Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Torchwood: Children of Earth

Here are two trailers for Torchwood: Children of Earth (plus a clip that might be of particular interest to my beloved readers - it's a little bit of a spoiler, but it's so worth it). If your cable company doesn't carry BBC America then call them up and request it - no, demand it!


I can't believe I'm the only one who watched Torchwood: Children of Earth. (I never vote on my own polls as I'm interested in what others think and don't want to influence)

For those who chose the "Torch who???" option on my poll - Torchwood is BBC SciFi series that is a spinoff of Doctor Who. In fact, the word "Torchwood" is an anagram of "Doctor Who". Torchwood is quite a bit more edgy than Doctor Who and is geared towards an adult audience.

The premise being that Torchwood is a secret organization, outside of the government and beyond the police, that deals with extraterrestrials on earth. It is led by Captain Jack Harkness - who was first seen on a couple of Doctor Who episodes. Captain Jack is human - but from the 51st century. He is omnisexual, meaning he is sexually attracted to human, alien, men, woman, whatever. Throughout the 3 seasons of Torchwood, Captain Jack has had a love interest in another member of the team, Ianto Jones (pronounced YAN-toe) who functions as the team's administrator, often charged with covering up their covert activities. There has been an undercurrent of sexual tension between them throughout the series. Those brits just aren't as hung up on these sorts of romances as us americans are.

Personally, I am a Doctor Who fan from way back. I have autographed photo's from several of the actors who played Doctor Who that I got at Doctor Who conventions - just so you see where I'm coming from.

But, even if you're not into Doctor Who - I think Torchwood can stand on its own. My wife isn't as into Doctor Who as I am - but she loves Torchwood. Yes, we watch it together - and she doesn't even flinch on those hot man-on-man kissing scenes :)

Torchwood: Children of Earth was season 3 of Torchwood played as a 5-part miniseries. It is intense. It deals with ethical delimna for which there is no good answer. It left me crying - tears were literally running down my cheek.

It is being released on DVD and Blu-ray today, July 28th. Get it, netflix it, watch it, and then tell me you didn't cry.

Update 08/05/09 - results of the poll

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The sins of Sodom

What exactly were the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah?

Tradition from centuries ago tells us it was homosexuality. Even the word "Sodom" gave rise to the word "Sodomy" - which, according to the dictionary, means "copulation with a member of the same sex."

Many churches today subscribe to this interpretation. I remember being taught this as a child.

The LDS church certainly shares the popular interpretation of the sins of Sodom. If you look up "Homosexuality" in the Topical Guide in the LDS version of the King James bible, you get
Gen. 19: 5 bring them out unto us, that we may know them.
Lev. 18: 22 (Lev. 20: 13) Thou shalt not lie with mankind . . . it is abomination.
Deut. 23: 17 there shall be no . . . sodomite of the sons of Israel.
Isa. 3: 9 (2 Ne. 13: 9) declare their sin as Sodom.
Rom. 1: 27 men . . . burned in their lust one toward another.
1 Cor. 6: 9 nor abusers of themselves with mankind.
1 Tim. 1: 10 them that defile themselves with mankind.
Jude 1: 7 as Sodom and Gomorrha . . . going after strange flesh.
2 Ne. 13: 9 doth declare their sin to be even as Sodom.
If you read Genesis 19:1-14 it's easy to reach that same conclusion. Two men - angels - came into the city and were greeted by Lot who took them into his home. The men of Sodom, both old and young, demanded that Lot send out the visitors so that they could "know" them. In the bible, when a man "knows" a woman it is usually referring to sexual intercourse. So, it's understandable that people would draw the conclusion that the men of Sodom wanted to have sex with the visitors - male visitors - men who wanted to have sex with other men.

In Genesis 19:2 it says the angels wanted to abide in the streets for the night and Lot "pressed upon them greatly" for them to come into his house - giving further credence to the popular interpretation - Lot obviously knew what kind of people lived in Sodom, and he knew what they would want to do with with the visitors if they were found alone in the streets.

Further support to the popular interpretation arises with the part of the story where Lot offered up his daughters, who were virgins, to the men of Sodom - and they were rejected. The men of Sodom were obviously queers because they wanted to have sex - but not with women.

But, there are aspects of this story that have always bothered me.
  • These angels were sent from God to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. They had power; they even blinded the men of the city when they tried to break into Lots house. With such power, why would Lot be concerned about them being raped in the streets?
  • What kind of father offers up his daughters to be raped? Especially to protect a couple of men he only just met. Lot is supposed to be a man of God.
  • If the men of Sodom were a bunch of horny queers - why didn't they just go have sex with each other?
  • If you read all of Genesis 19, after escaping the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Lots daughters got him drunk and seduced him - and they both became pregnant by him. Can you imagine if the newspapers today got hold of a story like that in our modern society?
Isn't it interesting that the very people who use Genesis 19 to condemn homosexuality conveniently ignore the other parts of the story?

But, what if the sin of Sodom was something other than homosexuality? Is there another interpretation that can stand up to scripture?

Deuteronomy 23:17 says
There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.
So, whatever those men of Sodom did, it was akin to being a whore. But, does that really mean they were male prostitutes? The biblical use of the word "whore" can also be used more generally to denote corruption and debauchery. Heterosexuals can be just as corrupt and debauch as homosexuals.

What if being a Sodomite really refers one who is corrupt? That is certainly consistent with Genesis 13:13 which says
But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly.
But, does it hold water with the rest of the story? Why were the men of Sodom so insistent upon seeing Lots visitors? Why did they dismiss Lots daughters so readily? I don't know, maybe they were a bunch of Amway salesmen and viewed those guys as "fresh meat", and they knew Lots daughters didn't have any money or perhaps had already bought as much of their product as they could use.

Other interpretations for the sins of Sodom have been given
They were uncharitable and abusive to strangers, the poor, sick, and disadvantaged.
In ancient biblical society, a person had a very strong obligation to protect any guests in their home.

They wanted to humiliate their visitors by engaging in "an act of sexual degradation and male rape...
It is not unheard of for a heterosexual male to use this sort of violence to show their hatred and dominance for those they are degrading.

They wanted to engage in bestiality -- having sex with members of another species.
This theory goes that the mob wanted to rape the angels; angels are not human beings; they are of a different species.

They wanted to adsorb the power of the angels:
In ancient times, sacred sex was very common. People would engage in sexual intercourse with temple prostitutes who represented a god or goddess. By doing so, the people believed that they would receive a blessing from the deity. If the people of Sodom realized that angels sent by God were present in their city, the men of Sodom may have concluded that raping the angels might give them supernatural powers.
I'm no scriptorium by any stretch of the imagination - and I'm not going to claim to be smart enough to know what the real sins of Sodom were. But, and maybe I'm biased - equating the sins of Sodom with homosexuality just doesn't ring true with me - at least not any more. I used to buy into the popular interpretation. But, that was before I really studied the story on my own.

This is what I did in Sunday School today - instead of going to Gospel Doctrine class

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Disorderly gays in the news

While Utah is dealing with the incident in the Main Street plaza involving two gay men - locally in my neck of the woods we've been dealing with our own gay drama. I don't know how national this went; but, on June 28th - which was, coincidentally, the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall rebellion - the Rainbow Lounge, a a gay bar in Fort Worth, Texas, was raided by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and the Fort Worth police department. As a result of this raid 6 people were arrested and one patron had to be hospitalized because of an injury to his head - allegedly due to excessive force by TABC agents and Fort Worth police officers.

Like the Main Street Plaza incident - there are conflicting accounts. The police officers claim that the people in the bar were making sexually suggestive comments and were groping the officers. The people involved deny that with one stating "we may be gay, but we're not stupid."

Like the Main Street Plaza incident, there have been regular protests since the incident.

I'm not going to comment on the right-ness or wrong-ness of either of these two incidents. The fact is, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle of the conflicting accounts, and we'll probably never know what really happened in either case.

But, what has been fascinating to me is to compare the aftermath of these two incidents.

In Utah, the LDS church quickly issued a brief press release backing the actions of the security guards.

In Texas, officials were very careful not to make a snap judgment, asking for patience while a complete investigation was done.

In Utah, all blame has been placed on the two gay men involved.

In Texas, the mayor of Fort Worth has apologized; and, the head of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission admitted that agents violated policy and violated internal rules of the department.

In Utah, the LDS church later issued a more detailed press release, this time making more serious accusations against the two gay men and again supporting the actions of the security guards.

In Texas, the Fort Worth City Council is seeking a federal inquiry into the raid.

In Utah, protests are beginning to spread with a "kiss-in" being organized at the Salt Lake City, San Diego, and possibly other, temples.

In Texas, protests are peaceful and are dwindling in both frequency and number of people attending.

In Utah, mistakes were made - probably by both sides - and the LDS church is digging in, consistent in their support of the security guards, and offering no evidence that anything has been done to prevent this sort of negative PR in the future.

In Texas, mistakes were made - probably on both sides - and now a thorough investigation is underway, a task force has been organized, and a special liaison to the Fort Worth gay community has been named. Mind you, Fort Worth is not the most gay friendly city. Of large cities (Fort Worth ranks 20th in the nation) it probably ranks near the bottom on the gay friendliness scale. Dallas is far more gay friendly than Fort Worth. Heck, Salt Lake City may very well rank higher in gay friendliness.

In Utah, For the sake of argument, let's assume the security guards are absolutely correct. Let's assume that the two gay men were drunken and disorderly and were engaging in lewd conduct that no couple, gay or straight, should be doing in public. Let's even assume that removing them by force was the correct course of action. Now let's assume that the LDS church issued a press release expressing remorse and promising an investigation into the matter. Let's assume that the subsequent press release stated that they determined the actions of the security guards were justified; however, they believe that it could have been handled better, and all church security guards will be undergoing mandatory sensitivity training. Would there still be people upset? Absolutely. Would the gay community in San Diego be organizing a kiss-in at the San Diego temple to protest something that happened in Salt Lake City? Not likely!

I am very disappointed in how my church leaders handled this situation. LDS church leaders should be smart enough to recognize this as a potential PR disaster and figure out a way to address it in a more politically correct manner. When they should be offering an olive branch to the local gay community - they are, instead, demonstrating that they just don't 'get it'. The unsaid message is coming out loud and clear that gays are disgusting and they don't want those kinds of people on church property.

In Texas, I'm proud of the way our local leaders are handling this situation. Texas is not exactly a gay friendly state. It's estimated that Texas will probably be one of the very last states to legalize gay marriage. Utah will likely recognize same sex marriages before Texas does. But, at least I feel like we're moving in the right direction, albeit ever so slowly.

As I saw once on a bumper sticker

"Naturalized Texan - I wasn't born here, but I got here as fast as I could"

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Caution: This blog post will be borderline sexually explicit - as such, it also contains images that are a bit edgy as they express the thoughts I'm trying to convey. While I will try to approach this topic with as much delicacy as possible, please read no further if you are offended by such images/discussions or if you are under 18 years of age.

In a recent email exchange with a fellow MoHo, the topic of "anal sex" came up. Mind you, this is an email exchange between two people who, while not virgins since we are both married, we are both gay virgins.

This topic is such an big part of homosexual culture - at least our perceptions of it. All our lives we've been conditioned with "that is what homosexuals do to each other". I remember, when I was younger, when we would see a gay couple, someone would invariably say "I wonder which one is 'the wife'?"

Perhaps it's my gay adolescence kicking in, but I can't help being curious about such things. I can't help but wonder if, in another life where I pursued a gay relationship, would I be a 'top' or a 'bottom' or neither. I also confess that it's a sort of morbid curiosity since I'm also a little 'grossed out' by the idea - but then I wonder if there is something about it that I'm not seeing. Is it a "don't knock it until you try it" sort of thing?

In my gay adolescence, I also find myself wondering on occasion
  • What would it be like to kiss a guy?
  • What would it be like to caress, or be caressed by, a guy
  • What would it be like to engage in fellatio with a guy?
  • What would it be like . . .
Is this wrong? Or is this just a normal part of human sexuality? Should I start "singing a hymn" when such thoughts enter my mind? Or are such thoughts a healthy way for me to explore my sexuality in a safe manner? Do other gay married men have these thoughts? Or am I a closeted in-denial pervert?

I suppose some would argue that I shouldn't even be thinking about such things - that I'm sinning with the mere thought of such ideas. They could counter my claim that "I can't help it" with "God will never allow satan to tempt us beyond our ability to resist" and "with God all things are possible".

The harsh reality is that I'm a gay man living as a straight man. While all gay folk will say that "it's not just about the sex" - it's also true that sex is a big part of homosexuality. Like it or not - I am sexally attracted to men.

Sometimes, when I'm around certain men, my body experiences certain involuntary physiological reactions - reactions I do not experience around women, no matter how attractive society says they are. It doesn't even have to be physical proximity - just a picture of a man can induce these involuntary physiological reactions - and I'm not talking about X, R, or even PG rated pictures, it could be a picture of just the face. While I'm sure this may disturb some, I've even experienced these involuntary physiological reactions in the temple - where I was certainly not dwelling on such things. It used to really bother me, especially at church or in the temple. I used to berate myself and wonder if I should go talk to the bishop about it. Now I've progressed to the point where I just say to myself "yup, still gay".

(Bonus points for those who can identify the previous two pictures - seriously, is there any gay man reading this who can't? - answer at the bottom *)

It's no secret that many, even most, mixed orientation marriages fail. For those who are single - being a celibate gay puts you in the minority. I'm not suggesting that all gay folk should choose one of these options. I respect my gay brothers and sisters who have chosen to pursue gay relationships (and I hope they respect my choice) - a part of me even feels a bit envious. But, can't we find ways to make it a little easier for those of us who have chosen the gay celibate path?

When I read God Loveth His Children, I'm left with a feeling of a bunch of "don'ts"
  • Don't have gay sex
  • Don't think about gay sex
  • Don't exhibit gay characteristics
  • Don't flaunt my gay tendencies, and
  • Don't have gay friends
And, while not specifically addressed in that pamphlet, many would add
  • Don't refer to myself as "gay"
In brief - it's OK to be gay and Mormon - as long as I pretend to be straight.

Some might counter with the question "What is it I want - short of the church accepting homosexual relationships?"

What is it I want?

What about the "do's"? Yes, God Loveth His Children does include some do's - like praying to God to take these feelings away from me. But, why not explore things like
  • The parameters and boundaries we should use when exploring our sexuality
  • Acceptable ways for gay men and women to bond with each other (e.g. hugging, hand holding, etc.)
  • How to survive gay adolescence
  • Choosing the best gay friends
Why not acknowledge our gayness and accept that we're going to have gay thoughts? Why not provide a safe forum for us to vocalize and explore these thoughts and to help us get closure? Is it even healthy for us to hold all of these thoughts in and pretend they don't exist?

For much of society, the mere thought of intimacy between two men is repulsive and disgusting. I get it! I equate it with the thoughts I have regarding intimacy between two women. I mean no disrespect of my lesbian sisters; but, just thinking about it kinda makes me throw up a little in my mouth (although, apparently, some straight guys get off on it).

But, intimacy between two men is not repulsive to me - it's not disgusting to me. For me - it's beautiful! And, at the end of the day, I am left wondering . . . how can something so beautiful be so wrong? And, it's not helpful to reiterate time and again the repulsion that straight people feel and to accuse me of being unfaithful because I cannot muster up the same level of disgust . . . and to accuse my gay brothers and sisters of destroying society - when they are merely seeking human love and companionship in the only way they know how.

And so, my inquisitiveness continues . . . as a gay man, I sometimes ponder what it would be like to really live my life as a gay man? What my life would be like if I had made different decisions earlier in life? What it's like to love, and be loved by, another man? What it's like to express that love?

I'll probably never know . . . but is there really any harm in wondering once in a while?

* Steve Sandvoss of "Latter Days" and Matthew Mitcham - olympic gold medal winner in diving, and the only openly gay man competing in the 2008 olympics.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

I'm sorry

Ned's recent blog post got me to thinking as he blogged about his old friend - homophobia.

True confession: I was once a homophobe. Mind you, I wasn't going around spouting anti-gay epitaphs, I was much more subtle in my disdain for homosexuals. But, I was a homophobe just the same, consider

  • I would tell the occasional gay joke that usually played upon gay stereotypes.
  • I bought into the idea that gays were destroying the institution of marriage
  • I once volunteered in California to go door to door soliciting votes for a ballot initiative against gay marriage.
  • I openly rejoiced with others when the U.S. Supreme court ruled in favor of the Boy Scouts of America and their right to dismiss gay scouts and scouters.
Although, to be fair, I wasn't a complete neanderthal with my homophobia
  • I had a "live and let live" philosophy on life. What two people did behind closed doors was their business, not mine. I just didn't want them to be in my face about it.
  • Although I was in favor of the Supreme court decision regarding the BSA, I felt a better decision would have been to leave it up to the chartering organizations if they were going to allow gay scouts/scouters. That is, let organizations, like the LDS church, forbid it in their units, but allow other chartering organizations to set their own rules. In fact, I still feel this way.
  • Although I was against gay marriage, I would have begrudgingly accepted civil unions as a compromise solution
But, in the midst of this homophobia, I was faced with some hard to swallow facts
  • My eyes were always drawn to cute guys
  • Erotic dreams were always of the homo variety
  • My occasional lapses into pornography was always of gay content
Thinking back, it boggles my mind that I was able to remain in complete denial for so long. I knew I was attracted to guys - but I wasn't gay. It was simply my cross to bear, the thorn in my side, my dirty shameful secret I was prepared to take with me to the grave.

But everything is different now. I have finally accepted that

being attracted to guys = gay

I'm working hard to overcome the shameful feelings for being gay - and I have made progress on that front.

But, there is another shame I don't know if I'll ever be able to overcome. Not for being gay, but for hating gay - the things I did, the attitude I had, the disdain I felt for the family I didn't know I had. And, I can't help but wonder who I hurt in my blind contempt, having been totally oblivious to their pain.

And for that, I am truly sorry.

Is there anything I can do to make up for a life time of homophobia?

Somehow, blogging anonymously about being gay just doesn't seem to cut it.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


In my pursuit to become certified as a math teacher in the state of Texas, I've been attending training all this week. We're meeting at one of the area high schools, in the cafeteria, sitting at tables with 5 people each. One of the guys at my table set my gaydar off. As soon as he sat down and we exchanged introductions I began wondering about him. Now, my gaydar isn't all that reliable; but, there is just something about him - his mannerisms, speech patterns, I don't know what - that just gives me these strong feelings about him. As I've gotten to know him better throughout the week, these feelings have intensified
  • mid 30's and never married [ping]
  • fit, looks like he works out regularly [ping]
  • not at all interested in sports [ping]
  • was a theater major in college [ping]
  • good looking [ok, that's just a bonus :)]
There are other good looking guys in the room that don't set my gaydar off - but he does. In talking with him throughout the week, I've realized is that I don't want to tell him that I'm a Mormon. He is, presumably, family - and I'm ashamed to be a Mormon around family.

I'm not really quite sure what to make of this - this is a new experience for me. There have been other situations where my shyness has kept me quiet about my religious affiliation - but this is different. Not that I'm one to tell people about my Mormon-ness at every opportunity. But, it often comes out in regular conversation - such as not drinking coffee, or or my experiences working with teenage youth at church, or my wife and daughter being BYU alumni and a son currently attending BYU-Idaho.

It's not that I'm afraid to let him know, I don't want him to know - I don't want him to think less of me.

A year or so ago - before the LDS church got involved in proposition 8 - I don't think I would have felt this way. In fact, I know I wouldn't. A member of the, now defunct, photography club I once belonged to is openly gay. We met before all of that proposition 8 brouhaha - and I was very open with him about my religious affiliation. Although, I haven't been open with him about my sexuality - which I feel kinda bad about. As far as I know, he still doesn't know about me being gay - even though we still meet up once in a while for lunch to talk photography.

Again, it's that affiliation thing - I can be Mormon, and I can be gay, but I can't be both at the same time. Think about it. I have one, presumably, gay guy whom I'm embarrassed to let him know I'm Mormon - and I have another openly gay guy who knows I'm Mormon but who I'm embarrassed to let him know I'm gay. I just can't mix the two - it's like oil and water. Being gay and Mormon is an enigma.

Here I am thinking I've made tremendous progress - overcoming the shame of being homosexual and accepting myself as a gay man. And then this - maybe I haven't progressed as much as I had hoped.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Inappropriate conduct

Reading about the brouhaha regarding the incident at the Plaza in SLC owned by the LDS church and a gay couple caused me to recall something that happened once on my mission.

My companion at the time liked to kid around. One night, we were walking home at the end of the day. It was dark; so, he reached over and took my hand in his. I'm sure his intent was to freak me out - but it didn't! We walked hand in hand for probably a minute or two before he pulled his hand away. We both laughed saying something to the effect that he thought he was going to freak me out - but instead I turned it around and freaked him out.

But the truth is - I didn't flinch or pull away ... because I kinda liked it.

I have wondered what would happen if a gay couple came to a church service and held hands - I guess I have my answer. But, I am curious - where is it written that people with same sex attraction are not to have any public displays of affection with a member of their own gender? Is that what the pamphlet God Loveth His Children means where it says
It is not helpful to flaunt homosexual tendencies or make them the subject of unnecessary observation or discussion.
Or, perhaps where it says
It is better to choose as friends those who do not publicly display their homosexual feelings.
These two statements (among others) in "God Loveth His Children" have always bothered me because they are so vague and subject to a very broad interpretation.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I feel stupid

I'm working on an alternative certification program to become certified as a teacher in the state of Texas - specifically high school math. As part of my certification, I have to take a content exam to prove I can teach math; so, I've been brushing up on my math knowledge.

My degree is in math; but, it's been many many moons since I've worked with polynomials or factored a quadratic equation. Dang! That stuff's hard! And I haven't even looked at pre-calc or calculus yet.

I'm allowed to use a calculator in the exam; so, I bought a TI-84 Plus Silver Edition (which is on the 'approved' list). I was intrigued by the TI-Nspire CAS; however, I settled on the TI-84 because it's very similar to the TI-83 which is the defacto standard for high schools around these parts. Learning all of the ins and outs of the TI-84 is proving to be just as daunting as refreshing my math knowledge.

Right now, I've feeling very stupid.

But, I'm going to persevere.

Maybe I should get the pink faceplate for my TI-84

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

In or out?

The comments to a recent post have given me pause. Philip made the astute observation
"if you have been depending on this virtual community for a long time then my guess is that the support and validation you receive from this community may no longer be enough."
John added
"this is the price of the closet. This is why the closet destroys us."
But MoHoHawaii pointed out
the problem in Abelard's case is that he would bring his wife out of the closet with him and disclose his sexuality to his children. The decision to come out is not entirely his.

Plus, I'm not sure I'd recommend destabilizing one's social support system during a job crisis.
He is right, the decision to come out is not mine alone to make. To be honest, sometimes I almost wish I were "outed" so that the decision is made for me. But, while I think I would be mostly OK with it, I expect it would devastate my wife.

The job situation is also worthy of consideration. Especially since I am working towards becoming certified as a teacher - and I work in a state whose job discrimination laws do not include sexual orientation. A gay teacher - even a gay celibate one - might not be looked on too favorably in this reddest of red state that I live in.

The truth of the matter is, it's really a matter of "when" rather than "if" I'm coming out of my closet. But, the time has to be right - and I'm not so sure now is the right time.

In the mean time, while I am remote from other gay Mormon's, I'm not remote from gay culture. I live near Dallas which has it's own gayborhood. Dallas is also home to the Cathedral of Hope church, which claims to be, the largest GLBT congregation in the world. But, I don't know how much good that does me. I've met with local members of the Gay Christian Network a few times. I've even gone to lunch a couple of times with members of the local chapter of Affirmation. But, I don't know how to initiate such interactions. Truth is, I always feel a little out of place - It seems like I'm always the oldest person, the only person in a MOM, the only one still active in church, whatever. What's social retard like me to do?

For those of you who have come out of the closet - you have my deepest admiration for your courage. When it comes down to it, I'm really quite a coward and I avoid confrontation. Unfortunately, coming out brings with it possible confrontation.

On a more positive note, since I started down the path of alternative certification for teaching, my wife has noted that I seem much happier and have a more positive outlook on life. So, I guess it's not all doom and gloom for me.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

For my flaming liberal friends

You can now own your very own Special Edition Chia Obama. It comes in two versions: Happy and Determined, and includes his famous campaign phrase "Yes, we can" written on the side.

Nothing says "I support Obama" more than a Special Edition Chia Obama sitting in a place of prominence in your home.

Good thing Obama won - because with a Chia McCain, you'd have to not plant any chia seeds on the top of the head and you'd have to let what's left grow old and die a little - not nearly as striking as the Chia Obama.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Self pity or . . .

"I can't ever let anyone find out that I'm not straight. It would be so humiliating. My friends would hate me. They might even want to beat me up. And my family? I've overheard them. They've said they hate gays, and even God hates gays, too. Gays are bad, and God sends bad boys to hell. It really scares me when they are talking about me."
- from the diary of Bobby Griffith (Prayers for Bobby)
The last three weeks I've only attended Sacrament meeting. Ostensibly because I wasn't feeling good - which is true. I'm having a bit of a health problem - nothing serious, but enough to make it very uncomfortable to sit at church for extended periods of time. (sorry if that's TMI).

But, the truth of the matter is, I wanted to go home - I didn't want to stay for sunday school and/or priesthood meeting. People are friendly, but I have no friends; and, like Bobby, I increasingly feel like the people at church would hate me if they knew who I really am. Somebody just has to mention the words "gay" or "proposition 8" and, without any further elaboration, everybody nods in agreement. Because, everybody knows that the gays are out to destroy the institution of marriage and family - and to force their debauchery upon all of society.

Or, perhaps I'm just being overly sensitive - perhaps the pressures of not being able to find a job is taking it's toll on me and manifesting as self pity.

Wikipedia defines "self pity" as
Self-pity is the psychological state of mind of an individual in perceived adverse situations who has not accepted the situation and does not have the confidence nor ability to cope with it. It is characterized by a person's belief that he or she is the victim of events and is therefore deserving of condolence. . . . Self-pity is a way of paying attention to oneself, albeit negatively; it is a means self-soothing or self-nurturing ("I hurt so much").
Is that what I'm doing? Am I feeling so alone and inadequate that I am having to self nurture? Is this all a state of mind. Are things at church really just hunky doorey and it's me that has the problem?

Or, is there some validity to my feelings? Is mormon culture a hostile environment for gay folk? Is remaining closeted and pretending to be something I'm not the only way to "fit in"? Am I no longer fitting in because I'm overcoming my shame in my queerness?

Whatever the cause, church is more and more becoming something I do simply out of a sense of duty and not something that I enjoy or look forward to. In church leadership meetings, they sometimes list out 3 things that every member of the church needs
  1. testimony
  2. calling
  3. friend
On #1, I have to confess, my testimony is beginning to sputter. The problem with Mormon testimonies is that everything is so intertwined - a testimony on one thing (say, the Book of Mormon) logically leads to a testimony of all things (like Joseph Smith and his successors being modern day prophets). But, what happens when you have an anti-testimony on some aspect? Is it possible to maintain a testimony of other things? If A is true then B must also be true and if B is true then C must also be true - what if I sincerely believe C is false, what does that say about A & B? If you have an anti-testimony about C then does it all come crumbling down like a house of cards? Is a mormon testimony all or nothing?

On #2, I have a calling (seminary teacher); but, I'm on summer hiatus right now with just a monthly inservice meetings; so, not much to do. And, I'm beginning to wonder if I should ask to be released because of #1. Or would that make things even worse?

On #3, I have no friends at church. People are friendly - they smile and say hello. But they're not friends - does that make sense? Of course, to have a friend you must be a friend - and how can a social retard like me be a friend?

Am I wallowing in self pity? Or does life just truly suck for me right now? Does it even matter which? And, what can I do about it?