Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The other shoe

I am saddened by recent posts by Derrick and Max. I figured they would read the letter in Sacrament meetings in California and that would be that. But, I guess the other shoe is now dropping - area presidencies are urging people to donate their time and means to support proposition 8, and even asking stakes to raise $100,000 towards the cause. Talks are being given in sacrament meetings. It's being addressed in priesthood meetings. Bishops are talking about it in family home evenings for singles.

And, why California? Gay marriage has been legalized in Massachusetts as well as in countries to the North and South of us and numerous countries in Europe; why didn't the church get involved politically in those geographies? Why make a stand in California but not elsewhere? If this is truly a moral issue, shouldn't we all be actively involved in defeating this moral turpitude by donating our time and means, regardless of where we live?

Since the LDS church has decided to abandon it's normal position of political neutrality in a call to arms for the saints in California, I'm thinking we need to revise the 11th article of faith.
We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all heterosexual men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may - as long as it's not gay.

Monday, July 28, 2008

I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me

"I like myself"
"My best is good enough"
"I can easily express my emotions"
"I am worthwhile"
"I forgive myself"
"Everything is going to be OK"
"I am proud of myself"
"I am attractive"

As part of my therapy, I was given a list of phrases which I'm supposed to say to myself whenever I'm feeling down. As I understood it, these are supposed to negate the debilitating thoughts which use up the serotonin in my brain.

I've actually done something similar once before. When I left to serve a mission, I was extremely shy making it very difficult to talk to people while out tracting. To help me overcome my shyness, my mission president gave me an assignment. Each morning, the very first thing I was supposed to do was to go to the bathroom, look at myself in the mirror, and then spend two minutes telling myself what a great person I am - loud enough so that my companion could hear me (who was then to report back to my mission president). It felt really stupid, but it actually did help bring me out of my shell.

So, now I'm doing something similar, only it has a fancy name - Cognitive Therapy.

It still feels stupid, and I just can't help thinking about "Daily Affirmations With Stuart Smalley" from Saturday Night Live.

Friday, July 25, 2008

First visit with the shrink

I had my first visit with a clinical psychologist today. He really did have a couch in his office, although it was a normal couch, like you might have in a home - not one of those funny looking couches as seen in cartoons. How did we come to associate those funny couches with psycho analysis? Anyway, I didn't lay on the couch, I just sat on it.

He started off asking me some questions about growing up, my family, my relationships, history of depression in my family, etc. As he was finishing up his questions I then said "there is, um, one more thing that might be pertinent for you to know. About two years ago this fall, I finally ended years of denial and accepted the fact that I am gay." I can't believe I did it - I actually said the g-word. It's one thing to write it in an anonymous blog - it's an entirely different matter to say it out loud to some guy you never met before. And, I was OK with it, I didn't choke on it. I wasn't saying "I'm g-g-g-g-gay." I simply said "I'm gay."

We talked about that for a bit. I told him that I've never had a relationship outside of my marriage, that I've always been faithful to my wife.. We talked about my wife and how she is handling it. I told him that I want to remain married and that I'm OK with being gay. I recounted how it used to bother me and I hated myself for it - now it's just part of who I am. I told him that just because I'm gay doesn't mean I want to go out and have sex, that fidelity in marriage is important to me. And then we moved on.

Bottom line, he wants to try a combination of cognitive therapy and talk therapy. He said that the particular antidepressants I am on do not help with serotonin levels; so, cognitive therapy can help boost serotonin. He also said that, since I am the type of person who tends to hold things in - which can have a negative effect on depression and anxiety levels - then talk therapy can help with that.

So, that's about it - I setup my next appointment in a week, paid my $15 copay, and then came home.

... Changing the subject ... I don't know why, but todays Dilbert reminded me of the queerosphere :)

The more things change, the more they remain the same

From the 1950's (full story here)
Batman and Robin, are "a wish dream of two homosexuals living together." They lived in "sumptuous quarters," unencumbered by wives and girlfriends, with only an aged butler for company. They cared for each other's injuries, frequently shared quarters, and lounged together in dressing gowns. Worse still, both exhibited damning psychological characteristics: proclivities for costumes, dressing up, and fantasy play; secretive behavior and double-lives; little interest in women; and, most damning of all, neurotic compulsions resulting in their violent vigilantism. Indeed, depictions of Batman and Robin are frequently homoerotic, visually emphasizing Batman's rippling physique and Robins splayed, bare thighs.

"Only someone ignorant of the fundamentals of psychiatry and psychopathology of sex can fail to realize the subtle atmosphere of homoeroticism which pervades the adventures. The Batman type of story may stimulate children to homosexual fantasies."

- Dr Fredric Wertham, psychiatrist and author of "Seduction of the Innocent" (1954)

Today (full story here)
The insidious alliance between some school administrations and homosexual activists has been hidden from parents for far too long. Recent events in Lexington, Massachusetts and similar instances across the country demonstrate the next phase in the campaign to normalize homosexual behavior - the capturing of America's youth. American families need to know about the homosexual indoctrination being forced upon young impressionable minds.
- Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council

Should we tell them that some of us actually have children of our own - and that we serve as leaders in church and youth organizations - even in the Boy Scouts [GASP!]

Friday, July 11, 2008


I've been feeling out of sorts lately. My life just seems so meaningless. I get up, I go to work, after work I work out in my garden, then I go to bed just to repeat the cycle again. And, why do I even bother working in my garden? I don't have any friends, so its not like anybody is going to see it.

I'm also feeling apathetic. My wife suggested that, perhaps, we should look into joining a dulcimer group. We tried once before, but our kids were younger and it just wasn't practical at that point in our lives. But, now I'm just "whatever" - I haven't even played my hammer dulcimer in months - and I have no motivation to do so.

Maybe I'm depressed - oh wait, I already knew that - that's what my antidepressants are for.

I sometimes wonder if I think about being gay too much. But, how can I not think about it when I have these feelings inside of me? However I can't act on those feelings because to do so requires me to betray those who are closest to me - which I won't do (at least, I hope I never do). Intellectually I keep telling myself that gay intimacy is wrong - so why it doesn't feel wrong? Am I destined to be forever sexually frustrated?

Maybe I should just stop taking my cholesterol and blood pressure meds and start living on a diet of donuts and bacon cheeseburgers - just see where it takes me. I'm not being suicidal, I don't want to kill myself - I'm just not caring much whether I live or die.

I noticed blogger added a feature where you can schedule a blog post to publish in the future. I was thinking that, maybe, I should write a farewell post and schedule it 6 months into the future. As long as I keep blogging I could keep moving the date out. But if I ever decide to ... you know ... check out ... then eventually every one will know - all 5 of you. This could be my epitaph
Here lies Abelard
He was a social retard
I guess what it all comes down to is I'm feeling sorry for myself and wallowing in self pity.

A group from the Gay Christian Network are getting together on Saturday in Dallas for dinner and a movie. I kinda want to go - but I'm scared at the same time. What if they don't like me? What if I'm the oldest guy there? Me and a bunch of 20-somethings would be awkward - for everyone. What if my wife is upset about me going to see WALL-E without her? Plus - it would require me to break up my pity party.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

I need a friend

There is a documentary that plays periodically on Logo TV titled Camp Out which is about a summer camp for gay Christian teenagers. I first watched it last year; but, I took the opportunity to watch it again recently. There are two things which stuck with me when I watched it again:
  • One was where they were interviewing a 16 year old girl. She said that she, and all of the other homosexuals she knows at school, are still virgins, but a lot of the straight girls she knows are either pregnant or have had babies. I found this interesting in light of homosexuals usually being cast as the promiscuous and immoral ones.
  • The other was when they were interviewing a couple of the teenage boys. They spoke of how they have much better relationships with girls than they do with the boys in school. many of whom tease them, call them "faggot", "queer", etc. So, it was difficult for them to relate with other the boys at the camp because they had never learned how to relate with boys.
I've been pondering this because I think I have the same problem - I've never really learned how to relate with other guys. I too was taunted and teased. I was the fat kid who was always picked last for the team. I was the "queer" and "faggot". I was the kid who just never fit in. Growing up, I never had many friends in school. I can't say that I got along better with girls because, truth is, I was extremely nervous around girls. I mean to the point that I would sometimes start stuttering (and I don't stutter).

Now, as I've grown into adulthood, my interpersonal relationships have improved somewhat over what they were in high school; but, as I examine my life, I realize that I live in my wifes shadow. My friends are the husbands of her friends. I don't really have any friends of my own; we get together as couples. I don't know anybody that I would just get together with and go do something together. Other guys get together for a round of golf, play basketball, watch football, or some other male bonding activity. I sit at home alone in my pathetic life writing in my blog.

I am extremely suspicious of reparative therapy and the ex-gay movement. But, there is one thing that intrigues me. As I understand it, one thing they teach is how to establish deep interpersonal relationships with members of your own gender. Maybe this is the void I feel, what is lacking in my life. I don't have male friends because I don't know how to have male friends. Growing up I was always the butt of jokes; so, I've always pulled back, never willing to fully give of myself.

Now, to be fair, I have found friends in the queerosphere. But, these are cyber friendships where our only interaction is blogs, email, and an occasional telephone conversation. As much as I value these friendships - I still yearn for a real flesh and blood friend. I've never met my cyber friends in person, and in all likelihood, I never will. I'm not trying to replace my cyber friends, I cherish the relationships we've built - it's just that it's not enough, I need more! I love receiving emails or talking on the phone; but, once I reach the end of the email or I hang up the phone, the emptiness returns. Would it be any different with a real flesh and blood friend? I want to believe it would be - but perhaps I'm only fooling myself, hanging on to a fairy tale dream.

But, what is it that I want in a friendship? This is where my mind goes blank. I really don't know what I want, I just know that what I have isn't enough.

What about my wife? Yes, she is my friend - in fact, she is my best friend, which is as it should be. But, she's also a girl. Sometimes a girl needs to be around other girls doing girl stuff. And, sometimes, a guy just needs to be around other guys doing guy stuff. Therein lies the problem - I don't like doing straight guy stuff - I want to get together with a bunch of guys and do gay guy stuff. I don't want to go golfing or watch a BYU football game, I want to go shopping. I want to go see a movie together. I want to cook a fabulous meal together. I want to paint each others toe nails - OK, just kidding on that last one.

Last week I was in a stake singles adult meeting as the bishopric member over single adults (the over 30 crowd). They were going around the room asking what we were doing in our wards to reach out to the single adults. I told them that, in our ward, we don't do much explicitly the single adults; but, we do make a point to include them in all of our regular ward activities. I pointed out that our relief society has a great deal of success involving the single sisters in their enrichment activities. The priesthood has more limited success involving single men in their weekly basketball. We've even had some of the single brethren bringing desserts and other dishes to to ward potlucks. I then added that, perhaps, the brethren should be more like the sisters and have more activities specifically for the brethren in which we could involve both married and single men. Not as frequently as the sisters, but perhaps monthly or quarterly. Somebody then mumbled something about how, in their ward, they had unsuccessfully tried to organize a Saturday bike ride for the brethren. So I responded that, perhaps, we need to think beyond sports. I even suggested an idea, like getting together for an outdoor BBQ and sharing grilling recipes. The way everybody looked at me you would have thought I had a big booger on the end of my nose. After several moments of awkward silence, the counselor in the stake presidency who was presiding over the meeting said "well, um, thank you for your comments - any other ideas?"

But, why not? Why can't we have more activities for the men in the church? We are the forgotten people in the church. We have activities for primary aged children (3-12), young men and young women (12-18), single adults (young and over 30) and the sisters. But for the men, especially married men, there is nothing. Even for the single men, the activities are usually not for them to bond with the other men - but are intended to put them in contact with single women in hopes of marrying them off. Now, I'm sure there are wards which do a better job at this; but, they are the exception and not the rule.

So, since I can't count on the church to help me bond with other men, how can how can I develop a close interpersonal relationship with other guys? How can I fill this void in my life?

Of course, since most of my blog readers are gay males, we may be the blind leading the blind...

Monday, July 7, 2008

The republican party - it's not just for straight people

I suppose it's rather obvious, from my last post, that I'm a staunch republican. Heck, I still like George W. Bush Jr.

I'm on the Log Cabin Republicans email list and recently received a link to an interesting article on Advocate.com about How the GOP helped bring gay marriage to California.

So, yes Virgina, there are gay republicans.

I'm voting Democrat

There is a video making its way around the blogosphere titled "I'm voting Republican"

Well, I'm voting democrat because ...
  • Democrats are so generous - with other people's money.
  • I want to pay higher taxes.
  • Churches should start paying taxes too - all of the needy people who depend on their help will understand.
  • I want leaders who tell me the things I like to hear rather than what I need to hear.
  • It's not fair that we have superior health care available to us - our health care system should be mediocre.
  • The terrorists are right - the US is the great Satan and we should just leave everyone else alone.
  • I think we should immediately pull out of Afghanistan and Iraq - after all, the terrorists have just as much right to setup camp there as we do.
  • Iran and North Korea have just as much right to develop nuclear weapons as we do.
  • Israel is just a bunch of trouble makers in the middle east - they should be wiped off the face of the earth.
  • $4.00 a gallon for gas is way too cheap. We should be paying, at least, $10 or more
  • It's far more important for us to have a young, good looking, charasmatic, yet clueless leader than to have an old geezer leader who has some knowledge of world affairs.
  • It's important for us to know whether our president wears boxers or briefs.
  • It's OK to lie, even under oath, if it's only about sex.
  • It's much more important for us to preserve some ugly slimy toad than our unborn children.
  • It's not right for us to inflict religion on our citizens by having "Under God" imprinted on our currency.
  • Reciting the pledge of allegiance is an outdated practice that should be eliminated.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

My Fourth of July

Mine started with me enjoying sleeping in a bit - but then my wife rolled over and asked me if we were going to the pancake breakfast. It was 7:10am and the breakfast started at 8:00am. So, I got up out of bed, showered, and we made it to church on time for the breakfast. My ward has a long standing tradition of a pancake breakfast followed by a flag raising ceremony , by our boy scouts, on the Fourth of July. For those who no longer attend church regularly, we no longer have kitchens in our LDS chapels, we have Serving Areas. And, we no longer cook food, we warm food. So, we warmed the pancake batter.

After the breakfast, we stayed after and helped clean up. Then we went home where I worked out in the yard for a bit - until it was just too dang hot to work outdoors anymore. By that time, my son and his family arrived. So, I played with the twin grandbabies (although, they are nearly 2 years old, so I guess they really aren't babies any more).

About 3:00pm, I fired up the grill outside and started cooking ribs (which I had prepared the night before with a dry rub). While the ribs were cooking, some friends of ours, whom we invited, arrived. So, we finished preparing dinner, enjoyed ribs, plus a lot of other food, and then just sat around, talked, and enjoyed one anothers company.

About 8:00pm, the grandkids were getting tired and cranky, so my son and his wife packed up the kids and headed home to put them to bed. We invited our friends to stay longer and play games.

This is where it got really fun ...

My wife asked me for a Dr. Pepper. So, I went out and was bringing a 12-pack of Dr. Pepper into the house. Unfortunately, I dropped it, the box hit the corner of the table and burst open, and cans of Dr. Pepper came crashing down onto the tile floor. All in all, half the cans in the box burst open and were spraying Dr. Pepper all over the kitchen, all over our guests, and all over me. We all started laughing. The kitchen door was still open, so I was grabbing cans and hurling them outside. Once we got the flow of Dr. Pepper stopped, it came time for cleanup. We all pitched in, still laughing, and did a quick wipe down of the pools of Dr. Pepper on the kitchen floor. After wards, we asked if they still wanted to play a game, and they said Yes. So, we sat down at the kitchen table, on the sticky floor, and played Five Crowns. It was nearly 11:00pm by the time they left. My wife went to bed, but I had to jump in the shower to rinse off because I was still sticky from being soaked in Dr. Pepper.

So, that's how my Fourth of July went. How was yours?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Welcome to the queerosphere

Try googling 'queerosphere' - other than a few hits on obscure websites, it's mostly blogs that show up in my list of family blogs on the right. It seems that we're just about the only ones who have adopted the 'queerosphere' moniker. Am I the only one who is a bit surprised by this?

So, henceforth, I propose we drop the 'mormon' qualifier and just refer to ourselves as the 'queerosphere' - distinct from the bloggernacle (where all of the other LDS bloggers hang out) in that we are far more fabulous!

and way more interesting ...

Blog roll

Almost since the inception of my blog, I've kept a list of other blogs which I've continually updated (See "Meet the family" on the right). My criteria is simple, if you have a blog, are attracted to those of your same gender (however you choose to refer to yourself), and either are, or have been, LDS then you're part of my family :) I have another list of "extended family members" who come from other faiths. And, I have a list of "friends of the family" which are blogs by straight people who are openly supportive of gay people.

There have been a few 'family' blogs I've come across which I've opted to not include because I considered them be overly critical of the LDS church. I think there are some legitimate criticisms which deserve discussion (many of which I've addressed on my blog); but, some people go overboard and fail to acknowledge anything good about the LDS church. Basically, if I recognize you as family then I view you as a person of integrity - and, although you may no longer be associated with the LDS church, and may even have strong disagreement with it in certain areas, I feel that you are respectful for those of us who choose to remain faithful and active.

Over time my list of family has grown quite large - at last count there are 148 blogs in the list. Although, not all of these are active and, in fact, some no longer exist. Early on I decided to keep deleted blogs in my list with the notation "(RIP)" - after all, they are family and, at some point in their life they reached out to the rest of the family. For whatever reason they have decided to leave the Mormon queerosphere; but, I don't want to forget about them and I hope for the best as they move on with their life. A blog is designated with "(RIP)" if the blog has been deleted entirely, or if blog url still exists but the author has deleted all of the posts.

As I come across new blogs I notate them with "(New ...)"; although, they only keep this designation for a month or so.

Some blogs are no longer actively updated which I notate with an "(R)" for retired. Over time my definition of 'retired' has evolved. Initially I only designated a blog as retired if the blogger had specifically indicated that they were going to quit blogging in their final post. My current definition is if you haven't posted a blog entry in 2008 then your blog is 'retired'. A few retired blogs have miraculously sprung back to life after a long hiatus - and I have removed the "(R)" notation accordingly.

A few blogs used to be public, but for whatever reason the author has decided to make them private. Note, if you have a blog which has always been private then I don't include it in my list - I only include those which were public at some point, but I will remove them if requested.

And, I've have had one blogger request that his blog be removed from my list. Although he is part of 'the family', he does not discuss that aspect of his life on his blog, which is read by his real family and friends. And, no, I'm not going to reveal who it is.

Most blogs keep the same name as they were initially created - but a few blogs have changed names over time. And a couple of blogs have presented a real challenge keeping up with the name changes - you know who you are :)

So, where do I stand right now at this point in time? There are 148 family blogs which breaks down as follows:
  • 3 blogs have been added in the last month
  • 87 blogs which have been updated in 2008
  • 32 blogs are retired (not updated in 2008)
  • 21 have been deleted
  • 5 were public and have switched to private
Additionally, I've started including "video blogs" which are links to YouTube users who have vlogs. At present, there are 6 video blogs, although, one of them (MorMenLikeMe) has multiple users contributing to it.

I don't really know what the point of this blog post is. So, I'm going to stop typing now.