Sunday, September 27, 2009


Well, it was only a matter of time. Someone I know has discovered my blog. Interestingly enough, it is my neighbor who attended my disciplinary council. This comes as no surprise to me since she reads some of the blogs that are in the same circles as blogs I read.

She had asked my mom if I had a blog and that she thought she had stumbled across a blog that most likely belonged to me. Mom asked me, and I said I did and said she was welcome to read it if she wanted and sent her the web address.

I'm not embarrassed or ashamed by anything I have written here over the last three or so years, but at the same time I wonder if I will censor or edit myself knowing that people I know are reading (although most of the stuff here is stuff I've been pretty open about with those in my life).

What does concern me more is how Jonah feels. I think he feels uncomfortable with the fact that some of our personal stuff is here for the world to read and even more so that it may be read by people who are not strangers. He told me he doesn't mind my having a blog, but that it makes him feel weird to know that people who know me might be reading about our personal life and that the whole idea in the beginning was for it to be anonymous. He has a valid point and one that I need to consider.

When I think about it, my original reasons for having a blog (to sort out my feelings and conflicts with my sexuality and my religious beliefs) have pretty much been taken care of. Now it's just become a place to think out loud, but I no longer need it like I did then, and there is, admittedly, a lot of personal stuff contained in it. Everything I have written in this blog (and then some) is in my journal that I keep. I also hoped this blog could be a place where others could learn what it's like to be in a gay Mormon's shoes and take what they could from my own personal experiences, and I feel it's done that, too. Maybe the time has come to shut it down. I've actually considered creating a new blog under my actual name that would contain humorous musings on life rather than all this serious, personal stuff. Maybe this is my excuse to do so.

In any case, I'm thinking it over. I'll let you know.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Long Way Around

One of my favorite quotes is from J.R.R. Tolkien: "Not all those who wander are lost."

I remember a friend of mine who came out of the closet before I did had the quote on a bumper sticker on the back of his car. At the time I was still a member of the church, and he had recently chosen to leave the MTC while preparing to go on his mission because he no longer wanted to live a lie. He was coming out and seemed very happy in doing so. I remember being jealous because I wished I could do the same thing. At the same time, I also felt concerned for his spiritual well-being because I felt at the time that he was giving up and giving in to things that would take him away from Eternal Life. When I read the quote at the time, it made me think, but I wasn't sure I believed it was true.

Now that I'm on the other side of things, I very much believe it. It's interesting being an outsider looking in (I mean as far as Mormonism goes). I'm still active (as active as a non-member can be) and attend church as often as I'm able. Although I miss some things about being a member, in some ways I actually enjoy church more because there's not as much pressure. Not only that, it's interesting to see Mormonism from a different set of eyes than when I was entrenched in it.

Today in Sacrament Meeting, this lady gave a talk on adversity. The talk itself was fine, but what struck me is that she was talking about how her son had not been able to serve a mission for whatever reason, and he was losing his testimony, and she was talking about how for a great deal of her life, her goals and dreams included her son serving a mission, and when that didn't happen and when his faith was shaken, it shook her own world and caused her feelings of anger, unhappiness, and confusion.

Now, I don't know the circumstances of her situation, and the main point of her talk was that she finally found a place of peace after this adversity, but it got me to thinking about the expectations people have as members of the LDS Church and what happens to them when those expectations are not met. So many people feel that if they just keep all the commandments and do everything church leaders tell them to do, all will be well. People expect to serve missions, fall in love with a member of the opposite sex, get married in the temple, have a family, have those kids go on to live as honorable members of the church, and then eventually die and go on to eternal salvation.

But what happens when you're faced with a time when you're not sure you have a testimony anymore? What happens when you realize you can't be perfect? What happens when you find out you're gay or that you're unable to serve a mission? What happens when you can't find someone to share your life with and you find you're alone or when you do meet someone who won't join the church? What happens when your temple marriage falls apart? What happens when your spouse cheats on you or abandons you for whatever reason? What happens when your kids get involved in drugs or premarital sex or have a baby out of wedlock? What happens when your child doesn't believe the things you do and wants to leave the church? What happens when your spouse is suddenly struck with a terrible disease and you have to take care of them? Or what happens when your spouse is in a car accident or has a sudden heart attack, and you're suddenly left alone? What happens when you or your spouse lose your job and are left with huge bills that can't be paid?

Sometimes people have this false idea that if they are faithful members of the church, they will be free of adversity. Or sometimes when loved ones make choices they disagree with, they think all is lost and their world is shattered.

What really intrigued me was the Sunday School lesson. The instructor piggy-backed off the woman's talk and brought up some of these very points I was thinking of. An illustration he gave was that most of the pioneers crossed the plains to get to Salt Lake City, but he talked of one group who left from New York, sailed all the way around South America, landed in California (where some chose to stay) about six months after they left, and eventually made it to Salt Lake. They went the long way, and some people probably thought they were crazy and wrong to do so, but that didn't make it the wrong way. Many of them still got where they were supposed to end up. And even those who didn't end up in Salt Lake, who's to say that California wasn't where they would be happiest?

Anyway, it got me to thinking about my own situation. There is still no doubt in my mind that I am happier and more at peace than I was when I was trying to be a "good" member of the church. I have not made the wrong decision. Maybe I'm just taking the "long way around." Fortunately, I am very sure God knows exactly where I am in my journey, and I feel (and have felt) His assurance that all is well, and that's the only person's opinion that matters regarding my choices.

Recently, a general authority spoke at an Evergreen Conference. You can read his whole talk here. I suppose I understand his position as a general authority speaking before a body of people who are wanting to change their sexuality from gay to straight, but I fear the expectations that are put before so many people who struggle with feelings of homosexuality are unreasonable, and what will (and does) it do these people when those expectations are unable to be met? Especially when these expectations are being presented by people who have no idea what it's like to be in a gay person's shoes.

And that's what I'm talking about. When we're given expectations of what a "perfect Mormon life" is supposed to be, and those expectations are unable to be met through no fault of our own, how will we respond? Will we lose our testimony? Will we beat ourselves up and self-flagellate? Will we become estranged from our loved ones or embrace them in spite of choices we may not agree with? Will we be strong enough to endure whatever we've been asked to? Will we decide we have to do what is best for our personal peace and happiness even if it goes against the grain of what is expected? Will we leave the church or become excommunicated? Will we maintain our testimony and stay faithful no matter what? These are all choices or conditions personal to each and every one of us. As for me, I know what I had to do. It has not shaken my testimony of the LDS Church, but at the same time I'm able to live my life as I feel I need to, and I am happier for it.

Friday, September 11, 2009

AntiSocial, That's Me!

I am a pretty antisocial individual. It's not that I don't like people; I just don't like being around them. :-) j/k

I'm the guy that when I go to a restaurant, I choose the booth furthest away from other people. I sit on the far aisle in movie theaters. I am a homebody. I have gone three or four days in a row without ever leaving (or wanting to leave) the house. I hate crowds and loud parties. When my fellow cast members go out for drinks or dinner, it is rare that I will go with them. Again, it has nothing to do with my like or dislike for people; I'm just kind of a loner and truly value my alone time.

In the Salt Lake Tribune in August, the following article appeared (I believe the exact date was August 1):

Fort Myers, Fla. - The Vangelakoses' southwest Florida condominium has marble floors, a large pool overlooking a river and modern furnishings that speak of affluence and luxury. What they don't have in the 32-story building is a single neighbor.

The New Jersey family of five purchased their unit four years ago, when Fort Myers was in the midst of a housing boom and any hints of an impending financial crisis were buried in lofty dreams of expansion and development. They made a $10,000 down payment and eagerly watched as builders transformed an empty lot into an opulent high-rise, one that now symbolizes the foreclosure crisis.

"The future was going to be southwest Florida," said Victor Vangelakos, 45, a fire captain who planned to eventually retire and live permanently in the condo.

Most of the other tenants in the 200-unit condo didn't close on their contracts, and the few that did have transferred to an adjacent building owned by the same company because more people live there. The Vangelakoses' mortgage lender will not allow them to do the same. That leaves them as the sole residents of the Oasis Tower One.

"It's a beautiful building," said their attorney, John Ewing, who is representing 27 others who made deposits on units. "The problem is, it's a very lonely building."
When the Vangelakoses travel from Weehawken, N.J., to spend a week or a few days in their Florida home, they have exclusive use of the pool, game room and gym, but they miss having a few tenants around.

"Being from the city, it's very eerie," Vangelakos said. "It's almost like a scary movie."

A large, circular fountain in front of the building is dry. The automatic glass doors that lead to the front lobby are locked. On the front desk is a guest sign-in sheet. The last entry: Feb. 13, 2009.

"It's like time froze here six months ago," Ewing said.

Betsy McCoy, vice president and associated general counsel with The Related Group, which sold the family their unit, said they have tried to help find a solution -- even offering them a unit in the building next door, free of cost, while the situation is resolved.Some interested buyers who put down deposits lost their jobs, others were unable to get mortgages and some were just nervous when the financial collapse came.

The obvious slant in the story is "Oh, these poor people who have to live alone in this huge building, what can be done for them?" But my initial reaction was, "Oh, my gosh! That sounds ideal! I would love that!"

How's that for antisocial?

Thursday, September 03, 2009


Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I've been very, very busy and just haven't had time for the blogosphere as of late.

About three weeks ago (a little less) I finished the run of the show I was doing. As I alluded to in a previous post, about a month ago I was offered a job by a former professor (who to this day remains my favorite theatre teacher (and perhaps my favorite teacher overall) that I ever had and is a man I consider to be my mentor). The job itself was as an adjunct professor at a small college I attended many years ago, and the two subjects I was being asked to teach were acting and musical theatre history, which happen to be two subjects I am very qualified to teach and that I enjoy teaching. The time frame for the job was for the first semester, exactly the time frame when I knew I would be unemployed. Many things about the job appealed to me, but the salary offered was way too low for me to accept the position. I would be paying my house payment with Jonah, and I would have to move to the town where the college is and pay rent there as well, and the amount I was being offered was not enough to cover that, plus it was pretty low compared to my experience and degree.

My former teacher was actually embarrassed by what the college was offering to pay me, and he really wanted me to come work for the theatre department and said he would try to do anything he could to negotiate a higher salary. After much waiting, I was offered a better salary, but still not enough that I would be earning any money (and in fact, I would be losing money by taking the job). Yet, as I prayed and thought about it and discussed it with Jonah, I felt very strongly that I should accept the job offer; that it was something I was supposed to do and something that would pay off for me somehow later in life.

So I took the job. My former professor (now my boss) was thrilled, and even though I am losing money on this deal, I do not regret making this choice. I had to find an apartment fairly quickly, which I thought would be more challenging than it actually ended up being. Actually I found a nice place rather quickly, and I have the place all to myself. There's no bed or microwave, which is inconvenient, but I've been sleeping on the couch, which isn't too bad, and cooking on the stove, which isn't too bad, either. The biggest drawback about the apartment is that there is no air conditioning (something I did not realize until I signed the lease), so it gets pretty hot sometimes. Fortunately, I brought my fan, so it's not too bad, and it is starting too cool down (hopefully the heat works).

As for the job itself, I'm having a delightful time. I really like the students here, and I'm enjoying the classes I teach. Because I didn't accept the job or get my course curriculums and textbooks until two weeks before I started, I did feel a little behind at first, but now I feel like I am catching up (although I also feel like I'm creating my courses as I go along rather than having a long term plan in mind, and that's challenging).

Although I know a lot about musical theatre history, I've never taught it, so it has been interesting doing the research for my lectures, and since I've never taught a lecture course before, I've really tried to figure out ways to make it stimulating and engaging for the students. The acting class, which I have taught before, is a lot easier, although I've also had to tailor my methods to the department's course content, which hasn't been too hard, but still has been some work.

I truly am happy to be here. I went to college here myself, and some of my best memories are from my times here. It's also been interesting to see who I was then and who I am now. One of my first nights here I took a jog past so many of the places that had been a part of my life nearly 20 years ago. I ran past my old apartment building (which looks basically the same, but has a different name); past the old football stadium (which looks so small to me now) where I first told someone that I was gay; past the malt shop where I used to go all the time; past what used to be a convenience store where my friends and I would get snacks for late-night cramming sessions; past the parking lot where I used to park my car when I would go to class; past what used to be the theater we used to perform in (which has since been torn down and another, much better, performing arts facility has been built in what used to be a vacant field); past the place where there used to be a fountain I hung around a lot (after seeing a picture of the old fountain and how ugly it was, I kind of understand why they got rid of it); past the park where my friends and I used to play (and where the current generation of students is still playing; past the shops and eating establishments, which have changed somewhat since I was here as a student. And as I ran, I was listening to the music on my IPod, and I felt so good, so happy. So happy with the memories I had, and so happy with the person I've become.

I remember once, three or four years after I graduated from the college here, I came back for a visit and I understood what the statement "You can never go home again" meant. It just wasn't the same. But this time, about eighteen years after I graduated and probably 15 years since I'd even stepped foot in this town, I realized you actually can go home again. I felt the same joy, the same feelings I felt here so long ago as a student.

And, it's interesting, although this town has grown a little since I was here last and some things have changed, it is very interesting to me how little has changed. The first week I taught, the theatre department had a little gathering where the faculty and staff were introduced and where the students got the opportunity to meet and get to know one another. My boss introduced me and asked if I had anything to say. I told these kids how lucky they were to come to school here, how lucky they were to have this performing arts facility that I never had, and how lucky they were to have my mentor as the head of their department. I got a little emotional, which I was a little embarrassed by, but I meant every word I said. If these kids' experiences are anything like mine were, they are SO, SO lucky and blessed to be going to school here. I told them to make the most of their time here; to seize the day.

It has been so awesome being with my old teacher. I love him so much. he had an enormous influence on me both personally and in my career. It has been fun to watch him in action again. I had forgotten how much I have missed him. And he really has done everything to make me feel welcome and included and important. It's been interesting working with him as a peer. I'm really enjoying it. I know he is equally glad to have me here and is really grateful for all I am doing for him. He wants me to stay on for spring semester, but I told him it will be impossible unless I can get more money. I really like being here, but I can't afford to do this another semester (besides if I get an acting gig, I wouldn't be able to anyway; plus I miss Jonah terribly. Since we had our commitment ceremony nearly a year ago, I've spent all of two or so months with him). I know my boss will do all he can to work it out so I can stay, but I do not believe the college will pay what I need to stay here. Jonah said if they do, he's okay with my staying, but part of me just wants to be in my house with my husband.

The other thing (besides this job) that has kept me occupied was that I got a much-needed operation on my knee. About fifteen years ago I hyperextended my leg in a show I was in and tore some cartilage in my knee. Since then, it has gotten worse and more difficult to dance and walk up and down stairs. Until recently I never had insurance good enough to afford the surgery, but finally I was able to get it (and at a time when I wasn't in a show). The surgery went very well, and my knee is healing quickly. I still have a limp, and I have to go to physical therapy, but considering I had the surgery only a week ago, I feel I am in great shape. Hopefully when it is completely healed, I will no longer have the knee problems I had before.

Tomorrow after I teach my last class, I am going to visit Jonah in Vegas for five days. We are both very, very excited and looking forward to time together.

Things are good. I know my mom misses me a lot (and I miss her (and Jonah), but I guess that's part of life. Just know I am happy and well.