Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Need input

I need some assistance.  I've been racking my brain trying to come up with a new theme and some new polls for January - and I'm coming up blank.

Is this something that is even worth continuing into 2010?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Catching up

I haven't been keeping up with blogs lately - I haven't been feeling all that well the last week or so and just haven't been on the computer much.  I went to the doctor yesterday and got some drugs; so, I 'll hopefully start feeling better soon.

First off, a belated merry Christmas to everyone.  I was planning on writing a Christmas blog post, but it just didn't happen.  So, I hope everyone had an enjoyable Christmas holiday.

For the very first time ever in my entire life - we had a white Christmas.  It snowed pretty much all day Christmas Eve.  At first it wasn't sticking as the day before it had gotten up to 70 degrees.  But, as the day wore on the temperature continued dropping and the snow kept falling with an accumulation of about 2.5 inches on our yard - which was till on the ground Christmas morning.  By noon Christmas day it had started melting and the streets were pretty much clear - but even today there are still patches of snow under trees and next to buildings which don't get much sun; and, we're supposed to get more snow this afternoon. I'll have to say that white Christmas's aren't as glamorous as they sound - it's cold!  And I slipped and almost fell when I went out to get the newspaper.  I'll take a balmy Christmas, thank you very much.

And, in case anyone is wondering, that is an actual picture of my house on Christmas morning.  I risked life and limb to go across the street to snap that picture.  Next is a picture of my backyard.  It may not seem like much snow to all of you Utah folks - but it's a lot for us.  Something to consider is that we don't have snow shovels.  Our local cities don't have the equipment to keep roads clear; so, it was pretty icy Christmas Eve night which resulted in quite a few accidents.  Also,many flights were canceled at D/FW airport; so, a lot of people woke up Christmas morning in an airport terminal.

Christmas day was pretty quiet overall.  Christmas Eve we had two of our children over with spouses for our Christmas dinner.  My daughter then spent Christmas day over at her in-law's while my son and his wife spent Christmas day with us.  We slept in and made Eggs Benedict for breakfast before we even started opening presents.  Christmas afternoon we went to see Avatar in 3D - it was good, but not great.

I had one present that I bought for my wife that didn't arrive before Christmas.  I bought the latest "Star Trek" movie on DVD from Borders online.  It came today, and I discovered I had ordered the blu-ray version - and we don't have a blu-ray player.  Actually, I knew I was getting the blu-ray version, it's a 3-disk edition and I thought it also came with the regular DVD (which a lot of movies are doing); but, evidently not this particular version I got - I failed!  Fortunately I was able to return it at the local Borders bookstore and didn't have to hassle with sending it back.

Saturday morning I had signed up to clean the church building.  There were 3 families there; so, it went pretty fast.  Plus, it was pretty clean to begin with since it hadn't been used since the previous Sunday.  I took it upon myself to go around the building to find things in need of repair (lights out, broken tables, etc.) and sent an email to both our ward and stake building coordinators.

Since Christmas I've just been chilling.  I have to keep a box of kleenix nearby as I've been blowing my nose constantly.  I have some sort of sinus infection for which the doctor gave me antibiotics.

I'm starting to think maybe I should just give up on the idea of being a teacher or work in the I/T industry.  Both area's are pretty dried up - at least from my job searching.  I just need to find a job - any job.  Realistically, I don't really need to make that much - the children are grown and we're pretty much debt free (just the house and a car payment).  The biggest worry is health insurance - I need to work someplace that offers health insurance.  Right now I'm still covered under COBRA - but that's going to be running out in the next few months.  And, this watered down, over compromised, pork filled, health care bill that is currently being peddled through congress isn't going to do much, if anything, to help people in my situation - I'm neither old enough nor poor enough.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

When did I know?

We've past winter solstice and now the days are getting longer - and I realized I'm running out of time to blog about the monthly theme, which would be most embarrassing - especially since I'm the one who came up with the theme.

First off, I'm going to draw a distinction between 'knowing' and 'accepting' - I didn't accept that I am gay until a little over 3 years ago; however, I knew that I wasn't quite like other boys at a much earlier age.

Warning:  This blog post may be a little more graphic than usual

Note:  Much of this I've shared before in bits and pieces,

To be brutally honest - I've had a fascination with the male physique for as long as I can remember - I've never had the same fascination with the female body.This goes back to my pre-pubescent days when I'd have a friend sleep over and we'd do the "I'll show you mine if you'll show me yours" thing.

But, when I really knew that I was different from other boys had to be 7th grade.  My family moved the summer between my 6th and 7th grades to a small town in Northern California.  Here I was in a small town with no friends and starting Junior High School - with the dreaded locker room.  My Junior High School was next to, and shared a locker room with, the High School.  The high school boys were in the back of the locker room with the junior high school boys in the front - meaning that the high school boys had to walk past the younger boys both entering and leaving.

This was the first time I had ever seen a post puberty naked male body - with hair growing in places I never imagined (especially since I was a bit of a late bloomer in the puberty department).  My fascination with the male physique went into overdrive.  Whenever I would see one of those older boys naked - I had to look.  It was almost an involuntary reflex. Unfortunately, however much I tried to hide my peeks, my curiosity did not go unnoticed among my peers - so this was also the first time I was called a 'fag' and 'queer'.  I remember coming to school on day to find "FAGGOT" spray painted across my locker door.

This fascination continued into high school.  My family moved again the end of 8th grade; so, I started 9th grade at a different high school where nobody knew me.  Fortunately, I had become more adept at hiding my locker room inquisitiveness; so, high school was a bit better with the name calling.  But, I had other OGT's (Obviously Gay Traits) which prompted the occasional taunts of 'fag' and 'queer'.  It seems my peers knew me better than I knew myself.  It was in high school when I developed my first crush - for a boy (a friend of mine).  It was my junior year in high school when I first dared to think I might be gay - but I dismissed it.  It was a different era.  I grew up being taught that homosexuals were perverts who hung out in public bathrooms waiting to molest boys.  I wasn't like that - so, of course, I couldn't be one.

Fast forward:  I graduated from high school, started college, joined the LDS church, quit college to work to raise money for a mission, served a mission, got married in the temple, got back into college, had a baby and wife was pregnant for the 2nd time, and was finishing up my college degree.  By this time I was convinced that I was 'cured' of my unnatural and disgusting attractions to men.  I felt I had done everything God had asked of me and had been rewarded with heterosexuality.  After all, I had already sired one and a half children - homo's didn't do that! (I actually was quite homophobic as well.)

I was in my last year of college and discovered I was missing some P.E. credits; so, I signed up for a P.E. class.  This was the first time I was in a locker room situation since high school.  The young man whose locker was next to mine would always dress and undress while standing facing me.  Here I was once again faced with that beautiful naked male body - and it hit me like a ton of bricks that I wasn't 'cured' after all.  I wasn't the good little heterosexual boy that I pretended to be.

From there I evolved from being a 'cured' homosexual to a person having a terrible dark and dirty secret that I was prepared to take with me to the grave.  It would take me more than two decades before I progressed to accepting myself a full fledged queer.  I really don't know what the catalyst was to allow me to finally accept myself for who and what I am. My children were growing older and leaving the nest, so perhaps I wasn't as focused on them causing me to look more inward - I don't know.  Whatever the reason - I have accepted myself as a homosexual; although, truth be told, I'm not always happy about it - but I still accept it.  It's just that, for someone in my position (heterosexually married) - it's dang inconvenient at times.

A question I think every gay man reflects on at some point is "if there were a pill to turn me from gay to straight, would I take it?"  When I began this journey 3 years ago I would have answered 'yes' without a moments hesitation.  Today - I'd have to say 'no'.  Although I still have a great appreciation for the male body - I've come to realize that being gay is more than that.  Being gay permeates my very being.  It affects my likes and dislikes, my personality, even my very soul.  If you take the gay out of me then what would be left?

So, there you have it - I knew at a fairly young age - but I didn't accept it until much later in life. I sometimes reflect on how different my life would have been if I had accepted it when I first knew it.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Three year anniversary

Today marks the three year anniversary of my very first blog post. On December 19th, 2006 at 7:48pm I published my very first post.  I started with
To be honest, I've never understood blogging. Why do some people post intimate details of their lives for everyone to see? And why to other people read blogs? Yet, I find myself reading blogs, and now I am writing my own blog.
So, how have I progressed over the last three years?
  • I finally accepted myself as queer after a lifetime of denial; although, to be fair, that happened a few weeks before I started this blog.
  • I donned the "Abelard" persona. I didn't start this blog Abelard - that name was later bestowed upon me by a family member - and it just sorta stuck.
  • I shared with my wife that I'm gay shortly after starting this blog
  • I've made new friends (albeit e-friends)
  • My support for GLBT issues, such as gay marriage, has evolved. I started this journey supporting the granting of marriage-like rights but not calling it marriage. Now I'm firmly in the gay marriage camp.
  • I've evolved (or devolved) from TBM (True Believing Mormon) to QM (Questioning Mormon)
What hasn't changed over the last 3 years?
  • I'm still faced with the question: So I'm a homosexual - now what???
Other changes I've seen in the past 3 years
  • I've witnessed changes in others during this 3 year period, sometimes dramatically - from active church membership to being in a relationship (of the gay sort) and, to a far lesser extent, the other direction (return to active membership).
  • I've seen the LDS church abandon it's long standing policy of staying out of politics and being instrumental in overturning gay marriage in California. To be fair, this was not the first foray into politics for the LDS church - but it is certainly the most extensive in living memory. That, coupled with their support of a gay rights ordinance in SLC, makes me wonder if this is the beginning of a new era for the LDS church? Is the church going to start being more outspoken on political issues? Will it extend beyond gay rights?
So, what does the future hold for me?
  • My current status with the LDS church is very unstable - one way or the other it will resolve itself. As to what that resolution will be, which side of the fence I will eventually choose, is anybodies guess (I certainly don't know).
  • I continue to inch my way out of my closet. When I started this journey I was firmly entrenched in my closet with full intention of staying that way; but, unexpectedly, my closet has gotten stuffy. Where I used to go to painful extremes to protect my true identity, I've become more lax. For example, 40% of my Facebook friends are MoHo's - sharing my friend page with my family, members of my ward, and others.  This may seem like a tiny insignificant baby step - but it's big to me, especially in light of where I was 3 years ago.
It's been a roller coaster ride of emotions the last 3 years - ranging from being gay and proud to cursing god for placing this burden on me.  I don't know what the next year has in store for me (hopefully a job); but, one thing I am sure of is that it will be full of twists and turns.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

MoHo Polls and December theme

I've gotten behind on MoHo Polls (Thanksgiving did that to me - that's my story and I'm sticking to it). Anyway, I just posted some new December polls this morning. These came from a fellow famly member (I'll leave it to them if they want to identify themselves). I also extended the movie poll as not very many people voted last month.

So, vote on the movie poll if you haven't already - and then scroll down to vote on the 8 other polls regarding early indications of sexual orientation, self-directed gaydar, early sexual development, etc.

As for a theme for December, blog about when you first started to suspect you might be different, early indications that you were special, when did you go from suspicions to acceptance and what was the catalyst? etc.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Priesthood meeting

Got the following email from the high priests group secretary
This Sunday we will have a group discussion based on this past General Conference talks. Share your favorite talk(s) from the last General Conference Oct 2009. Who spoke , what was said and what stood out to you.

We will draw names to see who goes first.

We will have time for all.
I really hate these sort of "lessons" - I just don't like being put on the spot like this. The fact that I really didn't pay much attention to of this last conference is kinda a problem too. When it comes my turn I'll wing it - but it feels dishonest. But, what else can I do? When they call on me say "I didn't really watch conference because I'm kinda struggling with the church right now"? I can't imagine that ending well.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

New Moon

My wife and I went to see New Moon yesterday. When we arrived they only had one of the ticket booths open; so, there was a bit of a line. It was cold; so, my wife went inside to wait while I waited in line to get tickets. When I got to the front, there was a cute boy in the booth - which, I don't know why, made it a bit awkward to say" two tickets for New Moon". I was happy that it was on the largest screen (this particular theater has 17 screens of 3 different sizes). I am also happy to say that I wasn't the only guy in the theater - nor was I the oldest. However, the theater was pretty empty. We had the entire row to ourselves, as did most of the couples, small groups; and, the entire two side sections were completely empty. Not unexpectedly, I suppose, most of the movie previews were for upcoming sappy love stories. I should also point out that I have not read any of the books; so, I went to the movie with no expectations whatsoever.

As for the movie itself - I'm not gonna lie, half naked wolf boys running around was nice, as was a certain shirtless vampire. But the movie itself was soooo sloooow. Seriously, they could have easily cut out 30-45 minutes and not lost a thing. Way too much lingering.

And the characters, I just don't find myself emotionally connected to any of them. Jacob - dude, she's just not into you, and she's too old for you anyway, move on. Edward - she's way too needy and clingy, go find yourself a nice vampire girl (or boy?). I just don't care about any of them - drink her blood or turn her into a vampire, I don't care. Turn Edward and Sam into gay lovers, I don't ca___ - OK, maybe that might pique my interest a bit. But not Edward and Jacob as that would make Edward a blood sucking pedophile, and that's just not cool. Although, at 105 years old, one could argue that he already is with Belle.

My overall opinion of the movie? Wasn't great, wasn't bad - it was just OK. I heard so many people saying how this one was so much better than the first. Personally, I didn't see much difference in regards to pace, acting, effects, etc.

But, enough about New Moon - check out this YouTube video I came across recently.



There seems to be a lot of musical talent in the queerosphere - maybe someone should put together a MoHo quartet ...

Friday, December 4, 2009

Blog spam

I've begun receiving blog spam (comments not related to my posts - generally trying to sell something) fairly regularly. It's been a problem almost as long as I've had this blog; but, it was something that only happened once every few months. However, of late it's been a weekly occurrence and I worry that they may start coming even more frequently. I delete them when they come (I hope I've gotten all of them).

To combat this, I've changed my blog settings to enable comment moderation on posts over 21 days old. Hopefully that will take care of the problem. If not then I'll have to add word verification. As a last resort I'll disable anonymous comments. Although, I truly hope it doesn't come to that as I want everyone to feel like they can say something - even if they are not comfortable revealing their identity. I welcome all comments that are relevant to this blog - even from those who take issue with something I've said.

So, please feel comfortable saying anything you want to say in comments - even if you think I'm a degenerate scuzzbag not worthy of the air I breathe. I only ask that you be civil about it.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Fitting in

I've worked with the youth in the church for most of my adult life; and, I've gotten quite close to a few of the young men I worked with and with whom I've kept up with as they've moved on with their lives.

One such young man's family moved back to Utah a couple of years ago where he finished high school and is now in the military. I've been thinking about him a lot lately. He is a facebook friend which makes it easy to keep up with him. From his facebook posts - it's obvious he is no longer active in church; for example, he recently posted a picture of his new tattoo - one that covers his entire upper back and includes a skull.

To be honest, I'm really not surprised; in fact, I think I would have been more surprised if he had gone on a mission. He always has been a person who just doesn't fit in with Mormon culture.

I always thought of him as my little redneck friend - he is short, wears cowboy boots and the stereotypical big belt buckle, drove an old pickup truck with a gun rack in the back, etc. In class he was loud and obnoxious - he was a leader who could get the class going with whatever he was doing. While other adults viewed him as a problem - for me he was a challenge to get him going in the direction I wanted so that he could lead the class with him. He was involved in the high school wrestling team; so, he is cute, physically fit and likes to wear tight clothes to show off his physique - I never felt that what he wore was inappropriate for the occasion; but, more than once I heard others make derogatory comments about what he was wearing. At high school football games you'd find him shirtless with his face painted and a big letter painted on his chest. A friend of his posted a Youtube video of him stripping down to his shorts and running across the football field after their team won ... and then being escorted off the field by the police. He got 2 weeks in school suspension for that stunt - and our bishop was most displeased with him.

But, he has a heart of gold. He is friendly to everyone - I never heard him say anything bad about someone else (although I heard plenty of people say unkind things about him). He'll do anything you ask him to. At service projects, while the "good" kids were standing around complaining - hand him a shovel and he'd turn into a human backhoe. After his in school suspension for his little stunt - he bought his high school principal a fruit basket as a peace offering and to let him know that he had no hard feelings. He knew there would be consequences to his actions and was willing to pay the price.

I find myself wondering if him distancing himself from the church is a result of the choices he is making - or is it a result of the general membership choosing to not accept him for who he is. Is he seeking acceptance outside of the church because he can't find it within? If so then which is the greater sin? The choices he is making? Or the choices of others to reject him because he won't change to be the person they think he should be? This gets back to the age old question: Should church be a hospital for sinners or a sanctuary for saints? Too often it's the latter when it should be the former.

Should I feel sad because he is no longer going to church? Or should I be happy for him because he's doing what he wants to do? He never had college aspirations - he always talked about going into the military. As I think of him, I find myself wondering if this is a truly a church for everyone - or is it only a church for those who are willing to toe the line? Is it right for us to cut off the corners of all of the square pegs so that they'll fit into our round holes? While we profess to be the one true church - are we really only the true church for the round-ish pegs of the world - the ones that can be easily molded to conform to our round holes?

Something I've always admired in him is that he is a person who is not ashamed of who he is. While many people have a church persona which they put on while attending church meetings and activities - he is the same person at church, at school, and at home. He is honest about who he is - with him, what you see is what you get. I respect that - it's an attribute I wish I had more of in my own life. Instead I have my own persona that I project - one that does not reflect who I really am. I am afraid to be myself out of fear of rejection.

On a more personal note - I find myself wondering if the struggle I'm having with the church of late is because I am not conforming to the Mormon mold - I no longer feel like I fit in. I can't talk about some of the things that are on my mind with my church friends if they are perceived to be contrary to the church. I can't comment on what others say if my comment doesn't fit the party line. So, I withdraw - I attend my meetings, but I do not participate. People at church are friendly enough - but they are friends with the fake me. I find myself wondering if they would still be friendly if they knew the real me - the gay me.

Just as being gay is part of who I am - being Mormon is part of who I am, but it doesn't define me. Should it? Should everything I do or say revolve around the church? Is it wrong to march to the beat of a different drum if that drum is playing a rhythm that is dissonant with the drums the rest of the church is beating?

In the distance I hear other drums beating a rhythm that is harmonious with the drum I am beating. How long can I live with the dissonance? Something has to give - either I have to change my beat to fit in with those around me - or I will eventually start to drift towards those distant drums whose rhythms are mellifluous with my own.

I know what the LDS church says I should do - but is that truly the right thing for me to do? Am I a square peg who just can't squeeze into the round hole anymore? Or am I a round peg who is so intrigued by the square pegs I've encountered that I'm trying to be more like them? Or perhaps I am a hexagonal peg which has corners not unlike those of the square pegs and and looks like it ought to fit into the round hole if you pound it hard enough. Maybe I'm a triangular peg that fits in neither the round hole nor the square hole. Whatever the case, things just aren't fitting together for me anymore.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Lesbian/Gay - check

I received a survey in the mail regarding the purchase of my Nissan Cube a few months ago. It is an extensive 9 page survey that covers the factors leading to my purchase, driving habits, brand loyalty, etc. It seemed to be legitimate; so, I filled it out.

At the end of the survey was demographic information: Age, marital status, education level - and then this question
Which of the following best describes you?
[ ] Heterosexual/Straight
[ ] Lesbian/Gay
[ ] Other
[ ] Decline to answer
I had to put my pen down and consider how I should answer this question. It may seem insignificant to others - but it is a big deal to me. The reality is that my gayness may very well be a factor leading to the purchase of a Nissan Cube because, frankly, a lot of straight guys wouldn't be caught dead driving it, especially those of my generation. It's cute and more popular with teenage girls than those of the male persuasion.

I set the survey aside to attend to other errands while I thought about how I should answer. It's supposed to be anonymous - but then it did come addressed specifically to me. It also requested contact information in case someone wanted to contact me regarding some of my answers. And, to many, it'll seem contradictory as I already answered that I'm male, and married (to a woman). Plus, I'm still deeply closeted - am I ready to stick my toe out of the closet?

On the other hand, I'm not ashamed of who I am. I'm gay - so what! If it bothers you then that's your problem so get over it. (I can be quite militant in the privacy of my closet)

Later in the day, I picked up the survey, checked "Lesbian/Gay", answered the remaining questions, and put it in the pre-paid return envelope to go out in tomorrow's mail.

I don't know what tomorrow will bring. Perhaps I'll chicken out and toss it in the trash rather than the mailbox. But, for today, it is empowering - my first "public" declaration. As recently as a year ago I very much doubt I would have answered the same.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Me too

I'm such a follower sometimes. A lot of people have been posting a word cloud created by wordle which allegedly shows the most popular words used on a web site. I say allegedly as I'm suspicious about how accurate it really is.

First I changed my blogger settings so that all of my blog posts, since the beginning, were shown. I wanted to get a complete picture of my entire blog, not just what shows up on the first page. It resulted in the following word cloud


I immediately grew suspicious as the word "skepticism" was so prominent. I really don't use that word all that much (3 times - I counted). It just happens that I've used it in the last couple of blog posts. This made me suspect that, even though I had changed settings to show all blog posts, wordle was only looking at the most recent.

Next I copied all of my blog posts to the clipboard and pasted them into the text box on the wordle page rather than providing a URL. This resulted in the following word cloud


Finally, I edited the text I had copied from my blog posts to eliminate commonly repeated phrases like "Posted by Abelard Enigma", "witty parleys" and "Links to this post". This resulted in this final word cloud which I believe to be fairly accurate.


Examining the most commonly used words in my blog yields: church people think just like gay one or gay people think just like church one.

Hmmm, I don't know what this means - and I'm spending way too much time analyzing this. In any case, my blog is kinda gay.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Jumping to conclusions or valid concerns

Regarding the recent statement by the LDS church supporting the nondiscrimination ordinance in SLC, I keep reading, studying, and pondering; and, I vacillate back and forth between a fair amount of skepticism and thinking that, perhaps, I was too quick to pass judgment against the LDS church regarding their motivations. I don't know, maybe it's just me seeing conspiracy where none exists. I'm man enough to admit that I might be wrong; but, I'm not yet convinced that I am wrong. That said, my feelings today are that, even if it was just a PR stunt - it's still a good thing.

I previously mentioned that even our local Texas newspaper had a little blurb about it last Wednesday. Well, last Thursday they included a whole article - unprecedented! Seriously - this is Baptist country, most of whom normally couldn't care less what goes on in SLC. So, seeing it in our newspaper, not once - but twice, means this must be big news.

I really don't know why I"m letting this bother me so much - it doesn't affect me in the least. I can probably count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I've even been in Utah - and I can't envision myself ever living there, much less Salt Lake City.

It's just that with all that's happened over the last couple of years - it feels like we've taken one step forward ("God Loveth His Children" pamphlet) then two leaps backwards (prop 8). I can't dismiss this fear that this is another step forward with a leap backward on the horizon. I guess I'm afraid to get my hopes up again.

I think Drew Stelter succinctly articulated how I feel: I just don't want my church to be involved in politics [PERIOD]. It doesn't matter if I agree or disagree with their position - I don't think it's becoming of a church that is supposed to be bringing people closer to God to get tangled up in the institutions of man. Politics is dirty business, and you can't expect to come out untainted if you choose to become involved - regardless of how pure your intentions might be.

I read somewhere (don't recall where) an opinion which I tend to agree with: The LDS church needs to get out of the business of fighting gays and back to the business of helping hurricane victims.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Olive branch or PR stunt?

I have to confess to some skepticism when news of the impending "historical announcement" first started floating around the queerosphere yesterday. So, I was mildly surprised when it actually occurred. It must be big news as a blurb was even included in our local Texas newspaper (we don't get much Mormon news in these parts).

I also have to confess to a great amount of skepticism as I read the news reports and the official announcement - a stupor of thought if you will. Something just doesn't smell right about all of this. Here are some of the thoughts that have been floating around my head the last 12 hours (in no particular order)
  • Why is supporting non-discrimination so historical in the first place? As followers of Jesus Christ - shouldn't that be part of our very nature?
  • "The church supports these ordinances ... because they are fair and reasonable and do not do violence to the institution of marriage" - does this bother anyone else? PR departments do not speak indiscriminately - every word they utter has been carefully thought out beforehand. To settle on the word "violence" suggests that this whole affair is distasteful and deemed a necessary evil.
  • "Participants in the secret meetings ..." - huh?!? Does this mean that Utah law does not require open meetings in matters of public policy and interest? Secret meetings and the unanimous vote suggests a carefully crafted collusion - which is illegal between commercial businesses.
  • Why now? And the timing - soon after the trailer for "8: A Mormon Proposition"- seems more than coincidental.
If you want my personal opinion - which I'm sure you do if you've read this far on my blog - I don't think this is an olive branch to the LGBT community. I think this is a PR stunt aimed at the straight members of the LDS church. Another way of saying "see, we don't hate gays - we just hate what they do."

I previously blogged about my thoughts that all is not well in Zion - and this just strengthens my feelings. I think the aftermath of proposition 8 has affected the LDS church more they they will ever admit to. I think there is a growing consensus that the church may have stepped over the line when it became actively involved in pushing the passage of proposition 8 in California. I think they've seen this in increased letters requesting membership removal and falling activity rates, baptism rates, etc. And, I think they see the forthcoming documentary "8: A Mormon Proposition" as just stirring up the pot even more. I see this move as a preemptive strike to help the straight membership feel better about other church policies and activities aimed at opposing the GLBT community; and, it gives them ammunition to use when criticism against the church increases - which it will undoubtedly will when "8: A Mormon Proposition" is released.

Maybe I"m wrong - and I sincerely hope I am - but I just don't think this portends to a new kinder and gentler approach.

Monday, November 9, 2009

bikini girls

Someone recently found my blog after googling "bikini girls" - they didn't stay long, I'm guessing my blog wasn't quite what they were looking for.

Other recent google searches that led people to my blog
  • kris allen lds?
  • kimball, edward l., "the history of lds temple admission standards,"
  • mormon ashley madison
  • lds ward executive secretary calling sucks
  • starting spinich seeds
  • mormon men sexually bored
  • mormon blogger theme
  • how to take lds minutes of meeting
  • lds seminary, jacob
  • lds sacrament meeting testimony bearing
  • Mormon Wanking
  • the morman outlook on the afterlife
  • mormonism is retarded

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Weird yet wonderful - a foodie plea

I first met my daughter's future in-laws when they flew out to Texas to join us for Thanksgiving. Normally our Thanksgiving feast is fairly traditional; however, that year my wife found a Turducken at CostCo - A turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken. My daughters in-laws are not very adventurous in their culinary pursuits; so, this made quite an impression upon them - and remains a hot topic of conversation with them several years later.

This year my wife and I will be driving out to Southern California to enjoy Thanksgiving with my daughter and her family, as well as her in-laws. I would like to prepare some sort of side-dish to give her in-laws something new to talk about - I want to prepare something that is weird yet wonderful and vaguely Thanksgiving-ish

I also want something that they will likely sample; so, there are some limitations
  • Anything with seafood is probably out
  • Same with organ meats
  • These are TBM's; so, alcohol, even in minute amounts, is probably out
  • Nothing spicy (these people equate catsup with hot sauce)
So, how about it all of you top chef wannabies - any ideas for me?

Something else to keep in mind is that I won't be in my own kitchen; so, I will be somewhat limited as to kitchen gadgets and implements; but, I will be in the greater-LA area; so, presumably will have access to stores to obtain hard-to-find ingredients. Something ethnic might be nice - especially Armenian. (my daughter lives in an area with a large Armenian population).

After Thanksgiving I'll likely write about this on my food and gardening blog. Send me an email if you want a link as I use my real name on that blog and am hesitant to put a link to it on this blog.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Limits

I've held off making any comments about the upcoming film "8: The Mormon Proposition" because, frankly, I have some reservations about it.

Do I agree with the decision of the LDS church to actively support proposition 8? No - but that doesn't mean I consider LDS church leaders to be evil. I expect this documentary is going to cast the LDS church is a very negative light - and I just can't support that. Like Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof - I have limits, I can only bend so far without breaking.

For example, a conversation between the producer, Reed Cowan, with his sister is making the rounds. I'm not going to post a link, but in it he tells his sister
My position clearly is this with all of my family: If you support prop 8, or any measure like it, even in spirit - I don't know how you can be in my life and look me in the eye and truthfully say you love me completely and totally
I appreciate his passion - but this is family we're talking about. Isn't that what the whole gay marriage debate is about - to recognize families headed by same sex parents? To say that we cannot have any family member in our lives who supported same sex marriage - to suggest it's impossible to truly love a gay family member if you are opposed to gay marriage - those sort of fanatical views makes us no better than those who are seeking to prevent gay marriages from being recognized.

I just don't see how acting like a bunch of drama queens is helping the cause. All this documentary will likely accomplish is to cause people on both side to become more firmly entrenched in their views - it's doubtful it will convert anyone.

In this blog I've been supportive of gay marriage - even though I do not see myself ever being in a gay relationship. I've opposed proposition 8 in California, and other similar measures around the country. I especially opposed the involvement of the LDS church in the passage of proposition 8.

But, to say that lives were destroyed by proposition 8 - That is a rather extremest point of view that I'm not so sure I can support. Were lives and families hurt by proposition? Hell yes! But the word 'destroy' carries with it finality. Proposition 8 was a setback - perhaps even a major setback - but one that history will record as a bump in the road for gay rights.

So, I'm sorry, but I just can't jump on the bandwagon to support "8: The Mormon Proposition". Will I watch it? I don't know, maybe - it's not a given that it will even play in a venue in my neck of the woods.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Faith and Desire

This week in seminary we learned about Enos. While hunting wild beasts in the forest, Enos relates that his "soul hungered" and he knelt and prayed for forgiveness. His prayer continued throughout the day and into the night, until he heard a voice, saying: "Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed" (Enos 1:1-5).

What we can learn from Enos is that faith, by itself, is not enough. We must couple our faith with desire - as Enos relates when he said his "soul hungered". Faith + Desire leads to action - and our actions lead to results.

I've previously blogged about a spiritual crisis I'm going through. After reading Enos, I am starting to realize that my crisis is not one of faith - but of desire. I still have faith in God, Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon - the whole enchilada. But, I've lost my desire to move forward with my faith.

A few months after I finally came to terms with my own homosexuality, the LDS church published a pamphlet titled God Loveth His Children. While I did not see that pamphlet as where we need to be as a church - it did seem like a definite step in the right direction. It was a sign that our church leaders were starting to "get it".

Then, a year or so later, the LDS church announced its intentions to fight proposition 8 in California legalizing gay marriage. They asked the members in California to donate of their time and means to help pass proposition 8 - which resulted in, at least, 50% - and possibly as much as 75% - of the total donations to the "Yes on 8" campaign - not including the countless hours of donated time going door to door, passing out yard signs, etc. That coupled with statements by respected church leaders that amounted to little more than fear mongering without any substance and a (hopefully) unintended consequence of the actions of the LDS church where it has become politically correct to publicly bash homosexuals in church meetings - a problem that is more prevalent in some wards than in others. I say "hopefully unintended" because I've seen no evidence of any church leaders seeking to counter this attitude. In fact, I find myself wondering if the timing of the release of "God Loveth His Children" was all part of a carefully orchestrated plan - first we tell them how much God loves them so that we don't come across as just being mean when we fight their efforts to have their relationships legitimized.

Even though I am not in a same sex relationship and don't see myself as ever being in one - it still has been difficult for me. I feel like I"ve been lulled away with "God loves you" = followed by a sucker punch to the gut! God really only loves me as long as I keep pretending to be straight. It feels like, as a church, we've gone backwards. As a queer Mormon, I feel less welcomed than before - or, more accurately, I feel like I am welcomed only so far as I keep hiding the queer part of me. And, this has lead to decreased desire to move forward in my faith. I feel stagnant. I still go to church regularly - but my heart isn't in it like it once was. I still try to fulfill my callings - at least somewhat, my home teaching effort has been virtually non-existent the last few months. I no longer actively participate in lessons as I once did - I just sit in the back row. I feel like I'm gradually becoming invisible at church - wondering if I'll become one of those whom are occasionally remembered with "whatever happened to ... oh, he got 'offended'" - the proverbial response thereby absolving the church, and everyone in it, of any wrong doing.

And, I don't think I'm alone in this feeling. As I was working last week on putting together the MoHo Directory, I reflected on all of the people I've met here in the Mormon queerosphere. I've interacted with some of you more than others and have gotten quite close to a few. In fact, I can truthfully say that my closest friends are here in the Mormon queerosphere. I used to be able to point to a number of blogs by people who were earnestly seeking to remain active in the church - or, at least, maintain some connection to the church. That's what attracted me to the queerosphere in the first place. However, the number of such blogs has dwindled in the last year or so. And, I can't help believing that to be a direct result political actions of the LDS church and the negative impact it has had on the Mormon queerosphere.

In the church, we talk a lot about increasing our faith - but how do you increase desire? Telling me to pray about it implies a certain amount of desire - but what if that desire is nonexistent?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

November theme: A trip down memory lane

I've been going through stuff trying to simplify my life and get rid of junk. I can't believe how much crap I've accumulated over the years. Anyway, I cam across a box of stuff from my high school days. In this box was a hydrometer.

A hydrometer kinda looks like a big old fashioned thermometer and is used to measure specific gravity. It is/was used by vintners (wine makers) for measuring the alcohol content of their brew.

You see, I was not a Mormon in high school. That didn't happen until I went away to college. My senior year in high school I decided I wanted to make wine - and so I setup a brewery in my closet. To this day I don't think my parents ever knew. Being the typical teenage boy, my room was usually a big mess and probably smelled of dirty clothes - effectively masking any fermentation odors that might have emanated from my closet.

We lived on a country road at the time. We had a mailbox up on the road (which we had to hike to); but, my parents preferred to use a P.O. Box. My father owned an antique store; and, the post office was just a few doors down from his store. Anything that had to be shipped to a street address came to the store; so, my parents never bothered to check the mailbox at home. My mother worked as a nurse; so, I was always home alone after school. This afforded me the opportunity to mail order my wine making supplies and have them shipped to the house - which I was able to collect from the mail box after school before my parents got home.

Graduation came and I went away to college the following fall. By then the wine had completed brewing but had to age. I left my wine aging in my closet cleverly hidden behind some boxes. I usually came home from college once or twice a month when I would check in my wine.

I never actually got to taste any of the wine I made. In time, I investigated the LDS church and was baptized. On a subsequent trip back home, I dumped out all of the wine I had made (which was several gallons) and threw away all of the equipment - except for the hydrometer. I really don't know why I kept that particular piece of equipment. Perhaps I paid a lot of money for it and couldn't just throw it away; perhaps I thought it might have other uses; I don't know.

But, I'll bet I'm one of the only Mormons you know who has his own hydrometer for measuring the alcohol content of homemade wine.

So, how about this as a blogging theme for November. Any fond memories you care to share? Any dark secrets from your past you just have to get off your chest?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Homo no more

Sometimes . . . I don't want to be gay anymore. I don't just mean the terminology - I don't want to be attracted to guys. Not that I have anything against gay folk; some of the nicest people I know are gay. It's just that for someone in my position - a man married to a woman - it's dang inconvenient to be heterosexually-challenged.

I can't help being gay. I try to not let it define me - but it is an important part of who I am. Telling me to ignore my gayness is like telling a tall person to ignore their height. Do you want them going around conking their head on door frames? But, just as a tall person may sometimes wish they were of more average height, or a person might wish they had straight or curly hair - I sometimes wish I liked girls more. Well ... truth be told ... more than 'sometimes'.

It's just not fair! It's not fair to my wife; it's not fair to me. Why do guys have to be so dang attractive?

SIGH

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Announcement: MoHo Directory

I've created a new blog titled MoHo Directory. I've moved my blog list of family, extended family, and friends of the family over to this new blog and will, eventually, be deleting them from this blog.

Please let me know if there are any mistakes, missing blogs, etc.

Feel free to add a link to the MoHo Directory on your blog. A bitmap we could use as a button would be nice, if anybody feels so inclined to create one.

Also, if anyone is interested in being a co-author of the MoHo Directory blog to assist in keeping it up to date then let me know - your help would be greatly appreciated.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sexual immorality leads to selfishness, brutality, abortion, sexual abuse, violent crime, and [GASP] acts of homosexuality

I was preparing my seminary lesson - as I often do on Sunday afternoon. In addition to the seminary teacher resource manual, I was also referring to the Institute Religion 121-122 Book of Mormon student manual - as I often do - for further insight. This week we're studying the book of Jacob.

The prophet Jacob chastened the people for, among other things, sexual immorality - leading to further discussion in both the seminary and institute manuals. The institute manual included a quote from Elder Richard G. Scott which ended with the following paragraph:
"Sexual immorality creates a barrier to the influence of the Holy Spirit with all its uplifting, enlightening, and empowering capabilities. It causes powerful physical and emotional stimulation. In time, that creates an unquenchable appetite that drives the offender to ever more serious sin. It engenders selfishness and can produce aggressive acts such as brutality, abortion, sexual abuse, and violent crime. Such stimulation can lead to acts of homosexuality, and they are evil and absolutely wrong” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1994, 50–51; or Ensign, Nov. 1994, 38).
Say what??? I had to go back and re-read this a couple of times. I was OK with everything he said prior to this paragraph. If he had ended with the first or second sentence of this paragraph I would have been OK. But, to suggest that sexual immorality leads to brutality and violent crime? I've known a lot of people who, according to LDS doctrine, are sexually immoral. Good people - who just don't agree that sex should be limited to married couples. To suggest that, if they don't get married, they will eventually become brutal and violent criminals just seems ludicrous. I'll wager a guess that most people who are brutal and violent probably have no qualms about sexual immorality - but to suggest that their sexual improprieties led them to become brutal and violent is like saying all people who have died have consumed water - therefore, water must be hazardous to our health.

And the whole business of sexual immorality leading to acts of homosexuality - I just don't get that at all. Is he suggesting that heterosexual boys who keep having sex outside of marriage will eventually get bored with girls and start banging other boys?

And, to equate homosexuality with brutality and violence - seriously, does he even know any homosexuals? As a group, homosexuals tend to be far more humble and passive than their heterosexual counterparts. Show me two guys - one gay and one straight - and ask me which one is the brutal and violent criminal - and I'm going to say that, in all likelihood, it's the straight dude.

What especially bothers me is that, while the quote is from several years ago, the institute manual itself is brand new - copyright 2009. Do they not ever stop to consider how the quotes they put in these manuals might affect people? Consider the young man, sexually chaste his whole live - yet struggling with unwanted feelings. Perhaps he's a returned missionary - trying to figure out why his missionary companions were more attractive to him than girls. How is he going to feel after reading this passage? Uplifted with the knowledge that he is right with God? Or is he going to feel dirty and unworthy simply because of these feelings he has - feelings he's never acted upon?

Mind you, I'm not excusing sexual immorality. As I stated in my last post about my journey - I place a high value on fidelity within a relationship. I just think sometimes, these guys don't know when to stop. Surly God did not reveal these "truths" to him.

Some might say I'm nit picking - and perhaps I am. But, I'm in a position where I'm supposed to teach these things to our youth. How can I relate things as "inspired teachings" that I personally see as stupid and dumb? And, if he totally missed the mark on this very serious topic, how can I trust anything else he says?

Yesterday in priesthood meeting the lesson was on Adversity. As part of the lesson, a quote was read by Boyd K. Packard where he taught that "gender was determined in the pre-mortal existence." Not really quite sure what that has to do with adversity - but it somehow led to a discussion of California's proposition 8 centering around this being an unpopular teaching in the world today - because, apparently, all of us gay guys want to be girls.

. . . people just shouldn't talk about things they know nothing about.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

My journey

It would be hypocritical of me to not blog about where I am in my journey - my proposed theme for October 2009.
  • How did you get to where you are today?
I grew up in a different era. Except for small geographical pockets, like San Francisco, people just weren't open about their sexuality. There was a gay student union in my college which intrigued me - but I was investigating the LDS church at the time. I sometimes wonder how different my life would be had I gone over to the gay student union rather than the LDS church. I most certainly would not have married. It's quite possible that I'd be dead by now. That was before AIDS came into the public consciousness. A lot of gay men from that era died from complications due to AIDS.

It was almost exactly 3 years ago (fall of 2006) when I finally sat myself down and said "self - admit it, you're gay." I've known I was different from other guys pretty much my entire life. I knew that other boys were more interested in girls than I was and didn't have the same fascination with men that I did. But, in my mind, that didn't make me gay. This "male attraction" I had was my cross to bear, the thorn in my side, a dirty dark secret I was prepared to take with me to my grave.

All of my early journey experiences are chronicled in this blog - including telling my wife that I'm gay a few months after accepting it myself. So, I won't repeat it here.
  • Are you happy with where you are? why or why not?
I can't say I'm happy at this point in my life - but it's not because of my homosexuality. I suffer from clinical depression for which I've been taking antidepressants for several years. I'm currently unemployed and unable to find a job. My wife and I are entering a new phase in our lives - the empty nester phase - and I'm not sure what to do with myself anymore not having children around all the time. Add to that my spiritual crisis I'm going through concerning my membership in the LDS church. Yes, being gay probably is a factor - but I don't think it's the major contributing factor to my current state of well being.

That said, while I can't say that I'm happy at this point in my life - I'm also not super depressed either. I'm just trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.
  • Where do you see yourself in the future?
That is the $1,000,000 question. I don't know where I'll ultimately end up - but I have a pretty good idea for where I'd like to be.
  • I'd like to be 'out'. Not that I plan on telling everybody I meet that I'm gay - I just don't want it to be a secret anymore.
  • I intend on staying married to my wife
  • I'd like to have platonic, non-threatening to my wife, relationships with other men
  • I'd like to be involved helping others on their journey
  • What roadblocks do you have and/or have overcome?
The biggest roadblock I've overcome was just accepting the fact that I'm gay.

I think the biggest roadblock I have now is that my closet is increasingly becoming stuffy and stifling. As I wrote earlier, it's not that I want to go around telling everyone that I meet that I'm gay - I'm just tired of having to keep it a secret all the time. I'm fed up with having to watch everything I do or say around others lest they suspect 'my secret'.

Unfortunately, the decision to come out of my closet is not mine alone to make. When I told my wife that I'm gay, I effectively dragged her into my closet. Anything I do in this regard will have a tremendous impact on her as well - and I need to be sensitive to that.

Also, while I would like to be honest with my children regarding my sexuality - the thought of actually sitting down with my children and telling them that I'm gay terrifies me.
  • What advice do you have for others following a similar path that you have?
I believe fidelity in a relationship is of paramount importance. That's not to say that all mixed orientation marriages are destined to survive. But, if you are heterosexually married and want to pursue a same sex relationship then please formally end the relationship you are in before starting another. The same holds true once you are in a same sex relationship - remain true.
  • What advice do you have for family and friends?
When a friend or loved one 'comes out' to family and friends, they are signaling that there is a secret part of themselves that they are ready to share. Unfortunately, for many of the straight family and friends, the knee jerk reaction is to not want to talk about it. The sexuality of the friend or loved one becomes the elephant in the room - something everyone is acutely aware of, but no one wants to talk about. When a friend or loved one 'comes out' then let them know that you are always there for them. That doesn't mean you have to agree with the choices they are making. There is a big difference between acceptance and condoning - you can accept your loved one without condoning what they are doing. You should also not stand in judgment of them - it's OK to share your feelings and discomfort; but, don't feel like you have to constantly remind them. We all make choices that we believe are right - but that others might see as wrong. And, sometimes, you may just have to suck it up and do things you are not comfortable with - such as welcoming the partner of your gay loved one into your home. But, it's OK to set boundaries and rules for acceptable behavior in your home - just be sure to be consistent in your rules governing your homosexual and hetrosexual family and friends.
So, that's it in a nutshell - that's where I am in my journey.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Homosexuality and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

My 15 seconds of fame came a couple of years ago when I discovered that my blog is referenced in a Wikipedia entry titled Homosexuality and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Since I do get occasional hits on my blog via that link, I have gone back to read it a few times. The article has changed dramatically over time. I'm not sure I can put my finger on it - but the article has always bothered me some. I just get the sense that most of the people contributing to the article are not family and really don't understand homosexuality as much as they think they do.

Anyway, the article lists several people as prominent individuals within the gay Mormon community. I'm just curious how these people measure up in the collective opinion of the Mormon queerosphere.

So, I've added a poll - whom do you feel deserves to be listed as a prominent individual within the gay Mormon community. It's a multi-choice poll - so, choose all of the individuals you feel are deserving of this honor (if we can call it that). You can reference the article for a brief bio of who these people are if you are not familar with the name.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Confused and bewildered

This is an appeal to the woman-folk who read my blog. Maybe you could help me understand an/or give me advice

On Sunday, I am going to a potluck dinner with the local chapter of Affirmation. I'm also bringing my copy of the Gay Christian Network documentary Through My Eyes for us to watch together. A few weeks ago I actually brought up the idea with with my wife of hosting such an event in our home some time. She said she wasn't ready for that yet (which I respect) and suggested I attend some of their functions to make sure it was something I really might want to do. So. it might be a stretch to say she is OK with me going - but she is, at least, accepting of it.

The person organizing the dinner contacted me saying that, at least, one of the people coming is vegetarian and asked if I might be able to bring something they could eat. After confirming that they do eat cheese, I decided on making eggplant parmesan (since I have some eggplants in the garden that need to be eaten). Yesterday I mentioned this to my wife; and, she immediately started a tirade saying that was way too much work and asked if I really wanted to go to that much trouble. This caught me off guard since I enjoy cooking - and she knows that; and, I wouldn't even consider it if I thought it was too much effort.

For dinner this evening I was planning on making Cuban Sandwiches. This morning I mentioned that I was going to come up with something else for dinner tonight as I thought Cuban Sandwiches would be a good simple meal for us to have for lunch on Sunday after church. She again launched into a tirade saying that we don't need two big meals on Sunday and do I really want to make Cuban Sandwiches since I'll be spending all afternoon in the kitchen making the eggplant parmesan. I protested saying it was just a sandwich and asked if it was wrong of me to want to make something for my wife? She then retorted saying that she didn't want me to do it because I feel guilty - she then said that we'll just eat leftovers after church. I pointed out that she never eats leftovers and would probably just end up making a PB&J sandwich or something.

I'm really rather confused with all of this. She is obviously not as accepting of me going as I thought she was. She seems to feel threatened that I'm not just going as a passive participant, but that I'm actively involved to a certain degree.

To my man-brain, I feel like I am being totally honest and upfront about what I'm doing, where I'm going, who I'll be with, etc.; and, it just seems silly to argue about what we'll have for lunch. But, this obviously a big deal for her woman-brain. So, help me to understand. What can I do to alleviate some of her fears? Should I not talk about it so much? Should I not go and stay home with her? Mind you, it's just the two of us now, and I'm not working; so, we spend a lot of time together. To my man-brain I don't feel like I'm ignoring her. She actually spends more time away from home than I do with her quilting group, etc. which I support her in. Every Monday she gets together with some other ladies who sew and they do a potluck lunch. To my man-brain it just seems fair that I should be able to occasionally do things without her, including a potluck.

I just want her to be OK being married to a gay man who goes off and does gay things once in a while - to my man-brain that doesn't seem too much to ask. But, am I setting unreasonable expectations for her?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

What a month

Esquire magazine has an article claiming that the reason for the vampire craze (i.e. Twilight) is that there are, evidently, a whole bunch of young women who want to have sex with hot young gay men.

Harry Reid has publicly criticized the LDS church for their involvement in proposition 8 in California.

And now me thinks all is not well in Zion. What with Hollands chest beating "the Book of Mormon is true - damnit" talk in general conference. And Dallen Oaks, in his recent speech at BYU-Idaho, pretty much declaring that Mormonism is the new black. I thought gay was the new black. What if you're both Mormon and gay, do they cancel each other out? People a whole lot smarter than me will have to figure that one out.

I think the LDS church is feeling the weight of their decision to oppose gay marriage in California and to rally the troops in helping to get proposition 8 passed. I think LDS church leaders truly do not grasp why the church is under so much criticism of late. Rather than doing some serious self reflection to consider the consequences of their actions - they are digging in and claiming that their civil rights are being violated. More and more I'm becoming convinced that the LDS leadership just don't 'get it'.

I know a lot of you came to that conclusion a long time ago - some of us are just slow, OK? Seriously, I keep clinging to the notion that maybe the problem is just with me. And, they're making it harder and harder to see it that way.

The LDS church has been criticized and persecuted since it's inception. We've heard all our lives that we're not christian, that Joseph Smith was a fraud, that we're followers of Satan. We thrive on such persecution. So what's different now? Are we OK with religious persecution? But political persecution - that's just not fair?

In my gut I just feel there is something more going on than just criticism and persecution. Perhaps the LDS church leadership is disturbed and unnerved by recent signs and trends. I'm certainly not 'in the know'. It could be tithing receipts are down - but that could be blamed on the economy. Perhaps requests to have membership removed is at an all time high. Maybe missionary baptisms are down and/or the inactivity rate is up. I don't know. We'll never know for sure since the church is extremely secretive about such things. But, it sure seems like there is something going on ...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

October theme

A proposed theme for the month of October 2009 to blog about is:

Where are you in your journey?

Many, if not most, of us started out at one point in our lives believing that homosexuality is a grievous sin - second only to murder in seriousness. Some may still believe that homosexuality is wrong - which is fine - but their understanding of homosexuality has probably changed. So
  • How did you get to where you are today?
  • Are you happy with where you are? why or why not?
  • Where do you see yourself in the future?
  • What roadblocks do you have and/or have overcome?
  • What advice do you have for others following a similar path that you have?
  • What advice do you have for family and friends?
Note: I think this topic is apropos for our straight friends as well. Certainly any who read our blogs and/of have their own blogs have been on a journey and evolved in their opinions of homosexuality.

For those who do not have a blog of their own - or do not feel comfortable putting this on their own personal blog (for whatever reason), please feel free to email your thoughts and I'll post them on the MoHo Polls blog (either with your name or anonymously, just tell me which).

Finally, the MoHo polls blog is pretty drab - any ideas for sprucing it up? Also, a logo of sorts that others could put on their blog (with a link to MoHo Polls) would be nice.

And, I'm always open for ideas for future polls.

New polls for October 2009

Checkout the new polls on MoHo Polls for October 2009.

I appreciate all of those who took up the challenge to blog about their thoughts on masturbation during the month of September. I've published a post on MoHo Polls with links to all of the ones I know about as well as links to other resources representing a wide variety of different views on the topic. Let me know if I missed any blog posts and/or if there are other resources I ought to link to.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Reorientation via Facebook

I think Facebook is trying to turn me straight.

According to Facebook stats, 73% of my Facebook friends are of the male persuasion, yet the vast majority of the people Facebook recommends as friends are girls.

It's even invited me to become a fan of Mercedes Jones, Tina Cohen-Chang, Quinn Fabray, and Sue Sylvester from Glee. With all of my gay Facebook friends, shouldn't it be recommending I become a fan of Kurt Hummel, Artie Abrams, Finn Hudson, or Will Schuester from Glee? ... and why do I know so much about Glee?

And then it occasionally recommends some random person who happens to have the same first and last name as my wife - does it think that, since I'm Mormon, I might want two of them? Maybe it thinks having two would make me less gay?

I think it's a conspiracy.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Another mundane testimony meeting come and gone

I have to confess - fast and testimony meeting is probably my very least favorite meeting of all time. For any non-members who may be reading this. One sunday of every month is designated as "fast sunday". It's usually the first sunday, but not always. We fast for two meals (for us, it's breakfast & lunch) and donate the money we would have spent on those meals to the church to be distributed to those in need. Instead of our normal sacrament meeting with speakers who prepared talks on a chosen subject, we have a fast and testimony meeting where people get up 'as the spirit moves them' to bear an impromptu testimony.

I still remember my very first fast and testimony meeting. I joined the church in college - but I usually went home to visit my parents on the first sunday. And, I would be traveling back to college on sunday causing me to miss church. So, I never once during that entire school year attended a fast and testimony meeting. The school year ended and I went back home. The very first sunday I attended my new home ward was - you guessed it - fast and testimony meeting. I sat in that meeting stunned - wondering if I had made a big mistake in joining the LDS church. I didn't know any better - I just figured that was they way they did it in this new ward - and I wasn't sure I could take it week after week. I did return the following week which was, of course, a normal sacrament meeting. Upon asking questions, I was educated in the law of the fast and testimony meetings.

But, my entire mormon life - it just has never been a favorite meeting. Don't get me wrong, there have been a few in which I felt moved by the spirit. But, generally, it's just the same people week after week blubbering on about something, other people who just seem to like to hear themselves speak, and little kids reciting words that have obviously been rehearsed with their parents. I never encouraged my children to get up and bear their testimony unless they felt moved to - as I've always found it kinda of annoying. It's always pretty much the same words "I know the church is true, I love my mommy and daddy, in the name of ..." Anyway, I'll get off my 'little kid bearing testimony' soapbox now.

Yesterday was a pretty typical fast and testimony meeting. We have an older gentleman in our ward who gets up just about every testimony meeting and rattles on in a monotone voice for about 10-15 minutes. I've gotten to where I just tune him out -even my wife has a hard time listening to him. When he walked up to the microphone yesterday I looked at the clock and there were only about 15 minutes left in the meeting. I thought to myself "good, he's probably the last one" - only, while he was speaking, 6 more people walked up to the front to wait their turn. He finally finished after about 10 minutes and a sister got up. This particular sister normally bears very insightful testimonies, but yesterday she blabbered on for about 5 minutes - not her normal self. Now it was time when we would normally start singing the closing hymn, and we still had 5 people left waiting to bear their testimonies. Fortunately, they were all conscious of the time and were quick. A member of the bishopric got up, apologized to the sunday school teachers since they now had about 10 minutes less time than they had planned on. We sang the closing hymn, had a closing prayer, and it was over - finally.

I don't know, maybe it's just the sour mood I've been in lately - but, given my current spiritual crisis - I don't need more mundane meetings. I need meetings where I leave feeling moved by the spirit. I need to leave church feeling that me being there mattered - that I'd be missed if I weren't there. Just haven't been feeling that lately.

Next week is general conference. To be honest, it too is down there at the bottom of my list of favorite church meetings. We get the BYU channel on cable - so we just sit at home and watch conference from the comfort of our family room. In the past we've always invited two or three other families to join us on Sunday and have a potluck lunch in between sessions. But, my wife hasn't mentioned anything about inviting people over this time. I think she too is starting to wonder why it seems we are always the ones inviting but are never invited.

So, today is Monday - another week, same ol rut . . .

Friday, September 25, 2009

Decision time

OK, I had a job interview today - my first one since being laid off [please hold the applause]. It was for a part time math tutoring job. It would be 20 hours/week tutoring students who failed the standardized test last year in math. They understand I am looking for a full time teaching position and am willing to allow me time off for interviews, etc.

I've also been contacted by a couple of school districts regarding my substitute teaching application; although, they won't be calling me to substitute until I go to orientation - which is October 20th for one district and November 16th for the other - suggesting that they are not in dire need of substitute teachers.

I won't be able to do both (tutor and substitute); although the math tutoring job pays more; so, even though it's part time, I would still make about the same each week - assuming I was able to get a substitute job all 5 days of every week (which is not necessarily a valid assumption).

So, on one hand, the tutoring job would be more stable and potentially paying more in the long run.

On the other hand, I would only be at one school where as with substituting, I would be going to multiple schools bringing with it more potential networking contacts.

On the other hand, I do better in a situation where I am working with the same kids each day and getting to know them on a personal basis. With substitute teaching, it would always be first impressions.

On the other hand, substitute teaching would expose me to a variety of different subjects and teaching situations.

On the other hand, me thinks math tutoring would look better on a resume (since I'm seeking a position as a math teacher) than the more general substitute teaching.

On the other hand, the math tutoring job is a 30 mile commute and could take an hour or so in rush hour traffic where as the schools in the districts I would be substituting in would more than likely be a shorter commute.

On the other hand, with the math tutoring position, I would be working with 4 kids at a time - allowing me to work with them on more personal basis, verses 20-30 students in a typical classroom when substitute teaching.

On the other hand, there is a possibility that I could land a long term substitute teaching position (e.g. when a teacher goes on maternity leave or some other long term absence) - possible, but probability is totally unknown.

Gosh, how many hands do I have anyway? I'm sure I'll think of more pro's and con's throughout the weekend.

Anyway, they are interviewing multiple candidates for 5 math tutoring positions; so, the math tutoring job is not a shoe-in. But, I think I scored some good points during the interview with some of my answers.

So, my beloved readers - any thoughts? If I'm offered the math tutoring job - should I take it? A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. They said they'd let me know by Tuesday of next week.

Disappointed

Nearly 4 weeks ago I proposed that we - the bloggers of the Mormon queerosphere - designate the topic of "masturbation" for the month of September. It is clearly a topic for which there is a lot of interest - and, judging from the polling results, one on which there are a variety of opinions.

It is now September 25th, and as far as I know, only two other bloggers have taken up the challenge - and one of them has since pulled their post. If I'm wrong and there are others then please let me know. I thought I would update MoHo Polls with links to related posts.

I realize this is a delicate topic - but if we can't discuss it here then where can we discuss it? Or is it destined to be a topic that is on everyone's mind, but which shall not be named nor discussed in the queerosphere?

I have to confess I'm a bit surprised by the results of the masturbation poll currently on MoHo Polls. Pardon my english, but it sure appears that, as a group, we're a bunch of wankers. It seems most people do it, at least, weekly - with some doing it every day and even multiple times in a day. I don't know whether to be impressed by their endurance or worried that they might have a problem.

It would be interesting to see a more scientific poll on this topic comparing heterosexual mormon's with homosexual mormon's. You guys in college - maybe this is an idea for a class project or something?

The polls on MoHo Polls will remain through the month of September - any ideas for other polling topics for October? If not then I may just close down MoHo Polls. Perhaps it's just one of those ideas that sounded good at the time ...

On an unrelated note, I noticed that the Evergreen conference offered discounts for couples - would a gay couple qualify for the discount?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Member teachings

Ever hear a talk at church that really resonated with you? One that you remember for years afterwards? I heard such a talk many years ago when my children were still preschool age. The speaker was a psychologist and he spoke of the different types of teachings we have in the church. He listed 3 main type of teachings
Gospel teachings - These are the eternal truths (e.g. the plan of salvation). These are immutable.

Church teachings - These reflect society and the times, such as policies. For example, when I first joined the church, women were not allowed to pray in sacrament meeting as it was considered a priesthood responsibility. This was a church teaching that has since changed.

Member teachings - These are the teachings that we need to be wary of. These are the personal opinions of people which may or may not be in harmony with gospel or church teachings. For example, I had a missionary companion who would tell investigators that they had to give up chocolate when we taught the word of wisdom.
This particular talk also resonated with my wife - and has been a topic of discussion between us throughout the years. Often when we hear someone say something that is just totally off the wall, we'll just look at each other and nod in recognition of a member teaching.

I recently talked to my wife about my reluctance to go get my temple recommend renewed. I explained that there are a couple of questions I'm not sure I can answer to the satisfaction of our bishop and/or stake president. As we discussed this further, she related some of the things she heard in church while visiting our daughter in California and said that she thinks proposition 8 make a lot of people in the church go crazy and say a lot of stupid things. I countered asking about leaders saying some of these same things. She then said that she believes even general authorities can be guilty of member teachings.

I understand what she is saying. For example, Bruce R. McConkie has gone on record and admitted that some of the things he put in his book "Mormon Doctrine" are wrong.

My concern is: How are we supposed to know the difference? When a general authority speaks in an official capacity as a representative of the church, how are we supposed to discern if it's a gospel teaching, a church teaching, or a member teaching? Yeah, I know, pray - read the scriptures - go to church. But what if we've done all that and conclude a particular teaching is wrong - but others discern the same teaching as "thus sayeth the Lord ..."? Who's right? Who's wrong? Can we both be right (or wrong)?

For many in the church, when a general authority speaks, it is as if the Lord himself had spoken. And, once God has spoken it - through his earthly representatives - the time for thinking is past. The only course of action left is to follow and obey. To disagree with a general authority is akin to disagreeing with God! For someone to speak up in a church meeting and disagree with the words of a general authority would be considered apostasy and blasphemous.

Others in the queerosphere have commented on the talk Elder Bruce C. Hafen, of the Seventy, gave at the recent annual conference for Evergreen International. I read his talk, and, without going into detail, I don't agree with much of what he says. Am I supposed to just shake my head and tell myself that he is just giving his opinion - his member teaching - to an audience of like minded people? That's much easier said than done - especially knowing that others will read his same words and nod in agreement, believing that he is speaking the will of the Lord.

This is the crux of a problem that is festering within me. These are men whom I've always considered to be men of God - and whom I trusted and sustained without question. But now - I can't just accept everything they say at face value anymore. And, I keep having the nagging thought: if they are wrong about one thing - then what else are they wrong about?

I feel like a little kid who just found out Santa Clause isn't real - wondering if he can ever trust his parents in anything. Like that little kid, part of me still wants to believe. But he can't - not with these nagging doubts haunting him. Because learning the truth has caused other things to fall into place - things that he previously chose to ignore, but that he can ignore no longer.

I just wish I could help my wife better understand my feelings - as she believes I should just dismiss those things I disagree with as member teachings - and then go in for a temple recommend interview answering the same as I always have. But I can't do that - it would feel . . . dishonest.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Fabulous dinners are NOT us

I went out to get the newspaper this morning and saw water squirting up out of my yard and running down the street. Me thought "that's not right." I live in an older home and don't have a sprinkler system; so, I know it wasn't coming from me.

I happen to know there is a 6" water main running underneath where the water was squirting up. How do I know? Because they had to dig up my front yard just a couple of weeks ago to fix a leak. Now here was another leak barely 20' from the previous leak.

I came in the house and called the number for "water and sewer emergencies". Being after hours, I was connected to the police department. I explained the problem and was told that they would page the city water department who would call me back. I decided that I had better stay home from church in case they needed to talk to me, having been through this drill before.

Right now there are several big trucks parked in front of my house digging up my front yard - again. I was outside watching them when a neighbor came came walking up the street dressed only in shorts - which I thought was odd since it's raining. He asked me what was going on and I explained that there was a water main leak. He then said he was in the shower when they cut the water off - it was then I realized that the white stuff all over him was soap - poor guy.

So, anyway, today is my wife's birthday. I made her coconut pancakes for breakfast; and I have a super fabulous dinner planned - and no water. The dinner itself doesn't need much water - but I will need water for washing up, especially since preparation involves cutting up meat.

Strike 2 on fabulous dinners.

Although, this dinner is not totally doomed just yet - there is still time if they get the water turned back on in the next couple of hours. It's just frustrating.

UPDATE: The city workers finished repairing the water main and turned the water back on in time for me to finish the fabulous dinner I had planned. For her birthday, I gave my wife the Julia Child cookbook and prepared Julia Child's beef bourguignon served with boiled potatoes and fresh asparagas with hollandaise.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The best laid plans ...

The missionaries were coming over for dinner on Friday. Simple right? How hard can it be? Being unemployed allows me to express myself culinarily in the kitchen; so, I planned on meatloaf and mashed potatoes. But, I was trying a new meatloaf recipe from the Cooks Illustrated "Best of" magazine with roasted garlic mashed potatoes, and fresh asparagus.

My wife works one day a week, normally on Thursdays; but, this week she also worked on Friday. Friday morning my daughter-in-law called. They had a minor emergency and she wondered if I could come over to babysit my granddaughter while she took my grandson to the doctor (he's fine - btw). His appointment wasn't until the afternoon; so, I didn't need to be there until noon.

So, I decided to do as much ahead of time as I could. I made the meatloaf, wrapped it in plastic, and put it in the refrigerator - ready to go right into the oven. I roasted the garlic and put it in the fridge covered in plastic. I washed and cut up the potatoes and had them on the stove covered in water so that it just had to be turned on.

The missionaries were supposed to arrive at 5:30pm. I wasn't sure what time I would be home; but, my wife worked until 4pm; so, she'd be home with plenty of time to cook everything.

The plan was foolproof - or so I thought . . .
  • My daughter-in-law got hung up at the doctor and didn't get back until after 5:00pm - mind you, it's a 45 minute drive to my house.
  • Shortly after 5:00pm I was in my car. I called home to see how dinner was going - and no one answered the phone. I called my wife's cell phone - she hadn't left work yet. She had gotten hung up.
  • At 5:30pm she called me. She had spoken with the missionaries - and they were hung up and were going to be late (thank goodness!); but, she was hung up in traffic - seems a traffic light was out and cars were backed up for quite a ways.
We decided there wasn't time to cook the meatloaf. So, I stopped by a deli on my way home and picked up some sandwiches. Turns out the missionaries were even later than they expected; so, we probably could have cooked the meatloaf.

Now we have an uncooked meatloaf in the fridge which I'm not quite sure what to do with. We already have dinner plans for tonight and tomorrow; so, I could put it in the freezer and have it sometime next week. Or I could go ahead and cook it and use it for sandwiches.

It was going to be a fabulous meal . . . oh well, at least the missionaries were cute [slaps face - I didn't just type that]

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The attack on the family

In Elder Russell M. Nelson recent address The Family: The Hope for the Future of Nations he states
Furthermore, those who seek to undermine traditional marriage and family would effectively limit the rights of those who do uphold the sanctity of these institutions. This consequence leads to another major concern— the eventual erosion of religious liberty, including the liberty to defend, promote, and practice traditional family values.(7)
And, to make sure we know that it is the queer community who is seeking to undermine traditional marriage and family, he includes footnote #7 which states
7. In countries where same-gender marriage is adopted with no religious exemptions, all religions could eventually be required to perform gay marriages or to accept gay priests—even when that violates their most basic doctrines.
I find this very interesting - in a disturbing sort of way. in LDS literature, footnotes are always used to denote sources of information for statements made in an article (as evidenced in the other footnotes in this article). Having a footnote of this sort is so out of character that it makes this particular footnote stand out. Did he put that in as a 'statement of fact' that we should already know? Is there any data to justify such a belief? This is crucial: Because, if it is, in fact, untrue then the whole premise of his article becomes suspect.

As far as I'm concerned, it's just more fear mongering. The fact of the matter is, there are a number of countries where same sex marriage is already legal - countries that do not enjoy the same level of freedom's that we have in the US - yet none of them force churches to perform or recognize gay marriages when their doctrine and beliefs are against such. And, there is absolutely nothing to suggest that will change.

In fact, other countries have separated legal civil unions (both heterosexual and homosexual) from the religious ceremony. You have to have a legal civil union in order for your marriage to be recognized by the government - and you can optionally opt to have a marriage religious ceremony. In that context, the statement that "all religions could eventually be required to perform gay marriages" doesn't even make sense.

Neither does the second part of that statement, "... or to accept gay priests", have any precedent. Not a single country in the world forces the LDS church to recognize women holding the priesthood. If governments are going to start interfering with religious practices - it seems far more likely that they will force religions to accept women in the priesthood before they force them to accept gay men. So, where is the outcry against that?

It's these sort of political commentary statements coming from the LDS church that are really testing my faith. I have a difficult time sustaining Elder Russell M. Nelson as a prophet, seer, and revelator when he is using his position of authority to push a political agenda. And, it's not just him, last year I blogged about similar fear mongering by Elder Bednar where he said
You're going to have the possibility of the inevitable clashes between religious liberty and free speech; and, if your religious doctrine is such that you believe marriage between a man and a woman is the only definition of marriage then that smacks up against free speech; because, if marriage is defined in a more broad way between members of the same gender - then you can't talk about that.
He is basically claiming that if gay marriage is legalized then we will loose our free speech right to preach against gay marriage. Where do they come up with this stuff? Alcohol has been legal for many years - yet nobody is telling us we can't preach about the evils of alcohol. Elder Bednar is an educated man with degrees in communication - I'm sure he knows exactly how to carefully choose his words to make it all sound plausible.

Personally I think they have it bass ackwards. Gay marriage doesn't threaten traditional marriage - it strengthens it!

There is no question that the family is under attack - but homosexuals are not the enemy! The queer community is trying to strengthen the family by introducing marriage and family values into a community that is traditionally known for promiscuity and hedonism.

I live in a very conservative, very red, community. I've raised 4 children in this environment; and, what I see around me is rampant divorce, broken homes and dysfunctional families. My daughter once observed that we're the only 'normal' family she knows of. Maybe the heterosexual community ought to take a clue from the queer community and start cleaning up their own house instead of throwing rocks at the queer community. Talk about glass houses.

I just cannot accept that God is directing these men to preach such falsehoods and fear mongering. If he is then there is no God - at least not a god I want to worship and return to live with.

I just wish I had the nerve to wear this t-shirt which says
Gay's. The biggest threat to heterosexual marriage
Because all of the best men are gay!

Thanks to Evan for first posting about the Russell M. Nelson article.