Tuesday, December 20, 2016

On friendship

I was listening to a podcast today. (On Being with Krista Tippett if you must know.) They started discussing what it takes to build a strong friendship. I started crying. I realized that I don't have many good friends. Besides my wife and kids, I don't have any really. I mean I have acquaintances, people with whom I am friendly. And coworkers with whom I get along. But no real friends.

The closest I have to friends are my wife's friends. She has lots of friends. And consequently her friends have sort of adopted me. She is popular on Twitter too. She has friends from all over the world. (I'm afraid sometimes she may be too friendly.)

It's one of the problems with growing up gay in the Church. (Perhaps outside the Church too... I only know the "in the Church" version.) For me, I never had really good guy friends because I wanted more. I wanted them to want me the way I wanted them, but then I would check myself; I wasn't supposed to want more. I never had great girl friends either. Well I did in high school but then I went to BYU. There I had a few girl friends but they wanted to be girlfriends (or at least I feared they did) and so I didn't get too close with any of them or really maintain any of those relationships. Plus, they went and got married and I didn't want their husbands to think I was the creepy guy friend who kept in touch with their wives. (Even if I really was harmless.)

And I'm sad.

Sunday, October 30, 2016


So we're about to hit the one year anniversary of the exclusion policy, you know, where the LDS Church mandated "courts of love" for any one who married his or her true love if they happened to be of the same-sex. And where the LDS Curch barred children of said couples from being baptized until they've reached the age of majority, moved out, and disavowed their parents lifestyle choice. (We wouldn't want anyone sympathizing with "the gays" now would we?)

The traditional gift for first anniversaries is paper, but this is the modern era. So, to honor this momentous occasion, the Church has given us virtual paper (i.e., a new webpage). It's an update to its mormonsandgays.org website. They dropped the "s" making the site more about the individual than two groups of separate people. (I appreciated Andrew S's post on the topic over at wheatandtares.org.)

A lot has been said about the website's pros and cons. I'll leave that conversation to others who have more time. I do want to highlight the section that evoked the most emotion in me.

In Josh's story he says, "Life kicked me in the gut, so I began to explore my homosexuality by dating men. For the first time I understood why heterosexual couples fell in love and what that actually felt like."

As I read this, I realized that I have never actually felt this. And it made me sad.

I don't regret getting married, though I do recognize that when I got married it was very selfish and I think that staying married is kind of selfish, but I believe getting a divorce would also be selfish. I have no plans to leave them. We have an awesome family.  But I am very pained at what the Church is doing to the next generation, to my children.

Thankfully Church leaders have stopped publicly telling gay kids to marry as a cure for their homosexuality (though if some of the stories told by exmos are to be believed, they're still privately advocating this).

But celibacy? Really?!? If homosexuality is wrong because it keeps men and women from their divine roles as parents, is celibacy really a better option? No. I'm sorry, but if one of my children is gay (a distinct possibility) I want them to know what it is like to fall in love.

Monday, September 12, 2016

An awesome Mormon Stories

I highly recommend this Mormon Stories episode. (My fave LGBT themed episode is still the Benji Schwimmer trio of episodes, but...)

This story so perfectly captures how messy missions can be for LGBT missionaries, from the comp who'd eaten cray cakes (but didn't get sent home) to the wild emotions you feel for other missionaries. (I got lucky and never had a companion who was my type. I did kind of crush on one AP though. We slept in separate beds the one time we did go on splits together. *sigh*)

Anyway... great stuff this podcast. Nice work Jacob and #JohnDehlin.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

(Mixed orientation) marriage & melancholy

In a recent, This American Life, host Ira Glass interviews Alain de Botton about why people choose the wrong partner when getting married. Botton's thoughts on marriage are gloomily accurate. At one point Botton (who by the way has a lovely British accent) explains why melancholy is a helpful trait in a successful marriage. He says
We're trying to do such a complex thing with someone. We are trying to find our best friend, our ideal sexual partner, our co-household manager, perhaps our co-parent, and we're expecting that all this will miraculously go well together. Of course it can't. We're not going to be able to get it all right. There will be many areas of misunderstanding and failure and a certain amount of sober melancholy is a real asset when heading forth into the land of love.
As I listened to this I realized this quote in part explains why my mixed orientation marriage works. My wife is my best friend, my co-household manager, and my co-parent. In these areas my wife is perfect for me. In these areas (most of the time) her strengths compliment mine well. It's really just in the "ideal sexual partner" category that things aren't perfect, but we make it work.

I've said it before. I'm not advocating mixed orientation marriages for everyone. I really do hope and pray that everyone learns to listen to the Lord--not the Church or their parents or friends, but the Lord--and find out for themselves what life path He feels is best for them.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Important truths I've learned from Twitter

A week or two ago my wife taught me how to use Twitter. I don't really have time for any more social media, but my wife plays a game of trying to get famous people to follow her. It sounded like fun so I thought I'd check out this Twitter thing too.

Important truths I've learned from the hours spent on Twitter these last few weeks:

1.) Ari Shapiro, co-host of NPR's All Things Considered, is hot.

2.) Actually, there's really only the one thing.

Then Google taught me that besides radio, Mr. Shapiro sings too. Be still my soul!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

With this I relate


Though not Mormon, I think Trey Pearson's story is one shared by many LGBT members of the church. He mentions how
"[trying not to be gay] has resulted in a marriage where I couldn’t love or satisfy my wife in a way that she needed. Still, I tried to convince myself that this was what God wanted and that this would work." 
In my marriage, my wife has sacrificed much to make our marriage work. It makes me sad sometimes, sad for herand for my children who don't have a great role model for what it means to truly love your spouse in all senses of the word love

Earlier this year a member from a ward we used to live in came out. He and his wife were splitting most amicably. His stated reason for the split: he felt he needed to set his wife free. It's a sentiment I fully understand on one hand and can't comprehend on the other. For now my wife and I will continue to muddle through this messy thing called family.

I hope Trey Pearson's fans don't completely desert him. I had never heard of Everyday Sunday until this. Who knows? Perhaps they'll pick up a few fans because of the outing.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

What if one of my sons is gay?

After posting on Facebook this article "Is the Pearl Too Great a Price?" about LGBT suicide, I was asked how I would react if one of my sons came out to me. Would I encourage him to act on his homosexual feelings or encourage him to stay with the church and remain celibate? (This is not an unlikely scenario since I suspect one of my sons is gay.*)

Here was my response:

If one of my sons (biologically it would most likely be the last because later birth order significantly increases the likelihood of being gay) comes out to me here is what I will do (or try to do... no one is perfect).

  1. I will make sure he knows that I love him no matter what 
  2. I will teach him that he needs the Holy Ghost in his life 
  3. I will remind him that I will love him no matter what
  4. I will also remind that promiscuity does not promote spirituality. (Sex before marriage is a bad idea, even for gay marriage. If he decides he is going to act on his gay desires, but can't find a guy willing to wait until after they get married, perhaps he's not the right guy.)
  5. I will teach him to fast to know the will of the Lord for him, to study the scriptures, to invite the Lord into their life through prayer
  6. I will reiterate that I love him
  7. I will invite him to talk with one or two of my MoHo friends who have managed successful mixed orientation marriages. (I did not add that I would likely come out to him, but when the time is right, I likely would.)
  8. Then if he decides to enter into a mixed orientation marriage, I will ask him to make sure that he is certain before he takes the plunge, reminding him of both the blessings that will be his as well as the unique challenges he will face, reminding him that President Hinkley has warned that gay members not marry as a cure for homosexuality.
  9. If he does get married (in either direction), I will rejoice with him in his entering a relationship that will require him to sacrifice and love in a way he never has before.
  10. I will pray that the Lord never give up on saving him (and his spouse) regardless of what happens.
  11. I will love him.

* And here are my son's current crushes
Not the raccoon, in case you were curious.
And this one... of which I whole-heartedly approve:

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

"I like your socks!"

So a couple of months back as I climbed the stairs at work I noticed the guy in front of me had on cool socks. When we got to the landing I said, “I like your socks.”

He turned around and smiling broadly said, “Thanks!”

Two things happened. First, my gaydar immediately kicked in. Hard. Second, I started crushing on him. (To be completely honest, I'm not sure which happened first.)

He was a little shorter than I usually go for, but he was fit, well-dressed, and nerdy cute. What can I say? I have a thing for nerds.

I immediately started to keep on the lookout for the cute nerd and a few days later figured out where he sat. OK. I’ll admit it. I let my stalker tendencies (we all have them to one degree or another) kick in a bit. And thanks to name tags on cubicle walls I now knew his name. Dan*.0

Later that night, thanks to modern technology and the fact that he has a very unique last name, I was able to locate him on Facebook. From his few public pics I confirmed my gaydar is functioning at peak performance.

If I were in high school, I would have started fantasizing about dating him, having a life together, and let's be honest, sex. (Isn't that what all high school boys think about?) I'm older now and happily married. But that didn't stop me from crushing a little. It’s just now my crushing mainly involves friendship instead of romance. We’d become fast friends. I imagined inviting him and his partner over for Sunday brunch. (My wife would eat him up.) It’s like my brain starts thinking “I'm gay; you're gay; surely we'll be good friends.” (I know it’s absurd. It’s about as sensical as saying “Hey, I like blue; you like blue; surely we’ll be good friends.” It’s a fantasy; fantasies regularly throw sense and reason out the proverbial window.)

I realize that my daydreaming, while not sexual like my adolescent obsessions, was no less unhealthy than those fantasies that filled my teenage mind.

There is really only one solution I have learned for taming these dysfunctional thoughts. Fantasies fail to see the object of our affection as a fellow son or daughter of God. This is true whether the fantasy is of the sexual or Sunday brunch variety. As soon as I remind myself that my dream-boy is loved by Heavenly Father as a son, my fantasy fades and I find myself back on planet Earth.

I have found one of the best ways to do this is to introduce myself. As soon as I tell him my name and a little about me and he tells me his name and a little about himself we cease being one human with a daydream and become two human beings sharing a connection.

And so, after about three months, I am proud to say my cute nerd’s name is Daniel. Sure. I knew that already, but somehow it’s different when he tells you.

*Names fudged to protect the guilty… namely me.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Lane boy

Because this is how I'm currently feeling about things:

"They say stay in your lane boy, lane boy
But we go where we want to"

"Don't trust a perfect person and don't trust a song that's flawless"

Friday, January 29, 2016

Words without action

This article patting the Church on the back for mourning with families of LGBT who have committed suicide is making the rounds. I too applaud the Church for it's kind words. But words are not enough.

As an institution we kick you out, then we say through a spokesman that we cry with your family when you kill yourself because among other reasons you didn't feel wanted.

The article says parents should create "healthy, constructive relationships and environments." Then gives as an example, "Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints once was asked how he would respond if his 17-year-old son said he was gay. 'You’re my son,' Elder Oaks said. 'You will always be my son, and I'll always be there to help you.'" This is nice. Exactly the response a parent should give if backed up by action.

Unfortunately the Deseret News article doesn't quote Elder Oaks later in the same interview when he said, "I can also imagine some circumstances in which it might be possible to say, ‘Yes, come, but don’t expect to stay overnight. Don’t expect to be a lengthy house guest. Don’t expect us to take you out and introduce you to our friends, or to deal with you in a public situation that would imply our approval of your "partnership"."

In other words, "I love you son (with my mouth and lips), but my heart is far from you."

This is the problem with the Church's current rhetoric: it is words without action.

Monday, January 11, 2016

5 things I believe; 5 things I know (plus one I'm not sure about)

I was in mourning again today as the church doubled down on it's exclusionary policy. So I wanted to take stock of my testimony.

Things I believe:
1.) I have witnessed many miracles that strengthened my faith in God. Would I call it a perfect knowledge? No, but it's definitely moving in that direction.

2.) I believe God is there watching over all of us, including the weak, old sinner me.

3.) I believe that Christ has the power to save us all, if we will come to Him and develop charity. (Even our LGBT brothers and sisters who enter into same-sex marriages.)

4.) I believe God wanted me to marry my wife, even though part of me really wanted to find my own personal Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
I apparently like guys in ties

5.) I also believe in the power of personal revelation.

Corollary to #5: I believe that someone who is not me (see #4) may pray to their Heavenly Father and feel that He has said that gay marriage is ok (for them).

Things I know:
1.) I know without a shadow of a doubt, with every fiber of my being that gay marriage is WAY WAY better than random gay sexual hookups. Thus I am happy for my gay friends when they establish long-term, committed relationships. (And yes, I will attend their weddings if invited.)

2.) I know that forcible rape is a much worse sin than gay marriage. (I'm pretty sure than sexual abuse and attempted murder are too.)

3.) I know that children of gay couples are loved by our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ as much as children of heterosexual couples. And they need the gift of the Holy Ghost just as much as their neighborhood friends who are allowed to be baptized.

4.) I know that children of gay couples will learn about love and charity and kindness in ways that children who happen to be raised by a father and a mother will not.

5.) I know that I love my wife (see note below) and my awesome family (see here).

Things I don't know:
1.) If my wife died, I don't know whether or not I would enter into a homosexual relationship.
Seriously. No idea. (So don't even think about dying, dear.)

Perhaps I could find some other gaymobro who wanted to stay a non-practicing homosexual. (Maybe he'd have a sexy British accent. Even better if he looked like Damien Lewis. I don't normally go for gingers, but am willing to make exceptions.)
And suits

We could enjoy a monogamous, celibate life together. You know we would totally get married, just to mess with the people at Church (capital C). And who knows, if it turns out homosexuality is ok in the next life, my partner could also be sealed to my wife and we'd all live in a state of celestial, polyandrous, ménage à trois bliss.

Footnote: Why I love my wife: reason 979
Today when I was feeling grouchy (see link above), I opened my email to find a note from my wife.

It consisted of just this clip and two words: "You're welcome"

Seriously. Best wife ever.