Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Alone but not Lonely

(Gay) Mormon Guy's post about Fitting In prompted me to write the following. I figured I might as well share it here and ask for your thoughts and insights.

Hey MG, 

First of all since I don't know your name, I hope you're OK with MG as nick name. If not let me know and I'll abide by your wishes.

Second, I relate to your post. Even when I am among friends and family, I sometimes feel the same as you, like I don't fit it. So here's the little talk I sometimes have with myself. "You are unique. You are one of a kind. Even if you had an exact twin, your spirits would be different. Enjoy the difference, but also be aware of how much we share. All of us on this planet are brothers and sisters. We are all subject to hunger, thirst, fatigue and loneliness. None of us is exempt, but no matter what our situation at any given moment, we have opportunities to respond, not just to react, but to draw upon our God-given talents and abilities and feel the connection we share with the other mere mortals in our proximity." 

Third, do I always do this? Of course not. It is an ideal. But it is worth striving for. Some people may characterize this approach as "fake it until you make it" but that's not what I'm advocating. I'm saying that sharing our authentic and sometimes vulnerable feelings can sometimes help another person and ourselves feel more at ease, more accepted.

Fourth, at this moment I am sitting in a darkened room. A small amount of light is glowing from my laptop screen. The other light is from the Christmas lights hanging outside my windows. I've opened all the blinds so I can see the snowstorm. I am alone, but I don't feel lonely because I know you'll be reading this message later, and although we've never met I consider you a friend. 

Fifth, I know that conditions outside are cold and dangerous, but I choose to see the beauty. The room would be warmer if I closed the blinds, but then I'd miss the beauty of the storm. I hope this finds you warm and happy. I hope it will brighten your outlook in someway and I hope you will know and feel that you are not alone.

(End of Message to MG)

So what do you think? How do you deal with fitting in or not fitting in? How do you feel when you're inside and you know that snow is softly falling outside?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Make the Yuletide Affectionate

Merry Christmas Eve! This is my first moho video. Hope you enjoy!


p.s. I also posted on FaceBook but I think this YouTube version is the better upload. Let me know what you think.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

My Christmas Wishes for You

May you find beauty in the cold of winter
warmth in the glow of friendship and family
peace in your faith
satisfaction in sociality and solitude

May you rejoice in the laughter of children
and the elderly
and everyone else in between

May you discover delightful things
about yourself and others

May you enjoy good health,
mentally, physically, spiritually
and in all other ways
and may you help other
attain such health and well-being

May you face challenges 
that will help you and others grow
But may you also grow as easily 
as a blade of grass on warms spring day

May you be blessed with the 
knowledge that your life
makes the world better 
for those you serve, those you love
and those who love you
past, present and future

May you glimpse the truth 
that there are those you know
and those you don't know 
who care deeply about you
Who thank God that 
you are who you are 

May you thank God 
and our Savior for who you 
are and your life, your blessings
your challenges

If there is within your
Soul a child who
is born with no place
to call home, may you 
welcome that child
feed and clothe and 
nurture him

Friday, December 17, 2010

If he's gone

If the following lyrics attributed to Lennon/McCartney really are about the Beatles first manager, a gay man named Brian Epstein, then it seems to me that the "she" in the song should be a "he" so I've made the change in the text below.

Here I stand head in hand
Turn my face to the wall
If he's gone I can't go on
Feelin' two-foot small

Everywhere people stare
Each and every day
I can see them laugh at me
And I hear them say

Hey you've got to hide your love away
Hey you've got to hide your love away

How can I even try
I can never win
Hearing them, seeing them
In the state I'm in

How could he say to me
Love will find a way
Gather round all you clowns
Let me hear you say

Hey you've got to hide your love away
Hey you've got to hide your love away

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Both of us cried, when I told my Bishop

Click image to see original
Steve Walker painting.
The latest blog from Invictus inspired me to write about my experience coming out to my Bishop, my former Bishop that is. He’s served his time and we now have a new young pup learning the ropes. Do puppies learn ropes? Oh the problems of mixed metaphors. Maybe I will also tell the pup someday, but right now I kind of doubt it. (The other week when he told me with a twinkle in his eye that I looked very handsome and happy, I thought for just a moment he could be a member of the fam. Wishful thinking, I guess, but that's the subject of a different post.)

The Bishop I did tell immediately treated me differently after our first of many discussions. He had always been kind, but his kindness increased. He went out of his way to ask me how I was doing. As one of his clerks, if he knew I was in the building, he would ask me to join the Bishopric for an opening or closing prayer. Many times, but not always, he would ask me to say the prayer. In so many ways he said to me, not in words, but in his actions, “I respect you. I love you as a brother and friend and as your bishop.”

I’ve read here of other experiences with Bishops that were not as positive. With 28,424 wards and branches throughout the world, there are bound to be many differing approaches of Bishops and Branch Presidents. In a worldwide religion with 13,824,854 members there are 138,245 of us personally dealing with homosexuality given a very conservative 1% “gay rate”. I would like to hear the stories of others who have had positive and not-so-positive dealings with their Bishops and other leaders.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

My thanks to my toes, and you, and you, and you, and you

As I awakened on this Thanksgiving morning of 2010, I thought of my toes and other things I'm thankful for on this cold wintry day in Salt Lake City.

Toes - They're the farthest or is it furthest from my heart, yet they still live. Their nails grow much more slowly than my fingernails. I keep them in the dark almost year round, only letting them out a few days in the summer or a few minutes a day when I shower. They must love it when I swim when they're not only free from sox and shoes, but when the gravity and the weight of body they usually endure are all topsy turvey and wonderfully different. Thank you toes for supporting me. For helping me balance. For giving me perspective about those I care about even when you're far from my heart physically, I still love you. I rely on you. I'm grateful for you. Thank you, toes.

Pipes - I'm grateful for you, too. You pipes in my walls, and in my yard and under my street and your cousins the wires in the air and underground, copper and fiber, all of you. Without you, taking a drink or taking a dump would be so much more difficult. I couldn't write these words as easily and effortlessly save them in the cloud, the cloud wouldn't even exist, nor would the orange "publish post" button, if not for you, dear pipes of all sizes and functions. Like my toes, you are hidden, but like my toes I rely on you so much. Thank you. Thanks for water, heat, electricity, television, telephone, and all that is online. Thanks for quietly and almost flawlessly carrying away gray water and worse. And thanks to all the people behind all the pipes. I sometimes think of myself alone in my home with my loved ones, but we are not alone, we are connected to so many necessities and much more thanks to you, our dear pipes, and those who maintain you and make possible the contents you carry.

ABCs and QWERTY - In the beginning, we're told, was the word. If so, then in the pre-existence there was the alphabet. I'm grateful today for alphabets and words and the expression, and creation and communication they make possible. I learned the QWERTY keyboard in junior high. It has served me so well though the decades. I'm using it at the very moment I write this, and you could not so easily read my words without it. I did not have to form the letters with a pen or pencil. I did not have to find the bin and then find the letter made of lead in reverse and then place it in a tray and then find the next letter and the space and the ink and the paper, the press and the labor, the drying time and distribution. No, all I had to do was press a key and my fingers knew exactly where it would be thanks to QWERTY. For letters, words, keyboards and sentences, paragraphs, typewriters, computers and broadband, I am grateful this day. 

Fingers - Just because I wrote of toes first, did you really think I would fail to mention you, my ten good friends? Thank you for your beautiful functionality. Thank you for your length ratios which, like my counter clockwise hair sworl, are a physical indication of my great challenges and gifts as a bisexual man. Thanks for all you do. Ringman for working with that extra weight of gold more than three decades now. Thank you all for helping with so much everyday. Thank you for letting me touch and feel. For helping so much with buttons, zippers, keys, driving, holding and so much more. For being an integral part of so many handshakes and hugs, caresses and the holding of hands, pets and more. Thank you for working as a team. Please accept my apology for sometimes forgetting you. I try to clip your nails weekly, but as you know, I sometimes procrastinate. In this weather I should make sure that you get lotion and wear my gloves out in the cold. Thank you for all you've done, all you do, all you will do. Thanks, my fingers and thanks for the fingers of others who have touched and served me in countless ways.

FAM - Thanks to mom and dad, grandpas and grandmas, a dear wife, caring offspring, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, nephews and nieces. And those of you who read these words, you, in my book are also family. We are all brothers and sisters, are we not? Like the family members I have listed above, you have helped and loved me, each in your own way, and I appreciate and love you, too. How can that be possible when so many of us have not met face-to-face and we hardly know each other, if at all? Well I've never met two of my grandparents face-to-face either. They were dead long before my birth, but I still appreciate them. I appreciate you, too. Not in the same way, of course, but in an important way nonetheless. I can write without readers, but what a difference it makes to write knowing that someone will read and a few will comment. Thank you for that and much more my moho fam. 

Well it is time for me to rise and shout, even though I'm much more red than blue in my Salt Lake County/Utah County affiliations. No matter where you live, north south, east west, East coast, or Alaska, overseas, or Texas, rural Utah or Hawaii or New York City, I am thankful for you. Thanks for writing and reading, being my Moho bros and sisters. I hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving today, that you give thanks and find that the thanks you give are thanking you back. If you're here in frigid Utah may find joy in the warms that protects you. If you are warm Texas, Hawaii or San Diego, may you be especially grateful for the warmth of climate.

Again and again, thanks to my toes, and you, and you, and you, and you.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Seeking Warmth in Winter

I shoveled the first big snow of winter this morning. Later as I swapped my cold boots for dry shoes, I looked at my unmade bed and thought about how nice it would be to snuggle with a loved-one on a wintry day like today. I thought first of my wife but then remembered how my occasional attempts at seduction have been rebuffed for years now.

Being bisexual in my attractions, a few other women then crossed my mind--warm, wonderful, funny, beautiful women I know. They're not alike in shape, age, hair color, eye color or personality, but they are all friendly, perhaps even a slight bit flirtatious. But they're off limits. All of them are married.

But in the realm of fantasy I can also think of men I would like to snuggle with and here's where my Kinsey 4-5 scores are evident. Whereas I think of a few women I know who I'd like to spend a snowy day indoors with, I can easily recall a dozen men throughout my life who would make fine snuggle partners, in my dreams anyway.

1. Junior High Crush #1 - I've seen and talked with him as an older man, and there's still some fire there. He's no longer tall and lean and his brown eyes are obscured by thick bi-focal glasses now, but they still twinkle.

2. High School Crush #1 -  I still think of him, too. Not as he is now, but as I remember him walking the halls or studying in the library almost four decades ago. When I hear the Carpenters sing Superstar I can still see this handsome young friend as he was in his prime.

3. High School Crush #2 - We still do lunch sometimes. He's bigger, kinder and every bit as appealing now as he was when we were teens. Maybe even more so because he's a better listener.

4. My Summer Job Crush - He was a blue-eyed, freckled redhead. We never really talked much, but we both said hello to each other almost everyday for a whole summer. I wish I'd struck up a conversation and I would today if he crossed my path. I wonder if the thick red hair has faded to white by now.

5. College Crush - We studied, talked, ate and volunteered together. I attended his missionary farewell and his wedding reception. I haven't seen him in decades but every once in a while I'll notice some one's shoulders  or their mischievous smile and think of him. 

6. Early Career Crush - He lives out-of-state now, but he's still a pleasant memory of my younger days. His thick silver hair, and clean-shaven face in online photos are not quite as appealing as the thick brown hair and full beard I admired in person, but his dark brown eyes appear unchanged.

6. My Mid Thirties Crush - Because we were in group therapy together, he knew some of my issues and I knew some of his. He knew I liked him, and I knew he didn't like me as much, we both knew it. We had lunch a few years ago. Whereas I've become more liberal and accepting he seems more conservative and excluding. 

7. My Late Thirties Crush - Every once in a while I'll search online for this man with the piercing blue eyes and the boyish enthusiasm for life. I wonder what's become of him. I wonder if he's maintained his idealism.

8. My Early Forties Crush - I've already written on this blog about the handsome curly blond with slate blue eyes. I thought I was totally over him until I found him on FaceBook and felt a thrill when he confirmed my invitation as an online friend.

9. My Late Forties Crush - Perhaps I'll write of this another time, but not now.
10. My early Fifties Crush #1- see #9.
11. My Mid Fifties Crush #1- see #9.
12. My Mid Fifties Crush #2- see #9.

So there you go. When the weather gets cold outside, I think of my good wife and the physical intimacy we once shared, but I also think of these other women and men. If any of them were available and willing, I'd welcome them into my bed, that is if I was also available. Even with all these qualifications and perhaps because of them, I'm not likely to abandon these memories and longings--just like Lancelot could not imagine a season to let go of his love.

If ever I would leave you
It wouldn't be in summer.
Seeing you in summer I never would go.
Your hair streaked with sun-light,
Your lips red as flame,
Your face with a lustre
that puts gold to shame!

But if I'd ever leave you,
It couldn't be in autumn.
How I'd leave in autumn I never will know.
I've seen how you sparkle
When fall nips the air.
I know you in autumn
And I must be there.

And could I leave you
running merrily through the snow?
Or on a wintry evening
when you catch the fire's glow?

If ever I would leave you,
How could it be in spring-time?
Knowing how in spring I'm bewitched by you so?
Oh, no! not in spring-time!
Summer, winter or fall!
No, never could I leave you at all!

(Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner) 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Suicidal Thoughts - Conclusion

An edited transcription of journal entries, 2001-2003.

June 10 - Finally got into the Nurse Practitioner my counselor recommended. In addition to the Celexa I've been taking, she's started me on Wellburtrin. Watched some of the Tom Hanks's movie Philadelphia last night. The character he played, based on a real life lawyer, kept fighting against his former employer and against his disease of AIDS. He endured to the end. It has been a good day, overall, a few tough moments, but overall a day as a Sunday should be, time with loved ones, time to find some renewal for the week ahead.

June 11 - Feeling a little panicky. I'm not out of the woods yet, but I'm glad to be alive. 

June 18 - Followed the plan to double my Wellbutrin to 200 milligrams a day. Still having a lot of ringing in my ears, but it comes and goes. On a scale of 1-to-10 I'd say my mood is up to about a 4. But given that it's been a 2 or 3 for most of last month, I'm glad for the progress. Yesterday was Father's Day, it was a pretty good day with some uplifting thoughts at church and from the fam.

June 25 - I'm still doing about the same but better in some ways. I'm learning about myself. What have I learned? Probably that I'm tougher than I thought I was. I'm learning just to live with whatever this down stuff is and there's the paradox, when I am just accepting of it and not trying to fight it, I seem to do better. Last Sunday I took a nap for a few minutes and when I woke up I felt "normal" for a while. I think the medication is helping.

July 6 - I want to let go, yet I want to hold on. I agree with the idea that suicide is a permanent answer to a temporary problem, but it's not really an answer. Still I want to let go. But I don't want to harm innocent people, my children, my wife, my family, my friends. I want to again be a basically hopeful person. 

Sept 11 - Our nation was attacked in New York and Washington, D.C. This is awful but I can see that I personally have a lot to be thankful for. 

Nov 22 - Thanksgiving. Mood is much, much better. I've found an anchor in the work of Dr. David Burns and his book Feeling Good about cognitive behavior therapy. I'm doing better physically, socially, even spiritually. I've learned that my thoughts have so much to do with my moods and that irrational thoughts, though the seem true, can cause depression and physical symptoms. We are what we think. Sounds simple. But it's pretty powerful. I've found affirmations that I can say and usually believe: I am healthy and strong. I can handle my responsibilities. I am a loving and caring parent. I'm a decent husband. I'm a capable man. 

Dec 31 - Wow the last day of one of the toughest years I can remember. I lost so much self-esteem and hope, but for the last couple of months I've done much, much better. Of course I need to continue make progress and plan to do so in 2002, the year of the Salt Lake Olympics.

March 3, 2002 - Journaling didn't save me all by itself, but it was a contributing factor. Same is true of prayer, therapy, Wellbutrin, exercise and a certain fear and lack of courage ((to actually try to kill myself)). I have left more than a trace. I have documented my journey, at least some of it. What have I learned? Things I already "knew" but now have a testimony of. The need for balance, for telling the truth, especially to myself, how much I need others, but how much more so I need to be able to LIVE with myself and my decisions. 

July 6, 2002 - I am grateful for improvements. What a gift it is to be reasonably happy and hopeful. I can remember how last July 4, I sincerely believed I could never be happy again, and that whatever it took to be happy, I had permanently lost. I'm so glad I held on. I didn't realize how irrationally discouraged I really was. Well it took a long time but I have slowly improved. I'm grateful that I have had such good support from family and friends, and that I sought a multi-dimensional approach of biblio-therapy, counseling, meds, exercise and physical and emotional work.

April 25, 2003 - Now with the perspective of time I can say that the greatest loss, the greatest evil I have faced is the loss of hope. Amazingly when I wrote I almost always felt better even when I was writing about how discouraged I was. I made more sense to myself on paper than I did in my jangling mind. I'm grateful that somehow I had the wherewithal to seek to record my thoughts.

Post Script - November 11, 2010 - Thank you for hanging in there with me through this series entries. I appreciate the comments I've already received and look forward to hearing more. I welcome your insights and hope that despite the seemingly negative title of these blogs, that you have found some added insight and hope for the challenges you may face.

Post Post Script - September 5, 2011 - I've found and posted the full text from the 1990 newspaper article that I mentioned in an earlier entry. It's hard to find the archival version and the links change, so I just decided to make the full text part of my blog. Here's the link.

Also check out the comments section.

Return to Part 1

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Suicidal Thoughts - Part 3

An edited transcription of journal entries, circa 2001.

May 27 - Sunday - I am slowly but surely discovering again the things that matter most. That being with my wife and children brings a calm reassurance. We all went to church together today and then went for a drive after. I read some news articles today that gave me perspective. One was about a man in his mid-40s who couldn't even remember his age because of his alcoholism. He hadn't seen any of his kids in years. He said he'd been drunk all his life. At least I've done better than that.

May 27 - Memorial Day, mowed the lawn, went to the cemetery with family, read some old journal entries. It's been two months since I started feeling so depressed. I have survived 8 weeks of clinical depression. that's enough. I'm ready to be happy now. If only it were that easy. I've felt so down, hopeless, negative, nauseated. Enough already. I want to snap out of it. I'm ready to regain my sense of humor, my ability to plan and dream, to nurture and give, to quit being so needy.

June 3 - I am continuing to wrestle with discouragement. I thought it might be interesting to list all the negative stuff I'm feeling and explore what some of the positives might be.

discouraged - courage, courageous
afraid - brave
incompetent - competent, confident
inept - capable, able, responsible
ill - healthy well, fit, strong
depressed - realistic, positive
tormented - calm, peaceful
hopeless - hopeful
bored - active, many interests
blah - engaged
guilt ridden - forgiving, forward thinking
judgmental - accepting, understanding
negative - realistic, multifaceted
suicidal - life-affirming
down - not up, just OK
invalid - valid, purposeful

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Suicidal Thoughts - Part 2

An edited transcription of journal entries, circa 2001.

April 28 – I am grateful for my family and pray that I will again be able to learn and grow. I have made many mistakes. I have been harsh and demanding. As AA advises I need to make a searching and fearless moral inventory. I have begun this night. I also wish to place in writing that I will try to forgive everyone. I’ve wanted to blame others for my failings. I have blamed others. I wish to forgive and forget. I seek to wipe the slate clean, to move forward.
April 30 – Back in January I had an idea for a screenplay. I was pretty full of myself back then. Better to be here and trying to recover than living in some dream world. I’m grateful for family and friends. And friends who feel like family. I don’t have to have an unobstructed view of the mountain to appreciate its beauty. I can see the evening sun on the mountain peaks. God gives us so much, the gift of being ourselves, and sometimes he gives us mysterious gifts we don’t understand.

May 1 – I have so much to live for but I feel empty and of little worth and discouraged. I have felt these feelings before. I have been through bleak times, but I have survived, I have not given in. Still having tremendous difficulty eating, thinking clearly.
May 6 – I will continue to fight for encouragement and making a valuable contribution.
May 11 – Forgot to take my meds last night. Troubling. Didn’t sleep well. Called in sick. Called my counselor. Called my doctor. Felt pretty desperate. Took a nap. After failing to get through to anyone, at about 11:30 I worked up my courage to call 1-800-SUICIDE. The kind woman on the line helped me understand and sort through several things. She helped me gauge in the intensity of my feelings. She asked, “Do you have a gun now or have you take drugs?” I said no. She asked if I planned to do anything today. I said no. I told her I couldn’t get through to my doc or counselor, that food tasted awful and I was losing weight and couldn’t sleep well, and knew these were signs of depression. She said helped me see that although I was troubled, and feeling panic, I was not in eminent danger.
Finally got a call back from my counselor. “Satan has the power to discourage us, but exercise faith and move forward. We have the power to crush the serpent’s head. Remember Paul, we are troubled on every side but not perplexed. Keeping moving forward in faith.”
May 13 – I’ve been trying to keep myself busy. I have tried to be calm and have succeeded, it is just that on the inside I feel so hopeless and guilty. I know I have been the cause of so many problems and unhappiness. There is a wise part of me that says hang in there you can beat this. There is another part of me that says everyone would ultimately be better off if you were gone. That seems so stupid when I write it down, but the thing is that right now it seems true. If only I hadn’t read that newspaper article about Evergreen. If only I had been able to carry the secret to my grave. If only Evergreen had worked better. I don’t know how to sort it out anymore. It gave me great hope. Perhaps too much hope.
May 24 – Saw my counselor. He recommended a nurse practitioner who can evaluate my meds. The rapport I used to have with this man is all but gone. I left his office smiling, but it was a phony smile. Maybe this woman who can prescribe meds will be more helpful.
May 25 – Did a great deal of throwing things away at the office today. Am getting more organized. If I’m not going to be there at least I can leave it clean. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Suicidal Thoughts

An edited transcription of journal entries

January 6 – Bishop and I just finished an interview. He will recommend that I be ordained a High Priest. He said I once taught him that when you can’t express a thought in the spoken word, you can write it and then burn it and let the smoke carry it away. I don’t remember telling him that. Maybe it was something I suggested in a quorum discussion long ago.

February 11 – Stake Conference. Faith and delight in keeping the commandments. Angels to bear you up. Seeking the one in need. Miracles do happen. God wants all to have love and happiness. Give up all your sins to know God. Many ways to sin. Watch yourselves, your thoughts, words and deeds. Remember and perish not. Keep commandments always. Never vary from them.

March 8 – Melancholia, depression, the blues have been called many things of the centuries. I write now because this awful guest is visiting and I don’t want him hanging around. He is boorish and robs my energy and goodness. Get thee hence, darkness. Have I brought this on myself or is it just something that comes along like bad weather. I’m unusually quiet, fidgety, and impatient. People who are perfectly patient and never complain when in pain are amazing. I'm not one of them.

April 9 – I don’t feel “normal” and I wish I could get better. I guess I’m always looking outside myself, thinking that I will find “the answer” out there somewhere. But the wise, ancient part of me knows that there really isn’t any one answer. There are approaches. Balance to be sought. Ideals to strive for. Why can't just visualizing the ideal be enough to bring some relief? I don’t have to be happy all the time, but a few moments here and there would be nice. Silence doesn’t have to be empty or lonely, but it is right now. I have sought both old and new friends. It is a labor. I can only sing certain songs and my songs are not always what they seem. If I can’t accept myself, how can I expect anyone else to?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

He will yet reveal

Some say the sole purpose of The Family: A Proclamation to the World is to define marriage as between a man and a woman. Not so! Why would the church do that to so many who fall outside that ideal? If only 1% of LDS church members are gay, that's still 138,248 gay Mormons based on the church's 2009 Statistical Report. That would fill to overflowing two facilities the size of LaVell Edwards Stadium.

Yes, the proclamation supports strong families, but not just one kind of strong family. Yes, it says "marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God..." but it does not say that other unions are invalid. 

For example we know that marriages between one man and multiple women are also viable on the other side of the veil. The proclamation does not invalidate polygamous marriages made prior to 1890 or the present-day serial polygamist who is sealed to one wife, and then upon her death is sealed to a second, resulting an eternal polygamist marriage.

The Proclamation on the Family speaks of many ideals. Yes, it certainly is ideal for a man and a woman to marry and rear children. No argument there. But it clearly and directly acknowledges that this ideal is not always attained because of a variety of reasons:

"Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation."

It doesn't say that other circumstances may cause problems but there's nothing that can be done. It says other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. That powerful, inclusive sentence is a loving acknowlegement that the ideals set forth in the proclamation are sometimes unavoidably unavailable to real people in real life.

In 1922 when my grandmother was widowed as a young mother, her parents did not allow her to date after the tragic loss of her young husband. They believed that dating would violate her Temple covenants with her eternal companion. Today she would not be so tightly constrained. Today she would be encouraged to marry a second worthy husband in the Temple, but not for time and all eternity. The doctrine hasn't changed, but the intrepretation of it has. It didn't even require a revelation, just a change in attitude and, perhaps, church policy. Does anyone how if there was an official change or not?

After the 1978 revelation opening the priesthood to worthy black members of the church, Bruce R. McConkie was questioned about his many strident statements against "the Negro." In a speech entitled All Are Alike unto God he said, "Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or President George Q. Cannon or whomsoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world. We get our truth and our light line upon line and precept upon precept. We have now had added a new flood of intelligence and light on this particular subject, and it erases all the darkness and all the views and all the thoughts of the past. They don’t matter any more."

Elder McConkie thus affirmed the Ninth Article of Faith: "We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God."

Fortunately we won't have to forget or set aside anything in the Proclamation on the Family if and when it is revealed that in addition to traditional marriage being ordained of God, "other circumstances" require individual and church-wide adaptation, and should be handled with as much love, accomodation and support as death or disability.

I believe that someday we will all sing with great fervor and thanksgiving Carol Lynn Pearson and Reid N. Nibley's prophetic Primary song I'll Walk with You:

If you don't walk as most people do, 
Some people walk away from you,
But I won't! I won't!

If you don't talk as most people do
Some people talk and laugh at you,
But I won't! I won't!

I'll walk with you,
I'll talk with you.
That's how I'll show my love for you.

Jesus walked away from none.
He gave his love to ev'ryone.
So I will! I will!

Jesus blessed all he could see,
Then turned and said,
"Come, follow me."
And I will! I will! I will! I will!

I'll walk with you,
I'll talk with you.
That's how I'll show my love for you.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A great time to come out?

It's a great time to come out, right? After all, church members are being urged like never before to be kind and loving to gays and lesbians. How can my fellow brothers and sisters know that I need their love and support as I deal with SGA while sustaining my MOM relationship--oops--if I'm going to come out, I guess I'll also have to try to stop talking in code. I'll have to say I'm dealing with same gender attraction while sustaining my mixed-orientation marriage, but even then, I'll probably get unknowing stares as people ask themselves "What on earth is he talking about? Is this more of this gay lingo? It used to be out in the world, not it's right here in our neighborhood."

What will coming out do to my affectionate relationships with the guys in my High Priests Group? I like the idea that they're talking with me and even occasionally putting a hand on my shoulder or squeezing my knee just because we're brothers and we feel comfortable touching each other. Would I want them to touch me and talk with me to show me increased love and acceptance because I'm struggling with this "terrible burden of being gay" and Mormon? Hmmm, maybe not so much.

How would I feel if I knew that in Ward Council the Relief Society president was saying, "We've got to reach out to Ned and his wife, especially his wife. Think of what she's be going through all those years being married to a gay man, uh, a SSA man, oh no, SGA, that's what we call it right? We need to be sure she gets visiting taught every month, and what are you High Priests going to do with Ned?"

To which the HP group leader confesses, "Well, I'm sorry to say this but some of our older High Priests feel that Ned's really betrayed them. He's always been so kind and sometimes openly affectionate, but now they think he's been coming on to them all these years. When we thought of Ned as straight, of course we accepted him as one of the group, but now that we know that he's turned gay, uh, or he now thinks that he's SSA or SGA, whatever you want to call it, these guys feel like he's been lying to them about who he really is. They don't trust him. To be honest, I don't think we can keep him as an instructor."

To which the Bishop says, "Well maybe we could lovingly call him to coordinate the Saturday morning cleaning of the building. No, that's not going to work, people aren't going to want to be alone in the church with him. We can put him on the prayer rolls of the Temple and we'll pray about calling another instructor so we can release him. He's a great teacher, but this whole gay thing is really making people uncomfortable. If only Ned had kept this to himself, we wouldn't have to be dealing with all this contention."

What do you think? Am I being too cynical? Or am I just facing the reality that older members of the church, and those who have become leaders because of their orthodox views, aren't really going to be on board with really loving and accepting gays and lesbians?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Moho Films Win Tops Awards in Mormon Video Contest

It hasn't happened yet. But it could. Who better to make some highly relevant, engaging, and unforgettable videos about gospel principles like: 

  • As I have loved you, love one another
  • Jesus said love everyone, treat them kindly, too
  • Though though deepening trials throng your way

Ok, so those are song titles, but you get the idea. Here's the link to the contest site. Entries are due on the last day of January. Here's a quick idea. How about you use the text of the story of Jonathan and David as the basis of a story, but it is all done with contemporary actors in a typical Mormon home and neighborhood? Just something to get you thinking.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Dolls and Darkrooms

Here's my earlier post on this subject 

using same great painting by 
Steve Walker.

As a little boy I didn’t worry what people thought. I liked dolls, purses, makeup, jewelry, sewing and photography. Later I learned that real boys don’t like dolls, purses, makeup and jewelry. I knew that I was a real boy, but I didn’t like the things real boys liked, except photography. So I hid those parts from others and eventually from myself. As a teenager I spent a lot of time processing film and photos in a darkroom. In some ways I’ve lived most of my life in a darkroom.

Now I’m a young senior citizen. More than half of my life is behind me. I’ve hidden from myself and others for so long that I sometimes wonder if I can ever let the real me show. Does he even exist or did I kill him just as surely as if I had driven my VW Beetle into the family garage and closed the door with the engine running. 

A few minutes ago an online acquaintance texted me that he’d been burned by people who weren’t honest about who they are. He asked if I used a pseudonym online. I told him yes. He said “I wish you well” and then a little green bright spot on my computer screen lost its color and turned gray. I wanted to tell him, I’m trying to be me. I really am. But I’ve hidden so long that light hurts my eyes, sun burns my skin, sound hurts my ears and I feel like I’m going to melt and sizzle away like a chip of ice on a hot stove.

Then I hear another voice saying, “Oh come on, stop with all the drama and angst already. You’re a grown up man. Act like one. Get on with your life. Quit living in the past. Stop the pity party. Get over yourself. Life is tough, then you die. Besides, why would our Father in Heaven do that to anyone?"

Then I hear a kinder voice saying, “You really are OK just the way you are. And you are multi-faceted. That’s OK. Diamonds are like that, too.”

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Jonathan and David may yet lead the way

“…the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul…and then Jonathan and David made a covenant because he loved him as his own soul…”   1 Samuel 1-3

What does it mean to have your soul knit to another? It my idealized world, it would be wonderful for this scripture to be cited and explained in the context of God-sanctioned same-sex relationships. If you were to write such a text, what would it say? What has already been written on the subject? What needs to be said from a Moho point of view?

Dear Father in Heaven, Just as you blessed David to love Jonathan and his wife as well, you have blessed me with the gift of bisexuality. Thank you for this gift that has provided me with so many blessings throughout my life. Please help me and guide me to use this gift wisely. This I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Morning Breaks

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” –Romans 8:38-39

I love the idea that God's love is always there operating in our lives even when we don't realize it, just as the sun is always shining even though we can't always see it.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone?

Young Apostles in the LDS Quorum of the Twelve
silently affirm the warmth of non-sexual, same-sex
affection between friends and colleagues.

I agree with Beck and JGW that this is a provocative question. Elder Boyd K. Packer's talk was not only heard by thousands of faithful LDS members, but reports of it have echoed around the world through FaceBook and the blogosphere. As of a few minutes ago the Salt Lake Tribune's article on the talk with the headline "Apostle: Same-Sex Attraction Can Change" had prompted over 3,100 comments. 
Now, don't get the wrong impression here. I agree that some of Elder Packer's statements--if not put in perspective--could be deadly to some. But I am glad that the topic is generating discussion. I'm glad there's going to be a demonstration in Salt Lake City later this week. Dustin Lance Black, aren't you so glad you made the MILK film? 
So you know where I stand, here's what I wrote on the topic last year in response to a question from Abelard.
...I hope my future will include rejoicing as LDS church continues to refine its attitudes about sexuality. The Family: A Proclamation to the World includes this highly significant sentence: "Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation." 
I find hope in the idea that the church, like individuals, may find it necessary to adapt. One of my greatest sources of hope is the 9th Article of Faith: "We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal and we believe he will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God." 
I reached adulthood before the 1978 revelation that all worthy men could receive the priesthood. The church's former racist policy and teachings were a roadblock to my fully accepting Mormonism. The fact that that roadblock fell is a source of hope that other much-needed changes should and can be made. 
So do I agree with Elder Packer? Not so much. Do I find reason to welcome the discussion he has prompted, yes. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Seeking advice on the shedding of tears

Weeping Parisian
from Wikimedia Commons
There's been a death in my world. I have lost someone who has been a mentor, cheerleader, advisor, confidant, entertainer and listener. A kind, talented, beautiful person inside and out. Someone who protected, nurtured, endured, stumbled, climbed, sorrowed, succeeded, wept, laughed, loved, smiled, beamed, angered, frustrated, manipulated, gave, enjoyed, planned, played, produced, praised and prayed.

I've shed a few tears but haven't really had a good cry yet. Maybe I need to watch a tearjerker movie to get me started and then I can just let loose.

The few tears I have shed felt good. I wouldn't say they were bitter tears, but tears of loss and sadness mixed with tears of gratitude and thanksgiving. But for days now, I've felt all dried up and cried out. So if you have any good recommendations on movies that'll make even a tough old cowboy cry, well then let me know. Not that I'm a tough old cowboy but the old part is true.

So what have I gained? An increased appreciation of hospice, hugs, music, friends, loved ones, kind words, sunshine, sleep, food, silence, flowers, funeral directors and that certain change in the air that comes with fall. And these old song lyrics and the melodies that go with them.

The falling leaves drift by the window
The autumn leaves of red and gold
I see your lips, the summer kisses
The sun-burned hands I used to hold

Since you went away the days grow long
And soon I'll hear old winter's song
But I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall

Oh, it's a long long while from May to December
But the days grow short when you reach September
When the autumn weather turns the leaves to flame
And you ain't got time for waiting game

When days dwindle down to a precious few
September November,
And these few golden days I'd share with you
Those golden days I share with you

And then there's this from Emily Dickinson:

I held a jewel in my fingers
And went to sleep
The day was warm, and winds were prosy
I said "twill keep"

I woke and child my honest fingers,
The Gem was gone
And now, an Amethyst remembrance
Is all I own

So, now just so you know that my question above was serious, I'm going to repeat it here: What do you recommend for a fellow who knows he needs to cry, and who really thinks he wants to cry, but doesn't quite remember how? Should I try the movies route? If so, which ones? Any other ideas?
Thanks my friends.

Monday, September 6, 2010

On a Summer Night (part three)

So when I realized this was not an accident, I didn’t really think through my options at all. I don’t think I knew about the three reactions humans and animals often have regarding what they perceive to be threatening. I didn’t think: fight, flight or freeze. Beck speculated about what I did. Here's what he imagined and my thoughts all these years later:

Beck: You playfully tousled his hair in return and you both started laughing and brushed it off with embarrassed chuckles?
Me: No, but I wish I had. I wish I had at least said or done something.

Beck: You slowly woke up and asked him: "What do you think you're doing?" as he immediately slid back into his sleeping bag?
Me: That doesn’t sound at all like me as a 15-year-old, or even now. But that’s what I like about it. Maybe we would have started wrestling again.

Beck: Your reflexes got the best of you and you slugged him in the nose?
Me: Again this sounds impossible, but I do kind of like the idea of some playful violence. I guess the idea is that he did invade my space and I should have done something to reciprocate.

Beck: You brought your arm around him and gave him a big kiss?
Me: This is the one I like the best. But this is now, not then. I was so homophobic I couldn’t imagine hugging or kissing another male. But that would have been cool to tousle his hair, and then perhaps caress his face, and then move in a little closer, but it would be another year before I kissed girl and decades before I would let another man touch me.

Beck: You pretended to stay asleep but you agonized all night wondering what the tousle meant?
Me: This is the closest to the truth. I pretended to be asleep. Then I seemed to be able to put the entire think out of my mind. But funny thing about repression, here I am four decades later, still thinking about it.

To bring the story up to date, our friendship continued throughout high school and college. We were never close, but then again I was not very close with anyone in those days. Both of us married beautiful women and fathered sons and daughters. Early in his career my friend moved out of state and we lost track of each other for a decade or so. Then we reconnected through annual Christmas cards, until one year my card was returned. I realize this echoes the plot in Brokeback Mountain, but that story and mine only have a few points in common.

To be continued.