Thursday, January 31, 2008

Uh oh

When I first checked my blog's reading level a few weeks ago using The Blog Readability Test, I was scored at genius level.

cash advance


Last night I just checked again; and, now my blog has digressed to High School level.

blog readability test

What does this mean? Is blogging making me dumber? Do I need to start using a bunch more of them big words? I removed the blog reading level from the right sidebar on my blog because, let's face it, a high school reading level is nothing to write home about.

I did a bit of random checking of other blogs in the queerosphere; and, some of your blogs tested at Junior High and even Elementary School reading level. But, others tested at College and Genius reading level. So, I guess, High School is right smack in the middle. [sigh] That's the story of my life. Mary Poppins may have been practically perfect in every way; but, I am dreadfully average in every way.

UPDATE: Results of the reading level poll

Protect our children

For those of you with children, here is an important public service announcement

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

What were you doing?

What were you doing when you got the news about President Hinkley?

My wife and I were watching Torchwood (season 2 started on Sunday) when my daughter called (about 9:30pm central time) to ask if we had heard the news. She told us it had just been posted on lds.org. Interestingly, I had just been on lds.org prior to watching Torchwood looking up some information; so, I went back to the computer (which still had the lds.org home page up) and didn't see it until after I refreshed the page; so, it must have just been posted in the last 30 minutes or so prior to my daughter calling.

We had recorded Torchwood on our DVR and were not watching it in real time. We paused the DVR when my daughter called. After hanging up, we left it on pause and talked about President Hinkley for a bit. Then we un-paused it and finished watching the show. My other daughter also likes Torchwood; so, we left it on the DVR when we were done for her to watch it when she comes over sometime (to do laundry or something).

This episode of Torchwood had James Marsters (Spike from Buffy) as a guest star. When Captain Jack (John Barrowman) confronted John Hart (James Marsters). First they kissed, then they proceeded to beat each other up. Later in the show was more kissing and more fighting. There is a love/hate relationship between them which, I hope, will be explored further in future episodes.

Speaking of the M-M kissing scene, my wifes only comment was (referring to my daughter) "I don't think she'll like that part."

Here, check it out yourself.



I love the last line in this clip: "It is more fun when he's around though." The same can be said about President Hinkley - it was more fun when he was around. He will be missed; Thomas S. Monson has tremendous shoes to fill.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Alien visitors in Texas

I didn't realize this had made the national news until I heard Bill O'Reilly talking about it on Fox. So, just in case you hadn't heard: Apparently, some alien visitors from another planet came to visit Stephenville, Texas. The local media is all abuzz with lots of people offering up a plethora of theories and opinions. The Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) said that they normally only send 1 person to investigate such reports; but, this is big! So, they sent out a whole team of investigators.

But, I have my own thoughts on this ...

First of all, Stephenville is very close to Dublin (Texas, not Ireland). Dublin is where MUFON has been meeting with eye witnesses while doing their investigation. What most of the nation (indeed, the world) may not realize is that Dublin is also home to one of the original Dr. Pepper bottling plants - and the only one still in operation. The Dublin bottling plant still uses the original recipe for Dr. Pepper (with cane sugar rather than corn syrup); and, people come from miles around to pickup a case of Dublin Dr. Pepper (I'm not joking). So, one of my theories is that these aliens are Dr. Pepper aficionado's.

My other theory is that they are one of the lost tribes and were looking for the Dallas temple. Why Dallas? Well, downtown Salt Lake is pretty crowded; and we have all them wide open spaces for parking space ships and such. Now, they were about 100 miles off - which makes them look like dumb aliens. But, think about it - when you are coming from a gazillion miles away, to get within 100 miles is pretty gosh darned accurate!

Now, these two theories are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Perhaps the aliens intended to stop and get some Dublin Dr. Pepper on their way to Dallas; and, they were so excited to find it that, in their dancing around, one of them accidentally bumped into the switch and turned off their cloaking device. (OK, so maybe some of them are dumb)

Hmmm, hmmm, something to think about ...

I wonder of Torchwood will come to Texas to investigate? I wouldn't mind giving a deposition to Captain Jack Harkness [sigh]. (Even if you are straight, you gotta admit that he is one fine looking man!)

Oh, and just in case anybody was getting worried, Endtime magazine (a sort of US News and End of the World Report) said that they do not think this is a sign the the end is immanent because UFO's are not mentioned in the bible. BTW, even though the editors of Endtime do believe the end of the world is soon, they will still sell you a six year subscription. So, all of you bois at BYU should still have time to finish your education.

Don't forget to vote in my gay marriage poll, if you haven't done so already.

Monday, January 21, 2008

In support of gay marriage

There have been a couple of posts recently in the queerosphere about gay marriage by Post-It Boy and Original Mohomie. Quite coincidently, I've had this post I've been working on and was planning on publishing this week. But I have a different view on this topic. I'm approaching this from a societal point of view - is gay marriage good or bad for society?

I've always supported granting committed monogamous same sex couples the same legal rights and benefits as married couples - even back in my homophobic-in-denial days. But, I've had a change of heart over the last few months. And, I'm now ready to declare my support for full blown gay marriage.

But, now that creates a dilemma for me. The church handbook of instructions, which is the authoritative source regarding church policy, states:
"Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God. The Church accordingly opposes same-gender marriages and any efforts to legalize such marriages. Church members are encouraged "to appeal to legislators, judges, and other government officials to preserve the purposes and sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, and to reject all efforts to give legal authorization or other official approval or support to marriages between persons of the same gender."
"Church Handbook of Instructions", book 1 p.187

Not that my support means anything - add $0.50 and you'd have enough to buy a newspaper. But, it is a milestone for me personally. You see, a number of years ago, while living in California, I heeded the churches call and hit the streets going door to door seeking signatures to oppose same sex unions. Mind you, I wasn't very successful in my efforts. Many of the people I talked to assumed I was gathering signatures for the other side. They would say something to the effect that they didn't have anything personal against people like me, but that they were against gay marriage - and then shut the door before I could explain that was what I was gathering signatures for. I don't think I'm that obvious - but, maybe I am, if you look at me in the context of homosexuality [sigh]. It really bothered me at the time as I was still deep in my denial phase.

We hear the 'sanctity of marriage' argument all the time; but, I don't get it - I don't understand how gay marriage has any impact on the sanctity of a heterosexual marriage. Once, when channel surfing, I paused on the Logo TV station (A GLBT cable station). They were showing a clip of Barney Frank, an openly gay member of the U.S. House of Representatives, who was saying something to the effect of: "How does me loving another man affect your marriage?" I don't have an answer to that question - because it doesn't have an answer. Two men or two women loving one another and living in a marriage-like relationship has absolutely zero impact on my marriage.

A year ago, this whole gay marriage thing was all academic to me - because I didn't know anybody in such a relationship. But, over the last few months, I've had an opportunity to meet some gay couples in committed monogamous relationships. I've yet to meet any in person, but I've gotten to know them online through their blogs and emails. And, you know what, they are nice people. People whom I wouldn't mind living next door to me. People whom I wouldn't have any qualms about inviting into my home. And, the loving relationship they have for one another - suffice it to say that there are a lot of heterosexual couples who should be taking notes. So, if this issue ever comes to a vote of the people in the great state of Texas - I will cast my vote for gay marriage.

But, this doesn't set well with formal church policy? In fact, "... reject all efforts to give legal authorization ..." suggests that even civil unions are to be opposed; so, I've been at odds with formal church policy for years and didn't even know it.

If the church opposes something, does that mean that I, as a faithful member of the church, must oppose it as well? If the church encourages me to do something - what if I refuse? What if, instead of doing what the church is encouraging me to do - I do the exact opposite instead, i.e. appeal to legislators, judges, and other government officials to support gay marriage. Is it possible to be a faithful church member while disagreeing with certain church policies? And, it is a policy, not a doctrine. It may be rooted in doctrine; but, it is not doctrine in itself. And, policies can, and do, change over time.

Now, don't get me wrong - I'm not saying that churches must also recognize gay marriages if they are accepted by society. Churches have the right to define their own values. For example, consumption of alcoholic beverages is accepted in our society - although not in the LDS church. But, it is my most humble opinion that the church is fighting a losing battle on the issue of gay marriage and is painting itself into a corner. It's already legally supported in many countries - it's probably only a matter of time before it becomes legal here in the U.S. as well. The church has a policy of political neutrality which it vigorously enforces - except for this issue. Personally, I think the church ought to adopt an position of political neutrality on this issue as well.

The fact of the matter is: Gay people are among us and are here to stay. If we don't allow gay couples to marry - aren't we, therefore, encouraging them to engage in the stereotypical gay lifestyle of promiscuous sex? If we really want to preserve the sanctity of marriage, isn't society better served by promoting committed monogamous relationships? Isn't it better for children to be raised in a two parent home - even if both parents are of the same gender?

Help me out here - why is gay marriage bad for society? Even if we agree that gay sex is wrong, if two people are going to engage in gay sex, isn't it better for us to encourage them to do so in a committed monogamous relationship rather than in one-night-stands with some guy they don't even know? Don't monogamous relationships help fight the battle against sexually transmitted diseases? By opposing gay marriage on the grounds that gay sex is wrong - aren't we cutting off our nose to spite our face?

Some other arguments I've heard against gay marriage are:

  • First gay marriage, next plural marriage, then marriage between humans and animals
  • Churches will be forced to perform gay marriages

But, such claims are ridiculous (to put it mildly) and only tug on people's emotions without any facts to back them up.

By supporting gay marriage - can I still be considered a faithful member of the church? Or have I planted my feet firmly on the road to apostasy? Am I standing in the great and spacious building pointing my finger at and mocking those who oppose gay marriage? Or, is this simply my way of being in the world but not of the world, and has no impact on my faithfulness whatsoever? I choose to believe the latter.

Hmmm, my next temple recommend interview could be interesting; but, I have until 2009 before I have to worry about that ...


UPDATE: Results of the gay marriage poll

The votes are in

Results from survey regarding the six stages of coming out.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The votes are coming in

The poll will remain up for a few more days - in case there are any who haven't voted yet. But, I'm just totally amazed that there are, apparently, at least 15 people who read my blog, all of whom appear to be gay (at least nobody selected the 'straight' choice in my latest poll). All have reached a stage of tolerating being gay and most have moved onto the stage of acceptance. A few have move on and have internalized their gay identity (synthesis).

When I think about it, this really isn't that surprising. I don't know the psychology behind blogging; but, it seems that a person must reach a point where they are, at least, tolerating being gay before they are ready to start talking about it, albeit anonymously via a blog.

Now, as was discussed in the comments, these stages are really meant to describe those who are coming out to the world as gay. But, I see parallels in coming out to ourselves.

The $1,000,000 question is: Now what? For those of us who are in a stage of acceptance, but wish to remain active in the church - can we stop here and go no further? Or, should we bring out the rainbow flags because it is it only a matter of time before we move on and inevitably reach the Identity Synthesis stage?

Inquiring minds want to know! Is my acceptance of being gay merely an evolutionary step from MoHo to becoming a full fledged homo? Or, can I stop here and proceed no further towards full homo-ness? The Sunday School answer is: Of course I can, I have my free agency and can choose how I will live my life. And, I truly want to believe that. But, I can't help but have these little nagging doubts in the back of my mind.

It would sure be a lot easier if there were others who have been camped out here at the acceptance stage for a long time - someone I could look to and say "if they can do it then so can I!" Do they exist? Or are we the gay brigade of mormon pioneers?

Ya know, not all of the early mormon pioneers made it. Many decided to stay behind and not follow brother Brigham. Others, faced with unimaginable hardships, died along the way. Are there parallels here? Gay mormon's face hardships that the general membership cannot fathom - many decide to leave the church behind. I don't want to be a pioneer - being a pioneer really sucks!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Six stages in coming out

According to "10 Smart Things Gay Men Can Do To Lead Happy Lives" by Joe Kort, there are there are six stages in the coming out process. I've never read the book myself; but, there is plenty of information on these six stages just a google away.

I can relate to stages 1, 2, & 3 and I think I'm moving into stage 4; although, I see hints of stage 6 - but I can't relate to stage 5. Man, even as a gay dude I can't seem to get it right.

Anyway, the six stages are summarized below. Use the poll on the right to indicate where you think you are.
  1. Identity Confusion - Sees self as member of mainstream group. Denial of inner feelings.
    • Who am I?
    • Am I different?
  2. Identity Comparison - Begin to come out of the "fog.'
    • Maybe I am gay.
    • I'm alone.
    • What are gay people like?
  3. Identity Tolerance - Encounter someone or something that breaks through the denial system.
    • I accept the possibility that I may be gay.
    • Where are other gay people?
  4. Identity Acceptance - Exploring subculture activities, readings, etc.
    • I am gay.
    • Am I okay?
    • I can come out to some people.
  5. Identity Pride - Feel arrogance/pride in new identity and deep rage toward majority culture. May adopt/heighten stereotypical behaviors or characteristics (i.e. "I'm different and proud of it!". May isolate self from mainstream values and activities.
    • I am proud to be gay.
    • I don't (and won't) pass for straight.
  6. Identity Synthesis - Acceptance and integration of new identity. May go through five stages of grief to let go of old identity and all advantages of heterosexual privilege. Internalize pride/positive feelings about identity. Typically is "out" (with friends, family, at work). More at peace with self.
    • I am an okay person who happens to be gay.

The code

I was perusing a dictionary of gay terminology recently (always seeking to expand my knowledge and such), and I came across a couple of terms I was unfamiliar with.
abigail: A gay nickname for a middle-age gay that is in the closet, or that the approach to love and life s conservative.

absolute code: [50s] the absolute code is that you do not expose a fellow homosexual to his straight friends, boss, or to the press. It is considered unfair to bring another gay or lesbian out. Coming out is a individual decision. Exposing that someone is gay. The person could, lost of job or position with straight friends, or family that one is not ready for.

The first term was interesting because it describes me (although, I'm still undecided on if I should be offended or not).

But, it's the second term that I specifically wanted to blog about. This is reminiscent of the pirate code. So, me thought, we need a MoHo code which, of course, is really more of a set of guidelines than actual rules.

I propose we add the absolute code (above) as the first article in the MoHo code.

Article I: A MoHo will not expose a fellow MoHo to their straight friends, school, employer, or to the press. It is bad form to bring another gay or lesbian out. Coming out is a individual decision as it could result in loss of a job, fellowship with straight friends or family, or other ramifications which they are not ready for.
A couple of other articles come to mind
Article II: A MoHo will respect the opinions of a fellow MoHo - even if those opinions are in direct conflict with other established truths.

Article III: A MoHo will respect the opinions of others outside of the MoHo community - no matter how stupid their opinions are.

Article IV: A MoHo will have a clever pseudonym which shall be their public persona. All public discussion concerning other MoHo's will only use their public pseudonym.

Any changes we need to make to the above proposed MoHo code articles? What other articles should we add to the MoHo code?

Stick to the code!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Melancholy

I'm feeling a little down today - and I'm wondering, is the world better off with me, or without me? Or does it even matter?

Don't nobody get excited - I'm not contemplating any changes in my mode of existence. I guess I, sometimes, get a little philosophical when I'm feeling down.

In high school, when I felt this way, I would to listen to the soundtrack Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Neil Diamond. Jonathan Livingston Seagull's unwillingness to conform to social moir├ęs resulted in being banished from the flock - is there a gay allegory here? Eventually, he moves into a higher plane of existence - is being gay a different plane of existence? Gee, I wonder if I still have those cassettes. Oh wait, I don't have a cassette player anymore. Is it worth buying the CD? Would I listen to it? Maybe I should put the movie on my Netflicks queue.

On a completely unrelated topic, this is my 169th published blog entry. I have 49 blog entries sitting in draft state of which few, if any, will ever see the light of day. So, nearly 1 out of every 4 blog entries I write never get published. I wonder how this compares to other bloggers in the Mormon queerosphere?

I have 40 emails sitting in my Drafts folder, most of which will never get sent - what does this say about me? Am I afraid to send them? Why do I keep them?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Another MoHo in the works?

I was substituting for seminary this morning while our seminary teacher attended a stake inservice meeting (why they schedule seminary teacher inservice meetings during seminary is beyond me). My assignment was to review Judges 15-21, which includes the story of Sampson and Delilah. I asked the class "what can you tell me about Sampson?" and a young man sitting on the front row responded "he liked boys?".

Now, I know, he was just being a smart aleck; and, I just ignored his comment and moved on with the lesson. But, this isn't the first time I've heard him say little comments like that. Not really homophobic per se, but homo-centric. And, I hear these kinds of comments from him much more than I do the other young men in our ward. As I was driving back home this morning, I got to wondering if we have another MoHo in the works - he does 'fit the profile' in some ways.
  • Not real sports oriented. He likes playing church basketball; but, he jokes about how bad he is at it.
  • Sings in the high school choir.
  • Gets along well with girls; but, to my knowledge, has never had a real girlfriend nor been on a real date. Mind you, this young man will be turning 19 in a couple of months (his parents held all of their children back a year; so, he'll be 19 when he graduates).
  • Statistically, at least one of the young men in our ward is gay.

I know that none of this really means anything. He could be straight as an arrow - and just happens to have an affinity for rainbows. The thing is, if he is gay, he may not even realize it yet. His little homo-centric jabs may be him subconsciously trying to convince himself, and others, that he isn't gay.

If I were to express this to anyone else in my ward, I'm sure I would be met with vehement denials. He is one of our stronger youth and is well liked by everyone. He is already having discussions with the bishop and stake president about how soon he can put his papers in so that he can leave on a mission soon after high school graduation. But ... how many returned missionaries do we have here in the Mormon queerosphere? [raises hand] And, how many of them accepted they were gay before they left on their mission? [puts hand down]

I feel kind of bad thinking these things about him. I work a lot with our youth; and, I just don't look at them 'that way'. But, on the other hand, if he, or another of our young men, does turn out to be gay - I want to be there for them. I want to be the church member who will befriend him, even if no one else will.

The reality is: I'm probably not the only queer in my ward. According to Ron Schow, statistically there are 5-6 of us in each ward (I suspect the rate is even higher in singles wards). But, other than the fact that we like people of our own gender, we are just like everyone else. If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die?

OK, so I'm getting a little melodramatic - but I'm gay, I can do that. Oh wait, am I flaunting my gay attributes?

Saturday, January 5, 2008

The MoHo book club - reborn

For Christmas, my daughter gave me "The Golden Compass" by Philip Pullman, book one of the "His Dark Materials" trilogy. So, it got me to thinking - maybe we should resurrect the ol MoHo Book Club.

For those who joined the Mormon queerosphere within the last year, about a year or so ago the great -L- organized the MoHo Book Club. You joined the 'club' by simply declaring your membership. Members of the club picked a book to read and then wrote their own review in their own blog. The month I joined they had picked a movie, in lieu of a book, "States of Grace" (you can read my review here). After that we read "Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell" by Susanna Clarke (my review is here). But, the MoHo book club sort of fizzled out shortly after that.

But, it's a new year, we have a lot of new people here in the Mormon queerosphere. Perhaps we could try it again. This month we read "The Golden Compass" - read it, blog about it, and see if we can figure out what the brouhaha is all about. After we're done with the "His Dark Materials" trilogy, we could solicit ideas for other books to read, perhaps put up a poll to pick one. It doesn't have to be fiction, we could pick church books, biographies, history, whatever floats our collective boats.

So, whaduya say? Any takers?

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Overheard in the Abelard household on New Years eve

My son was just about to leave for the Young Single Adult New Years Eve dance when his siblings and their friends stopped him and were trying to convince him that he should not go out looking like that. One of them said
I watch a lot of Queer Eye and, trust me, they would not be happy with you right now!