Joy

I have a few things that i want to write about and hopefully I will over the next few days, but for right now I feel the need to write about this:

Although I try to optimistic and realistic, there is definitely a part of me that sees the negative in things, and I sometimes dwell on those things.  This has been happening a lot lately and I feel like it would do me some good to list things that I am thankful for, things that bring me joy, or just things that I love.

  1. Independent and/or foreign films – I love these because I think the cinematography is beautiful.  These films often make me think about life and where I am in a particular area in my life. They are amazing tools that give me a lot of self reflection.
  2. Music – I know this is a broad subject, but I love all kinds of music.  The top two kinds of music that I love, though, are choral music and independent music.  Choral music is absolutely astounding and beautiful to me.  I am particularly fond of Eric Whitacre.  I found his music when I was in the 8th grade, and it blew me away.  When I was in high school, I sang a few of his songs and I absolutely loved it.  Anyone who is familiar with him will probably agree.  He writes music that illustrates the words of the song.  For example, in the song Cloudburst, the choir sings about a rainstorm, and the music sounds like a rainstorm.  In Leonardo Dreams of His Flying Machine, the choir sings about Da Vinci inventing a “flying machine”, and the end of the song sounds like flying.  It is incredible.  As far as Indie music goes, I just love it because of its uniqueness and it is something new to listen to.
  3. Hot Chocolate and Herbal Tea – I love hot things, especially when it is drinkable.  Hot chocolate is something that my family loves and we drink tons of it.  When I was in high school, I would often invite friends over and my mom would make us all a cup of hot chocolate.  Right after I got home from my mission, our family would try a new hot chocolate recipe every Monday night.  I found my favorite recipe, and it turns out that I love hot chocolate the most when it is rich and thick.  I love tea, and I love having tea parties.  I just think it is fantastic.
  4. Mystery Science Theather 3000 – yes, yes….I know.  I’m a nerd.  But MS3K is probably one of the funniest things I have ever seen.  I love all of them, especially some of the shorts.  I now have a hard time watching movies without making side comments because of it though.  Here are some of my favorite shorts:  Body Care and Grooming, A Date With Your Family, and Mr. B Natural (part 1 and Part 2).
  5. Thanksgiving – it’s just the best holiday.  That is all.
  6. Helping people – I learned that I really love to help people while I was on my mission, and I plan to have a career that revolves around helping people.

Well, I think that is all that I have for now.  I may update this later today, but for, I think it is good.

World Spins Madly On

Everything that I said I’d do
Like make the world brand new
And take the time for you
I just got lost and slept right through the dawn
And the world spins madly on

I let the day go by
I always say goodbye
I watch the stars from my window sill
The whole world is moving and I’m standing still

– The Weepies (World Spins Madly On)

Sometimes I worry about the world spinning on without me.  I don’t worry so much about the way the world is going or anything like that, but more in my personal interactions.  Most of my friends will get married and many will have succesful careers.  My family members will marry, have kids, and have their own families.  I will hopefully have my MoHo friends that will be my “family”.  We’ve half joked about buying land and starting our own little community and have our own family where we can just be ourselves and not have people wonder about why we aren’t married or anything like that.  It will be our way of making our own world spin on.

I don’t want to watch the world spin on without me, but I think I’ll have to make my own kind different life that will help me to feel like I’m moving on with my life too.

I Need A Break

I’ve had a lot going on lately – I feel like too much.  My dad is still really sick.  His good days consist of not getting worse, and his bad days involve complications and extreme discomfort.  My mom started a blog to update people as to what is going on with my dad, and if you want to read it here, you can.  With my dad being sick and my mom being in Salt Lake with him, I have been the guy in charge at home, which is pretty stressful.  My brother is handicapped and taking care of him is a huge job by itself.  On top of that, I have to take care of the house and the rest of the people that live here.  Luckilly, my parents ward is great and have been very helpful.  Last of all (yes, I just want sympathy so I am going to ramble on about everything I have to do), I have a few HUGE projects due within the next week or so and I’m trying to work my butt off to get those done.  It is a pain, but I do like most of my homework.

Gay Mormon Boy posted about this website that makes artwork out of common words from your website so I decided to give it a try.  It’s pretty cool!  Here is what I came up with.

I like that Gay, Mormon, and Church are the prominent words in there.  I guess that is what this blog is about, isn’t it?

Wordle: Hidden In The Light

Answers to Your Questions

It’s been a week, so I think I will now answer the questions sent to me, so….here it goes!

1 – Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

In ten years, I will be….34 years old.  Oh man, that is weird to think about.  Well, by the time I am 34, I hope that I will be working with at risk youth in some way or that I will be wedding planner.  Yes, I know….  By this time, I would like to have accomplished the following: taught English in an oriental country, hike the Appalachian trail, and performed extensive humanitarian work in Africa and Central America.  I will also be looking forward to living in this Sustainable Village in Costa Rica.  I mean, really, how could someone give up tree houses?

2 – What are two of your favorite things about Utah?

Wow, ummm….that is tough.  I think the first thing I like is that there is a lot to do here without having to go too far.  Sure, we don’t have an ocean, but we do have the Great Salt Lake.  Ok, that is nothing like the ocean, other than the salt thing.  Really though, I like that within one state, you can go snowboarding or hiking or boating or whatever you want to do.  I think that Utah is a great place for recreation.  The other thing I like about Utah….hmmm….let me think about that….

3 – What do you like most about Logan?

I’m a pretty big fan of USU.  Especially USU basketball (look how manly I can sound).  I think Logan is a really pretty place and that there are some really good people here.

4 – What is your favorite TV show?

Oh man, there are a few that all come in to a close finish.  Here are some of my favorites:  The Office, 24, Parks and Recreation, Lost, What Not To Wear, and Project Runway.

5 – Who is your #1 celebrity crush?

I have a few, I think.  For a long time, it was Tom Cruise, but I think I got over that when I was about 16.  Currently, though, it is a tie between Sufjan Stevens (musician) and Christopher Straub (designer from Project Runway).  I also have a crush on a female celebrity (gasp!).  Her name is Giada De Laurentis (Food Network chef)

Sufjan Stevens

Sufjan Stevens

Chris Straub

Christopher Straub

Giada De Laurentis

Giada De Laurentis

6 – What were you for Halloween?

I was dressed up as someone who goes to work.  And then I went to work.

7 – If you could live anywhere outside the US, where would it be and why?

I would live somewhere in Europe.  I just like the way the culture seems to be, and I would live in a place where the culture really is how my mind perceives it.  Some specific countries would be Holland, France, Italy, Germany, and Spain.

8 – How old were you when you first started noticing feelings of attraction to males?

The first time I thought “I think I might be gay” was when I was 16, but I kept it tucked away in the back of my mind until I was almost home from my mission.  It wasn’t until October of 2008 that I actually “came out” to someone – which was to a therapist and then to an Evergreen group.

9 – If another Moho came to you asking whether you would recommend that they stay/left the church what would you tell them?

I think the most important thing to do in this life is to to prayerfully follow your feelings.  If that person feels that they would be happier outside the church and has felt like Heavenly Father has told them that it is up to them to decide what to do, then they should follow that.

I also think that there is a lot more gray area than “in” and “out” of the church.  I would recommend that if someone were to be in a relationship that they keep a close relationship with God and to attend a church (LDS or not) as much as they feel comfortable.

10 – If you found a woman who would marry you while knowing about you being gay, would you?

I don’t know.  I almost had the chance a few months ago.  My girlfriend knew that I was gay, which was hard for her, but she told me that she wanted to try.  It was sometimes very difficult to be in a relationship because there were days that I just didn’t want to have physical contact with her, and she knew it.

I don’t think that a mixed-orientation marriage is really fair for either partner, so…I don’t necessarily tell anyone that they shouldn’t get married, but I don’t recommend it either.  I would just be VERY cautious before entering into such a serious agreement.  (I know that people will probably disagree with me on this one)

11 – If you found ‘the guy’ would that make you consider all the possible church/family implications and consequences for a chance of having true love?

That is a really hard question for me to answer.  I really don’t know.  I think I would have to be presented with that situation in real life to be able to give a realistic answer.

A Prayer for my Father

I’ve never really like it when people send out texts or say something on their Facebook status about how someone is sick and needs your prayers.  I don’t know why I don’t like it, I just never have and have always avoided it.  Today, though, I join the ranks of those who have done so.  I took this from my sisters blog.

My dad is really sick.  It’s been almost 3 weeks since he started feeling awful.  He was diagnosed with pneumonia and given some meds.  He didn’t get better so he went back to the hospital to get checked out.  They gave him a stronger med and sent him home again.  Again he didn’t get better.  On Sunday he went back to the hospital and was admitted.  He’s been there since.  It’s been tested and confirmed that he has pneumonia and swine flu.  His blood oxygen level isn’t good, his lungs are full of fluid, and he needs to be on a ventilator.  They are flying him from the local hospital by my family’s house to Salt Lake so he can get more intense treatment.  His pneumonia and swine flu have developed into Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) which has a 50% mortality rate.  Needless to say, we’re worried.

If you would, please take a moment to get on your knees, light a candle, do a ceremonial dance, or whatever it is your faith promotes and offer up a prayer for my dad.  I don’t usually publicly ask for things like this but right now he could really use all the help he can get.

Thanks.

I’ve never really been that close to my dad.  I don’t know why, but we’ve always had a pretty awkward relationship.  I don’t hate him or anything, I just don’t feel like I connect with him very well.  I think I am the child that has been the hardest for him to understand.  I still love him though.

I don’t like going to hospitals, and I avoid them whenever I can.  My brother goes quite a lot and has come close to death on quite a few of those hospital trips, but he is still alive.  For that reason, I don’t take staying at the hospital very seriously.  My dad was taken to the Emergency Room on Sunday, and has been very up and down since then.  My sister and I visited him for a few minutes on Monday.  This morning, they flew him to the LDS Hospital in Salt Lake.  I got there about an hour after he arrived.  The rest of my family (except for my older sister) was already there. My dad had been sedated and and restrained.  He has tubes going down his throat to make him breath.  I stood there with my family and a few close friends, watching my dad not breathing on his own, occasionally squirming in discomfort.  I couldn’t handle it and had to leave.  As I left, my older sister showed up.  I had been very composed until I saw her.  I hugged her and began crying.  I don’t know why, but I did.

After I left the hospital, K and I went to a coffee shop to do some homework.  I was feeling sick.  I couldn’t get the image of my suffering dad out of my head.  While I stood in line waiting for my hot chocolate, I felt like I was going to vomit.  I couldn’t take it anymore.  I grabbed my drink and hurried out the back door.

I couldn’t keep my sorrow in any longer.  I sat in an empty parking lot, bawling my eyes out.  I felt so pissed off; I didn’t know what about though.  I just knew I was upset.  I yelled some words that might have made the angels cry, but I didn’t care.  I was mad.  What if my father dies?  What will this do to my family?  How could my mom go on living?  What would happen to us? How the hell could you do this to us?

After a few minutes, I was able to finally put myself back together enough to feel comfortable in public.  I wasn’t able to get anything done.  For the rest of the day, I sat numb, walked distracted, and listened blankly.  I feel like a shell.  I don’t know what I feel right now.

I don’t know how things will turn out.  I prayed tonight, which is something I haven’t done a lot of lately, and I feel a little bit better, but not much.  I know that whatever happens will help me to grow in some way.  I just don’t know if I’m up to any more of this growing by trials crap.

The Article is Finally Published

It finally happened!  I was at the Matis Fireside last night when I got a text from my friend telling me that the article about my blog will finally be published.  I’m pretty excited about it.  You can read it here (along with some comments), or just keep scrolling down…

MoHo: Mormon homosexual.

MoHommie: A friend of Mormon homosexuals.

MoHo Chica: A Mormon lesbian or female friend to male Mormon homosexuals.

There’s an entire subculture within the Mormon church that caters specifically to homosexuals, said Beau Rushton (name has been changed upon request), a USU student, who is a Mormon and a homosexual.

“We are literally everywhere,” Rushton said. “We’re in your singles ward, we’re passing the sacrament and we’re sitting next to you in priesthood meetings.”

Rushton has always known he was gay.

“I tried to avoid anything that would be associated with being gay,” Rushton said. “I wouldn’t wear nice or colorful clothing. I would only talk about masculine things.”

Rushton went on a mission for the Mormon church and thought being attracted to men was just a phase that would disappear.

It didn’t.

“Sometimes I get so frustrated with God,” Rushton said. “I wonder why he has put me through this, why I have to deal with it.”

After two years, Rushton came home and started dating the same girl he dated in high school, Jill Marychild (name has been changed).

Despite being the best of friends and having plenty in common, there was just one issue that wouldn’t go away: Rushton was still attracted to men.

“I decided to come out to her,” Rushton said. “But it didn’t go over well. It was really hard for her.”

Marychild felt like if she were skinnier or more attractive then Rushton wouldn’t be gay, he said.

“The truth was, she was a girl that’s what I wasn’t attracted to,” Rushton said.

After a relationship of five years, Rushton and Marychild broke it off.

Rushton felt he was faced with the choice of whether to keep going to church or to abandon his faith and pursue a relationship with a man. He said he didn’t feel like there was any middle ground he felt like he could either “live the gay lifestyle” or “live a lie in the church,” he said.

“I am gay,” Rushton said. “That’s not something that is going to change. But I also want to stay in the church. I could never let that go.”

The official Web site for the Mormon church, http://www.lds.org, has this to say about its stance on homosexuality, “People inquire about our position on those who consider themselves so-called gays and lesbians … If they do not act upon these inclinations, then they can go forward as do all other members of the church.”

However, according to The Deseret News, the Mormon church’s stance has changed and there has been extensive research to determine whether gay people would be able to become straight. The Mormon church no longer officially advises gay men to get married to women or that their attraction to men will go away. The Mormon church advocates lifetime celibacy for gays and lesbians.

There are several organizations, such as Evergreen, that try to help gay Mormons either diminish their feelings of attraction for other men. The group Evergreen is not officially sponsored by the Mormon church, but the two are closely affiliated and Evergreen has church officials on its council and closely follows the Mormon doctrine.

Another group, known as the Matis Firesides, is not officially sponsored by the Mormon church, but it also follows Mormon teachings. It’s monthly meetings in Utah County attract around 150 attendees, Rushton said.

North Star is an online forum where gay Mormons can interact anonymously. It’s a Web site meant to help gay Mormons support one another, but it is not a dating site. North Star is where Rushton got the idea to start a blog recounting his struggles.

His blog, http://www.hiddeninthelight.wordpress.com, now has more than 75 followers and Rushton has started his own series of meetings called Logansides. The group meets monthly, everyone is invited and around 40 people regularly attend. The gatherings are announced on the site http://www.logansides.wordpress.com.

“My struggle isn’t being gay,” Rushton said. “I love being gay. It’s the conflict and finding a balance in life. That’s what I struggle with.”

After Rushton realized that there are lots of other Mormons out there who are gay, he didn’t feel so alone. It can be a difficult position to go to church and also be gay.

“When I first realized I wasn’t the only one like this, it was like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders,” Beau said. “I felt so good. I didn’t feel alone.”

Another path

Not all of those that are raised Mormon and are gay try to live the doctrine of their church. Some people, like USU sophomore Tyler Okelberry decide to leave their religion.

There is extreme pressure in the Mormon religion to avoid all things gay, Okelberry said.

Okelberry recalls one particular morning when his mother brought in the local, Idaho newspaper and threw the wedding announcements down on the table.

“Read this,” his mother said. “It’ll make you sick.”

Okelberry’s father read the section and saw that it was the wedding announcement of a local news-radio anchor and his gay partner.

“My dad said that he was going to call the radio station and tell them he would no longer listen to the radio show because one of their DJs would chose to exhibit his homosexuality in that way,” Okelberry said.

The pressure and guilt placed on gay teens can be huge and at no fault of their own, Okelberry said.

It is not a choice to be gay, he said. Homophobia and misunderstanding can cause tension between gay Mormons and their families and friends. Okelberry couldn’t understand why his father would stop listening to one of his favorite talk shows simply because an employee at the radio station is gay.

Okelberry didn’t tell his parents that he was gay when he was a teenager because of the dislike his parents and community displayed toward gay people.

“It was as much to avoid being the topic of gossip as anything,” Okelberry said. “There’s a name to uphold, and my family is well known in that area my dad is even a Bishop. They see it as a total abomination”

In high school, Okelberry was involved in extracurricular activities. He was student body president, he ran for the cross-country team and played on the volleyball team.

“People used to ask me why I didn’t have a girlfriend, or they would try and set me up, but I had no attraction to women at all,” Okelberry said.

Okelberry said he knew other gay Mormon teenagers and when their parents found out, the teenagers had to go through long ordeals with church leaders and others in order to change their sexuality.

“All that would only make it worse for the guys,” Okelberry said. “It really messed with them.”

Slowly, Okelberry stopped going to church.He decided that he was never going to change and he may as well embrace that part of him.

Okelberry said despite all the homophobic things that the church has done, he has no hard feelings toward the Mormon Church.

“I don’t regret being raised Mormon,” he said. “I still respect the Mormon Church.”

Okelberry stopped going to church, while Rushton decided to seek support from other gay Mormons because of the misunderstandings that they face within their own religion.

Many Mormons think that being gay is a choice, which it isn’t, Rushton said. They also think that all gay people are child molesters, which is preposterous, he said. Other Mormons think that gay Mormons are less faithful or righteous.

“I have heard some of the most un-Christ like things inside a church,” Rushton said. “I once heard someone say in a church meeting that all gay people should be shot.”

Rushton advises gay Mormons to realize that they aren’t monsters, that they are normal people just like everyone else. Next, he tells them to interact with other gay Mormons, through blogging, online forums or events.

“There’s a whole community out there,” Rushton said. “We just normally don’t talk about it. It’s hidden, it’s too taboo.”

When members of the Mormon church realize someone they’ve known all their life is gay, it really changes their perception, Rushton said.

“We’re everywhere. In your average singles ward up here in Logan, there are probably about 15 gay guys,” Rushton said. “We love God too.”

And although Okelberry has chosen a different path than Rushton, their desired message is similar.

“We’re not out to get anybody,” Okelberry said. “We’re not going to hurt anyone. We’re just people, there’s no reason for anyone to be afraid of us.”

Questions

Scott recently posted about some “getting to know you” questions.  A few months ago, this was happening quite a bit in the MoHo blogosphere, and I didn’t jump on the bandwagon, but I think I want to now.  So….ask me some questions!  I want you to know me better!  After a few days of questions, I make a new post to answer them and to also let you know a little bit more about me.

If you can’t think of anything, go ahead and leave some kind of comment.  I kind of want to get an idea of who is reading my blog and stuff like that.