New Gay/Mormon Blog

As you can see, I’ve been largely absent from this blog, and that was on purpose.  After a few years, I’m picking up the gay/mormon blogging thing again, but with a different spin: trying to get the gays and the Mormons to get along.  Start following my blog at thelattergays.wordpress.com and my twitter @thelattergays.

And with that, this blog is officially closed.

The End

It’s been a while since I’ve posted on here.  Like…. over a year.

I’m pretty okay with that, too.  I was getting to the point that I ran out of things to say, and the things I did want to say were probably going to the wrong audience.  Not only that, but my writing was becoming ingenuine, which I hate.  I was writing so that people would read what they wanted to read, and not what I really thought.

So I stopped writing.

I started other blogs here and there.  I have one for angry, frustrated posts.  I have another one that I don’t remember anything about.  And then I created one just for my life as it is today.

I’m trying to decide where to take that blog.  I’ve posted on facebook about it, so all of my friends have access to it.  I’m not totally out yet, but I’m definitely not in the closet either.  I pretty much have completely come out except for on facebook.

There are things I want to write about on that blog that include my life as a gay man, but that means coming out completely.  I don’t care to do that.  Not because of fear, really.  More because I don’t want “the gay thing” to be a huge part of my life.  I mean, it is, but I don’t want it to be a huge part of my life in the eyes of other.  I just want to go on living my life, having accepted this part of me and embracing it.

So…. until I figure out what I want to do about that, I guess this is goodbye.

This blog has been incredibly helpful and therapeutic for me, and I hope that you, as a reader, found the same kind of help from this blog.  I hope that it has caused some enlightening to anyone that even glanced at it.  Thank you, my faithful readers.

Bye now.

Idaho Fireside Thoughts

I attended the fireside in Idaho Falls last night, which I found very interesting.  There were some things that I liked about it, and others that I didn’t.  Overall, though, I’m happy that it happened.  The fact that homosexuality was able to be discussed in such a setting is enough to make me feel that things are being done and meaningful strides are being taken on all sides of the issue.

To those who helped plan this fireside, I thank you for doing so.  Creating a place in which this could be openly discusses was so helpful.  I feel that overall it was well received and that it was extremely helpful to a lot of people.  Please do not take anything I say that might be slightly negative personally.

The fireside was set up to resemble a conference.  It began with an opening session in which a few speakers presented the topic of homosexuality.  After the speakers, different groups were held:  a group for gay men, a group for gay women, a group for friends and family, and a group for priesthood leaders.  In these groups, two talks were given, and then a Q&A session was held.  After the Q&A session was complete, everyone met together again and there were a few more speakers, again discussing the topic of homosexuality.

Near the beginning of the fireside, a speaker addressed the use of different terms used when discussing homosexuality, and it was again mentioned in the last talk.  I’m glad this happened, but I feel there needs to be more understanding of interchangeable terms.  If someone prefers to say that they are gay, they shouldn’t be looked down upon for doing so.  In the same way, if a person feels more comfortable saying the are same-sex attracted or same gender attracted, they shouldn’t be looked down upon for that either.  Some general authorities have said that using the word “gay” shouldn’t happen because it signifies that someone is not only attracted to their own gender, but that they are acting out on their attractions.  I disagree.  I have almost always told people I was “gay” because that was just easier than labeling myself in a way that made it sound like I had a disease.  That is my personal preference, but I don’t want people to here me say that I am “gay”, and assume this or that about me.  In short, I feel that it would be best to say something along the lines of “please be understanding as we discuss the topic at hand that the words ‘gay’ and ‘same-sex or same-gender attracted’ may be used interchangeably, and that neither one defines what a person is doing with their attraction”.

I liked that we were able to split into different groups, and I liked the groups that were available.  I feel like all need to be addressed in different ways.  I don’t know that I agree with how they were discussed in the fireside, so I would like to make my comments on how I feel they need to be dealt with.  I wanted to do so by discussing them by the different groups, but after writing this, I have found that so many things cross over into different areas, that it would be easier to just write them all in one area.

I understand why the church takes the stance on homosexuality that it does, and at official church functions, I would expect the church’s stance on the subject to be presented.  I don’t expect the church to change because that would also mean that fundamental LDS doctrines would also have to change.  I don’t think, though, that the church should talk about how those who choose to live a life contrary to those teaching will never be happy, that they will not inherit the Celestial Kingdom, etc.  Really, I don’t think we definitely know what will happen to anyone who is living a life contrary to the church’s teaching.  That’s up to God, and we have absolutely no say in that, so why speculate now.

The focus of the conversation should be that of love.  Not only that God loves us, but that we are loved by church leaders and members.  I think that members of the church want to be understanding, but because of the stereotype surrounding homosexuality, gays and lesbians are seen as only one thing and that image can be a strange and scary one.  If gays and lesbians within the church can know that they are loved by many others, that would help us so much.

There isn’t one right answer for everyone.  There are things personally that I will never advocate, but I will never tell anyone to not try it out either.  For example, I will never advocate change therapy.  If someone were to come to me and tell me they wanted to try it out, I would tell them what I believe are the pros and cons of such (fairly, I hope), and then support them with whatever decision they make.  Some people have been able to find happiness in single life, others have found happiness in marriage to the opposite gender, and some have found therapy helpful.  There are choices that I feel are better, but everyone is different and some answers will work better for them than they will for others.

Priesthood leaders should follow the doctrines of the church.  In my opinion, those are vague, but there are some very definite doctrines surrounding homosexuality.  According to LDS.org:  “People inquire about our position on those who consider themselves… gays and lesbians. My response is that we love them as sons and daughters of God. They may have certain inclinations which are powerful and which may be difficult to control. Most people have inclinations of one kind or another at various times. If they do not act upon these inclinations, then they can go forward as do all other members of the Church. If they violate the law of chastity and the moral standards of the Church, then they are subject to the discipline of the Church, just as others are” (Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, Nov. 1998, 71).  That is it.  Do not make it more or less than what it is.  Don’t make anyone feel less than humane for having these attractions, especially when they haven’t acted on them.  When someone has acted out on their attractions, the issue becomes one of chastity.  React to what they have done in the same way you would react to someone who is straight and had done the same thing.

To all members of the church, whether you are gay, straight, a bishop, a mother, a friend, are anyone else.  Please be understanding and loving.  No one is perfect.  Everyone has problems they are working on, yourself included.  No matter what you believe about homosexuality, please love those who experience it.  We don’t expect you to understand it or to agree or disagree with our actions.  We just want to feel like we have a place in the church and that we belong there, no matter what we have done.  Church is to be a place to feel peace, solace, and love.  If fear and even slight dislike towards people because of their situations is present, we don’t want to be there.  Life is already hard enough, let’s not add to the pressure.  We want to be loved and we want to be understood.  Please help us help you do that.

What I Am And What I’m Not

I know there are a lot of misconceptions out there about homosexuals, and I want to clear that up.  A lot of this will be directed to anyone who reads this, but some will be directed towards Mormons.

The Readers Digest Version of what I want to say can be summed up in this clip:

  • I did not choose to be gay.  You didn’t choose to be straight.  You didn’t choose to have blonde or brown or red hair.  You didn’t choose to be left or right handed.  There are a lot of different theories about the causes of homosexuality and some may be closer to the truth than others.  It also depends on the person.  For me, I think it is biological factors.  As long as I can remember, I’ve been attracted to guys.  I remember having a crush on Prince Charles from the Faerie Tale Theater version (which was Matthew Broderick….really though, who didn’t have a crush on him?).  There are other things that may have contributed throughout my life, but overall I believe I was born this way.  I know saying I was born this way will rub a lot of people the wrong way.  Why would God create me like this?  Why would he make me into something that has such tendencies to go against his plan?  I have a handicapped brother.  Why did God create him the way he is?  He was born with so many problems and won’t be able to procreate either.  This seemingly goes against his plan too, doesn’t it?  And don’t we all have tendencies to go against His plan?  We all want to sin.  Having the desire to sin doesn’t make you bad or a sinner.  It makes you human.  I am just as normal as anyone else.
  • I’m not going to change.  When I first started coming out, I prayed and prayed about the possibility of change, and even started looking into reparitive therapy.  I finally received an answer by the spirit that told me that God didn’t want me to change.  He made me this way and I needed to learn from it.  He has no plans of changing me.  That doesn’t mean I don’t believe he can.  I believe he can, but doesn’t want me to change.  Does God have the power to take away my brothers disability?  Absolutely!  Does that mean he will?  Probably not in this life.  Am I okay with this?  Yes.  Furthermore, reparitive therapy tends to cause more damage than good.  One so strongly believes that if they do this and that, they will change.  After spending years and years of working the steps they were told to work, they may have become a better person with more self control, but the attractions are still they, even if they are hiding it.  Realizing they have spent years trying to fix themselves only to see little or no change brings a feeling of failure.
  • I don’t have sex in bathrooms.  I would be lying if I were to say that doesn’t happen.  It does.  And in parks.  And in other public places.  I think it’s gross and inappropriate.  But I recognize that it does happen, and maybe with more frequency in the “gay community” than anywhere else.  My personal thoughts on this are that this has come about as a result of our culture.  Let me give an example of a thought process that might occur in a mans mind that would drive him to do this:   I really want to have sex with a man but I don’t want to admit that I’m gay > what will people think if they find me having sex with another guy > if I can find a discreet place to have sex (like a bathroom, car, or park), I won’t have to worry about getting caught or about what others will think.  I also think people seeking to have sexual encounters with strangers are sex addicts more than anything.
  • I’m not a pedophile.  In fact, most gays aren’t.  That was used as a scare tactic in the 50’s and has since carried over to today.  Most pedophiles actually identify as straight.  Some with most male on male rape.  It has less to do with sexual attraction than it does with an inner struggle of feeling power over another person.
  • If you are a guy, that doesn’t mean I’m attracted to you.  You are attracted to certain people, as am I.  You might like blonde girls with long legs and large breasts.  I happen to be attracted to clean cut gay guys with dark hair that are around my same build.  I’m not usually attracted to straight guys, so you don’t need to worry anyway.
  • I’m human.  I’m a person.  I like to eat food, ride my bike, hike, learn new things, and meet new people.  I also happen to prefer the company of men.  I’m still a human, and I still have feelings.  I am just like anyone else.  You’d probably be surprised how many of us there are out there, even in your own ward.  Happy Guessing!  🙂

Hope For The Future

I’ve gotten to a place in blogging that I don’t know what to blog about.  I don’t want to vent my frustrations here, and I already have another blog for that.  I feel like I’ve said what I’ve wanted to say as far as helping out other members of the church with homosexual attractions.  I kind of want to write to regular members of the church to help them be more understanding, but I don’t know what to say and I don’t want to come off as someone who thinks they are on expert on homosexuality in Mormonism.  All I have to offer is my perspective.

I was thinking today about my family and how well they’ve taken everything.  They have all been so supportive and will always be so supportive.  I started thinking about my older sister and her children.  They are very inquisitive, and I know that they will eventually ask why I’m not married, and when the time is right, they will have to explain that I’m gay, but that’s fine.  Who knows what other doors that will open… 🙂

As this was going through my mind, I started thinking about what I would want them to say.  This also lead me to wonder about what my family has learned (not what I have taught them, necessarily, but just learned) from having a gay family member.

I hope that when the topic comes up, they will talk openly and honestly about it.  That is how the taboo surrounding the topic is formed.  We we speak in vague generalities, people become confused and scared.  We show that we are afraid of what might happen if we tell them too much.  I trust that my family members will know the right degree of which to tell their kids.  I hope that they will be willing to talk to me about it and let me talk to them.  I hope that they will teach them to love everybody regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, belief system, nationality, etc.  I know they will, but I hope they make a conscious effort to do so.  I hope they teach their children correct thoughts.  I don’t want my nieces and nephews to be afraid of me or think I will molest them.

Even further, I hope that they will teach acceptance and to embrace diversity.  I know they will teach them right from wrong and that “acting on homosexuality” is not a part of God’s plan.  I hope they teach them to love gays anyway, no matter what choices they are making.  I hope that they teach their kids that it is absolutely unacceptable to use any derogatory or inappropriate words like fag, queer, nigger, or retard.  I hope most of all, though, that they will teach their kids to stand up for what is right.  I want members of my family to stop any kind of bashing whether it be gay bashing, church bashing, or anything like that.

I want them to correct someone when that someone says that something is ‘gay’ when they really mean to say that something is stupid.

I want them to stand up for the kid on the playground the other kids call a fagot because he isn’t good at sports.

I want them to stop the cycle of hate against people who are “different”.

I want my family to be able to talk openly with others about the fact that they have a gay brother, brother-in-law, or uncle and not be ashamed.  I’m not ashamed of it, and I hope they aren’t either.

I want them to take the time to learn the truth about homosexuality (I’m hoping to write something about the truth and myths about gays).  I don’t care if they are for or against gay rights or whatever.  I just want them to know what they believe and to let people know.  This is how understanding will spread.

I think they already know these things, but in case they didn’t, this is what I want.

A Follow Up To My Last Post

I just wrote the letter for the book about my dad.  I’m glad I did.

The last post conveyed very true and real feelings.  So does the letter I wrote.  I think I needed to get the negative out in order to find the positive.  Here is what I wrote:

I am the eagle, I live in high country
In rocky cathedrals that reach to the sky
I am the hawk and there’s blood on my feathers
But time is still turning they soon will be dry
And all of those who see me, all who believe in me
Share in the freedom I feel when I fly

Come dance with the west wind and touch on the mountain tops
Sail o’er the canyons and up to the stars
And reach for the heavens and hope for the future
And all that we can be and not what we are

This song reminds me of when I got my Eagle Scout Award, and you and Ed sang this.  I’ve loved this song since the first time I heard it.  Hearing you sing it for me was really amazing.  I feel like I can relate to the lyrics well and they describe a lot of how I feel.  I think you recognize that.  I’ve always felt like you would support me in whatever decisions I make, and I’m so grateful for that.  You’ve done so much to guide me and help me become who I am.  I am a strong, independent, and compassionate man.

You’ve taught me that when there is blood on my feathers, that time is still turning and they soon will be dry.  Life has a lot to throw at us, but we can be strong and move forward anyway.

From you, I’ve learned to reach for the heavens, hope for the future, and to be all I can be.  I can overcome obstacles and reach my greatest potential.

I’m so grateful for all that you’ve taught me.  Because of you, I know how to control myself better, to stand up for what is right, and to be more loving.  I’m grateful for the countless fathers blessings and support you’ve given me when making hard decisions or going through hard times.

I love you, Dad!

Dad

My mom came up with an idea to make a book for my dad and for all of us.  Our assignment is to write a letter to him and then she’ll put all these together with some pictures and have it bound and published.  For us.

I like the idea, but when my mom asked me to write a letter to my dad, I felt kind of anxious.

There are a lot of theories out there about how homosexuality is caused.  One of them includes having a distant relationship with your dad.  I don’t think the distance between my dad and I caused my homosexuality, but I do think it probably contributed to it somewhat.

I’m having a really hard time putting words on paper.  I don’t know what to tell him.  Sure, I love him.  Of course I do.  I don’t hate him at all, actually.  We just have a very….different?  Unique?  Uncomfortable?  relationship.

I was surprised with how I reacted while my dad was in the hospital.  I never thought I would experience such an emotional response as I did.  A close MoHo friend of mine had his dad pass away recently.  As I sat in the funeral, I thought a lot about how close my dad came to dying and how hard that was for me.  If I had to give a talk at my dads funeral, I don’t know what I would say.

My dad and I have very different personalities.  He is very organized.  He is very reserved.  He is pretty content in doing what he has always done.  He likes a calm, peaceful life.

I, on the other hand, am very messy and unorganized.  I like to do whatever is on my mind in the moment.  I don’t think a lot of my actions through.  I’m outgoing.  I have a hard time staying in one place for a long time.  I plan to travel a lot, have many different jobs, and live an exciting life.

I don’t want to talk negatively about my dad.  I do want to write about my perception of our relationship, though, which has some negative aspects.

I’ve always felt distanced from him.  I was the rowdy, out of control kid in the family.  I think my dad didn’t understand my creativity and weirdness.  He is a very talented musician, as are most of my family members.  My older sister has an amazing voice, and my dad is an amazing pianist.  They performed together a lot.  I was occasionally asked to perform a song or two with them.  I would watch them practice for hours.  I enjoyed being with them, but felt like the enjoyment wasn’t always mutual because I was noisy or distracting.  I would get jealous of the relationship he had with my older sister. I wanted to feel that connection to my dad that she did.  But it didn’t ever really happen.

My dad became the bishop, and I became one of those bishops kids…   You know, the ones that get suspended from school and are a pain in the butt.  That created a larger distance between us.  I wasn’t really close to any family members at this time.  When I finally came out of that stage, I grew close to my mom and my older sister.  I felt uncomfortable around my dad, and I don’t know why.  It might be because I started realizing the anxieties I felt surrounding my relationships with men, but I don’t know.  There are only two times I can remember feeling a connection with him.  One was when I was 16 and I decided I wanted to fix up an old car.  He helped me to get it running.  I often felt frustrated with him because we communicate very differently, but I enjoyed being able to spend time with him.  The other was when I was 18, and I got my Eagle Scout award.  He and another musician in the ward who had a son getting his Eagle performed a favorite song of mine:  The Eagle and The Hawk by John Denver.  It was really cool to see him take the time to put that together for me.  My sister wrote about her memories of it here.

I can only remember a few times he has hugged me.  When I got my Eagle, when I left on my mission, and when I got home.  Those are the only ones I can remember.  And I actually only remember that he hugged me when I got home.  I just assume he hugged me when I got my Eagle and when I left on my mission.

And now I sit here, crying, because I don’t know what to make of my relationship with my dad.  I know that he loves me, and I love him.  I just wish things could be different.  I wish that we could really let each other know that we love each other.  If I could go back and change him and me and our relationship early on, I would.  I don’t want to change it now because that seems awkward and uncomfortable, and I don’t want to deal with that.  I would rather just keep things how they are.

I love my dad.  I know our relationship is far from perfect, and maybe even sucks sometimes, but I still love him and I know he loves me.  I’m so grateful for all the time he has spent working so our family can have a good life.  I’m grateful for the blessings he’s given me and for the peaceful attitude he has brought into our home.  I’m grateful that he helped shape me into who I am.

Now if I can just figure out how to turn that last paragraph into a letter.