28 December 2008


It's happening. Same as always. Breakdown, sick feeling, system shutdown, I just want to not be here anymore. I hate this place and it's pretty damn good at hating me back...

There is one small difference. I've come to a realization. A weight has been lifted. 

It's NOT MY FAULT. I'm not the broken one here. It's everyone else. My parents are fighting. In my 25 years of life I don't remember them ever fighting. But they haven't spoken to each other in 3 days. I fail to comprehend how this is possible. You sleep in the SAME BED for God sakes. How can you sleep with hatred boiling against the one next to you? Whatever happened to the counsel of never going to bed angry at your spouse? There doesn't seem to be an end in sight either. It's disconcerting, heartwrenching, and HELL. I love my family because they are a base, a support system for me when I am in trouble. But I look at them now and see only broken pieces. They are broken.

My little brother is annoying. He and my older sister are constantly fighting. And when they aren't my 2 sisters are fighting or he's bickering with my little brother. And my younger sister is amazing at bitching about everything. Sometimes my brothers even fight. It grates on my nerves like cheese. 

Today my mom came to me and yelled at/confronted me about a christmas ornament that fell off the tree 3 days ago (my fault). Now it got broken somehow (NOT my fault) and she's blaming it on me. She came outside where I was working a puzzle to avoid interacting with the people who can't do anything without squabbling and just about threw it at me. She did raise her voice and she did call me stupid to my face for not picking it back up because I have no "common sense." Her comments were mean, uncalled for, and they sent me into complete shutdown mode, which OTR witnessed because I was talking to her on the phone when my mom appeared out of nowhere in cyclone anger mode which she has been in since midway through Christmas day. The shutdown was unwanted, but also unconscious...it just happens. I was quite pleased with how I conducted myself. I didn't get mad, I didn't raise my voice back, and I remained civil, though I maybe shouldn't have quipped, "So you're going to hate me forever now also?" to which she did not respond.

Realizing that it's not me, and that it's them, has raised a lot of questions. Do I even love my family? When they act inappropriately toward me and speak to me in demeaning ways, is that somewhere I even want to profess love? Should I withdraw from them completely? Are they even worth investing my love in? The familial bond is strong and makes me want to, but now I'm doubting. My mom has vowed based on the drama explosion that was Christmas that she will NEVER get over what happened, and for the last three days I have watched hate, rage, and anger bubble in her heart and soul and pretty much consume her. I know for a FACT that she is using anger as a shield against the pain that she feels, but she has really just been a beast since Christmas. Originally, the morning after she got mad I tried to reach her in her pain, but was rebuffed and pushed away. At one point I asked casually if she was going to get a divorce...and she wouldn't answer. When she almost broke down bawling, I tried to give her a hug and be supportive and she yelled at me to just "leave her alone." I want to help, but now that she's turning her anger on me I'm shutting down (I don't do rejection, let alone being demeaned) and I don't know what to do. I do so much to help others, I love unconditionally, but this? OTR says it's because I'm strong. Well I am but still, no offense, God really sucks sometimes. My parents? I'm supposed to come between the two who are supposed to be one and patch and fix and mend and heal? Why the hell is this MY calling? No one else gives a damn enough to even try, but honestly...this could actually break me.

My lil bro has an apartment this year and he cut out yesterday when it all got to be too much for him to handle. He's offered to let me escape there, which is becoming more and more appealing the more consumed my mother is, but I don't want to abandon my other siblings.

I don't know what to do. Other than cry, and try to stop feeling sick. Not my fault, not my fault. Was it any of the other years? Or is it trying to function in a broken environment that cripples me everytime? 

9 days... God that's too long.

16 December 2008


I'm scared sh*tless. 

I'm going home. And much as I love my family, that ALWAYS = HELL.

When I go home, I do not go to friends. I do not go to a place a love. Only the people I care about most. My parents moved in 2002, and I have hated Christmas since. That's why I only go once a year. Because that's all I can take, and usually, it still ends up being too much.

Since coming out, things have only gotten worse. And worse. And worse. This is NOT my home, it is just where my parents are. There is no one here but them, and when I want to run, I have nowhere to go. I endure, I try, but somehow, something always ruins me. 

The normal Christmastime visit usually involves little-to-no-sleep, crippling depression, lack of eating, lack of desire to do anything, at least 2 fights, me wanting to die numerous times, and hours and hours and hours (read: days) of mindless game playing to try and hurry time up so I can go home again and back to my life.


That is how I have always described my Christmas visits. And those are the ones that don't involve fighting, misunderstanding, or the like. I love my family to death, but I hate that place. Last year I went for 10 days and came closer to suicide than I have ever been. It was just that bad. 

No matter how hard I try, that place is only associated with bad memories. Fights. Tears. Pain. 

Anger. I am a very nice person, and I don't get mad. Like ever. But whenever I do... it's B A D. People get hurt. Things get broken. Last year I smashed my laptop screen to smithereens. On accident. That only made me more angry and despondent. I hate going home.

This year, I'm praying desperately that something will be different. That somehow they will understand me better. That I can discuss how I feel, and my struggles with being a gay Mormon without it devolving into fighting. 

Please God, this is my prayer to you, that somehow - any way possible - this trip, this visit, this year... that it will be different. Please God.

07 December 2008


I cried tonight. 

I have no idea why. All of a sudden, I was just...crying.

It's so heavy sometimes. It pushes down on you. Yes, you can escape, you can lessen the impact - focus on other things, but it's always there. Aching silently.

I'm totally depressed tonight and I have no idea why. 

Maybe I'm hurting for others. 
Maybe I'm hurting for myself. 
Maybe I'm lonely. 
Maybe I'm tired of not knowing what's happening next. 
Maybe I'm sick of no longer having a job that was supposed to be stable, and wondering when the power is going to get shut off as the snow keeps piling up. 
Maybe I'm done with waiting for paychecks that I never see, and unsure why I'm still here, but without direction in where I am needed, what I should be doing if my place is no longer here. 
Maybe I'm worn out from trying to reconcile two things that fit together only if you don't pay attention to the details, and choose to ignore the inconsistencies, the problems, the forfeits, and the cancellations.

Maybe I just needed to cry.

18 November 2008


KUER's most recent radio show with Dan Fabrizio is out.

I listened to the whole thing. Why?

Because I was approached Elaine Clark, the Senior Producer of the show, to be interviewed for this segment. Apparently, one of my old professors name-dropped me to her, but gave her the wrong email. Then Elaine went to CLP, who had my right address, and we got in touch.

Most of the people on this bit were pretty high up, pretty important, pretty posh. So that's probably why I didn't make the cut. Elaine mentioned that she might not need me, if some of the other people came through. I'm glad to have been thought of though, and deemed important enough to have email correspondence with the Producer.

It, however, reopened the can of worms and pain I'm trying to close. My grandparents live in Logan, and I have countless friends and family in both SLC and Provo who do not know about me. And quite frankly, I know some of them would not understand if they did, which is why I have not told them.

This "opportunity" resurfaced my struggles from when we assisted in amending BYU's Honor Code back in 2007. I was in the thick of that one, and repeatedly got calls for interviews for everything from the Tribune to Sunstone. They even ran a blurb in TIME. Back then, I was still a student at BYU, and so there was still much more "closet" surrounding me, which resulted in most of the interview opportunities being refused to protect my anonymity. However, I am mentioned in "general" in many of the news articles (one of three who participated in discussions and the walk, yeah, me) surrounding the time, and talked with tons of reporters.

I think, overall, it's better that Elaine never called me like she said she would to pursue using me for this interview. I don't think I could have been anywhere near as emotionally composed as the people in this radio show were. Prop 8 hits home, and it hits deep. And I hate everything about it. Although, I think I would have done a much fairer job in fielding some of the questions presented in what seemed to me to be more of a one-sided conversation than anything else... but what can you do? It's conservative Utah :P

Oh, that and the fact that in her email to me she was told that I apparently supported Prop 8 and that's the angle she was really interested in. Well, I was. For like, a day? Yeah. But then there was more to the story, and I ended up nowhere. And wanting a gun.

I'm sick of all of this, and wish Prop 8, and hate, and bigots, and close-minded people, and riots, and violence, and fighting would all just go away. And that I could patch up the holes and wounds and lost friends and estranged family and broken pieces of my heart and just... stop... hurting.

Damn this almost-interview for just digging all of that back up again...


Saw this quote today on my friend's aol icon:
"It's funny how someone can break your heart and you still love them with all the little pieces."
I couldn't find who said it, but rumor has it that it's from Twilight, in which case I'm going to be absolutely sick. Because I hate that book. And that crappy woman who can't write who authored them. Don't even get me started.

Anyway, that quote is how I feel about the church.

Why? Why can't I just fucking walk away?

Because of people. People like Young Stranger. And -L-.

I love them with every ounce of hate I feel.

I cannot give up.

13 November 2008

Breaking Point...

I just don't know how to do it anymore... how to stay IN.

How can I continue in this church? I'm beginning to understand more and more why others cut their losses and redefine their concept of happiness. It's coming to that more and more every day for me...

My former friends are being cut one by one. Over and over. They send me emails without thinking, that are like pouring vinegar and salt on my open wounds and I choke with pain, tell them to f*ck off, and thus ends our friendship. Or as mentioned before, they try and defend something they haven't even bothered to study or learn about...

And then this. An email my aunt sent this morning. She doesn't know about me, so I can't be super angry about it, but really...it just makes me dig deeper into myself to try and find the broken pieces and the parts that are dead. Am I past feeling?
"From: Ben Hansen Subject: L.A. Temple

"As additional information for those who missed the news, Mormons have been targeted by the gay community in California as having been the main impetus behind the passing of Proposition 8, banning same-sex marriage in the state. Although the population of the state voted on the passing of the constitutional amendment, I will proudly agree that most of footwork was carried out by us. It's funny that our opposition knows where the credit is due, but that's another topic for another day. In light of the gay community's frustration in the passing of the proposition, our temple came under attack. I was at the Los Angeles Temple assisting in the security efforts and it was quite an experience. Our temple is safe and no damage was done on the grounds. It was a sight I never expected to see. At one point we had let in about 20 police vehicles through the gates because they were afraid their vehicles would be damaged as civilian cars were being vandalized. I removed the Utah plates from my truck just so I could drive through the mess and park blocks away. My roommate and I traveled on foot after we had changed out of our dress shirts and ties so as not to be targeted.

"Two full squads of LAPD in riot gear set up their base inside the temple grounds while SWAT vehicles and hundreds of officers followed the crowds run up Santa Monica and Wilshire Boulevards. I've heard that the crowd was estimated to be over 2,500. When I arrived, all of the gates were shut and a small group of members had to remain outside the grounds as the direction was to turn away others who had come to assist. After about a half an hour two sister missionaries ran up the drive to the East gate. I would have made more jokes with them, asking them trivia questions to prove they were LDS before opening the gate, but they were obviously nervous and had left on their name tags as they wandered the streets. When the crowd turned back towards the temple from West Hollywood, we opened the gate to those members still outside so they would not be trapped in the crowd. The officers inside the temple grounds made a line on the front lawn by the fence. At one point, with 7 news and police helicopters overhead, the crowd began to climb the fence and it looked like there was going to be a lot of trouble. We had it seemed a good forth of a Polynesian ward there so it could have gotten very interesting very fast.

"With lines of motorcycle cops with sirens wailing up and down the street with the latest outbreak, helicopters continually circling with spotlights cutting through the sky, and the crowd roaring being led my megaphones shouting every synonym they could think of that went along with "evil"...it almost seemed like the very end was at hand. My dad called me every few minutes to give me updates from live news through the Internet because we did not have TVs and the police did not even seem to be informed on the movement of the crowd up and down the streets. I relayed these updates directly to the head of temple security so we could anticipate when to be ready. My friend and I joked about what would happen if we were caught in the middle of the crowd rushing up the lawn. We decided that because we were still single without much luck in finding wives, it might be to our advantage to go without a fight and die as a martyrs. If I remember correctly, that's a free ticket to the Celestial kingdom and I'm sure there's plenty of girls there to chose from without the dramas of dating.

"While I was there, I was not aware of anyone actually breaching the fence, but we were asked to move far across the parking lot as they were anticipating the need to shoot tear gas canisters. I never thought I would see the day when police officers would sit perched on the spire of our temple as lookouts. All of this happened at about 7:30 pm. It should be remembered that most likely many of the law enforcement were not in favor of our stance on Proposition 8, but nevertheless, the men and women were there doing their duty and protecting our property. For that we are grateful. And yes, there was an incident with some of our members who had gone to remove the protest signs from the front fence. One of the protesters did initiate physical contact with one of our sisters so the details are uncertain as to whether the response was fully justified. The lesson to be learned is that it's important to anticipate and avoid such confrontational situations. Remember the world is watching our reaction and the media is everywhere. In the end, when we keep our cool, the video footage speaks the truth regarding which side is really intolerant and appears hateful when we simply do not respond or do so in a loving and controlled manner.

"In all the commotion, I had the chance to sit alone by the side of one of the fountains and take in all that was happening. It may seem strange to say, but despite the adrenaline rushing in my blood ready for the next incident or next bit of news from my dad; I felt a tremendous peace. It came over me in a wave as I looked up at the spire topped with Angel Moroni. I can testify that I felt the presence of others protecting the temple tonight..those we could not physically see. I would even go as far to say that I felt the presence of someone personally related to me who was there for my safety. We were not alone. We were protected and our Father in Heaven is mindful of our efforts and willingness to withstand persecution. As I later read a quote from Brigham Young, it made more sense why this did not have to be a fearful experience- exciting yes, in a urgency sense, but very clarifying as we were able to glimpse into things as the really are, truth as is really exists, the adversary's war as it really is raging. I wish everyone of you reading this could have been there just to be reminded as I was how real this war is. The great sadness is that so many of our brothers and sisters are unknowing participants, manipulated and deceived by the grand scheme of it all. The issues may be presented as complex, but the adversary's agenda was as clear as day. Be prepared friends and family, it's bound to get much worse before it gets better, but take council from a prophet:

"'You that have not passed thro’ the trials and persecutions, and drivings with this people from the beginning, but have only read them, or heard some of them related, may think how awful they were to endure, and wonder that the saints survived them at all.—The thought of it makes your heart sink within you, your brain reel, and your body tremble, and you are ready to exclaim, "I could not have endured it." I have been in the heat of it, and never felt better in all my life; I never felt the peace and power of the Almighty more copiously poured upon me than in the keenest part of our trials. They appeared nothing to me.' ( Deseret News Weekly, 24 Aug. 1854, 83). (L. Aldin Porter, ‘"But We Heeded Them Not",’ Ensign, Aug 1998, 6) -Brigham Young

They are doing it.

They are using this as the fuel for their self-righteous fires of indignation. We are being persecuted by the evil ones. We are standing strong against Satan and his forces.

Well, I'm vomiting all over my floor right now, and it's mixed with my tears. And maybe soon, my blood.

This ripping, this tearing, no one can endure it...I must choose a side, but when I did that, I came back to the middle.
"I wish everyone of you reading this could have been there just to be reminded as I was how real this war is."
This is war, remember? Us vs. them. There's no love, no reconciliation, no way to continue without lying and being false. I DON'T SEE HOW.

When I read this, I didn't have any spiritual experience. I didn't feel warm and fuzzy about the souls from the other side protecting the temple from the evil vermin that I know I am.

I felt sick to my stomach. As usual.

I haven't cried this hard for this long in more than a year. Why? Why does the pain and hatred continue? I want to to just be...


09 November 2008

"A Little's Enough"

Two days ago I recieved an email from the "No on 8" people that I did not want to hear, and still don't know how I feel about it. They will continue to fight, as we have seen with the recent protests and marches.

However, the end of this particular mail said: 
"We achieve nothing if we isolate the people who did not stand with us in this fight. We only further divide our state if we attempt to blame people of faith, African American voters, rural communities and others for this loss. We know people of all faiths, races and backgrounds stand with us in our fight to end discrimination, and will continue to do so. Now more than ever it is critical that we work together and respect our differences that make us a diverse and unique society. Only with that understanding will we achieve justice and equality for all."
Why? Why do we have to have hope like this? Why do we need to be nice and understanding? Why can't we get out our guns, continue to abandon the principles we hold dear of true christianity and just hate, hate, hate? Why are we being nice about this? Why are we better than our hate? Why do I have to keep being strong? Why can't I just give up already?

Sometimes I hate having an unbreakable spirit. 

But under my surface rage, kicking out at friends, and my bubbling hatred, I'm just...like Beck. I can't.

So here's to another whisper of hope:

"When all is said and done
Will we still feel pain inside?
Will the scars go away with night?
Try to smile for the morning light

"It's like the best dream to have
Where everything is not so bad
Every tear is so alone
Like God himself is coming home to say:

"I, I can do anything
If you want me here
I can fix anything
If you'll let me near

"Where are those secrets now
That you're too scared to tell
I whisper them all aloud
So you can hear yourself.

"Green trees were the first sign.
The deepest blue, the clearest sky
The silence came with brightest eyes
Like turning water into wine
The children ran to see
Their parents stood in disbelief
And those who knew braced for the ride
The Earth itself then came alive

"I, I can do anything
If you want me here
I can fix anything
If you'll let me near

"Where are those secrets now
That you're too scared to tell
I whisper them all aloud
So you can hear yourself.

"I'm sorry I have to say it but you look like you're sad
Your smile is gone, I noticed it bad.
The cure is if you let in just a little more love
I promise you this, a little's enough.

"I'm sorry I have to say it but you look like you're sad
Your smile is gone, I noticed it bad.
The cure is if you let in just a little more love
I promise you this, a little's enough."


"I'm sorry I have to say it but you look like you're sad
Your smile is gone, I noticed it bad.
The cure is if you let in just a little more love
I promise you this, a little's enough.

"I'm sorry I have to say it but you look like you're sad
Your smile is gone, I noticed it bad.
The cure is if you let in just a little more love
I promise you this, a little's enough.

"I'm sorry I have to say it (just a little) but you look like you're sad
Your smile is gone (just a little), I noticed it bad.
The cure is if you let in (just a little)  just a little more love
I promise you this, a little's enough.

"I'm sorry I have to say it (just a little) but you look like you're sad
Your smile is gone (just a little), I noticed it bad.
The cure is if you let in (just a little) just a little more love
I promise you this, a little's enough."

~"A Little's Enough" - Angels & Airwaves

07 November 2008

Suicide Note

Another blogger first. I give you, VIDEO.

If I were going to commit suicide (which for those of you freaking out and worried right now, is not at this time any more plausible than it has been in recent months), this would be the note I would leave my broken, battered, bloodied self:

Maintenance: Feeder Reader Note

Well this is the first post of this kind. Un-emotional, un-angsty, rather technical in nature. It appears that you cannot add my blog to your google readers, because of it's private nature. There is a remedy to this in that I can in fact create a list of emails that are sent messages everytime I blog. Theoretically, you should be able to label/forward those to your google reader so they miss your inbox... 

So I have already added Scott since he's the one who brought this up. I can email 9 more people. Just say you wish to be updated about my broken existence and it shall be so.

"Happiness is a warm gun."

I don't know where to begin. What to say. How to feel better. 

Hate and discrimination are alive and well. And I am so alone. I live in a place where no one can know me, I am forced to be just as hidden as I am on this blog. They are all too republican, and too Mormon to understand, or accept. My uncle just the other night in passing, mentioned a man he knew whose daugther was gay "but she got her life straightened out [how ironic, what verbosity!] and got back to the temple." I can say nothing here without it destroying me. The one cousin I did manage to trust enough to tell, refused (even with lengthy discussion) to believe that this was not a choice... dear Lord.

Prop 8 passed. And it feels like there is a knife in my heart that I cannot for the life of me remove. Anger burns within me, and I don't know how to make it go away. Or if I even want to...

The day before hate reared its head for inequality, a friend of mine with whom I'd had a number of thoughtful, heartfelt discussions with, emailed me. Again it was sincere, open, and honest. Why she was voting yes. 

People are just so torn. The lines of battle are so marked. How can you look at this as anything but war? And me... caught in the middle again... or am I? When I received that email, my thoughts frightened me. They still do. My first reaction was that even respectfully siding against me, I would shoot her because this is war. If it came down to it, I would take a gun and I would shoot her. 

WHO AM I? I stare at my own hands, and no longer recognize them. Thank God I am here, and not in California, for I surely would have been driven over the edge... and no longer here.

I have not felt this way since I came out. I thought hell was done. I rebuilt my world, I re-found happiness. And now it is dead all over again. Stomped to pieces by those who call themselves my friends, by those I worship with every week in the hopes of finding non-existant peace.

The day after, when I was feeling so hurt, it was compounded by otherwise "well-intentioned" people I once called "friend." Now? I just don't know.

One told me to go picket, to go snipe mormons and their brainwashed children. After I cut off that conversation, they emailed me to tell me not to give up. And included an article about people who became straight. Well F**K that. And that's exactly what I told them. Another tried to say that the church's positon was misconstrued and that the church's leaders stance was respectable members extrapolated the untrue conclusions. And another left me the message: "if you're going to say that everyone who supports Prop 8 is a bigot, then I'm a bigot. As you know there are lots of arguments for both side sof Prop 8, and both of us are probably very firm in our opinions...it's not something I'll ever avoid talking about with you, if you want to talk to me about it, but I just wanted to say thanks for the new name."

How the hell am I supposed to just continue being friends with these people? How am I supposed to act like nothing has happened? Like they did not fight to hurt me? Like something has not broken in this world that I don't know how to fix? Am I being selfish here? Am I just an asshole? Why does this world have to be like this? I just want to be done with all of it. With everyone. 

My friend who sent me the heartfelt email ironically captures my exact feelings and understanding: "Society cannot accept homosexual marriage as normal.  It will be our downfall.  Mosiah 29:26-27.  The prophets are put in place to warn us of things we cannot foresee."

Yes, this is our downfall. But not in any sort of 6 ridiculous consequences kind of way. No, this is going to be a different downfall. And far worse than anything like a little kid knowing what that in some places "men marry men."

For two days I have just watched movie after movie after movie. And after that I switched to cartoons. And when I was done blocking "friend" after friend," I went to my brother who stands by me without hesitation (and is also no longer a Mormon, which seems to be ther direction I am increasingly heading), knowing that he would listen to me. He listened to me recount how I felt, about my "friends" and he, yes, he put words to my pain: 
"It hurts because the people who are supposed to be supporting you and helping you on your journey through life have let you down."
He told me it was probably coming to the point where these "friends" get cut out of my life; I did not disagree. Then he got all senseical and told me that violence was not the answer and that I'd do no one any good behind bars, and I yelled at him for being senseical.

His final comment to me: "Time heals all things." 

This brought to my mind my favorite movie, The Power of One:
PK: "Sir, if we let them get away with this, on our own ground, it will never change."
Professor: "History disputes you."
PK: "History takes too long."
Professor: "Yes, I know it does. But it is never kind to those who try to rush it."
Peace is elusive, hate abounds, I feel evil, and my friends hate me. Or are pushed away by me, because I don't how to deal with them right now. 

Time will change this, and heal my wounds. 

But time takes too long... and if I try and rush it, I just end up hurting more. And more. And more. I'm so f**king done with hurting. 

03 November 2008

"Just because you were hurt, doesn't mean you shouldn't bleed" - Secondhand Serenade

The eve of... 

I want it all to just be done. Over. Finished. I am sick of war, sick of debate, and sick of the empty pit in my stomach that never goes away long enough for me to feel better.

What's next? Where to?

Serendipity shows me this.

Scott shows me courage unprecedented.

The other Scot documents whispers of hope.

And yet... how long must I cradle my whispers of hope against the shadows of screaming hate which threatens to blot out everything else?

Is this the edge of the cliff? Where I fall? Say goodbye to my family? The church? Everything I've ever loved and held dear?

Where and how do I find the succor of solace?

I have been sort of on hiatus. I visited my Bro in Seattle. I've read 4 novels. Watched 5 movies. Anything somewhat mindless... just to forget for a moment. Any acceptable "drink" to satiate my burning soul.

But the war is not going to drag on - at least not this piece of it. It will be resolved by tomorrow's end. On the eve of such an unprecedented election, I do the only thing I know how.

Keep running.

I hate being gay and Mormon. More than anything else on this planet, I hate it...

Yesterday in church it was testimony meeting. Nothing on Prop 8. WRONG. A lady got up and driveled on about her son in California. Standing at the pulpit she had the audacity to say: "My son was telling me this story about his son who is 12, and heard one of the 'yes on 8' ads, and said to him: 'Dad, what's that?' My son explained it was a law to keep 'men from marrying men' and 'women from marrying women.' His son looked at him and said, 'Dad! Why would a man want to marry a man?'" She said it in the most condescending tone, as if was the funniest joke she'd ever heard. Like the very notion was absurd. Like that kid was the smartest kid ever.

I just sat in my chair, fists clenched, trying to keep my vomit in my mouth, even as I thought the answer: for love. For real, true, valid, actual love. WHY CAN'T YOU PEOPLE SEE THAT? DAMN YOU PEOPLE! DAMN YOUR SELF-RIGHTEOUS JUDGING! DAMN YOUR IGNORANCE! DAMN YOUR HATE! I wanted nothing more than to get up right then and bear MY testimony like Scott did...but I just got called to teach Primary... I get to teach the little ones! I love my calling! And what would these backwards, 1000% red, prejudiced, close-minded people say if they found out that the teacher of their precious kiddies was a G A Y? *gasps*

"I know that the 'Yes on 8' campaign has made it extremely difficult for gay and lesbian Mormons, their families, and their friends to feel the love of God at Church. The divisive spirit of the 'Yes on 8' campaign has in fact created deep divisions within our congregations and families."
This is tearing us apart. Literally. I just...I just don't know how to be strong anymore. I'm glad this is over, because I can't do it anymore. I'm done walking on the knife edge. I'm falling, I'm bleeding, and I'm dying. Amid the overwhelming pain of the future I unhappily face, I did find one precious moment of respite when I was relaxing after church:

"I've gone so far from my home 
I've seen the world and I have known 
So many secrets 
I wish now I did not know 

"'Cause they have crept into my heart 
They have left it cold and dark 
And bleeding 
Bleeding and falling apart 

"And everybody used to tell me big boys don't cry 
But I've been around enough to know that that was the lie 
That held back the tears in the eyes of a thousand prodigal sons 

"We are children no more we have sinned and grown old 
And our Father still waits and he watches down the road 
To see his crying boys come running back to his arms 
And be growing young...growing young 

"I've seen silver turn to dross 
Seen the very best there ever was 
And I'll tell you it ain't worth what it costs 
I remember my father's house 
What I wouldn't give right now 
Just to see him and hear him tell me that he loves me so much 

"And everybody used to tell me big boys don't cry 
But I've been around enough to know that that was the lie 
That held back the tears in the eyes of a thousand prodigal sons 
Well we are children no more we have sinned and grown old 
And our Father still waits and he watches down the road 
To see his crying boys come running back to his arms 

"And when I thought that I was all alone 
It was your voice I heard calling me back home 
And I wonder now 
What it was that made me wait so long 

"And what kept you waiting for me all that time 
Was your love stronger than my foolish pride 
Will you take me back now take me back and let me be your child 

"'Cause I've been broken down, I've been saved 
Learned to cry and I've learned how to pray 
And I'm learning
I'm learning even I can be changed 

"Everybody used to tell me big boys don't cry 
I've been around enough to know that that was the lie 
That held back the tears in the eyes of a thousand prodigal sons 
Well we are children no more we have sinned and grown old 
And our Father still waits and he watches down the road 
To see his crying boys come running back to his arms 
And be growing young 
Growing young 
Growing young"

--Rich Mullins, "Growing Young"

I'm ready to be done. I'm tried of crying. I'm tried of hurting. I'm ready to go home. To be held, to be loved, and to have my tears wiped away. 

And to finally feel what I have only ONCE in my life...


31 October 2008


To celebrate all the other ghoulish posts about the season, I think I will do a first for my blog. Pictures.

I want you all to see how incredible and amazing I am.

Thus, I give you: Pumpkins.

Well, that wasn't so hard... just took forever to upload. Oh well, comes with the connection. I'm grateful I have one at all.

Anyway, they each took 2+ hours to carve (except the house which only took 1.5), so I put on my headphones, jammed, and made a day out of it. By the time I carved the skull (pics appear in the order they were carved), I had broken my saw and was just using the tiny blade with my fingers...which kinda hurt. Sacrifices, sacrifices. :D

Worth it. C'mon, make my ego bigger. PRAISE ME!


14 October 2008

W A R 2


That's how I really feel. I just don't know what to do anymore and it's making me insane.

I've spent TWO WHOLE DAYS now just completely vegging in front of my computer and watching cartoons on youtube to try and IGNORE this damn conflict. I'm so sick and tired of conflict.


Whatever happened to Chrisitan values, to love, to everything we need to keep it together in this darkening world?

"I have much to say, but don't really know how to vocalize the pit and ache in my knotted stomach. I'm doing so good. My commitment to God is stronger than it has been in so long. That's not the problem....Once again lines are being drawn. People are reaching for weapons."

These are NOT new words. I've said them before. Almost one year ago.

Except when I'd said them I had made a decision. Picked a side. And that side was gospel. Gospel truth and light instead of the desire and want of my heart. The war then was among my friends, but now it's widened. It's spread. It's gotten bigger.

It's getting harder.

The war is everywhere now. All around me. Family members voting yes. Friends calling people to get their yes vote. Some stand true. Some follow me wherever I go, and hate that I'm not sure anymore. I hate it too, trust me!

I chose a side. I stuck to it. But how? How do you continue to hold onto a church that refuses to hold onto YOU? How do you continue to follow and believe in something that seems hell-bent on crushing you?

"No" has to be the answer! There's no other way! I'm ready to donate. I'm ready to go! I'm ready to protect families that I acknowledge as valid and maintain equality for everyone!


And then I see bloggers like View from the Crow's Nest and Bravone (who commented on Crow's blog) standing for YES.

And it all comes crashing down on me again. Where I stood. Yes. In harmony. With my uncles, and my family... but against my friends and other families.


OTR chatted me today from Israel. We got in a fight over Prop 8 last night. I told her I was back to no and she couldn't believe it, since I had finally (through the result of our tumultuous night and the weeks following) gotten her to agree to yes... but now... I decided maybe I was wrong.

She just barely learned to accept herself and has started growing by leaps and bounds in the gospel (and she just read The Giver because I asked her to, so that's the reference to the red sled below, and she has jewish heritage so that's why she doesn't write the word God); she responded with an email after I said I didn't want to talk about prop 8 anymore. Here's a piece of it:

"I hate that I don't understand all of his plan- I'm frustrated by pain even though I supposedly understand the purpose of pain and trials. I was content to vote no on prop 8 (even though I knew that might not be the choice He wanted) until Hidden flipped to voting yes, and then about a week later I too was willing and I decided to vote yes. Now he is back to 'no' because the Church's campaign is wrong. I can't just change my opinion every time he tells me to. I feel like part of me has ALWAYS wanted to vote no- even though I came around to voting yes after he did. I wish I could better feel and trust the spirit so that I know what He wants.

"Hidden said that it's not about attraction- it's about being like G-d and being His children. And I guess that is it- that is the bottom line. We are as G-d, we are His children and He loves each one of us. We are here to do HIS work. That is what Christ came for and that is the mission of all the prophets- to bring about His work.

"It's not about our physical bodies and trials, they suck and are stupid and crappy, but they are all covered by Christ. He suffered all that we have ever and will ever suffer because of our natural bodies. In that we are more blessed than anything- holy cow the Gospel is amazing! We have the blessing of coming here and having bodies, and we have all the joy and wonder associated with that, and all the pain and sin and anguish is taken away in Christ. In the end that leaves us with the good parts of having been here, and having been here enables us to become gods. He wants us all to have what He has, but He takes the everlasting pain and damnation we have to suffer to become like Him. Our temporary pain enables us to help others- to cling together in love and unity. He gives us experience, memory, help, and strength so that at the end we will know what to do with the red sled that He has left for us. In the end our mortal (normal, regular, not evil, not perfect) selves will be shed and all will be made up- every loss compensated. Whatever that means about sexuality, all our mortal anguish will be compensated for and in our spiritual bodies we won't have that anguish. We have to come and deal with our physical bodies to go home and we have Gospel standards regarding these bodies. These rules and covenants help us to feel G-d here and help us to return to Him with less pain, anguish, and separation from Him after death. When our natural selves contradict with the Gospel standards, that is the pain Christ suffered for us and that is the anguish that will cease to exist when we shed our mortal bodies for immortal and spiritual ones.

"'Thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment…And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.' (DC 121:7, 122:7)."

She bore her testimony to me and told me essentially that she cannot flip just because I do (which I agree with) and that she would continue to support the yes now that she is there...

I don't know what happened... all this war and rage and turmoil just exploded I guess and I totally lashed out at her - with the purpose of hurting her! (after all my efforts at control, I'm still just a stupid weak human!) - until she would come back to the truth of the matter and vote no because of how many people were being hurt.

I totally made her cry and feel absolutely sick to her stomach...because I wouldn't stop hounding her. I was so desperate to make her see...what have I done?

I stare at my hands. And I don't know what I see anymore. Was my uncle right? I really don't know who I am???

Is this it? Is this where I break with the church? Is this where I lose my family? Is this where I go back on my choice last October? Is this where I find what people call happy? Or is this where I become eternally lost in despair? Where I stand up and keep fighting for what I want to cling to? But how do I go forward to a forward that just isn't there?

I'm sick of war, and I'm sick of fighting, and I'm sick of turmoil, and a gun just looks more and more and more appealing. DON'T YOU SEE WHAT THIS IS DOING TO US?


Sometimes being an beliving Mormon non-acting homosexual who can't stand war is just SHIT.

$ $ $ Why...

From doc's blog:

"To see a list of those who have donated to 'YES ON 8, A PROJECT OF CALIFORNIA RENEWAL' go to the California Secretary of State page. Click the 'contributions received' bubble under the 'View Information' section. Below that there's an option to download the Excel sheet of donors, so you can then alphabetize the list(I alphabetized the list by city). I found out my uncle and brother that live in California both donated $100. How upsetting that they would donate money. I can only guess how much time they've donated. At least I know where they stand now."

My uncle donated $1,000 to the yes campaign. BOTH OF THEM.

The one leading the charge... and the one I trust...ed.

I don't know what to do at all anymore... but now I feel like I NEED to donate to the "no" campaign. Goodbye $1,000? That's only half their damage... I just don't have $2,000 though.

Excuse my language: BUT I FUCKING HATE THIS WAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

12 October 2008


From a comment on the FMH blog: "It must be horrible to feel that the church you believe is TRUE also condemns you at every turn..."

Prop 8 came up in Church today. I don't live anywhere near California anymore. They wanted volunteers. To contribute to calling trees.

I work with the 2nd Counselor in the Branch Presidency. Imagine my discomfort when it was he who stood up and started spouting off the "6 Ridiculous Consequences of Prop 8" I've done my homework. I've read up on this subject. I know the truth. So why don't any of them?

The longer this goes on the more I want to hang myself...

God grant me strength.

11 October 2008

RAGE: unresolved turmoil - more Prop 8

I either want to die, or I want Prop 8 to die. Sometimes both.

I spent hours agonizing in August about this issue; even with my supposed decision, I read and read and read about people's lives and families being destroyed and I watch videos that make my skin crawl because of their blatant lies and political rhetoric, (which if the misinformed Mormons who are answering the "call" and filling my inbox with emails about voting "yes" would take a moment and read up on, they would understand my point...) and I balk and vacilate with indecision and questioning. Aporia bubbling under the surface of my confusing existence.

I love my church. I love my testimony. 34 million dollars. Political involvement by a strictly non-political entity rationalized away as "a moral issue." How do I stand? Where do I root myself? How, how, how? Why?

I am now party to the atrocious sin of hypocrisy. I say that I have decided -albeit grudgingly- with my testimonial roots that are important above all else and show me the way to walk...

and then I get another vote yes on 8 email. And I can sit no longer. I lash out. But in the other direction I just linked myself with... GAH. I hate everything.

Below is what I responded... to my ill-informed friend and everyone else in his address book. (Fair warning: Don't send political-based rants to me without BCC your address book. I am very adept at copy/paste and "reply all").

Note: This email was a conglomeration from all over. A post by Max Power. Carol Lynn Pearson's most recent newsletter (which is saved in my email and I'm not linking that...), tenets from mormonsformarriage.com, with my own ranting and raving thrown in...

I refuse to let this one go by unnoticed.

I sit here and watch this go on and on and do nothing. It boggles my mind that we as a church can recite the 13 Articles of Faith, but we don't seem to actually believe number 11: "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may."Isn't this AofF about agency? About choosing? About the right inherent in it? You don't have to like gay marriage. You don't have to accept it as part of your beliefs. But you do have to respect the freedom of choice that God gave all his children in this life. I do not agree with gay marriage. I do not support gay marriage. But I refuse to support the restriction on man's free will and God-given right to CHOOSE. That just seems too much like Satan's idea of life to me.I am ASTOUNDED that our "politically-neutral" church is making such an effort to spread lies and hate among its people in order to garner support for this cause. It's just incredible. Half of the junk swirling around this issue is inherently false and if we as members took 30 minutes to do our homework we'd know that.

I appreciate the sense of duty and activism regarding this issue, but this is killing people we love and I cannot stand for that. What am I supposed to do? How am I supposed to feel? I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I am active and faithful and hold a temple recommend. I know the church is true, and as much as I wish it wasn't sometimes so that this wouldn't be so hard, here I am. Do any of you even understand what it is like to have the same faith that is the source of joy and peace overwhelming you with anxiety and sorrow? No, I don't think so. I'm being asked to support a cause which will only compound those feelings among people who are gay. This type of rhetoric in my opinion further encourages hate and discrimination. The Church officially discourages these types of behaviors and I wholeheartedly agree with them, but something has to be said for the seemingly "green light" that has been given of late for homophobia and fear tactics.

Carol Lynn Pearson, a dear friend of mine (and also an active member of the church) recently wrote: "I received an email from a woman in Utah and, with her permission, share part of it here: 'I was intrigued by what you said about the California matter [constitutional amendment to insure against gay marriage] and bringing more love to the earth. I'm in agony over the suicide death two months ago of my youngest son, Marshall, age 25, a gay student who was a senior in chemical engineering at the U of U. He knew all about spreading love, but didn't feel enough in return to keep him going. Laws such as this one they are proposing give us a lot of room to evaluate our values. I put my son's statue of Buddha out in my flower box as a way to honor what he would have done.

"He always put statues out to watch over the flowers in the apartments he rented on the Avenues of Salt Lake City. On my refrigerator I have a package of flower seeds marked, in his writing: 5/1. That was the day he was going to plant them. He didn't make it that long, so I'll plant them for him--next spring. My two daughters and I will each plant some of his seeds and watch them bloom in Utah and Virginia.'"

That email broke my heart, as did the conversation I had recently with a woman who told me that a few years ago in her neighborhood in Bountiful, Utah, there were suicides of three LDS gay young men. And the conversation I had the other day with a woman in my own ward who told me her two gay nephews had both taken their lives. I am outraged that Marshall could not plant his flower seeds, outraged that his community did not offer to him the fertile soil he needed in which to grow and to bloom. And deeply saddened that so many other gay men and women have fallen and had no one to pick them up and carry them a ways, fallen from injuries we ourselves have inflicted upon them."

In a discussion with a friend I brought up the fact that this summer may be one of the hardest ever for Gay Mormon Californians, and she got upset because she does not agree with people blaming large institutions for causing the actions of others (ie, suicides). Her argument was that they still have their agency and they make the choice. What I find stunning is she did not feel that the Church going after the institution of gay marriage and placing blame there for the destruction of the family was the same thing. But if you think about it, it is. One group blaming another for the deterioration/impact on another. "Gay Marriage will destroy the traditional family! Prop 8 is a must-have to protect marriage between a man and a woman!" Yes indeed, we would not want to jeopardize the sanctity of Brittney Spear's 55-hour-just-for-fun wedding. I am astonished how selective and choosy Mormons seem to be on issues such as this. Have you even thought about what your support of this issue means? Have you considered the implications? Do we really want the government to be able to define what is and what isn't a morally justifiable lifestyle? The primary responsibility of government is to defend and protect our inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and the primary role of the Constitution is to limit what the government can or cannot do. Constitutions are not places to delineate what citizens can or cannot do. If two consenting adults wish to marry, do we really want to grant the government the power to prohibit them from doing so? Moral issues such as this are best discussed on a personal level, and not legislated by the government; if the government gets into the business of defining morality, what becomes of individual agency and responsibility. And who, exactly, will define what is moral and what is not?

Have you fulfilled the admonition in D&C 9:8?

# We are not to follow the prophets blindly:

* Elder Boyd K. Packer said, "We are following the admonition of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 'I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves.' We should not, according to the scriptures, need to be commanded in all things." (See D&C 58:26.)

* "With all their inspiration and greatness, prophets are yet mortal men with imperfections common to mankind in general. They have their opinions and prejudices and are left to work out their own problems without inspiration in many instances." - Bruce R. McConkie

* "If Joseph Fielding Smith writes something which is out of harmony with the revelations, then every member of the Church is duty bound to reject it. If he writes that which is in perfect harmony with the revealed word of the Lord, then it should be accepted." - (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols., (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954–56), 3:203–204 ISBN

* "The greatest fear I have is that the people of this Church will accept what we say as the will of the Lord without first praying about it and getting the witness within their own hearts that what we say is the word of the Lord." - Brigham Young

* "When churches or church leaders choose to enter the public sector to engage in debate on a matter of public policy, they should be admitted to the debate and they should expect to participate in it on the same basis as all other participants. In other words, if churches or church leaders choose to oppose or favor a particular piece of legislation, their opinions should be received on the same basis as the aopinions offered by other knowledgeable organizations or persons, and they should be considered on their merits. By the same token, churches and church leaders should expect the same broad latitude of discussion of their views that conventionally applies to everyone else's participation in public policy debates. A church can claim access to higher authority on moral questions, but its opinions on the application of those moral questions to specific legislation will inevitably be challenged by and measured against secular-based legislative or political judgments." Dallin H. Oaks, "Religious Values and Public Policy," Ensign, Oct 1992, 60 [1]

# We are to be champions of equal rights for all:

* Joseph Smith declared in a statement published in the June 1, 1842 issue of the Times and Seasons (vol. 3, no. 15, p. 808) that he and other members of the First Presidency were "friends of equal rights and privileges to all men."

* President John Taylor said, "When the people shall have torn to shreds the Constitution of the United States the Elders of Israel will be found holding it up to the nations of the earth and proclaiming liberty and equal rights to all men". (Journal of Discourses, 21:8)

* Hugh B. Brown of the First Presidency said in October 1963 General Conference, "We believe that all men are the children of the same God, and that it is a moral evil for any person or group of persons to deny any human being the right to gainful employment, to full educational opportunity, and to every privilege of citizenship….We call upon all men, everywhere, both within and outside the Church, to commit themselves to the establishment of full civil equality for all of God's children."

* On December 15, 1969, the First Presidency issued an official statement on civil rights. Latter-day Saints were told, "Each citizen must have equal opportunities and protections under the law with reference to civil rights."

Again, I do not agree with or support homosexual activity, but neither do I believe in the perpetuation of homophobia, or restricting the ability of other people to choose either. So where do I fall? Who do I support? This is a very, very difficult issue that makes my stomach twist in knots and my throat feel dry and I am unsure how to proceed. I just pray that the latter-day saint body will stop and THINK and listen and ponder before they act blindly in crushing so many people. It will touch all of us….sooner or later. If not in our own families, in our ward and stake families there are people grappling with this issue. Some have been cast out from homes - from parents, from siblings, from the very people who are supposed to love them the most, to deal with these issues on their own. We can be shepherds to these Children of God by showing an outpouring of love.


So now I don't know what to do. Or if I really stand where I say I stand. Or if I'm going to hell for being a hypocrite.

I just know that I hate prop 8. And I'm kind of glad that I don't live in California anymore, because then I might take a gun with me on November 4th and either shoot everyone else... or myself... and none of us want that...right?

07 October 2008

STAGGERING: Aporia's Rebirth (Prop 8)

Disclaimer: THIS IS A *LONG* POST. Maybe the longest in the history of blogger. But it's long overdue, because it happened on August 24th. It's a post that will be incredible. And controversial. It's about Prop 8. And my testimony. Please plan some time and then actually READ this...it took me forever to write it after all :P

Honestly, I'm not even really sure how to start it – where to begin – by what manner I can hope to have this make enough sense for anyone to understand where I am and how I got here. A lot of it doesn’t even make sense to me. If I hadn’t just experienced it, I doubt I would believe it. But I did. And I do. Just like Joseph,

“I have actually [experienced this]; and who am I that I can withstand God or why does the world think to make me deny what I have actually [lived]? For I had [experienced this]; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it; at least I knew that by so doing I would offend God, and come under condemnation” (JSH 1:25).

Which—before I even get into it—I should mention that word, “condemnation.” What I have just lived leaves me wondering how the hell I’ll ever get anyone else to understand it or see the way I see. I am bracing myself for the confusion, the recoil, and the controversy that will surely swirl around this assertion of myself and who I have decided to be, yet do not wholly know how much I can prepare myself for the backlash that will invariably wound me.

With my recent discontentment on Prop8, I resolved to speak to my uncle—not the uncle I was having problems with (that’s a different Cali uncle), but the one who’s helped me so much in the past. Surely if anyone would understand Prop 8, if anyone could help me know where to go and what to say to respond to my other uncle, if anyone would be able to assist me in communicating with my parents, it was to be this uncle. How right I was.

And how sorely, sorely wrong at the same time.

Interestingly, on this trip to visit him my uncle called me a few hours beforehand to tell me a family friend had called and wanted to take them out to dinner and he invited me along; to which I readily agreed. We went to dinner at a Japanese restaurant. The food was pretty good, but I wasn’t overly hungry since I’d eaten lunch out with Vi, and had breakfast out also.

Somehow Prop 8 came up. I cringed. Felt sick. Got quiet. Didn’t know what to do. The friend’s kids asked about it and the dad emphatically said, “The prophet said we need to support it. That’s all you need to worry about.” Really? Could it be that easy? That mindless? That unthinking? What about reason? The role of agency? Weighing? The opportunity to check your spiritual moorings? Shouldn’t this be just a bit more complicated than he was making it?

I sure thought so. I made that clear with an email opposing Prop 8 sent to people in OTR's ward when they said the same thing:

"I appreciate your sense of duty and activism regarding this issue, but as OTR pointed out, this is killing people we love and I cannot stand for that. What am I supposed to do? How am I supposed to feel? I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I know it is true, and as much as I wish it wasn't sometimes so that this wouldn't be so hard, here I am. Do any of you even understand what it is like to have the same faith that is the source of joy and peace overwhelming you with anxiety and sorrow? No, I don't think so. I'm being asked to support a cause which will only compound those feelings among people who are gay. This type of rhetoric in my opinion further encourages hate and discrimination. I know the Church officially discourages these types of behaviors and I wholeheartedly agree with them, but something has to be said for how the members act and why they apparently feel that it is okay to treat others in the hateful and disrespecful ways that they sometimes do." (The full email is available upon request, but is way too long to include in full, especially with how long this post already is).
Dinner ended up being taxing on me, and not just because of Prop 8. That man, who I’m sure is loved and respected by my uncle seemed to me nothing more than a bad father and it was torture to watch him and listen to him interact with and mistreat his children. His son confessed that he’d seen the new Batman movie and he father demanded to know how. He evaded the question and his father asserted his authority, “Answer the question right now, son.” He confessed he’d seen the movie downloaded from the internet. His father replied, “That’s illegal. A sin.” I just listened, said nothing. They harped on their kids for their grades as well, because they weren’t doing well enough. Well, I wonder why not. The kid wasn’t even failing. He just didn’t have A’s.

When that bout of torture ended, another began. My uncle was sitting in the living room and I went down there and he said the time was mine, he had no plans. I asked could we go upstairs, since my 17-year old cousin was there; it wasn’t particularly something I wanted to discuss with her around. He agreed and we went upstairs. I felt nervous like anytime I have a serious, somewhat awkward conversation – how do you just ease into something like that?

So I asked him how he was and he chatted a minute to update me on his life. He took the bait, and asked me how I was. I spouted off about work, about OTR; pretty much everything being great. Oh yeah, except Church. The one place that’s supposed to uplift me, that’s supposed to help me, to heal me, makes me feel like hell. Mostly when they bring up Prop 8. I launched into my feelings on Prop 8, and all the Grassroots work going into it. I told my uncle that this was hurtful, even when/if it didn’t seem like it.

My uncle is incredible, and I hate when he asks questions, because I never have good answers for them. He started by talking about when he thinks. Oddly, the best time for him to think about things is apparently when he is plugged into his ipod and mowing the lawn. Anyway, he’d been thinking the other day about all he’s seen in the course of his life, and then recounted to me many of the things he’s been through in his life, including where he was the day blacks were authorized to receive the priesthood. One of the most significant events for him was the proclamation on the family, which will be celebrating its 13th year this September. Essentially Prop 8 revolves around the proclamation, and the declaration that marriage is between a man and a woman. My mom tried to say that Prop 8 was about defining marriage, I felt it was about restricting agency. My uncle said it was about the family. He then asked me why God created the family? He exists without beginning or end, has been around forever, and has progressed far beyond any of us. So why did he, in his infinite wisdom, in his eternal love, and in his omniscient understanding, create the family? I didn’t have a ready answer. There are many I think. To give kids an environment to grow and become stronger in, to learn to support someone else, and love them more than yourself, to be able to relate to and struggle with other people, the list goes on and on.

My uncle’s answer was Moses 1:39: “For behold, this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” This are clearly not the same thing, or they would not be listed together. Immortality = never ending. Eternal life doesn’t. It’s a kind of title. I’m not going to go into the whole proof here, but basically Eternal can be equated with God, so Eternal Life can be understood to mean a life like God’s. God’s life. Never ending life like God. Well how do you achieve that?

Lorenzo Snow felt he understood this achievement when he declared, “As man is, God once was; As God is, man may be” (See Q&A #2)

To achieve his design, his plan, his purpose, you have to have qualities like him. Do you really understand what that means? To be like him? We all understand physical differences between men and woman. But God made man and God made woman. Different designs. He has wisdom, knowledge...trust?

My uncle then likened this achievement to being a part of a grand institution which has prescribed requirements for belonging. IBM, apple, the LDS church, all prescribe ways of living and being to be in harmony with their designated policies. Everybody has to fit inside the box, whether its a group, an organization, or an entire society. My feelings were, I want to. I love my church. I want to fit, I want to be worthy, I want to be righteous, but HOW do I achieve that? How do I change what doesn’t fit to do so? This reminded me of Peculiar Mormon’s old blog entry:

"I had 'the talk' with Mom this morning before we went to the temple. I'm so sick of crying. I told her how I feel about life right now: that I'm walking on a knife-edge, and I'm damned if I fall either way."

"Right now/knife edge=living celibate...not getting in trouble...only problem is that I feel like I'm really walking the figurative knife...and my feet are cut so badly. I fall to the left, and I live the lifestyle. Maybe I'm damned for eternity for rejecting the gospel, and maybe I actually end up miserable in this life...but from the experience I've had in the past year, going towards that side is the only relief I've had from this blatant self-hatred. To my left is continuing to "fake it" but I won't "make it," I don't feel. If I keep on grinding myself against the wall that is the church, looking for some hole to squeeze through and find my salvation, I'm going to grind myself to paste before finding anything. And by grinding myself to paste, I mean killing myself.

"So it's spiritual death, or physical death...and we only live once. There's not point to living miserably...right? I suppose I could try to live "happy," but I never really know how over the guilt I'd entirely be able to get. That, and the eternal "what if's." Then what if I end up killing myself. I know, I know, cop out. Thing is, I'm scared of effecting more people negatively. I'm scared of the negative influence or affect that I have on anything. I don't want to damage anything else. It might sound like it's ridiculous, but you know how it's not considered murder if it's in war? Or how it's murder to shed "innocent blood?" I don't see myself as innocent blood. Sure my homosexuallity isn't something that I picked, but I feel like it's made me tarnished...impure and imperfectable. I'm hoping that when I do die, I'll be able to fall down at God's feet, and just cry, and hope that I'm enough...hope that I'll be able to be raised up, and hugged, and told "yes, you did well. You're enough, now take some rest. You've done enough." I guess I'm hoping there'll be some sort of grace for my huge faults. I can hope."

How do you walk that line and not be suicidal? How do you endure that much, for that long?

My uncle chalked this up to identity, that I didn’t know who I was. Needless to say, I was pretty offended by such an assertion. He’s been onboard with my journey for quite awhile, and you’d think that I know who I am. Since October, without looking back, I have moved steadily and actively forward – I love me, and I’m happy. I have no qualms. I know who I am, and I love it. Where is the conflict in that? Where is the identity confusion? He said he heard me saying I want more than anything to be in the church, but something prevents that, and he asked what. I wasn’t sure how to answer that either so I replied that it was my gayness, and he emphasized that he felt strongly I was trying to live in both worlds. I was a little taken aback with that too, especially since it reminded me so much of my dad.

Journal Excerpt August 21, 2006: “After reading my essay (my original thoughts on being gay, which was what CLP read and used for No More Goodbyes), I asked my dad what he thought. He said, ‘Well, I’m analyzing (which he wasn’t supposed to do), but it seems like you are trying to have one foot in both places, and that doesn’t work.’ Then he said, ‘But if I say anything else, I’ll be fixing, so I guess I can’t.’ That made me smile. It also struck me. Can someone explain to me that if my life is so completely based on achieving balance, why THIS is the one place I CAN NEVER HAVE IT?! That doesn’t make ANY sense to me! It makes me mad too! WHY NOT???” (vol VII.A, p. 2).

I was determined to prove my Father wrong. I would be the first. I would find balance where no one else had. I tried it, and it didn’t work. I’d thought I resolved it. But here it was again? The biggest and hardest thing for me at that moment was that it seemed my uncle was saying basically there really is NO place for gays in our church. Seriously. So much for love and understanding! I was pretty much flabbergasted at his response.

He then went back to Moses 1: 4-9. Here God tells Moses three things:
1. Moses is a Son of God.
2. As his son, Moses is in the similitude of Christ.
3. Christ is full of grace and truth.

In the Bible Dictionary under grace, it says:

“It is through the grace of the Lord that individuals, through faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ and repentance of their sins, receive strength and assistance to do good works that they otherwise would not be able to maintain if left to their own means. This grace is an enabling power that allows men and women to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation after they have expended their own best efforts.” (BD, p. 697).

Likewise, in D&C 93:24, truth is defined as: “And truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come” (p. 182). So understanding these pieces helps you see that you too have a work. What is it? "What is my work?" he asked. I responded, “I believe it’s to help other people. To help them learn and grow and understand and be strong. Change the world in little ways that make big differences.”

He went back to verse 7 in Moses: “And now, behold, this one thing I show unto thee, Moses, my son, for thou art in the world, and now I show it unto thee” (p. 2). Again. God told Moses who he was. Understanding this is VITAL. Who are you vs. who do you want to be? When are you going to make that choice? Take that step? Have that resolve?

My uncle brought up the covenants I made in the temple, asking me a question he’d asked previously: “Do they matter anymore? Do I still believe in them? I said I would be obedient, I would sacrifice, live the gospel, be chaste, and consecrate my time and talents. Am I honoring those covenants? Am I keeping my word? Being true to self?"

I was reeling at this point with the questioning of my identity and who I am. Temple. Promises. Self. Which self? What self? Who self? Do I know who I am? I thought I made a decision to move forward with the church last October. I resolved my identity and moved forward. Maybe not? AGH.

All that aside, what I needed most from him was counsel on how to approach my family. I told him about my other uncle and the family newsletter where his activism for Prop 8 was creeping in, and how I felt obligated to respond. But how did I go about that without throwing bullets?

He asked me do I determine what they think and do? No. Who does? They do. And myself? Who is responsible for what I think and do? Me, of course. Right. The responsibility lies within each of us. I can’t think their thoughts, can’t determine how they will react or think, or be.

He reasserted understanding Christ’s enabling power, that he can do anything and I just sat there baffled feeling like my uncle whom I trust and love was telling me to have more faith and believe more that Jesus could heal me and I could get over being gay. Was this conversation really happening?

He then said, “To get peace you have to get perspective.” I immediately thought, what perspective? Change it to what? Believing I’m not gay? That I have just been deceived/confused by Satan about who I am? That these feelings aren’t more powerful than anything I’ve ever felt? Incredible.

He quoted the scripture, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). He told me to pray to know the answers, to know what to say, and to be ultimately responsible for it.

Throughout, my uncle brought up his recent girl’s camp experience where they’d done an iron rod exercise with the girls. They had to wear blindfolds and were told, “Don’t let go of the rod ever.” There was a part where the rod went down some stairs and people were positioned there to say, “Hey, there’s steps here. Just give me your hands for a second and I can help you down.” He was amazed at how many people let go to take the hands and the help...abandoning the rod. They had to take off their blindfolds, go meet with the bishop, and then he could reinstate them on the rod, but they didn’t get their blindfolds back. Those who stayed on kept going, and came to a point where their blindfolds came off as well. Ron’s commentary on this was that at the very end he could no longer tell who had let go and who hadn’t. God treats all fairly and equitably.

My uncle had been up since 4am and was pretty much falling asleep as the conversation went on, so he decided to leave it as it was, and give me time to think; we’d talk again tomorrow. I was left wondering, wanting, and feeling sicker than I had in a very, very long time. What had he just told me? Had he helped me? Why didn’t any of that make sense? I had no words, just a pit in my stomach... how did I begin to make sense of what I’d just heard? The only word I could come up with was staggering. I was staggering.

I had to get away from there. Now. I said I was going for a walk to think about things and called OTR to come get me. She came over and we drove away, deciding to drive the 50 minutes up to the Lick Observatory which we'd talked of doing, but had decided against.

I told her how I felt: Shaken, staggering, reeling, I had no words. I didn’t know what to think, what to feel, how to respond. I was totally at a loss. I told her I thought I was ready to vote yes on Prop 8. I was also more ready to leave the church than ever before. I expected her to freak out about me changing my mind but she voiced that she’d received a prompting about 2 hours earlier telling her when I came back that’s what I’d be feeling. Interesting. She said neither of those made sense, but to me, yes they did. You cannot have both. There is no place for gays inside this church. Voting no on Prop 8 and being a Mormon don’t match up. There is dissidence there people are sweeping under the rug. There’s conflict there people are ignoring. And I couldn’t anymore.

The drive was frustrating beyond belief but I tried again and again to make sense of my conversation. OTR made a very poignant comment and everything clicked for me. I am amazed and flabbergasted that I could be here: “Voting no on prop 8 is easier.” What the f...yes. Yes, it is. It’s just like the people who take the prop at face value, and say, “Prophet said, that’s all I need.” Here, I am taking the stance that this is hurting my friends, it’s hurting me, so I’m voting no. And I breathed in sharply and deeply and couldn’t believe that I could ever be here. That I could ever act like this. That I could ever be so freaking strong. She also continually brought up the fact that when she feels like she did then, she wants to run out and do something bad; she wants to sin on purpose, but knows she never will.

I then likened my place to my decision in October to stay with the church. I know who I am, I’m not confused about my identity, I’m not lost in conflict; I know who I am, and I recognize my attraction for men, and I CHOOSE something different, because that’s how much my testimony matters and how much this church means to me. I fulfill the scripture: “[Obedience] is better than sacrifice” (Samuel 15:22) and I stomach the pain and heartache not having what I want brings, because I choose to want the gospel more. And so now on Prop 8. I realize that I want to vote no with all my heart. I want to oppose it, I want marriage equality, I don’t want anyone to be hurt ever by ignorance and misunderstanding and prejudice, and... I choose my church. Damn my faith. Damn my resolve. Damn my testimony! I never in a million years would have imagined being able to be in a place like this. I am ready to vote yes on prop 8 because the apostles have spoken, I have made covenants, I have reasoned, weighed, and now exercise my agency to show that I have an unshakable testimony that matters to me more than anything else I have. And I’m NOT okay with that! The knots tighten, my tension mounts, and I am drowning in my new understanding.

Staggering. In the other direction. Not only will I not let go of the rod, but now I fear that I may grip it so tightly I will break it. People aren’t supposed to understand like this, aren’t supposed to accept like this...dear God in Heaven, I understand but now in only a matter of moments I have taken a complete 180. I understand and I accept and I believe, but this positions me opposite everyone I love most: my friends and family who understood where I stood before. How in my mission to foster love and understanding do I ever explain this? How would anyone ever understand that faith can be THIS powerful? I’m ready to vomit, and I don’t know how the hell to even start to vocalize this to someone I now call friend who is gay. How to tell my brother who was behind me all the way that I’m now on the same side as my parents, that I don’t want to fight my uncle in California anymore. I want to vote no on prop 8 with every fiber of my being, just like I want to be able to no longer believe in the church that has given me everything... and just can’t. I can’t do it.

This to me is why people leave. This to me is why marriages end. This to me is why I am always alone. Because people’s faith doesn’t run as deep as mine – I didn’t even know faith like this was possible. People just aren’t meant to hack faith like this. They aren’t. It makes me want to stand up to every single person confronting homosexuality and say, run. Turn now, and just run. Get away from the church before your belief in it is so strong and so powerful and so uncanny it’s almost like being enslaved. To truth. What the hell is wrong with me...?

This is what I meant at the beginning: condemnation. The misunderstanding—in the other direction—begins here. To be criticized as a sell-out, a traitor, a turncoat. To hear that I have been brainwashed, that I have been deceived by sly Mormons. Just as in 3rd Nephi when the prophets could not write what it was like when Jesus spoke to them, I cannot in my finiteness begin to expound how I am feeling right now. I tried and tried and tried to OTR. She didn’t get it. Over and over and over she didn’t get it. How do you explain that you agree so wholeheartedly with her saying that voting no on prop 8 is easier that it has taken you to an entirely new and foreign plain of understanding and realization that she cannot hope to join you on because she has not walked your path, not been where you are, and has not formed spiritual moorings like yours? OTR started crying and lamenting feeling like she was left behind. I tacitly and tactfully tried to explain to her that she was being selfish. How dare her try and join me every step of my journey! That’s really how I saw it. She has not walked where and how I have. Yes, there are things she could share, but I have reached and done things she is just approaching in her own self journey. While she strives to love herself, I can join her, for I have walked that road. We go hand in hand and I help her every way I can, so that she feels safe and comfortable and able to continue forward. But when I, far beyond her, take another step into the darkness, and she tries to make an impossible leap to join me, I collapse to my knees.

She is not strong enough, she’s not ready, how do I make her see that she is trying to eschew her limits and attempt a feat that I do not believe she can achieve right now? I suddenly decided that I never should have involved her, never should have tried to bring her along with me, and I needed to leave her behind, which hurt her even more. Either way led to her getting hurt. If I tried to bring her with me into my new understanding and lean on her, I would break her. I know she struggles in her testimony with things like pre-mortal life, and especially life after death. Her testimony is not ready to handle such a beating. I lean on her, and I break her. So I have to leave her. I call this protecting her, but am I just being selfish in my own wickedly twisted right? I have discovered an incredible, baffling strength I never imagined in any right would come to bear as being part of myself, and I jealously don’t want her to share in it?

Language, words, explanation fail me. I am shattered, broken, everywhere. I put myself quickly and forcefully back together, understanding with never before achieved comprehension, but my finiteness prevents me from sharing that with anyone. I did not know I was ready, that this was possible, but it is and I am. I am so strong it’s magnificent and frightening. How do you come to a place where you are ready to oppose everything you moments ago stood for? Does this count as a type of transfiguration? Is that presumptuous? Lofty? Self-righteous? I don’t know any other words in our vocabulary that can reach what I am feeling.

The simple explanation is that my dad and now my uncle were right – there is NO PLACE for homosexuality in this church. This is absolutely confounding. It’s so simple to say and yet it is so so so infinitely more complicated than that! God designed the family and he made man and woman to fit together in perfect unity and harmony and I get that, and I’m willing to follow it, without even attempting to understand how the f**k I reconcile my attractions and actually DO it.. I don’t believe any more than I did yesterday that the way I feel is changeable or that this is a choice. But I wonder if my uncle and so many others continue to bombard with the simplest of messages because it contains locked within it the greatest, most complex, astounding understanding. *You are a child of God.* If you REALLY understand that – on a level where again, language, word, and explanation fall short, then that is the trump card. That is the card that overpowers, dominates, subsumes, extricates everything else. I am a son of God, and that’s the first thing God told Moses, and the last thing I fully capt. Somehow, some way I cannot give meaning to, really seeing how far that goes, how deep that is... it makes nothing else matter. My attractions, my inklings, my desires don’t matter when I understand my divinity. Again, I expect criticism, confusion, and maybe even outrage at my new place, my new position, my new (old?) self. Have I just pierced the veil by the tiniest fraction with my understanding? Or have I plummeted into a new depth or self-deceit disguised as sure truth?

How? How do you get others to see this? To understand this? To be able to ACCEPT this? I have taken a huge step, but I feel like to do it, so much just got left behind in the blink of an eye and now I don’t know how to recuperate that. What do I do to stop and pick up the people who just got hit with a wall of bricks and are now recoiling, crying, hurting...in many cases against me...when I just had their hands seconds earlier?

I have no answers, no hope, no iota of elucidative power.

I balk like Nephi of old: “And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things” (1 Ne. 11:17)

“[I] don’t know everything, but [I] know enough.” (Neil L. Andersen, October 2008 General Conference, Saturday Morning Session)

That “enough” can be eternally frightening...but I do not worry about the future and the details. Only the now. And that I am strong. And continuing to move forward even though I may be more confused than I have ever been before.

I do not believe in easier. And it makes me want to cry. Really, really, really hard. Hold me.

15 August 2008

Standing... for Everything

Beck's recent post and my comment moved me to put this up here. People are becoming increasingly torn up about Prop 8 and the damage it seems to be causing.

That said, it's also ripping my own family apart now, for which I have no answers... my uncle is one of the grassroot leaders in Southern California. Against me. How do you combat that? What do you say? How does any of this STRENGTHEN my family? So for all it's done is shred us. What can we do? How can we be heard? How can we, as Beck put it, circle our wagons?

I wrote this maybe two years ago... it's in bad need of editing, but I don't have time right now to do so. The basic message gets across though, so just take it for what it's worth:

In 1973, homosexuality was taken off the list of mental illnesses by the American Psychological Association. Since that time, there has been increasingly more acceptance, but prejudice has not ended. Is this not a goal we can achieve together?

There are among us individuals who would identify on neither side of the Mormon vs. homosexual debate, categorizing themselves as both Mormon and homosexual. They have been attacked for refusing to be openly gay, for refusing to be “authentic to themselves” by living the way they were made. Yet, on the same token, they have been attacked for not changing who they are, for not becoming straight and “normal.” Are not these individuals worthy of our love as much as any of God’s children? Standing on the underpinnings of Mormonism and homosexuality reflects a conscious decision: to understand who they are on all levels and to use that as a catalyst for living by belief anyway.

Have we sought to provide a place of peace for them on this road of difficulty? A house of healing? A haven where they can work out their suffering and reconciliation in the context of support? How can we call ourselves God-fearing Christians—those who lift up the weary hand and aid the sick and afflicted—when we are pushing our own away solely because they struggle differently? Where are the tender mercies of the Lord? Mormon homosexuals are lying abandoned at the roadside, beaten and dying, and we as priest and Levite are passing by without offering even a second glance. Where is the Good Samaritan to succor them, to show them the love of God no matter their circumstance? Their place is not easy, but that does not make it wrong.

It is time to begin working diligently to create the environment of understanding and acceptance they long for. Their unique position of dedication despite difficulty must be given a voice. They fight daily in the trenches of this struggle with no one to back them, no one to give them cover. Why have we not reinforced these soldiers on the frontlines of duty, integrity, and stalwart devotion to the gospel? How long will we continue to label as tendencies—to be shunned and divorced from within them—those very things they are struggling to find happiness with as part of who they are? What if they like who they are? What if they embrace their sexuality without acting upon it? Can we not aid them in this process? Must we define them as the sinners we love while shunning their sin? May we plead to know what sin? When they have done nothing but try the best they know how with what they’ve been given?

Identifying this way does not constitute an abandonment of principles and morals to become a sexual act. It does not imply a spurning of God, family, and culture. Neither does it mean denying a portion of who they are. How can we say they go about things the wrong way when they are human and need to be loved just like everyone else does? How can we work to unnerve their system of belief if it incorporates what we say is wrong? Why do they get placed with abominations before the eyes of God when they have done nothing but fight to figure out who they are? Since when has feeling and attraction become a justification for hatred and oppression of otherwise righteous individuals?

The general gay community strives to acknowledge everyone as a son or daughter of God loved by Him; we can do likewise. Mormons believe stolidly in being “willing to bear one another's burdens, that they may be light; Yea, and [being] willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places” (Mosiah 18: 8-9). Why has initiative not been taken by Mormons to apply this principle to those who struggle with homosexuality?

Let us amend the errors of our ways and begin now to live this doctrine. It is time to stop fighting and to stand with our brothers and sisters who need our support. How many are even now suffering in silence without anyone to aid them? These are our brothers and sisters! Were not even the lepers taken in by Jesus? Did he not sit at table with publican and sinner and regard them in their plight? How can we ever attest like the Primary song that we are “Trying to be like Jesus” if we will not even stop to acknowledge those crying in the corners of the wilderness for a friend? For someone who will listen and at least try to understand their predicament? Even when their attractions do not harmonize with ours on all accounts, let us embrace them. If we do not begin to take the actions needed to remedy the neglect and prejudices incurred thus far, Mormon homosexuals will continue to be lost. They will leave the Mormon Church in search of other happiness, or in the extreme, commit suicide. To reconcile beliefs with feelings is difficult enough; we should not be compounding the issue of homosexuality by our lack of understanding. We need to back these individuals in carving out their unique path—a path that pairs them with the Atonement and their Savior—as they walk, crawl, and scrape their way back to
their God.