Sunday, April 29, 2007


Several months ago I submitted my personal blog address to several bloggernacle blogs to be linked. The blogs had a specific policy regarding which blogs they would link, and I thought my blog complied nicely. It's LDS themed (and sexuality themed, but LDS just as much, I think), and generally uplifting in its goal. I checked back several times afterward to see my link, but it never showed up. This was on more than one blog in the bloggernacle ring, mind you. I never got any kind of acknowledgment from the blog administrators as to why my blog was not suitable, so I was left to speculate all on my own why I had been excluded.

I can't help but imagine the worst. I don't want to believe that I was excluded just because I'm gay or they found my blog distasteful. But what else could it have been? I talk about sex on my blog on occasion, but I don't think I've ever been offensive or inappropriate. Perceptions can be very subjective though, I suppose. I didn't think a post about sexual attitudes was too salacious, but I saw a link afterward where I was criticized for having discussed my little boy running around naked (without context). So, maybe my writing is just too much for some. Maybe I just did it to myself.

I'm disappointed to say that I still suspect that my being excluded represents a homophobic undercurrent in the ostensibly open-minded and tolerant folks in the bloggernacle. Creating a new blog--one with multiple contributors and a very clear intent to help faithful members dealing with homosexual issues--seemed one possible way to break free of this marginalization. It should have been unnecessary to be treated with respect by the cerebral naclers; regardless, I still don't know if the new blog will merit a link either.

Now, imagine my disappointment when I realized that at least one good friend of mine felt marginalized in exactly the same way with the start of this new blog. In my impatience to get the blog up and running, we created a subset of the blogs discussing LDS and homosexual themes that we thought were written by people who would want to be included in the new "community." This ended up being very hurtful for people who were mistakenly left off. It was a mistake, sure enough, but that doesn't make it any less regrettable and unfortunate.

Yesterday I was explaining friends' hurt feelings to my wife, as well as the misconception that we don't want varied points of view to be discussed, and the horrible notion that I'm just up and leaving my existing blog and promoting some bipartisan break in the community. She said, "Why do you need another blog? I mean, if you're going to discuss the same sort of things you always have..." She knows that I consider many of the non-LDS commenters on my blog to be friends and that I really appreciate all their feedback and insights. What purpose could this new blog serve other than to be divisive? I told her some of the history I've just written here--of being excluded from the bloggernacle rolls and feeling misunderstood. This seemed like a way to add a level of comfort--perhaps even just a superficial one--for those who want to feel very reassured that exploring homosexual issues is not a "bad" thing to do. And by adding one more URL, we haven't taken away any. If it helps more people to feel comfortable getting into and out of their issues, I will feel like the new blog will have done some good.

Friday, April 27, 2007


I was commenting recently on a non-blogger blog (one that doesn't let you delete your comments) and woopsie--accidentally called someone a sophist. I didn't even wait to be called out on it, I just wrote my little apology and clarified that I disagreed with him and wasn't attacking his character. But, the damage apparently had been done and it didn't help the conversation going forward, what with him immediately calling me uncharitable, and me saying essentially I know you are but what am I?, and even pulling out all the stops and putting a "neener" in my next comment back.

Considering Beck's recent post, I've been mulling the difficulties with online communication about hot topics. There are lots of problems with it. First of all, we violate the dictum nearly every day to never discuss religion or politics in polite company (homosexuality being a fairly political topic). We talk about issues that cut to our hearts, and how can you stand back and let someone say something that seems wrong on the topic without lashing out?

I've erred on the other side too, coming down too soft when people say things that are just really messed up. It's a hard balance to strike, and I hope I can get better at it over time.

So, here are some new goals for myself:
  • Don't feel obligated to point out every ridiculous thing someone writes. Other people are smart enough to notice it too without my help.
  • Avoid discussion forums where there is an established history of really cranky people. This may take some substantial self restraint when the topic feels important to me and there are some really really stupid things being accepted as clever.
  • Don't be drawn into a comment war in which some other party and I consistently rephrase the other person's point and criticize it. This one is tricky because I'm always afraid after someone stupidly rephrases something I attempted to write very precisely that others will be persuaded that that was my intent. I clarify and clarify and it ends up being a tiresome bicker-session that informs nobody of anything and has a great risk of bringing out nastiness.
  • Even when somebody is a horrible raunch, I'll only look stupid if I get defensive in my response to their insults. Unfortunately, I've learned this from experience MORE than once.
  • People are generally sneaky only insofar as they are attempting to creatively forward ideals and opinions that they believe are right and good. When I think they are a disingenuous jerk, I should remember that they probably think the same thing about me, and we could all be a little more charitable to each other.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

New button

For several weeks now I've been working on getting Northern Lights up and running. It's a new moho blog intended to be kind of a hub for faithful LDS gays. There are a bunch of reasons for starting a new blog, and I figured I'd fill everyone in on the back story here. You can read the "official" story on the blog itself at

A while back I tried to get a feel for what everyone thinks young LDS gays need in terms of resources. There were a lot of good points made, but I left the thread thinking that this community of bloggers, although imperfect, is one of the best resources available. The community is kind of an organic thing with lots of different view points, and that's part of what I love about it. There are smart, good people both in and out of the church who critically think and dialog about issues that matter to me. On the other hand, I've got to say that some of the posts I read on rare occasions don't do me much good. For example, I'm pretty susceptible to online images of shirtless guys. It would be nice to learn from people's blogs without being afraid I'll open a post and get some underwear shot that will tempt me to go looking for more.

And honestly I think my blog is as offensive as any. I'm free and loose with language that doesn't bother me, but very well may bother others. I'm not going to link to any examples of my occasional irreverent posts, but if you've read here very long, you'll probably know what I'm talking about.

What is a trigger for one is not a trigger for others... and one thing that makes this blogging community remarkable is the candid nature of what people talk about. I don't think that should change. However, I do think that if someone is a member of the church looking for information, exploring some personal feelings on the topic, and want to limit their looking to a topic-focused blog that has explicitly stated standards consistent with the church... there has been nothing available.

So, when I heard about North Star, a nonprofit group that has been in the makings for several months now but hasn't fully launched its web presence yet, I was delighted to have the opportunity to be involved in creating an associated blog--Northern Lights. I really do hope that you will put it on your sidebar, add it to your reader, and consider making it a part of your online rounds (there goes the doctor in me... I can't even think of another way to put it!).

I also want to briefly mention that we've tried to include some links to the existing queerosphere on Northern Lights. This was a quick and dirty effort and we tried to only include blogs by folks who consider themselves to be committed to the church for the reasons mentioned above. The trick is, we just based that assessment on our own views, not on your views. We'll try to be in touch with you to check that including your blog is okay, but if you think we've pegged you wrong (one way or the other), it's your own assessment that counts. Please let us know and we'll add your link or take it down.

And maybe my new button can be your new button too. :-)

Monday, April 23, 2007


This was to be the story of a straight roommate who fell in love with me. But, obviously that sort of statement is in need of a lot of qualifiers. Was he really straight? I think he was. Was he really in love with me? My wife thinks he was. Regardless, by all other accounts we were best friends and closer than I've been with anyone except my wife. I would have asked him to be the best man at my wedding, but he disappeared shortly after I left for medical school--no e-mails and no phone calls. Sometimes I wonder why a guy who was closer than a brother would suddenly drop off the face of the earth; why he would go from driving me and my stuff halfway across the country to ignoring me altogether. All I can figure is that he suddenly became aware how tied to me he had become and got scared.

Let me rewind a couple years to the beginning of the story. My wife and I had been dating for years, but parted ways when she graduated and our relationship hadn't progressed. She moved on with her life and I got a job in the real world. I lived in a BYU student approved complex even though I was no longer a student (shame on me) and enjoyed life finally pulling a paycheck and having my evenings study-free. At the end of the year the perennial student turnover emptied most of the complex and a guy from my ward I didn't know too well invited me to move into his apartment.

At first I didn't like the idea--this guy wasn't really a great friend, just an acquaintance. But the fact that I could go from a shared bedroom to a private bedroom sealed the deal. My then current room roommate deserves a whole chapter of his own, but we'll forgo that for now! So, I moved in with Jeff.

I don't remember exactly how the following months played out, but the fact that he had all the cool electronics meant that we spent a considerable amount of time hanging out. For whatever reason, he was really nice to me. He would wash my dishes and clean up my messes in a way that invited reciprocation, and soon we were just always looking out for each other and pretty close. He would use my stuff and I would use his. We traveled all over the country together and took every weekend we could to go camping in southern Utah. We hung out with each other's family. The lines of who owned what in our apartment were blurred in a way that felt like family. We just got really close.

He was brilliant and had landed a high paying job (six figures!) right out of BYU. He got me a job at the same place and with that transition we were together pretty much 24/7. One day a coworker discovered porn on an office computer and I was asked if I had been the culprit. I honestly answered that it hadn't been me, and Jeff defended me. After that fiasco had faded and we were chatting privately about it, he said he had been 100% sure it hadn't been me because it wasn't "my brand." He had become aware I was gay quite a while before as he used my computer in our apartment. I had been less than tidy with covering my internet history. But nothing really changed after he knew. I had no idea that he was even aware.

The nice thing about the experience was that it gave me a chance to be honest with someone and talk about things. I gave him my speculation that part of my problems with sexuality were related to my repressed upbringing. We compared stories and his history intrigued me. When he looked at porn as a kid and his dad caught him, his dad (a bishop) said, "that's my boy," and didn't give him a hard time. The expectation was always there that he not look at porn, but he didn't feel guilty or shamed by the experience. His dad had an openness about things that took the "forbidden" element out. It normalized issues. I, on the other hand, felt I needed to confess to the bishop if my eyes fell on a swimsuit pinup as I walked down the halls of school.

He said he thought I needed things normalized. I needed a brother. Someone who didn't judge me for being gay, or looking at porn, or whatever. Someone who just accepted me and loved me anyway.

We kept hanging out, getting more affectionate over time. We slept in the same bed sometimes. One of us would fling an arm around the other one in a way that some would call brotherly and some would call flirty, and we'd fall asleep that way. I liked him well enough by this point that things could have gotten inappropriate fast except for one thing: he was straight. We discussed it more than once and I held some doubts whether it was really true. But without going into all the situational details, I had seen what turned him on, and it wasn't guys. Sure, maybe he was bi. If he was, he wasn't turned on by me, but he still loved me in a way that was hard to explain.

The summer before med school we planned a big trip with two girls (I married one of them later!). My wife tells me now that it was on that trip that she first really suspected that I was gay. Just seeing us together, how we played off each other, how much we really loved each other, she was convinced that we were BOTH gay. A few weeks later, I came out to her and she told me she already knew. But she loved me anyway. She liked Jeff too, up until the time she believed he was a rival for my affection.

And, there you have it. One weekend in the fall, we piled all my stuff into the jeep and drove across the country to my new home. We slept in the same bed for the last time and Jeff drove off into the sunset never to be heard from again. We had big plans that after I finished med school we would start a business together. Or maybe we would take flying lessons and buy a plane together. We had a good track record of sharing possessions. But, somewhere along the way I suspect he may have realized that he had been changed by our relationship more than he intended. Rather than just me feeling more "normalized," maybe he was brought to consider some gay feelings he never knew he had. I don't know. I still love him and miss him and now that my wife doesn't feel like she has to compete anymore (she definitely doesn't), I sort of wish he'd step back in and pick up where we left off as friends.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

A story

I keep reading lots of personal stories about the day to day lives of others around here, but I keep on not sharing many 'stories' of my own. Part of this is due to my reluctance to share too much in the way of personally identifiable information. This is stupid, probably, because it would take a research team a good while to dig through all these posts and find the bits and pieces that might collectively identify me, but I'm paranoid just the same.

Add to that my inability to think of any particular story in my life that seems particularly interesting. I could write about growing up and how I had posters of unicorns on the wall, loved rainbows (seriously), and had an unusually large collection of stuffed animals for a boy. I could write about middle school and my complete insecurity around most other boys (especially in the locker room). I had just one best friend and he and I spent all our time together. Turns out, he's gay and off in San Fran somewhere trying to make a life as a performer. I could write about high school and the seminary president snarling at me one day, "Are you gay?" in a very un-seminary-like manner. I don't think I acted or appeared gay in high school, and I was always taken aback by a couple rare such confrontations. Part of the issue, of course, was that this guy was ostensibly worthy to be the seminary president, but he was an intolerant jerk. If I could relive my life again, I would punch him squarely in the face. He wouldn't have fought back (he wasn't the type), but if he had I would have enjoyed getting beat up for it. Pain is so much less intimidating to me now days (hey, I can write for my own morphine! j/k).

I could write about my various crushes through college. There was the straight roommate who I got into a little trouble with, the straight roommate who fell in love with me (did I tell that story ever?), the straight roommate that I think has figured out I'm gay and doesn't return my calls even though we were best friends... Apparently I have a lot of roommate stories. Good thing my current roommate has an "anything goes" policy. ;-)

I could write about my experiences with bishops and counselors, my adventures with my family, my activist moments in national policy meetings, or my med school days.

But none of these things seem all that interesting to me. I could tell the story, but I don't have anything to say about it. Maybe it's time to come out to my family like several others have done recently. That might make for some drama. :-)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A world wide web of relationships

Today I had another required medical conference to attend. It was horrible. There's a big emphasis on training doctors for... well, what seems like everything but medicine, hence today's struggle against sleep while someone droned on about safety issues (that I've heard before a million times--just so you know I'm not a safety hater!).

But a while back I attended a conference about relationships that everyone pretty much hated except me. I guess I have a higher tolerance when there are humanities involved. This one was heavy on the poetry and imagery. The keynote presenter shared a Hindu saying that means, "Thou art that," and speaks to empathy. Essentially, through pain and suffering we see ourselves in others.

This relationship conference actually got me thinking about blogging and why I've enjoyed it so much. I like the debates (sometimes) about advocacy and important social issues, but I also like the stories. I wrote as notes during one lecture: "Stories crystallize the meaning content of social narrative." I don't know exactly what that means, but it sounds true. ;-) Stories bring out iconic pictures from real details experienced by real people. I guess I see blogs as distinct from other websites because of the power they have in this regard. I've been a little shy on the storytelling in this blog, but that will likely change.

My notes also centered on "reciprocal influence"- we are not unmoved. When we read stories we are changed, and I hope the change coming from gay Mormon blog stories can always be for the better. I guess I see the community here as a very good resource for gay Mormons who need... something. I hope linking and incessant commenting by me is taken as supportive of these community ideals and doesn't make me obnoxious. ;-)

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The ideal resource

Most people say on these blogs at one time or another that they wish there were better resources for LDS folks who struggle with their sexual orientation. I'm wondering today a little more specifically what form such resources would take. What would they need to convey exactly?

There are currently books on the subject--not truckloads full, but certainly more than a few from a spectrum of views on the church and therapy. There are websites ranging from social to academic, faithful to antagonistic (to the church). There are quite a few discussion groups available. And, last but not least, there is a fantastic blogging community.

For all of you who believe we need more resources available (and I'm one), what do we need? I don't want to hear that you think your particular viewpoint is under-emphasized and should be broadcast louder. ;-) I'm just curious to know what you would want and need if you were looking for resources.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Choosing yardsticks

Prayer was the yardstick by which my wife and I each decided to marry. And I recommend it as the most important factor for faithful Latter-day Saints when considering such a decision. However, prayer comes in a lot of different flavors and qualities, and you'll only want the best for this endeavor!

A suitable prayer will involve studying it out in your mind beforehand. This probably involves dating for an extended period of time (none of this falling in love in two weeks flat that I've heard about!). You'll want to know how your partner reacts in a wide variety of circumstances and situations. You'll need to talk explicitly about financial philosophies, ideal family size, gender roles, commitment to the church. When a snag comes up, see whether and how you can deal with it together. The way you play off of each other, the way you can give and take, is really important since a good marriage requires a lot of that.

One "yardstick" I arbitrarily chose for myself was that my wife would need to make me want to be a better person. When my actual wife came along, I thought she failed that test since she didn't really give a flying flip whether I swore or watched R-rated movies. I thought, she doesn't care if I'm EVIL! But, she was fun to be with and look at, so I kept her around. ;-) Eventually I realized that in all the important ways, she does make me want to be a better person. Thanks to her support, I'm becoming the best doctor possible, the best father possible, the best husband, and even a more righteous person. Her patience and support has known no bounds. It's so humbling to think about that my gratitude actually makes me choked up just thinking about it. Anyway, I'm glad I didn't hold too tight to that one arbitrary yardstick (although some version of it is probably good).

There are a couple approaches I've seen recommended for making big decisions. One is to trust the intial flash of insight you get when you overall consider some complex issue. The research on this one is pretty interesting. Another approach is to do actual research yourself--to have the humility to consider that there's a lot of wisdom in the world that you can benefit from. For example, parenting is a scary thing, but it's been done before. If you want to be a good parent, one trick is to actually read a bit about what's worked well for others. You'd be amazed at the data easily available to people, and amazed at the scarcity of parents who give that data any regard.

In the case of marriage, there are gazillions of books available. In the case of mixed orientation marriage, there are some. In the case of LDS MOM, there are few. But, what advice exists ought to be appreciated. The higher the stakes, the more important it is to really be as informed as possible. However, each data point is only a data point. I'm not a fan of turning over life's most important decisions to "the authorities," but neither am I a fan of turning up one's nose at those authorities.

Taking one's mass of experience and information into consideration, one is more prepared to present the issue to the Lord. Even then, it may be hard to open the quality of communication desirable if one is out of the habit of praying or not keeping one's church covenants. Prayer's effectiveness falls outside of the realm of science to measure, in my opinion, and will depend on the faith and faithfulness of the individual (which can never be suitably quantified for comparison). The manual on prayer isn't a scientific one, it's the scriptures. And even more data can be had through the scriptures, so it's a good idea to make scripture reading a part of one's investigation too.

In my opinion, the most important decision I've made in my life was to marry my sweet wife. Left to my own doubts and second-guessing, I may not have done it. But I prayed about it and the answer was affirmative. Since God knows me better than I know myself, I got married. Now I believe my job is to never look back and to make all my thoughts and efforts focused on making it work rather than reconsidering indefinitely what I need or where I'll be happiest. It's one place I think the Savior's advice applies about finding your life through losing it. The results of my decision to marry, and my efforts to make it work, will have "infinite and eternal" ramifications. It makes me glad to think I trusted God.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Opening a dialog

Since I'm excited to have some measure of Dr. Schow's attention, and to shift focus away from the size of my penis, I would like to open a dialog about the Dialogue articles written by none other than our own Master Fob and Dr. Schow. But, mainly Schow's. We'll always have Fob to talk about.

Dr. Schow's article highlights some of the limited information we have about "mixed orientation marriages" (MOMs), and offers some guidelines to help predict which marriages are likely not to end in divorce. Overall I really enjoyed the article and found a lot to agree with. But there were little nuanced things that bothered me, so I'm bringing them up here for discussion.

Why do so many marital relationships of this kind fail? Primarily because the homosexual attraction of one spouse creates a major difficulty, despite hopes that such attraction will diminish over time. In reality, the great majority of those who are homosexually oriented cannot fundamentally alter their feelings by desire, therapy, or religious practice.
The reality is that homosexuality is not a choice and, except in rare cases, is not subject to change.

It's no news that the idea that change is impossible is disputed by NARTH. I'm still considering the idea of reading Schow's and Byrd's books as a set to compare the disparate data they present. Regardless, I agree with the statement here except that I would modify it to say, "...In reality, the great majority of those who are homosexually oriented have not been able to fundamentally...". Per the APA's consensus statement there have been no scientifically rigorous data to prove or disprove the possibility of even Reparative Therapy as a viable therapeutic option, let alone other therapies that could be conceived and have never been tried at all. To say "can't" is what nearly everyone does, and is to overstate our collective knowledge on the matter. Resist, people, and keep a good balance between skepticism and an open mind.

Thus, marriage seems risky for homosexuals and even bisexuals since we presume that some will end their marriages without trying therapy and that those receiving skilled professional assistance still achieve only this level of success.

I'm in total agreement that marriage is risky (for heteros too), but perhaps there ought to be inquiry into the manner and quality of "skilled professional assistance" those in the different outcome groups received. I've widely publicized my initial biases on this matter throughout this blog. The fact that people so pig-headedly refuse to find a workable therapist (and it may involve trying more than one) irks me. Well, I said it. Now you all know what I'm thinking. :-)

One of the reasons so many homosexuals enter into such high-risk marriages is that they are encouraged to do so by many LDS counselors, therapists, and ecclesiastical leaders who are ill informed about the nature of homosexuality and the dangers of homosexual-heterosexual bonding.

The idea that leaders are ill informed on this topic is one I agree with. But I'm curious about the "dangers of homosexual-heterosexual bonding"... or is this in reference to the dangers of not bonding?

The vast majority of homosexual-heterosexual marriages fail. However, as Ben attests, some, with strong determination, choose to try and beat the odds. Such hopes of success are, in part, based on claims that some homosexuals have achieved successful marriages characterized by adequate sexual compatibility. Such claims, however, must be examined in the light of (1) the complexity of homosexual feeling as it manifests itself in individuals (the HH Scale); (2) the relative importance that individuals attach to sexual intimacy as an element in the marital relationship (strength of libido and capacity for sublimation of sexual desire); and (3) other important factors such as whether individuals have personal compatibility and maturity adequate to withstand challenges to the marriage which are far greater than average.

Here's where I'm lost. First of all, as Dr. Schow mentioned in a previous comment, we don't know how many MOMs fail, because the sampling is always biased. It's a privacy issue, a fear issue, a homophobia issue... whatever kind of issue it is, to say the vast majority fail is unfounded. To say the vast majority fail for those couples willing to come forward may be okay. To say the vast majority have failed for those who have written books, opined on blogs, or otherwise inserted themselves into dialog on the topic also might fly. But I'm not aware that anyone has managed to measure how many MOMs are out there plugging away unassailably. Do I think it likely that there are droves? No. But let's be precise so as to give people the best information possible with which to make life-altering decisions.

Also, in regard to this passage, I have some questions for Dr. Schow. Are these three characteristics "common sense" or have they actually been measured as contributing to the success or failure of MOMs? They sound plausible enough, but that alone is not enough to suggest they be used as a yardstick for making this decision. And here's why: you also say, "Much pain—directly and indirectly—results when these marriages fail," but you don't even mention the joy that those who were able to make it work may have achieved. Had I (a highly libidinous, Kinsey 6, man of average maturity) not married, I wouldn't be in the enviable position I am right now of being the happiest I have ever been in my life. I don't offer this to suggest that others can or will achieve the same thing by following the same path, but as an example of the perils of presenting only one side of the data (or patchy data or no data at all).

Using language like, "the odds are against him" bothers me a little bit too. Speaking of "odds" in scientific literature ought to be in reference to odds ratios or statistical measurements where the word has legitimate meaning. To use it as it is used here gives the impression that whether a marriage succeeds or fails is a matter of luck--where you land in that distribution curve is just a matter of odds. I couldn't disagree more.

Overall, the article shares some great information and an important caution about the dangers of hastily entering a MOM without a clear understanding of the risks. Many thanks to Dr. Schow for his tireless efforts to research these issues and help engender compassion and understanding within the church and society. Unfortunately, the repeated statements that adapting to heterosexual intimacy is impossible (sometimes with caveats, sometimes caveats omitted) and statements expressing opinions as facts (who "probably" should or should not marry) leave me disappointed that people will be misinformed on these points.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Penis enlargement

If you've been online once or twice in the last year, you've probably seen advertisements for free ipods, free computers, free plasma TVs... etc. If you've been too skeptical to click on the ad to see what the catch is, let me give you the 411. You have to sign up for a bunch of crap you don't want and take a "survey" that is nothing more than blatant forced marketing. If you properly jump through all the hoops, wait long enough for credit, don't lose the address of the website where you signed up, and the company hasn't completely screwed you by changing the terms and conditions of your participation by the time you finish the hoop jumping, you'll get the freebie.

I gave it a try and several months later found myself short on completed offers. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I needed only one more offer, and then it appeared--the promise of male enhancement in a little blue pill. Not the blue pill (Viagra), mind you, just an herbal wannabe with no FDA approval for any indication--almost certainly good for nothing except padding the wallets of greedy men who prey on the insecurities of small-penised men everywhere.

It was presented as a combination of everything good about the Internet: free, private, and a guaranteed instantly enormous penis that would change your life. I needed one more offer and it was the cheapest one. It seemed a matter of economy to go ahead and do it. I had to. And... just maybe, I thought.

This is the type of thing I feel guilty about. Not for anything I did--I wasn't even planning to use the stuff at first, just throw it away--but for supporting a company that is everything I hate. Trotting out their testimonials and "science" to prove what hasn't been proven. Making promises that are ridiculous on their face. Reinforcing the idea that men need to fit a ridiculous caricature of a body type... (this is sounding like an anti-Barbie tirade). I hate that "herbals" get a pass from the government to make all sorts of ridiculous claims and then have no regulation to ensure that they are produced with any kind of safety or that they actually do what they say they do. Herbal supplements can be good, but they CAN also kill you since their quality, safety, and efficacy are all just a shot in the dark.

Despite it all, the risks didn't seem so great when I sat there holding the pills and considered the possibilities (however remote). So I tried it. And, guess what? They didn't really make any noticeable difference. But, if you really want to give it a shot, I still have most of those little blue pills left. As for me... there's always surgery.

Saturday, April 07, 2007


Over the months I've been blogging, there's been a living anthropological experiment going on. We've formed a little society, and it's been kind of hard to define. Initially people seemed to call it "the gay Mormon blogs" or "the gay Mormon bloggernacle," borrowing the title from the larger group of LDS blogs. But this didn't seem to stick and seemed sort of long.

My wife called it the "queerosphere" one day and this term was popularized by Ty Babysfield and the Queen of Queers (to my best recollection). But I'm still giving credit to Mrs. L. The trick about the term queerosphere is that it doesn't explicitly say Mormon anywhere in there. How is this group of blogs to be differentiated from any other crowd of creative writing gays?

I've also seen the term "Gormon" used as an abbreviation for gay Mormon, but that was on a myspace blog that pretty much nobody here reads, and it didn't catch on because, hey, it's stupid.

Now, enter "MoHo". This is a catchy abbreviation for Mormon Homosexual coined by Tito and/or some combination of his friends. I think (and correct me if I'm wrong), that it was initially used to contrast "HoMos" from "MoHos" with the first syllable reflective of a person's personal priorities. I.e., if the person is Mormon first and foremost and still trying to live within the constraints of faithful church membership, they were a MoHo, otherwise they were a homosexual Mormon--a HoMo. This nomenclature makes sense to me, is clever, and actually seems to come in handy in some of the conversations I've had.

The problem is, without a lesson on the etymology of MoHo, how are people supposed to even know that's the meaning? There have been a few interesting conversations about who can be called Mormon or MoHo, and I'm not too eager to voice a strong opinion on that. So, I've caved to what seems to be the more popular usage and used MoHo in my sidebar to generically refer to one who self-identifies as same-gender attracted, homosexual, or gay and who has a connection to Mormonism. Maybe I'll have to break my sidebar links into multiple sections to clarify the distinction and use the term more aptly from now on! Or, I could just take the term off altogether. I hate to tinker with my blog... ;-)

Friday, April 06, 2007

Marital bliss

I like it when people I've blogged about come to pay me a visit. I dunno, it just makes me feel important. Maybe Elder Oaks will come comment someday. :-) More likely an impersonator, now that I've said that!

In the mean time, Ron Schow stopped by recently to clarify his position on so-called mixed orientation marriages. The data for success is unfavorable, and given the recent planned divorces mentioned in the gay Mormon blogs I read, this has never been more emphatically on my mind.

Gushing about how great our marriage is and how happy I am has become a favorite past time on this blog of late, and I'm still standing by that. It's alarming to me how happy I am sometimes. Seems sort of indecent. Seems like I ought not allow myself such bliss while still struggling with so many issues in my life. I wonder whether it appears that I'm not struggling at all anymore--that things are sufficiently resolved (or repressed, depending on your inclination to cynicism) to put me riding off into the sunset. This makes me chuckle a bit, but I've been told I seem to handle everything with "relative ease" before, so perhaps people may get that impression.

The fact is, a couple years ago I wanted out of my marriage too. Not in a formal sort of way that involved conversations and rational thought and solutions (things I tend to advocate), but in a desperate, under-the-surface, frantic sort of way. This was before I had kids. I wanted to be freed from my marital situation in a way that wouldn't involve any pain for anyone involved--no blame, no long conversations, no tears, no betrayals. I wanted out scot-free. I wanted, during my most miserable moments, for my wife to die.

Yes, that is shocking and horrible beyond words.

But it was there, and I've since talked to my wife about it, and I'm telling you now because I tend to say stuff that no decent person ever would. So, I can understand when Laura says in her blog that she couldn't get married and be miserable for the rest of her life, because I was miserable for a while and there was no end in sight. I can understand the reluctance to consider marriage at all and the hopelessness that comes from feeling there are no happy alternatives.

But, somehow I'm still here and I'm now happy, and every once in a while when my wife takes longer than I expect at the store I have a horrible flash in my mind in which I wonder if there may have been an accident. And then I check the messages, look out the door, and fidget a bit until she arrives, safe and sound. If she takes particularly long and doesn't have her cell phone on, I may even start to ruminate on the worst possible scenarios, and they literally bring me to tears. Being a father and a husband makes me cry a lot, it turns out. I cry for happiness mostly, but once in a while it's out of fear of losing any of mine. I can't imagine life ever ever having the meaning and peace that it does without them all in it.

I can't explain how I got from point A (wanting my wife magically out of my life) to point B (horrified that anything bad might ever happen to her), but it surely has to do with Christ and positive change.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Family ties

I'm not all that close to my family. My family is the type that sticks together through it all, helps each other in times of need, and stays happily at arm's length from each other. We've had a lot of good times over the years and being on good terms is a blessing I don't take for granted. My wife's family, on the other hand, are really close. Siblings there are best friends. I love hanging around them as a group because they enjoy themselves so much. My family has parties and good times, but her family's connections seem deeper.

A lot of this could just be perception. I can't be objective, of course. I do know that I've never been particularly close with my siblings. My brother who is nearest to me in age is nothing like me. He thinks we're more similar than we are. I think he's somewhat crazy.

I guess I just want to know the secret of being best friends with family members. How do people do it? I've seen plenty of examples of dysfunctional families over the years, but precious few really amazingly close ones. My best friend in high school had a family like that I always thought. I wonder if it was just an illusion.

I've never had a bad relationship with anyone in my family. But there's nobody in my family that knows I'm gay. I don't think it would change things if they did know. We wouldn't be closer. We wouldn't be further apart. We'd still see each other at the same family gatherings we always have, and we'd love and support each other in the same way we've done for decades. Maybe a family of grown adults can't really change their relationships anymore. My little new family is just getting started, though, and I'd like us to be tight.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Today's lecture

I'm rotating through a department right now that involves interviewing troubled teens. During a presentation by one of the attendings today, several cases were presented and we had to go through the motions of taking a history and trying to "uncover" the real problem. As we went through the process I felt pangs of regret and worry anticipating my turn as a parent of adolescents. I've had multiple close relatives who responded to a parent's ultimatum, "As long as you're living under my roof...," by leaving home and living with a friend. One such episode is happening right now in our family, and it makes for some sad drama.

It reminds me of the difficulties of communication. Will my kids know how much I love them and how much my advice is based on wanting them to be happy? Or will they think it's all arbitrary and my way of keeping them under my thumb? How will I be able to convey when my advice is just opinion and when it's a matter of life-or-death safety? How will I manage to be frank without pushing them further away? I suppose such melancholy speculation is unwarranted for a father of mere babies, but it's on my mind today.

So, my post today is no lecture. I know I make my posts sound like a fatherly lecture at times, but today's lecture is canceled. In lieu, please accept my love and hope for all that's good for you.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Book club, April

Possible modifications to the book club:
  • Selection every month is fiction and designated by a poll.
  • Additionally, anyone planning to read anything non-fiction that they think others might also enjoy (i.e. Foxx's book on marriage, Byrd or Schow's books in the poll last month, books by GAs...) could just say they are reading it and I'll put up their post date so anyone who wants to read it by that date can do so and then engage in a discussion on their blog.
That way everyone can read what they want and everyone else can take it or leave it. What do you think?

Also, my suggestion for the fiction title this month is Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami, The Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason, or if you're in an edgy mood, Blindness by Jose Saramago. I've heard good things about all of these. Santorio's suggestion is Catfish and Mandala by Andrew X. Pham which he describes in the comments here. Post any other suggestions now and I'll throw up a poll in the next couple days.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Random clubbing

There were several things in this book that I intended to post about, but none of them are all that interesting. (Plus, apparently I’m the only one who read the book.) So, rather than post for days about something nobody cares about, I’ll just get them out of the way now. :-)

For example, the relationship between Jon and Norrell was an interesting one:

You think that I am angry,” said Mr Norrell, “but I am not. You think I do not know why you have done what you have done, but I do. You think you have put all your heart into that writing and that every one in England now understands you. What do they understand? Nothing. I understood you before you wrote a word.” He paused and his face worked as if he were struggling to say something that lay very deep inside him. “What you wrote, you wrote for me. For me alone.”

It was kind of like father/son, and kind of like brothers… and I dunno. Interesting mainly because they understood one another in a way that nobody else could understand them. They had some very unique experiences in common. And that reminds me of some of you.

I have no quote for it, but the idea of Stephen and Lady Pole living out their years in a tormented double-life seemed very close to home as well. All along they want to tell someone, but can’t. They feel trapped and unhappy but are incapable of freeing themselves from their predicament (they are magically imprisoned every night). Again, it resonates with me.

This struck a familiar chord with me when I think of some blog comments:

“Ah, but, sir,” said Lascelles, “it is precisely by passing judgements upon other people’s work and pointing out their errors that readers can be made to understand your own opinions better. It is the easiest thing in the world to turn a review to one’s own ends. One only need mention the book once or twice and for the rest of the article one may develop one’s theme just as one chuses. It is, I assure you, what every body else does.”

And here’s a characterization of religion that I think many assume applies to Mormonism as well!

“Their religion is of the strictest sort, Stephen. Almost everything is forbidden to them except carpets.”

Stephen watched them as they went mournfully about the market, these men whose mouths were perpetually closed lest they spoke some forbidden word, whose eyes were perpetually averted from forbidden sights, whose hands refrained at every moment from some forbidden act. It seemed to him that they did little more than half-exist. They might as well have been dreams of ghosts. In the silent town and the silent countryside only the hot wind seemed to have any real substance. Stephen felt he would not be surprised if one day the wind blew the town and its inhabitants entirely away.

The characters in the book are very real to me, and I liked that about the book a lot. A few other quotes that I liked because they were funny, and then I’ll be done:

He had decided that the correct attitude to take was one of dignified moral superiority softened by a very moderate amount of apology.

But Drawlight, who had begun to believe that if anyone had ever died of boredom then he was almost certain to expire within the next quarter of an hour, found that he had lost the will to speak and the best he could manage was a withering smile.

“I think it most unkind of you,” said Lascelles at last, “to accept money for arranging to have me ruined, crippled and driven mad.”

Please don’t be unkind. ;-)