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


"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…