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?


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.