February 27, 2011

Wisdom In Thy Youth, Part Two...

The second conversation I had was with a good friend in Northern California, Joy. We were originally talking about employment difficulties, and when she brought the gospel into it, I didn’t immediately see the parallel. Hopefully you’re brighter than I am.

She said, “A while ago, I had an epiphany that changed my life. Hear me out. I am a literal daughter of God. I know that. I also know that my spirit once lived with Him. My spirit knew who Heavenly Father was, recognized Him, worshipped Him, and loved Him. My spirit was happy there and it wants to be back there again. Even right now, my spirit longs to return to my Father in Heaven. But my spirit also knows that it has a job to do on earth. There is a purpose to being here and my spirit knows that it has things it needs to accomplish before it can return to live with God again.”

At this point in time, I was thinking, “Yeah. The missionaries taught me that, too. What’s your point?”

Joy continued. “My body, on the other hand, has never been in the presence of Heavenly Father. It doesn’t fully understand its purpose in God’s plans. It doesn’t know of how precious it is, or of its potential. All it knows is instant gratification. It doesn’t matter what form it may present itself in, my body wants to be gratified with little to no work and little to no wait involved.”

By this point in time, my jaw was probably hanging open. My little light bulb had gone off.

“So, my advice to you,” Joy said, “Is to listen to your spirit. It knows what is right. Sometimes it isn’t always so easy to hear our spirit and to know what it wants. That is one reason why we fast. Fasting tells our body, “Yes, you are hungry. You can wait.” You are consciously telling your body that you are listening more closely to the spirit than the desires of your body.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever heard that before,” I stammered, probably sounding like an idiot in my amazed state.

She only smiled in the sage-like way that makes Joy who she is.

As we talked more about this, it seemed to me that we had strayed somewhat from the original topic. When I told her so, she grinned at me again. “All things can be related back to the gospel. In fact, whenever I am having a difficulty in life, I try to make a parallel between my problem and the gospel. It’s the quickest way to fix whatever it is that I’m going through because it helps me see the situation for what it is.”

As I have pondered on what Joy taught me, I realized not only that she was right, but that I had been thinking about things wrong this whole time. I tend to want to separate “spiritual” problems with “temporal” difficulties. But really, they’re one in the same. Though they may have different outcomes and carry varying levels of seriousness, all problems in life can be solved through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It doesn’t matter how insignificant or how dire the situation may seem, if it has even the slightest bit of important to us, it does for our Father in Heaven as well. He is our Father and He cares about our lives, every aspect of them. And as much as we’ll let Him, He will always be there to help us.

February 26, 2011

Wisdom In Thy Youth, Part One...

I have recently come to the conclusion that I have some incredibly insightful friends. Three separate times this week, I have been dazzled by their wisdom concerning life and the gospel, and I would like to share with you what I have learned. Unfortunately, perspective being what it is, I’m sure my account of the events might differ slightly with the exactness of our conversation. But I will do my best to convey as close to a word-for-word account of what these three people said.

The first instance happened at the beginning of the week. I was having a conversation with a recently married couple, Jake and Faye. We got on the topic of when I first told them I had same-gender attraction. They were both interesting stories but the case that stood out to me most was Faye’s reaction. At first, she didn’t believe me. Even after a prolonged amount of time of both Jake and I trying to convince her, she still thought we were kidding. While we were talking on this occasion though, she explained why she was so hesitant to believe us.

“I just didn’t think you were gay,” she said.

“Really? Because most people tell me that they kind of already knew,” I told her.

“I guess it’s just that I never saw individual things you did and attributed it to being feminine or homosexual. It was just you and I accepted you as a whole.”

Wow, I thought. That’s deep. And it got me to thinking.

I have always been of the belief that if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck. So the next natural step is, if a guy looks like he’s gay, walks like he’s gay, and talks like he’s gay, he’s probably gay. Makes sense, right? But that’s not what Faye was saying. She said that I might dress different than other people, and I might have a little more bounce and fluidity to my walk than the normal guy. I might even talk in ways that your average guy wouldn’t. But those are nothing more than the buildup of me. It’s seeing the person as a whole instead of bit by bit. And it is also the acceptance of that person as a whole instead of only what you are willing to stomach.

Most people, myself included, see a person display a characteristic trait and then we define the person by that trait. For instance, we see someone who lies, or who is a Vegan, or who loves the Raiders (heaven help them), and then we label them, categorize them, and place them in a nice little box in which they fit into. Faye, on the other hand, is saying, “Sure that person might lie, but that isn’t who they are. The fact that they lie isn’t what defines them.”


Have you ever known someone who has a problem which they let define them? Or, more pointedly, do you have a problem which you let define you? For me, I sometimes get my head so wrapped around the fact that I’m gay that I forget about everything else. It takes over my life. It consumes me. And soon it is the only thought in my mind, it’s all I can see. I have other problems in my life but I don’t focus on them. Because I don’t focus on them, they don’t feel as pressing or important or horrific. Perhaps I'm only seeing a little bit of myself and not the whole picture. And perhaps, I would be happier if I didn't define myself by the little things I do.

So, Faye, though you probably didn’t mean to be the topic of choice for this portion of my blog, you have definitely given me a grand insight on life. Thank you.

February 19, 2011

Top 5 Good List: Number Five, I Know...

Being able to say ‘I know’ about anything is nothing to sniff at. Consider all of the money that goes into teachers, professors, advisors, horoscopes, psychics, philosophers, religious leaders, political leaders, poets, and writers. We spend thousands upon thousands of dollars towards these people in search of knowledge or insight or inspiration. We want to be able to say ‘I know’ and mean it. In knowledge, we find happiness. It’s being able to turn on a light and see that there is no monster in the closet. It’s digging down into the cracker jack box and finding the secret prize. It’s being able to stand firm amidst a sea of confusion and to be able to declare truth.

Some of the most scholarly people in the world don’t know some of the most basic answers to life’s grandest questions. Where did I come from? Who am I? And where am I going?

Those questions have been asked as far back as can be recorded and I imagine they’ll continue for a little while longer. And even though the answer has always been there, people don’t know where to look for it.
Being in the Church has taught me a lot, mainly about myself. But I am happy to be included in the few who can say that we know the answers to those questions. I know my purpose on this planet. I know the reason for existing. I know what is expected of me and I know what I can one day become.

I don’t pretend to be a perfect person. I have a lot of weaknesses and contradictions, much like any other person. But it’s this knowledge I have that makes me want to be better, to continue on, to try even when it seems that all the roads are blocked and someone has made off with my silver lining. And even though I may tend to complain or occasionally get bitter or downtrodden, I know that if I keep trying, one day those challenges and struggles I have will all just fall away.

February 18, 2011

Top 5 Bad List: Number Five, Mehwidge, The Final Fwontier...


Like the movie says, “Mehwidge is what bweengs us together today.” And they weren’t kidding! When you think about it, marriage is kind of the pinnacle of accomplishments of life, or at least one of them. You can set your goal to get that speedy European car, or that three story mansion in Malibu, or the best paying job, or even all of the money in the world. And, on your own, you could very well obtain any or all of those things. But there is one thing you can’t obtain on your own: marriage. Nope. Can’t do it. Marriage needs two people. You can be the hottest of hotties, or the smartest of smarties, but it’s all for nothing if that other person doesn’t feel mutually.

That’s right! We’re talking about love, the dreaded ‘L’ word. You can love your shoes, your favorite books, and your own good looks, but none of those things can love you back. And man was not meant to be alone on this world. We’ve been engineered to need companionship, regardless of how independent or reclusive you might think you are. No one is immune to wanting someone with whom they can share their lives with. Including me…

There are times when I can’t think of anything else but my desire to have someone who I can share everything with. It’s more than a longing for friendship. I’ve had friendship all my life. And it’s more than sex. I’ve… uhh… had more than my share of that, too. It’s being half of a whole. And it is something I don’t confess to desiring often because I just don’t think that I’ll ever reach that goal in this lifetime. I mean, I could do it, but even the thought of it sends me into a spiral of “what if” questions. Like, “What if I do get married and I’m still attracted to men? How is that being an honest, faithful husband?”

One of the biggest fears I have goes a little like this. I decided to go ahead and get married. I find an amazing woman who I love and who loves me. She understands my situation and together we feel like this is just one of many challenges that we’ll face but if we work on it together, it’ll be okay. So, we get engaged. Unlike some couple, we would plan out the wedding together, seeing as I have a long history with fashion sense and interior design, and together we’d get everything all mapped out. She picks her bride’s maids. I pick my groom’s men. And, like any girl at the age of 16 can tell you, she has already known who her bride’s maids would be years ago. To be honest, I already know who my groom’s men would be as well. And we get the show on the road. Somehow our nerves last out until the big day when we’re making our vows. At my right side is this beautiful woman that God has blessed me with… but, to my left is a row of guys who I’m tragically attracted to. Sure, I’m attracted to my fiancĂ©’s personality and her spirit. But physically, I’m attracted to these guys who are primed and groomed to perfection (or at least they had better be).
Do you see the potential problem here?

And what’s worse is that I have a mother who gently mentions having more grandchildren to me, a best friend who I love with all of my heart, and the ever-present weight of Mormon Culture. All of whom are breathing down my neck, either deliberately or not.


Yes, mehwidge is what brought me here. But why does it seem to be the more unobtainable goal for me?

February 17, 2011

Top 5 Good List: Number Four, I Have Hope...

Hope is an amazing thing. Hope opens doors, brings light into darkness, and beckons you onward. Hope overcomes hardships, stands firm in the face of opposition, and carries you through the tough times. Sometimes hope is a tricky boat to steer, but at least you can know that you’re going to reach your destination in safety so long as you keep trying.

I was going to talk more about this topic, but I'm 'hoping' this picture says it all.

Top 5 Bad List: Number Four, Chasity for Life? Seriously?

Whenever I hear the word chastity, my mind take me back to the first time I saw “Robin Hood: Men in Tights.” A wonderful movie, if I do say so myself. In this rendition of Robin Hood, Maid Marian is not simply a virtuous woman, but she wear a literal chastity belt made out of, what looks to be, iron.

Keeping with that mental image, whenever I’ve heard ‘chastity’ since (whether during the missionary discussions or in Elder’s Quorum) I always envision an actual chastity belt. Well, the Church is big on chastity, and so I often find myself giggling inwardly.

Nevertheless, I’m facing a difficult challenge. You see, in my present condition, I don’t think I’m quite ready to jump into a marriage. And since the Church frowns on sex prior to getting hitched, I’m kind of looking at a sad option. Chastity has never been my strong suit to begin with, but chastity for life sounds slightly reminiscent of my own personal hell.

February 15, 2011

Top 5 Good List: Number Three, I'm In Tune With My Feelings...

I’ve heard it said that men have PMS, just as much as any girl does, and different only in a few minor details. While I’m not about to speak for all men, I can vouch that I definitely have my moodier moments of the months. And sometimes it’s two or three times a month! I don’t know what it is. I wake up, same as any day, but then the hot water runs out too soon, I can’t find the perfect outfit to wear, my cereal gets soggy too quickly… and somewhere along the way, my emotional side bubbles up to the surface and that’s all she wrote.

Why on earth is this in the Top 5 Good List? Because I said so, that’s why. Well, that and the fact that it means that I’m real with myself. I’m not trying to say that straight guys don’t bestow that kind of genuine emotional behavior upon everyone else. No, I wouldn’t try to say anything like that at all. *ahem*

Let’s put it this way, I’ve had this conversation more than once with straight LDS guys. “I don’t bare my testimony.” And upon me asking why, they say something to the effect of, “Because I don’t want to feel the Spirit. If I feel the Spirit, I might cry and I don’t want that.”

Red flag! Okay, so you’re so much of a man that you can’t cry? And because you can’t cry, you deny yourself of the Spirit? Tsk tsk, my straight brothers. But I can’t say that I don’t understand them. Shoot, I cry watching Bambi. I should make a bunch of straight guys watch Bambi with me and secretly video tape it. Would that be bad of me? Hehe! I could call it a science project.

No, but seriously. Emotions are meant to be shared. We’re not robots, though sometimes straight guys are a little void of range to their voice, movement of their limbs, spring in their step, etc. Loosen up, guys! Cry a little! You’re not the bloody tin man. You won’t rust! Promise!

PS, I've realized that some of the pictures aren't always easy to see. But, if you click on them, that should help.

Top 5 Bad List: Number Three, I Can't Always Be 100% Me...

There are times when I’m at a party, or a dance, or even just talking to someone, and I realize that I’m holding back. This might be debatable, but I’d like to think that I am a pretty out going, fun loving, energetic guy. But even so, I find myself holding back. Why? I’m afraid of being stereotyped and criticized simply because what I’m doing seems gay. I guess what I’m really admitting here is the fact that I’m assuming that I’ll be criticized. So, before they even have the opportunity to make fun of me, I withdraw. In the military, they call it a preemptive strike. In the Church, we call it judging.

Ouch! But it’s true, isn’t it? And what really ironic is that the whole reason I’m being so prejudice is to avoid being judged. Hey, I never said it was a perfect system I’ve developed! I’m just going off of past experiences.

Regardless, I’m not exactly showing people “the real me” 100% of the time. For example, I’m not reserved, but I was recently accused of it. It makes me sad because I’d love to joke and laugh and act exactly how I want to, and just tell all those homophobes to shove it. But I don’t. Instead, I just bend myself to their liking.

But sometimes I forget to bend. Sometimes I let my guard down, and let me tell you… it gets ugly. A perfect example of this happened just the other night. Some guy asked a group of us what our favorite musical was. To be perfectly honest, I think he was only asking this one girl because he was interested in her or something. But not to be rude, he asked his question to the group as a whole. That girl said, “Singing in the Rain.” The boy next to her, bless his soul, asked, “Is “Tangled” considered a musical?” I let it slide. And then everyone looked at me.

“What’s your favorite musical, Michael?”

“Ummm, I’m not sure, actually. “The Last Five Years” is pretty good, though a wee bit depressing. The 2008 rendition of “Chess” with Josh Groban and Idina Menzell is totally awesome! But then I also love “Into the Woods.” It’s a classic! I don’t know. They’re all so good, I couldn’t possibly pick only one.”

It was about that time I actually looked at everyone’s bewildered expressions. “Wow, Mikey,” one person said. “Those are all a little too deep for me.”

Ugh! I hadn’t even told them all of the crucial reason WHY I thought each of those musical were so stinking awesome! And I thought, “Oh freak! My gay is showing again!”

February 14, 2011

Top 5 Good List: Number Two, Women Don't Make Me Nervous...

Straight guys are a hot mess, let me tell you! They might have the whole procreation thing down pat, but how they manage to get that far is beyond me. I’m not even going to get into topics like table manners. Nope, we’re skipping right along to the fact that they don’t know how to talk to women to save their lives! I mean, it’s slightly depressing to watch, but I can’t seem to look away, like a bad car accident or when professional ice skaters fall on their tushies. It’s just captivating!

First off, their sights are all off. They’re already thinking of relationships before they even know the girl’s name! And, depending on how much Mormon Culture they subscribe to, they’ve already rehearsed future proposal lines. Calm down, my straight friends! How about you get to be her friend first? You know? Get to know the girl and THEN worry about the size of her ring finger.

I count myself as lucky in this department. For the most part, I don’t get nervous around women. It might be due to the fact that I’m not interested in dating and therefore don’t have to worry about getting rejected. See! Sometimes it pays to be immune to the tempting beauty of women and their ensnaring charms.

Top 5 Bad List: Number Two, Unkind Remarks...

There have been times, not often thank goodness, when people I have been hanging out with make fun of gay people. If I was even slightly concerned with saving what little reputation I have left with you people, I’d tell you that I rebuked those people, I stood up for what was right, and I enlightened them about the worth of every soul in the eyes of Heavenly Father. But that just wouldn’t be the truth. No, I didn’t join in, but to my shame, I just folded my arms, bit my lip, and tried to look as indifferent as I could. (It never worked.)

Top 5 Good List: Number One, My Fashionable Sunday Best...

I think I’ve always had a hard time coping with the fact that LDS women can wear darn near anything to Church so long as it’s in decent shape and is modest. So, as my coping mechanism, I’ve tried my hardest to wear the most dapper outfits that I can possibly put together from my wardrobe. And sometimes, I’m not going to lie, they get a bit… loud. For instance, I have two accent pieces (there’s no pretending to be straight with a vocabulary like that) which I like to wear every now and again. The first is what is commonly referred to as my Mr. Rodgers sweater. Personally, I don’t think it looks like anything that guy would have worn, but I can see the vague parallel. The second accent piece is a pink tie that I wear. And by pink, I mean PINK! I wore it to General Conference once and I was told that my friend, who was sitting up in the balcony, could pick me out of the crowd. And that’s saying something!

But to be fair, when you can only have so many variations of the same outfit, you need to get creative with your get up…

February 13, 2011

Top 5 Bad List: Number One, Not Fitting In...

It has come to my attention that I seem to not always blend it with the Mormon guys. Whether it’s sports, or in conversation, or even how I talk, I tend to stick out. And it isn’t as though I’m not trying. I’ll go to the occasional sporting event, though with the exception of kick ball, I’ll rarely ever play. I’ll talk about the same things straight guys talk about, and I’ll only add in my real opinion when their’s finally gets too ridiculous to make sense anymore. And despite all my attempts for playing the chameleon, I get the distinct impression that it’s all in vain.

Paranoia? Hardly. It’s more like observation. I feel like the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing. You might be out there thinking, “Yeah, but wasn’t the wolf undetected under that wool disguise?”

I guess it’s kind of true. The wolf might look like a sheep, but you can be darn sure it wouldn’t act like one. It can’t! It’s not a sheep! For example, sheep don’t eat other sheep. That, and you’ve got to know that the minute the wolf opens his mouth, all the other sheep are going to know something’s up.

It’s a little frustrating - no. It’s more than a little frustrating to feel like I’m in an episode of Sesame Street. You know the one? “One of these things are not like the other…” Except, I’m that thing that isn’t the same! And as obvious as it was for those six year olds who watched Sesame Street, I’m pretty sure that my slightly more mature peers can see me and think, “Hmm. You know, that boy never goes on dates. He never talks about girls and never hangs out with boys. He doesn’t play sports or even follow them on TV. And whenever the topic of marriage comes up, his lips turn white and he gets all quiet. There is definitely something peculiar about that Michael Liberty fella.” And that's fair. I probably don’t disguise myself nearly as well as I’d like think that I do.

My Top 5 Lists...

Okay, so I was just doodling the other day and I started making this list of the top five reasons why being a gay Mormon just sucks sometimes. And then, just to be fair, I made a list of the top five reasons why being a gay Mormon is pretty rad! (Yes, I said rad.) Just to give you a polite warning, the art work isn't what it normally is. Let's just say that I couldn't find any pictures that 100% described the situation I am trying to convey, and so I decided to draw the pictures myself... on Paint. What I'm trying to say is, I'm no artist. Heh!

So I'll be posting one reason from each top five list, alternating back and forth from the bad list to the good. That way, I'll end on a happy note! Because that's what this blog is all about! Ending on a happy note...

So, let me kindly introduce my avatar. Oh, and if you have trouble identifying which one is me (which I seriously doubt is going to be a problem) my hair color is always the same.

February 12, 2011

Give Me Liberty!

Prior to baptism, and before I told the missionaries that I was gay, I knew that I was going to have to change my life a lot. “That’s fine,” I told himself. “After I’m baptized, it’ll happen. “I’ll be straight, or at least will be closer to becoming so, and I’ll have it easy.” I was told, after all, that baptism would cleanse me of all my past. So why couldn’t it erase any lingering habits, too? (I’m actually still a little confused about that one…) Needless to say, I was one unhappy camper when I realized this just wasn’t so.

“Okay,” I said, bouncing back. “That’s okay. Maybe when I get the Spirit. Yeah! That’ll do it for sure!” And again, I disappointed.

“No problem,” I told himself, trying to comfort my (at this point) fragile expectations. “When I get the Aaronic Priesthood, for sure I’ll be rid of this struggle.” That time came and went and I still found myself struggling.

“What gives?!” I was a little frustrated at this point. But I knew of something that might help. The Melchizedek Priesthood! “Just one more hurdle and I’ll be there!” This hurdle wasn’t reached until a year after my baptism and even then, I was still attracted to men. “Freak! When will I ever be straight?!” I knew that I could still go through the Temple and receive my endowments, but at this point, I wasn’t sure anything was going to relieve this burden.

I received dozens of priesthood blessings, all on this one topic. I prayed and cried and fasted… And through it all, I never heard anything that led me to believe that my faithfulness would ever lead me to becoming straight. In fact, in my blessing, I was even told that I would struggle with this for the rest of my mortal life. Oh, sure. I could have thought, “Well, at least I won’t have to deal with this in the life after this one.” But no. It was something more like, “Are you kidding me?! How am I supposed to do all the things I’m supposed to AND be gay at the same time?”

This was such a down time in my spiritual progression. I felt as though there was no reason to follow any of the commandments since no matter how obedient I might be, at the end of the day I’d still be gay. So I began to break the commandments. And of course, I got depressed. And then I lost hope altogether.

Now, try to imagine how dangerous a situation this was. On the one hand, I saw no purpose in continuing with the gospel. I didn’t see it as being of any use to me seeing as I could never get married, have children, and all of those types of things that I’d been told NEED to be done. And all of this was in comparison to the ‘happy’ feelings I had prior to being in the Church where I was pretty much ‘free’ to do whatever I wanted. While on the other hand, I knew that wickedness never was happiness. I couldn’t return to my old life and it be the same as it was before. I knew too much now. And besides, I knew the Church was true.

I was caught in limbo. How could I stay in the Church when I could only feasibly progress so far? But how could I leave the Church when I knew that they were right? In the end, I realized that if I was ever to get to where I was going, I was going to have to stick it out. Sure, life was definitely going to get more challenging, and I still didn’t see how I would ever get married, but I would deal with that when it came. Trouble is, how do you deal with something you’re trying to avoid? If I never allow myself to be in the position of getting married, how can I deal with the situation of getting married? Does that even make sense?

And this pretty much brings us up to date with where I am today. It’s a constant tug-of-war with the colorful world of Gayland on the left and the painfully true world of the Mormons on the right. (And, in case you are wondering, Gayland is a lot like candy land. People wear the same clothes, the objective is pretty much the same, and if you stay there too long, you’ll probably die of tooth decay, a diabetic coma, or extreme mood swings.)

February 9, 2011

California Dreamin'

I had a pretty sweet dream last night…

So you know how your brain supplies you with a complete history of events when you’re dreaming? That’s what happened with me. I knew that I had fallen in love and was living happily ever after. My dream didn’t last very long though before my real life dog decided to pounce on me. However, I remember being in my dream bed (it was white and soft) and I realized there was someone sleeping next to me. Suddenly, a rush of memories flooded my mind. With each memory, I found myself absolutely overcome with happiness. I felt them stir in the bed and I turned to look at them. I could tell they were smiling even though I couldn't see their face. Right before I saw who it was, my dog quite possibly ruined my life forever.

“Oh, Michael,” I try to tell myself. “The dog was just trying to tell me that he loved me.” Yeah well he should have known I was about to know who the heck made me so freakin’ happy! When my dog is dreaming merry little dreams of catching unsuspecting bunnies, I know better than to wake him up.

And the worst part is, I had an idea of who that dream person could have been and it makes me a ridiculously giggly and a wee bit nervous because, to the best of my knowledge, that guy is totally straight. Oh yeah. Did I mention it was a guy? *sigh* I live for my dreams…

February 5, 2011

Old Friends...

Before August 27th, 2006, I had a lot of friends. Sure, I have friends now, but let’s just say that these friends were of another variety. Not better. Not worse. Just different. After August 27th, they were all gone. Imagine that friendships are really just kites, each one flying through the air. Now, imagine a huge pair of scissors. We’ll call them social scissors, because sometimes a friendship will go awry and you’ll need to cut that string loose. Now, imagine that on a large scale, that all of your friends are all flying high in the sky, totally unaware, and then you suddenly and without warning, cut them all loose. That’s exactly what I did.

I’ll admit that if I heard that one of my friends ever did this, I’m pretty sure my internal response would be something like, “What a jerk!” And more than likely, there would have been a few more expletives as well.

But nevertheless, that’s what I did. Why did I commit social holocaust? And why on August 27th? Because August 27th was the day I was baptized. Before I joined the Church, I didn’t know a whole heck of a lot, but I knew that if I was ever going to make this new life work, I was going to have to make some tough decisions. I was going to have to cut a lot of strings. And just like that, my old life was gone. But not really…

Unlike normal kites, my friends didn’t just get carried off in the wind. I think I had expected them to. I had thought, “If I just stop calling them and stop returning their phone calls, surely they’ll just move along.” That was the plan, anyways. And, for a while, it worked.

I wasn’t alone though. I had a lot of new friends. The Wanderlys were probably my biggest supporters at the time. They treated me like their own family and actually let me live with them for a year and a half. I think, though, that if it wasn’t for the missionaries and for my constant interaction with them, I probably wouldn’t have lasted very long.

It wasn’t until a little past the first year that I discovered the wonders of Facebook. Through it, I was able to keep in better contact with all of the YSA in the area, as well as those missionaries who had gone home by this point.

What I didn’t expect was that other people were also looking for me. Old friends from Texas, from Southern California, from Northern California… They all began adding me as their friends. Unprepared as I was, I didn’t know what to do. At this point, I had been in the Church long enough to know that just because I was LDS didn’t mean that I couldn’t have non-LDS friends. But how could I possibly mingle those two worlds together? It wasn’t just people who knew me prior to becoming LDS. Oh no! This was so much more. Half of these friends I’d had sexual relationships with. The other half were supportive of those sexual relationships. It wasn’t just a matter of going into the garden and mingling the vegetables in with the fruits (no pun intended). It was more like Winnie the Pooh meets the Borg. (I’m not sure which is which, but that’s not the point.) They both wanted such different things, how could they possibly coexist? So, I ignored those old friends. But there was one person who I could not ignore…

Side Story: Nick Pine…

The last relationship I had before joining the Church was a guy I had met on Myspace. I believe that I’ve made mention to him in previous posts. He was the one who shared the same nickname as me and who knew I wanted to be Mormon before I did. Nick Pine was a boyfriend of mine for about five or six months before I broke it off suddenly. And in case you are wondering, it had nothing to do with me joining the Church. It was just me being immature and scared of my feelings.

One day three years ago, Nick found me on Facebook. When we first began speaking, things were a little tense. I had broken his heart and he had no problem with telling me so. But he was willing to be friends again. Not boyfriends, just friends.

This interaction happened right around the same time that Prop 8 was going on. I’m not sure if Prop 8 was as big of a deal in other states as it was in California, but it was flipping crazy out here, let me tell you! At that time, I was living in the Bay Area and with San Francisco just on the other side of the Bay, you can probably imagine how heated an area this was during the debate over same sex marriage.

On an individual level, I was struggling a lot from the proposition. Sure, I agreed with my Church leaders, that wasn’t the problem. The difficulty arose when other members began saying not-so friendly things about people who dealt with same gender attraction. It was getting to me. I knew that if they knew I was gay, they wouldn’t say those things around me. But I also knew that me telling them would probably only stop them saying it to my face, and if nothing else, they’d still be thinking it. Even so, the YSA were asked to be active participants in the campaign in favor of Prop 8.

My Facebook page reflected that participation. And when Nick spotted that, our conversation suddenly changed from renewing our old friendships to instant anger. He was actually more angry at me for supporting the proposition than he was for me braking his heart two years before. In his mind, I was abandoning who I was along with all of the gay people I had ever known and loved. I was even abandoning him. In his eyes, it was as though I was erasing him from my life, despite how willing I was to rekindle our friendship.

To make this whole thing a little more clear, I’ve only loved two guys. Sure, I crushed and messed around a lot, but there have only been two guys who can ever claim that I have told them that I love them. The first was a guy from Southern California. The second was Nick Pine. Yes, I broke up with him two years earlier, but really, it was because I was afraid that I loved him too much, not too little. Like I said, I was immature.

So when Nick told me that I was erasing our relationship as if it never happened, I was devastated. Even so, I tried telling him about the Church’s stance on same sex marriage. I tried telling him why I believed what I believed. I tried and I tried… and he hated me for every word that I told him. By the time we had finished talking, I was in tears. I went to my apartment, locked the door, and hid in the shower for an hour until the hot water ran out. And through my tears, a little voice whispered to me, “My, how your testimony has grown.”

Amazing how the Spirit works, huh? I was so wrapped up in worrying about my old friendship with Nick that I hadn’t realized that I had stood my ground, despite the cost. I didn’t budge, nor did I buckle and say things like, “Well that’s only what the Church says. I don’t think they know how things really are,” or, “I’m not sure if I agree with their decisions,” or, “I’m just doing what they told me to do.”

I’m not trying to toot my own horn , but I realized two things about my other relationships of old. Thing one: I can stand firm in the face of opposition, even when that person means a great deal to me. So, if my worry was them corrupting what I believe, I guess I didn’t have to worry about that as much. Thing two, sometimes people won’t accept this “new me” and they’ll choose to not be my friend. I can’t help that. I don’t know if this would warrant being called ironic, but I find it interesting that I was quite alright with cutting them loose just a little while before, but the idea that they could return the favor and reject me scares the crap out of me. I think the difference is, they’re would not be rejecting me for some weird personality quirk or even some negative attribute (which I’ll admit that I have plenty of both). They would be rejecting me for my religion, my beliefs.

These realizations have not made befriending my old friends any easier, and even now, I’m not exactly sure what to do. I don’t know if I told anyone this, but a few months ago, I wrote Nick a message on Facebook. It was pretty lengthy because, as you know, I like to write and write… and write. Don’t judge! Heh! But in that message, I told him that even though I was still an active member of the Church, I would still like to be his friend. I told him how I felt, though it made me very uncomfortable being so totally honest. I asked for his forgiveness and told him that I forgave anything he may have done as well.

In reply, he told me to eff off.

And I suppose he had every right to. Agency hurts sometimes.

Old Friends (resumed)…

The worry I have, though, is everyone else’s agency. I’m not good at laying my heart on the line and putting myself in exposed situations. I can’t control their reactions, good or bad, and that whole ‘not knowing’ is like Russian Roulette where the gun has five bullets, not one.

As I’ve been writing this, I keep asking myself, “Why do you care? That was your old life, let it go. You let them go once before, you can do it again.” And that’s true. So why don’t I take my own advice? The answer is one that has taken me a long time to realize. Even in writing this blog, I had to take several days to dig deep and come up with the answer. I think the reason why it is so hard to let my old friends go completely is that I want so badly to belong with them. Let me clarify. In a very real way, I DO belong with them. They could sympathize in ways that my straight friends simply can not. I need people who understand what it is I’m going through and can just be a shoulder to cry on.


I don’t feel completely comfortable telling all my woes to my old gay friends either. They would probably just try to persuade me to abandon the Church and rejoin their merry crew. I mean, I wanted to be able to let my hair down once in a while, but they’d want me to have it down permanently, and if I did that, my forehead would break out. I need something in between.

As I’ve said in the past, I have yet to meet an active LDS guy who was also gay. Actually, that’s a bit of a lie. As of a few days ago, I can not longer say that. I’d like to give a nod to Calvin Thompson, nothing less than a beacon of hope for me. Even so, and most unfortunately, Cal isn’t here.
So what is my solution? How do I solve this problem? I haven’t figured that out yet and I’m open to suggestion. Shed some light on how I can bring these worlds of mine together.

February 1, 2011

Flirting with the Idea of Dating...

I’m struggling right now. I don’t know exactly what it is I want to do about a situation. Okay, here it is…

This New Years, I wrote a little note on Facebook briefly going over my goals for the new year. One of them was that I would go on at least one date with a girl every month. Now, last month I cheated and dated a girl who already knew I was gay. She claims it counts, but I have my doubts. Nevertheless, it’s almost February, and I don’t want to cheat again.

Okay, I realize that one date a month isn’t so bad. It means that out of the whole stinking year, I’ll have gone on a date a whopping total of twelve times. I get that, really I do. But it’s twelve opportunities for me to really make a fool of myself, too. And from my perspective, a lot of problems can go wrong with this whole thing. For one, I have a serious problem with lying and with people who lie. For reasons I’ve already gone over, trust is a dodgy concept for me and I try to preserve what I can of it. But, when I, being gay, ask a girl, being not-gay, out on a date, isn’t that kind of dishonest?

“But, Michael! It’s only a date! You’re not proposing to her!”

Yeah, I know. But that may not be what’s going through her head! She may be like, “Michael is asking me out! He likes me!” And rightfully so. If one person asks another out, there should be some kind of interest in that person. It isn’t a stupid conclusion.

Something else is, what happens if Miss February enjoys it, gets flattered, and wants a little kiss as we’re saying goodbye? What should I do? Kiss her? Yuck! Heh! No, seriously; yuck! I don’t want to be mean, but I’m gay for a reason. I like guys. It isn’t that girls utterly repulse me… always. But I just kind of prefer, oh I don’t know, lips with stubble on them.

No, but I’m serious. What happens if the girl actually likes the date and wants to go on another? I can’t very well say, “Sorry chick. My quota for February is full, and since I can’t date the same girl twice in a year seeing as I don’t really like you in the first place but was only dating you to…” Do you see where I’m going with this? I can’t do that. It’d kill her and then she’d kill me. And then who would write these awful blogs which, as of late, seem to be nothing more than exasperated rants? Who, I ask you?

So, some of you may be asking, “Then why did you set that goal for yourself in the first place?” And I confess! I don’t know! I regret it! No, I don’t regret making the goal. I make goals all the time. (I also break goals all the time.) I regret being so stinking vocal about it, because now I’m being held accountable by my friends who know about that goal. Stupid Facebook…

And to top if off, Carol Wanderly, my best friend, suggested that I keep a log detailing how those dates go. I mean, on the one hand, I’m already changing everyone’s names in an effort to avoid hurt feelings and hungry lawyers, so I don’t think it too horrible of myself for posting how it goes. On the other hand, it means that now I’m accountable to all of you as well. Stupid Blogspot…

To be completely honest, the real reason I have decided to do this dating thing is that I felt as though, in response to my prayers, the Spirit told me that this would help me. As such, I should be doing it with a willing heart, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that I’m still freaking out about it. It’s a major leap of faith for me. Yeah, I’d like help with my struggles, but I feel like I’m being asked to ride into the enemy’s camp, like Jonah was. It makes me feel a deeper understanding for his reluctance to get off his A and do it.