Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Mormon Queerosphere

Is it just me? Or is the Mormon queerosphere changing? It just doesn't seem the same that it once was.
  • There are some in our numbers who are questioning the value of continuing their blogs. Many have left already. In the list of "BLOGS BY OTHER GAY MORMON'S" which I maintain on the right hand side of my blog, the (R) designation indicates those blogs which are retired (i.e. are no longer being updated).
  • Some bloggers have disappeared altogether, designated by (RIP). I used to delete blogs that disappeared; but, a while ago I decided to keep them in the list as a reminder of those who used to count themselves as one of us. I want to remember them and keep them in my prayers that they will be able to find some measure of peace.
  • We are a diverse group of people; and, we've never all agreed on everything. Even simple things, like what to call ourselves, has resulted in endless discourse. But, in reading through the comments I see on other blogs, there seems to be more hostility and contention than I remember seeing before.

Are these signs of the Mormon queerosphere imploding in on itself? Is the Mormon queerosphere becoming obsolete? I certainly hope not. The Mormon queerosphere was a real lifesaver for me (in a very literal sense).

If the Mormon queerosphere fizzles out - what is left to take its place? There isn't anything! On one side we have groups like Affirmation and LDS Reconciliation. On the other side we have groups like Evergreen International. On one side we have gay and proud. On the other side we have struggling with same gender attraction. The Mormon queerosphere fills a niche between those philosophies. Without the Mormon queerosphere we are left only with polarized extremes with nothing to bridge them.

There are some who may argue that on one side we have those who actively oppose the brethren and on the other side are those who follow the brethren. They may argue that there is only one 'right' way and 'if you aren't with us then you are against us'. But, I will not be pulled into that argument (and will likely delete any comments which attempt to do so). I am quite comfortable being a queer with a temple recommend.

IMOHO, the Mormon queerosphere fills an important role. Just as it has helped me, I believe it is helping many others. There are many who lurk and don't make their presence known. And, that's OK. I know they are there because there are only a handful of people who comment on my blog, but blogging statistics show that people from all over the world are checking out my blog - and many of these are repeat visitors.

Maybe I've got it all wrong. Maybe it's just a bunch of straight people who keep coming back out of morbid curiosity (much like slowing down to ogle an accident on the freeway). Maybe we're just a freak show that provides entertainment for the 'normal' people out there.

But, I don't think so. I believe there are likely many people like us - people who may be as we once were - still coming to terms with their sexuality. People who are each at different levels and at different points on their path. Occasionally, some may become comfortable enough to create their own blog to share their journey with others. But, many may never reach that point. Yet, we may be their lifeline - a reminder that they are not a freak of nature, that they are not alone in their struggles and challenges of being Mormon and gay.

So, while I struggle with what I should blog about - I pray that I will not reach the point where I start to feel that it is not worthwhile. Many of my blog entries may be inane and pedestrian with the occasional profound thought thrown in. But, that is an accurate portrayal of my life (which is mostly dull and boring).

And I plead with my fellow bloggers - please do not leave me to be the last man standing.


Foxx said...

I've been feeling out of sorts when it comes to blogging lately, but I'm not going anywhere. I'm sure that, as I get into a new phase in my life, new ideas and new perspectives will crystallize and I'll have to post my ideas for a little validation and exposure, as I am wont to do.

I also feel that if I post what I am really thinking when it comes to religion I will alienate my pro-Mo audience - if I haven't already. ;) So I tend to keep that stuff to myself while I do my research.

Sometimes I feel that I've said all I have to say. People have told me my blogs just rehash the same topics, and I don't like to beat the dead horse. Too much.

I started my blog as an exercise in opinion writing, and maybe I should not shirk from that purpose. Because I do have an opinion! I have a voice! I matter!

And that goes for everybody out there, too. Your voice matters.

playasinmar said...

Leave no man behind! Rally 'round the standard bearer!

Oh, wait. He doesn't blog anymore.

Beck said...

Blogs are very personal things by nature and thus must serve a personal purpose. I never started this gig with the idea that it would lead to helping anyone but myself. I wanted to give voice to my otherwise very silent persona on issues that were turning over and over again inside me, that I could not express in any other way.

I feel your pain. I feel and see things changing. I know that "community" that has no membership or requirements that "just is" is a live and changing organism made up of individuals who come and go, who change directions and paths, who recommit in different ways. It's called life! But part of that change has been you, Abe. You have changed and evolved, too! You aren't the same. You have come out to yourself and to your wife and all the dynamics of that chnage have changed your thoughts and actions, your reasons for blogging etc. You have come to know and care about many individuals in this community because they are real and you want the best for them. We all do.

But, I never intended this blog gig to be an obligation, to be a force for good for all the unknown lurkers out there. I never wanted to be an example. I never intended to represent anyone but myself. You didn't either - and yet, here you are! You give voice to a middle ground! You give voice of hope to the MOM community. You give us all a good laugh at your funny view of life! You are a breath of fresh air! Just keep being you, but recognize that you are changing, too, along with the community at large.

I look at "Gaymormon" that Playasinmar noted. He started the whole thing for me. He probably doesn't know it, but he did. He is gone, for the most part, from this community (except he appeared for lunch with Elbow in SF this last week - I feel jealous). Elbow's situation has drastically changed in the last few months, as have many others. Again, it's called life.

I'm grateful for this community as well. It has been a godsend for me and has helped me through some difficult emotions by just giving me the opportunity to voice those emotions.

Just keep voicing your emotions and your thoughts and all well be well in the Kingdom of Abelard! And the rest of us lurkers will be the beneficiaries of your thoughts, emotions, and quirkinesses! :)

Beck said...

p.s. I have no idea what I'm looking at in your last picture. What is it? What happened? What does it represent? Is this an implosion of your backyard deck after the recent storms in Texas?

Abelard Enigma said...

I also feel that if I post what I am really thinking when it comes to religion I will alienate my pro-Mo audience - if I haven't already.

If people choose to be offended by you sharing your honest feelings about religion then they really aren't very good Mormon's and they need to go read Elder Bednar's talk from the October 2006 general conference. Then they need to read and ponder the 11th article of faith.

Blogs are very personal things by nature and thus must serve a personal purpose.

I'm not sure I understand this. If your purpose is so personal then why make it so public in a blog?

I look at "Gaymormon" that Playasinmar noted. He started the whole thing for me.

Gay Mormon left the building well before I made my first blog post. So, I guess I don't share the same affinity for him that others do. If I had to point to one blog that 'did it' for me then, Beck, that would be you.

I have no idea what I'm looking at in your last picture.

It's an imploded house which is the former site of the Houston Art League. They decided to build a new facility, but before they demolished the old one a couple of local artists asked if they could make a project of it.

btw, did anyone else know that if you google 'queerosphere' that most of the hits are our beloved Mormon queers? It seems 'queerosphere' and 'Mormon queerosphere' are synonymous terms. Who knew??? I thought 'queerosphere' was a generic term for gay bloggers; but, I guess the rest prefer gay bloggies.

MoHoHawaii said...

I've slacked a bit in the posting department (work, BF, summer vacations, etc.), but I still read the MoHo blogs and comment when I can.

Like Foxx, I sometimes hesitate to post all of my religous thought for fear of causing offense. Truly open religious discussion is difficult to achieve.

Another thing I've noticed from private e-mail exchange with MoHo bloggers is that the level of belief may be overstated in the more public blog forum. The private e-mails and the blog entries don't always match. (Maybe I'm a magnet for dissent because of my status as a nonbeliever.)

In any case, I hope to continue the dialog in a respectful and positive manner. We need to learn from each others' experiences. I put myself in this category, too.

Chedner said...

... I just got here; hopefully, I didn't have anything to do with the contentious change.

J G-W said...

Abelard - I wonder if you're reading too much into what might just be normal turn-over in the blogosphere. Few things last forever.

I like most of the moho blogs I've found here because they are remarkably friendly and un-contentious. I can't stand much of the bloggernacle because it often gets so darn mean.

You have really had a huge impact on me -- believe it! I am so grateful for your blog and others I've connected to.

iwonder said...

My blog has recently been generation some contention, that's for sure. I don't especially like it (the occasional contention,) but I am not the kind of person to back down either, or allow others slander my opinions unopposed.

I haven't any plans to leave either, so don't you worry.

I agree that the queerosphere is important. My blog is mostly for me, but for others as well. Reading the blogs over the past 6 months has really helped me out, and so has writing mine own.

-L- said...

They may argue that there is only one 'right' way and 'if you aren't with us then you are against us'.

I haven't been reading as much as I used to, but I haven't seen all this contentiousness everyone is talking about. I've seen posts that talk about and get defensive about it, but I don't know where it started. I've long appreciated the diversity of views that I see, regardless of the fact that I disagree with people and reserve the right to continue to disagree while still hoping to be friends. That's really what I fear--that people get nasty and unable to act with dignity as they discuss the issues.

Beck said...

I haven't noted the nastiness and concur with L that we can disagree, but the nice thing about this community is the disagreement is done in such an agreeable, respectful way.

BTW, I'm flattered that my blog meant that much to you. My point was that I never intended it to be meaningful to anyone but myself and still am surprised to hear that anything I have my alter-ego say outloud actually has value to anyone else.

Thanks for being my friend.

Abelard Enigma said...

I agree that we can agree to disagree (that sounds kind of awkward). And, in fact, we often disagree in the queerosphere. We are a rag tag and diverse bunch. Listening to different points of view can allow us to reevaluate our own views.

But, lately, it just seems like there is a little more rancor in some of the counter arguments.

... but, maybe it's just me turning into overly sensitive guy or something. Maybe hanging around a bunch of flaming liberals (which I mean in the nicest way) is causing me to lose some of my hard conservative edge :)