Monday, December 25, 2006

At Last: Tales of My Vacation, School, and the Future

Well, to all those of you who have been waiting with baited breath for the further adventures of Cody - and that probably isn't many of you - here I am at long last to give you an update.

School has been so busy, busy, busy this semester. I think this was the most difficult thus far (and I've had a couple that were really challenging). I just felt like I had so much to do and not nearly enough time to do it. Still, all is well, and the semester ended happily, and I finally got a much needed rest and vacation (more about that in a sec).

The end of the semester has been a little bittersweet. In my speech class our last week we read a very touching short story by Truman Capote called A Christmas Memory. I was already a bit emotional from that, and as we prepared to end class we stood together in a very tight circle, and it dawned on me that at this time in May we would be standing in that circle for the last time and preparing to go our separate ways. I have taken class with these people for nearly three years. We do everything together, and they have become like a family to me. Some I am closer with than others, but I do love each and every one of them, and I am aware that even with the best of intentions we will go our separate ways and possibly lose touch, and there are even some that I may not ever see again. It made me a little sad.

But moving on is also an exciting thing. I have loved this program immensely. Going to graduate school is one of the best decisions, both professionally and personally, that I have ever made; but I also feel ready to move on, and I am both excited and nervous for the opportunities that lie ahead. I still don't quite know yet what I am doing after school ends, but the prospects excite me (though I am also quite certain there will be a feeling of melancholic yearning when all is said and done ("melancholic yearning?" Who writes this crap? lol).

But I am realizing it's the homestretch now, and a lot of mixed emotions come with that.

After school ended (finally!), Jonah and I took a much needed vacation (for both of us) to Disneyland and Universal Studios. It was so much fun. Jonah paid for almost all of it. I wished I could have afforded to pay for some of it, but I'm not currently in a financial position to do that, and he is, so I am very thankful for his being willing to do that. Have I mentioned lately how great my boyfriend is? (And not just because of a free trip or anything; he is just a gem of a man. I sometimes wonder what wonderful things in life I must have done to deserve somebody so special and giving and patient. I hope he truly knows how much he means to me (because, unfortunately, I don't communicate it as well as I would like to).

The trip was so nice. We left on Thursday of last week, and arrived in Orange County, where we took a shuttle to our hotel. We had the misfortune of being on the same shuttle as a very loud and obnoxious family from Iowa. Did I mention they were loud? One of them even turned to me and said, "We're kind of obnoxious." I didn't argue.

We got to our hotel in time to go to the Crystal Cathedral to see a Christmas pageant called "The Glory of Christmas." It's normally $40, but it was discount night, so we got in for $18. Jonah really wanted to see it, and I was interested in seeing it as well. I read about and seen pictures and television images of the Crystal Cathedral before, but had never been there in person. It was kind of a cool building.

The pageant itself was well done. It was basically the story of the Nativity, but they had live animals, a large set, and some very talented singers. They also had women playing the angels, and they flew them in and out. It was pretty cool. I quite enjoyed it and felt a Christmas spirit.

I'd never been to Disneyland at Christmastime, and I just thought it was magical. They sure do go out of their way to make it the "happiest place on earth." It was weird, because I have been to Disneyland numerous times in my life, and the park seemed to take on a whole new life because it was all "Christmas-fied." New Orleans Square was all done up in Mardi Gras beads made to look like Christmas decorations; the Haunted Mansion was all dolled up with a "Nightmare Before Christmas" theme so it was like being on a completely different ride; the Small World ride was all Chistmas-y and instead of hearing that annoying "It's A Small World" song over and over again, it was intermixed with "Jingle Bells" so that there was at least a bit of variety; the character parade had a Christmas theme; it "snowed" on Main Street after the fireworks show, which was kind of cool; there was a huge Christmas tree at the entrance point of Main Street; and, of course, I was with my lovely boyfriend enjoying it all. It just was a different experience than I've ever had at Disneyland, and neither of us had been there at Christmas, so it really felt kind of special.

And, of course, there was all the other cool Disneyland stuff I'm used to doing. We rode Space Mountain (my favorite ride) two times, and I loved it. We rode on Pirates of the Caribbean (another favorite of mine that we didn't get to ride on last time we were in the park because they were renovating it (now Jack Sparrow appears a few times)). I thought I would be annoyed with them tooling around with a ride I've loved since I was a child, but it was still quite the same, so I wasn't disappointed.

We decided not to ride Splash Mountain this time because last time we got very wet, and the weather was just a little too chilly to risk it. I also got a chance to go to the California Adventure Park, which I had never been to before. There was some fun stuff to do there, but it really doesn't hold a candle to Disneyland itself. Still, it was less crowded there, so we were able to get on the rides and attractions pretty quickly (and, really, it wasn't too bad in Disneyland, either, until it got dark). Jonah wouldn't go on the Tower of Terror because falling from heights is something he's not fond of (I don't blame him; I wouldn't want to go on some spider-themed ride for the same reasons) Heck, there's a part on the Indiana Jones ride that has spiders, and it freaks me out (and on the Shrek attraction at Universal Studios the next day there was a 3-D spider that gave me the willies (Jonah just laughed)). Still, he was kind enough to wait for me while I went on the Tower of Terror (which was fun, but not as exciting as I had hoped). We also saw three parades and part of the fireworks show, so it really was a lot of fun.

The next day we went to Universal Studios, which has always been a favorite of mine. Jonah had never been there. We took the studio tour, which is always a lot of fun. There were some new attractions to see, but much of it was the same as it was the last time I went. I love seeing the house from Psycho, although it's not as scary-looking as it was when I was a child. Then it was very secluded and ominous looking. Now there's a Who village (from The Grinch right behind the Bates Motel and a huge plane crash (from War of the Worlds right near the Bates mansion, so it just doesn't look as creepy as it used to. Oh, well. It's still fun to look at.

It was also fun to see the set of Desperate Housewives all dolled up (even though I've never seen the show). I love the studio tour (always have), so I really had fun. Jonah and I would like to do the VIP tour someday (where they let you get off the tram and actually get up close to the sets (and you also get to see some indoor sets as well)).

I don't think we had to wait more than five to ten minutes for any attraction we went on, so that was really nice, and we got to go on everything (many things I had not been on before). We did the Terminatorr attraction, the Shrek attraction, the Waterworld stunt show (which was very wet; fortunately we avoided that - I also find it ironic that they developed an attraction based on such a flop of a movie), the animal show (another favorite of mine), the Mummy roller coaster (a lot of fun); the Jurassic Park ride (also wet (glad I had a waterproof jacket)); the Backdraftt attraction, the Back to the Future ride, and did some shopping as well )I was really glad to find a Spiderman keychain for my roommate (who's as big of a Spiderman freak as I am a Star Wars fan). It was a really fun day and brought back a lot of good memories.

The next day we flew home and then Jonah and I drove to Utah, where my family is. Jonah didn't want me to drive alone, so we went together and he stayed at my mom's house that night and then flew back home the next day. It was a great trip and will always be a great memory for me.

Now I'm home in Utah for Christmas, and it's really been nice being with my family again. I'm also working part time at my old job, which is nice because I can sure use the money.

I also got to see a good friend on Friday who I've previously written about here. It was so good to see him. He and his ex-wife have really had a rough year due to his coming out and their divorce. I feel bad that things have been rough for them, but at the same time I'm happy that he seems to be in a better place. We had a really nice discussion, and it was really nice (for both of us, I think) to talk with someone who really kind of understood and empathized with what the other was going through. We have similar issues, of course, but have taken quite different paths in the way we dealt with it. He has made some choices in his life that really surprised me. I don't judge him for them (after all, who knows if I would have made similar choices had I been in his position), but I have been surprised by them. Still, he seems to be dealing with things in a much more healthy way now than he was, and he seems happy with his boyfriend, so for that I was thankful. Still, it made me very thankful that my relationship has evolved the way it has.

My friend's parents are still having a hard time dealing with his sexuality, but he says they seem to be coming around. I know his parents, and it isn't surprising to me that they are having a hard time (they are both great people, but rather conservative). We both agreed we never thought two or three years ago that we'd be sitting across from each other having this conversation, but we both seem to be in a good place, and for that I am grateful.

I went to church for the first time since this summer. I have missed it, but at the same time I feel somewhat hypocritical when I go to church, and there is, admittedly, an awkwardness that comes from attending now. I love church, but it is different. A good friend heard I was in a relationship and pressed me for details, and, of course, I didn't feel comfortable telling her the details, especially in earshot of so many other members. And I knew she would have a hard time with it anyway. I just didn't feel it was the time or place to deal with it. And, of course, I don't take the sacrament anymore, which feels weird. I was asked to sing and give a prayer and found myself questioning whether it was appropriate to do so (not that I don't have a right to sing or pray in church, but again, it was just that feeling of "I'm not living my life according to these precepts, so is it all right to continue to participate?" I didn't feel guilty or anything like that; I just questioned my status). For example, if you are excommunicated or disfellowshipped, there are certain things you're no longer allowed to do, like take the sacrament or offer prayers publicly or participate in class discussions, etc. Now, I haven't done anything (yet) that merits excommunication, but I am in a gay relationship and intend to keep it that way, so it may only be a matter of time.

My friend and I were discussing that very thing. There is little doubt he will be excommunicated for what he has done. I'm not sure what will happen to me. It would hurt my heart to be excommunicated, but at the same time, as my friend and I discussed, we know it's more of a protection than a punishment because it does release you from the covenants you make as a member of the LDS Church (but also releases you from many of the blessings). I don't know which is worse; to lose my membership in a church I love and to lose the blessings that come with it or to face the afterlife with more accountability.

But, you know, as I was in church yesterday I heard a story that is very common in Mormon lore by author Stephen Robinson:

"...My daughter, Sarah, who was seven years old... came in and said, “Dad, can I have a bike? I’m the only kid on the block who doesn’t have one.”

Well, I didn’t have the money then for a bike, so I stalled her. I said, “Sure, Sarah.”

She said, “How? When?”

I said, “You save all your pennies, and soon you’ll have enough for a bike.” And she went away.

A couple of weeks later I was sitting [my]chair when I heard a “clink, clink” in Sarah’s bedroom. I asked, “Sarah, what are you doing?”

She came to me with a little jar, a slit cut in the lid, and a bunch of pennies in the bottom. She said, “You promised me that if I saved all my pennies, pretty soon I’d have enough for a bike. And, Daddy, I’ve saved every single one of them.”

My heart melted. My daughter was doing everything in her power to follow my instructions. I hadn’t actually lied to her. If she saved all of her pennies, she would eventually have enough for a bike, but by then she would want a car. I said, “Let’s go look at bikes.”

We went to every store in town. Finally we found it—the perfect bicycle. She was thrilled. Then she saw the price tag, and her face fell. She started to cry. “Oh, Dad, I’ll never have enough for a bicycle!”

So I said, “Sarah, how much do you have?”

She answered, “Sixty-one cents.”

“I’ll tell you what. You give me everything you’ve got and a hug and a kiss, and the bike is yours.” Then I drove home very slowly because she insisted on riding the bike home.

As I drove beside her, I thought of the atonement of Christ. We all desperately want the celestial kingdom. We want to be with our Father in Heaven. But no matter how hard we try, we come up short. At some point all of us must realize, “I can’t do this by myself. I need help.” Then it is that the Savior says, in effect, All right, you’re not perfect. But what can you do? Give me all you have, and I’ll do the rest.

He still requires our best effort. We must keep trying. But the good news is that having done all we can, it is enough. We may not be personally perfect yet, but because of our covenant with the Savior, we can rely on his perfection, and his perfection will get us through."
Stephen Robinson, Ensign, Apr., 1992

As I listened to the story for the millionth time, it struck me a very new light: I thought to myself, "I only have sixty-one cents." Sixty-one cents isn't enough to buy a bike; it's not even close. But it's good enough. I feel in my heart that I am doing my best under the circumstances life has dealt me. It's not perfect. It's not ideal. It may not even be according to "the rules." But it is my best at this time in my life, and I felt the Spirit of the Lord testify to me that things were okay between me and Heavenly Father; that my "sixty-one cents" is good enough.

I don't know what the future holds, but I do know this: I feel at peace; I don't feel guilty or stressed or uptight or repressed or any of the things I used to feel when I was trying so damn hard to be something I just never felt I was; and I feel very happy, happier than I've felt in a long, long time. I feel I can be myself, I feel comfortable in my skin, and I'm far more open and much less afraid than I was in the past. The wall that I kept up so long in life is finally coming down, brick by brick, and I am a better person for it. In many ways I understand God's love for me better than I ever have.

I always thought my world would somehow implode if I ever came out; that the powers of hell would somehow descend upon me and cause me misery and unhappiness. I've discovered that it isn't true. My friends are still my friends, my family is still my family, my God is still my God, things are good between all of us, and I am in love and happy with my life. I'm not saying things are always easy or that life is not without its challenges nor do I claim to understand why things are the way they are nor do I even remotely want anyone to think that my choices are right for anybody else (after all, each person has to figure out what's best for them themselves). Nor do I even claim that the choices I'm making will always be the right ones. I'm just saying that at this point in my life, this is the right thing for me to do, and so I'm doing it. It's been an interesting road, but well worth it.

I know I have some challenges ahead (some that I'm kind of putting off facing), but I really am very happy with where I am in life.

Jonah and I had a really great talk last night. We sure miss each other. I was listening to some music the other night that reminded me of him and was just overwhelmed by the love we have for each other. There is no doubt in my mind that that God, through his Holy Spirit, was blessing me with these feelings, and I just thought to myself, "This is right, and this is good." I don't know how that all correlates with Mormonism (because I still do believe the LDS Church is true), but, as I have always tried to do, I'm just trusting that God knows what he's doing and feel very good about our relationship with each other.

That's all. Merry Christmas, everyone.

Monday, December 04, 2006


For any of you who have sent me comments lately, for some reason they are not posting. I have my comment moderator enabled, so they get sent to my email address, but when I try to post them, I keep getting an error message. It was working fine about a week ago, but now I'm having trouble. Any of you out there who are more computer-savvy than me who know how to fix this problem, let me know. And, again, sorry your comments haven't been posted.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Bad Acting Teachers

I wish I had written this post when I was feeling more emotional about it because I think it would have conveyed my anger better, but as it is, I will have to write it feeling more calm.

In my graduate program I have had the opportunity of meeting and working with some very interesting and, sometimes, famous people in the theatre industry. In my time here I have, for example, met Hal Prince, Sally Struthers, Tommy Tune, Tony Curtis, Karen Morrow, and Don Pippin among others. Two weeks ago we had a special guest speaker, a renowned acting coach in L.A. who has worked with such performers as Leonardo DiCaprio, Helen Hunt, Hilary Swank, Hank Azaria, Noah Wyle, and Michael Clarke-Duncan, and many of these celebrities have won awards for specific movies he coached them for. This man (who I won't name (although if you do the research you can probably figure out who he is) came to do a two hour workshop with both the graduate class and undergraduate class where he would work with some of us on specific scenes we've been working on in class. It was something I was looking quite forward to, and I was excited.

Now I am not one who swears or is easily prone to anger, but this man's behavior left me feeling very upset, and the words "asshole," "douche-bag," and "bullshit" were very impressed on my mind in regards to this man and his methods. This man was one of the most arrogant, abusive, and emotionally-manipulative people I have ever met in my entire life, and I found his teaching style (if one can even call it that) repugnant and disgusting.

This man was one of those cliché "Method acting" teachers who felt he was successful in teaching one to "act' if he made you have a "real feeling," even if that feeling was completely inappropriate to the scene or the role. For example, the first scene he worked on was a scene from Hedda Gabbler, in which two of my friends were working. This man basically tore into one of my friends on a very personal level and made her cry and then made her and my friend do the scene again and felt he had succeeded in helping them be better actresses because my one friend was weeping and my other friend was obviously angered and uncomfortable because of the whole situation. Never mind that those emotions had nothing to do with the scene or the roles they were playing.

This man was an insulting blow-hard who contradicted himself on many occasions, and I found his teaching methods extremely irresponsible. I don't care if he's the greatest acting teacher in the world; his lack of humanity was repulsive to me, and I don't ever want to work with someone like that.

He was constantly name-dropping and telling us how excellent a coach he was and how much he cared about acting and actors, yet in the same breath he would insult us and deride us without knowing anything about us. He fully admitted he hated people in general and told us at the end of the workshop that if anything he said had offended or upset us, it was our fault, not his. He seemed like such a bitter, cynical man, and I was so disappointed and angry by his behavior, not to mention that he didn't really teach us anything we didn't already know; he simply insulted us and treated us like crap.

Most of my teachers (except the guy responsible for bringing him in) were upset by his behavior, and two of my teachers even walked out on the workshop. After the workshop, several of us got together and bitched about the guy for about an hour and a half.

I told my students (who weren't even present for the workshop) that any acting teacher who kills their spirit in the name of better acting isn't worth their time, and two of my own teachers told my own class just as much.

The reason I even post this is because there are acting teachers out there like this man who are emotionally-manipulative, abusive, self-important jerks, and acting students think they have to put with it because of the results. I think that is a psychologically damaging route for an actor to take, and I don't think an actor should have to put up with such crap. I'm embarrassed that this man is so renowned in the industry and that supposedly smart actors and actresses put up with his garbage.

There were a handful of actors in our group that enjoyed the workshop, and I suppose if they got something positive out of it, more power to them. What I learned is that I neither want to work with people like this man nor do I ever want to become someone like this man. One thing he said in his workshop is that he was a nice guy once, but that he wasn't anymore and didn't care what people though of him, and that his acting was richer for it, to which I say, "What profiteth it a man to gain the whole world, but to lose his own soul?"

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Things Never Change, Do They?

So I was reading Antigone by Sophocles, and something struck me. For those of you who don't know the story of Antigone, without going into great detail I will say it involves a political leader named Kreon who is so dead-set in his proclamations and in being right that he forgets to be wise (now that doesn't remind you of anyone, does it?).

Here is the advice his son, Haimon, gives him:

Father, the gods' most precious gift to man
Is reason. Now, I know I haven't the right,
Nor the skill, nor, god knows, do I want,
Ever, to tell you that you have reasoned badly.
And yet it's possible that someone else
Might think differently and still be useful.
I realize that, normally speaking,
It's not for you to hear what people say,
See what they do, learn what they feel and think.
You terrify them; they say what you want to hear,
Everything else they hold back.
But I hear what they're saying, I hear their whispers,
Their muttered words in the dark...

...Father, there's nothing more dear than your success.
What greater happiness can ther be for a son
Than to see his father's name increase in glory,
And for a father to see his son do the same?

I beg of you, don't make the mistake of thinking
That only you are right. The man who thinks so,
The man who believes that only he has wisdom,
That he alone has the gift of words, the power
Of Reason - that man, when you lay him open,
Is seen to be empty. There's no shame in yielding
To Reason, even for a wise man.

Trees that bend with the flooding torrent
Come through safe and sound;
But those that resist are torn out, roots and all.
The same in sailing: pull a cloth too taut,
And never slacken, you'll end bottom-side up
For the rest of the voyage. Give yourself leeway, father:
Forget your anger, allow for change.

I know I'm young,
But if I had advice to give,
I'd say that men should always be all-wise
By nature. But since that's not the way of things,
Then learn from the good advice of others.

One thing I like about really good theatre (and I think Shakespeare and the Greek classics certainly qualify) is their universality. The flaws and predicaments that faced the characters in these plays are the same issues we deal with today.

Somehow I thought the speech was apropos. Good advice for any political leader. Even one...say...that we know. ;-)

That's all for today, though I do have plans to post an entry dealing with what I feel is deplorable methodology as far as teaching the art of acting is concerned. A recent experience prompted my feelings about it, but it is far too lengthy to talk about now. I'm a busy boy lately and also very tired right now, so I don't know when exactly I will get to it, but it is something I'm quite eager to write about , so I hope to do it sooner than later.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Great Day For Democrats!

I am pleased and happy. I don't know how much it will change things, but I am optimistic. Control of the House. It looks like control of the Senate last I heard. And Donald Rumsfeld is out. Some Democratic victories in Utah. Bush's last two years should prove challenging for him. What a delightful day!

Jonah told me why he doesn't vote. It's actually an acceptable reason. I still hope to sway him to exercise his right to vote some day, but I'm okay with his reason and decision.

My current show, Twelfth Night, is proving to be a blast. I'm having such a great time in rehearsals.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

My Boyfriend Doesn't Vote

Read this post knowing that I am doing it with a somewhat humorous tone rather than a dead serious one.

I was somewhat distressed to learn last night that Jonah doesn't vote. He didn't explain why (he said it was long story), so I am not judging his decision not to vote. But, since I am a pretty politically active individual myself, it bothered me (certainly not to the extent that it has any bearing on my relationship with him; I still love him.) He jokingly said if it's not a problem that he's not Mormon, certainly his failure to vote shouldn't cause any friction between us. And he's right. I may consider it my civic duty to vote, but if he chooses not to, I suppose that is his prerogative. "Besides," I told him, "if you're going to vote Republican {which he very well might have done}, I'd rather you didn't vote."

I guess the reason I feel voting is so important is because I feel it shows you at least care about what is going on in your government and is a way to bring about change when things aren't going so well. I feel very little sympathy for people who complain about their government, but don't participate in the voting process. I feel voting gives me a right to complain. For example, I didn't vote for George W. Bush in either election, and when I hear people complain about him who either didn't vote or voted for him, I don't feel much sympathy towards them because they are the ones that caused the idiot to be elected in the first place. But I can smugly say, "Well, I didn't vote for him."

But then I also realize that often my vote doesn't always seem to make a difference in my home state of Utah. It looks like Orrin Hatch is, once again, going to remain my state senator and people like Chris Cannon still get re-elected in spite of the fact that I think both men clearly are bad for our government. Fortunately, my state representative, Jim Matheson, who is a Democrat (although about as Republican as a Democrat can be in Utah) is staying in office. But I like Jim Matheson. I feel he's a man who votes his conscience rather than just straight party, and I feel that's an important quality whether one is a Republican or a Democrat. But back to my point: I don't always feel that my wee Democratic vote holds much sway in a particularly Republican-entrenched state (and it continually boggles my mind that people keep complaining about governmental issues in my state, but keep the same people in office year after year (just because they are Republican, I assume (perhaps wrongly).

Yet, as I see the returns in some of the state elections this year, I actually do feel, for once, that maybe my vote did make a difference. I just think it's really important to be politically involved. Otherwise, how can we change what is bad or make the people we put in office accountable?

That being said, Jonah is a sweetheart, and, who knows, maybe he has a perfectly good reason for not voting (perhaps he was mauled in a tragic voting accident, and the trauma is just too much for him to bear; I don't know).

In any case, I hope you all voted.

Other info: Jonah and I had a talk about sex last night. We talked about what we're interested in doing and what we're not interested in doing once we have sex after we are married. It was a good discussion. I like that we can be frank and honest about that kind of stuff. I think it's important to communicate honestly and openly as a couple, and I feel we do that well.

It also gave me an opportunity to ask him if we could get an HIV test together before we get married and have sex. I made it clear it has nothing to do with trust issues (on either of our parts). I trust Jonah implicitly, and I know he feels the same towards me. It's more of a symbolic gesture; a way of saying that we are each other's first. I said to Jonah, "I hope that doesn't seem weird, but it's something I'd like to do." It's actually an idea prompted by something I remember reading on Scot's blog.

Jonah, as I guessed, had no problem with it, and said we could even take it together and review the results together. I was glad he was so open to it. He really is a great guy. I am so lucky to have the most understanding, patient, wonderful boyfriend on the planet.

We've been talking marriage. Obviously, we can't get married legally in this country, but we want to do something to formalize our commitment to one another. We haven't decided where or when yet, but it's been fun and exciting (and sometimes scary) to talk about). I can't believe I'm finally willing to commit and settle down with somebody. Believe you me, if you knew my dating and commitment issues in the past, I think you'd realize what a wonderful man Jonah must be for me to take this step in my life.

Before I met Jonah, I had all but given up on love and marriage. I truly believe God put him in my life, and I am so grateful and blessed to have him. Again, I know that this path is not right for everyone, and I truly do applaud each of you for doing what you feel is right for you. But this really feels right to me. It feels good. It feels happy. It feels right.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

William Faulkner and Twelfth Night

I should be doing homework right now, but just can't seem to get motivated to actually do it, so I thought I'd update my blog instead. Aren't you all pleased?

So I just recently started rehearsals for Twelfth Night , which I am extremely excited about. We have a really good cast, and I am so delighted to be working with this particular director. Even if the finished product isn't to the audience's or the critics' liking, I can tell I am going to have a lot of fun.

On the night of our first rehearsal our director read William Faulkner's acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize as kind of a motivational thing and also to illustrate the vision he has for this particular production. Faulkner specifically talks about his role as a write, but our director asked us to substitute "writer" in this speech for whatever our discipline might be (i.e. acting, directing, scenic design, lighting design, etc.). So all you artists out there, take note:

Stockholm, Sweden, Nov. 10, 1950

"I feel that this award was not made to me as a man, but to my work--a life's work in the agony and sweat of the human spirit, not for glory and least of all for profit, but to create out of the materials of the human spirit something which did not exist before. So this award is only mine in trust. It will not be difficult to find a dedication for the money part of it commensurate with the purpose and significance of its origin. But I would like to do the same with the acclaim too, by using this moment as a pinnacle from which I might be listened to by the young men and women already dedicated to the same anguish and travail, among whom is already that one who will some day stand where I am standing.

"Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained by now that we can even bear it. There are no longer problems of the spirit. There is only one question: When will I be blown up? Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat.

"He must learn them again. He must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid: and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed--love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice. Until he does so, he labors under a curse. He writes not of love but of lust, of defeats in which nobody loses anything of value, of victories without hope and, worst of all, without pity or compassion. His griefs grieve on no universal bones, leaving no scars. He writes not of the heart but of the glands.

"Until he learns these things, he will write as though he stood among and watched the end of man. I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal simply because he will endure: that when the last ding-dong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his inexhaustible voice, still talking. I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet's, the writer's, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail."

I think you had to actually be at our rehearsal to really appreciate the spirit in which the piece was read, but I share it nonetheless.

Jonah and I are planning a trip to Disneyland and Universal Studios in December. We are both very excited about it.

My sister relayed an awkward moment she had at my cousin's daughter's birthday party yesterday. My cousin told her she heard I had a girlfriend (because of an email I had sent about a month ago). My sister replied that, no, I did not have a girlfriend. My cousin said, somewhat confused, "Oh, I thought he did." That was basically all that was said, but I did feel bad that my sister was put in a position where she didn't know what to reveal about my relationship with Jonah. I feel kind of obligated to tell my relatives and friends who don't know about me and Jonah. I imagine when I go home for Christmas I will at least start telling my relatives.

I've told some people and others I haven't. Not sure why. I guess I just worry about the possible negative reactions. I realize there isn't much I can do about that, but I worry about it nonetheless.

I can't believe I only have six months of school left. Boy, it has flown by quickly.

This post was rather random, wasn't it?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Hats Off!

I just want so many of you out there in blogland to know how much I admire each of you. I admire each of you for trying your best to do what you feel is best for you. I read many of your blogs, and I am moved by each of your stories in different ways. There are never any easy answers in life, and I just am filled with admiration for people having the courage to do what they feel they must.

I admire people like Beck and Elbow and John Galt and Kengo Biddles and Loyalist (with Defects) who are trying to make their marriages work and stay true to those covenants in spite of great challenges. I admire people like -l- and Master Fob and Santorio who seem to be succeeding at marriage in spite of their homosexual attractions. I admire people like Dave and Pinetree and Attempting the Path and El Veneno who seem to be active in the LDS Church and are trying to live their lives according to their testimonies in spite of great challenges. I admire people like Foxx and Chris (Hurricane) who felt they needed to make other choices in life to be happy and for pursuing love where they were previously told they shouldn't look (I suppose I'm in this category myself). I admire people like Scot and Hawaii Dave for finding and succeeding in their relationships and being a good example of what a gay relationship can be. I admire people like DCTwistedLife and Peculiar Mormon who continue to hang on even when things seem hopeless. There are so many others whoise stories I read that I admire. What I admire most about so many of you is that we all seem to be part of a bizarre network or family of people with a common starting place and even if we may not always agree on certain issues or always see eye to eye, there is a spirit of love and understanding and brotherhood without a lot of passing judgment on one another for the choices we may make. I like that. I don't think anyone can truly know what is right for another person. I think that needs to be up to that person and his Creator.

As for me, I find it ironic that I'm in such a happy, blessed place right now in spite of the fact that I'm living my life contrary to the way I was taught. I'm still the good person I've always been. My family is still my family. My friends are still my friends. My God is still my God, and I still have what I feel is a really good relationship with Him. I'm in love, I'm happy, I'm doing well, and I'm at peace. My life has not imploded as I somehow thought it would, and I feel so much less stress and repression in my life. I feel like I'm finally allowed to be the person I've always felt I was.

And, yet, ironically, I still very much believe the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is God's true church on earth. I don't think I'll ever be able to deny that (nor do I think I'd want to). But somehow all seems right regardless of the fact that I'm inactive in my church and in a gay relationship. Again, no one can fully know what is right for someone else, and I admire all of you for taking the roads you feel you must take at this time in your lives. I only know that this is the right path for me right now, and I'm happy to be on it.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

A Doll House

Here is a quote from a play I am reading right now. I've read it before, but somehow I found these words apropos at this time in my life.

"I believe that, first and foremost, I'm a human being - just as much as you - or at least I should try to become one. ...I can't be satisfied any more with what most people say, or what's written in the books. Now I've got to think these things through myself, and understand them.

"...I only know what Pastor Hansen said when I was confirmed. He told me that religion was this and that and the other thing. When I get away from here, when I'm alone, I'll look into that subject too. I'll see if what Pastor Hansen said is true - or at least, if it's true for me.

"...I only know that my ideas are totally different from yours. I find out that the law is not what I thought it was - but I can't get it into my head that the law is right.

"...Now I'm going to find out for myself. I've got to figure out who's right - the world or me.

"...I've never been so clear - and so certain - about so many things as I am tonight."
- Nora, A Doll House by Henrik Ibsen

Thursday, October 12, 2006


I'm just so in love!

That's all.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Looking Back

I recently reread a post I made in June that said, in part, this:

"I wish I was more emotional. I don't know why this wall is up so high or why I've subconsciously convinced myself that crying is not a good thing. Jonah will write me emails about how much he misses me and that he cries about it. I miss Jonah very much, but I don't cry. My mom's on a vacation, and I miss her, but I don't cry. Life holds many challenges, but I don't cry over them. And consciously, I'd love to cry. I'd love to have a bawling fit over something. But I don't. It bothers me sometimes that I'm so unemotional and rational and practical all the time. It makes me feel like I'm not fully living or feeling. And it bothers me that I only seem to love Jonah with part of my heart rather than all of it when I so much want to allow myself to love him fully. It's not fair to either of us. Someone like Jonah is just what I need. I love him a lot. I just wish I could feel more deeply."

It occurred to me today that I no longer feel like I'm loving Jonah with just part of my heart any more. It occurred to me that I feel a very deep love for him. I feel like I'm finally letting go of so many of the walls I've built up over the years, and it feels really good.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

A Whole New World

So I flew to Utah to attend my niece's baptism. No one knew I was coming except my mom, so it was really fun to see how surprised people were by my coming. I also surprised some friends as well who didn't know I'd be in town (and told three more friends that I've come out of the closet; again, nothing but support and love all around). My brother and sister-in-law were extremely touched that I flew down. However, my main reason for writing today is to talk about airport security.

I have not flown since the week of September 11, 2001; nothing to do with a fear of flying or being attacked or anything like that; I simply haven't had the time, money, or opportunities for air travel in the five years since 9/11 occurred. I do keep abreast of the news, so I certainly am aware of all the changes that have occurred in airport security since I last flew (and by the way, the last time I flew I was taken off the plane and interrogated by the crew for about 25 minutes because they thought I might be a threat to the flight, but that is a story for another time). In any case, I had not experienced any of these changes in security firsthand until Friday, and, quite frankly, I was just sort of struck by the absurdity of it all. Please don't misunderstand me; I certainly understand how many innocent lives were taken on that tragic day and that the safety measures that are in play are there to protect us and to prevent something equally awful from occurring again, but as I was waiting in the long line to go through security, it just felt like so many of the the things that are being done are a knee-jerk overreaction to what has occurred and, on some level, feels like a way of giving the illusion that we are safer than we were five years ago when, in fact, we are only more inconvenienced.

When I went to the airport, I made sure to leave my pocketknife at home and put all my gels and liquids in the bag I checked rather than my carry-on. Of course, the security line was long, and I had to show ID and my boarding pass to get through, which, of course, wasn't something I had to do five years ago. That made sense to me. I was slightly amused by the sign at the airport that had pictures of scissors, a pocketknife, a gun, and a cartoon bomb (you know, the kind that looks like a bowling ball with a fuse in it) crossed out with red Xs to let us know we couldn't bring those items beyond that point. I can see inadvertently bringing a pair of scissors or a pocketknife and even possibly a gun, but I think anybody who's got a bomb on them (especially one that looks like it belongs in a Bugs Bunny cartoon) probably brought it intentionally, and that warning sign probably isn't going to deter them any. It's not like anybody's saying, "Oh, my gosh, honey, I forgot all about this bomb in my purse."

And then, of course, I've read about the "taking off of the shoes," but as I looked at the people ahead of me in line removing their shoes, I thought to myself, "Are we really doing this?" Of course, I took off my shoes and jacket and placed them on the conveyor belt with my carry-on (but not my belt, even though other people were removing theirs; I thought, "If they need me to remove my belt, they'll let me know." But as I went through the metal detector (but not an x-ray at this particular airport), I thought, "How do they know I don't have an envelope of anthrax in my pocket or a carved ivory knife duct taped to my thigh?" They don't.

My point is this: if a terrorist wants to wreak havoc, they will fnd a way to get through. I thought of at least four ways I could diable somebody on a plane that these particular security measures were helpless in preventing. It just bothers me that because a terrorist brings a shoe bomb on board, we now all have to remove our shoes or because a toxic liquid has been brought on board, we're now pretty much exempt from bringing toothpaste, lotion, or bottled water on board. Again, don't misunderstand me; I'm not trying to minimize the good that those security measures do. I'm just saying that a lot of it seems like a facade to me especially since those measures aren't even consistent from airport to airport. And when you think of all the attention we focus on airports and realize all the other ways a terrorist can wreak havoc that aren't even being dealt with, it just makes homeland security seem like a big joke.

But maybe we are safer. I guess I was just struck by it. It just felt silly and absurd on some level. I'm sure there are many out there that disagree with me, and that's fine. I'm not even entirely sure how I feel about it myself. It just was such a different world from the last time I flew. But it didn't strike me particularly as being any safer; just slightly ridiculous and slightly more inconvenient. I'll probably get some flak for thinking so, but it was just my general impression.

In other news, when my brother called me to express his gratefulness that I was able to come to his daughter's baptism, I expressed that I was sorry I wasn't able to stand in the circle to confirm her, and he was very nice about it. I sat between my mom and sister at sacrament meeting today and, of course, didn't take the sacrament. I guess what I'm saying is that I'm happy that even though much is unsaid, it is clear to my family that I am in this relationship with Jonah. My mom said to say hi to him when I returned and to ask him about Dancing With The Stars, a show they both enjoy. I'm so happy my mom makes a real effort to treat Jonah the way she treats my sister-in-law or brother-in-law. She knows how important he is to me and how happy he makes me and tries to make him a part of her life, and that means a lot.

In church today, in Sunday School, there was a quote about doing the best you can and doing all you can do, and I felt that under my given circumstances that I am doing the best I can and that God is okay with that. Just because I am in a gay relationship doesn't mean I can't still be a good person and serve others and be a good example in certain ways, and that gives me comfort.

Jonah and I spent some time together today, and I just felt such a strong, intense love for him. I just love him so much and am so happy with him. He has truly changed my life...for the better, I feel.

Anyway, that's my post for today. Hope all of you in blogland are well, whatever your situations or goals.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Doing My Best

The following is a quote from Beck's blog that I found very comforting. I am highlighting a different part than he did though.

"We all occupy diversified stations in the world, and in the kingdom of God. Those who do right, and seek the glory of the Father in heaven, whether their knowledge be little or much, or whether they can do little or much, if they do the very best they know how, they are perfect... "Be ye as perfect as you can," for that is all we can do, though it is written, "Be ye perfect as your father who is in heaven is perfect." To be as perfect as we possibly can, according to our knowledge, is to be just as perfect as our Father in heaven is. He cannot be any more perfect than he knows how, any more than we. When we are doing as well as we know how, in the sphere and station which we occupy here, we are justified."-- Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 2:129-130.

I am doing as well as I know how, and in that I find comfort. I tell you, I never realized how uptight and stressed I was before I came out. I feel so happy lately. So at peace. I'm not saying it's the right choice for everyone, and I admire very much those of you who are trying to stay true to your covenants; but it's turned out to be the right choice for me. I feel very good about where I am.

Laramie closes tomorrow. It's been a wonderful experience in many ways, but I am looking forward to having some free time (and some "Jonah time") this next month.

My niece is getting baptized nest week. I'm flying home to Utah to attend. Only my mom knows I'm coming. Everybody else thinks I can't come. I think it will be a fun surprise. My only regret is I probably won't be able to assist in her confirmation. I guess that's part of the consequences. Still, I'm very eager to see my family again. I have missed them.

Monday, September 25, 2006

I'm So Tired

Nothing profound to say or anything necessarily new to report. Just want you all to know that I'm still alive and around (not that there are necessarily that many people who even read my blog (but those that do, I'm alive and well!)).

School is so incredibly busy right now, and I have been really tired lately. I feel like all I do lately is school and trying to catch a nap here and there. I barely have time to breathe. Still, I love school, and, of course, I did expect my final year to be very busy. I'm hoping once The Laramie Project closes next week, life will be a little more calm.

Speaking of which, we opened the show this past Friday, and I'm very happy with the final product. I think we have a good cast and a good show, and audiences seem to be responding well to it. I don't think it's necessarily the best written show in the world, but it's been a very good and positive experience in many ways and even spiritual on many levels. I also think it no coincidence that I happen to be doing this particular show at this particular stage in my life. It's also been fun character work and delightful to work with some actors I don't often get the chance to work with.

My mom and sister came to see it opening night and Jonah sat between them. I find it very nice that my family and Jonah seem to be hitting it off well. And for them to be seeing a play together that discusses some of my own issues is particularly interesting to me. Mom and my sister liked the show, so that's nice.

As for me and Jonah, we are doing well. We still don't get to see each other as often as we would necessarily like, but we communicate often and are doing the best we can under the circumstances. I am hoping once Laramie closes, we will be able to spend at least a little more time together before my next show starts rehearsing in November.

I've told some more people about Jonah and me, and I have just been so impressed with how well people have reacted and responded. Everyone thus far has been really supportive and understanding and, in most cases, very happy about it. I told one friend who I didn't know how she would respond, and she started crying because she was so overjoyed about it. Another friend who is Mormon (who I also didn't know for sure how he would respond) made it perfectly clear that he was very happy for me and that this new revelation wouldn't have any impact on our friendship.

There's always been a part of me who thought (not really, but I'm trying to make a point) that my world would somehow implode once I came out. Just the reverse is happening. I'm becoming a new person, I feel happier, people are happy for me, and life is going on just as it always has.

Still, I know eventually I will tell someone I care about who will not handle it so well, but as I've already discussed with many friends, at the end of the day that's their problem, not mine. Still, I imagine it will be painful. I'm just glad it hasn't happened yet.

As part of one of my courses, I had to teach my peers a method we've been learning the past two years. I was nervous when I first heard we had to do it because I've never felt terribly confident about my own expertise with this particular technique. However, I wasn't nervous at all today, and I thought I taught it very well. My instructor and peers all had very good things to say.

My schooling has brought so much growth to me in so many ways. I feel so blessed lately. Anyway, that being said, I am exhausted, so I'm off to bed now.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

So Much Happiness

Jonah and I haven't been able to spend as much time together as we would like due to our opposite schedules, and so I've really grown to cherish the times we are together. Today he came over for lunch and at one point we were standing in my kitchen just holding one another, and I just started to get all teary-eyed and misty because I just felt so happy to have him as my boyfriend. This relationship just makes me so happy. No, it isn't without its difficulties and trials (as it is with all relationships), but I just love him so much. I feel so happy with who I am and how my life has changed in the last two years. And, yes, there are still things I am concerned about, but the happiness just really seems to outweigh the other stuff.

We open The Laramie Project a week from yesterday. I think it will be a good production. It's a challenge to go where we need to go emotionally to tell Matthew Shepard's story, and some nights I'm not in the mood to do it, but I guess that's just part of being an actor. I love doing drama, and this show has a lot of great stuff going for it, and I enjoy the people I'm working with, but I will be ready to move on to my next show, a comedy, when this one is over.

Saturday, September 02, 2006


Every time I hear the following song on the radio lately, I really feel it's describing my own life's current journey in a lot of ways. It actually reminds me of a phrase in my patriarchal blessing. Lately I've just felt that there is a world of possibilities ahead. I think this song typifies that:


Natasha Bedingfield

I am unwritten, can't read my mind, I'm undefined
I'm just beginning, the pen's in my hand, ending unplanned

Staring at the blank page before you, open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find
Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions

Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten

Oh, oh, oh

I break tradition, sometimes my tries, are outside the lines (yeh yeh)
We've been conditioned to not make mistakes, but I can't live that way

Staring at the blank page before you, open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find
Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it

Release your inhibitions

Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins

Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten

Staring at the blank page before you, open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find
Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions

Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins

Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten
The rest is still unwritten
The rest is still unwritten

Oh, yeah, yeah

Today I saw the movie Little Miss Sunshine with Jonah today. When I originally saw the trailer for it, I didn't think I would like it, but I really thought it was a great movie with a good message. I guess there were many things that could be gleaned from the film, but some things I got from it is that winners are people who try their best, regardless of whether they win the race or not. Another thing I got was that we're all imperfect people just trying our best to get through life and sticking together is important. But one thing that really resonated with me was that sometimes I think people have such a limited view of life and people. There are so many people out there who live lives very different from the ones that you or I live and sometimes because of our upbringings, we come to the mistaken conclusion that our way of life is the only right way to live a life. I'm not talking about Mormonism specifically. I'm saying that each person, no matter who he or she is in the world, often grow up with a limited view of other people's lives and circumstances, and we judge based on those perceptions. There's a whole world out there to discover. There's so many people to know and understand.

One of the things I was taught on my mission was a method called the commitment pattern, which was a tool used to meet and teach people. One of the precepts of that method was building relationships of trust with people and finding common ground. It occurred to me both then and now that it was hard to build relationships of trust with people if you approached them with a self-serving or all-knowing attitude.

I guess what I'm trying to say is when I saw this movie today it struck me that we miss out on some very interesting people because we don't make a move to know or understand them because we fear them or judge them, and I think that's sad because I think all people basically have the same needs and wants. I think we have far more in common with each other than we have differences. I'm not always successful, but I really try to look at things from other people's points-of-view. I try to put myself in another's shoes, especially when I am having difficulty knowing or understanding them. There are people I have met in my life that I have had a hard time getting inside of, and I wonder what I'm missing and what treasures I might discover if I put more love and less judgment into my efforts.

Last thought: I'm currently rehearsing The Laramie Project, which I think is rather ironic (though not coincidental) considering what I'm dealing with in my own life. I don't necessarily think it's the best written play ever, but I do think it has something to say. Of course, I think what happened to Matthew Shepard was inexcusable and tragic, but I'd also be lying if I didn't admit that there have been times in my life when I was bothered by the fact that he's often regarded as a martyr and a saint by some. I think Matthew Shepard, like all of us, was a flawed human being. He wasn't perfect and he made mistakes just like the rest of us. I guess I eventually came to realize that it's what his tragic death represents that has put him on such a high pedestal. I mean, it's not as though Matthew asked to be revered or anything. But my point is that as I was doing some research for my roles, I stumbled across the website that is maintained by his mother, and as it really hit me in my heart that these two parents lost their child to such a senseless crime, I actually started to cry. What we have been rehearsing the last week really came clear to me, and I started to see these characters as the real human beings they are.

I feel like I'm babbling and that what I'm really trying to say isn't coming out. I guess it goes back to a previous post I made, which boiled down basically to "less judging, more loving."

Friday, September 01, 2006

I Love, Loved This Quote

David said,

"I just feel that over the last four years I've learned to relax a bit and enjoy life in a way that I never allowed myself before. I've experienced parts of myself that I didn't even know were there. I was so preoccupied with everything I thought was wrong with me I never stopped to look at what was right with me. I was trying to be perfect when I should have been trying to be myself. I was so worried about whether or not people would like me and accept me for who I was pretending to be while at the same time longing to feel that I would be accepted for who I truly was. ...I've learned that if people don't accept you for who you are, or you feel like you have to live a lie when you are around them, then you need to move past those people.

"I finally feel like I can be authentic. I owe that to my own inner progress as well as to my family and many of my friends. I have friends, gay and straight, that have accepted me as I am while encouraging me to be better. Not their definition of better, but mine, and that is one of the most affirming things anyone could do for me."

I understand whereof he speaks.

Monday, August 28, 2006


-l- said: "I can't believe the immeasurable humanity I've read in blogs lately. Sure, the literary quality is variable, the syntax occasionally with something left to be desired (ha ha), but just look at the raw intensity of so many people sorting things out. Look at them looking at the situation with clever eyes, critical eyes, frightened eyes, brave eyes because it matters. Look at the serious tenor that underlines even the casual comments. After all, it is the one thing our human chemistry tells us matters more than anything else in life (even if such a message is disguised)."

Scot said: "It’s a problem I think we’re both hoping to end; when gays sacrifice so much of both their worlds they’re unable to find any peace in either."

Both quotes meant a lot to me. I'm not sure why. But I felt they were worth repeating.


Well, I'm officially starting my last week of graduate school. It's hard to believe that I only have 32 weeks of school left. That seems very short, and with as quickly as the last two years have flown, it'll be over before I know it. It's a little scary to think about what comes next, but it's a good "scary."

So this has been an extremely interesting week. I found out a few days ago that a very good friend of mine who I've known for about ten years is going through almost exactly what I'm going through. He's been an active Mormon for years and is truly one of the best people I know. But he's met a guy he's gotten serious with and seems ready to explore the relationship even if it means distancing himself from the Church. I really felt a great deal of empathy for what he's going through and even admiration for taking the road less traveled.

He's gone through a lot this year. Two years ago he got married. I was saddened that it didn't work out because they are both great people, and I'm sure they've both had a difficult road to travel because of these issues. At the same time it just reaffirmed in me that maybe people like us just aren't meant to get married and that maybe there is more joy to be found for us in a homosexual relationship. At this point, neither my friend nor I know the answer, but we both seem to be in a place and frame of mind where we feel it's worth a shot.

I find it really odd and kind of trippy that we both happen to be dealing with this same stuff at the same time and even trippier that we've both been dealing similar issues as long as we've known each other, but didn't know it. But it's really nice to have a good friend to share things with who's going through similar things, and I hope he feels the same way. I also feel that my friend is one of the best people I've known, and if he and people like us are indeed going to hell or some lower kingdom, then at least I take comfort in the fact that I will be there with a lot of people I love.

What my communications with him have caused me to do, though, is to slowly, once again, creak this closet door open. I've told several of my friends at school about Jonah and me. They've all been enormously supportive, and everyone seems really happy for this. I think it's because they know both of us well and know our characters and know we're good for each other. Most importantly, I think they just sense how happy we make each other. As one friend said, "I just love both of you so much. I'm so happy for both of you."

What's cool is I feel like I can be honest about this relationship, and I'm not so worried about what people think anymore. Here where I'm going to school, it's easier. Most of my friends aren't LDS and are pretty supportive of gay relationships anyway. But they do all know how important my religious beliefs are to me and no that this is not a road without its complications.

In Utah it would be harder to be as open about least to some people. I imagine that's the road I am headed down, though. I actually want to share a quote from an email my friend sent to me, but I'm waiting to for him to give me his permission. But some of things he said really helped me understand the choices I feel I must make at this juncture in my life.

I really find it no coincidence that my friend and I are going through similar stuff right now. I really think God is helping me forge the path I'm supposed to take right now.

It's nice to be back in town near Jonah again. We're both have differing schedules, but I'm not worried about it. I think things will be all right.

The other night Jonah and I were making out and I went a little farther than I had intended. Nobody's fault, but I did feel a little guilty. But it did make me realize that I would like to formalize our relationship (whether a marriage or civil ceremony or what-have-you)) before we have sex. Jonah is fine with that. He is amazing. He really is.

Recently I was more stressed out than I have been in a long, long time (about a lot of different things), and I'm not one who tends to get stressed out very easily. But anyway, I didn't have a lot of time, but I went and had dinner with Jonah on his work break, and he just made feel so, so much better, and I thought as I was driving back home, "This guy just makes me feel great. He brings out the best in me. I just can't believe this could be wrong."

I've really been thinking about a future with him, and it feels good. I can't believe I'm where I am in my life now. I wouldn't have thought I'd end up here. But I really like where I am. I feel really happy, like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I'm with somebody I love, and, gosh, he loves me! I am amazed every day by how much Jonah really adores me. It's something I haven't had in so long, and I love, love, love it! And more importantly, I suppose, I love him, too. I think I'm good for him, and I think he's good for me. What more could I want?

I'm hoping the two of us can get married and move in together in the near future. It would be nice. I also think it would be good for Jonah to get out of his parents' house. They are driving him insane.

Jonah and I had a misunderstanding this week. It wasn't bad or anything, but I think there were hurt feelings. We totally talked it out, and everything is fine now. But what's cool about our relationship is we really talk things out and it's always in a very calm, collected way. We were discussing the fact that we've never had a fight. There may be an occasional disagreement or misunderstanding, but I cherish the trust and kindness that exists in this relationship. And, most importantly, I really feel Jonah is opening me up a lot. I've been so closed and so afraid to love or feel for so long, and I am just finding so many blessings; so much gold in this relationship.

I really think this is going to be a very good year.

Friday, August 18, 2006


"What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?" - George Eliot

Thursday, August 17, 2006

God's Perfect Love and Knowledge

I wish I could fully express what I've felt in my heart the last couple of days, but I know that the feelings I've felt can't be expressed properly here. I was reading a book recently and really received a strong impression regarding God's love for me. What became really clear to me was that God isn't judgmental. God doesn't judge us the way we often judge each other. There is nothing but love in his attitude towards us. This doesn't mean I don't believe we won't be judged for our sins. What it does mean is that there is no judgment behind it, at least not as we define it here in our mortal realm, if that makes any sense. I just felt so strongly that God views us with an eye of perfect knowledge and doesn't judge us the way we judge each other and ourselves. Words can't express the thought I'm trying to communicate, which is somewhat frustrating, but I just wanted to share this because I know so many of us get down on ourselves for so many various reasons, and God isn't viewing us in that way at all. So many times in my life I have felt God is disappointed in me or frustrated by my continually making the same mistakes or angry because I've done something wrong, and this spiritual impression made me see things so differently. I've known for some time that God loves me unconditionally, but I saw something different when this experience happened. We are truly here to learn and have different experiences, and God is not sitting there eyeing us, saying to himself, "Oh, he messed up again," or "What is wrong with him? Why can't he learn this lesson?". He is simply watching us with love and support and knows exactly what each of us is facing and just loves us. I really felt that life is for learning, not for punishing or condemning. So many times we do that to ourselves and each other and feel like failures or feel feelings of disappointment or self-loathing when we screw up. I just felt so strongly that God doesn't have those feelings towards us. He is simply filled with perfect, absolute love. It's a concept I certainly don't understand fully because it's hard in this mortal existence not to transfer our human feelings onto God, but I really feel he isn't passing judgment on us; He is simply loving us and helping us and thinks no less of us when we fail. Again, my words are clumsy and inadequate. My ideal would be to somehow transfer the feelings I felt to all of you who struggle because the experience really gave me hope and made me realize that God is not in the condemning business; He is truly a loving Father.

You know, I've really been learning a lot lately about myself and Heavenly Father and my relationship with Him, and the irony is that I'm learning a lot of different things from a different perspective. I'm kind of living my life with one foot still in the church and one outside of it, and I'm feeling that no matter what I do, God loves me more than I can ever possibly understand (at least in this life), and that things are going to be okay.

A great irony in my life is that I still believe quite strongly that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is God's true church on the earth, but as I've read the words of the Prophet and Apostles (specifically concerning this issue) lately, I just find that I can't seem to reconcile the reality that is my life with what I believe and know to be true, and that whether my acting on my gay feelings is God's will or not, somehow things are going to be okay. It doesn't make sense to me, but it feels right somehow, and I don't understand why. All I know is that God sees life all at the same time as opposed to the linear way in which we view it and that he loves me and knows what is best for me, and somehow living my life with Jonah at this time in my life seems like what I'm supposed to do. I keep asking God if I'm being deceived or if I'm rationalizing my actions. I still don't know the answers to those questions for sure, but somehow I feel that I was meant to be with Jonah, and that things will be okay, and I guess that will have to suffice.

You know, the other day a friend was asking me how I liked graduate school, and I was telling him all the good things about it and said that when I prayed about where I should go for graduate school two years ago that it was very clear to me spiritually that I needed to go to this school. And that is how I met and feel in love with Jonah. And my friend (who doesn't know about my sexual preferences) said, "Well, maybe that's where you will meet your wife," and I felt a strong impression that Jonah was the person I was meant to be with. Again, as far as what I've believed and known to be true, that seems contradictory, but somehow it seems right. I just feel I have to trust that Heavenly Father knows what He's doing and that this choice is right for me right now.

You know, I remember when my sister married her husband. They both felt so strongly that they needed to get married, and yet, to the rest of my family (including myself) it seemed so wrong, and we were all against it. Now, five years later, I see that God sees all from beginning to end, and I believe the direction he gave them, even though it seemed contradictory and hasty at the time, was probably for the best for her, him, her step-kids, and their daughter. It seemed so wrong, and yet now I don't believe it was, and it took me some time to get to that point. I guess the point I'm making is that somehow being with Jonah feels like the right thing to do even though on a gospel level, it seems wrong. I don't know, but I do know we love each other.

One final thought: also as I was reading this book this quote stuck in my head:

" life is a gift. It is a school to learn how love manifests in the physical dimensions where bodies and emotions exist. But the school has many playgrounds, and those need to be used. The physical life is meant to be enjoyed. This is one reason you have been given the senses. Be good people. Have fun and enjoy yourselves. Enjoy the simple yet abundant pleasures of life while not harming other people or other things, like nature.
"Be more gentle... Don't do harm to others."

Be the best, most loving person you can be. Less judging, more loving; both to ourselves and others. That's what the Spirit was really telling me this week.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Prayers for Jonah

Jonah's family is having a harder time accepting his situation than mine is (although a couple of his siblings have been more supportive than he had imagined). Jonah's home life is not as smooth as mine has been. Anyway, I know he's going through some tough stuff right now, so I hope all of you in blogland will keep him in your thoughts and prayers (every little bit helps, right?).

My mom went to a ward function this evening, and several people had commented to her about what a nice testimony I gave on Sunday (see previous post). She wondered silently what they would think if they really understood what I was going through. I told her that was nice of them, but that I also wondered what they would think of me if they knew my situation. I'm sure many would be okay, but I know some who would have thoughts like, "He used to be such a good kid. What happened?" Mom said she had similar thoughts. I guess it's not easy on anybody. But like I told Jonah tonight, "We can't control how other people are going to react; we can only do our best to live the best lives we can."

My ex-girlfriend, Lisa, wrote me today. You can read more about her here. She and I have just started communicating again after about an eight year hiatus. Her husband (who never really liked me early on in their marriage) is okay with it, too. We're just so happy to be in each other's lives again. I've missed my friend (and she feels the same way). Anyway, she said something very nice in her letter that I didn't necessarily expect. She said:

"Okay...I'm going out on a limb for a moment here. I would never want to give anyone advice contradictory to the church, but it sounds to me like you'd be happiest with Jonah. I suppose the question then is, do you choose your peace of mind and happiness, or do you choose the church? Either choice will bring some heartache.

"...I have to believe that the God I have come to know over the course of my struggles is full of compassion and mercy. I have to believe that if one of my boys came to judgment full of tattoos, piercings, long hair, reeking of smoke and stumbling up the steps because of alcohol, that God would STILL throw his arms around him and welcome him home. I think that there cannot be a 'blanket judgment'...I think each person will be judged on a case by case basis, taking all our life's challenges into consideration. I always tell my kids that God only expects us to do our best, and if our best falls a bit short, it will be okay. You have done your best, Cody, and I think some mercy will be given when that days comes and you face God. I truly believe that some people's minds are 'wired' a bit differently and as hard as you have tried not to feel the way you do about Jonah, there is little you can do.

"...the point I want to make is that should you decide to stay with Jonah and let that be your life's choice, I think God will still have room for you in his kingdom. He loves you and knows of your struggle. One day, things will be made right..."

Whether her words are simply comforting to me, they really rang true when I read them today (and do so now as I reread them). I really feel like I'm destined for a different path at this juncture of my life and that things are going to be okay. I also think it's no coincidence that Lisa has come back into my life at this particular time and delievered these particular words to me. I really think it means something.

Another friend, very active in the church and very intelligent, said something that I felt God wanted me to hear. She said, "I really think there is more to it than we really understand." She was referring to the gospel and life, but not in application to my particular issue, but something about it really resonated with me as far as my issues go. I can't explain it; I just felt a certain truth that is helping me feel more at ease about things.

Back to Lisa. As I said in my previous post about her, she has a mental illness, and in catching me up on the events of her life since we last communicated, she explained all the horrific realities she has had to face in her life because of her illness, and I was just overwhelmed by it all. Just as other people can't fully understand what I go through with my problems, her issues are unfathomable to me. When I've read what she and her family have had to deal with I was saying to myself, "I'm so glad I have gay feelings and don't have her problems." She's doing reasonably well, but it made me think that if we had gotten married like we planned, it would have been a disaster. A bisexual and a manic-depressive; what a Molotov cocktail that would have made. I know my nature, and I really don't think I would have handled her issues well at all. My issues would have probably been difficult for her as well. I give great kudos to her husband. He has stood by her through a lot of awful stuff. I know it's been incredibly difficult for both of them.

I remember when she broke it off with me and how unfair I thought it was and how I could never imagine finding someone that I loved as much as I felt I loved her. Now in retrospect I'm so incredibly glad things worked out the way they did; for both of our sakes. It just shows me that God knows every facet from beginning to end, and that's one reason why I believe that this relationship is the right things for me in spite of the fact that it seems to be contradictory as far as what I know to be true. There is something I will glean from all of this that will draw me closer to my Father in Heaven. I just feel it. I can't explain it, and I know there will be naysayers who think I'm delusional, but the only people who can really know the path I need to take are me and the Lord. I just feel I have been led to this place in my life and this relationship, and I am going to count the blessings I have because of it all.

Anyway, that's it for now.

Monday, August 07, 2006

"Vacation's All I Ever Wanted"

Last week Jonah and I spent time in Las Vegas and also Cedar City for the Shakespearean Festival. We had such a great time. It was so nice to see and be with him after a few months apart. I didn't realize just how much I had missed him. We had a nice dinner our first night together. I gave him his birthday present, which I can now tell you about. My sister has a scrapbooking program on her computer, and she used it to make a photo memoir of a recent trip my mom took to Nauvoo. I'm not really into scrapbooking, but what the program was able to do and how it creative it came out made me want to do something similar for Jonah. So I took all the photos we had of things we've done together or places and events that are special to us, and I compiled them using this program. I really put a lot of thought into it, and it was quite a time-consuming project, but I knew Jonah would love it...and he did. It was really a great gift, I think; something that meant a lot to him (well, to both of us, actually). Jonah brought to my attention a fringe benefit I hadn't thought about: we can continue adding pages to the album as our relationship continues. I thought that made the gift even better.

The next day Jonah and I hung out and did some shopping. Then we slept (read: slept) together, which was nice. Later that night I got to see Phantom of the Opera at the Venetian. I'm not a huge fan of the show. I saw it back in 1989 on Broadway and was rather nonplussed by it. I think the plot is weak, the songs are average, and it's just basically a show about special effects. However, I did have a very good time this time. I still don't care for the show itself, but the special effects were amazing, the performances were very good, and because the show has been trimmed for a Vegas audience, it was much better time-wise.

Jonah says they had like a $40,000,000 budget or something, and it shows. It really was an amazing show visually. After the show, Jonah and I had a quick bite together, and I met some of his friends, which was nice.

The next day Jonah and I went to see HMS Pinafore in Cedar City. I am not a Gilbert and Sullivan fan by any means, but I thought the show was excellent. One of my friends was in it, and he was terrific. The show was well-acted, sung, choreographed, costumed, and directed. I just thought it was a very solid production. Jonah agreed. I am surprised that a Gilbert and Sullivan show turned out to be the best show I saw, but it was really good.

We had dinner with my friend, and he surprised me by letting me know that he and his wife of two years were getting a divorce. They had dated a long time before getting married and seemed very compatible to me. He didn't go into details, but it was a shock to me. I guess it's for the best.

I got to schmooze with some big-wigs at the festival, too, which, hopefully, will be good for my career later on. I got to meet a director I've always wanted to work with and also met the Festival's artistic director. Three of my college professors, who happened to all be there the same day, talked me up as did my friend, so that was nice. One of the professors was a man I hadn't seen in 15 years. I was in his last show before he retired. He was still of sound mind, but looked quite frail physically. He was in a wheelchair, and it bothered me a bit to see this man so sickly.

Jonah and I took a nap at the hotel before seeing Room Service that night. It was funny and had a pretty solid cast. Another friend was in that show, and we arranged to meet with him for dinner the next day. I think Jonah really liked Room Service.

Jonah and I cuddled together that night, and it just felt so good to be with him. I just felt right, and the scripture about a good tree not bearing evil fruit came to mind. I thought, "This feels good, and it feels right, so how can it be wrong?" I prayed to God that night and asked him to just let me be with this man and be okay with it.

I will say when you're used to sleeping alone most of your life, it's an adjustment sleeping with someone else. I'm sure I'll get used to it, though.

The next morning Jonah and I made out, which was really nice. I'm still not ready for sex yet, and Jonah's okay with that. But it sure was nice to be with him, and I didn't feel guilty at all, so that made me happy.

We had breakfast the next morning. I think I got a touch of food poisoning, but it wasn't too serious. We did some more shopping and window-shopping, and then we went to see On Golden Pond. I thought, overall, the show was pretty good. The two leads were quite good. Jonah thought the pacing was too slow, and he may have been right. We both liked the set, and we both agreed that the nineteen year-old who was cast as a thirteen year-old was miscast. I didn't believe for a minute he was thirteen and thought he was trying too hard. We found him annoying. I also felt the actress who played the daughter was a bit exaggerated. But it was a decent production.

We then went to dinner with our friend, and that was enjoyable.

We then watched the Greenshow, which was entertaining. I was somewhat tired, but not too bad.

Then we saw Hamlet. Jonah didn't care for it. I thought it was a decent production; not the best I've ever seen, but certainly not the worse. I thought Brian Vaughn, who played Hamlet, did a good job.

Then Jonah and I drove back to my house in Salt Lake City. We had a really nice talk on the way up. We talked about a lot of different things, but also talked about our relationship and love for each other. Jonah bought my sister a lighthouse in Cedar City. She loves lighthouses, and Jonah was using her room to sleep over, so he thought it a kind gesture. Jonah's very thoughtful like that.

The next day my mom took Jonah and I to breakfast. I'm so glad Mom likes Jonah and am so glad she's being supportive of us and our relationship.

When we got home, I mowed the lawn for my mom while she and Jonah chatted. I'm glad that gave them the chance to get to know one another even better. I know if our places had been switched, I'm not sure I would have felt nearly as comfortable chatting with Jonah's mom alone for an hour.

After I mowed the lawn, Jonah wanted to go to the mall. Jonah likes to walk and window-shop, which aren't necessarily my thing, but Jonah's very supportive of activities that I like to do that maybe he doesn't necessarily want to do, so I guess it's only fair to do what he wants to do, too. I guess that's what relationships are about. It turns out we had a good time.

Jonah's loves jewelry. We went in a store that I've only been in one other time in my life, and that was to get my niece a present. I remember feeling awkward the last time I was there because it's a store frequented by pre-adolescent girls, and I remember feeling like a pedophile and was sure everyone was thinking, "Why is this middle-aged man here?" This time I just felt very gay. I joked with Jonah later that the store made me feel a lot gayer than I was comfortable with. After all, I'm pretty straight-acting.

Jonah has fairly gaudy taste in jewelry, but he knows I think that. I figure whatever makes him happy is fine with me. Besides, he puts up with my geeky obsession with all things "Star Wars," so I figure we're even. Jonah even says he's toned down his taste in clothes and jewelry since we met. I find that hard to believe (that's just a joke at Jonah's expense).

That night Jonah and my mom came to see me perform in my show. I thought that was cool that my mom and boyfriend were hanging out. They both enjoyed the show. This is my mom's third time seeing it, and she says it gets better each time. I think it's a somewhat mediocre show, but audiences seem to enjoy it, and Jonah and Mom had fun, so I guess I can't complain.

After the show, Jonah, Mom, my sister, and I talked, and then Jonah sang for us. He's got a great voice. Mine's pretty good, but Jonah has a very powerful, precise instrument. He sang, "Someone Like You" from Jekyll and Hyde. That song was once very special to me and my ex-girlfriend, but as I listened to Jonah sing it, it took on new meaning for me and really made me think about how it applies to our own relationship. Jonah later said it took on new meaning for him as well. I thought it was both odd and wonderful that I was staring at Jonah with goo-goo eyes in the presence of both my mom and sister, something I once never dreamed would be possible.

Jonah and I spent some moments together that night, and then the next day I drove him to the airport so that he could fly back home. But I'll be seeing him soon.

I was supposed to work at my other job, but was told they didn't need me, so I spent most of the day watching old episodes of "24," which was fun. That night my mom and I went to Logan to see Noises Off, which was a lot of fun. I also got to see some old friends, so that was nice, too. It was nice to have a week of fun and theatre.

I spent the majority of the next day doing my show. We had good audiences,, but my voice was a bit tired by the end of the day.

On Sunday I bore my testimony in church. I didn't particularly want to get up, but felt very compelled to do so. I said I knew the Church was true, but that knowing something and living it were not necessarily easy to do. I also felt very impressed to deliver the following message to the congregation: that there are many of us in the Church dealing with horrific problems and issues that are never talked about openly in Sacrament Meeting; things like abuse, addiction, alcoholism, pornography, divorce, mental illness, health problems, etc., and that we suffer in silence but put on brave faces and pretend that everything is okay. We're good, stoic members on the outside, but no one truly knows the battles we wage daily in our hearts. We feel that no one truly understands what we are going through and fear the judgments of our fellow man if they were ever to discover what we're really like. I said that in spite of everything, God knows and loves us perfectly. He knows exactly what we are going through and loves and understands us unconditionally.

I related a recent experience I had. While I was away at school, several of my friends and fellow castmates got on the subject of religion and talked about who they thought was the most upstanding individual they had worked with at this particular theater, and my name came up. On one hand it made me feel good that people view me that way, but it also made me feel like a hypocrite because I'm not living my life according to what I've been taught. That certainly doesn't make me a bad person, but I wondered if, in their eyes, it would. I swear I do not say this boastfully, but, like it or not, I am an example to others. Many people perceive me to be a very good Mormon, and the fact is, while I think I am a very good Christian, I'm not so sure that I am currently a very good Mormon. I said in my testimony that I never wanted to be somebody's example or posterboy and that I don't want people to put me on a pedestal because if I fall, what will that do to them? I realize in the end that's their problem, but certainly I'm not stupid enough to think that my actions don't affect others. But I stressed that I am human and imperfect and that I have my failings and that I'm dealing with one of the most difficult struggles I've ever had.

My last statement was a caution to not judge others because we never really know what's going on inside their hearts unless we actually walk in their shoes. I also made the statement that no matter what happens to me in the future, I love and have always loved this church and the gospel. On some level, it felt like a farewell address. After all, I don't know what will happen in the future. My relationship with Jonah may very well cause me to lose my standing in the Church.

In any case, I really felt the Spirit and many people complimented me afterwards. I wasn't looking for compliments, though. I just know that so many people are silently crying and need assurance that the Lord still loves them.

It's strange. I still believe the Church is true, but I believe there are things to be learned by following a different path. My relationship with Jonah no longer makes me feel as guilty as it once did, and on some level I really believe we're meant to be together. How that correlates with the gospel plan, I don't know, but I feel more and more at peace with the choices I'm making. I do fear how my actions might affect others, but I know God loves me, and I feel okay with where I'm going.

I found the recent articles about gay Mormons in heterosexual marriages very interesting. I'm glad that isn't a path I took. I don't think it would have been the right one. But I think each individual has to follow the path that they feel is right for them, and that's what I am trying to do.

Jonah and I have talked about moving in together, but we agree that, for now, the time isn't right. But I do see it happening sooner than later. And I think I'm feeling pretty good about it.

All I know is that it has taken me such a long time to find somebody I love who loves me, and I remember how empty my life was before I met Jonah. So if it's wrong, I guess it's wrong. All I know is that in spite of the challenges, I feel very happy with Jonah. I think we're enriching each others' lives, and I feel God has blessed us with each other. Again, I don't know how that corresponds with my testimony, but I'm taking it for the blessing it is.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


My sister-in-law's mother passed away last week. She, my brother, and their kids were in Arizona, where her family lives. My sister-in-law sent me (as well as all my other family members) an email the day her mother died. I intended to respond to it, but didn't get around to it and then forgot about it because I've been so wrapped up in my own life. Obviously, I didn't forget about my sister-in-law and her travails, but I didn't take the time to send my condolences, and when my sister-in-law returned home, she was understandably hurt that I hadn't taken five minutes out of my day to acknowledge her loss. Everything's fine and forgiven now (my sister-in-law is certainly not one to hold grudges), but it did get me to thinking how self-centered I can be at times.

My view on death is that's it's just a temporary separation, and there's nothing I can really do about it, so why get all worked up about it? Obviously I miss very much the people in my life who have passed on, but I know I will see them again in the afterlife, so death doesn't affect me as much as perhaps it ought to. My sister-in-law believes, too, that she will see her mother again, but of course still mourns the loss and just wanted some acknowledgment of that loss and to know she wasn't alone in this, and my simple email could have helped her achieve that.

I have a similar issue with Jonah in that our long-distance relationship is much tougher on him than it is on me. I miss him very much, but, again, I don't have quite the same pangs of separation as he seems to.

But what these two experiences have reinforced for me is that it isn't about me. It isn't about how I feel about each situation. It's what my sister-in-law and Jonah, respectively, are feeling and the simple things I can do (such as an email or a phone call) to ease their burden somewhat.

I tend to be very "me-focused" at times, and I forget to concentrate on the needs of others. And yet the irony is when we focus more on others' needs, our own burdens become lighter. There's a line from a song in the musical Avenue Q that says:

"When you help others, you can't help helping yourself."

I really do believe that. Case in point: I think about my relationship with Jonah every day. I think about how much we love each other, but I also think about the repercussions this relationship will have on my relationship with my religion and even God. It can be a heavy burden at times and can feel quite overwhelming. Jonah's birthday is coming up, and I have made him a gift (I can't tell you what it is because he reads this blog sometimes). Needless to say, it was a very time-consuming process, but it was so much fun to do and I was so busy doing something for him that I didn't have time to think about my own problems. The days I worked on his gift were so good because I wasn't focused on me at all.

When I was a missionary for the church, it was incredibly hard, but also very rewarding because it wasn't all about me; it was about the people I was serving. When I teach at school, I'm often so concerned about my students that my problems become secondary, and it's often good when that happens.

Now that isn't to say I think we should ignore our needs or problems. Not at all. But I think when we become over-focused on ourselves, we lose the big picture. Christianity is all about serving others. Christ was the ultimate example of that. I think the example of his washing his disciples' feet is such a wonderful metaphor for what his ministry was all about.

One of my favorite scriptures in the Book of Mormon is Mosiah 2:17: "...when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." We worship God by serving others, and one of the fringe benefits is that we are only helping ourselves in the process.

One of the scriptures shared in Primary this morning was Doctrine and Covenants 136:8, which says, "Let each company bear an equal proportion, according to the dividend of their property, in taking the poor, the widows, the fatherless, and the families of those who have gone into the army, that the cries of the widow and the fatherless come not up into the ears of the Lord against this people," which our Primary President boiled down into this phrase: "Take care of each other." (Reminds me of the line from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure: "Be excellent to each other.") The scripture was again quoted in Sacrament Meeting, only the word "company" was substituted with the word "ward," and I think you could substitute it with "person." I mean, isn't that what the gospel is all about; taking care of each other?

I realize I need to work more on putting others' needs before my own (not all the time, obviously, but more often than I am). I can be quite selfish, and so I need to work on that. I am an actor, after all, and actors can be very self-involved individuals.

That's one thing I love about Jonah, by the way. He is such a giving, generous, thoughtful person. That's certainly a quality I hope to learn more through him.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on selflessness.

In other news, I'm finally getting around to reading The Da Vinci Code. I find I'm liking it very much.

My ex-girlfriend wrote me back. She said some very nice things, and we hope to continue corresponding.

I'm getting my mom hooked on "24." I love that show.

A week from today, Jonah and I will finally get the chance to see one another and spend some time together after a two and half month separation. We're both excited about it, and we hope to have a fun trip together to Cedar City to see some plays at the Shakespearean Festival.

Anyway, that's all.