Sunday, November 8, 2015

My Pain

I'm sitting here, five o'clock in the morning, after a day spent battling depression, and the ever present self-doubt. Spurned on, no doubt, by Adele's crooning in my ear, I have decided to write my heartbreak at the LDS Church's most recent change. I specifically state the church, because if this change is from God, then life is not worth living, and death would be just as bad.

I am sure that this topic needs no introduction nor clarification, but The Church of Jesus Christ [sic] of Latter Day Saints has recently clarified its stance on Gay marriage. Shockingly enough, they still hate it. My pain comes not from that specification, but rather from the depth of hate shown with this policy change. From now on, children of gay couples will not be granted baptism. I am not going to dwell on that much. Many people much more intelligent than I have already said much more than I ever could. I want to talk (or, more honestly, rant) about the subject of apostasy.

I fully embrace the fact that I struggle with my faith. Yes, sometimes I even fall into the category of a heretic, but I never in my life thought I would ever be labeled an apostate, much less labeled such because of a sincere desire to love and be loved. Now, as soon as I do get married to another male that I will love, and who will love me, I will forever wear this label. This label will earn me church disciplinary action, and that action will likely be excommunication for said apostasy. In the Church Handbook for Bishops and Stake Presidents, excommunication for apostate individuals is justified by a scripture in third Nephi, chapter 18 verse 31, which states that "But if he repent not he shall not be numbered among my people, that he may not destroy my people." Destroy. DESTROY?!?! Yes, the Mormon church is afraid that the eternal doctrine of "love" (which was mentioned numerous times in the official statement released in the form of a highly scripted Q&A session) and forgiveness that they claim to teach will be DESTROYED by.......what? More love? Acceptance?

Let me get straight to the truth as I see it. Since Thursday, calls to suicide hotlines have grown. Depression has grown. Many of us who were finally toying with the idea of becoming more active in Church were slammed face first into the gutter. People are literally dying, and the church is trying their damndest to push the LGBT community as far away away from them as possible.

So to the church I say this. This is not a passing fad of immorality. This is not recreational marijuana, nor is it premarital sex. This is real life. This is our reality and our hell, and our blood is on your hands.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

My Return to the Blog-o-sphere!!!!

Hey Guys,

It's been a really long time. First off, I am alive. I am currently listening to "Miley Cyrus and her Dead Pets," and thoroughly pleased with life. The last few months haven't been overwhelmingly good, so its nice to feel content and happy again. Here is a scatter-brained, disorganized recap of the high points.

Really, I just want to catch all of you up on my life, or at least the triumphs I have been having lately. First off, I came out to my family. All of them. My grandmother and parents have known for a while, but I decided to make it official. A big thing that prompted this was an article I read online. it was not a good article. It talked about a gay man in the Salt Lake area who was brutally attacked. (article here. CW violence) It was graphic, terrifying, and to be honest, the entire article made me want to retreat into my shell, and hide. Make my life a little easier by following the Status Quo. Almost immediately after that, I realized that the best way to get acts of violence like this to stop, is through visibility, and so I came out to my brothers within that week. 

They took it amazingly. I felt no love lost. Honestly, nothing has changed at all, except my middle brother is more likely to bring up drag queens in conversations. (Yes, I am a fan of RuPaul.) By the time I made it home for vacation, everyone in my immediate family knew. It was amazing. The entire time my family was camping, I slowly turned up the heat, talking more and more openly about my experiences with being gay. The miraculous thing was watching my parents (who have told me to not get too comfortable being gay) relaxing, and starting to even make little jokes and comments. Again, it was amazing. 

The best part of the entire trip home was our family campfire devotional. My dad lead the discussion, and though I have no idea what gospel topic he discussed, I do remember his testimony. In his testimony, he talked about how happy he was when he was able to watch his sons doing things that make them happy, whether it be performing, playing sports, or succeeding at school. And then, with tears in his eyes, he expressed his love for us. He told us that no matter what we do, he will always love us. That he wants us to be happy, It was amazing. I never thought I would hear that coming from my dad, who has routinely ignored my sexuality. 

If all this is not enough to make me feel #blessed, I got a letter from one of my grandmothers, expressing support, It was all and all an amazing trip. 

I know I am lucky. I know that many of my friends, no, my family in the LGBTQIA+ community do not have the same support that I do. If I have any advice to give, it would be give it time. No, time does not heal all wounds, and unfortunately some people will never be accepting of things they do not understand, but I can say that in the last two years since being outed to my parents, I have seen great improvement. And if your parents, family, and friends never come around, always remember that you are loved. I love you, and there are others in your same shoes. Reach out if you need help. 

And lastly, if you have not checked out Mika's new album, entitled "No Place in Heaven," check it out. As a gay man, he captured exactly what we all go through in his own eccentric and almost psychedelically happy way. I find it amazingly cathartic.

Thats all for now! Look for more coming from me soon.

Update/correction/whatever: Good News!! turns out that the incident in the article I read was faked. Never-the-less, homophobia is real, and the artilce still had a profound effect on me. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

When God is no longer safe.

BYU is failing the LGBT Community. Trust me, I don't say that lightly, and I am not simply throwing it out here for shock value. I firmly believe that Brigham Young University is failing the LDS LGBT community, in fact, I feel that it is appropriate to say that this university's core ideal of helping students reach God seemingly does not apply to me and those like me.

Lets start with some background. Three months ago I wrote a post about a mission companion who had made some mistakes. (If you're new to my blog, or need a refresher, click here) His Bishop was everything you could ever ask for.....understanding, caring, genuine, and ultimately, this inspired man did all he could to help my friend. I saw this story as both a testament to the church, and a tragedy, the tragedy being that I could not expect or even hope for the same treatment with my bishop, as Homosexuality in and of itself is a few gray millimeters away from eternal damnation.

The time has come when I need ecclesiastical advise. I have made mistakes. I do things I know I shouldn't, and regardless of how I feel about the church I know that God has standards that I need to keep, and I know I am not keeping them. (Where to find those standards is the topic of another post.) Leaving the church is something I have struggled with, and I understand that it is highly likely that I will eventually leave the Church. That isn't a problem, the problem is that I do not feel myself becoming distant from the church, rather I find myself being distanced from God himself. I can live with out the church but I do not want to leave God behind. What I need is someone to help me, someone I can talk to about my mistakes, feelings, and struggles. This is where BYU comes in.

Most of the time at BYU I feel like the main character of George Orwell's dystopian masterpiece 1984; Winston. I feel like I am a threat to the perfect society to which I lukewarmly belong. Due to this feeling, no matter how much as I want to talk to my religious leader and find peace and understanding, I know with that decision comes the opportunity for my expulsion from school. Not just school though, my life. Provo is monopolized by this school and getting kicked out of BYU would also mean getting kicked out of my home and losing my job. My life would be left in shambles, and what would my crime be? Seeking to draw closer to "God." Recognizing my mistakes and attempting to fix them. For this reason I will continue to hide. I will do what I need to. I will lie. I will attempt to the best of my feeble ability to draw close to God, and go through the motions, because I want to keep my life. Leaving BYU, as appealing as that sounds, does not feel like the right path for me, so I will continue with my current path until I feel it is time for a change. I will continue going to church, studying, and standing up for my personal beliefs where and when I can. What I won't do is progress. A goldfish will only grow as big as its tank, and my testimony will only grow as far as the red tape surrounding it will allow it to. I don't feel comfortable discussing my challenges with the world, or with the church. I don't have faith that my bishop would be concerned about my eternal welfare as much as he would be concerned about notifying the proper authorities. Instead of focusing on repentance and improvement I see him focusing on investigation and reprove.  Maslow's Hierarchy of needs states that until someone's basic needs are satisfied, they will not be able to worry about self actualization. Self actualization refers to personal growth and progression, something the Church does very well at. To me, that religious self actualization will uproot my safety and security. By forcing me, and many other LGBT individuals into a situation like this, BYU fails. How can someone grow spiritually if the very steps the need to take to do so will violate their personal needs? It won't happen.