Monday, August 31, 2009

A proposal

Why is it that whenever I blog about masturbation (which has really only been a very few times) - my blogging stats peak?

I was ready to move on in my blog - but I keep getting yanked back.
  • Family members have lamented that I took my masturbation poll down prematurely.
  • When I blogged about my feelings on masturbation and had the poll up - visits to my blog peaked to the highest it's been in several months
Clearly, there is a keen interest in the topic of masturbation in the Mormon queerosphere - and there seems to be a lot of pent up feelings.



My proposal: Let's designate a blogging topic for the month of September 2009 - and that topic will be: Masturbation

This is a serious request. During September blog about your own thoughts and feelings on the topic of masturbation. It doesn't have to be an extensive treatise - just a single blog post will do.




I've stated my position on the topic - that I don't see anything wrong with it, as long as we don't do it so much that it becomes a problem. Some of you may disagree - you may feel that I've gone too far, that we need to actively work to overcome it. Others of you may feel that I've not gone far enough - that it's not only OK, but an essential part of human sexuality. There may be some of you who actually agree with me. And, there are probably some who are still trying to work out their own feelings on the topic.

We're certainly not going to come to any absolute conclusion on the topic - this is something that we all need to work out for ourselves. But reading other points of view on the topic may be helpful to those who are struggling with their own feelings on the topic. Even if you don't know where you stand - blog about the questions you have.

I've also put the masturbation poll back up - but in a new blog I created titled MoHo Polls. Please visit and vote, again if you already voted in my previous poll. Without trying to be tawdry, I also took the liberty to add a couple other masturbation related polls. There is such interest in this topic - and these are questions I thought might be of interest. Let me know if there are other masturbation related polls we should add for September.

My thought is that MoHo Polls could be also be used to get opinions on a variety of topics - good idea? Bad idea? Should go rinse my mouth out with soap and do 5 "hail Moroni's"?

Also, let me know if you would like to be a co-author of the MoHo Polls to have the ability to create your own polls.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Thought progression

"That's the ugliest thing I've ever seen"
"Did you forget to take it out of the box?"
. . .
"It looks like a clown car"
. . .
"It's so tiny"
. . .
"It's starting to grow on me"
. . .
"I think I'll make it my car"

This is the thought progression my wife has made over the past week regarding my Nissan Cube. Maybe I should go pee on it to mark it as mine.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Worthless

Here I sit. It's been 4 months since I was laid off. After applying for numerous jobs, I haven't had a single one call me back - not a single interview. It's all starting to feel so futile.

I'm feeling pretty worthless today. Nobody wants me. Other than my wife and children - does anybody even care that I'm alive? Do they even care?

I noticed CiC's (an all-you-can-stand pizza joint) had a help wanted sign on their window - perhaps I should apply. On second thought - I make more money sitting at home on my fat butt collecting unemployment than I would working for minimum wage. Hmmm, something doesn't seem quite right about that.

Realizing that this unemployment gig might go on for a while, out of idle curiosity I checked into food stamps. Don't qualify - too much money in savings. You have to have less than $100 to your name in order to qualify for food stamps. Makes me wonder how fast they are at processing applications. If I'm down to my last $100 then I need help now! - not a month from now when they finally get around to looking at my application. And people want the government to take over health care? Frankly, I'm all for health care reform - there are some definite problems that need to be addressed. But giving the government control of it isn't the answer - they'll just screw it up to an even worse mess than it already is. This is why I've never given any credence to governmental conspiracies - I think government, in general, is just too stupid to pull it off.

Although, perhaps I'm being hypocritical as I sit here, the beneficiary of Obama's stimulus packages. He is subsidizing a major portion of my monthly health insurance - I pay less now for health insurance than I did when I was employed -for the same exact coverage. Of course, that will end in 8 months, then I'll just be screwed if I haven't found a job with benefits by then. I also took advantage of his "cash for clunkers" incentive and traded in our old van. Bought a Nissan Cube - which gets over double the gas mileage that the van got, so I qualified for the full $4,500 trade-in. But, I love my Nissan cube. It's so butt ugly it's cute. It's kinda girly, even a bit gay - just like me. And the looks people give me as I pull up next to their ginormous gas guzzling SUV are priceless.

But ... then I feel stupid for buying a new car when I'm unemployed. It just seemed like too good of a deal to pass up - and I was going to have to get another car anyway once I do find a job. The van was the type where I worried that the transmission would fall out, or something equally disastrous, whenever I drove it.

I couldn't believe it when they tried to get me to finance the car. They were actually wanting to give me a loan when I have zero income - and we wonder why we have a credit crisis in this country!

I'm taking a big math test tomorrow - to prove I am actually qualified to teach high school math. It's a requirement of the "No Child Left Behind" legislation. I'm feeling pretty good about the algebra and geometry stuff, less confident about the calculus. The part I'm worried about is trigonometry and statistics. There's just so much to remember all of the relationships between sine's, cosine's, tangents, and other trig-crap. And statistics - truthfully, I struggled in statistics in college - and it hasn't gotten any easier with age. When students take the TAKS (assessment) exams they are given a sheet with all of the formula's they might need. I'm hoping they do the same for this test - then I might be able to muddle through the trig part. But, the statistics - I'm just hoping I do well enough on the rest of the test to compensate - otherwise, I'm statistically doomed.

In any case, today is not a good day for me.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Temple

I attended the temple yesterday - perhaps the last time for a while ... or ever.

My recommend expires 8/31/2009. Back in March I blogged about the conundrum I face. More recently I blogged about the cross roads I find myself standing at- and nothing has changed.

Perhaps I should just bite the bullet and 'out' myself to my bishop - but I don't know if I'm ready for that, yet. And, I don't know how I can answer the temple recommend questions truthfully - and explain why I feel the way I do - without 'outing' myself. I know some people are, somehow, able to separate their feelings - but I can't.

Truthfully, going to the temple is not something I can say that I enjoy doing. I don't hate it - but I don't exactly look forward to it in anticipation either. It's always been something I've done more out of duty rather than desire (kinda like home teaching). It's a hassle having dress in church clothes, drive to the temple dealing with Dallas traffic, change into temple clothes when we arrive - and when it's over, doing it all again in reverse.

Or ... perhaps I've become as Nephi warned: ", but ye were past feeling, that ye could not feel his words" (1 Nephi 17:45). Perhaps I'm taking one more step towards the edge of the precipice and am about to fall off.

Whatever the case ... this is where I am in my journey. Like the Chesire cat said "If you don't know where you want to go, it doesn't matter which road you take." At this point in my journey - I don't know where I want to go. I know where the LDS church says I should go - but I don't know if that's where I want to go.

To go where the LDS church says I should go will take a act of great faith - faith in the LDS church, faith that has been challenged in recent months - and I don't know if I have it in me anymore.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Remembering Ted Kennedy (1932 - 2009)

We are on different ends of the political spectrum - but that doesn't mean I cannot respect him as a person. He devoted his life to serving this country; and, my heart goes out to his family.

Things that make me go "huh?"

Petition Demanding Apology and Recognition of Computer Scientist Alan Turing
Thousands of people have signed a petition to Downing Street demanding an apology be on the record regarding computer scientist Alan Turing who was defamed by the British Government.

Alan Turing was the greatest computer scientist ever born in Britain. He laid the foundations of computing, helped break the Nazi Enigma code and told us how to tell whether a machine could think.

He was also gay. He was prosecuted for being gay, chemically castrated as a 'cure', and took his own life, at the age of 41.

The British Government should apologize to Alan Turing for his treatment and recognize that his work created much of the world we live in and saved us from Nazi Germany. And an apology would recognize the tragic consequences of prejudice that ended this man's life and career.
Um ... not quite sure what to say about this. First of all, Alan Turing is recognized for his contributions in computer science circles. I am truly sorry for how he was treated leading him to take his own life. However, isn't that how all discovered gays were treated at that time in history? Is there any particular reason Alan Turing deserves an apology but none of the other gay people who were similarly treated?

There is the old saying "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" (George Santayana); however, we also need to make sure that we don't live in the past - we need to live in the here and now.

I guess I just don't "get it". What can possibly be gained by someone - who wasn't involved, perhaps not even alive at the time - offering an apology for something that happened in the distant past?

The U.K is a progressive country. Homosexuals can legally marry. Gay celebrities, such as Elton John, John Barrowman, and others are honored, even revered. I'm sure that homophobia is not absent - but they are moving in the right direction for total inclusion. So what is the point of digging up the past?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Recent polls and more answers

Masturbation poll

First off, I want to apologize to anyone who was offended by my masturbation poll. I took it down early as I wasn't comfortable having that be the first thing you see when you go to my blog.

It was not my intent to be tawdry - I was just trying to prove a point. Examining masturbation habits during the mission years is significant because that is a time when young men are working their hardest to overcome it. For most young men, they probably never tried so hard either before or in the years after. Yet, even then, those who masturbated on their mission at least once outnumber those who didn't by more than 2 to 1.

Masturbation is the dirty little secret in Mormon culture - just about all of the brethren have engaged in it, but few will admit or acknowledge it. I find it interesting that there seems to be no current word from church leaders about it. Everything I've found on the topic on lds.org is 15 years old or more. One could argue that they don't talk about it because everything that needs to be said has been said - but you could use that same argument about porn, getting out of debt, etc. Why do we keep hearing about those but not the M-word?

Although, I am a bit surprised at the frequency distribution in my poll. I expected more in the once or twice, less on infrequently, and the least in regularly. It seems most missionaries either do it regularly or not at all - at least according to this decidedly unscientific poll. Although, I expect that if this were conducted as a proper poll - the results might not be that different.

Opinions about Abelard poll

On the poll asking if opinion of me had changed as a result of the recent disclosures from questions I answered - most said their opinion of me hasn't changed . But I've since realized that an unchanged opinion could range anywhere between "Abelard is awesome" to "Abelard is a schmuck." So, perhaps it wasn't my most well formed poll. I suppose I could put up a new poll flat out asking opinions of me - but I might not like the results :)

For those who think less of me or felt my disclosures were TMI - I'm sorry. Not that it will change anything - because that is who I am. But, I am truly sorry if I offended you in any way.

For those who want to know more - what is it you want to know? Speak now, while I'm am in this 'willing to bare all' frame of mind, because it might not last forever :) I'll also answer questions privately, via email, if so requested.

More answers to questions

Q: What to the (R) and the (RIP) mean on your list of blogs? How do you compile that list and keep it up to date?

(R) means it's retired, i.e. hasn't been updated in the last year or so.
(RIP) means it's gone, but not forgotten.

I find new blogs in a variety of ways. A person I don't recognize may comment on a blog, in my blogging statistics, I may notice a link from a blog I don't recognize, etc. Sometimes people email me to let me know of a new blog (either their own or one they recently became aware of).

As far as keeping it up to date. I fear I don't do a very good job in that area. I used to go through the list every few months to update my notations. But, the list has gotten too long and unwieldy. I need to figure out a better way. I envision some sort of MoHo portal, something similar to the Mormon Blogosphere portal where the blogs are categorized in some fashion and listed in order of recent updates (that way, the retired blogs will naturally float to the bottom of the list). But, I'm not HTML savvy enough to pull it off.

Any volunteers to help with this?

Q: Have you ever been in love with a man?

This is probably the most difficult question I've been asked during the Q&A invitation and one that I've had to do some serious soul searching about before answering.

I think I'll have to answer 'No' - I've never been truly in love with a man. I've crushed on other guys, I've been infatuated about other guys, I've had homoerotic dreams about other guys. But, I've never known a man whom I truly loved and would want to spend the rest of my life with.

That said, there are a couple of MoHo's I've met here in the queerosphere whom I think I could fall in love with - and, before you ask, whose names will not be revealed (although, I suspect they may know who they are). I'll only say that they are ... um ... shall I say - more mature (read 'old).

It used to be something I never thought about. I'm old and fat - and I just figured nobody would ever want me. But, I've come to learn that not all gay men are as shallow as the stereotype indicates. I realize now that there just might be a man out there whom I could make a life with together which, truthfully, gives me something to worry about.

I've made a commitment that I'm going to stay in my marriage. But, what if I do meet someone whom I fall head over heals in love with and who also has similar feelings for me? What would that do to my marriage?

I take comfort in the fact that I'm not out looking for love - I'm trying to make the best of the love I already have.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The "M" word - revisited

I've had this post sitting my my drafts folder for over two years (it was dated 07/25/2007). Because of the first question I received (my personal philosophy regarding masturbation) and some subsequent comments, I decided to go ahead and publish it. Although going back and reading it, it reflects my views 2 years ago which have somewhat evolved since then.

* * * * *

I've been thinking about my posting on The M Word and the subsequent comments as well as some private conversations I've had with a few of you. And, there are a couple of points that I want to bring out.

I've found it interesting that most of the dissenting opinions have been from the sisters among us. I don't mean that as a criticism. For me, it underscores just how different men and women are when it comes to sexuality. Women can't understand male sexuality any more than men can understand female sexuality.

For us guys, there are certain aspects of male sexuality that we all share, regardless of who we are attracted to. For one thing, it is a simple fact of life that men have to ejaculate periodically. If we don't do it via intimacy with a partner or in a solo session with ourselves then our body will do it on its own through a nocturnal emission. The answer may seem simple - just let your body do its thing and stop playing with yourself. But, alas, it's not that simple.

Elder Boyd K. Packer talked about nocturnal emmisions when speaking to the young men of the church in the priesthood session of the October 1976 general conference:
As you move closer to manhood, this little factory will sometimes produce an oversupply of this substance. The Lord has provided a way for that to be released. It will happen without any help or without any resistance from you. Perhaps, one night you will have a dream. In the course of it the release valve that controls the factory will open and release all that is excess.
These dreams he refers to - these aren't dreams of flying or of red balloons. These are erotic dreams culminating in an orgasm; and, at least for me, they are of the homo variety. I recall times on my mission where I was laying in my bed having a homoerotic dream and I, perhaps subconsciously, reached down to touch myself which brought on this release. Afterwards I felt tremendous guilt for the dream and thinking I had just masturbated. But, in retrospect, all I probably did was bring on the release a few moments before it would have on its own.

When I was in high school, I had a pet chihuahua. I recall once the neighbor had a female dog in heat. It was all we could do to keep him in our own yard. He wouldn't eat or drink. I truly feared we might lose him. The need to copulate was stronger than his need to sustain himself with nourishment. We, of course, aren't dogs and there are different physiological factors involved. But, the sexual urges in human males are still just as strong as in other males in the animal kingdom. We also have the God given ability to resist these urges. However, depending on what else is going on in our lives, our ability to resist may be weakened.

This brings me to my second point. In a Bishopric training meeting recently, our good Stake President had "dealing with ssa" on the agenda of things he wanted to talk about. He only spent about 5 minutes on the subject; but, there is one thing he said that I've since come to realize was very profound. As he counseled the bishop's in our stake he said (and I'll try to word this exactly as he said it as best as I can recall) "brethren, when working with someone with same sex attraction, there are factors that may be affecting their behavior, other than just making bad choices, that you need to take into consideration."

I think that when we put restrictions on someone who has a masturbation problem or when we berate ourselves for a perceived masturbation problem - we may be treating a symptom and ignoring the problem. In some ways, masturbation can be like alcohol or drugs in that it provides temporary relief from other problems the person may be facing. He may be feeling depressed, downtrodden, desperate, perhaps even suicidal. And, for a brief moment of ecstasy, he can put these feelings behind him.

So, if we find ourselves masturbating more than we think we ought to (which, for some, might be 'ever', for others, it might be exceeding some 'acceptable' frequency), I think we need to examine what else is going on in our lives. We need to make sure we are treating the problem and not just the symptom.

And, for those of us who have sexual feelings contrary to that which is taught by the church, masturbation may not be a deviation from the strait and narrow path - it may, in fact, provide a way for us to stay the course.

Kinsey scale

A lot has been written about the Kinsey scale. Many have criticized it as over simplifying something as complex as sexual orientation.

I like the Kinsey Scale because it is simple - it's easy to understand and to explain to others. While I agree that it is an over simplification, I also think it helps illustrate to others (read 'clueless straight people') that sexual orientation is not a binary state where you are either gay or straight - it is a continuum with infinite degrees.

Personally, I put myself at about a 5 - I think I must have, at least, some heterosexual attraction in order to stay married. I mean, I'm not totally repulsed by my wife. Although, the online tests I've taken for Kinsey score tend to put me more at a 3 or 4 - because they focus on action rather than attraction.

For me, the Kinsey scale also helps to explain why there is so much disagreement on the proportion of the population that is gay. I've heard estimates ranging from less than 1% to 10% or greater - I think they are all correct - it depends upon the definition of 'gay'. If you're only looking at '6' on the Kinsey scale (totally gay) then 1% or less may be correct. If you're looking at 4 or greater (mostly gay) then 3%-4% might be a good figure. If you're looking at anything greater than zero (anybody who has any gay feelings whatsoever) then 10% or greater might be accurate.

But, I don't think we'll ever truly know how much of the population is gay
  • sexual orientation is largely misunderstood by the masses
  • it's too politicized
  • I think human nature would cause many people who are a 1 or 2 to have difficulty admitting it (how many straight guys will admit to being 'a little gay'?)
But does it really matter? The fact is - gay people exist. We're here and we're queer! Does it really matter if it's 1% or 10%? We exist even if we are a minority population.

What I find interesting is that the people who insist that the gay population is smaller than most believe are also the same people who feel most threatened by the gay population. How can a 1% minority be such a threat to a 99% majority? For that matter, how can a 10% minority be such a threat to a 90% majority?

Here are the final results from my Kinsey scale poll. I find the results of this poll interesting. The distribution on the gay side of the scale is about what I would have expected. But, I am surprised at the number of straight (or mostly straight) people who read my blog.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Fourth batch of answers

I've received a few more questions (and comments I wanted to respond to) as a result of the answers I already gave. And, my invitation to ask questions still stands.

Q: I am clearly NOT a gay man. :)

And I am clearly not a lesbian ... er, a gay woman :) But, I think we understand one another. The way I look at it - I think eating organ meats (heart, brains, liver, etc.) is totally disgusting and revolting. In fact, even thinking about it makes me want to throw up a little in my mouth. But, that doesn't mean I can't love, accept, and respect those who do like to partake in such things. Just, please don't share any recipes with me ...

Q: (a) So do you have rage against the church or what? (b) Do you still believe most of what they teach otherwise?

(a) I don't harbor any rage against the church. If I did, I wouldn't still be attending every Sunday nor would I be fulfilling my calling in my stake. I think a word that probably better describes my feelings towards the church right now is disappointment. Although, I am curious about what I said that would cause you to draw that conclusion.

(b) I want to say 'yes' - I really do. I want to say that my testimony is as strong as ever in all other things - but I'd be lying. Unfortunately, Mormonism is an all or nothing religion. Is it even possible to have a 99% testimony? But, to answer your question - yes, I still believe. But, it's like getting a tiny crack in your windshield - one that slowly begins to grow over time. And, it's not something that's going to get fixed by simply praying, reading the scriptures, and going to church.

Q: did you like the music for the new star trek spinnoff "enterprise" yes/no, why/why not?

I've already answered this question in my Third batch of answers. I just wanted to add that when I first read this question, I mistakenly thought it was referring to the latest movie (which is still in theaters - btw). And my thought was "um, I don't really remember the music track" - I guess I was too busy ogling Chris Pine.

Stake conference

This weekend was stake conference.

Last night we were driving home from my son's house, where we were celebrating their twins 3rd birthday, when it occurred to us that we were missing the Saturday evening adult session of conference. We both then shrugged our shoulders and said "oh well." We were doing what we ought to have been doing.

We then talked briefly about an acquaintance of ours whom we felt would probably have put the stake meeting ahead of the birthday party. (yes, we were gossiping). This guy, who is the executive secretary in his stake, made his daughter change her wedding date because it conflicted with a stake activity. I then commented "I guess that's why I'm not the executive secretary in our stake." The truth is, I just wouldn't be that dedicated. And this has nothing to do with my feelings towards the church regarding homosexuality or any other issues I may have. It's just that for me - family comes first! Yes, even a grandchild's birthday party is more important than a church meeting.

This morning, we got to the stake center early, with the intent of being able to sit in the more comfortable pews. Unfortunately, we weren't quite early enough and ended up sitting in the second row of folding chairs. But, we did get to listen to the stake youth choir (12-18 year olds) practice the hymns they would be singing during the conference. Then one of these youth sat down at the organ and began playing prelude music. He was really good! I love listening to a good organ player. As I sat there enjoying his music - I pondered if he was family. Yeah, I know, I'm playing up to stereotypes. But, a 17-18 year old boy who is a church organist - you just gotta wonder.

We sat behind a family who used to be in our ward before it was split several years ago. They have 10 or 12 children (I've lost count), of whom only 3 are left at home. We don't know their younger children at all since they were born after the ward split. I sat there looking at his youngest son who was, perhaps, 14 years old thinking how much he looked like his oldest brother whom I knew quite well when he was younger. And then I thought "youngest son - several older brothers, hmmm." Nothing about him pinged my gaydar - but then, my gaydar is notoriously unreliable. Usually a guy has to be pretty flaming in order for me to pick up on the idea that he might be gay. But, having several older brothers, he is more likely to be family than his peers.

Now I was actually paying attention in conference. These things I wrote above were more fleeting thoughts. It's just that they were gay thoughts - and this is my gay blog.

But, I do wonder - if I'm correct about these two young men, what sort of world awaits them? How will their families react when they 'come out'? No parent is going to think "gee that's wonderful!" when they find out their son is gay. I'm gay and I would be saddened to find out one of my sons or daughters were gay. Face it - we live in a heterosexual world. Regardless of our feelings about homosexuality - being gay does make life just a little more difficult than it otherwise might be. And no parent wants that for their children.

The truth about the Sodomites

This makes me sad. And it's not really this man who makes me sad - we'll always have idiots around us. What makes me sad is realizing that there is a whole congregation of people sitting there listening to this drivel - and nodding in agreement.



Other quotes from this man of god known as Pastor Steven Anderson:
"The same God who instituted the death penalty for murders is the same god who instituted the death penalty for rapists and for homosexuals, sodomites and queers"

"The sodomites are recruiters and you know who they are after? Your children. They are being recruited by the sodomites. They are being molested by the sodomites. They recruit through rape, they recruit through molestation, they recruit through violation"

"Our country is run by faggots. You know who was the man who was the architect of the bailout? His name is Barney Frank, he is a pedophile..."

"That's who just sold our country into fascism. That's who just sold our corporations to the government. That's who sold out our country, a faggot!"

"God Hates Barack Obama, I hate Barack Obama. I hate Him. God wants me to Hate Barack Obama." "Someone who commits murder should get the death penalty."

Friday, August 21, 2009

Third batch of answers

More answers.

The offer to answer questions still stands and I'll answer them if/when they come in; but, I'll probably move onto other topics after this post.

Q: As a gay LDS person, how do you relate with Church leadership, including the President of the Church, when it comes to their views on SSA? To what extent do you grant them absolute moral authority on such matters?

This, my friend, is the essence of my struggle with the LDS church.

Three years ago this wouldn't have been an issue. The LDS church taught that there was no sin in having same sex attraction but that homosexual activity was wrong - and that was that! The LDS church still teaches the same - but acceptance of that teaching is no longer as clear cut as it once was.

I still have a problem with the stereotypical promiscuity that many associate with homosexuality. But, when two people love one another other and want to build a life together in a committed monogamous relationship, even marry if it were legally available to them - I just don't see the sin in them consummating that relationship with sexual intimacy. But that puts me at odds against those whom I once granted absolute moral authority in such matters.

On the other hand, once I start questioning and disagreeing with the absolute moral authority - then where does it end? Can I accept sexual intimacy between those who love one another but are not yet willing to commit to a monogamous relationship? Am I willing to accept recreational sex - just for fun - between willing participants? Is the absolute moral authority more like the pirates code - a set of suggestions rather than hard and fast rules? Tis a slippery slope that I find myself on, I recognize that.

Life was so easy when I accepted the president of the LDS church as the absolute moral authority - he did all of the thinking for me and I merely had to listen and obey. But, the LDS church also teaches that we can know what is right by the burning in the bosom we feel. A former prophet, Ezra Taft Benson, taught "You cannot do wrong and feel right. It is impossible!" So, what if something feels right - something we're taught is supposed to be wrong?

Getting back to the question at hand - I really don't know anymore. My absolute moral authority is no longer as absolute as I once thought it was. This puts me in a state of moral flux - and I really don't know where this is leading me. On one hand, I want to believe and accept the LDS teaching. On the other hand, it feels wrong to do so, without question, in matters regarding homosexuality. And it also begs the question: If they are wrong about homosexuality - what else are they wrong about? Plus, it puts me in a moral dilemma: Can I support a man as a prophet, seer, and revelator yet disagree with some of his teachings?

Q: did you like the music for the new star trek spinnoff "enterprise" yes/no, why/why not?

I didn't mind the theme song for Enterprise. Although, truthfully, I only listened to it a couple of times. I seldom watch live TV - most everything I watch is prerecorded on the DVR so I can fast forward through the opening and commercials.

Q: have you seen the syfy tv show Warehouse 13? and what do you think?

Yes - love it!

I rarely watch anything that's not on SyFy, BBC America, Food Network, Bravo, or Lifetime.

Q: I like being gay. I like myself for who I am. I define myself for those reasons. However, there are many who prefer that we do not use the term "gay" to define ourselves. What are your views?

Personally, I think "Same Sex Attraction" and "Same Gender Attraction" sound like some sort of disease or mental disorder. I do not like those terms; and, until someone comes up with something better, I prefer to think of my self as simply 'gay'.

The argument against 'gay' is usually something along the lines that people will draw wrong conclusions about me if I refer to myself that way. However, for me - that's more the reason I should refer to myself as 'gay'. People need to learn that much of what they think they know about gay culture and gay people is probably wrong. What better way to open their eyes than to expose them to gay people who do not meet their narrow minded stereotype?

Something else to consider: Although there are aspects of gay culture that I'm not comfortable with (like the whole gay bar scene), I am still part of that culture - gay culture is much more rich and diverse than many realize. I've never been to a gay pride parade or participated in any sort of gay activism - but I am still a beneficiary of the social strides that have come as a result of those who went before me. While there is still a lot of homophobia in our culture - we've reached a point where I do not fear my physical well being for simply being gay - because of events like the Stonewall riots and activists like Harvey Milk and others. By being 'gay' instead of 'struggling with SGA', I honor those who have made this possible.

Besides, I don't struggle with same gender attraction - I struggle with opposite gender attraction. Being attracted to guys is natural and feels normal to me. Being attracted to girls - now that's hard.

Q: Kirk or Picard?

It depends. If I want someone who will go kick some Romulan butt then I'd definitely want Kirk. If diplomacy is needed then Picard is the man.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Second batch of answers

Here is another batch of answers - keep those questions flowing.

Q: Is homosexuality a sexual orientation like heterosexuality? In other words, do you equate the two? If not, why not?

Maybe I'm not understanding the question - but it seems obvious to me that homosexuality and heterosexuality are opposite ends of a sexual orientation spectrum. So yes, I equate the two.

Q: What is the difference between love and being in love?

Hmmm ... I've seen this question equated to the ocean. A person can know all about the ocean without ever having been in an ocean. Loving the ocean is not the same as experiencing the ocean.

The dictionary defines love as "a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person." I can love another person without necessarily being in love with them. I can care deeply for another person without desiring to consummate that love with sexual intimacy.

To further complicate things, I think it is also possible to be in love with the idea of being in love. So, I can be in love with being in love without actually loving the person I'm in love with.

Oh, this one's too hard ... my brain hurts.

Q: Is it possible for a gay person to be in love with someone of the opposite sex?

Given the number of us in MOM's - I'd have to answer yes.

Q: Is it possible for a straight person to be in love with someone of the same sex?

Certainly! Isn't that what bromances are all about? Loving someone and wanting to have sex with them are not equivalent.

Q: If it is possible for a gay/straight person to be in love with someone of the opposite/same sex then can really be considered gay/straight?

Love and sexual attraction are not the same thing. Sexual attraction is a component of love - but there are other components of love that transcend sexual attraction. So yes, a gay person can love someone of the opposite gender without being sexual attracted to them. That doesn't change the fact that they are gay and are sexual attracted to people of their own gender.

Q: What's your favorite color?

Blue, but not just any blue - more of a periwinkle blue, but a bit more intense. Maybe it's more of an electric blue that I'm envisioning.

Q: Are you gonna post more recipes? I have yet to make your brisket but think my family would love it.

I have another blog where I've been posting recipe's. I'm not ready to link the two blogs since that other one is under my real identity. But, if you send me your email (my email is in my profile) then I'll send you a link. Or, if you would rather, I can send you a Facebook invite and it's in my Facebook profile.

Q: Do you think being gay would be easier if you weren't LDS?

It depends on what I was if I weren't LDS. I was raised protestant - and homosexuality was condemned just as much. However, in high school I turned agnostic. Had I not joined the LDS church in college then, I think, I probably would have had a boyfriend before I graduated from college :)

Q: What's your favorite ice cream?

Chocolate chip - which is getting harder to find these days. But, it has to be real chocolate chip - not chocolate chip cookie dough, mint chocolate chip, or any other chocolate chip abomination.

Unless I'm at Braums - then my favorite is chocolate almond. But, it can only be Braums chocolate almond.

Barring chocolate chip (or Braum's chocolate almond), my second favorite ice cream is rocky road.

First batch of answers

Well, I promised I'd be brutally honest. So, here goes ...

Q: What is your personal philosophy as it relates to masturbation versus the church's stance?

Personally I don't have any problem with masturbation. I think it's a healthy release if done in moderation. Although, like many other things, I think it can be done in excess and become a problem. Basically, if it's interfering with work, relationships, etc. then it's a problem.

As far as the stance of the LDS church - I'm not convinced there is an official stance. There was in the past - but can anybody point to anything official in the past 15 years? I know it's not addressed in the handbook of instructions that bishoprics and stake presidencies use. That said, I also realize that many bishops, who grew up in an era when their bishop asked about it, tend to carry on with the tradition.

An interesting tidbit. When I was in the bishopric, at a monthly training session. A high counselor - who also happened to be a former mission president - shared that a third of the missionaries in his mission talked to him about it, and he estimates that at least another third did it but never came forward. Bottom line, most missionaries do it - and it's not something that will typically get you sent home.

Personally, I think the brethren are becoming more realistic in this regard - boys masturbate! (I suppose girls do too, but I really don't like thinking about that.) I think (hope) we're moving into an era of "don't ask don't tell".

btw, I have a blog post on this topic titled The "M" word.

Q: Have you ever been involved with a man sexually?

With a man? No. With a boy? Yes, back in junior high. I had a friend introduce me to masturbation when I was in 7th grade. Well, to be honest, I had already discovered that rubbing myself long enough resulted in intense pleasure - he just helped me put a name to it and improve my technique. Whenever we had sleepovers we would masturbate together, and often each other. One time he wanted to try oral; I really wanted to, but backed out at the last minute - a decision I've come to regret (again, being brutality honest)

Q: (a) How does your wife feel about you being gay and (b) is she happy with the sex life you two share?

(a) It's more like the elephant in the room. Something we're both acutely aware of but don't really talk about much. But, this year hasn't really been conducive to such conversations - with two children getting married last spring and my son & wife staying with us the last couple of months while they are on summer break from college. In a couple of weeks it will just be the two of us - and I hope to rectify the lack of discussion in the upcoming months

(b) No.

Q: How are things coming along in the teaching department?

Not so good. It seems lots of people in my position (professionals who've been laid off) had the same idea. There seems to be a glut of new teachers entering the profession right now. But, I'm hanging in there and continue to have hope.

Q: Do you have crushes on guys?

Oh yes, although not as many as you might think. Infatuations are more common with me than actual crushes.

Q: If so have you kept track of how many guys you have crushed on throughout your life?

No, not really. There are some I can remember. One in particular, back in high school. His name was Kevin (well, I suppose his name still is Kevin). He was my best friend, and the first real crush I ever had on another person. I even wrote a poem about him titled Unrequited Love.

And, in the spirit of full disclosure, I also remember crushing on a guy I worked with a number of years ago (probably 20 or so). I was married and our 3rd child had recently been born. A really cute guy joined our department and we ended up working very closely together, often going to lunch together and working late together. Fortunately he was straight - because if he had wanted to take the relationship further, I'm embarrassed to admit that I'm not confident that I would have had the strength to resist. Even now I've had occasional homoerotic dreams about him.

Q: Have you become friends with any of these crushes?

The actual crushes I've had were on people I was already friends with. I don't recall befriending someone after I developed a crush on them.

Q: If so does the friendship lessen the crush, intensify it or have no effect?

Hmmm, I'm not really quite sure how to answer this. I think it depends on if the feelings are mutual. Crushing on someone I'm also good friends with could make it worse. We always want to please our friends. And, if they're willing to take things further - and I have a big crush on them and want to please them. Well, that's not a good combination.

Fortunately, for me, I always seem to crush on totally straight guys :)

Q: If your wife to pre-deceases you, can you imagine that you might then enter into a same-sex marriage-like relationlship?

The truth is, I've never been alone my whole life. I've always had parents, roommates, missionary companions, or a wife with me. Sure, there have been times when we've been separated (work travel, her visiting her family, etc.) - for as long as a couple of months at a time. But, we were always in regular contact, and the separation had an end date.

To be brutally honest, I don't think I could live the rest of my life alone. Remarrying another woman would be out of the question - so where does that leave me? Of course, it may not be of my choosing - e.g. an 80 year old man might have a difficult time finding a life partner :) But, if I find myself alone and an opportunity for a same sex relationship arises then I'd have to answer 'yes' - I just might enter into a same-sex relationship.

Q: If so, have you and your wife discussed such a imaginations and what, if anything, has been said or concluded?

No, I've never discussed this with my wife. Nor do I think anything good would come from such a conversation.

Q: Will you share with us Abelard by the numbers?

Age
Height
Weight
Waist
Chest
Arms
Forearms
Thigh
Calf
BodyFat
Penis Flaccid
Penis Erect
Ejaculation Frequency
Anyting else

(a) Yes, here you go. My wife and I had a grand time measuring.

(b) Ok, I've shared what I care to, but come one now, this isn't a dating site.

(c) No, I will not. These measurements are not anyone's business but my own. How superficial of you even to ask.


I think I'll have to go with (b) on this one.

Age = 53
Height = 5' 11"
Weight = I shop at the big&tall store, 'nuff said
Waist, Chest, Arms, Forearms, Thigh, Calf = yes, I have all body parts
Body fat = yes
Penis Flaccid = at times yes
Penis Erect = at other times yes
Ejaculation Frequency = Um, define 'frequently'
Anyting else = I have blond curly hair which is thinning on top and starting to show a touch of gray. Many people are surprised to find out how old I am - I guess I tend to look younger than my age. I certainly act younger and immature at times :)

Q: I was going to ask age

My birthday is in February - in case anybody wanted to take up a collection :)

Q: If a young man with same sex feelings came to you for advice on marriage to a woman, what would say?

At the risk of sounding hypocritical - I think, in general, gay men should not marry women; however, if a gay man truly wants to marry a woman then it should be for the same reasons that a straight man would - because he loves her. If a young gay man finds a girl that he truly loves and believes he could spend the rest of his life with - and if he does so with full disclosure with the girl - then I think it could work. But, I would caution that it will be difficult ... for both parties. And, the risk of divorce down the road is probably greater.

Q: If a young straight woman came to you for advice on marriage to a man with same sex feelings, what would you say?

If a straight woman loves a gay man then I would caution that she really needs to make sure that the feelings are mutual. She needs to know, with absolute certainty, that he truly loves her too - and that he isn't just contemplating marriage because that's what he thinks he needs to do, family/church pressure, etc.

I would also advise that she needs to let him be gay. I don't mean allowing him to go out for gay flings. But, she needs to realize and accept that his eyes may follow a cute guy, that he may be totally clueless when it comes to her needs and desires (even more clueless than straight guys). She needs to accept that he'll likely have gay friends.

If she can say "I love him because he's gay" rather than "... in spite of him being gay" then I think it might work out.

Q: And, if that young man or woman was someone you loved, would the advice be the same or different? If different, how would it be different?

I like to believe my advice would be the same regardless of my feelings towards the person asking. If anything, if I had personal feelings for the person asking the question and felt more comfortable talking about personal things - then I might be even more emphatic with them and brutally honest about the risks.

* * * * *

Now, the big question for my beloved blog readers - has this been a good thing? Do you still respect me?

Feel free to keep the questions coming ...

Burning questions

Stealing an idea from Kurt, Austin, and others - in a classic "me too" post, I decided to start my next batch of posts (after post #400) with an invitation to ask me any question that might be on your mind.
  • ask as yourself
  • ask anonymously
  • ask privately via email
My answers will only include the question, not the identity of the questionee.

I'll even go out on a limb and say that no topic is off limits. I promise to be brutally honest in my answers.

I suppose I ought to have a deadline - let's say August 31st. But, I will answer questions as they arrive.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Post #400

This is it - my 400th blog post. That's a lot of blathering and bloviating.

I wonder, is there anybody out there who has read all 400 posts? Well, first off, you deserve some sort of endurance reward, second, you probably need to get a life, and third - what changes have you noticed in me since post #1?

I don't remember the exact date; but, 3 years ago, just about this time of year, I finally sat myself down and said "self - accept it, you're gay."

For as far back as I can remember I knew that I was different from other boys. Although, it wasn't until my junior year in high school when I first dared to think I might be gay. We didn't have the internet or gay hot lines back then. I remember searching the phone book for someone I might be able to call. I had no where to turn and became very depressed. Thoughts of suicide started entering my mind. My parents were perceptive enough to know that something was going on with me. They were afraid to leave me alone. I'm the youngest of 6 children and was the only one left at home. They tried to make sure that one of them was home before I left for school in the morning and once I came back home in the afternoon. When one of them couldn't be there then they would call me on the phone. Fortunately, I don't really know how, but after a few months I was able to pull myself out of my depression - enough to be functional and for my parents to not worry about me so much.

I just couldn't bear the thought that I might be a homosexual. I had been taught all my life that homosexuals were perverts who hung out in restrooms waiting to molest young boys. I wasn't like that - so obviously I couldn't be one.

College came, I joined the LDS church, served a 2 year mission, and got married in the temple. I felt that I had done all that God had asked of me and I sincerely believed he had healed me. That feeling lasted less than two years. After marriage I got back into college. It was in a college P.E. locker room, being around all of those naked guys, that the realization forcefully came to me that I was, in fact, not healed.

So, I've known that I'm attracted to guys for a very long time - but I wasn't gay! I refused to accept myself as a gay man. This was my cross to bear, the thorn in my side, my test for this earth life - a dirty secret I was prepared to take with me to my grave.

I don't actually know what precipitated me accepting finally myself as gay. I remember I was having a really hard time - I was feeling depressed. Although I've been taking antidepressants for over 10 years, thoughts of suicide were once again entering into my mind.

But, when I finally let myself be gay - it was as if a tremendous burden had been lifted from me. Although I hadn't told her yet - I remember my wife commenting that I seemed happier than she had seen me in a long time.

After that, I spent hours on the internet - looking for someone else like me. Someone who was gay, Mormon, married, and trying to stay active in the LDS church. Initially it was very discouraging - but, I finally found the mormon queerosphere and others like myself. I also got to know many others who had chosen a different path, but were respectful of the path I was on. At last, I had found my long lost family that I never knew I had.

A couple of months later I started this blog. A month after that I told my wife. And the rest, as they say . . . is history.

So here's to 3 years of gay acceptance, 400 blog posts, and who knows how many blog readers who've put up with all of my angst, self doubt, and occasional childish behavior over the years.

I don't know what the years ahead hold for me. I can never go back to being in denial about being gay. I'm still married and intend to stay that way. I'm still a Mormon and active in the LDS church - although, to be brutally honest, staying that way no longer seems as certain as it once did 3 years ago. I'm still deeply closeted - but that will certainly not remain as the status quo - it's a matter of 'when', not 'if' I step out of my closet and into the light. That's not to say I'm planning on getting a boyfriend, parading around in a rainbow shirt, or anything like that. I'm just reaching a point where I am no longer ashamed of being gay - and my closet is becoming stuffy and unnecessary. I just want to be able to be myself and not worry what others think about me. I want to be able to talk about my gay friends with my non-gay friends. I want to be able to invite my gay friends into my home to meet my family. I want my family, friends, and acquaintances to know a gay man who does meet their stereotypical image - and to, hopefully, realize that much of what they thought they knew about gays is probably wrong.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Victims

In our modern society, it's popular to play the victim when we feel we've been wronged - not only for individuals, but also for organizations. The LDS church PR department has certainly been doing this in the aftermath of proposition 8. But, I think some in the gay mormon community may be just as guilty - myself included.

I know it doesn't come across very well in this blog - but I love the Mormon church, I really do. I was not raised in the church, I joined in college. So, I know what it's like not having the church in my life. And, I sincerely believe that because of the LDS church, I am a much better man than I otherwise would have been had I not made that decision to join the church (more years ago than I care to remember).

That said, there are things about the LDS church that bother me - things where I feel I have legitimate concerns and complaints. And, it's not just all things gay - I've never considered the church or its leaders to be infallible. And, truth is, even its leaders don't claim infallibility - it's the membership that puts them on that pedestal, especially with controversial issues like homosexuality. I think, for some members, they just cannot fathom that the church might be wrong on something so serious as homosexuality - their whole foundation might crumble if they thought, just for a moment, that the church may have made some mistakes.

So, my question: How can I address these concerns and complaints without coming across as a victim - without playing the victim card? I don't feel I've done a very good job of this. Playing the victim is just so easy.

I'm sure there are some who are legitimate victims; but, the truth is, I am not a victim. I've never actually talked to a church leader about my same sex attraction; so, I've never had one tell me that I could overcome my homosexuality. I've had church leaders say hurtful things to me - but not about anything homosexuality related. I've heard members say hurtful things about homosexuals - but those comments were not directed at me personally.

I do feel less connected to my ward membership than I once was. I do feel there is a divide forming between me and the church - but does that make me a victim? Does that make me right and the church wrong? Or do we simply have differing views in certain matters?

The problem with being a victim is that it empowers the oppressor. As a victim, I am admitting that someone (or some institution) has the power to hurt me and that I am powerless to do anything about it.

I don't want to be a victim - but I do believe there are wrongs that need to be righted, there are stories that need to be told. Change does not come from sweeping things under the rug. All that gives you is lumpy rugs.

And, in the LDS church specifically, change is not going to come from the outside. It will only come from within. The restoration didn't begin until Joseph Smith asked a question. I just don't think our current church leaders are asking the right questions about homosexuality.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Topical Guide

Somewhere out there is a young man, struggling to make sense of these feelings he has ... for boys.

He opens his scriptures - because that is what we teach young people to do. He turns to the Topical Guide - because that is where we teach young people to go; and, he looks up homosexuality.

He reads about homosexuality being the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah. He reads about men lusting after men going after strange flesh. None of this is new, he's heard these things before. At the bottom it says "See also". He turns to
2 Timothy 3:3
Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good
He then turns to
2 Peter 2:10
But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.
These, he concludes, must be the attributes of homosexuals.
  • without natural affection
  • trucebreakers
  • false accusers
  • incontinent
  • fierce
  • despisers of those that are good
  • walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness
  • despise government
  • presumptuous
  • selfwilled
  • not afraid to speak evil of dignities.
Next he reads
2 Nephi 9:40
O, my beloved brethren, give ear to my words. Remember the greatness of the Holy One of Israel. Do not say that I have spoken hard things against you; for if ye do, ye will revile against the truth; for I have spoken the words of your Maker. I know that the words of truth are hard against all uncleanness; but the righteous fear them not, for they love the truth and are not shaken.
The words he is reading are harsh - but they must be true, it's right there in the scriptures. Homosexuals are evil, undeserving of God's love.

He falls to his knees, shaking and praying to God in heaven to take these feelings from him. A prayer he has uttered many times before. He climbs into bed, and cries himself to sleep - wondering why God is ignoring him. Is he too unclean? Is he not righteous enough?

* * *

Unknown to him, God will not heal him - because there is nothing wrong with him. A truth that Mary Griffith finally realized after her son Bobby killed himself - because he could not reconcile his religious faith and his sexual feelings. We will never hear this in church, however, because these are the truths that every Latter-Day Saint carries with them.

The problem is, none of these verses have anything to do with homosexuality. The only tie to homosexuality is in the Topical Guide. In other words, someone decided that these verses describe homosexuals - and if we consider it harsh then we're not righteous. Why else would they have included these verses in the Topical Guide under "Homosexuality" - how else can this be interpreted?

But, the bigger problem is . . . it's not truth! Are there homosexuals for whom those verses would be an accurate description? Absolutely! But, I venture to say that there are probably more heterosexuals described by those verses. The apostles of old were describing the unrighteous. Being a homosexual does not automatically make you unrighteous!

It's not my intent to disparage the brethren. Although I have some serious disagreement with their views on homosexuality - I believe that they are good righteous men who are just trying to do the right thing - their view of 'right'.

The Topical Guide has been around for a long time (around 1980, if memory serves). It reflects the general attitude that society had at the time for homosexuals. It reflects the attitude I had for homosexuals - which is why it was so difficult and took me so long to accept that I . . . am a homosexual.

Times have changed - unfortunately, the Topical Guide has not. Maybe it's time for an updated version of the Topical Guide.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Demographics

I recently put a poll up asking my blog readers how old you are. No reason really - I was just curious.

Any thoughts as to what these demographics mean?

Technology update

My cell phone was broken.  Well, more accurately, the screen was cracked.  I could still send and receive calls – but I couldn’t read the screen.  So, it was time for a phone upgrade.

palm-pre I am now sporting a brand spanking new Palm Pre – Sprint’s answer to the iPhone.  Now, I’m not going to get pulled into an iPhone vs Palm Pre debate.  For all of you iPhone owners – I concede that your iPhone is awesome and that you exude awesomeness for owning one.  But, my Palm Pre is still pretty nifty groovy.  I also don’t want to get pulled into a Sprint vs ??? debate.  Sprint meets our needs, gets good coverage where we live, and most of our family and friends are on it.

Now, is it just me – or is that Palm Pre spokes lady in the TV commercials kinda creepy?

In other news, a week or so ago I posted about my computer crashing.  Well, I ordered a new motherboard, CPU, and memory from newegg.com which arrived Tuesday.  I’ve spent the last couple of days putting it all together and reloading the O/S and applications.

My rule of thumb is to not upgrade my computer unless I can, at least, double the computing power.  With that, I offer

 

Old

New

CPU

AMD Athlon 64 X2

AMD Phenom II X4

CPU cores

2

4

CPU speed

1.66 GHz

3.0 Ghz

Memory

4 Gig DDR

8 Gig DDR2

Memory speed

400 Mhz

1066 Mhz

Boot drive

80 Gig PATA

64 Gig Solid State

Data drives

2 x 300 Gig SATA

2 x 300 Gig SATA

O/S

Windows Vista 32-bit

Windows 7 RC 64-bit

I could have gone with DDR3 memory; but, that would have required a AM3 socket motherboard and CPU – which all costs more and would have added about $150 to the price.  I could also setup the two 300 Gig drives in a RAID array … well, let’s just say I have my reasons for not doing that.

So, it’s not the fastest available – but it’s still pretty sweet.  Once it completes the bios post, windows boots in about 5 seconds.  Once I enter my password I’m ready to go in less than 10 seconds.  Truthfully, I was hoping for even faster – but I’ll take whatever performance boost I can get.  No noticeable difference in web browsing, word processing, etc – other than the apps load faster; but, my image editing software (Nikon Capture NX2 and PhotoShop Elements 7) is much more responsive. 

Now what to do with the old motherboard.  I’ve amassed quite a collection of motherboards and other old computer parts.  I know Best Buy will take old computers (for $10, but they give you a $10 gift card); but, I don’t know if they’ll take old computer parts.  And, we’re not supposed to put that sort of junk in our trash

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Being straight

I've started watching a new TV show on BBC America called Being Human. It's about a ghost, a vampire, and a werewolf living together - trying to live as humans.
Anna: "Is this it? If nothing changes, will I just stay like this, here - but not here, forever?"
-- @2:54 in the following clip

Tully: This is how it happens, it's all sliding into place. Click - click - click. You can feel it too, can't you? The fire in your gut; the expectation; the hunger!"
George: It frightens me.
Tully: Then give into it, drown in it. Let him in, the big bad wolf."
-- @ 5:00 in the following clip

Tully: "It's a complex thing, a glorious thing!."
George: "This isn't a glorious thing; it's a curse. This isn't a gift; it's god stomping on us with his boots."
-- @6:37 in the following clip

Tully: "Don't leave me George, I can't be alone any longer."
-- Tully @7:45 in the following clip
That pretty much sums up the conflicted feelings I have. Is this my TV show - the one that I live in every day?

Being Straight - about a schizophrenic queer trying to live as a heterosexual.


A word of warning: It gets a bit racy during the last 15 seconds of this clip. What we see on BBC America is an edited version of what they get in the UK.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Cross roads

Today, our sacrament meeting theme was learning from the past. The speakers were a youth and a young couple recently moved into the ward. Overall the talks were very good as they spoke of things they learned from their parents, lessons we learn from the scriptures, etc.

But then the concluding speaker brought up Sodom and Gomorrah. He made reference to proposition 8 in California and how we've been criticized for standing up for right - that all we are doing is to learning from the past and trying to keep our communities from turning into Sodom and Gomorrah.

I don't really remember much of what was said after that. The question kept turning over in my mind "how does gay marriage turn our communities into Sodom and Gomorrah?" Isn't it just the opposite? By telling the gay community that their love doesn't count - aren't we, in effect, encouraging them to engage in debauchery - because it really doesn't matter who they have sex with. Doesn't gay marriage move our communities closer to the family values we claim to hold in high esteem?

At the conclusion of sacrament meeting, I exchanged greetings with a couple of ward members. I paused in the lobby waiting to speak to a member of the bishopric on a matter of business related to my calling. As I stood their waiting as he was speaking with another couple, the feeling washed over me that I just didn't want to be there anymore. I felt totally alone, while standing in a crowded room. So, I turned and quietly walked out into the parking lot, climbed into my car, and drove home, skipping sunday school and priesthood meetings.

After arriving home, I changed my clothes and then went upstairs. I went to my home office and pulled a DVD out of the drawer of my desk. It is a DVD I had recently purchased on amazon, but hadn't have a chance to watch, titled Through My Eyes - a documentary produced by the Gay Christian Network. It's nothing fancy, a series of interviews of young gay christians in their teens and twenties talking about what it's like being gay and christian. Some were rejected by their churches, some even by their own families. But through it all - knowing that they are gay and will be for the rest of their lives - they choose to walk with God.



Why can't I have the same level of faith as the young people on the DVD?

I have a bit of a predicament - my temple recommend expires the end of this month; and, frankly, I don't know what I should do. I'm not going to go into a temple recommend interview and lie. I support my church leaders ... on most things. But, I cannot support their actions related to the gay community. However, I really don't want to get into this discussion with my local church leaders. For them to truly understand my feelings and why I have difficulty supporting church leaders on gay issues would require me to reveal my same gender attraction - something I'm not ready to do just yet.

The problem is . . . my calling is one where an active temple recommend is required. So, if I don't go talk to my bishop, am I being an unfaithful hypocrite? If I simply ignore it, I'll likely find myself being invited to go see the bishop to explain why I let it lapse.

Sometimes, it seems so much easier to just quietly stop going to church altogether.

I am at a cross roads where all of the paths before me suck.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Things that make you go huh?

During the last 24 hours, people have found my blog by searching on
shirtless guys
eunuchs in the bible
mormon girl stripping
matthew shephard mormon
gay eunuch
bobby griffith mormon
Let me be perfectly clear - I have never blogged about, nor even thought about, mormon girls stripping. The others - well maybe I'm guilty as charged. But mormon girls stripping? In a gay blog?

Ewwww!!!!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Was it worth it?

Correct me if I'm wrong; but, prior to proposition 8 in California, it seems the LDS church was largely ignored by the global gay community. Sure there were some gay activists in Utah (many of whom were former members) who were critical of the church; but, outside of Utah you just didn't see much mention of the LDS church in the gay press.

I think this was due, in part, because of the church's position on homosexuality separating attraction from behavior. While no one would probably admit it, I think there was a cautious respect for the LDS church within the global gay community. While there was certainly disagreement with the policies of the church, there was also a sense that the church had some level of compassion towards its gay members - something not seen in many other religions.

For example, back in 2007 I posted a link to an Ensign article titled Helping Those Who Struggle with Same-Gender Attraction to the Gay Christian Network which garnered comments such as
  • I'm thrilled at the growing numbers of sensible voices and outreached arms heard, seen, and felt in our mainstream churches. Thanks so much for this encouraging thread!
  • Wow....amazing stuff. If you had told me even ten years ago I'd be reading something like this from the LDS church I wouldn't have believed you. Amazing - thanks for sharing this!
Now in this post proposition 8 era, the LDS church has become public enemy #1 in the global gay community. Is it deserved? I don't know. But I can certainly understand the anger the gay community has towards the LDS church.

Many in the church claim innocence with comments such as "Mormon's represent less than 3% of the California population" and "more Catholics (or blacks, or whatever) voted for proposition 8 than Mormons". But, they are ignoring the fact that Mormon's pumped in at least 50%, and possibly up to 75%, of the campaign donations towards proposition 8 - not to mention countless volunteer hours going door to door, distributing yard signs, etc. Given the very slim margin that proposition 8 passed with, it's not hard to imagine that it would have have been defeated without the involvement of the LDS church.

But, all of that is water under the bridge. My question now is: Was it worth it?

The LDS church claims it was standing up for morality and preservation of the family. But, at best, all it did was gain a 2 year, maybe 4 year, reprieve. It's only a matter of time before gay marriage becomes legal in California, as well as many other states. So we invested all of that time and money and what did we really gain? And at what cost?
  • Protests at temples in Utah and across the nation
  • Members, both gay and straight, leaving the church
  • Some suggesting that missionary work is down
  • Shaken faith for some of us who have chosen to stay in the church
If the church had stayed out of the California political battle, would the Main Street plaza incident have generated so much negative press? Would we have kiss-in's being staged at temples? We'll never now for sure - but I doubt it. I think there would be some initial anger, but it would have flashed and fizzled out.

Make no mistake, the next time gay marriage comes to a vote in California, the gay community will not get caught with their pants down (no pun intended). Before the LDS church got involved, the No on 8 campaign was leading by, I believe, 20 points; and, there was little doubt that proposition 8 would be defeated. By the time people started to notice that the Mormon's might just turn it around, efforts to counter the Yes on 8 momentum was too little and too late. But, they will not be caught again. Even now strategies are being developed to counter any arguments that can be made by the gay marriage opponents.

Becoming involved in this political battle has come with a price. Whatever modicum of respect we may have had in the global gay community is forever lost. Everything the LDS church says and does is carefully scrutinized and being cast in as negative light as possible. Anger against the LDS church has become a uniting force in the gay community. The next time the LDS church chooses to do battle against the gay community - they may find themselves up against a foe the likes of which they've never encountered.

So, again I ask, regardless of your personal views on gay marriage, was it worth it?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

What about the “T” in GLBT?

In the Mormon queerosphere, there is a lot of “G”, a little “L”, perhaps a sprinkling of “B”, but virtually no “T” - at least none who make their presence known (that I'm aware of).

I'll be the first to admit that I don't understand what it would be like to be transgendered. Is this the 'gender confused' that we sometimes hear about at church? But, being part of a subculture myself - I am, perhaps, a bit more tolerant towards those who do not fit the 'molly mormon' / 'peter priesthood' image in our Mormon culture.

In one sense, the transgendered saints are even more marginalized than the gay saints are - often being lumped together with the gay saints in discussions.

On the other hand, the church actually does have very specific policies towards transgendered people. It is possible for a person who has undergone elective surgery to change their gender to remain a member of the church. A non member who has undergone such surgery can even be baptized. However, such a person cannot be ordained to the priesthood, nor can they attend the temple - transgendered saints are essentially in the same position that blacks were prior to 1978. Contrast that with practicing homosexuals who are excommunicated - or 'cut off from the people' to use a scriptural term.
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Wait a minute, this is all starting to have a familiar ring to it.

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When Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran, said in his speach on September 24, 2007 at Columbia University that "In Iran, we don't have homosexuals, like in your country", there were several news stories that followed about the gay underground in Iran. The sin of homosexuality carries a death sentence in Iran forcing Iranian homosexuals to hide their sexual orientation. Interestingly, transsexuals are more tolerated in Iran. The state will even subsidize gender change surgery and help fund continuing hormone treatments. Iran carries out more gender change operations than any other country in the world besides Thailand. Sex changes have been legal since the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, spiritual leader of the 1979 Islamic revolution passed a fatwa authorizing them nearly 25 years ago. While homosexuality is considered a sin, transsexuality is categorized as an illness subject to cure. To be fair, such individuals are lower class citizens in Iranian society; but, they do not live under the constant fear of a death sentence as their gay counterparts do.

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I'm not sure where I'm going with this. I just find it interesting the parallels between Iranian culture and Mormon culture. In Iran, homosexuals are threatened with physical death. In Mormondom, homosexuals are threatened with spiritual death. In Iran, transexuals are allowed in Iranian society, albeit as lower class citizens. In Mormondom, transexuals are allowed in the church, albeit significantly curtailed in their participation.

Here is a YouTube vlog from someone who grew up LDS