Monday, July 30, 2007

New boyfriend

My daughter introduced us to her new boyfriend yesterday. Today, when she got home from work, she was asking me what I thought of him. Then she asked "don't you think he's cute?"

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Babe magnet

I must be some sort of babe magnet. A couple of months ago, I blogged about how Campbell wants to be my friend on MySpace. Now it's Lauren. I have no idea which one is Lauren nor who the other chick is. Frankly neither of them are my type.

As I told Campbell, your plunging neck line and pouty lips have no effect on me. I am impervious to your womanly wiles!

Tom is my one and only MySpace friend. And, he is way cuter than the two of you put together.


More about me

Imagine, if you will, a man in a workplace. He is well dressed and clean cut. The other workers, none of whom are LDS, just found out that this man is an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.. The news evokes responses like "I knew there was something different about you" and "you have that look about you."

That's not me!

I probably shouldn't admit it. But, when people find out I'm a Mormon, more than likely it elicits responses like "Really?" and "Seriously, you're kidding, right?" Although I am an active member of the church; I hold a leadership calling in my ward; but I have never quite fit very well into the Perfect Mormon mold.

  • I'm probably disheveled in my dress . When I was standing in the gay line in the preexistance, they must have run out of that fashion sense talent when I got to the front of the line. In my world, comfort trumps fashion.
  • More than likely my hair is a tad too long. I hate getting haircuts - it is so boring. Mind you, my hair is very curly, so think afro. Although, as I get up in years, and the top of my head is thinning, it is starting to take on a look more reminiscent of Bozo the Clown.
  • More than likely there will be a can of diet coke sitting sitting near me
  • While I'm generally considered a very patient person, I am highly intolerant of stupid people (and smart people who do stupid things). You may hear me refer to them with names like "dog turd."
  • If we are traveling together on business and you decide to stop for a drink at the hotel bar, I'll likely join you (and order a club soda with a twist of lime).
  • At Halloween, if work permits employees to wear costumes to work, I may show up in my Star Trek captains uniform (Next Generation style), or my clown costume, or perhaps my punk rocker outfit.
  • Although I'm not effeminate in any way, I probably get along better with the women in the office than I do the other men - often joining them in conversations about babies, shopping, etc.
  • If there is a potluck at work, As the other men sign up to bring things like drinks and paper plates, I'll likely bring some gourmet dish that I spent hours preparing. I'll ask for recipes of other dishes that I liked and will share my recipe with anyone who asks.
  • If other men start talking to me about sports, I'll stare at them with a blank look. I may even ask "is that's the game with the big round ball or the funny shaped ball? Is there a stick involved?"
  • If someone starts telling an off color joke, unless it's really raunchy, I'll probably stick around to hear it - and may even laugh (if it's funny). If it's really funny, I might even go home and share it with my wife (although, she seldom finds them as funny as I do).
  • You'll know that I consider you a close friend if I fart and belch in front of you.
Mind you, I do have some redeeming qualities
  • I don't swear at all, even when under stress. Often people notice this and start to apologize if they accidentally let a word slip out in my presence.
  • I'm obviously a family man and talk endlessly about my wife and children.
  • ... and then there's ... well um ... dang it, I'm sure I have other redeeming qualities - just can't think of any right now ...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I'm back

I'm back to blogging.

So, what happened? A week ago, I was feeling despondant. I don't know for sure, but I think it may have been due to getting off schedule with my antidepressants rather than anything major going on in my life at the time.

That night I went to mutual. The activity was doing some yard work for a sister in our ward. Afterwards I went back to the church building and stayed another hour or so helping the Bishop with a few things. When I got back home I was feeling a lot better. Those simple little, almost insignificant, acts of service made me realize that I need to stop thinking about myself so much.

Anyway, I was feeling much better the day after my last post; but, I needed to prove to myself that I'm not addicted to blogging - that I could quit anytime if ever deemed necessary. So, I set a goal to go 1 week blog free.

And, I made it! I have not looked at any blogs since last Wednesday. But, I have missed my blogging friends and am anxious to see what is going on in everyone's life.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Me: "Hello, my name is Abelard, and I'm a blogoholic"

You: "Hi Abelard"

Sunday, I came home from a long day at church (my meetings start at 6:30am, and it was about 2:30pm when I finally got home). After eating a snack, I went upstairs to 'check my email' (which is a euphemism for 'I'm having withdrawal symptoms from my blog and I need a fix'). I turned on my computer and --- GASP!!! --- no internet connection! I crawled under my computer desk and started sorting through the rats nest of wires. I tried unplugging my router for a minute to reset it. Nothing I did helped. Desperate, I looked up the number for my internet service provider and called them. After navigating through VRU hell, I was finally able to talk to a real person. She walked me through a bunch of things (most of which I had already tried). She tried doing a remote reset of the ONT (the big ugly gray box on the side of my house where the FIOS fiber optic line connects to). In the past, whenever I've had problems with my internet service, a reset of the ONT fixed the problem - sadly, not this time. She finally told me that they would send a service technician to my home on Monday morning to look at the problem. To make a long story short, my internet connection is working now.

But, the point of this post is how I felt afterwards. I was really feeling sorry for myself. My son and his wife were over for dinner (with the twin babies), and I sat on the couch brooding - all because I couldn't check my blog.

I was able to finally snap out of it and enjoy playing with my grandbabies. But, it got me to thinking - have I allowed myself to become too immersed. I was reading Straight+Narrow; and, he went a whole week without being able to check his blog. I'm sure he had a great time visiting with his grandparents; but, my first thought was "ohmygosh, how could he stand it?"

I'm pathetic.

I need help!

My first thoughts are that I need to give up this blogging stuff - it's starting to control my life. But, then I think of all of the great people I've met in the Mormon queerosphere - everyone here has helped me come to terms with this gay thing.

So, then I have second thoughts - I don't want to give this up, I can't give up my blogging friends. The Mormon queerosphere has been a lifesaver for me (in a very literal sense). I could try moderating my blogging activity; but, can an alcoholic moderate his drinking?

I've made some good friends here in the queerosphere - people whom I look forward to meeting in person one day. But, the thought of doing so terrifies me. What if I'm not what you expect? What if you only like the blogging me, not the real flesh and blood me? Am I like the person on the other end of a phone sex line where I talk sexy, but in reality, I'm old, fat, and ugly (or, so I've heard. I've never actually called a phone sex line - really!).

I do a pretty good job at pretending that I have it together, most of the time. But, the truth is: I'm really screwed up!

I feel so lost and confused right now ... and alone, so very much alone.

And, I just don't know if I can do this anymore ...

Monday, July 16, 2007

Inspiration or Ickspiration?

I was thinking about some of the comments on my recent post about masturbation. One thing that bothers me is the apparent lack of any sort of consistency in how this sensitive topic is addressed throughout the church. Although I myself have never had any negative experiences in this regard, some people have been treated horribly by their Bishops - plain and simple.

And, this got me to thinking. Yes, Bishop's are given certain keys, including keys of discernment. But, does that mean that every word they utter comes from spiritual inspiration?

For many who have not dealt with the issue of homosexuality, any thought of homosexual relationships (even non sexual ones) can be seen as revolting, disgusting, and just generally icky. Some may even rationalize that if something is revolting then it must obviously be wrong. However the logic in that train of thought is flawed. There are foods that are eaten in other cultures that I consider revolting and disgusting. But, that doesn't mean that I believe it is wrong to eat them - just that I choose not to partake.

So, this is a question that those who work with people who are attracted to their same gender need to ask themselves: Am I acting out of true inspiration from God? Or am I speaking from ickspiration because of my own personal distaste? And, those of us who are on the receiving end - we need to pray and receive our own spiritual witness if the advice and counsel we were given was said out of inspiration, or ickspiration.

I remember a few years ago, a family moved into our ward. The head of this household was a first class jerk (in my own humble opinion). Then one day the stake presidency came to reorganize our bishopric - and called this brother to be our Bishop. I still recall the feelings of melancholy I had as I left church that day. How could God do this? The guy's a jerk, surely God knows that. But, I resolved that I would support him as Bishop even though I disliked him as a man. One day, in a tithing settlement, this Bishop said some very hurtful and hateful things to me. If ever I was going to leave the church because I had been offended - that would have been it. That experience shook my faith to its very core. To this day I feel he was wrong in saying the things he did.

That was two bishop's ago. Subsequent boundry changes have put us in different wards; so, I don't see this man very often these days. However, in a recent bishopric meeting, our current bishop was cleaning out some papers from his desk and came across some things from this other bishop. He made a passing comment on how he felt this previous bishop man was overly harsh in some of his judgments - and that, to this day, he still occasionally has people in his office complaining about things they were told by this other bishop. And, you know what, I actually found myself defending him. I told my bishop that I felt this previous bishop had mellowed quite a bit in his tenure as bishop - and it's true. While I still think he is a jerk, he is not nearly as big of a jerk as he once was. In fact, this last Christmas, it happened that we were both singing tenor in a stake choir. And, he always made a point of sitting next to me so that we could share music because he said he could follow me better than he could other tenors - and I didn't mind. We laughed, and we joked (and, yes, I still think he is a jerk).

I'm not sure where I'm going with this other than to say that I believe most of the men called to positions of leadership make a sincere effort. But, there are a few who are overzealous in their quest to perfect the saints.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The "P" Word

Warning: This post may contain images that are considered offensive to some. Please do not read if you are under the age of 18.
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
Romans 6:12

I was thinking about my last post; and, I decided that no blog post on masturbation is complete without a follow-on post on pornography. Clearly the two go hand in hand [pun intended].

It's no secret that pornography is big business.

"Sex sells. As the number one income generator on the Internet today, pornography is a ripe business that will continue to grow along with the advancement of technology. With a reported annual growth rate of 40% since 1997, and the status of being the most queried subject on search engines, pornography is a thriving industry and one of the only successful e-businesses."
article titled "The Porn Business" on

Also, much has been written about the evils of pornography by LDS church leaders

"One of the most accessible sources of pornography today is the Internet, where one can turn on a computer and instantly have at his fingertips countless sites featuring pornography. Avoid any semblance of pornography."
Thomas S. Monson, April 2006 General Conference

Make no mistake - pornography is a big problem in the LDS church and in our society. It is probably the topic that gets mentioned most often during our general conferences. It is a problem for men of all ages, ethnicity, religious background, and sexual orientation. But, it seems to be an especially big problem in the gay Mormon community. Most (if not all) of us, at least of the male persuasion, have done battle with the pornography monster - some battles are ongoing.

But, what exactly is pornography? A pamphlet created by the LDS church states

Pornography is any material depicting or describing the human body or sexual conduct in a way that arouses sexual feelings.

It goes on to say

Some materials that are not explicitly pornographic can still fill your life with darkness and deprive you of spiritual strength. Television programs, pictures, movies, songs, and books often treat unchastity and infidelity as common, appealing, and humorous. Avoid anything that drives the Holy Ghost from your life.

I don't necessarily disagree with these statements; but, the problem I have is that there are many things - innocuous things - that can arouse feelings within me depending on the situation I'm in and my frame of mind. It could be a good looking guy walking down the street in shorts and a muscle shirt; it could be a cute waiter in a restaurant; it could be the men's underwear ad in the Penny's sales flyer. If I truly need to avoid anything and everything that has the potential of arousing feelings within me; then, my only hope would be to check myself into a convent with a bunch of ugly nuns and avoid all media (internet, TV, newspaper, magazines, ... everything).

So, short of all of us checking ourselves into convents and removing ourselves from society, what can be done about this insidious problem? How can we define pornography in a way that we can realistically overcome?

For example, here is a picture that's been floating around the internet for a while (a naked Harry Potter). Is it pornographic? Some might say 'yes', some might say 'no'.

Where is the line between provocative and nasty? Where is the line between art and porn?

There are some images that, I'm sure, we can all agree are clearly pornographic, such as an image of two men engaging in sodomy. But, what if it is an image of a naked male? What if the model is posed in such a way that genitalia are not shown? What if the model is fully clothed but is posing in a very suggestive manner?

Much has been written about how pornography is degrading to women. But, what about gay pornography? If there are no women involved, is it still degrading? Or is it just as wrong to degrade men as it is women?

According to the gospel of Abelard, we each need to come up with our own definition of what constitutes pornography for us and define our own limits. And, we need to define our limits so that they are reasonable and achievable. We can, and should, listen to what others have to say; but, ultimately, the final definition rests on our own shoulders. Once we define those limits, then we can start to work on making sure we don't cross those boundaries. Some might even suggest we stay as far away as possible to reduce temptation. But, if we set our limits too high such that they are unachievable then we are only setting ourselves up for failure. We also need to be open to the idea that our boundaries can change over time.

But, these are just my opinions. What do others have to say on this topic?

As I've said before, we are a virtual island of misfit toys, only Santa isn't coming to rescue us. So, we need to look out for one another. Is there anything we can do to help those in our little community that may be battling the pornography monster at this very moment? How can we tame this beast?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The "M" word

WARNING: Please do not read this post if you are under the age of 18 or are offended by matter-of-fact discussions of a sexual nature.

"If you're not comfortable calling it that then we could call it 'Sam's happy time'"
A line from the movie "Transformers" (paraphrased)

Note: I watched "Transformers" this last weekend with my wife. And, that controversial masturbation scene brought to mind a post which I wrote a few months ago but have been hesitant to publish it as I thought it might be a little too edgy - even for me. But, I've shared it privately with a couple of blogging friends who have both encouraged me to publish it. So, here goes ...

I grew up in a non-LDS home. My parents are devout Christians and taught me many of the same things that LDS parents teach their children. For example, my parents do not smoke. There was never alcohol in my home. However, my mother was a nurse and felt it was important to have open and frank discussions about sex. I was also the youngest of six children, so it was not uncommon to hear my sisters talking about their periods at the dinner table, or my married sisters talking about funny things their husbands did the last time they 'did it'. I can remember my mother telling me that the urge to have sex can be even stronger than hunger. I was taught that, once you are married, you need to be 100% committed to your spouse. (I was also taught that homosexuals are evil perverts - but I'll leave that for another post)

Since joining the church (in college) I've realized that Mormon's, in general, (including my wife) tend to be more uptight about sex than what I grew up with. So, I've learned to refrain from discussing it openly. However, my general attitudes about sex have not changed. In particular, not growing up in the church, I was never taught that masturbation is a sin. Even now, after 30 years in the church, I don't consider masturbation a major sin (on par with adultery, abortion, etc.). For me, it is more a problem of self control rather than a chastity problem. IMOHO, if the worse thing a guy does is masturbate once in a while then he is doing extremely well and should be commended.

In my opinion, masturbation only becomes a problem if done in excess. But, even then it is along the lines of overeating, spending too much time playing computer games, etc. It is a matter of self control.

It may seem unbelievable to some. I've been active in the church for 30 years, I've held leadership callings, attended numerous priesthood leadership and auxiliary training meetings. But, I've never heard any *official* discussion of masturbation preached from the pulpit (so to speak) nor had it discussed in a lesson (priesthood or otherwise). I've never had a Bishop ask me about it (not even as I was preparing to serve a mission). I did talk to my mission president about it once. But, he approached it as a matter of self control rather than as a chastity problem.

Since I've started reading MoHo blogs, I've been fascinated by some of the discussions about masturbation. And, it's not just being discussed in MoHo blogs. It was also discussed on The Cultural Hall blog recently. (See the post titled "Confessions of a Serial Masturbator/Repenter" which had 129 comments last I checked.) Do Bishops really ask young men if they masturbate? Are people put on probation (or other church discipline) if they masturbate? Call me naive, but I had no idea.

Intrigued, I went to and searched "All Church Content" using the term "masturbation" which resulted in 23 hits. By comparison, "pornography" gets 702 hits, "adultery" gets 431 hits, "fornication" gets 168 hits, & "homosexual" gets 173 hits. It doesn't seem to me that masturbation is that big of an issue on the Brethren's radar screen. What is particularly interesting is that there is virtually no mention of masturbation on within the last 15 years (at least, nothing was returned when I did a date search)

In an address given at BYU in February, 1980, President Ezra Taft Benson, Of the Quorum of the Twelve, listed "Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet"

  1. The Prophet is the only man who speaks for the Lord in everything.
  2. The living Prophet is more vital to us than the standard works.
  3. The living Prophet is more important to us than a dead Prophet.
  4. The Prophet will never lead the church astray.
  5. The Prophet is not required to have any particular earthly training or credentials to speak on any subject or act on any matter at any time.
  6. The Prophet does not have to say “Thus Saith the Lord,” to give us scripture.
  7. The Prophet tells us what we need to know, not always what we want to know.
  8. The Prophet is not limited by men’s reasoning.
  9. The Prophet can receive revelation on any matter, temporal or spiritual.
  10. The Prophet may advise on civic matters.
  11. The two groups who have the greatest difficulty in following the Prophet are the proud who are learned and the proud who are rich.
  12. The Prophet will not necessarily be popular with the world or the worldly.
  13. The Prophet and his counselors make up the First Presidency—the highest quorum in the Church.
  14. The Prophet and the presidency—the living Prophet and the First Presidency—follow them and be blessed—reject them and suffer.

I've highlighted point #3 where it says "The living Prophet is more important to us than a dead Prophet" since that is pertinent to this discussion. The fact of the matter is, the living Prophet's aren't saying much about masturbation these days. Why is that? Is it because all that is needed to be said has already been said? Or is it, perhaps, that it just isn't that big of a deal? Perhaps there are much more pressing problems that need to be addressed than if a person masturbates once in a while. Which is worse, not reading your scriptures, not praying regularly, or masturbating occasionally?

Some might argue that if you masturbate then you probably aren't doing things you should be doing, such as praying and reading your scriptures. And, that may be true, but what is the cause and effect here? If you've been taught all of your life that masturbation is a disgusting sin. Then, if you masturbate, you might consider yourself a disgusting sinner. If you feel like a disgusting sinner, how inclined will you be to pray and read the scriptures? If you aren't praying and reading, is it because you masturbated? Or is it because you feel like you are a worthless disgusting sinner? What if you were to separate those two -that is, allow for the possibility of being able to masturbate without being a disgusting sinner. If you masturbate and still feel good about yourself - then how inclined might you be to pray and read the scriptures?

Others might argue that masturbation goes hand in hand with pornography. Again, there is probably truth to that. I expect that people who indulge in pornography probably masturbate. But, again, what is the cause and effect in play? Are you viewing pornography because you masturbate? Or are you masturbating because you are viewing pornography? What if you were to eliminate pornography from your life? Would you still masturbate as often?

I'm not trying to imply that we should all just start wanking away (please excuse my crude choice of words). I just think we need to put things into perspective. Masturbation isn't necessarily a good thing. But, it's not a horrible thing either, especially if not done in excess. If we're trying to become a better person, to grow closer to the Lord - then maybe there are more important things we need to be focusing on. And, if we start making progress in those other areas, perhaps any masturbation problem will take care of itself.

I don't have any answers. I have my opinions - but they are just that. My opinion and 50¢ will buy you a newspaper.

BTW, I don't consider myself a prude; but, sitting next to my wife in the movie theater watching "Transformers", I was surprisingly uncomfortable and squirming around in my seat a bit during the masturbation scene. And it wasn't just a one liner, it went on for 3 very long minutes. I mean, was it really necessary? I'm just glad I don't have small kids and faced with the decision whether to let them see it or not (I would probably not let them because of that and other sexual innuendo - OK, maybe I am a prude when it comes to children).

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Eight Random Gay Mormon Facts About Me

John Gustav-Wrathall tagged me to list Eight Random Gay Mormon Facts About Me.

  1. All right, here are the rules.
  2. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
  3. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
  4. People who are tagged write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
  5. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.
1. I'm gay! (oh wait, that probably doesn't count)

1. I'm a convert to the church; but, my first crush (in high school) was for a Mormon boy. I once wrote a poem about him titled "Unrequited Love" where I also tell a little of the story about him.

2. I have no Mormon ancestors - I am the Mormon pioneer in my family. When I'm sitting in a dull lesson listening to someone drone on about their Mormon ancestors, I often start thinking "I'll bet my ancestors could probably beat up your ancestors". I've even said it out loud a time or two.

3. I served my mission in Missouri. I was older than most missionaries since I was nearly 19 when I was baptized. I left on my mission a little over 2 years after I was baptized (it took me that long to raise the money).

4. I attended the Independence, Missouri pageant twice while on my mission. That's the only pageant I've ever been to. I don't think that pageant even exists anymore.

5. I graduated from college; but, I didn't get any awards or anything. I guess I'm just not that smart. I really did not like college. For me, it was just a means to an end. And, I couldn't wait to get out. But, I am the only member of my family to actually have gone to college.

6. I started college majoring in Electronic Enginnering. After my mission I changed to Computer Science Engineering. I finally changed to Math and Computer Science because I figured out I could graduate a couple of semesters sooner (because I wouldn't have to take all of the Engineering core classes, like "Fluid Dynamics").

7. I work in software development and have been with the same company for 27 years. Although, I've been giving serious consideration to an early retirement and getting my teaching credentials to teach High School math.

8. My wife is also a convert, and the Mormon pioneer in her family. Only, she is more respectful than I am and always jabs me with her elbow when I start getting irreverent. I think both of us being converts perhaps made it a little easier when we were married in the Temple since neither of our families were able to be there.

OK, he said "random", he didn't say they had to be interesting.

Tag: Gimble, Max Power, iwonder, Brady, Salad, drex, Tito, and mr. fob.
(in case you're wondering how I came up with this list, I picked people who had commented on my blog and hadn't already been tagged, that I was aware of)

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Rain, rain, go away

I don't know how much Texas news is reported elsewhere; but, it's been raining a lot this year - a whole lot. Last month was the 2nd wettest June on record. The ground is so saturated that we've reached a point where the rain is causing more damage than good. Every bit of rain turns into runoff which is causing flash flooding. My heart goes out to those families who have lost a family member (19 on the last news report I listened to) or have been displaced from their homes due to flooding.

Fortunately, for Abelard's community, no homes or neighborhoods have been threatened with flooding from all of the rain. We do have a lake in our community (about 2 miles from Abelard's home); but, the land around the lake (up to the high water mark) is owned by the Army Corp of Engineers and has been leased out by our community for parks, bike trails, etc. Many of these parks are now flooded.

We've been having a drought for the previous two years; so, the level of the lake was getting dangerously low. They had closed all of the boat ramps because they were completely out of the water and on dry ground. They opened the boat ramps a couple of months ago. Now they're closed again because the lake is too high. We started out 2007 with the lake being about 12 feet below normal level; it is now 15 feet above normal level.

I drove down to the lake yesterday to take some pictures. If you click on the picture then you can see a larger version.

This picture (left) is one of the picnic areas by the lake. Those green rooftops poking out of the water are covered picnic tables with firepits. There are about a dozen such picnic tables here. The two that are poking out of the water are the furthest from the lake shoreline. The others are completely submerged.

This next picture (right) is one of the soccer fields.

This last picture (left) is one of the softball fields where you can see the water has encroached up to about home plate. Kind of a funny story about this picture. I was explaining to a friend about the water having partially submerged one of the baseball fields. He couldn't believe it and was asking where it was. When I described the location he realized I was talking about a softball field, not a baseball field. Evidently, we have softball fields and separate baseball fields (which are further from the lake and, therefore, not threatened). I had no idea that there was a difference. I thought I was doing good to know that they were both games where you threw a little ball and hit it with a stick. I guess the sports police come after you if you have the gall to play baseball on a softball field or vice versa.

And the funny thing: We are still under a burn ban due to drought conditions. Watering restrictions are still in place for lawns. (I haven't even needed to water my lawn yet this year).

For those of you living in areas in need of rain, a word of warning: Be careful what you pray for! :)

... and the forecast for today? More storms this afternoon expecting 1 to 3 inches of rain.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

A 4th of July message

Here in the US, on this date we commemorate the formal adoption by the Continental Congress of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, in Philadelphia. This significant event in the history of the world set in motion a series of events culminating in the adoption of the United States constitution on September 17, 1787.

In a revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Savior declared
And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.
D&C 101:80

Referring to the constitution of the United States of America, President Ezra Taft Benson stated:

“These were not ordinary men, but men chosen and held in reserve by the Lord for this very purpose … But we honor more than those who brought forth the Constitution. We honor the Lord who revealed it. God Himself has borne witness to the fact that He is pleased with the final product of the work of these great patriots … I reverence the Constitution of the United States as a sacred document. To me its words are akin to the revelations of God, for God has placed His stamp of approval on the Constitution of this land. I testify that the God of heaven sent some of His choicest spirits to lay the foundation of this government, and He has sent other choice spirits—even you who read my words—to preserve it.”
“The Miraculous Constitution,” Friend, Sep 1987

Of course, living in a chosen land does not set me, or anyone else, above the rest. I believe God has sent choice spirits to live throughout the world to help accomplish His purpose. But, for those of us who do live in this country, we need to do everything within our power to help preserve it as a nation.

I pray that all of my U.S. friends who read this blog can have a wonderful 4th of July holiday. And, for everyone else, this is just another day for you; but, may it be a wonderful day for you too.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Satisfying my urges

Lately I've been feeling an emptiness in my soul. I've been having these urges deep within my bosom, a burning desire to

resume practicing the piano.

I've never been that great of a pianist; but, I do enjoy playing. Or, at least I did. I don't know why, but I just up and quit playing a few years ago. I was even taking piano lessons at the time. I quit my lessons and quit playing the piano. I think it had something to do with other stresses going on in my life at the time; but, now I regret making that decision. Since that time, I have occasionally sat down to play hymns out of the hymnal. I've even substituted in Priesthood opening exercises a few times when there weren't any other piano players around. But, lately, just playing hymns has not been satisfying me - I want more.

I once had a goal in my life to become an organist (how gay is that?). In fact, when I was in college, that was just one of the goals I set for myself, I even minored in music for a while (although, I didn't complete the minor).

The reality is: I haven't achieved any of my goals that I set back in college. Some are because my priorities have changed and they are no longer important to me, such as getting a PhD. Some are because my goals changed over time. For example, I used to want to have 8 children. But, after our first child was born then 7 children seemed like a good number. After our second child then 6 children seemed like the ideal family size. After our third child then 5 children seemed like a worthy goal. And, after our fourth child ... well, 4 children was just right.

But, to become an organist ... I just don't have a good excuse for why I never achieved that goal. I was realistic in my goal - I never saw myself as the tabernacle organist. But, I would like to be good enough to play in church some day.

So, what does this have to do with the piano? Because, back when I was in college minoring in music, the organ professor told me that in order to become a good organist, I first had to become a good pianist. He told me I had to be very proficient with the keyboard, know all of my scales, etc.

And so, I set a corollary goal to become a pianist. In the early years of my marriage with young children, traveling for work, etc. that goal had to be put on the back burner. But when our children were older and I was no longer traveling on business as much, I started taking private piano lessons. And then, one day, I was feeling frustrated, stressed, and I just up and quit - and now I'm feeling like a total scumbag for doing that. I've tried to tell myself that my priorities have changed,that it wasn't important to me. But, I was lying to myself. Just like I lied to myself all those years that I wasn't gay. I guess I've just gotten tired of lying to myself all the time.

So, what am I doing about it? Back when I was taking piano lessons, I had a favorite music book by David Lanz. Unfortunately, my son loaned it to a friend before his mission - and now that book is gone. So, I got on Amazon and ordered a new one which just arrived last week. And I've started re-learning the songs I used to enjoy playing from that book. Unfortunately, I had all of the fingering written in my old book; so, I'm having to figure out fingering which isn't that easy (my piano teacher used to help with with that). Who knows, maybe I'll even resume my piano lessons one day. And maybe, just maybe, I might even one day play the organ in Sacrament meeting.

So, that it! A very long winded way and convoluted way of saying I've started practicing the piano again. But, if I just said that, it wouldn't have been nearly as interesting :)