Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Was this the real battle?

I feel now, and have always felt, that gays should have the same rights under the law to enter into a marriage contract as anyone else does. When marriage is something that takes place in a courtroom, every citizen of the country has the right to sign a contract with anyone else. Here is where I get to say, "This is America, buddy", and sound like a redneck.

I am a politically moderate gay Mormon married man -- just so you know where I am coming from. I firmly believe that the Supreme Court of the United States made the correct decision on the recent gay marriage case correctly.

I am not required to support it on Facebook (though I do). I don't have to like all the rainbow photos (though I got to tell you that I am pleased for my friends who feel validated this week and wish them all the happiness in the world.)  If we have put the federal government in a position where they have to regulate marriage and marriage licensing, then everyone has the right to marry.

The bigger concern for me has always been of freedoms in general. I am not interested in forcing my moral code onto someone else, and I will not have them force theirs upon me.  Some things just feel wrong, and I would fight that fight until my fingers bleed.

The real issue is not that the government gets to regulate marriage for all, but quite the opposite. The government should not be in our homes and in our bedrooms. The fight, the issue we should have been fighting for is not the regulating of marriage but in putting marriage back in the hands of the people.

I support the right of two people to marry and I support the right of a pizzeria to cater any event they choose. I also support the right we have to attend the wedding or patronize that pizzeria – or not.

Where we go from here.  

First things first.  Congratulations to all the new married people. 

Next thing, and I believe the very next thing: There will be those who will use this week’s ruling to aggressively pursue religious institutions who choose not to marry gays -- which is exactly why several religious institutions have been engaged in pushing for personal and religious freedoms protection in courts of law. (Ah, who am I kidding.  I am talking Mormons and Catholics.)

The same morality that conservatives used to exclude homosexuals will now be aimed at those who do not share their personal beliefs. 

Your religion doesn't allow gays to marry?  Take that.

The SCOTUS answered the question in the right way but we should have been asking a different question. Our focus should have been wither we want the U.S. government to have a more say in anyone's marriage? 

What we have done is given the government itself a dose of Viagra. This ruling that we asked the supreme court to make has effectually enhanced the power of the federal government and lessened ours. The feds get to make the decisions now, and it shouldn't be their call. The final say should have been the peoples. 

We should have been trying to restrict government from having more than limited say in the marriage between two people. 

And now, the real battle starts.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Cal Thompson's big gay Mormon book

The book. It's coming. It's been too freakin long.  The smartest thing I did was to involve another opinion.  This is from the Intro:

Introducing Sister Julie Martin

If you met me at Church I probably wouldn’t stand out as any one unusual. Like most of you I struggle with my weight, worry about my children, love and support my husband and try to get my visiting teaching done before the last week of the month. I don’t always get two prayers in a day, but I try really hard to at least open my scriptures before I start cleaning up the breakfast dishes. And, I have a son who is homosexual.

For years before Sean officially came out, there were lots of signs that should have alerted his father and I to the fact that something was up, but we didn’t want to see them or even think of it as a possibility. And when at last we were confronted with the real undeniable truth, my world fell apart, crashing around me like a thousand piece jigsaw puzzle that had suddenly been turned on its side

I love my son with all my heart, and yet I did everything in my power to rescue him from this homosexual thing. I argued with him, bribed him, threatened, teased, mocked and harassed. I justified these behaviors because I felt I was trying to save his life and protect our eternal relationship as a forever family. In the process I nearly destroyed my relationship with him. Eventually I had to accept the fact that there was nothing I could do to change Sean or make it all better.

I carry this secret pain inside of my heart every day, and I mourn the loss of my dreams and desires for him. I try hard to understand the choices he is making in his life, and have learned great lessons in patience and hope. But mostly, I just love my son, and I hope that however this story plays out tomorrow and for the eternities, this will be enough.

There are a lot of mothers and fathers just like me - I am finding out - trying to faithfully raise their families in righteousness while struggling with a child who’s chosen a path away from the safety of the gospel. Many good obedient moms and dads mourn and pray for kids who have become addicted to drugs, alcohol or other sexual sins, and it’s hard to stand helplessly on the sidelines as our loved ones use their gift of agency to make choices we think are foolish and that will bring them pain and sorrow not just in the long-term – but today and tomorrow.

Parent’s who have children who are homosexual, can feel particularly isolated. There’s a perceived dark shadow associated with homosexuality that is difficult to break through, and a sense of secrecy that forces us to keep our child’s problems safe from the judgment and censure of those around us. “Sure Sean, you can bring one of your friends to the ward pool party, but please choose one who looks more…well, one who doesn’t wear a tight tank top…okay, and … no PDA, and I am not talking about your palm pilot.”

My objective in writing this book is to share the things I’ve learned over this journey, perhaps save other parents some of the needless heartache I’ve suffered through, and maybe share comfort with those who are hurting.

Homosexuality and being Mormon can be a difficult thing to manage but it is not anywhere near a death sentence for you, your loved one or your family. So take a pill.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

What is the "right" answer to a MOHO prayer

The subject continued from the last post is getting answers to prayers and being influenced by the spirit. We have talked about several different situations.

The current scenario is my marriage. I am a gay Mormon married man. My wife is, for lack of a better term, “normal”. (Opposite-sex-attracted is a weird term.) We married with complete transparency.

I started blogging so that I could tout the blessings of such a marriage. Both of us felt that we had received inspiration in getting married to each other.

Did I go into the marriage thinking that I would be transformed? I will admit that, Yes. I didn’t expect it to be immediate, but I did expect something at sometime. I hoped it would be sooner rather than later.

Did my wife go into the marriage thinking that I would be transformed? I think she did, though she doesn’t say it. I do know that she thought – to a degree – that I would change myself.

Was the implication made by anyone that I would somehow, sometime have the gay taken away? Or did we infer that on our own.

We inferred.

I inferred.

It was always in my mind that if I obeyed, the Lord would take this particular cup from me/us. However, there was no established precedent other than, say, Abraham and his son. My ego is quite large. Huge in fact. But even in all my greatness I couldn’t possibly expect that particular brand of divine intervention.

No one is sending an angel to point a sword at me, whistle a Sondheim tune and change me straight.

Frankly, between us MOHOs and spouses of MOHOs, I will say that say that I do believe Heavenly Father could intervene in such a fashion were He to choose that method. However, I think he expects us to do our share first. My share is going to be the day to day obedience/repentance/forgiveness that happens to those who are doing their best to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and the word of his prophets.

Bottom line -- will my marriage work? I don’t know. I am doing my best to make sure that it does. But my wife could decide that it is just too hard, or that she would rather be with someone who had a more butch libido. I can be the best husband that I can be, and yet, there will always be the sex issue. I have committed to not have sex outside of my marriage, but sex within ain’t "all that" for her. Can I ask her to be celibate? I can’t answer that.

Am I enough for my wife if I don’t have a sex life to offer? I don’t know that either. Yet I felt strongly that I should marry this woman, and she felt inspired to marry me.

· Perhaps there is something for us both to learn that could not be learned any other way.
· Perhaps I need to learn obedience at any cost.
· Perhaps the next life will offer us something we can’t even imagine that will make today's pain worth it- a time when our eyes will be opened and there will be an ah-ha moment.
· Perhaps there is no big moment of change and I will need to be content with having obeyed.

Regardless of the end result, I know that following through with the prompting of the spirit is always the right thing to do – even with the knowledge that I may not ever in this life know the reason why.

What would Bob LaBla do?

I would say that the more I know the less I know, but that has been said -- which simply puts punctuation on a problem that everyone will have at one point or another.
I am a gay Mormon man married to a normal Mormon woman. Of course I divulged everything to her before we were married. She was in the know as were my ecclesiastical leaders. There is no need to tell me about being truthful or listening to the "real me".  I know who the real me is.  The real me is the one who listens to the promptings of the spirit.

The advice I give people (imagine, people coming to me for advice – but they do) is to listen to the spirit. I stand by that advice. There is a catch, however and people don’t understand that.
Here is a hypothetical to steer in the right direction – purely hypothetical.  Bob goes to the Lord in prayer to ask if he should move to another city. Bob gets an overwhelming feeling that, yes, he should.  The next month his bid for the only house in the new city falls through.  Does that mean that his prayer was not really answered?
Heck no – if I may be so bold.  
  • He can still move. There are thousands of cities around. 
  • Or, perhaps Heavenly father wanted him to clean his life up – literally -- which could only be done by Bobs getting ready to move. 
  • Perhaps Bob, in the process of trying to move, met someone that changed his life, or someone met him, which changed their life. 
  • Perhaps a family had prayed for a house to move into, and Bobs place was a perfect fit for them. So the Lord provided something better for Bob but wants Bob to be proactive.
There are hundreds of scenarios.  Bottom line is that Bob received confirmation that his moving was a good thing. Bob went and did.
Another hypothetical; Marne receives confirmation that her path, her ideas, her preparations for girls camp are spot on.  She creates a perfect girls camp scenario with help from all the leaders who also feel they are being led by the spirit.  Halfway through camp it starts to rain and does not let up. Was Marne wrong?  Was the Lord wrong?  Were all the leaders somehow mistaken or mislead?
Again, no.   
  • Perhaps the group ran upon a key concept of principal that they wouldn’t have found with out perusing that big idea.  
  • Perhaps it was the preparation that was needed, not necessarily the follow through, 
  • Perhaps there was a concept or a principal that was learned while everyone was focused on working together toward a common goal.  
  • Perhaps there was something for the girls to learn by seeing the adults make lemonade.
There are so many scenarios that make perfect since once one takes the ego out of the equation.  What does Heavenly father want for me?  Is it better than what I think I need?

What does this have to do with me marrying my wife?  Give me two hours to write the next part down.

Here it is:  http://gaymormonman.blogspot.com/2015/06/what-is-right-answer-to-moho-prayer.html

Monday, June 8, 2015

Stereotypical gay theatre post

I have practiced my "I just won a Tony" face over and over, but I couldn't have done it better than Kelly O'Hara last night. 

For that matter, I could not have done a better I just lost a Tony to Kelly O'Hara face than did KristeChenoweth.  KC was delightful and sincere and pleased as all get out that Kelly had won, and it could have been either one of them that walked away with the award.

Yes, I am that guy. I am a gay Mormon man and I am really into theater. In my past life I was an actor and I loved every minute of it.  

In fact, the executive secretary for my bishop called me for an appointment yesterday evening. I asked him if he realized that it was Tony night. There was silence. I explained to him that Tony night was like the Superbowl for gay people.  He rescheduled the appointment for next week.

So, this is a rather stereotypical post from a sort of stereotypical man all about the big Tony night.

Fun Home won several important Tony's, including best new musical and best actor and score and book. The most moving performance of the night was given by it's young star in a song called Ring of Keys. What was it about? you ask. A young girl realizing that she is a different sort a gal as she articulates her attraction to a strong woman with lace up boots and a big key ring. Genuinely toughing. 

There were thank you speeches that gave support to teachers, gay rights, being different, and recycling.  Kelly actually danced off the stage in a fun and charming moment -- and it was her moment. This was the sixth time she has been nominated and her first win. Did I mention charming?  And gracious.

I was troubles -- slightly -- that the show clips were more quick snippets, like movie clips instead of full numbers from the shows.  Fun home was an exception, and it took us someplace that the others didn't.

On The 20th Century, for example, gave us scraps of three different scenes with brief new transitions.  I would have rather seen  "Babbette" with Kristen in all her Magdalene-ian glory as she chooses which script to run with.

And The king and I would have done better to show us the scene leading up to shall we dance. Instead, we got the best of, and little emotion or subtlety.

Hated Gigi, but then I have always hated Gigi. Not with a hate like I hate Cats, but a show about a girl being groomed to be a escort is not a good show for me, and the score is very mediocre. Vanessa Hudgins looked like she had just sucked on helium before the lights went up.  At least American in Paris gave us enough real dance to make us want to hitch hike to NYC.  

An unexpected real moment? Tony Yazbeck singing!  In a show all about dance and love for the big apple, the producers let a sailor sing for half the number.  What a lovely tribute to On the Towns leading man - integral to the musicals appeal. 

The snippet from Finding Neverland was interesting, but didn't really sing for me, even with Matthew Morison doing the honor. The LED background scrim was more interesting than the melody, and the rigging seemed to upstage the Glee alum - not a good sign.  Kelsey Grammer started it off right but the scene never took sail -- even with some cool looking sails.

The one minute Tommy Tune Tribute? Even a wonderfully bizarre hug could not make up for snippets of My One and Only, Grand Hotel and the Will Rodgers follies that were pathetically not enough. 

The Musical number from Something rotten worked as an opener.  It was literally called the Musical.  It was good to see Brian D'Arcy not in a fat green rubber suit. 

Shows I would love to see: 

King and I,
On The 20th
Curious indecent
It's Only a Play
Fun Home
Hand to God
American in Paris
On the Town
You Can't Take It With You (closed)
The Visit (closing soon)
Something Rotten
It Shoulda' Been You



Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Transgender and the LDS Church

I look out for articles that effect Mormons, Mormon gays and Mormons who know gays. Acceptance and kindness are the general issues here.

 I must have missed this when it happened in January. Here is a link to a story titled "A Mormon Leader Signals New Openness on Transgender Issues. This Could Be Huge" by Taylor G. Petrey on Slate. Below the video is a small part of what Petrey says.

(The video is of a dude who answers questions on being transgendered.  I found this interesting and found the responses very warming. Bravo for Bruce Jenner coming out with her story,  People are talking, and that is a very good thing.)

"In a rare interactive interview held at the end of January, high-ranking leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints fielded questions on LGBT issues. Church members flooded the moderator with queries about how to navigate the tension between supporting family members and friends and following one’s conscience on LGBT issues when it is at variance with current church teachings."

"One question dealt with transgender identity, and the response by Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, one of the highest-ranking church leaders, was the most significant—and under reported—statement from that session. A mother said, “I have a transgender son who came out to us about a year ago. … I hate having to fear what retaliation [from church leaders] I might have for supporting him … I think we as members need that assurance that we can indeed have our own opinions, support our children, and still follow our beliefs.”

"Oaks responded:  This question concerns transgender, and I think we need to acknowledge that while we have been acquainted with lesbians and homosexuals for some time, being acquainted with the unique problems of a transgender situation is something we have not had so much experience with, and we have some unfinished business in teaching on that."

"Oaks’ tone was conciliatory and optimistic. A leader of a church that is famously conservative on gender and sexuality issues expressed some reservations about current teachings on transgender issues, anticipating that more experience might lead to changes. Here and elsewhere, rather than retrenching, the church is showing subtle signs of evolving some of its paradigms on gender and sexual identity." -- Taylor G. Petrey