Sunday, June 29, 2014

Is Tom Christofferson a game changer?

UPDATE on 8-6-15 -- Since this is, by far, the most read post on my blog, I feel the need to add this -- I've heard through the grapevine that Tom is no longer with his partner and is currently working on rebaptism to the church. This blog post he wrote doesn't directly confirm this, but gives details here and there. When asked on the Mormons Building Bridges Facebook page if Tom is still with his partner, Kendall Wilcox of Far Between said: "Tom has not shared all the details of how his relationship with his partner has evolved so respect and circumspection in speculating about the nature of the "break-up" is best advised." 


I'm surprised this hasn't been discussed more on the blogosphere. Either I'm thinking too much about the topic or the Moho Blogging Scene is slowly dying. (I really hope it's not the later.)

First, this is nothing new: gay Mormons who 100% want to stick with the gospel and its doctrine have two choices.

1. Remain single.
2. Marry someone of the opposite sex.

I refuse to follow those two, so I'm obviously not 100% in accordance. But many gay Mormons/SSA'ers are.

What I'm trying to get to - I was surprised (in a good way) that Elder D. Todd Christofferson's brother, Tom, was invited to speak at the recent North Star conference.  Y'all already know how I feel about North Star, so need to elaborate on the organization.

Tom has quite a story and currently lives with his partner Clarke in Connecticut. For more backstory, here's a talk he gave earlier this year in Arizona.  But wait, North Star folks are 100% in accordance with the church doctrine and Tom doesn't comply with the above two choices.

Does Tom's story bring on a third possibility?

3. Be in a same-sex relationship but still be active in the church.

I'm seriously curious because I haven't seen much response and reaction post-conference. All the media attention happened before the conference, and most of the spotlight was put on Tom (who wasn't even a main speaker.)

I've met, both in-person and in online forums, those who in no way would seek out a same-sex relationship, but does Tom's story change things?  Does it give more hope?

Could it be that North Star is softening their stance?  (The conspiracy theorist in me thinks North Star is losing members so they are exploring all options, rather than being so strict in accepting only those who follow the first two qualifications.)  I started to think they were softening their stance, but then they put out stupid stuff like this, and I change my mind. 

Whatever the reason to bring in Tom, I think it's a step in the right direction. It removes some of the guilt and shame some gay Mormons carry.  It shows we don't HAVE to be lonely.  It's nice to know that there are more than two options, and possibly be accepted by friends and family if remaining single or marrying someone of the opposite sex is not your forte.

Next thing we know, Ty Mansfield will speak out FOR gay marriage!  (Ok, ok, I guess we shouldn't go THAT far.)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

How the game show "Double Dare" became one of the first signs I was gay.

I've decided there are plenty of Kate Kelly/ John Dehlin/ excommunication posts on the Internet right now, so I choose to refrain to make any extra comments.  :-)  Plus this blog post topic came to me before all this stuff went down.

It's funny what triggers memories from your childhood. The other day I noticed a link to a YouTube vid that features a compilation of Double Dare prizes. 10 and a half minutes of Double Dare prizes.

Go ahead and watch.  I'll wait.

Now,  I LOVED Double Dare/Family Double Dare as a kid so I was excited to check out this video and have a nice (long) dose of the good 'ole days. I'm aging myself, but the shows were on the air from 1986-1993, which puts me in elementary school during its original run.  (And I know for a fact that some of my readers weren't even born yet!)

Ok, I'm rambling. As I was watching this video at work, the 0:17 mark brought on a rush of memories and emotions.  Whoa.  The guy. The male model. The prize presenter. I don't know exactly what to call him, but I know as a kid, I was fascinated by this guy.  Those stonewashed jeans. That hair. Those rolled up sleeves.  He wasn't the ONLY reason I watched the show, but he was definitely the icing on the cake.  Fast forward to today, I realize I had a massive crush on this guy from Double Dare who was only seen for seconds at a time. Even at only 8 years old, there were signs that I was gay. (I just didn't realize it back then.)

I kept watching the video, and the more I watched, the more I realized I was enamored with this guy.  I mean, look at the way he shows off the video camera at 3:25 and that stance next to the bike at 10:44. These clips are from over 20 years ago, but I vividly remember these prizes he showed off.

Double Dare guy was the first of many guy crushes.  :)  If only life were still simple when I was an 8-year-old.

BTW, I have NO idea the name of this guy. Can anyone help?   (Google didn't provide much luck.) I do know the girl's name was Robin.  I wonder what the mystery guy looks like today.

I'm sure he won't be the same without the stonewashed jeans.


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Dreams can come true?

A couple months ago, I stopped taking a vitamin supplement because it gave me the weirdest dreams. Nothing too scandalous but the issue was how vivid they were. I remember extremely minor details the next morning.  It freaked me out.

Recently, I've been having another round of memorable dreams without being on the supplement. This round involves guy friends. Again, nothing too scandalous but still quite vivid. The dreams include random guy friends from past and present, gay and straight. (And sometimes a stubbly Joel McHale will randomly show up.) My dreams consist of hanging out, flirting, some turn into a semi-romantic relationship, I'm almost always happy. Many people would jump on a dream interpretation site for clues and how to relate to real life. But I think I've interpreted the dreams myself without any guidance. I feel I'm so lonely being a closeted gay man that I have to build these fantasies in my mind. I've struck out when it comes to relationships (note: haven't really tried) that the dreams fulfil that want/need for attention and affection.  

The key word in the above paragraph is "closeted." Over the years, I've reached out to many other gay Mormons, and many gay Mormons have reached out to me. Those that are 'out,' always ask me the same question: "Why are you still in the closet?" And most don't beat around the bush, they ask the question quite bluntly. I usually throw out a few excuses as a response and change the subject. All while those still in the closet seem to "get" me. The loneliness is directly correlated to me being so closeted. There are days that I'm totally ready to be out and proud, then someone close to me makes a homophobic remark, and I get pushed right back in.  

I've pulled off the closet pretty well that sometimes, I wish I could get caught!!! On the couple 'dates' I've gone on with guys, I halfway wished I would see a friend or family member causing some 'splaining to do. But nope, just the other day the wife of the second counselor in the Bishopric tried to set me up with her sister.  Argh.  (The most recent 'nearly caught' was when I showed my Home Teacher my new phone and my blog popped up. Nothing earth shattering.) In fact, I'm so close to just typing my real name right here --------. I have a unique enough name I'd be easy to find.  But not yet.    

While I absoultely love my gay Mormon penpals and wouldn't give them up for anything, the distance between us is a depressing truth. (Quick reminder: I don't live in Utah, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona or California.) I could chat and email for hours til my fingers fall off, but at the end of the day, I still feel so lonely. And I continue to seek out this dream of being in a relationship; to be loved.  

In light of all this - I've tried something new as I hope to eventually leave the closet behind and squash the loneliness. I've reached out to someone in my city who used to be LDS. I 'found' him after reading a blog post of his that had to do with gays and Mormons, discovered he lived close and sent him an email - we've emailed back and forth a couple times. I like that he's an ex-Mormon with little ill will towards the church. (I think.) I mainly wanted to know where I could start finding gay friends who have similar backgrounds.  If I can't find other gay Mormons in my town, let's broaden the search a bit.

We'll see where that goes.