Saturday, July 30, 2011

Long-Overdue Life Update

Well, I've uprooted myself yet again and moved.  I haven't lived in the same place for more than 9 months since I was 18 years old and still living at home.  That first move was terrifying.  Going away to college for the first time, moving from my home state for the first time, and going the furthest away any of my family ever had (except perhaps for missions) was so scary, but I suppose I found something I liked about it, because ever since, I haven't been able to stay in the same place. 

Always moving, looking for something else, something new.  It's not a matter of dissatisfaction with my current life, although I suppose I have the impulse to run whenever things get tough, but none of my moves have ever been motivated by running from something.  I just get antsy I guess.  I figure, until I have some real reasons to stick around (big-boy job, family, mortgage, etc.) I'll just always feel like roaming.  I think the desire to uproot myself stems from my total lack of roots.  There's nothing stopping me from leaving, so why not leave until I find something to stick around for?

Anyway, I've moved again.  And I celebrated my move by unpacking and then immediately going on vacation.  Took a road trip with some friends to a lake I love and spent four days camping, cooking great food over the fire, playing on jet skis, and reading The Hunger Games trilogy.  Possibly more on that later.  And now, I've finally just gotten home.  Scrubbed and clean after three nights sleeping in a tent, I'm feeling more handsome now than I have in months, although it's probably just the monumental change from the disgusting, smelly camp me to the barely presentable, sunburned (but scrubbed and shaven!) post-vaca me that's making me feel that way.

And now that I'm back, I'll have to be finding work.  Two outstanding speeding tickets, plus rent, insurance, and food to pay for now.  Heh.  I hate being on my own sometimes.  Got a few leads on a few jobs, and in the meantime I'll be doing some crowd-control work at local concerts and community events at night, so I'll have barely enough to scrape by for a few weeks till I can find a real job.  The nice thing about moving this time of year is that all of the other college students are just now leaving for school, so I can take all their old jobs.

And with regards to the Gay Mormon Pioneer, things are going okay.  There's more distance between porn and me than there has been in a long time, my new bishop is eager to meet me and get me on a mission, and my parents have been very helpful in the moving process, which just makes me love them and trust them more. They're close, so I suppose this move isn't as drastic as some of the others have been, but it'll be nice to have some semblance of home in all my vagabond wandering.

A quick thought about my bishop: he was once the Evergreen International support group high council sponsor or whatever you'd call it from the stake.  I'm excited to hear some of his insights.  I called him on the phone before the move and told him a lot about me so he wouldn't be surprised and I'm stoked to meet him tomorrow.  I have no idea how I feel about EI, but I figure the more exposure to gays a bishop gets, the more entitled he is to revelation about it.  'Twill be interesting for sure.

More as it comes, but as for now, I'm going to go try and finish The Hunger Games tonight.  By the way, I'm totally on Team Peeta.  Gale's great, but Peeta's phenomenal.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Insignificant Death?

No death is insignificant. Everyone is valued by someone and death always leaves casualties behind.

That being said, my mom just told me today that one of our neighbors, a guy I went to elementary, middle, and high school with, died on Saturday night. Corey and I were friends in grade school. We rode our bikes around the neighborhood, he came over to play Playstation a few times, and we attended each other's birthdays every year (I still have the model Jeep he gave me once). We got into trouble hopping fences and I think I may have caused his front tooth to get knocked out when I distracted him and he ran into a parked car.

But in middle school, we definitely fell away from each other. We were never really the best of friends; I think our relationship was more one of convenience than anything else. We remained friendly all through high school and even started hanging out a little more when he joined theatre our senior year, but we weren't ever besties. He was a nice, nerdy, funny guy who I occasionally shared classes and friends with.

As such, his death is insignificant to me, at least in a strictly external way. Aside from not seeing him anymore when I mow his neighbor's lawn, I don't need to adjust my life for his absence. That doesn't make him insignificant, though.

For one, he is leaving behind a family that will feel his death forever. His sister and him began to have a good relationship in high school, when their gender and age differences faded within newfound maturity and common interests. And no mother ever wants to bury a child. I've heard it said that bereaved parents often feel an irrational guilt for outliving their child, somehow unable to protect them from their death. I wish I could unlock that door for Corey's parents to realize that nothing could have been done to save him, but no amount of logic ever seems to displace that awful feeling a parent has.

And when I say nothing could have been done to save Corey, I really mean it. Corey died of "unknown and sudden medical emergency," not of overdose, accident, suicide, or terminal illness. From what I hear, he was fine one minute and dying in an ambulance the next.

For me, the cause of his death implies the most in my life. I am not a fear-based person, but what terror his death strikes in my heart! To die, not as the result of my own poor choices or the poor choices of others, or even as a result of my infirm body! Corey likely didn't know his body was infirm until the minutes before he died, so it must have taken him (and his family) completely by surprise. Was he ready? Would I be ready?

I shed tears for Corey and his family when I heard the news. He had great potential, and while I know with no doubt that God has a plan for us, it still saddens me to see this fellow Warrior, Rensselaer graduate, and 4.0 student stricken down before he could achieve his full mortal potential. He leaves in his wake a sea of loving friends and family and an ocean of distant admirers like me. It's all in the plan, but that doesn't make the people mourning right now feel any better. We just wish we had more time with him.

His life wasn't insignificant, and just because it may not mean a lot to my daily life, he still made me think and ponder one last time. Please, pray for those who are more affected by his death than I am.

To those who knew Corey, there will be a life celebration on Saturday, July 23rd, from 2-4pm at Evergreen Memorial Park in Corey's beloved Colorado Rocky Mountains.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

My First Audio Post! Getting to Know the Savior

I did an exercise in one of the student organizations I'm a part of this week about the Savior's love and I really wanted to share it, but it doesn't lend itself well to the printed word, so I decided I'd try my hand at an audio post.  I hope you'll humor me and listen to this five-minute audio clip.

Oh, PS, I jumped off a 100-foot bridge today.  I suppose "jump" is the wrong word for "rappel," but either way, it was awesome.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Life Update and Some Thoughts on Dating

Some of my friends and family who read my blog have been asking me a few questions as of late, which has led to lots of introspection and pondering on my part.

First, my sister has been asking me about how things are going and I've been honest with her about it. Things are going great for me. I've got some distance between me and pornography (no doubt helped by my computer's unfortunate status as deceased), I'm still on the road leading to a mission, I've got some great friends who know my story and some other great friends who don't, and I'm passing all of my classes (incluyendo espaƱol! Es un milagro!).

I'm also making new friends who are helping me understand what it takes to be gay and Mormon and who are encouraging me to be as religious and active as possible, which feels great after the hot mess that was Toby. I was afraid that if I ever was out to another gay person again, all he'd really be looking for was sex, so it's refreshing to see that there are people who can be supportive without angling for something else.

Another friend asked me something a little surprising and deep the other day. We were talking about dating and being Mormon and gay and what implications all that had on our lives.  We had been discussing whether or not dating girls was a good idea, but it made me start thinking about what it would be like to just date and meet guys, without it becoming a relationship.  With Toby, dating was never a part of the picture.  We got together, we cuddled, we made out, we split.  There was rarely introspection or sharing of emotions and goals.  It was mostly sexual/sensual for us.  So I'm naturally curious what it would be like to go on a normal, non-physical, get-to-know-you first date with a man, like so many of the first dates I've had with women.

My friend asked, "Wouldn't dating a guy be counterproductive, given all that you're trying to accomplish?"  That, friends, is the question of the hour. Would dating a guy be a bad choice even if we were able to keep the dating chaste?

My initial response because of my upbringing would be to say, "Yes, dating someone of the same gender is bad, no matter what."  But in my mind there are a million little justifications, like, "It'd be nice to have someone to confide in," and, "Maybe we could help each other be good," and, "Dating a girl is not sinful as long as we don't have sex or go too far, so why should dating a guy be any different?"

These are rationalizations I used when I saw Toby.  I would go to his house under the pretense of him needing to talk, and once we ended up kissing for like, an hour.  I don't necessarily feel guilty for any of that, but I also acknowledge that it wasn't emotionally or spiritually fulfilling, and it certainly wasn't a relationship of confidence or helping each other be good.

Given that I want to serve a mission, in spite of my misgivings towards the church regarding homosexuality, I reckon that dating would be counterproductive. And in spite of my attraction to those new friends (one in particular), I'm grateful they still encourage and champion my desire to serve a mission and leave their  attractions off the table.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Splitscreen: A Love Story

This is hands down one of the most fun and intricate videos I've seen in a very long time.  It was shot entirely on a Nokia phone for a promotion the company sponsored.  It had me enthralled the whole time and by the end, yes, I was a little bit misty.

Just beautiful.

Splitscreen: A Love Story from JW Griffiths on Vimeo.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Ignorance or Apathy?

It is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance.

A few weeks ago I posted something in which I said that I was jealous of those who don't have the internal conflict Mormon homosexuals face.  Either they are heterosexual and have testimonies or are homosexual and don't, so either way there are few obstacles to their happiness.

The next day I came across the above scripture.  It slapped me in the face a little bit, especially regarding the envy I had been feeling for others who may fall in the "ignorant" category.  (Again, a disclaimer:  I'm talking hypothetically.  My knowledge is not your knowledge.  These are my thoughts as they apply to me.)

First off, I feel like this scripture needs a little clarification (gospel of gmp here, not doctrine). If a man is born gay or develops gay tendencies or whatever the current scientific opinion is, but never hears the Gospel, this scripture doesn't say that this man is damned because of his ignorance.  He will hear the Gospel and will then have the opportunity to accept or reject it.  That is a basic principle that applies to everyone.  So instead of ignorance, I think this scripture instead is referring to apathy, like it says in its footnote.  The same book of scripture says that many are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it, not because they don't care about finding it.

As I was reading and thinking about this scripture, I came to a conclusion or two.  I have received a witness of some of the laws of God.  No amount of jealousy for those who haven't will make that witness go away.  In addition, I wasn't coveting their ignorance, I was hoping for apathy.  I was seeking a mindset where I didn't care about the truth enough to have it stand in my way of living a gay lifestyle.

I'm going to really try hard to eliminate that envy I have for other people.  No amount can change my circumstances, and that jealousy can become twice as damaging when it's directed at a mindset that ultimately is damaging.  I do have a testimony and I also am gay.  That is my reality and I can't create the ignorance or apathy required for my life to change.  The only thing I can do to make things better is learn more about the nature of my life and go from there.  

Is the problem ignorance or apathy?  Hey, I don't know and I don't care.
Jimmy Buffett

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


This post isn't about me being outed, it's just some musings I've been having about coming out more publicly to more people.

My buddy Kurt messaged me a few hours ago talking about how he had been attending church again semi-regularly for the last few weeks and had the missionaries over for a few lessons as well.  He talked about the things he missed about going to church and about possibly becoming an active member again.  I didn't really know how to respond via Facebook message, but I've been thinking a lot of the same things he has, so with his permission, here are parts of what he said:

One of the big reasons I felt so depressed towards the end of my active membership in the church is that I was trying to be somebody else.  Not me.  Despite the church members around me knowing that I liked guys and had relationships with guys in the past, I was trying to live the life of a straight Mormon guy.  I was trying to be the stereotype of what was expected of me.  

I understand how he feels.  I kind of hate living a "straight" life sometimes, even though most of my readership already knows how incredibly gay I can be.  It just gets kinda annoying when I'm at family reunions and my relatives are good-naturedly asking if there are any cute girls in my life.  This last reunion, a guy I think I like was texting me one night and his texts were making me smile that kind of smile.  All my aunts and female cousins kept asking things like, "Who's the cute girl you're texting, GMP?  She sure is making you smile big!"  Yeah, awkward.

So what then is the solution?  I don't want to deny my testimony and to live my testimony means living a straight life.  Or does it?  

Says Kurt:

I've started to think, what if I was an active gay member of the Church?  No longer pretending or trying to be something else, but embracing the fact that I'm gay and still worthy of the priesthood... I've never tried to be in the Church and just be gay.  It would mean celibacy, it would mean not falling in love, it would mean a life not as a father or a husband.  But it could mean a life with the full Gospel in it.

Being from a pretty liberal and progressive area, I think my denomination would be open and accepting of me as long as I chose not to live the lifestyle, and even then I know some would still welcome me to church every Sunday, literally with open arms.  It also would be nice not to hear some of those encouragements to date from people who have no business doing so.  It might even open up an open dialogue for others who face not only homosexuality but other taboo temptations, like cravings for drugs and alcohol, for example.  In an ideal world, Mormons might no longer feel so much pressure to be perfect and to think good things all the time.  

But such a life is not without its negative implications.  For me, I'm pretty completely gay, but there have been girls that make me feel "straight."  It's rare, but it happens, and if I were out among my church friends, if I ever met that girl, she might write me off completely as "the gay guy" and then the door would be shut forever.

And in my group of friends back home, we can act pretty gay.  We do the whole butt-smacking thing and sit close during movies and stuff, and I wouldn't want to upset that dynamic by throwing a sexual orientation in their faces.  I know they'd be mature enough to accept me and love me, but I don't think they would be as comfortable with acting that way as they used to.  Who knows, maybe I'm underestimating mankind?  Heaven knows it's happened before that a friend of mine remained cool and friendly even after he found out.

Additionally, even though it's never happened to me, I've heard stories of bishops cautioning gay Mormons to keep their struggles to themselves, perhaps in the hopes of not flaunting trials or making homosexuality more acceptable.  Fred and Marilyn Matis, parents of Stuart Matis, wrote in In Quiet Desperation that their friends said that they should be more discrete with their son's sexual orientation both before and after his suicide.  

I'm not positive why people would make that recommendation, but it might have something to do with the amount of access it might give the temptation.  For example, in the last few months, my will to resist has waned pretty significantly to the point that I've acted out sensually with a few guys.  I've never crossed the line, but I'm closer to it now than ever before, and it's all due to outing myself to other gay people.  Since coming out to Toby (and starting this blog), I've encountered more attractive men than ever, and some of those men have been attracted to me as well.  The level of access to romantic entanglement has increased and so has the temptation and desire to submit to it.  If I were completely public, I might become an object of desire to the closeted gays in my circle, which would be good for neither of us.

Given all of those negative (and admittedly hypothetical) ramifications, coming out just doesn't seem worth it.

I'll freely admit that one of my goals in starting this blog was to bring more awareness to the plight of gay Mormons.  I wanted to pioneer a movement where we would feel comfortable being out among our congregations, living faithful lives and doing our best to resist temptation.  I feel incredibly duplicitous, but my confidence is waning and I don't think I have the courage to do that anymore, at least for now.  

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