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Monday, December 31, 2007

"I hope you're happy in the end"

I've been home for the holidays- it's so nice to be out of Utah for just a moment. I really can't stand living in Mormon central sometimes, but I suppose my attitude is partly to blame. Life's what you make it, after all (oh no- I think I just quoted a Hannah Montana song!). And to be honest, I actually am looking forward to returning to Provo; I've been a little lonely and feeling less than whole.

So, just like I promised myself, I talked to my dad this week about being gay. It went so much better than I had anticipated! First off, I came into the room and he was watching The Sound of Music- I couldn't have asked for a better backdrop for our conversation! I told him how I've been feeling and we talked a little about what may happen in the future. We actually did a lot of laughing and joking- it was just a normal conversation! My favorite part was when he smiled at me and told me that the 3 things that he hoped his children would never turn out to be was gay, Mormon, or drug addicts. 2 out of 3 for me- not bad :) I laughed and told him that's probably why he had me. He said that it's not what he would choose for me, but that I will always have his love and support and that he wants to see me settled and happy with whatever I choose to do. Today we went skiing with my brothers and everything was normal- I'm not acting like anything but myself and he's not treating me any differently. I feel so blessed!


The last three months have changed my life completely- "Who can say if I've been changed for the better? I do believe I have been changed for the better... and because I knew you, I have been changed for good..."

I feel so much more authentic than I used to! "I- I feel so alive- for the very first time, and I think I could fly!"
Sorry- sometimes I can't stop the lyrics.

I'm so excited for this year! I feel like God is guiding me into the beginning of a life full of wonderment and happiness.


"I hope you're happy,
now that you're choosing this...
I hope it brings you bliss,

I really hope you get it
and you don't live to regret it-

I hope you're happy in the end-
I hope you're happy my friend...


"So if you care to find me
look to the western sky!
As someone told me lately,
everyone deserves a chance to fly!

"And if I'm flying solo,

at least I'm flying free!
To those who'd ground me,
take a message back from me-
Tell them how I am defying gravity!

I'm flying high defying gravity,

and soon I'll match them in renown!

And nobody in all of Oz,

no wizard that there is or was,
is ever gonna bring me down!"

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

On the 12th Day of Christmas...


On the 12th day of Christmas
My true love gave to me:

12 Men a macking


11 Studs a stripping


10 Lords a leaping


9 Boys a bathing


8 Kens a kissing


7 Fairies flying


6 Wicked tickets


5 Gay thumb rings!


4 Fitted shirts


3 Pink pens


2 Starbucks mugs...


(dramatically) And Celine Dion's latest CD!

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope that you've all enjoyed my gay rendition of the 12 days of Christmas. Maybe next year we can throw a huge moho Christmas party and sing it together. A few people have asked me if I really have been receiving these gifts for Christmas- So far I've received 4 out of 12 of the gifts- though not necessarily in the same quantities mentioned in the song. Which 4 out of the 12? ....(smiles deviously)

Monday, December 24, 2007

On the 11th Day of Christmas...

On the 11th day of Christmas
My true love gave to me:


11 Studs a stripping


10 Lords a leaping


9 Boys a bathing


8
Kens a kissing

7 Fairies flying

6 Wicked tickets


5 Gay thumb rings!


4 Fitted shirts


3 Pink pens


2 Starbucks mugs


And Celine Dion's latest CD!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

On the 10th Day of Christmas...


On the 10th day of Christmas
My true
love gave to me:

10 Lords a leaping

(I just couldn't change this
one)

9 Boys a bathing

8 Kens a kissing

7 Fairies flying

6 Wicked tickets

5 Gay thumb rings!

4 Fitted shirts

3 Pink pens


2 Starbucks mugs

And Celine Dion's latest CD!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

On the 9th Day of Christmas...

On the 9th day of Christmas
My true love gave to me:

9 Boys a bathing

8 Kens a kissing

7 Fairies flying

6 Wicked tickets

5 Gay thumb rings!

4 Fitted shirts

3 Pink pens

2 Starbucks mugs

And Celine Dion's latest CD!

Friday, December 21, 2007

On the 8th Day of Christmas...

On the 8th day of Christmas
My true love gave to me:


8 Kens a kissing


7 Fairies flying

6 Wicked tickets

5 Gay thumb rings!


4 Fitted shirts


3 Pink pens

2 Starbucks mugs

And
Celine Dion's
latest CD!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

On the 7th Day of Christmas...

On the 7th day of Christmas
My true love gave to me:

7 Fairies flying

6 Wicked tickets

5 Gay thumb rings!

4 Fitted shirts

3 Pink pens

2 Starbucks mugs

And Celine Dion's latest CD!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

On the 6th Day of Christmas...

On the 6th day of Christmas
My true love gave to me:


6 Wicked tickets


5 Gay thumb rings!


4 Fitted shirts


3 Pink pens


2 Starbucks mugs


And Celine Dion's latest CD!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

On the 5th Day of Christmas...

On the 5th Day of Christmas
My true love gave to me:


5 Gay thumb rings!


4 Fitted shirts


3 Pink pens


2 Starbucks mugs


And Celine Dion's latest CD!

Monday, December 17, 2007

On the 4th Day of Christmas...

On the 4th day of Christmas
My true love gave to me:

4 Fitted shirts

3 Pink pens

2 Starbucks mugs

And Celine Dion's latest CD!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

On the 3rd Day of Christmas...

On the 3rd day of Christmas
My true love gave to me:


3 Pink pens


2 Starbucks mugs


And Celine Dion's latest CD!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

On the 2nd Day of Christmas...

On the 2nd day of Christmas
My true love gave to me:

Two Starbucks mugs

And Celine Dion's latest CD!

Friday, December 14, 2007

On The 1st Day of Christmas...

On the 1st day of Christmas
My true love gave to me

Celine Dion's latest CD!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

God in a Box

My mind was wandering in my philosophy class a few weeks ago while we were discussing the attributes of God. The following argument popped into my head- feel free to hate it, but these are the kinds of things that I think about on a daily basis.

The Dragon’s Argument Regarding God’s Purpose

1) God’s purpose is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man (by “man” we can assume “humankind”).

2) God is perfect.

3) Since failure implies imperfection, a perfect being never fails to accomplish its purposes.

4) Thus God never fails to accomplish his purposes.

5) Not all humankind will achieve the immortality and eternal life contained in God’s purpose.

6) Thus, either God will fail in his purpose because he is not perfect (2-4 are false), premise 1 is not God’s purpose, or all humankind will somehow achieve immortality and eternal life (5 is false).

Draco’s objections:

a) God is bound by the laws of justice and agency. It is not he who fails, but humankind that fails in achieving eternal life.

b) “Man” does not refer to all humankind, but rather to all righteous people.

The Dragon’s Rebuttal:

Objection (a) is irrelevant; the purpose still belongs to God and so failure to bring to pass said purpose belongs, at least in part, to God.

Objection (b) is false. Purpose implies a desire to accomplish something, so objection (b) argues that God does not desire for all humankind to achieve immortality and eternal life. Further, the scripture does not say “righteous men,” but simply “man.” God loves all of his children equally and equally desires each person’s immortality and eternal life.

Wow- talk about philosophy mingled with scripture! Ever since I joined the LDS church, my mother has told me that she thinks we try to put God in a box by claiming we know more than we can know about the nature of God. Perhaps she is right; perhaps we limit God too much in our thinking which leads to problems and contradictions like the one above. I'm not saying that God is all mysterious and distant- I think He can be very personal and close. But sometimes I wonder if we don't try to put our thoughts into God's head.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Live and Let Live

"No one of us ought to issue vetoes to the other, nor should we bandy words of abuse. We ought, on the contrary, delicately and profoundly to respect one another's mental freedom: then only shall we bring about the intellectual republic; then only shall we have that spirit of inner tolerance without which all our other tolerance is soulless, and which is empiricism's glory; then only shall we live and let live, in speculative as well as in practical things." -William James

Friday, December 7, 2007

Do You Know What I Know?

So I posted a pretty long post a few days back about what it means to really “know” something, but I felt like it was too long, too cynical, and too preachy of a post. It now exists only as a draft and it will probably stay that way. But I don’t want to completely abandon this train of thinking, so I’m going to give you the abridged version of The Dragon’s argument concerning knowledge:

Our definition of “knowing” something in the church is different from the universal idea of “knowing” something. Knowing, in the universal sense, implies that one has evidence such that the truth of something is an indefectible certainty. In other words, there can be no doubt whatsoever and there must be undeniable proof. Knowledge is more than just belief or faith.

In the church we say that we “know” a lot of things to be true. In reality, we only believe that we know. Why is that? It is because our evidence for believing things (like the church is the only true church, the Book of Mormon is true, etc.) does not provide undeniable proof. It might be considered strong proof, but one can still doubt the verity of such things. This means we don’t know- we just believe.

But what about a spiritual witness? Doesn’t that provide certain evidence so that we can say that we really know? Spiritual experiences can also be doubted, so they cannot be used as indubitable evidence to claim sure knowledge. Again, they could be classified as strong evidence, but that still only lets us believe with reason- it doesn’t allow us to say that we know.

This is why I really disliked that General Conference talk about knowing that you know that you know. Not only is that confusing, but it is impossible when it comes to spiritual ideas. At best you can believe that you know that you know- but that doesn’t mean that your belief is true.

Then why are we so set on testifying that we know things? I think it’s because we are taught to say that we know and because it can be comforting- even empowering. And apparently it’s not enough to just have faith or believe. It’s almost taboo to say “I believe that…” during a testimony meeting. I had a talk with Luisa about this the other day and I really liked her explanation of things. She said that we come to the point where we believe so strongly that something is true, that the best word we can come up with to describe the feeling is knowing. I mean, come on- who wants to say I believe that I know…? She also pointed out that she thinks it’s refreshing when she hears someone say, “I believe that…” or “I have faith that…” –it sounds honest. I personally think the insistence on using “I know” so copiously in the church manipulates people into thinking that they know things. Maybe this is part of the reason that people (like my parents) think that our church brainwashes people.


Really, how can we say we know truths that the rest of humanity does not know when we, in the church, have created our own definition of knowledge?

Okay- so that was still pretty long, but it’s a big idea.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

"One day our generation..."

I took my dear friend Luisa with me to the Matis’s FHE yesterday and she had a wonderful time. :) Luisa comes from a nuclear LDS family; her father is in the stake presidency, her mother is an amazing do-everything woman, and all of her siblings are active and have been married (or will be getting married quite soon) in the temple. Luisa and I grew up together, and in high school I remember her being one of the most conservative people ever and she was very outspoken about her views. She was the one who invited me to church and to listen to the missionaries. Since then she has been through a few years of college and served a mission, and now I think she’s become more of a moderate, even embracing some liberal ideas.

Luisa was so excited to see people that she knew at the FHE. She hurried over to them laughing and bubbling. :) When they saw her they gave her a look and asked, “Wait, are you…?” She told me later as she was looking around the room, “You know, I don’t know which ones are "family" and which ones aren’t, and it doesn’t really matter. Maybe some people here think I am "family"- I don’t really care!”

I was happy to see that she felt so comfortable in that environment, where I’m sure a lot of Mormons would not. It gives me hope that with time, more and more people will become more understanding of our situation- looking past the “ick-factor” of SSA and reaching out with loving arms.

(I love you Luisa!)

Monday, December 3, 2007

Of the Devil

I know that my last post was about tolerance, however, there are certain things that are absolutely intolerable. The following is possibly the strongest philosophical argument that I have come up with to date. I want to address one of the most serious sins that Mormons commit- and if you have committed this sin then you automatically lose 100 points. I’m talking about the plague of plagues- that disgusting practice called scrapbooking. What? You think it’s harmless? Oh, oh- you have been deceived! Here is my unshakeable proof to show you how scrapbooking is of the Devil.

1) At least 95 percent of scrapbooking is kitschy (for those who are unfamiliar with this word, it basically connotes tackiness, suckiness, ugliness, doilyness, and granny decorationsness).

2) Scrapbooking is a waste of time. You could be playing with your children, spending time with your family, reading a good book, or alphabetizing your soups; pretty much anything is more productive. Why spend hours on end kitsching up your photo album when you and your posterity will almost never look at it. I see no problem with keeping a regular photo album- it’s nice to look back on happy times- but seriously, is decorating your album going to make the memories any happier. No. If anything it will just kitschify your memories.

3) Scrapbooking is a waste of money. Someone could start a college fund for their child with the amount they spend on scrapbooking.

4) Satan wants us to waste our time, waste our money, our talents, and he likes kitschy things.

5) Therefore, Satan wants you to do scrapbooking (!).

“But people like my scrapbooks!” you might say. They’re just lying to you. When you pull out the scrapbook to show to your poor guests, you think you’re sharing memories with them. But at the same time you’re implicitly saying, “Here, hold this waste-of-time book for a while and look at all the kitschyness.” And if the person is not a scrapbooker, they say, “Okay- wow, this is pretty fancy!” They are really thinking, “Okay- wow, this person sure wasted a lot of time on this kitschy book.” If the person is a fellow scrapbooker, then they’re really thinking, “Oh, I hope my scrapbook is cooler than this one. If it’s not then it’s off to Scrapbook Heaven to load up on ribbons and kitty cat stickers!”

See? Satan likes people to scrapbook. It also causes other people to waste their time. Now I’m not saying that scrapbooking is damnable (though I wouldn’t be surprised if the issue came up in General Conference), but I’m almost positive that all your scrapbooks are going to hell- where they belong! Sorry.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Teach Us Tolerance And Love

My favorite:

“The qualities most needed are charity and tolerance, not some form of fanatical faith such as is offered to us by the various rampant isms.” -Bertrand Russell

“Arguing is a sure sign of either pride or insecurity.” -Anonymous

“Too often pity is mistaken for charity, when it is really just pride in disguise.” -Anonymous

Judging is a lonely job in which a man is, as near as may be, an island entire.” -Abe Fortas

“The more arguments you win, the less friends you will have.” -American Proverb

“Whatever is begun in anger ends in shame.” -Benjamin Franklin

“There is no suffering which pity will not insult.” -Anonymous

“I believe all Americans who believe in freedom, tolerance and human rights have a responsibility to oppose bigotry and prejudice based on sexual orientation.” -Coretta Scott King

“Don't brood. Get on with living and loving. You don't have forever.” -Anonymous

And my other favorite:

“We must work harder to build mutual respect, an attitude of forbearance, with tolerance one for another regardless of the doctrines and philosophies which we may espouse. Concerning these you and I may disagree. But we can do so with respect and civility” -Gordon B. Hinckley

And one I disagree with:

“But in discussing this topic, we must recognize at the outset that there is a difference between tolerance and tolerate. Your gracious tolerance for an individual does not grant him or her license to do wrong, nor does your tolerance obligate you to tolerate his or her misdeed.” -Russell M. Nelson

I don’t feel like explaining why I don’t agree with this quote right now, especially after I have included the quotes about arguing (and yes, I realize I’m disagreeing with an apostle). Maybe later…

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Waking Up

"The man who has no tincture of philosophy goes through life imprisoned in the prejudices derived from common sense, from the habitual beliefs of his age or his nation, and from convictions which have grown up in his mind without the co-operation or consent of his deliberate reason. To such a man the world tends to become definite, finite, obvious; common objects rouse no questions, and unfamiliar possibilities are contemptuously rejected. Philosophy... is able to suggest many possibilities which enlarge our thoughts and free them from the tyranny of custom... it removes the somewhat arrogant dogmatism of those who have never traveled into the region of liberating doubt, and it keeps alive our sense of wonder by showing familiar things in an unfamiliar aspect." -Bertrand Russell

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Just the Weight of the World

I’ve noticed a peculiar phenomenon in blogolandia. For some reason people comment way more on posts that are negative, attacking, soap boxy, or controversial than on posts about positive, happy, non-confrontational, or agreeable things. This said, I anticipate very meager commenting on this post, unless some people feel like compensating or wish to prove me wrong and leave a comment when they would normally say nothing at all. :)

I really believe in the Atonement of Jesus Christ. This past year has arguably been the best and the worst year of my life. Isn’t it comforting to know that despite all the ups and downs we go through, all the changes, all the extremes- from suicidal throes to top-of-the-mountain happiness- that something remains unshakable and constant? Christ’s love and mercy are always present. One of my favorite scriptural phrases is, “His hand is stretched out still…” Even when it feels like the world is against you, Christ is always routing for you, and that is a very reassuring thought. Even when we stray, Christ doesn’t stop caring and encouraging us to do what is right.

Everything really does point back to that great and last sacrifice.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Only Ice Cream, Never Sundaes

I drove home this week to spend Thanksgiving with my family. It’s a very long drive, so I had plenty of time to do some serious self reflecting, meditating and praying. I was specifically praying about love- what it is and how it applies to my situation. Love is such a precious and uplifting experience, yet there are so many people that go through life never experiencing what it’s like to fall in love- to give your heart to another person completely and have their heart in return.

I have spent the last year trying to fall in love with girls with no success. I have loved them as friends, but I have not been able to give them my heart. I’ve considered celibacy, but I can’t imagine living deprived of love- that feeling that is supposed to make you more Christ-like and brings real happiness. I understand that there are some within the church, most of them single women, who never have the opportunity to fall in love and get married. It can be argued that if they can manage, so can I. The difference is that I do have the opportunity to fall in love. Man was not meant to be alone, but that is what the church would have me do. Yet as I pray, I again deeply feel that I should not let the chance to fall in love pass me by- even if that means falling in love with another guy. I feel so peaceful about this proposition, though it clearly runs against the grain of orthodoxy. I don’t care; I feel closer to Heavenly Father now than I have for the last year, so I think I'm going to trust my feelings, close my eyes, and leap.

Here’s one of my new favorite quotes about love:

“You know when I said I knew little about love? That wasn't true. I know a lot about love. I've seen it, centuries and centuries of it, and it was the only thing that made watching your world bearable. All those wars. Pain, lies, hate... It made me want to turn away and never look down again. But when I see the way that mankind loves... You could search to the furthest reaches of the universe and never find anything more beautiful. So yes, I know that love is unconditional. But I also know that it can be unpredictable, unexpected, uncontrollable, unbearable and strangely easy to mistake for loathing, and... What I'm trying to say… is... I think I love you. Is this love? I never imagined I'd know it for myself. My heart... It feels like my chest can barely contain it. Like it's trying to escape because it doesn't belong to me any more. It belongs to you. And if you wanted it, I'd wish for nothing in exchange - no fits. No goods. No demonstrations of devotion. Nothing but knowing you loved me too. Just your heart, in exchange for mine.” –Yvaine (Claire Danes) Stardust

Monday, November 19, 2007

Thank you clarity

I got to visit my friend skyhawk and his wonderful wife yesterday evening. I had such a good time with them; we had homemade macaroni and burritos for dinner- it was awesome :) I love it when people behave like themselves and you feel like yourself when you’re around them- definitely one of the measures of true friendship in my book.

As I was driving back to Provo after dinner, I started praying about things- specifically about whether or not what I’m doing is right. I won’t go into the details of the prayer, but as I was listening for the Holy Ghost and contemplating things, I felt such a sincere sense of happiness and peace- and most of all the feeling that everything is going to be okay. It was a wonderful Sunday drive. :)

I’m really looking forward to the break this week. I’m going home for Thanksgiving to spend some time with my family. I mentioned in an earlier post that I have been debating whether or not I should re-come-out to my parents. My mother made it really easy for me last week; she called me and said that she felt like there has been something bothering me that I wasn’t sharing with her. I jumped on the opportunity and let her know what I’ve been feeling and what I’ve been up to lately. She was not surprised at all; in fact she told me that she thought I had been running away from the problem for the past 4 years- that joining the church had been an attempted escape from gayness. She let me know how she felt about living a homosexual lifestyle and expressed her worry for my health (I wouldn’t expect anything less from her :)) and then, most importantly, she told me that I am still the same person in her eyes and that she still expects me home for Christmas, even if that means someday bringing home a boyfriend or husband lol :) It will be fun to go on a date with her this week and continue to talk things out. As for my dad, my mom advised me to wait for a while, and so I will- I don’t want to dampen the holidays for him. So right now I’m thinking the 26th or 27th of December. :)

I am immensely grateful this year for so many things. I have been starting each day with a positive attitude lately and it is making a world of difference.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Utopia

"We'd gather around all in a room, fasten our belts engage in dialogue,
We'd all slow down, rest without guilt not lie without fear, disagree sans judgement,


We would stay and respond and expand and include and allow and forgive and enjoy and evolve and discern and inquire and accept and admit and divulge and open and reach out and speak up

This is utopia, this is my utopia
This is my ideal, my end in sight
Utopia, this is my utopia,
This is my nirvana
My ultimate.

We'd open our arms, we'd all jump in, we'd all coast down into safety nets
We would share and listen and support and welcome, be propelled by passion, not invest in outcomes, we would breathe and be charmed and amused by difference, be gentle and make room for every emotion

We'd provide forums, we'd all speak out, we'd all be heard, we'd all feel seen,
We'd rise post-obstacle more defined more grateful, we would heal be humbled and be unstoppable, we'd hold close and let go and know when to do which, we'd release and disarm and stand up and feel safe

This is utopia, this is my utopia
This is my ideal, my end in sight
Utopia, this is my utopia,
This is my nirvana
My ultimate."

-Alanis Morissette

Monday, November 12, 2007

Happy is what Happens

It’s been a little more than a month since I started blogging and re-coming out to people. These last few weeks have been some of the most exciting, turbulent, joyful, painful and peaceful times that I can remember- a definite circus of emotions; I couldn’t have hoped for a better welcome into moholandia! Admittedly I’ve made a cannonball dive into the moho pool (some might think of it more as a belly-flop) and my splashing has gotten some people pretty wet as they’ve tried to keep me from drowning, and for this I sincerely apologize. I want to thank Brady, Therapevo Ydata, Calvin, Pan, Kengo, Romulus, and Peter for helping me learn to begin to swim and for enduring my waterworks.

So where do I stand now? Well, I feel really peaceful about where I’m at. I think I’m starting to come to terms with who I am and what life may have in store for me. I’m still not clear on every issue, but at least I don’t feel stagnate anymore.

And where do I stand regarding the Church? If it isn’t obvious yet, I’ve been wavering for a long time. I still find peace in prayer, scripture study, and even attending church- I can’t stop being a spiritual person- that’s just not an option. I still have a firm faith in the Atonement and in Heavenly Father’s perfect love. But I am struggling to believe other things that I thought I knew. But as I said, despite my testimony troubles, I feel happier and more alive and at peace than I have ever felt before.

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” - Galatians 5:22-23

“Wickedness never was happiness.” - Alma 41:10

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Under Rug Swept

I wrote this as a comment on Calvin’s blog not too long ago, and based on what I’ve read on other blogs lately, I think I want to turn it into its own post. I guess I’m a really non-confrontational person; arguing and judging make me really uncomfortable…

Yeah, I hate arguing too- it just makes you tired. So in friendly response to some of the above comments: the reason why sometimes we focus so much on gayness is because it affects our future concerning the highest and most sacred gospel covenant- marriage. Especially here at byu, most everyone my age is focused on relationships and getting married. This all works out fine because it's part of the gospel and people can make dating a spiritual experience, putting Heavenly Father first as they seek out an eternal companion. But for mohos, this is not true. Pursuing our feelings is contrary to the gospel, which makes it difficult to concentrate on relationships and on our gospel progression at the same time. The alternative, of course, is to not pursue any gay relationships, but that doesn't take the focus away from gayness. Marriage is the most important decision that one can make in this life, so deciding whether or not to get married because of ssa still gives gayness a prominent place on the stage. I think that we just need to show the same mercy and patience that Heavenly Father shows in our interactions with those struggling with their testimony because of ssa. What we do about gayness might have eternal consequences (I guess that that "might" just gave me away as one of the struggling ones), so I think we can be justified in talking out our feelings and weighing both sides. This can be tiring, and yes- there is more to life than your sexuality- but sweeping things under the rug doesn't make things better. Still, it's a shame when insightful discussion turns into arguing.

Finally, I apologize if I've ever been argumentative. I ask questions and challenge doctrines because I'm finding out that I don't know all that I thought I knew.

Monday, November 5, 2007

I Don't Trust Myself with Loving You

I’ve been reading several posts on other moho blogs that address the issue of trying to date girls. Until now, I’ve been shy about sharing my own recent relationship experience, but I think it might be of benefit. Before I start storytelling, however, I want to say that I think the decision to try dating girls isn’t inherently right or wrong; I believe it may be appropriate for some of us, and a bad idea for others. And obviously it’s the only way that one can end up getting married in the temple. I only intend to relate the facts about my personal experience.

So, I got to BYU in January and decided that I needed to try dating girls, despite my SSA. I thought that maybe if I dated, then I could somehow purge my feelings toward other guys. I went on lots of dates with lots of girls, but just couldn’t see myself really pursuing things. And then Wendy came along. We actually had met the first day of school back in January, but we didn’t really get to know each other until spring came and we started spending time together. Let me tell you about Wendy so you’ll understand why I decided to date her in the first place. Wendy is pretty much the perfect girl. She is a return missionary, relief society president, musical, talented, beautiful, genuine, compassionate, funny, deep, spiritual titan. I thought that if there ever was a girl to whom I could feel a real emotional and physical attraction, it would definitely be her. So after a month of going on dates and becoming close friends, we started dating officially. I was excited and hoped against all odds that things would work out.

However, as the weeks progressed into months, my lack of attraction toward her became more and more blaringly obvious. We would kiss and hold hands and I hoped that this would change things; but things got worse. I could tell that she was really becoming invested in the relationship- I met her parents and her siblings and we started spending even more time together. And though I genuinely cared for her (and still do), I felt that I was deceiving her- almost living a double life in feigning attraction. But I was stubborn and wanted so badly for everything to be normal, so we continued dating. Finally, four months into the relationship, I couldn’t handle the mask any longer. I took Wendy for a walk and told her my whole gay story. She was devastated and extremely distraught. She felt like I had led her on and almost used her as an experiment. I can’t say that that’s entirely untrue. Isn’t that just what I did? And yet isn’t that also what the Church would want me to do? Try my very best to make things work? Then why do I feel so horrible about what I did? I really hurt her deeply. The whole time that we were dating I felt like I was being unfair to Wendy and to myself; I personally would never want to marry someone who isn’t madly in love with me- and I think that if I had kept running with the farce, Wendy and I could have ended up getting married. But I just don’t think I could have endured.

Wendy and I are still close friends. I love her but I’m not in love with her. And right now the possibility of ever falling in love with any girl is looking pretty impossible for me. I tried so hard- so hard, but even my best efforts led to failure. I find myself once more in the middle of the Dragon’s field, but I can’t say that this time I’m displeased to be there…

Friday, November 2, 2007

Fighting with a Plastic Sword - Part 2

Life seems complete; each day you fly with the Dragon and share with him your deepest secrets and desires. But after living in the field for a time, you remember those dreams and ambitions and once again long to discover what lies beyond the field. On a very sad day, you say goodbye to the Dragon, hurt to see the pain and longing in his eyes. You venture into the forest and leave the field behind. But you should have known better. The next morning you wake up once again in the field with the Dragon and you finally comprehend that you will never be able to leave the Dragon’s field. You begin to resent the Dragon, suspecting that somehow he is the one preventing you from leaving. But soon you get tired of feeling angry and confused, so you lapse into depression. You had dreamed your life would be so different from this.

One day you climb a tree at the edge of the field- you just want a break from the Dragon. Surveying the land, you see in the distance the mountains that you had always dreamed of exploring. You ache inside, consigned that you will never achieve that goal. Turning back, you look down on the field and the Dragon. Suddenly a new feeling kindles within- not anger, or sadness, or joy- just acceptance… and maybe even a little bit of resolve. This is home, so you might as well deal with it. Perhaps you will never be able to do all that you had once hoped to accomplish, but you can make the most of what you have. A castle- you always dreamed of living in a huge castle- one with tall towers of bright white stone. As you climb down from your vantage point, you notice a quarry at the far edge of the field. Has that always been there? So you begin construction. The Dragon watches curiously each day as walls, arches, and parapets go up in his field. After some time- a year, or maybe five- your castle is finally complete. You feel so satisfied and cry for joy as you run through the corridors and courtyards of this castle that you had always dreamed of having. You climb to the topmost tower and look down on the field. The Dragon looks up at you from far below; he cannot fit through the castle gate, but this is still his field. On the horizon you can see your mountains. But this time you don’t feel so hopeless. Maybe one day you will be able to reach them after all. Maybe one day…

You can interpret this any way you like, considering that I am only passing it on from my friend at the counseling center. Where are you in the story?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Fighting with a Plastic Sword - Part 1

Earlier this year- from about January to March- I was making weekly visits to the counseling center here at BYU, hoping to resolve my SSA issues. Unfortunately this was not a very uplifting or encouraging experience for me (I don’t want to discourage anyone from going in to see a counselor- I think for most people it can help a lot!) and so I eventually just pretended that I was all better so that I would have an excuse to stop going. The counselor that I met with, though he often made me feel even more frustrated, at least helped me think more deeply about who I am and where I stand. During the course of our meetings, he shared this story with me about the Dragon. If you’ve met with this counselor before, then you may already be familiar with the story. I’ve embellished in places to further extend the metaphor. So here’s part one…

You are a knight on a quest- out to pursue your greatest dreams and ambitions. Not long into you adventure, after wandering for some time in the woods, you arrive in a field and in the middle of the field is an enormous Dragon. You certainly did not expect him to be there and you pause at the edge of the field, unsure of what course of action would be most prudent. But in your moment of hesitation, the Dragon comes charging across the field, breathing scorching balls of fire and heaving with feral roars. You are not an experienced dragon fighter, so you flee back into the woods. Fortunately, the Dragon does not follow you into the trees and you sit for a moment to catch your breath. Your heart is pounding and you are sweating profusely. Finally you decide that it would be best to go around the field in the shelter of the forest; that Dragon is just too scary. At the end of the day, you’re sure that you’ve made it past the field and that now you’ll be able to focus once more on your adventure. But then, just as evening falls, you suddenly stumble back into the Dragon’s field; and the Dragon, ever vigilant and unsleeping, comes charging at you as before. Horrified, you run away as far as your physical strength will take you. As you collapse onto the forest floor, you wipe tears from your cheeks, cursing yourself for your misguided sense of direction. Weary from the day’s events, you fall asleep, hoping that the Dragon will not creep into your dreams.

In the morning when you awake, you immediately realize that you are not in the forest anymore. Somehow, impossibly, you wake up right in the middle of the field and the Dragon is bearing down on you. You unsheathe your sword and take a few slashes at the Dragon’s scaly hide, but you might as well be fighting with a plastic sword. The Dragon is too strong; you have no choice but to run. And so it goes. Hardly a day passes in your adventure when you do not somehow find yourself back in the field with the Dragon, no matter how far you run or how well you hide. And no matter how hard you fight, you know that your swordsmanship and well crafted blade will never be enough to kill him.


Soon your quest seems futile- you begin to lose hope of ever achieving your dreams and wonder if there is any point in living. After some time- weeks or maybe years- on a particularly rainy day you find yourself yet again in the field with the Dragon. He comes charging as always, but this time you don’t care anymore. You let your sword fall to the ground and you collapse to your knees, prepared to succumb to whatever fate the Dragon will bring. The Dragon hovers over you and you look up to face your enemy.

But surprisingly, the Dragon seems to have compassion in his eyes. He gently wraps his tail around you and raises you into the air, placing you gently on his back. Exhilaration replaces your fear as the Dragon springs into the air and you fly high over the field together- you and the Dragon. Life has never been more exciting and fulfilling- surely this is pure joy! After some time, the Dragon sets you down in the soft grass in the field and covers you with his wing as you drift off to sleep…

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Parental Debate

Four years ago I came out to my parents. They already suspected that I was gay, but it was still a bombshell for them. What hurt them the most, however, was the fact that I had confided in my friends and sought their advice and even the advice of some of their parents before I had trusted my parents with my dilemma. They were absolutely heartbroken and I still think my mom gets upset about it, even though it was so long ago.

After I joined the church I stopped talking with my parents about being gay and they didn’t bother to bring up the issue- not until my mom asked me about it a year ago when I got home from the mission. I snapped at her and told her I never wanted to talk about it again; she cried and I left the room. I’m sure that my parents still wonder about me. And now that I’m coming out again- even if I’m only peeking out of the closet- I wonder if I should go to them for advice and comfort. Even though they were disappointed when I came out in high school, they were so compassionate! They both wasted no time in telling me that they loved me just the same and only wanted to see me happy. I love them so much!! Oh man, I’m crying as I’m typing. Well, I could go on forever about how wonderful they are, but I’ll cut to the chase. I don’t know whether it would be wise for me to talk to them again. Have I already made the same mistake I made in high school- talking to my friends before I seek guidance from my parents- cutting my comfort off? But since my parents (and none of my extended family) are members of the church, I don’t want my homosexuality to somehow get in the way of the possibility of them joining the church in the future. I mean, they already have a hard enough time dealing with me being the black sheep Mormon of the family- my mom cries every time I talk about the temple or getting married because she can’t come. I definitely need to keep praying for guidance, but maybe one of you can be an inspired messenger- any suggestions?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Healing Waters

After all these apostate, speculative, and maybe even blasphemous-sounding posts, I think it might be appropriate to share my spiritual side. Yes, I do consider myself to be a spiritual person. I sincerely appreciate all the feedback that I’ve received thus far concerning my unorthodox propositions. If I ever post something that you think is completely ridiculous, feel free to voice yourself. :)

I deeply feel that there exists a divine reality outside the realms of natural human understanding and reasoning. I know that I have had multiple experiences in which I have felt that I have connected with this divine reality. I’ve not only felt peace and reassurance, but a soul-moving anticipation of the glorious existence that waits for us beyond mortality. Paul calls it the “earnest of the spirit” –a sort of foretaste of the superior and infinite joy of Heavenly Father’s kingdom. I really can’t express very well in words the nature of these feelings, so I’ve collected a few scriptures and quotes that best convey how I feel the Spirit:

“Now, we will compare the word unto a
seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding
, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.” -Alma 32:28

Oh My Father
For a wise and glorious purpose
Thou hast placed me here on earth,
And withheld the recollection
Of my former friends and birth.
Yet ofttimes a secret something
Whispered, "You're a stranger here."
And I felt that I had wandered
From a more exalted sphere.

"If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world" -C.S. Lewis

And here’s me reprimanding myself:
“Trust
in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding
.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes…” –Proverbs 3:5-7
So now you've seen both sides. It really is an inner battle that I'm going through right now and there's no easy way out. The Lord says that he speaks to us through our mind and heart, but my thoughts and feelings are so muddled lately that I'm not sure what to trust anymore. I thought I knew myself, but some days I feel like a stranger in my own skin. Who the heck am I? Every time I think I know, life seems to throw me another loop- it's just one big vicious cycle of identity confusion. Les Mis keeps popping into my head-
"Who am I? Can I conceal myself for evermore?
Pretend I'm not the man I was before?
And must my name until I die
Be no more than an alibi? Must I lie?
How can I ever face my fellow men?
How can I ever face myself again?
My soul belongs to God, I know
I made that bargain long ago
He gave me hope when hope was gone
He gave me strength to journey on.
Who am I? Who am I?"
"I had a dream my life would be... so different now from what it seemed!
Now life has killed the dream I dreamed."

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Playing with Fire

I told you that the Dragon would be back. Here he is making his stand against spiritual experience:

The Dragon: “How can you claim to know that what you believe is true?”
Draco: “The primary way (or at least the method most emphasized in the church) to know between good and bad or truth and falsehood is through a feeling/thought of reassurance or peace.”
The Dragon: “And how can you rely on these thoughts and feelings?”
Draco: “I can rely on them because they come from God through the Holy Ghost and because Satan cannot falsify these feelings.”
The Dragon: “But how can you be sure that this peace comes from God and that some evil source is unable to imitate them?”
Draco: “Well, the scriptures teach us this principle in several places: Moroni 7 and 10, Ephesians 5:22, and D&C 50 to name a few.
The Dragon: “That’s all very well, but how can we be sure that what the scriptures are teaching is true?”
Draco: pauses to think “We can know that the scriptures are true by praying about them and receiving a confirmation from the Holy Ghost.”
The Dragon: “But look- you’ve already fallen into circular reasoning. Your argument is invalid; you say that you know but in reality you only believe and call it knowing. Your sense of knowledge of religious truths is an illusion.”

In case you missed The Dragon’s criticism, here’s another example:
Some one gets up in sacrament meeting and says (like so many of us members say), “I know by the power of the Holy Ghost that the church is true.” When he says “by the power of the Holy Ghost” he of course means that he has felt some spiritual feeling or divine assurance. So we could ask this person how he can trust that what the “power of the spirit” supposedly reveals to him is true. Here, some people will get confused and say something banal like, “I just know” and feel appeased in their minds that this is a sufficient answer. With some prodding, however, most will eventually say “because the scriptures [or some other authority] says so” or “because that’s the way God speaks to us.” Then we can ask him how he knows that the scriptures or the prophet is telling the truth or how he knows that this is God’s manner of communication. He is forced to, unless he can provide outward empirical evidence (which, according to church doctrine, has a lesser value that inward spiritual evidence), use his first premise as his conclusion- “by the power of the Holy Ghost.” If a testimony is based on personal spiritual experiences, one can never arrive at knowing with surety- he can only claim a firm belief. The Dragon would also say that people want to know the truth so badly, that they find ways to assign truth to any set of beliefs. They contrive and interpret their feelings to mean that they have found truth so that they can find reassurance in knowing- in being right. After all, who likes to live in doubt? But let’s get back to the dialogue:

The Dragon: “You said that Satan cannot falsify feelings of the Holy Ghost, correct?”
Draco: “There are certain feelings that Satan cannot imitate- they come only from God.”
The Dragon: “Then what is ‘carnal security’ and what is ‘false hope’? Are not these falsifications of the peace and assurance to which you cling? If a force in opposition to God can provide imitations of feelings, then how can we trust our feelings alone to confirm truth? I might feel peaceful about pursuing a homosexual lifestyle and have hope in my future with that pursuit. How can God expect me to recognize the difference?”
Draco: “Well, the scriptures and the leaders of the church teach us how to distinguish between the two.”
The Dragon: “Ah, but how can you trust these authorities? Once more you have wrapped yourself in a circle. All that you have done is to choose to believe what you want to believe and put faith in those beliefs. It is comforting to say- empowering for you to say- that you have reasons to believe, that is, your feelings and your authoritative sources. But these reasons are only parts of circular reasoning which can never prove any truths. The only reason you favor one religion over another- or over atheism for that matter- is because you want to believe it. You have faith, but you cannot obtain knowledge in the manner which you have explained. There is no escaping your circle. Your “testimony” is simply a list of things that you have chosen to believe, but you do not know them.
Draco: “If that’s true, then why do so many people say that they know just as I do?”
The Dragon: “There is safety in numbers. It is much easier to convince yourself that some religious principle is truth if many others ascribe to it. But they only know from their own personal spiritual experiences which I have already shown to be inadequate for proving truths. Their knowledge is also illusory. A tomato will never be a vegetable no matter how many times people call it a vegetable.”

Perhaps people will say that I shouldn’t meddle into these kinds of questions- that I’m setting myself up for apostasy and reasoning my way out of truth, or maybe placing my reason above God’s wisdom. So then am I supposed to be satisfied with doubt? Or what if what we call “God’s wisdom” only consists of the ideas that we assign to him based on what we think we know, while his real wisdom lies outside our orthodox sphere of ideas. Based on the Dragon’s argument, all I can do is to choose to have faith or not to have faith (or at least to have faith in other doctrines) depending on what I want to believe. I can contrive or interpret my spiritual experiences to point me either way.

I realize that thus far I have been fairly one-sided in my blogging, so maybe next time I’ll flip things around so that I’m looking at all these issues objectively. After all, objective reasoning was part of what led me to baptism in the first place (the other part was obviously faith).

“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.” -Thomas Aquinas