Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve resolution

It's hard for me to look back on the past year with a good attitude, because the last month of it royally sucked.  I felt like I was in high school again for all the drama that was going around (much of it caused by myself, by my own admission).  But if I dig deep, I can remember some good things I learned and did.  There's some great memories 2012 helped create.

So now that it's the new year, I'm going to make some resolutions.  I'm not going to commit to giving up porn or masturbation, nor am I going to promise to serve a mission, graduate from college or advance in my job. I'm done resolving to hit the gym three times a week and pack on 20 pounds of muscle; I likewise am not going to tell myself I'm going to run a marathon this year.  Those are all resolutions that, while perhaps reasonable, have been steeped in failure every time I try.

This year, I'm going to take a lot of pressure off of myself and resolve to be more selfish.  About a billion people will disagree with me when I say this, but I can sometimes be a doormat.  The major problem with that is that whenever I let myself be a doormat, usually to spare someone's feelings or prevent their pain, it always ends up being worse for both of us than if I showed some self-respect and hurt their feelings a little.

The situation in which I think this kind of selfishness will be useful to both me and others doesn't really matter, but suffice it to say that by trying to spare another person's feelings, I've often caused more harm than good in the long run. I feel like by being a little more, what's the word, forthcoming with others, I might get a reputation for being a jerk, but my current reputation is a bit less savory, so it'd be a step in the right direction.  I guess the trick now will be to learn how to be gentle in expressing my feelings.

I'm really tired of having to apologize for those feelings because I didn't tell the truth in the first place.  Selfish asshole is a little more tolerable to me than lying asshole, anyway.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Backstory: 1989-1995

I've been reading a few blogs lately that aren't as topical as mine, that is, they don't necessarily deal with events in real time like my blog sometimes does.  They tell stories, share memories, explain background in the hopes of either airing dirty laundry, providing contextual feedback or trying to find answers.  I'm kind of curious how that feels, getting everything down on virtual paper and seeing if there's some hidden meaning in there.

So I think I'll try it, starting from the beginning and telling the story. Frankly there's not much to tell, but maybe it'll help me. Or maybe it'll be a gigantic waste of time.  Who knows?

Thursday, December 27, 2012


After one heck of a Christmas road trip we are finally back home.

So, confession time.  I'm not happy, again.  No big deal, it's just another phase of discouragement and I'm sure it'll pass as I keep on keeping on, but there's definitely some motivation behind this discouragement, namely the temptation to get physical (and maybe emotional) with another man.  God in His wisdom knows how lonely this whole gay thing can be and I hope that He understands and is patient when I fail or when I retreat inside myself to work all this crap out.  My parents, not so much.

But I figured that I'm trying to be open and honest with them, so I'd better let them in on everything, right? And since I didn't want to ruin Christmas, what better time than on the car ride home the day after?  And since I should only give them the truth they're ready for, let's leave out the part about the guy I text non-stop and am really attracted to.

But nope. None of that happened. I said nothing for the full drive. I had a captive audience and said nothing.  Nothing of how lonely I felt and how I just wanted some companionship. Nothing of how dissatisfying the options are that a gay Mormon has for his future. Nothing of how reading the scriptures didn't help as much as I wanted them to or how wishy-washy and noticeably silent the Church is regarding homosexuality ( is a great tool for non-gay Mormons to understand others, but for the gay ones, it's just stuff we've already heard. Still awesome though).

It's just hard.  It's okay for one minute, then it's not. It seems insurmountable now, but later it'll seem doable. It's this totally wicked roller coaster of self-doubt and confidence. I don't know why I wanted to tell them that, but I did.  I guess maybe to prepare them for the very real possibility that someday I might feel differently about God than I do today, or something like that.

I dunno, man. I just dunno. I guess I don't have to, but it sure would be nice.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Quick thought on Christmas Eve

I spent the weekend with some of my family vacationing far from home. We attended the branch in the town near where we rented a cabin (so posh ;) and really enjoyed their Christmas program.  It was a simple program; the congregation sang seven or eight different Christmas hymns, with a member of the branch introducing each one with a short history or testimony of the carol.

One sister (who I assume was in the Primary leadership) spoke on how much she loved hearing the children sing "Away in a Manger," particularly the third verse. She said how touching and faith-affirming it was to her to remember those words: "Be near me, Lord Jesus. I ask thee to stay close by me forever and love me, I pray. Bless all the dear children in thy tender care and fit us for Heaven to live with thee there."

It won't be a surprise to those who know me well that the week before Christmas has been a confusing and difficult one for me. I have had a few micro-struggles with my testimony and I've been feeling a very all-encompassing sense of loneliness and worthlessness.  I've looked at others who face struggles and have found myself envying the relationship they have with their Savior, the relationship that enables them to say, "Yes, I'm lonely, but I love my Heavenly Father and His Son and I feel their love." I wish I had enough faith so that my relationship with Jesus Christ filled in those gaps, those insecurities and that loneliness.

And yet, the lyrics are there and they fill me with hope. As I've said before, I have no idea what path my life will take, but I hope with all my heart that the Lord will come with me wherever I go and that whatever path I take, I will leave enough room for Him to walk beside me.

Be near me, Lord Jesus. I ask thee to stay close by me forever and love me, I pray. Bless all the dear children in thy tender care [and I hope that includes me], and fit us [me?] for Heaven to live with thee there.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Season!

I'm getting ready to take off for the week, so this will be my first and last post in awhile, but I just wanted to wish anyone within eyeshot of this page a really happy Christmas.  I am so grateful for this time of year and I want to offer a simple testimony that the events that we celebrate each December really changed the world for the better.  Our lives are better because of the life and mission of Jesus Christ, which mission can change us into new creatures.

Go read last Christmas' posts!  I shared my favorite Christmas story here and shared another uplifting Christmas video here.

Please read both of those other posts so I don't feel as secular for closing this one with an awesome video...

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Update/Post-script to latest NL blog post

I published this at Northern Lights yesterday before I'd heard about the shooting in Connecticut and I have to admit, after hearing the news, I fairly immediately forgot the message I was trying to send with it.

It's about how solitude and lonely trials are nothing new in this life, and through them, great things can be accomplished.  I can imagine of no harder pain or trial than what the parents and community members of Newtown must be feeling right now. It must be such an isolating experience, losing so many young and precious children, to say nothing of the community elders who lost their lives as well.

My next point I am going to make very delicately, because there's nothing I could say to any of them that would help them through this experience, and I've learned that in times like these, people would rather not hear about the will of God or look for the silver lining. In times like these, the best response is to reach out to someone, hold them in your arms and tell them how sorry you are and how you wish that things were different.  Commiseration is the order of the day in times like these.

However, this isolating experience is just the kind of thing I was talking about in the Northern Lights post.  This is a time when people can turn to religion for comfort, to whatever higher power helps them through their day.  For many, this experience will be confusing and faith-shaking, as people wonder what kind of god would allow such a horrific tragedy to befall innocent children and hard-working adults. That reaction is totally justified and completely understandable, and to that person I extend no explanation other than, "I don't know, and I'm so sorry."  But to some, this could be a time when peace enters their lives in spite of their pain, when the blessings of the Atonement fall upon them and when the presence of angels bears them up.

As (Gay) Mormon Guy pointed out yesterday, every person involved is a victim. No matter the outcome, such penetrating isolation is the worst trial of all and I would never wish it on my worst enemy.  I only hope that the loneliness felt by those victims is eased soon and that peace will once again re-enter their lives.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Call for prayers from a Littleton native

I'm from Littleton, Colorado. Pretty sure most of you knew that, but if not, there ya go. Littleton is famous for one thing and one thing only: Columbine High School. I was in fourth grade when the shooting happened and that such a vicious act could occur in the city where I played cops and robbers shook me bad.

To be completely honest, I didn't know where Columbine was. I didn't know anyone who went there; it was on the other side of small Littleton and in another school district, so my 10-year-old mind was largely unaware of its existence before the shooting. But then, my perceptions of the place I lived changed. All of a sudden, it became a place to be afraid for my brother to go to high school, because that's the only place these kinds of things happen. High schools, with crazy, mixed up teenagers, right?

Today, as in the past, we learned that that's not true. Today, more than two dozen people, including 18 children, possibly all in the same kindergarten class, were killed in one of the worst school shootings in history. Columbine's casualty count pales in comparison with this one, which likewise occurred in a seemingly friendly, quiet suburb.

My heart aches for those affected by it. At this time of year, in that particular place, with those alleged motives behind the shooting? It makes me ache.

There's a lot going on in the world right now. A lot of political and social agenda being bandied around, by me and others. The Church is in the media, for better and worse. We disagree, we argue, we fight for what we think is best. That is all well and good; we need to fight for those things in which we believe.

But now isn't the time. Now is the time for prayers and well wishes to go to all those affected by these events. Literally nothing earthbound could help these grieving parents and community members, so now is the time for love and divine intervention to help pick up the pieces. Will you please just say a quick prayer for those people? Please?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The prisoner's dilemma and addiction

I just read this article on Cracked called "5 Mind-Blowing Academic Theories as Taught by Classic Movies" It blew. my. mind. It's about some of the philosophical theories you learned in your 1010 class as they relate to many of the archetypal stories form the beginning of time.

However, something found within the section on the Prisoner's Dilemma caught my interest.

For those of you (myself included) who have no idea what I'm talking about, the Prisoner's Dilemma is modeled like this in the article: You are the king of America. You and all of the other kings from around the world group together in a summit to address carbon emissions and every king, you included, agree to completely remove producers of carbon emissions from your nation even though it will mean huge economical and social challenges.

In this model, there are a few possibilities. The first is that you all do what you say and after a few years, a new normal is established, pollution is reduced and your economies stabilize. The second is that you do not do what you say, but everyone else does. You are at a great economical advantage and the net pollution is down because everyone else did what they said they would. The third is that you eliminate polluters, but no one else does. You are now at an economic advantage and since the rest of the world is still polluting, the earth isn't much better off. And the fourth is that no one eliminates polluters. Economically and ecologically, you find yourself in a wash.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Walking down the aisle...

Today was a very special day.  Two of my best friends got married in the temple today. Their path to marriage was hard-fought and required a lot of faith for both parties that the decision they made was the right one. As they faced each hardship in their relationship head on, they occasionally expressed doubts about their viability as a couple, but by putting complete trust in each other and in the plan laid out for them, they found themselves grow closer to each other and to God.

At their reception tonight, they positively glowed. As I wrapped him in my arms, he told me how happy he was and how at peace he was with his decision to marry her.  And then I kissed her cheek as she pulled me close for a hug, visibly overwhelmed with joy. If they continue to trust in each other and treat each other with the respect they do right now, they will be just fine and all of those doubts they may have had in past years will melt away.

They had a short ring ceremony before their reception and as she walked down the grand staircase towards her new husband, I swelled with joy at their happiness. They are both so beautiful, truly some of the kindest people I've ever been friends with. Seeing their joy become a bit more full in those sacred covenants they made filled me with all kinds of warm fuzzies.

Last night, I was discussing marriage with a friend. I somewhat cavalierly said that if I wasn't gay, there'd be every chance that I'd be married right now. I have been in love with love since I was 9 years old on the playground and as a young teenager I thought about my wedding and the flowers and colors and location and music way more than might be normal for boys. Ever since I was a tot, my primary goal out of life was to follow the advice of Ahbez via David Bowie and learn how to love and be loved in return.

And yet, seeing my two friends seal the deal stirred up no feelings of jealousy or bitterness towards them. They are ready for marriage. They have done the necessary preparations and have put in the time towards not only finding the one, but also towards making themselves someone else's the one. Their marriage is built on something solid, not only interest in each other, but in themselves as well.

If I got married tomorrow, I am not being self deprecating when I say that my marriage would be built on a cracked foundation of inadequacy and selfishness. And it's not a matter of religious repression either. Whether gay or straight, the marriage would probably be doomed to fail.

So, instead of feeling bitter and lonely that I'm still single, instead I'm going to try to work towards being the husband I want to be. I'm nowhere near ready to be married yet, but, as the penitent sinner hears so frequently, it's not where you are on the path so much as the direction in which you travel.

I'm excited to be married someday, whenever it happens and whatever form it takes. In the meantime, I know that there's a lot I can do to prepare myself to be the one to someone else.

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