Sunday, October 25, 2009


It's Sunday morning...rather than clean my house or pay bills like I need to, let's talk religion. Again, this is not a well-thought-out essay, but rather just some random thoughts that have been going through my mind this morning.

The topic of today's sermon is suffering. All of us suffer to some extent, no one's life is perfect every minute of every day. Suffering is just part of the human condition. Those of us that are LDS have it ingrained in us...suffering is a big part of our church history, and we are taught that suffering can make us stronger. We should almost welcome it, and "enduring to the end" will bring us rewards. Those of us that are mohos go through alot of mental and emotional suffering as well, trying to balance our spiritual beliefs with our biological condition. Some of us handle it well, others not so well.

As I may or may not have mentioned in previous posts, my underlying philosophy about God is that he is literally a loving father. I don't claim to be a better parent than Heavenly Father, but I figure that he loves us the same way I love my children. He is just and merciful. Just as I would never deliberately bring suffering upon my children, I don't believe that he deliberately brings suffering upon us. But I also think God is a lot more "hands-off" sometimes as well...he doesn't cause suffering, but he doesn't prevent it from happening either. Applying this to being gay, I don't think that God deliberately made me gay to challenge me or make me stronger. He may have had a purpose for it, but it wasn't to make me suffer.

Just because God doesn't stop suffering from happening, I don't think he particularly enjoys seeing it happen. Do I think God could step in and stop a tsunami from happening? Definitely, I believe he is all-powerful. Do I think God could miraculously change someone from gay to straight? Sure...who am I to say that it can't happen or hasn't happened? But I don't think that God steps in and influences our lives as much as people think. He lets life take its course. And sometimes that means watching us suffer. It's not that he doesn't care; I believe that he knows the intimate details of everyone's lives. But even God has laws that bind him (e.g. the principle of free agency), and maybe letting life happen is one of them.

So is suffering inevitable? Yeah, probably. Do we have to just take it and "endure to the end", suffering through life? No way. I think we as church members put ourselves in the victim role far too often. I think we put ourselves in God's hands way too often (even though that's not necessarily a bad thing), and don't do enough for ourselves. Maybe that's callous, or even blasphemous, to not want to wait around for God to ease my suffering...after all, he loves me and doesn't want me to suffer. But I'm also not going to wait around for my earthly dad to bail me out of my problems...I'm competent enough to make my own choices and find my own solutions. I kind of even think that God doesn't necessarily even CARE if I'm gay or straight. But he does care about my happiness, and he cares how I handle myself and treat other people.

Anyway, just some random thoughts, maybe some of which contradict each other. I wasn't sure what direction this was going to go when I started writing. But to summarize, I believe God loves us no matter what, and he doesn't deliberately make us suffer. It's just a part of life. It's not a punishment, and it's not a blessing either.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

It's me: a poem

I’m in a different mood right now.
Not depressed but kind of lonely, not sad but wanting more.
Stuck and not sure how to get unstuck?

A lot on my mind, definitely...
suicide (not my own, don’t worry)
the future (yes, my own…I worry)
Balancing being self-confident and confronting my awkwardness
loving but not being loved back,
wanting but not being wanted back


I’m a good person. I think I would want me...
Loyal, caring, kind
Not high maintenance (usually), pretty easygoing (too much?)
Not a young twink or a body-building hunk, but not ugly either
I’m trying to focus on being confident and ignore when my brain tries to talk me out of it

But this is reality:
Few close friends. Am I socially awkward?
No significant other. Do I drive people away? Or not attract them in the first place?
No invitations for dates. Not many invitations to parties or to hang out. Mostly turned down when I do the inviting.
Is it my fault or theirs? What do I do different?
I think I’m too needy
I crave closeness, but don’t know how to get it
I get too attached, and people don’t like that
I feel like I bother certain people too much

And it’s a vicious cycle...

I’m confident. I ignore my negativity and confront my awkwardness.
I try.
I fail.
I get hurt.
I don’t want to try anymore.
I lose confidence and become awkward.
I pull away.
I feel lonely, and it’s my own fault.

And it’s a vicious cycle...
loving but not being loved back,
wanting but not being wanted back

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Religious and other freedoms...

This is not necessarily a well-thought out opinion paper that could be presented or published, but it is my reaction toward the now-infamous talk by Elder Oaks about religious freedom. I’ll just jump right in…

I didn’t find anything to disagree with at the beginning of the talk. In fact, I was thinking, “how is any of this controversial?” The Constitution, religious freedom, protecting the rights of “all flesh”, democracy, and popular sovereignty are all good things that should be protected. It seemed like the thesis of his talk was this: “This principle of sovereignty in the people explains the meaning of God’s revelation that He established the Constitution of the United States “that every man may act . . . according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment” (Doctrine and Covenants 101:78).” But from there, it seemed like most of what he said refuted this idea rather than supported it.

Elder Oaks seems to believe that religious freedom trumps the rest of the Bill of Rights, including freedom of speech. He states that “during my lifetime I have seen a significant deterioration in the respect accorded to religion in our public life, and I believe that the vitality of religious freedom is in danger of being weakened accordingly” and bases the rest of his talk on this belief. He doesn’t really give any examples of how it is being weakened, though, other than the Proposition 8 debacle. In fact, he states that “religious freedom has always been at risk.” Could it be that it is no more at risk now than it has been in the past?

I sensed something going wrong when he mentioned “newly alleged” civil rights. This was my “uh-oh, where is this going?” moment. As I read on, it seemed like by “newly alleged” he meant silly, wrong, or false. When he talked about the newly alleged “civil right” of same-sex couples to get married, with the quotation marks in the written copy of the talk, I felt sad and let down. Elder Oaks had spent the first part of his talk outlining the greatness of the Constitution and how it was the first document to guarantee the rights of religion, free speech, etc. (in other words, “newly alleged” civil rights at the time of its writing), and was now moving toward pitting one minority group against another. He totally lost me when he said “Those who seek to change the foundation of marriage should not be allowed to pretend that those who defend the ancient order are trampling on civil rights.” In other words, not only can the other side not express an opinion, they should be barred from having the opinion in the first place (or retaliated against if they do have an opinion?) It is this, and the condescending tone of the entire second half of the talk, that upset me rather than the silly comparison between what the church is going through now and what African-Americans experienced during the pre-civil rights era.

To support the wrongness of those that are anti-religion and pro-gay marriage (for him, the two viewpoints are one and the same), he concludes by talking about “Christian principles of human worth and dignity” and quotes that “It was Jesus who first stated that all men are created equal [and] that every person . . . is valued and loved by God.” Funny, I would use the same arguments, along with “love one another” and Elder Oaks’ previous statements about our God-given right of popular sovereignty and free agency, to support giving two people that love each other the right to marry regardless of gender. Is there something I’m missing?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Shocking Revelation!! I'm a Woman!!! least when it comes to friendships. From time to time I'm going to blog about books I read, especially if they pertain to me as an introverted gay mormon guy. Sorry to disappoint my readers, but I won't be reviewing Twilight (but Go Team Jacob!!!!) Anyway, I picked up a book that looked interesting called Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup With Your Best Friend by Irene S. Levine, Ph.D. Chapter 1 is called "Understanding Female Friendships", but it could also be called "Understanding David's Friendships With People Gay and Straight." She talks about a Friendship Pyramid, with a big group of Casual Friends making up the base (people you know but don't really know well, linked to you by situational circumstance), a middle area of Good Friends (friends that you feel close to, hang out with, and spend more time with...but lack the intimacy and closeness that typifies a best friendship), and a small area of Best Friends at the top. She states that "compared to male friendships, female friendships tend to be far more intense and intimate...women are more likely to provide each other with emotional support, while men tend to share companionship and activities." In a female relationship, the main ingredient that "turns acquaintances into good friends and good friends into best friends" is "the willingness of two women to become increasingly open with each other, to reveal their true selves."

So I'm a woman when it comes to friendships. I like intimacy in my friendships. I like people that can give me emotional support when I need it and come to me for support when they need it. I'm not the most open person in the world, but I like having friends that I can tell my secrets to, and when people are open with me I feel much closer to them. I like to know what's going on with my friends and what they are thinking and feeling at any given moment.

How does this affect my relationships with people? First off, maybe it's why I in general I can get closer to females than males in day-to-day relationships. My best friend in high school was a girl, I hang out with the girls at work rather than the guys, and I prefer a female authority figure (boss, teacher, etc.) to a male one. Wanting emotional closeness naturally brings me closer to females and pushes me away from males. That's probably why I have a hard time having good friendships with straight guys at work or at church...I get nothing from them emotionally, intimacy pushes straight guys away, and we don't have alot of commonality in the activities we like. What about relationships with gay guys? Depends on the guy I guess...I think I am realizing that just because a guy is gay, it doesn't make him a female-type friendship guy. I would say that the two guys I am closest to right now both look for the same things in a friendship that I do. But I think that the friends I talk about in this post (at least Friend #1 and especially Friend #3)are more male-type friendships guys. We have one big thing in common, our sexuality, and we also share other interests. That was enough to move them into the Good Friends category. But where I wanted to move the friendship up to the next level, they balked and I got hurt. Emotional intimacy scared them, I wasn't getting my emotional needs met, and the friendships suffered. So now that I have come to this realization, here's a topic for discussion...what do I do differently to better my relationships and be able to form Good or even Best Friendships with straight guys and "male-type friendship" gay guys?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The (Obligatory?) Conference Post

So Conference...wonderful Conference. There will probably be a mix of blogs from people who thought it was just awesome, others who disagree with alot of what was said, and others who don't care one way or the other. I went to the Priesthood session with my dad and brother-in-law (family tradition) and watched the Sunday morning session while cleaning and straightening (and listened pretty well!) Then lunch at mom's and watch the afternoon session together (another family tradition). Honestly, I didn't get too much out of it. I think that's mostly because I'm much more of a visual learner...listening to talk after talk numbs my mind, and I get alot more out of the talks if I read them. But I think I'm also just not that spiritual of a guy anymore. I did like some of what I heard seemed like there was somewhat of a focus on being kind to each other, not getting angry, respecting each other, having charity, etc. But now that I'm not a "typical" church member anymore, it made me realize how tailored the church is to the upper-middle-class two-parent family, and anyone who doesn't fit that description can't enjoy all the blessings of the gospel. What about the single mom, the lady who hasn't found anyone to marry her, the kid whose dad is in jail, etc. And of course, the gay guy. We're all kind of on the outskirts of a church that is focused on the perfect family. Not that the family isn't a good thing to focus on, of course it is, but as the church expands it's going to have to address the needs of us non-typical members. Anyway, this is kind of turning into a rant so I'll stop here. Thoughts?

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