Saturday, March 27, 2010

Wheels and Whores

I'm feeling quite overwhelmed right now. It seems that no matter what I do, drama seems to follow me. Maybe I'm just the cause of the drama. Maybe it'd be better if I just didn't have friends.

I am an introvert by nature. But I am desperately trying to become an extrovert. When I was in junior high, I realized I didn't have many friends. From then on I worked very hard to become friends with lots of people. People would never say that I'm shy now but honestly on the inside, I am very shy and it's incredibly difficult for me to force myself to be outgoing.

Having lots of friends leads to drama. Having lots of gay friends leads to even MORE drama. And being gay myself would contribute to some more drama. Yesterday, I had a friend nicely tell me that I'm a whore. Wow, what a great way to add to the happiness I was feeling at Disneyland. From then, I've been wanting to cry, but I just can't bring myself to do it. My friends are here, and they don't need to know what I'm going through. They probably don't understand or really even care.

Am I a whore? I don't think so. I have a need for physical comfort. It is necessary to my happiness. So yes, I do cuddle with a lot of people. So what? People understand that I'm not looking for a boyfriend, yet when I cuddle with someone new, people jump on me like a fat kid on a Twinkie, accusing me of being unfaithful. How do I be unfaithful when I have no commitments to anyone?

And I am also feeling a lot like a third wheel right now. I'm on a trip with my friends right now, and I feel like they only brought me along so that the couples wouldn't be even so that our parents would feel better about letting us go together. There are two couples, and me. It's been like that since junior high. I tag along so that parents are happy. I'm the gay friend that keeps people "safe" from their deep and dark desires.

There are very few people who I hang out with just one on one. Which is weird since I prefer to be in small groups rather than large, even though I am quite often the center of attention in large groups. The only problem with being the third, fifth, or whatever odd number wheel is that you're kinda left out. And I feel like I have been.

At Disneyland, I was always standing in the back of the group. The other two couples were talking, and snuggling in public (barf) and I was standing in the back feeling like it was expected of me to be happy and cheerful. Um, no. So when the comment came that I was a whore, my mood plummeted. I feel like crap right now.

Do people actually like me for me or just for the "services" I provide? Do I actually make a difference in the happiness of others or do I suck the fun and happiness out of a room, as I feel like I'm doing right now? Would there ever be a time where I wouldn't feel like a lone wheel 'cause I'll have someone by my side? I doubt it to be honest.

Sorry for the whiny post. I just had to write this stuff down.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Church's Little Monsters

I am attaching an essay written by one of my good friends. I thought it was absolutely beautiful while reading it. I hope you enjoy it as well. His blog is

Enjoy the essay!

“What chiefly struck me was the gentle manners of these people, and I longed to join them, but dared not. I remembered too well the treatment I had suffered before...and resolved, whatever course of conduct I might hereafter think it right to pursue, that for the present I would remain quietly in my hovel, watching and endeavoring to discover the motives which influenced their actions” (Shelley 128).

There are those among us who hide themselves in their own hovels, watching others as they pursue the dreams and aspirations of a normal, healthy lifestyle. To those who are hiding in the hovels of despair, in their own personal closets, this paper is dedicated to you: The homosexual member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Published anonymously by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley in 1818, Frankenstein, The Modern Prometheus brings up several points, actions and feelings that are strikingly similar to those that homosexual members of the Christian religion feel. These feelings are wide and varied, and cannot be compiled into one short essay. However, for the purpose of this essay, we will focus on the feelings of shame, loneliness, and joy and how they are similar to the feelings of Frankenstein's monster and those of gay members in the Church.

Gershen Kaufmann, Ph.D, writer and publisher of Coming Out of Shame, describes the almost damning role that religion has on those who struggle with homosexuality or who describe themselves as being gay or lesbian. He says, “While religion has been generally viewed as offering relief from the burden of sin (shame), religion in fact has more often been the cause of further shame...” (89). This shame that Kaufmann mentions so blatantly can come from a number of different things. His book does not focus on religion as being the source of shame, but it is a component. Some members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are no strangers to this shame. Most cannot pinpoint a defining moment when they “knew” they were gay. They have just always simply known. We can describe this foreknowledge as either an innate desire, struggle, or burden. However, we read in The Book of Mormon that God gives His children weakness (Ether 12:27). Some members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) community who are religious and devout members of the LDS faith attribute their homosexuality to be given to them by their Creator. We must believe that this is true with our knowledge of the scriptures and modern day revelation. Elder Dallin H. Oaks, an Apostle of the Mormon faith said, “The efforts we expend in overcoming any inherited [or developed] weakness build spiritual strength...” (Liahona, Mar 1996, 14 emphasis added). If God gives men weaknesses, and the Church defines homosexuality as a weakness, then it must be given to men and women. However, this challenge or blessing creates unnecessary shame and guilt. The monster of Frankenstein felt a similar shame for being created as well. From secretly watching the lives of others, the monster knew that he was different. He knew that he was not created equally as others were. This shame slowly began building inside of his soul until he pitifully cried out, “Cursed, cursed creator! Why did I live? Why…did I not extinguish the spark of existence which you had so wantonly bestowed?” (Shelley 162). He only wished to know the reason for his plight, and as he cried out into the darkness at his Creator, he received no answer. His cry to be relieved from his pain was unanswered and fell onto silent ears which only added to his deep feeling of shame.

Not only is the feeling of shame almost constantly present in their lives, gay members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also feel terribly alone. In the pamphlet entitled God Loveth His Children, we read that even though some may “...overcome same-gender attraction in mortality, others may not be free of this challenge in this life” (4). Simply put, those great and spiritual men and women may never have the opportunity to be loved by a companion. The pamphlet also states that many of God's children will “...not have an eternal marriage in mortal life...many adults who, for a variety of reasons, [will] remain single” (Children 3). Being created in this wise gives way to feelings of depression and loneliness, much like the pitiful creature in Frankenstein. “I am alone and miserable; man will not associate with companion must be of the same species and have the same defects”(Shelley 173 emphasis added). The monster needed someone with whom he could associate. He needed a companion who shared the same “defects” as he. He was lonely and he had no one to relate to. Imagine the added pain and suffering the monster would have had to endure if he was forced to love someone who he never could? The same is with members of the Church who have homosexual feelings. In 1971, Spencer W. Kimball who was at the time, an apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said, “They [homosexuals] can be cured. Your problem can be solved...all can overcome it” (New Horizons for Homosexuals, Kimball 5, 15). These words grip the heart with an icy fist. Gay members of the LDS faith have shed buckets of tears, prayed for hours on end, read the scriptures for years, and still...they are not “cured”. Some members of the Christian faith believe that, if a gay person prays hard enough, they can simply “Pray away the gay” and be attracted to someone of the opposite gender. While this tactic may work for some people, it is more commonly known that prayer does not suffice. Most homosexual members of those faiths consign to either live alone or live happily with a companion who shares the same “defects” as the monster so quaintly described.

Even though the cursed creation of Frankenstein felt emotions as strong and painful as shame and loneliness, he did feel happiness and joy. The same feelings can be experienced by those who are attracted to their same gender. Rob Killian M.D, a gay member of the church has found that happiness. He said “I [found] joy in my creation. I [stopped] hating myself” (Gay Mormon Stories, Killian). The monster, as wretched as he was, found happiness during his travail on the earth: “I felt emotions of gentleness and pleasure, that had long appeared dead, revive within me...I allowed myself to be borne away by them, and forgetting my solitude and deformity, dared to be happy. Soft tears again bedewed my cheeks, and I even raised my humid eyes with thankfulness towards the blessed sun, which bestowed such joy upon me” (Shelley 168). Oh, the joy and love he must have felt in that moment! He allowed himself, regardless of the trials and temptations that did so easily beset him, to feel the joy and exquisite happiness around him. Even if that moment was fleeting, he did experience some joy in his miserable life. As time ticked slowly away, his yearning for happiness did not stop after that one moment. He roamed the land searching for meaning to his damned creation. Upon finally meeting his Creator in a dark and icy wonderland, the monster cried out to him, “...the picture I present to you is peaceful and human, and you must feel that you could deny it only in the wantonness of power and cruelty” (Shelley 176). He spoke of being granted the opportunity to love another just like himself, to share in joy and peace the rest of his life. He knew that he could only continue to experience happiness and peace if he could share it with someone who would love him back. He refused to walk the earth sad and alone, eternally in search of his companion. However, his wish was never fully granted. Sadly enough, many members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints only wish for true happiness in their lives by sharing it with a partner but are denied that wonderful earthly blessing.

The world and the Church may become more tolerant and accepting of those little monsters that have been created differently. We read, “For with God nothing is impossible” (Luke 1:37). This paper is not intended to discourage the readers testimony nor encourage behavior that is contrary to the teachings of most Christian faiths. It is meant to be a message of hope and love. It is written to show gay members of the Church that even though they feel like they have been abandoned by their Creator, there is still the possibility of love, companionship and happiness on this earth. God wants all of His children to be happy and do the necessary things “...that they might have joy” (2 Nephi 2:25). It is surely possible to both be gay and be happy.

The most important message that can be retrieved from reading Frankenstein and comparing it to homosexuals in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the ability to overcome the feelings of shame and loneliness. Members who are homosexual must learn to realize that just because they are different, doesn't mean they should wallow in their self-misery. Frankenstein's monster never truly understood that concept. Even though he tried to reconcile himself with his own Creator, he never forgave him. Right after Frankenstein's death, the wretch looked over his body and said, “ agony was still superior to thine...but soon, I shall die, and what I feel now shall no longer be felt” (Shelley 277). Gay members of the church should never have a similar attitude. They must realize that their Creator has given them the wonderful blessing to be different and to learn from it. As hard as it is, the Lord has promised that He will help those who have heavy blessings to bear. He said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Despite the lack of love and appreciation that Victor Frankenstein showed to his creation, we must always know and rely on the love of our Savior.

As time goes on, other members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will have to learn to love their homosexual brothers and sisters. They must provide them with opportunities to grow as they all strive to become better sons and daughters of a loving Heavenly Father. It took years for Frankenstein to finally accept the creation of his own hands. Homosexual members should not have to wait that long to feel acceptance and love from their Creator and fellow members of the Church. A great prophet of old said these encouraging words, “...I do not know the meaning of all things, nevertheless...I know that [God] loveth His children” (1 Nephi 11:17). Even though the feelings of shame and loneliness creep into the lives of homosexual members, they must and should always remember that their true Creator, their Heavenly Father, made them just the way they are and He will always love them unconditionally.

As an update in my life, the job is quite difficult. The kids like to push my buttons to see what I'll do and if I stick to the rules or not. I'm a softy. I have a hard time sticking to the rules so I'm working really hard to set accurate and doable boundaries for these kids. Their new nickname for me is "gay harry potter". To be honest, it really hurts. I'm going to confront them about it tomorrow so I hope that goes well. I hope I can adjust to this new job and not take things so personally. When a kid told me to f-off and then flipped me off, it didn't phase me at all. But this nickname is too much. I guess it's 'cause I am still ashamed of who I am. I am unhappy with where I am in life and in my sexuality.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A Broken Heart

Some of my new friends have been waiting for me to post something new and exciting. Well, this is something new. I dunno if it's exciting or anything but I'll try and do my best to explain what this week has been like for me. It's been really rough.

I started my new job this week! Exciting? I suppose that's how you look at it. I've learned about being verbally assaulted, physically assaulted and whole lots of other things. Today I spent the day learning techniques to defend myself. Yesterday I learned about finding my own problems in my life before the kids do because they'll tear me apart. Not exactly comforting but I believe I am up for the challenge. I just hope I don't get shanked by a kid with a toothbrush (and yes I know how to make a weapon out of a toothbrush now :S )

But moving on. Last week Saturday was another Moho party. One of the best ones I've been to in fact. If you don't know what they are, they're basically a safe place for gay members of the church (either active or not) can come together and just talk. Well, I made some wonderful new friends while I was there.

Now here comes the dilemma. As a member of the church, I do not feel that it is appropriate for me to be in a relationship with a man if I want to remain in the church. Other people seem to be able to reconcile those two opposing viewpoints but I cannot. It is desperately difficult and I am stuck.

I have met fantastic people. I have fallen hard for people. I have put up barrier after barrier to try and stop myself from getting to close. I have used physical intimacy (i.e. lots of cuddling) as an excuse to fill an emotional need while at the same time stopping myself from discussing and confronting the issue, and trying to deal with it.

How can I deal with something like this? I don't understand why I would ever be given feelings like this if there is nothing I'm supposed to do about them. One of my friends publicly stated that his being gay was NOT a cross for him to bare, as many church members may believe. I do not know how I feel. I know that my Heavenly Father is filled with perfect justice, as well as perfect mercy.

Does that mean that I'm allowed to do the best that I can with the feelings that I have and get a boyfriend while still striving to remain a good and virtuous person? I mean, I don't want to be some kind of whore, hopping from person to person, never getting to close, and never moving anywhere. If I found myself wanting a boyfriend, I would want to remain faithful, just as straight members of the church are faithful to their partners and eventual spouses.

Or, do I have to simply accept my feelings and try as hard as I might to never act on them? After all, no unclean thing can dwell in the presence of God. And the church has a very strict stance on homosexuality. You can be a part of the church if you're gay, as long as you don't act on those feelings.

For those who may be confused as to what it feels like for me, imagine this. You are in a relationship. It has developed over a long period of time and you feel happy, carefree, and for once in your life loved for who you are. Then imagine that you were told you could not pursue such a relationship and that you had to somehow suppress those feelings. That's how I feel. My heart is being crushed at the same time that I'm being forced to choose between two things that I love so deeply.

So since I came out to myself, I have avoided getting a boyfriend like the plague. I almost always start a conversation with a gay guy talking about how I'm just looking for friends and that I've never had a boyfriend, nor do I plan on getting one. However, since I am a huge cuddler, I usually send mixed signals. And this is because I am terribly confused. Then we have "the talk" and we both get hurt. I feel stupid for being caught in the middle and also feel bad for potentially leading someone on. And they feel hurt because they were lead on and because I'm destroying a possible beautiful potential relationship.

It is honestly a mess. And one that I am not quite prepared to start cleaning up yet. I don't know what to do and no one can make my decision for me except myself. People tell me if I get involved with a man that there will always be something missing that I can feel in my soul. That would probably be the church. But right now, I already feel like I'm missing something, and that is someone who I truly feel comfortable with in every way and actually loved. I feel like either way, I am losing. And I shouldn't be losing. The reason for my existence is to find happiness.

To say that I am freaked out of my mind about everything that is going on would be a huge understatement. I am honestly at a loss for words at this point. what?