I joined a Photography club in the area (a small club with about 6 people) and have gone to a couple of meetings.
  • What I haven't told her is: Most of the people in this club are gay. (I figured it out at the first meeting I went to when one of the club members was showing me some of his pictures, which included pictures of his boyfriend)
  • We've talked about how my photography club has started making plans to get together to take pictures, and how the first such meeting was to go to a Rodeo to take pictures the same weekend that we were in California. I talked about how I wished the Rodeo were on a different weekend so that I could have gone
  • What I haven't told her is: The rodeo they were going to was sponsored by the Texas Gay Rodeo Association.
  • She knows that I have an online blog and read blogs by other gay Mormons
  • What I haven't told her is: How much I really share on my blog (my MoHo friends know more about my gay side than she does)
  • She has expressed concern that I may be sharing too much in my blog and someone might be able to piece together the puzzle and figure out my real identity. I've tried to assure her that I'm careful
  • What I haven't told her is: I'm not sure I really care (in fact, I think there may even be a tiny part of me that would sort of like that to happen)
Other things I haven't told her:
  • I'm starting to question some of my long held views on gay issues, such as same sex unions.
  • When I read of someone in a committed gay relationship, a part of me feels pangs of jealousy.
  • While I don't consider myself as having a problem with pornography, I do like to look at PG rated pictures of cute guys.
  • I would like to go to the next Gay Pride parade (in the fall) to take pictures.
  • I've purchased, but have not yet read, a couple of gay Mormon books at the half price book store, namely "Out of the Bishop's Closet" and "Same-Sex Dynamics Among Nineteenth-Century Americans: A Mormon Example".
  • Someday, I might want to purchase a gay news magazine (such as "Advocate") to read.
  • How lonely and isolated I feel sometimes. That I don't feel like I really connect with anyone in our ward.
  • I know of at least two other gay Mormons in the greater metropolitan area that I live in (from discussion groups) and even have their email addresses. I've considered contacting them to see if they would be interested in getting together for lunch some time. Not to hook up, but just to have someone to talk to face to face.
  • Intellectually, I know that pursuing a, so called, gay lifestyle would be foolhardy at best. The most likely outcome would be me ending up as a lonely old man living in a dingy apartment (especially at my age). But, I can't deny that there is a small part of me that is drawn to that lifestyle.
  • Not only do I fully accept that I'm gay. But, in some ways, I think it's kind of cool to be gay. I'm Mormon, I'm gay, and I'm proud.
  • A part of me is starting to feel like I want to come completely out of the closet and damn the consequences

Please don't misunderstand. I'm still committed to her and the church, and I don't want to do anything that might jeopardize my marriage or my standing in the church. I feel my testimony is as strong as ever and I'm doing the stuff I'm supposed to be doing (magnifying my calling, reading the scriptures, going to the Temple, yada, yada, yada).

But, I've been thinking about some of Beck's recent posts where he discusses living duplicitously., and I'm starting to feel like I too am living a dual life. And, now I'm feeling confused. Should I open up and tell her everything? Or would doing so hurt her more than help her? Is it OK for a husband and wife to have secrets from each other? I'm exploring my gay side (mostly with her knowledge). But, by doing so, am I walking on the edge of the precipice?

And, are her feelings of insecurity valid? Right now, it is easy to feel smug and think that I will never do anything to hurt her. But, what if I were to meet some guy and we're mutually attracted to each other? What would I do then? I don't anticipate this ever happening (especially since I'm now an old fart); but, after reading similar experiences by other MoHo's, I'm not so confident when I consider the possibility. I don't think I'm inherently any stronger than my MoHo friends.

Before I sat myself down last fall and said "self, you're gay, accept it", I was starting to have anxiety attacks. It was getting bad enough that I was seriously considering scheduling a visit with a psychiatrist to have my anti-depressants re-evaluated. I was also seriously considering going to see a therapist and had done some searching on my insurance companies web site for one that had experience in gay issues. But, since I've accepted I'm gay and have discussed it with others (via discussion groups, email, and blogs), I've calmed down considerably and have, generally, been feeling pretty good about myself lately.

In fact, my wife has observed on a couple of occasions that, for the last few months (since I accepted that I'm gay), I've been happier than she has seen me in a long long time. And it's true. Although I'm still messed up in a lot of ways, I am happier than I've been in a long time. Isn't that a good thing? Doesn't God want us to be happy? Or would it be better for me to give all of this up? (my MoHo friends, my blog, looking at pictures of cute guys, my exploration of my gay side, etc.) and go back to my old lonely and unhappy, yet fully in harmony with church teachings, life? Would it even be possible for me to go back to my old life? Or have I embarked on a one-way road where God only knows where I'll ultimately end up?

And, the really sad thing is, when I read other blogs, I realize that I'm not alone in some of these thoughts and feelings. Are there any MoHo's out there that are truly happy? Please stand up and tell us how you did it. Impart unto us your sage wisdom. Or is this our lot in this mortal life: To be a bunch of messed up guys (and gals) trying to figure out where we fit in this life, this church, etc.?

I'm so confused!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Magnifying my gayness

In the comments to my previous blog entry, it was suggested that being gay is a talent in the sense that, conceptually, talents are the things that add up to make us uniquely who we are. Referring to the parable of the talents, we need to magnify our talents.

This has given me pause. This is what I love about this blogging stuff. I write what's on my mind. But, then other people challenge me and my thoughts which force me to reevaluate my position on the topic. This is a perfect example; I never considered being gay as a talent that I needed to magnify. But, this begs the question: How do you magnify being gay?

First of all, I have to consider if I agree with the conjecture that the parable of the talents refers to our attributes and not our abilities. Wikipedia suggests that the talents referenced in the parable refer to our responsibilities; and, to increase our talents relates to the amount of diligence we put into carrying out our responsibilities. Hmmm, that's neither attributes or abilities. I'm going to have to ponder this a bit more.

So I will assume, for the sake of discussion, that the talents referenced in the parable refer to the attributes that uniquely define me and who I am. How am I doing in magnifying my gay talent? To answer that, I need to compare where I am now to where I was a year ago.

Within the last year I first came out to myself and admitted to myself that I am gay. More recently, I came out to my wife and told her that I'm gay. I now accept that I'm gay - I am no longer ashamed of it. And I freely discuss it - albeit anonymously. Although, a year ago I couldn't have even done that. So, in that sense, I think I am magnifying my gay talent. I'm not ready to go to church wearing a rainbow pin, so I still have a ways to go. But I'm much further along than I was before.

Am I using my gayness to bless my life and the lives of others? That's a more difficult question to answer. One thing I've pondered on recently is my relationship with the young men in my ward. I've been in a calling working with the youth for most of my adult life. I have a good relationship with the young men in my ward and probably get along better with them than I do the brethren closer to my own age. But, I've wondered why I get along with them so well because, in truth, I don't fit the stereotypical image of a guy who works with teenagers. What I've concluded is that the reason we get along so well is because I truly love these young men - and they know it. They know that when I ask them how they are doing it is because I am genuinely interested and not just because I think it is my duty to ask. And, I wonder if being gay allows me to love these young men in a way that a straight man would never allow himself to do. A straight man might hold back on his love (perhaps subconsciously) out of fear that it makes him gay. I'm already gay, so I don't have to worry about it. In that sense, I guess I am using my gayness to bless the lives of others. As an aside, Now that my children are grown, I have been giving serious consideration to going back to school to get my teaching credentials and teaching High School.

There is also my blog. Does reading this blog help other people who are in a similar situation? I know reading other blogs has certainly helped me. So, I hope that I am, somehow, helping others with my blabbering on about my life. If nothing else, I link to all of the gay Mormon blogs that I've found on the right hand side. So, if you aren't getting anything out of my blog, you can use it as a jumping point to other blogs which are more deep and meaningful.

But, what about using my gayness to bless my own life. That, I fear, is something I still need to work on. I can't think of any examples of where me being gay has blessed my life. While I'm no longer ashamed of being gay, I do consider it a nuisance - much like a tall person might consider his height to be an inconvenience at times. But, his height can also be a convenience (who else can reach the stuff up on the top shelf?). I haven't reached that point yet where I see certain advantages to being gay - I guess I still have a long way to go on this front.

As to my anger issues. Call me childish, but there are times when I feel angry with God (and Monday was one of those times). But, as I closed my poem.

But, with time
These feelings subside.
And so does my anger with God.

I'm doing much better today than I was earlier this week. I was just feeling sorry for myself. It wasn't the first time I wallowed in self pity, and probably won't be the last time. I guess this is something else I need to work on.

I better close this blog entry - I keep giving myself ToDo's. Let's see, I need to work on using my gayness to bless my own life, I need to work on my wallowing in self pity. Anything else??? Did I forget anything???

P.S. I'm on page 709 (out of 1,006 pages) of "Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell" by Susanna Clarke. I'm not sure if I'll make the March 28th deadline for the MoHo book club review, but it will be close. Who else is reading this book? I hope I'm not the only one to post a review.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Angry with God

I am angry with God
Just as a child can sometimes be angry with his earthly parents
I am angry with Him for putting these burdens upon me
Unlike burdens that other people have
These burdens tempt me to violate his most sacred laws
Why would He put these feelings in me
And then tell me that I can never ever act on these feelings?
What kind of a test is this?
Am I being punished for something I did in the preexistence?
Although I followed God,
Was I sympathetic towards Lucifer’s cause?
Did I not rally around Jehovah as much as I should have?
Is the Celestial Kingdom not within my reach?
Am I destined to spend eternity as a ministering angel?
The scriptures tell us that “men are that they might have joy”
But, how much joy can one really have
When they have to take medication
To keep them from wanting to just end it all?
But, with time
These feelings subside
And so does my anger with God

This is a poem I wrote a few months ago. I haven't really thought much about it recently until I happened across an article titled Go Ahead, Be Angry at God. on the Chi Rho Press blog. I don't normally follow this particular blog, but this article was linked to from a discussion group that I follow.

So, this got me to thinking: Is it OK to be angry with God? Should I go outside and yell at God so that I then sit down with Him and try to figure things out with a clearer mind (as Adam DeBaugh suggests in his article)? Or is the very notion of being angry with God a sin that I should repent of for even thinking about?

Adam DeBaugh is right about one thing: "God's shoulders are broad and powerful - God can certainly deal with my puny anger." And, I'm sure I wouldn't be the first person, or last person, to feel angry with God. But, then I hear my mother saying: "if all of your friends jump off a cliff ..."

My situation being a gay Mormon who is striving to stay true to the church makes me part of a very small minority. Few people can even fathom what we have to deal with day after day. As I posted in a comment on SG's blog earlier today, I feel like I'm in a constant tug-of-war, and I'm the rope. But, does this give me the right to be angry with God?

Unfortunately, like other aspects of my life, I have questions - but no answers.

I recall back in college when I was first investigating the church and taking the missionary discussions, I didn't have any problem believing that Joseph Smith was a prophet, that the Book of Mormon was a second witness of Jesus Christ. It all made perfect sense to me. What I struggled with was a basic belief in God. When I was baptized, my testimony was a tenuous "If there is a God then this is His church."

I grew up in a Christian home and attended church all my life. However, once I got to High School, I began to question some of the things I heard preached from the pulpit. Going to church on Sunday became a weekly argument with my parents who, eventually, gave in to my tantrums and relented that I didn't have to go to church if I didn't want to. I considered myself agnostic. I acknowledged that there might be a god, I chose not to believe in one. In particular, I had a difficult time believing that the universe was black and white. I couldn't accept that there was Heaven and Hell with nothing in between. I couldn't accept the whole Salvation by Grace thing. I couldn't understand how a just God could condemn people to Hell simply by the situation of their birth (being born in a non Christian country with no option of hearing his word). Of course, the LDS missionaries had answers to these, and every other concern that I had. And, I believed, that if they could answer those big stumbling blocks for me then I could probably find many other answers in this church.

And I have found many answers. And my testimony in the Gospel has grown. I served on a mission after only being a member a short time (two years). I married in the Temple, even though none of my family were able to attend. I've strived to do my best in every calling I've been given - from Ward Music Director to Counselor in the Bishopric. My life in the church is full of wonderful memories of wonderful people I've met over the years. But, there are some questions where the answer continues to elude me - even after 33 years in the church. And, I'm ashamed to admit, I'm beginning to wonder why God has left me hanging for so long. Hence,

I am angry with God
Just as a child can sometimes be angry with his earthly parents

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Something in the air?

I've been catching up on what's been happening in the MoHo blogosphere while I was gone. There are big things afoot. Gay BYU Student came out to his parents. My Best Is All I Have is talking about coming out to his parents. I found a new MoHo, drex, who recently came out to his parents. And, it's only been about 6 weeks since I came out to my wife. Is there something in the air? Is this a byproduct of global warming? Has someone spiked our water supply?

All kidding aside, this is serious stuff. The memories of telling my wife are still indelibly imprinted on my mind. As are the subsequent doubts on whether I did the right thing or not. This is a big step. I know for me, the decision to come out to my wife was one of the most important decisions I've ever made; right up there with my decision to join the church, to serve a mission, and to get married.

I believe the decision to tell my wife was the right thing to do. I had some doubts in the days that followed (especially since it seemed like my wife would end up crying every time we talked about it). But, I've had a few weeks to ponder this; and, my wife has had a few weeks to let it sink in (and she hasn't cried for a while). I think we are closer now than we have been in a while. Before I came out to my wife, I was beginning to feel like we were more best friends and roommates rather than husband and wife. Now, I feel like a husband again. I expect something similar will happen in the weeks following coming out to parents.

Although, I think, in some ways, telling your parents that you are gay might be even harder than it was to tell my wife. At this point, I have no plans to ever talk to my parents (my father, since my mother is no longer with us in this life). I may tell my children, someday. But, I have no intention of ever telling my siblings.

It seems like fathers have a more difficult time accepting a gay son. I have a theory about this. In the not so distant past, there were some who taught that homosexuality was caused by the father either being absent or otherwise not involved in the lives of their sons as much as they should have been. In fact, this was even mentioned in a general conference once where J. Richard Clarke said "Homosexuality would not occur where there is a normal, loving father-and-son relationship." ("Ministering to Needs through LDS Social Services," Ensign, May 1977). I haven't heard anyone espouse this ridiculous idea in recent years; however, it is likely that men who are fathers today heard this when they were younger. They may not even consciously remember it. But, the idea may have been implanted causing them to wonder what they did wrong - would their son still be gay if they had been a better father?

And, why are straight people obsessed with trying to find the cause of homosexuality? Gay people don't seem to care - we just accept that this is who we are. I've read everything from childhood sexual abuse to absent fathers to being fed soy products during early childhood. Why is it so difficult to accept that some of us are just born this way? We can accept that some people are born without any arms or legs; some are be born into abject poverty in an oppressive culture. But, suggest that someone is born gay and we hear "God would never allow that to happen!" I'm not saying God did this to me (maybe he did, I don't know). Sometimes, things just happen. And, the only thing we can do is to try to make the best of the situation that we find ourselves in.

So, Gay BYU Student, My Best Is All I Have, drex, and anyone else who might be contemplating this big step, my prayers are with you. Telling a loved one isn't going to make things any easier. But, sometimes, it's just nice to be able to be yourself around someone you love. Where you don't have to constantly be on guard and afraid that something you say or do might tip them off that you are gay - they already know, so it doesn't matter.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Back in Texas

We got back last night from our visit to my daughter/son-in-law/granddaughter in California. My granddaughter is beautiful, of course, I'm a bit prejudiced. I think I'm really going to enjoy being a grandfather. In some ways, it's even better than being a father. For one thing, when you think the baby needs a diaper change, you can just hand her back to mom or dad :-)

The blessing on Sunday was really nice. My son-in-law's father was in attendance, but wasn't able to stand in the circle. I was glad I was able to be there (as the only other family member in the circle), but it made it a bit awkward at the same time.

My wife made a beautiful blessing dress for the occasion with lots of embroidery. Not 15 minutes after the blessing, she had a diaper blowout. And I mean blowout - it got everywhere! My daughter had put on a white onesey under the dress which they ended up just throwing away. My wife and I drove back to their apartment during Sunday School so that we could wash out the dress and hang it up to dry (so it would be clean for pictures afterwards). But, we were back in time for Priesthood and Relief Society.

Speaking of pictures, I took a ton of them. I nearly filled up two 1 gig flash cards. Some of the images on one of my flash cards were corrupted. Fortunately, I had the foresight to copy the images to my daughters computer and had her burn them to a couple of CDROM's before we came home. But, it does have me concerned. Does this mean one of my flash cards is going bad? The card with the corrupted images happened to be the one that was in the camera. Would it have been better to remove the flash card from the camera before going through airport security? I'm going to have to do some more research on this.

As expected, most of the pictures were of my granddaughter. But not all. Being on different time schedules, my wife and I were always up earlier than everyone else, so we would go for morning walks. I always carried my camera and took a few pictures on those walks (mostly of flowers, how gay is that?). We also went to Hollywood on Saturday where I took quite a few pictures. There are a lot of weird people in Hollywood. I saw Spiderman, Jack Sparrow (two of them), Chewbacca playing a guitar (apparently, Jack Sparrow and Chewbacca are best friends as they were always together). I saw Michael Jackson with his Mermaid girlfriend. And there were a bunch of other people that I wasn't sure who they were supposed to be.

Here are a couple of pictures I took while we were walking around the Chinese Theater in Hollywood (an idea for a postcard):

as they view
as everyone else
views them

Sorry I couldn't resist.

I hope I didn't offend anyone who happens to live in California. I was actually born and raised in California (didn't move to Texas until after I was married, graduated from college, and had two kids). So, I'm not laughing at you - I'm laughing with you.