Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Many Issues And The Future Of This Blog

Some days I wonder why I continue to write this blog. I'm not even sure how many people read it anymore or if anything I write is of particular interest to anyone. When I began this blog six years ago, I was trying to sort through all sorts of emotions and come to terms with who I am. Now that I've done that and found someone who makes me happy in a life that's more joyous than not, I wonder what do I have to say.

It's not that what I have to say isn't important or worthy of being said. I just sometimes wonder how many people are even listening or if they are impacted by anything I have to write. I began this blog as a way of sorting through a lot of conflicting emotions. Now that I've done that, what am I really using it for? It's just become sort of an online journal. Why then do I need to share my inner-most thoughts with a group of people who are mostly strangers when I can I just write in my own journal?

Sometime I feel like if I'm going to continue blogging, I should refocus what I want to say, but I'm not entirely sure what I feel I need to say in an online forum anymore.

Maybe I'm just having an off day. After all, I've threatened to quit blogging before, and obviously I haven't. And I suppose I do get satisfaction from voicing my thoughts, feelings, and opinions.

Anyway, today I thought I'd share some feelings about various things I've been exposed to lately. The first is the amazing stuff that's happening in Washington state right now with gay marriage. I've said before in this blog that I think gay marriage is an inevitable "rolling stone", and it's going to happen whether you want it to or not. Where you decide to stand as far as the history of gay marriage is up to you, but eventually it's going to be country-wide as far as I'm concerned.

I'm so proud of the governor of Washington and the legislators who had the courage to pass the bill that will enable same-sex couples in Washington to marry. I was particularly moved by this Republican, who I'm sure many of you are aware of:

Maureen Walsh claims she's not very eloquent, but I think she articulates exactly what the issue of gay marriage issue is really about. I admire her courage and the courage of those who voted for this bill to enable a disenfranchised minority to gain another foothold toward equal rights.

I was also excited and thrilled to hear that the appeals court in California declared Proposition 8 unconstitutional.

Of course, we probably still have a ways to go before gay marriage in California resumes, but this is a step in the right direction, and if this goes to the Supreme Court, who knows, maybe gay marriage will become a federally recognized institution? Again, I think it's inevitable, whether one year from now, 20 years from now, or 100 years from now.

Of course, the LDS Church came out with their own statement on the matter, which I'm sure most of you are familiar with and which, of course, was not a surprise. It said:

"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints regrets today’s decision. California voters have twice determined in a general election that marriage should be recognized as only between a man and a woman. We have always had that view. Courts should not alter that definition, especially when the people of California have spoken so clearly on the subject.

"Millions of voters in California sent a message that traditional marriage is crucial to society. They expressed their desire, through the democratic process, to keep traditional marriage as the bedrock of society, as it has been for generations.

"We recognize that this decision represents a continuation of what has been a vigorous public debate over the rights of the people to define and protect the fundamental institution of marriage. There is no doubt that today’s ruling will intensify the debate in this country. We urge people on all sides of this issue to act in a spirit of mutual respect and civility toward those with a different opinion."

Other bloggers have written about their issues with this statement, such as the fact that the LDS Church has not always believed in marriage just being between "a man and a woman". For many years and even as far as the afterlife goes, the LDS Church has held the position of marriage being between a man and more than one woman, so there's that.

Bloggers have also pointed out that although church leaders stress that "millions of voters in California sent a message that traditional marriage is crucial to society," they fail to mention the millions of voters that were not against gay marriage. Remember, the vote came down to 52.24% for Prop. 8 and 47.74% against it. That's 7,001,084 to 6,401,482: a difference of only 599,602 votes, so it's not like it was an overwhelming majority, and even if it had been, would that make it right. Years ago a majority thought there was nothing wrong with keeping fellow human beings as slaves or that women shouldn't have equal rights as men or that interracial couples shouldn't marry or that people with a different colored skin were inferior. Did that make those things right?

I do appreciate the LDS Church's final statement: "We urge people on all sides of this issue to act in a spirit of mutual respect and civility toward those with a different opinion." I think that's good advice.

Look. I've said it before and I'll say it again: the LDS Church has every right to defend what it believes in, and I respect people's right to believe that gay marriage or homosexual relationships are morally wrong. But I have just as much a right to believe what I believe, which is that there is nothing wrong with being gay and that gay marriage can lead to good things.

I certainly don't think gay marriage is going to be the downfall of society, as some naysayers insist. And please, to tell me that gay marriage somehow threatens the institution of marriage is absurd. It seems straight folk are already doing a pretty good job of wrecking their own marriages without any help from me and my partner.

People can fight for what they believe is right, but I shall do the same. I fail to see the sin in same-sex relationships. So many of the gay people I know are so much happier in their relationships and with themselves than they were when they were trying to abide by the wishes of their religions, Mormon or not. I know I, for one, am so much happier and well-adjusted and at peace with my life and with who I am than I was when I was trying to fit into the box of Mormon dogma that I never quite fit into as far as this issue is concerned. Jonah has helped me be a better person, and I truly feel our lives and relationship have been blessed. I feel we are both better people having found one another, and I know the love I have for him is real and good. I cannot find a rational reason why it isn't. That's what I believe. If others believe differently, that is their prerogative, but I think they will find themselves on the wrong side of history. If I'm wrong, I'll eat my words, but that's how I feel.

Which brings me to another thing I want to comment on: this whole Ellen Degeneres / JC Penney / One Million Moms brouhaha.

I think Ellen herself sums it up best:

I love Ellen. I remember when I was so tightly bound in the closet and she bravely came out on the famous so-called "Puppy" episode of her TV show, "Ellen" and even more bravely came out in real life. The scene at the airport (which begins at 1:20) was so moving and funny, and I remember watching the show in secret and crying because I so yearned to do what she was doing in the episode: speaking her truth.

Although it didn't prompt me to come out right away (that took another 9 years), it was a pivotal moment for me. I've always had such admiration and respect for Ellen Degeneres. She is one celebrity I wish I were friends with.

I remember when her series was canceled and she was blackballed for a time, and look at her now: married, well-loved, successful, popular, influential. It really has gotten better. I love her not because she is gay, but because she is filled with laughter and joy and does such kind things for others. She is a good person. She just radiates it.

I love her last statement in the video from her talk show: "...I want to be clear. And here are the values I stand for. I stand for honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you'd want to be treated and helping those in need. To me, those are traditional values. That's what I stand for. I also believe in dance."

That so embodies what I believe. All the naysayers talk about gay marriage or homosexuality being contrary to traditional values. The values I believe in are kindness, compassion, love, doing unto others as you would have them to do you, serving and caring for your fellow man, integrity. Aren't those traditional values? So many of the values I don't agree with such as hypocrisy, judging, vilifying, hating, fearing, oppressing, etc. are often found in those who claim to be the most religious or Christian. I don't think that embodies Christianity at all. Those same attributes are found in the Pharisees of old, whom Christ told to repent.

There are many wonderful people and values to be found in organized religion. I owe some of my best values to my Mormon heritage. And I know many of the people in the LDS Church who disagree with homosexuality and gay marriage are only defending what they believe is right and what the prophets have told them and what they believe God has commanded. I can certainly respect that. I really can. But I think they are wrong.

The prophets and apostles are only doing what God has commanded of them, you say. They cannot lead the church and its members astray. But are they not also fallible men, capable of making mistakes? Cannot they be mistaken on this issue? Is there not perhaps more that may be revealed on this matter?

One can read words of apostles and future prophets on other matters, such as race issues, to see that they can be. Read Mark E. Petersen's 1954 BYU address or Delbert Stapley's 1964 letter to George Romney (Mitt's dad) or Brigham Young's statement "Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so." (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Volume 10, page 110.) or Ezra Taft Benson's comments about the civil rights movement.

I do not point these out to vilify or criticize these men. They were a product of their time. But they were wrong. History has shown they were wrong. If the LDS Church were to make such statements today, they would be blasted out of the water and it would go contrary to what they currently teach. So cannot the LDS Church's views on the homosexual issue also change and evolve?

Look at the LDS Church in Joseph Smith's time and the LDS Church today, and tell me they are exactly the same. Tell me it hasn't evolved with the times. One only has to read its history to know that it has. I'm not saying the LDS Church will ever change as far as this issue is concerned. I'm not even saying I'm right and they're wrong. Who knows? Maybe I and all the other homosexuals in the world have been deceived and the LDS Church really is right in what it teaches about homosexuality. But my personal experience leads me to believe that the LDS Church is currently on the wrong side of history as far as this issue is concerned. It will be interesting to see what the future holds.


Miguel said...

Still reading here. I also ask myself if I blog for the sake of writing or if I really have something to say that matters and we actually were discussing some of these issues at a Moho party a couple of months ago.

Bottom line, I do write for me to say the things I want to say, to talk about the issues I want to deal with which I may still not be able to do openly on FB (don't know why...) but thanks for sharing your thoughts, you know someone is reading them!

cspokey said...

I've never commented here before. But I've been reading your blog for at least a few years. And I want to say thank you. Thank you for putting yourself out here, where I can read it. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Because of this blog (and a few others) I now agree with you. The prophets and apostles are only men. They are doing the best they can, but they can make mistakes.

Thank you.

Gay LDS Actor said...

Thanks, Miguel and cspokey, I appreciate knowing your thoughts. Sometimes I feel like I'm voicing my opinions to the empty air. It's nice to know that people still read and are interested or moved or changed by anything I have to say.

J G-W said...

I LOVED Ellen's remarks, and I LOVE Ellen. She's an amazing person...

Truth will out, bro. That's my slogan when it comes to this issue. This is about love, commitment, family and fairness, and eventually this will be obvious to everyone. We just need to be faithful, hopeful and loving.

Trev said...

This is an excellent post!

I've been reading your blog for maybe a year and a half now, and I occasionally comment, but my comments are often fairly superficial and probably don't reflect how much your and other Moho blogs mean to me.

Speaking generally, blogs like yours perform a TREMENDOUS service, and it always makes me sad when people take their blogs down (everyone reading this--fine, stop writing your blog if you want, but NEVER take it down). When I was closeted and ashamed and couldn't talk to ANYONE about my experience to even know if it was real, blogs like yours are there for me to know I'm not alone, not crazy, and that I am in fact worth something.

As I'm still struggling with what I want to do with my life, even mundane stories about yours and others daily life as happy openly gay men (and occasionally women) give me a window on possibilities I may never have considered given my own little corner of the world and pervading culture.

Every Moho blog is of tremendous value, especially at this time in history, I think. Keep up the good work, and at least never take your blog down.

Gay LDS Actor said...

Thanks, John.

Thanks, Trev. Your comments mean a lot to me and put things in perspective. I agree that even if one quits their blog, taking it down means people will miss out on some valuable stuff, so even if I were to stop writing, I think I would still leave it up.

I've appreciated your comments, both past and present. I guess sometimes I just need a reminder that writing my blog is useful. Thanks for helping remind me.

Thinker said...

I've been reading your blog for about 2 years and, like cspokey, I've never commented before. I also believe I have read your story on mormons for marriage...was that you? (When I was reading the stories on that blog there was only one that seemed to speak to me, then when I stumbled upon and began reading your blog, the writing style and story seemed familiar.) When I came across your blog, I sat up reading your past entries into the early morning hours. I sat sobbing when you were excommunicated. I have laughed, pondered, cried, and wished I knew you. I have read and re-read your testimony throughout the blog. I have felt the Spirit over and over as I read the things you write. When you have mentioned that you weren't sure of the future of your blog I sit and cry again because I wait and watch for your next entry. I have read some entries on other blogs, but none resonate with my soul as yours does. It seems that others become bitter...you don't. Your recent entry about deciding not to attend church as much has been so very hard for me. While I completely respect your decision and feelings, I have loved and needed your example, strength, and determination to hold onto to who you are in spite of your membership status. While the gift of the Holy Ghost may have been taken from you with your excommunication...I cannot deny that I feel the Spirit when you write things and I believe you still feel the Spirit as well. I know your testimony is still real and intact. I know that you did not make the decisions you have made lightly, nor have you forsaken all you know. I love you more for those things than I can ever say. I believe I have been led to and am reading your blog for a reason. Please don't quit posting your thoughts. Please don't quit sharing your experiences. Please reconsider how often you may attend church. I cannot imagine how hard it is to attend and not participate...it would be one of the hardest parts for me...but I would miss you so much if I were in your ward. Your spirit is so strong, and even if you can't participate, your presence is probably felt and making a difference to someone. I have been (am) in a ward that sometimes is much less than I wish it was...but I am there. I am trying to do what I know I should, in spite of all the things I do that I know I shouldn't and all the things I do that I'm not so sure are wrong.
There are too many thoughts and feelings in my mind and my own story is too long to share here...but please, please know that you, your life, your testimony, your experiences, your spirit, your thoughts, your message is so important to many of us that never comment or that haven't found your blog yet. You are different, Cody. Your story and attitude are different. I don't know how things will be in the next life...but I do agree and believe that you are living the life that is right for you and still living it with the gospel of Jesus Christ as your foundation. You and Jonah have a very real purpose. He is a good man and you two are and can be a positive example to us all. Don't give up on us that don't comment...just know that we are out here and we love you.

Gay LDS Actor said...

Gosh, Thinker,

Your words have greatly touched my heart, and I needed to hear them. I sometimes wonder if my words resonate with anybody, and clearly they resonate with you, and that is nice to hear.

I also sometimes forget that there are people out there that I am not even aware I am influencing. I guess sometimes I selfishly crave some validation. I need to work on that. I shouldn't be so needy.

Wow, I had forgotten all about the Mormons for Marriage post, but yes, that was me.

One things I always promised I would never do is become bitter. I've had enough bitterness in my life to know that it is a useless emotion and does nothing but eat one's soul from the inside. I just refuse to go down that road. I've decided love is the best way to go, and I try to let negativity roll off my back.

I do hope people realize (and I'm not implying you don't) that just because I have chosen to take a break from church doesn't mean that it's permanent or that I'm completely disconnecting from it.

Nor does it mean that I'm taking a break from God. There's often this idea in organized religion that the Sabbath is the time one communes with God, but of course one can commune and worship God any time. The four walls of a church do not hold all that God is and has to offer us. I am still very spiritual and my Father in Heaven and my Savior Jesus Christ definitely have a very prominent and central part in my life.

I actually considered going to my ward this morning because, truth be told, I missed going. I didn't end up going, but I did feel like I should have. I guess that's something.

I guess I just wish Mormon church meetings could be more dynamic than they sometimes are. I remember hearing a really good talk in church once. It was interesting, spiritual, moving, and made me feel the Spirit and inspired me to be a better disciple. I remember wishing that that could be the rule in worship services rather than the exception.

I was watching Whitney Houston's funeral yesterday and the music was filled with such passion and spirit, and I thought, "Why, when I attend a Mormon ward does it feel so often that we're singing a funeral dirge and here at a Baptist funeral they're singing praises to God like they mean it?"

Even the pastor's sermon, although the style wasn't what I was used to, was filled with spirit and passion for the word of God when so many Mormon talks feel like reluctant assignments being recited by robot drones.

If the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is indeed God's true church, which I still believe it to be, why don't we seem more excited about it in the way we worship and testify? Sure, there are examples of it, but they so often seem to be the exception, and I find that disappointing.

And then it gets so repetitious and mind-numbingly boring at times. I just need a break to recharge, I think.

And most of all, because I can't participate fully, I find myself wishing I could testify and speak the way I wish others would. I certainly try to sing with passion, but sometimes I feel like I'm alone in doing so, and then I think, "Well, why are we all here if not to be edified and worship our Father?"

Gay LDS Actor said...


You know, I always believed when I was excommunicated, I would lose the Spirit. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have felt no loss of the Spirit and actually feel I've been more receptive to it. I do not know why, but I feel the Spirit's presence much more strongly in my life now.

You are right that I have not made my life decisions lightly at all, and I still feel I have a strong testimony of the gospel.

I'm so moved by how much you feel you have been affected by my blog, and I'm glad you have found it edifying and moving.

I also appreciate your point that even though I am unable to participate in church as much as I would like that my spirit and presence are still affecting people in a positive way. That's an important point that I had not considered.

I hope you know God loves you. He loves you for what you are doing well. He loves you for what you are not doing so well. He loves who you are and always will.

I'd love to hear your story some time; if not here, you can write me privately. Just as you have benefited from my stories and experiences, others can benefit from yours. I hope you are sharing it, whether online or off.

I, too, don't know how things will be in the next life or how it will all work out, but like you, I agree that I am living the life that is right for me and still living it with my Father and Elder Brother by my side.

Jonah is indeed a good man. Our relationship is so blessed, and I feel even closer to my Heavenly Father because of him. Jonah teaches me so much about faith and generosity and being in tune with the Spirit and with the needs of others.

They say a good tree doesn't produce bad fruit, and we're getting a lot of good fruit from this tree, so I am happy with where I am.

I am so, so thankful for your comments, and I anticipate that this blog will continue. I still have stuff to say, and silent ones like you have made me realize there are more people readinga nd listening to my voice than I realize.

I truly appreciate your thoughts.

Much love,