Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Try it next time your cousin posts a pic on Sunday from the dairy aisle of Wal Mart. I bet you a dollar you'll find in the comment section either "On a Sunday?!?!?!" (directly) or "Ahh. So that's where Elders Quorum was meeting today." (indirectly)
I love it when the OP actually takes a moment to respond to the passive aggressive commenter. Sometimes, they'll say "That pic was taken on Saturday." Sometimes, they'll say, "Yeah, so?!" But I'm sure the OP would rather respond with a simple "F%&# you."
Same thing happens when someone posts a heartwarming video of Ellen DeGeneres doing something really nice. There's always "that guy" who has to bring up her sexuality in a negative way. "Well, Ellen's nice and all, but I can't support her lifestyle." *eye roll*
Every time I see comments like these, I just wanted to get inside the commenters head. What are they trying to accomplish with the condescending comments? Do they think they're fulfilling a Priesthood (or Relief Society) duty by calling out people doing stuff on Sunday? Are they just trying to be funny? (They never come across as a comedian; just a big jerk!) Are they looking for details so they can tattle to their leaders, or make it the topic of an upcoming Sacrament meeting talk.
I knew a guy who refused to watch football on Sunday. Fine with me. Do what you want. But he took every open opportunity to tell people that he doesn't watch football on Sunday. Priesthood lessons, FHE gatherings, random chitchats. After the 3rd or 4th time I heard it, it got a little annoying. Don't even think about inviting him to a Super Bowl party; you'll get quite an earful. We, his friends and acquaintances, started to feel uncomfortable, and even a little guilty since we all watched football on Sunday. Again, what fulfillment was this guy getting by always telling people that he never watched football on the Sabbath Day?
I respect what you choose to do and not do on Sundays - and to my Jewish friends - on Saturday. :) There's just no need to call out others for how they decide to spend the day.
Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Time for another round of "Who are you?" This little segment I started gives other Moho's the chance to share their story, anonymously. No pesky video cameras and sappy music - just written, unedited content. As you've read previous stories, you can probably relate to a few details here and there. But the below story has a unique characteristic - the author has two gay brothers. I've heard of a gay twin, or another gay immediate family member, but have never 'met' anyone with two gay brothers. I based my questions off that fact and below are his answers.
If all this storytelling gets you riled up, I'd love to hear yours. Use the Contact Form on the right (or email me) and I'll ask you similar questions.
Here we go! -----
Q. Explain your correlation/involvement to the Moho blogging community.
A. Until recently I was only semi-aware of Moho blogging. I knew it existed, but I never really had anything prompt me to go investigate it. Within the last year or so I saw a video someone posted on Facebook about Far Between that interested me, so I started watching those interviews. I mainly watched the ones with the young guys that were around my own age because they were cute and I could identify with some of their experiences.
Since interviews on that site don’t get uploaded that often and I still wanted to hear more people’s stories, I started Facebook stalking friends of friends who I knew were gay Mormons and discovered the USGA Facebook group at BYU. So then I started Facebook stalking all those people. Eventually I found that that really wasn’t satisfying my desire to hear personal experiences where I could identify with other gay Mormons, so that’s when I searched “gay Mormon blog” and found The Moho community.
Q. What's life like being both gay and Mormon?
A. As most of your readers probably know, it’s MISERABLE, but I think my experience is kind of unique. From what I have read, a lot of gay Mormons around my age and older didn’t know a lot about being gay when they were young and did not have a lot of exposure to gay people growing up.
When I was a kid one of my siblings told me that one of my older brothers was gay and explained what that meant and how it was bad. It was about that time that I was starting puberty and I was shown a homoerotic picture by one of my straight brothers who thought it was funny. I still remember it, it was a picture of Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy lying in bed together, shirtless and cuddling. It really piqued my curiosity and lead me to down a path to looking at gay porn.
It is interesting because when I was really young in elementary school I had crushes on girls and none on boys, but when I started puberty I started to have crushes on boys and not on girls. So maybe porn does have some effect on your sexual development, but who knows.
Anyway I don’t know a lot of the details of when my first brother came out and how my parents reacted. I know he was bullied a lot in school and being gay might have been part of it. I later found out when I was older that he attempted suicide and that was pretty shocking to me. He and my parents went to counseling together for a while. I always thought it was to reconcile him being gay and them being against that, but now I think it probably had a lot to do with the suicide attempt.
I never really asked about the details of what happened because I thought it would lead to the suspicion that I was gay. Even now I feel like it is kind of private and not really my business and I don’t really have that great of a relationship with that brother. I don’t remember at what point he became inactive, but he stopped going to church and became an atheist. As a kid I always had the impression that he was sinning and being bad and I did not want to be like him.
A few years later another one of my brothers came out to my parents and they talked to me and my siblings about both off my gay brothers. We are a little closer in age so I was more aware of what happened to him. He came out around the time he finished high school and also at that time declared that he did not believe in God and was an atheist. My parents were again upset by this and it was difficult for them. When my mom told me about him coming out she was crying and reiterated how bad it was, so that ingrained in me that being gay wasn’t good.
That brother moved out right after high school to go to college and has lived on his own since. So growing up I knew a lot about being gay through how it affected my brother’s lives and how my parents reacted.
Sometime after my first brother came out I was on a father and son camp out with my dad and he and I went on a little hike together. During that he asked me if I was attracted to boys. That really made me uncomfortable because I was and I saw how my brothers being gay caused so much distress in our family. I did not want to be associated with something bad like that so I lied and said I was not. I was not more than 10 at the time. When I was around 11 my dad caught me looking at gay porn. He sat me down and told me how being gay was not a sin, but acting on it was, as we always hear in the church today.
He told me I needed to talk to the bishop and repent, so he set up an appointment for me. It was a very stressful situation for my eleven year old self to say the least. I went through the repentance process with the bishop for looking at porn, but did not tell him I was gay. I did not think that needed to be confessed since it is not a sin. I avoided porn for a while, but eventually went back to it. After that my dad didn’t talk to me about being gay for ten years until a specific event triggered me to come out to him, but I will talk about that a little later. I assume he told my mom what happened, but to this day she has never directly talked to me about being gay.
So all through my teenage years I looked at gay porn. I always felt guilty about it because of what you learn at church. I tried to stop many times on my own, but I never could. I was also kind of in denial about being gay. I just never wanted to accept it. I always had the idea that I would find a woman to marry who I would be attracted to. I was pretty shy so I never felt I needed to date girls to prove I was straight and I never wanted to anyway. I also always tried to distance myself from my gay brothers, because I saw them as not strong enough to stick with church and I did not want to be associated with that. That was one of my biggest fears with coming out. I felt if people knew I was gay, then I would have to stop going to church. And I still feel like if people know I am gay they will think I am stupid for still believing and going to church.
So pretty much until the time I was almost 21 I was trying to break my porn habit so I could go on a mission, although I was not trying that hard. When I was 20, my desire to have a boyfriend became really strong. I was tired of seeing all the ways straight couples got to be intimate and love each other and I couldn’t because I was gay. I wanted that kind of companionship in my life too so I discovered a way to meet guys online. I ended up having sex with a guy I met. That kind of officially made me decide to not go on a mission, because there was no way I was going to confess to a bishop that I had gay sex. After that experience I tried to actually date guys so I could developed a real relationship because I did not want to just have sex with them.
Q. Are you an active, believer of the church?
A. I am still active, but I am not super involved. I do go to church every week, but have not taken the sacrament in quite a while and I refuse to discuss any of this with my bishop. I feel like if I ever were to get serious with someone it is likely I would stop going, but I am not sure.
There was a time when I was actively dating guys and reading my scriptures daily, but I have not read them in almost a year. I also still do pray every day. I like praying and having a relationship with God. If anything, it’s cathartic and I still for the most part believe he is real. I never got endowed or did any of that temple business so that is not something I worry about. I do wrestle a lot with the idea that homosexuality is immoral because everything I feel about guys is so good and positive and brings me so much joy and peace and it makes absolutely no sense that that can be bad.
Basically I came to the decision that I will search for a male companion and try to be happy in this life and accept the punishment I receive in the next life. I feel like to endure life while restricting yourself from companionship and love is hell and it does not make sense to me that you would have to endure hell to avoid hell.
Q. Are you out to friends and family? If you're not out, what keeps you in the closet?
A. I am partially out to my family kind of. As mentioned before my parents found out I was gay when I was 11, but never talked to me about it again until I was 21. I guess they were in denial about it or were just hoping, it would go away. During my teen years one of my gay brothers caught me looking at porn. I was still uncomfortable with my sexuality so I never talked to him about it and he never brought it up. At that time I still thought about marrying a woman so I did not want to acknowledge it to anyone.
When I started dating guys I came out to my one of my sisters because she kept pestering me about what I was being so secretive about. I started dating a guy for the first time ever and he was really cute and I was SUPER excited about it and wanted to share it with someone. She is slightly younger than me and fairly understanding so I was not that worried about telling her. Although the experience was still very nerve wracking.
Later on I started talking to a different guy. Through talking on the phone we became really emotionally attached before we even met. When we finally met in person I realized I was not at all attracted to him physically (his pictures were very misleading). I handled this very poorly. We met on a Sunday night. I still lived with my parents so I told them I was going to a fireside, but instead I went on a date with him. I ended up ending the date early by more or less telling him that I was not attracted to him. I pretty much broke his heart and it made me feel like the worst person in the world. He went home crying and I went home crying and the whole thing was horrible. When I got home in the driveway I changed back into my church clothes as if I had just gotten back from the fireside. I went to my bedroom and after a while my dad came in and told me he saw me changing my clothes and ask why I did that. I was still super emotional about what happened and was still crying on and off so I did not have the energy to make up a lie.
I just flat out told him I went on a date. After a little more questioning I revealed it was with another boy. He realized I was upset and just told me he still loved me and would talk to me about it later. About a week later he called me into his bedroom so we could have a talk. He reiterated what he said when I was eleven about being gay is not a sin, but acting on it is.
Then he started to say some really insensitive and hurtful things about what would happen to me if I continued to act on my gay feelings. I couldn’t stand to listen to him anymore so I just went back to my bedroom, locked the door and started crying. I knew he would try to unlock the door and get in, so I put on some shoes and got ready to leave. He unlocked the door and told me he was not done talking to me. I told him I did not want to talk about it and tried to side step him to leave. This made him a little angry so he blocked the doorway and grabbed me to try to prevent me from leavening. We got in to a little tussle and I ended up flinging my window open, ripping out the screen, and jumping out into the pouring rain, all while he tried to constrain me and him yelling, “You cannot live here if you are going to continue to date!”
I walked around to the front of my house and got a small umbrella, then I just started walking. All I had on was a sweatshirt, sweatpants, a shoe on one foot and just a sock on the other. The other shoe had come off as I was trying to get away. So there I was walking in the rain like that, bawling and wishing I was dead. That was the most suicidal I have ever been. If I would have had an easy way to kill myself at that moment I would have done it, but all I could think of doing was bludgeoning myself with a rock. I decided that would be too difficult. I tried to figure out where I could go to get out of the rain. I didn’t have any friends I could go to and I lived in a kind of rural area so there was nothing around but houses. I lived near a golf course and remembered a semi-secluded bathroom at the end of one the holes so I decided to go there. I finally got their after walking about three miles, ruminating all the way.
By then I was pretty soaked and my shoeless foot was freezing and hurt from walking on the rough ground. I tried the door, but it was locked. Luckily there was a 3 foot overhang so I had cover from the rain, but there was a huge puddle occupying most of that cover. I collected a pile of pine needles and built up a mound to try to avoid sitting directly in the puddle. It was not very effective. Then I sat there in the cold for the next four hours and cried and ruminated and cried some more.
While I was there my dad texted me and apologized, but I just ignored him. My sister that I came out to also texted me and said my parents told her I was upset and that I left. She tried to talk to me, but I didn’t really want to talk. After a while I realized I would have to go back at some point so I just tried to wait as long as I could before I went back. By the time I did go back my shoeless foot was totally numb and on my other foot, my shoe had been soaked through and also started numbing. I eventually started walking back and by the time I got to my house I was completely drenched for head to foot and my feet and hands were totally numb from the cold.
I wanted to sneak back in through my bedroom window, but they had shut it and I could not get it open. It had gotten dark by the time I got back and I stayed outside and watched what was going on inside through the windows. My parents were there and they were sitting down eating dinner. They looked really sad and it kind of made me sad. I waited outside watching them for about a half hour until they got in their car and left, I assume to go look for me. The only other person living there at the time was one of my brothers and I don’t know how much of the confrontation he was aware of. He mostly stayed in his room so I was not too worried about him. I snuck in the side door got some dinner and went straight to my room. I decided to text my dad and tell him I was home. Then I changed out of my wet clothes and ate while I waited there for them to come back.
When they got back my dad came to my door and apologized again and said he would not make me talk to him if I did not want to. He asked me if I could come out so he could give me a hug, but I refused and he left. Then my mom came and asked me to come out so she could hug me and I refused again. I kind of felt guilty about that, but I was still really upset. So they finally left me alone. The whole next day I tried to avoid them and stay in my room.
Each of the following days I started coming out more and talking more to my parents until things got back to normal. I finally did let them hug me and they apologized again, but after that we acted like it never happened and that was fine with me.
That is the story of coming out to my parents. I did stop dating after that because I felt like I should follow their rules while I lived with them since they were still supporting me a great deal financially. And I knew they would be watching me like a hawk, so I knew it would be twice as hard to sneak around.
So that whole experience might have sounded like fun, but wait until you hear what happened next. When I came out to my sister I told her explicitly, EX. PLI. CIT. LY. Not to talk to anyone about it and if they asked her anything about it, I told her to lie through her bloody teeth. And do you know what she did? You wanna know? She pretty much told everyone in my family! So I found out later that when I was sitting in that puddle, my mom called one of my other sisters to ask her if she might know where I had gone and she told her I was gay.
I still can’t understand how she thinks she has the right to tell anyone such personal information about me and I’m still upset that she did that. I don’t know if she talked to any of my other siblings, but she did talk to my younger sister about it. So my younger sister ended up thinking all my siblings knew so she sent a text to most of them explaining the situation. I have a large immediate family and the number of children is on the high side as far as Mormon families go. I didn’t find out what my sister did until a year after the incident. So for a whole year I thought nobody in my family knew, while the whole time they all knew.
To be honest, I understood how that whole situation played out and so I am not that upset that my sister broke my confidence in that way. But, recently I found out more details that made me really mad at her. I went to visit one of my straight brothers, recently and he confronted me about being gay. He told me that when I was young he had caught me looking at gay porn so he had known for a long time. That was kind of awkward and uncomfortable, but it also felt good to talk openly about it with him. Then he made a really snarky comment, mocking me for being afraid to be open with everyone about my feelings and I was like, ok, you’re the dumbest person in the world, don’t ever talk to me again. That’s how I felt but I didn’t really say that, I just brushed it off.
Anyway, later he revealed that about a month after I came out to my sister, she had told him I had a boyfriend. And I was like, are you kidding me? Are you kidding me?! So it turns out she broke my trust from the very beginning. And remember, I told her EXPLICITLY not to tell anyone. It just kills. I don’t understand how she could just do that.
It all worked out in the end though. I confronted her about it and she was like, uhh… well… I ahh… I’m sorry, I just… ahh. And I’m like, yeah you’re dumb, I know. Later as a peace offering she offered to buy me a new phone and I was like, if you really want to, but I don’t expect you to. I guess she felt really bad, but I’m getting a new phone out of it so I am happy lol. I’m not really that shallow, but maybe a little. ;) Also I am kind of glad that she told all my siblings the way she did because I never really wanted to come out to them and now I don’t have to. And I am sure some of them at least suspected that I was gay anyway.
This has become a long convoluted story, but the moral is I came out to my parents and a few of my siblings. The rest of them were told, but I have never talked to them about it and they never talked to me about it and right now that’s how I like it. I do have one brother that I still think doesn’t know because he was not around when this whole ordeal happened. I am not out to anyone outside of my immediate family, but who knows who they have told. I don’t really have any friends so telling them is not an issue since they don’t exist. Some people may be wondering if I already have two brothers out, what’s the big deal about me coming out. What’s one more? It is still extremely shameful and I know how disappointing it is to my family. It is just really hard to know that how I am and what I want in life is so disappointing to them.
Q. You mentioned in your first statement that you have gay brothers. What has that been like?
A. It has its positive and negative aspects. On the one hand I feel like because they came out before me, it spared me a lot of grief that I would have had to go through if I was the only gay person in my family.
I wasn’t totally oblivious to homosexuality when I was growing up so it made it easier to deal with. My family was also already used to having gay family members so it dispelled a lot of fear I might have had if I did not know how they would react. On the other hand, now I know exactly how they can react negatively to having gay family members.
I also know firsthand what it feels like to find out you have a gay family member and how you are shocked and your opinion of them might change a little bit. I felt the same disappointment my family did when I found out my older brothers were gay because of what I was taught and believed about it. That is something that made me worry about coming out because I’ve experienced that same disappointment.
I have never been particularly close to my gay brothers just because we are gay. In fact I feel like I have more often than not, avoided them as to avoid any suspicion they may cast on me of being gay.
Q. What is your current status? (Single, in a relationship, etc.) Are you happy?
A. I am currently single, but have just recently started trying to date again. It is just so hard because people are so scary and dating’s hard and I hate it. But I have definitely become happier at the prospect of finding a companion. I moved away from my parents nearly a year ago so that is no longer an issue.
Q. How do you see yourself in the future? (Staying with the church, leaving it, balance both sexuality and church, etc.)
A. This is a tough question because I think it is really hard to say. I still believe in the church, but I have accepted my sexuality and the consequences it may bring. At this point I am sure I would be excommunicated, but I would never go through a disciplinary counsel to find out. I just try to do the thing I feel I can and not worry about things that I think are too hard. How long I can live my life with this kind of relationship to the church is unknown.
Q. Anything else you'd like to add?
A. I would just like to say I am grateful for my loving parents and family and that we can still get along after going through difficult situations like this. This part feels like a testimony lol.
My family is really important to me and while it may seem like some of the things they do are uncaring, they are in fact very caring and are my favorite people. So that’s that.
Also I would be interested in hearing people’s thoughts and options about my story, so if you took the time to read this please feel free to leave comments.
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
TBM's love to justify the church.
1) The 32 LGBT Mormons who committed suicide after the new policy.
2) Elder Bednar's comments that there "are no homosexual members of the church."
I've witnessed several TBM's try to downplay the number of suicides (As if 5, 10, or 15 suicides are any better.) And others tried to harass and discredit the source. As for Bednar's comments, bloggers chose to dissect those 8 words that he said, and try to justify what he meant, including this 3,200-word post that seems to never end.
I shouldn't be surprised by all the justifying. There's a group of apologetics who justify polygamy, blacks and the priesthood, the various First Vision accounts, Joseph Smith marrying a 14-year-old, and yes, they even try to justify LGBT issues.
But with each long and tedious justification I read or witness, the more cringed I get. Even the gay TBM's participate in minor justifications that just pile up to a big mess:
Justification: Don't call me gay, I 'struggle with same-sex attraction.'
My response: Bednar SHOULD have said "there are no members who 'struggle with same-sex attraction.'" That's the REAL truth! You do not have a disease. You will not 'overcome' same-sex attraction and turn straight. You should not hate yourself. Accept the gay.
Justification: I'm not going to tell my wife I'm SSA/gay; it's none of her business.
My response: She will find out. You might as well be truthful and tell her as early as possible.
Justification: My roommate is also gay/SSA, but were both active, temple recommend holders, so it's all good.
My response: I don't have a problem with this, but the moment you give the stink eye to a guy moving in with his girlfriend or vice versa, I have to pull the hypocrite card. Plus, if you 'really' want to keep those temple covenants, moving in with another gay guy is a pretty dumb idea.
THE "GAY LIFESTYLE"
Justification: My good friend has left the church and has pursued the "gay lifestyle" so we can't be friends anymore.
My response: Well that's pretty stupid. For belonging to a church that says to "love one another," you're not being a very nice person. Your friendship shouldn't change, and you should congratulate him/her on their newfound happiness.
Justification: I'm starting to develop feelings for a guy, but there's nothing gay about it. It's more of a brotherly love situation.
My response: Wrong. You are homosexually falling for someone. If the feeling is mutual, you should go out on a date!
Justification: Cuddling is not sexual in any way; it's healthy touch.
My response: I will never understand the fascination of cuddling among the gay TBMs. They have this idea that attractions will decrease through cuddling. I obviously have a much different viewpoint (and experiences) with cuddling.
Justification: I've signed up for these gay dating apps, just to find some new friends (and nothing more.)
My response: You know who you are. (I've seen your profile!) Again, don't have a problem with this, but don't be a hypocrite.
Why justify? From what I've witnessed, it seems the gay TBMs want to get as close to the line as possible, without crossing it. ("I've been the big spoon for another dude, but we didn't have sex, so I can still hold on to that Sunday School teacher calling"... or.... "We all get naked in front of each other to overcome body image issues.") For some, they really do cross the line (according to church standards) causing them to become depressed, they then confess to their Bishop, get disfellowshipped/excomm'd, get ordinances back, only to do the deed all over again.
Why am I writing this? I'm frustrated. If my above responses were ingrained in my mind 10 years ago, I wouldn't have wasted the past decade trying to balance church and sexuality. (I use the "wasted the past decade" often in my posts and feel the need to 'justify' it here as well) :-) As I continue my journey of leaving the church, it's dawned on me how much I dislike 1) justifiers and 2) hypocrites. (And double thumbs down if you're a justifier hypocrite.) It's nice as I continue my own life, I'm able to distance myself from these types of people.