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.

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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.

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.

Goals

I decided that I wanted to list a few of my life goals on here.  These are just the ones that come to mind right now, and I’m sure I’ll add on to this list later.

1.  Hike the Appalachian Trail

2.  Live in Finca Bellavista, Costa Rica

3.  Live in a contemporary, minimalist house/apartment

4.  Sell some of my artwork

5.  Finish writing, publish, and conduct a piece of choral music comparable to something Eric Whitacre might write.

6.  Co-own a tea room/bakery with K

7.  Start a sustainable community with K

8.  Write and publish a book

9.  Go to a Sufjan Stevens concert

You Don’t Know Me At All!

Okay, so maybe that was a dramatic title.  It comes from a song by Ben Folds.  That is all.

I’ve started seeing a therapist.  Not to change my orientation or anything like that.  It is more to figure out who I am, to work on depression, and to manage my anxiety and panic attacks I’ve been having in church.  It’s been good for me, but I think the thing I get out of it the most are the realizations I’m making while talking about what I’m feeling.

Today I made a few realizations.  Actually, one was re-realizing that I feel like I don’t fit in anywhere, but that is something I’ve felt my whole life and I’ve already talked about that on this blog.  What I realized today is that I feel like a lot of people have misconceptions of who I am.  This is everyone from my friends and family all the way to anyone who reads this blog and has no idea who I am.  I don’t think I even know who I am.  I think that K and J are the two people that have the best ideas of who I am and what I really think and feel.

Some people think all I talk about is homosexuality.  It is a prominent subject, I’ll admit that, but it isn’t all I talk about or think about.  I have other parts of my life.  Some people think I am a super-mormon guy who thinks this or that.  I’m not.  Some people think I am dating and “living the lifestyle”, as some may put it.  I’m not.

I’m me, and just me.  I don’t fit any stereotypes.  I am an independent man with thoughts of my own.  You probably don’t agree with my thoughts, but that’s okay.  I like what I think, and I base my beliefs on my own personal thoughts.

Just saying.

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.”

What I Want

What is the purpose of this blog?

I have gone through some of my previous posts and found quotes that I fell like epitomize what I want this blog to be.  There is only one quote that I actually say what I want people to get out of this blog, which is this one:

I’m not ashamed of the fact that I’m gay and that I’m active in the LDS church.  I want people to understand me and my situation better.  I want those who experience same gender attraction to know they are not alone and that they are normal.  I want them to know that there are more options then “living a lie in the church” and “living the lifestyle”.I want members of the church that have little or no experience with homosexuality other than what they see and hear on the news to be more understanding of something that tends to be taboo in Mormon culture.  I want all members of the church to be more understanding and loving of those who are different.  We all have things that we have to deal with, and some of those things are easy to hide.  Usually those things that are hidden are usually the things that can provide the greatest learning experiences.  Camille Fronk Olsen said at a Matis Fireside when someone asked her “Why is there this cookie cutter mentality in the Church?”  She replied, “It’s easy to focus on the outward appearance. Whatever the Ensign cover looks like, that’s how life should be! But really, the best articles in the Ensign are by ‘Name Withheld’”

This next quote is more or less an example of some of the frustrations I experience.  I include this so that people who do not experience Same Gender Attraction can know what I sometimes feel.

I remember a few times that I have been upset with God for putting me through this.  Why the hell do I have to want something so bad, and in order to be in complete harmony with the church, not give in to what I want?  Why do I have to endure hateful rhetoric in an environment that should not be a place where that occurs?  Why do I have to experience the pain of peope putting me on a lower level then themselves because “there is something wrong with me”?  Why do people think that I have less faith or am less worthy than them?  What the hell?

This last quote is just one that I love that I read on someone else blog.  I think this is really the ultimate goal of any movement (not that I’m trying to start a movement, but I do want to increase understanding and break down walls).

“Civilization is the process in which one gradually increases the number of people included in the term ‘we’ or ‘us’ and at the same time decreases those labeled ‘you’ or ‘them’ until that category has no one left in it.”
– Howard Winters