Monday, February 28

Why I'm a Mormon

I was on a blog the other day and found myself wanting an "I'm a Mormon" button for this blog. I could make one, but the buttons were designed to link to profiles... and since profiles are uniquely linked to your membership number, I can't really create one as Mormon Guy. *sigh* I guess I'll just link to the homepage.

I'm a Mormon.

If I had a profile, this is how I'd answer the question, "Why I'm a Mormon."

Many of the good things in my life come from being a Mormon. A close relationship with my family. The ability to meet new people and immediately share a bond that can develop into friendship. A hugely optimistic worldview. Endless opportunities for service. But the Church doesn't have a corner on family relationships, friendship, happiness, or integrating spirituality and service. If I searched hard enough, I could find ways to get all those outside the Church. But there are some things that I could never find if I left... and those are actually the most compelling. They're worth every sacrifice I've ever and will ever make to stay worthy of them.

The reason why I am a Mormon is because of the unique blessings that come with my membership in the Church:

The gift of the Holy Ghost - which is the promise that, as I live my life righteously, God will always guide and direct my paths, keep me from harm, and inspire me with direct, personal revelation in my mind and heart. This gift alone is worth my membership in the Church and any sacrifice. The Lord has given me promptings that have saved my family's lives, prevented suicides, opened hearts, and changed my own life. And it's more. I can pray, at any time, and hear the voice of the Lord and know His will for me in my life. Not perfectly, and not always with the detail I'd like, but He always answers. And when I pray for peace, I am always surrounded by His love. Those are the promises of the gift of the Holy Ghost - that as I do His will, His Spirit will always be with me.

The power of the Priesthood - the ability to exercise the power of God in behalf of His children here on earth - whether giving a blessing of healing that miraculously makes pain go away, bones heal, and hearts change... exercising power over the elements... or giving a blessing of comfort that opens the windows of Heaven to show God's love. Again, this has saved my life and the lives of others. But more, it has brought incredible peace in a world of pain and chaos.

The blessings of the temple - in the temple I make sacred promises to God, feel His presence, and am able to see perspective in my life. When nothing seems to make sense and I don't know what to do in life, I can go to the temple with an open heart, searching, and I always leave with answers. I've paid thousands of dollars for the opportunity to learn from experts in the world. The preparation of personal worthiness the Lord asks before entering the temple is definitely worth it.

The ability to invite others and see their lives change. The gospel is one of the few things in the world that is really universal. The principles of faith, repentance, making covenants with God, and following His counsel can help every person on the planet live more fulfilled lives and come closer to Christ. And the peace and joy that comes as I see someone's eyes light up - as he makes changes in his life and develops a greater relationship with God - is priceless. Saving a life is nowhere near the miracle of saving and exalting the hopes, dreams, and happiness of another soul.

Yeah. I may have a rough life when I'm attracted to guys and not to girls. And I have a lot of other problems, too. But being a gay Mormon guy (with emphasis on the Mormon part) has been the greatest thing that could ever happen to me. I wouldn't trade my life or my faith for the world. And that's why I'm a Mormon.

Saturday, February 26

The Place of Attraction

There's a somewhat heated debate in the faithful & gay world as it relates to attraction in marriage. 

One extreme says that it is the most cruel, evil, dishonest, selfish, sadistic, and everything else thing I could ever do to marry a woman who doesn't take my breath away and make my heart skip a beat with a glance. Those who adhere to that extreme also sometimes use it as a reason why it would be better for me to leave the Church and "find a man."

The other side says, often with decades of experience, that sexual attraction between spouses isn't necessary for a happy, fulfilled, and successful relationship. Then they mention that those who think amazing sexual relations in marriage are crucially necessary for its survival obviously lack the maturity, commitment, and real love to stay married to a spouse who becomes quadriplegic, partially paralyzed, or simply ages poorly.

Since I've recently gotten heated comments from both sides, I thought I would share my viewpoint here.

I believe that the decision to marry, for me and others who live with same-sex attraction, is a personal one. Some men and women will make the righteous decision to live with lifelong celibacy - focusing on how they can help the world as a whole and believing in the promise that they'll find love in the end. Some won't. As far as the criteria for marriage, and how the Brethren feel about it, I agree with what the Brethren have said in an official statement when asked whether male Church members who are attracted to other guys should marry:

"Persons who have cleansed themselves of any transgression and who have shown their ability to deal with these feelings or inclinations and put them in the background, and feel a great attraction for a daughter of God and therefore desire to enter marriage and have children and enjoy the blessings of eternity — that’s a situation when marriage would be appropriate."

So there are three criteria. 

1: "Have cleaned themselves of any transgression" - which extends beyond just repentance for an action; in my mind it means that I have overcome my temptations, have repented, and am living a truly clean life.

2: "Ability to... put the feelings in the background" - I think this shares a key component. The feelings may never completely go away. But deciding to marry is based on how well I can mitigate and act when the feelings are present - to take control of my life and define myself as a son of God even when temptation is there.

3: "Feel a great attraction for a daughter of God" - this is pretty self-explanatory, but, drawing from the statement, it needs to extend to wanting to be married, have children, and share eternity together. Obviously I would never marry someone that I didn't want to share eternity with.

All three components require miracles on the part of the Lord. The miracle of forgiveness, the miracle of strength and faith, and the miracle of falling in love.

So where do I stand? I've seen miracles in my life with forgiveness and change, and I've found strength in the gospel to face my trials. But I haven't felt the last one yet, and so that's what I'm waiting for. In my patriarchal blessing it talks about my future wife and me being completely and totally in love with each other - with nothing in the world able to come between us. I just haven't found the girl of my dreams so that I can become her guy yet. It'll happen eventually; until then, I keep loving, and looking, and living. I wonder what love language she'll have...

Friday, February 25

Me & Love Languages: Touch

This love language ties physical affection into the relationship - but it's not focused on sexual intimacy (though in marriage that plays a role). This love language is the language of high-fives, pats on the back, tousling hair, bear hugs, contact sports, and being physically close. The best way to say, "I love you" is by simply maintaining comfortable (for both) physical contact with the person. The worst way? Don't touch them at all.

This love language is messed up in my case. I'm not sure if it stems from abuse or if it's just an inherent part of being attracted to guys and not to girls, but this love language is hyper-sensitized to the point of being absurd. 

When most girls touch me (or I touch them), I feel like crawling out of my skin - even if they're really nice. The one exception is a nice handshake or a hug to someone who looks like they really need it. As we become better and better acquainted, I feel more comfortable being slightly more physical, but at the same time it doesn't give me a rush of positive emotion... so I don't do much touching when there are girls involved. And they're aware - most of the girls I've dated have at some point mentioned how I don't feel comfortable when hugging them after a date, and often that's true.

With guys, on the other hand, I have to set clear limits, because touch could easily become an outlet and breeding ground for feelings of same-sex attraction. Part of me wishes I could be more physical with guys; most of me is very grateful that I'm not! But, back to the topic, I definitely feel loved when a guy finds a way to show his love (friendship, camaraderie) through touch. A hug, high-five, punch in the stomach, hand on the shoulder, anything at all works. 

I probably need to give a massive explanation here. The temptation to be physically and sexually involved with men is a part of my life. When I see an attractive guy, my mind can easily go wandering, and it would be just as easy to let my body do what it wants. But that's not what I want. I repeat: That's not what I want. I've talked with God at length and I believe that true and lasting happiness comes from following what He has taught through modern prophets... and so I live the law of chastity. I'll never be sexually involved with another guy. I'll never make out with a guy or do a lot of other things that would lead to arousal. My eternal happiness is worth too much to bargain for temporal pleasure and happiness now.

My hope and dream is that I can find a girl someday where touch works as a love language for both of us - essentially, where I'm not repulsed by a romantic closeness and where touch engenders positive feelings for me and her. There are varying degrees of passion behind having to "find someone you're attracted to," but, at the very least, I wouldn't feel comfortable marrying someone that I didn't enjoy touching, and I'm sure that most of you agree with the premise. That will probably take a miracle, but God has already done some pretty amazing things in my life. He can do this, too. And even if He doesn't... He'll take care of me as I do my part to keep His commandments. When I feel totally unloved, I pray to God and ask to know that He loves me... and He fills in all the gaps that He gave me in the first place. "I give unto men weakness that they may turn unto me... and if they will turn unto me... I will make weak things strong unto them."

Receiving - complicated. If you're a girl, I'll probably bristle when you touch me. If you're a guy, I'll feel butterflies. Either way, I still need it.

Giving - fair. I can tell when someone needs a hug or a shoulder to cry on. I have trouble touching girls I'm dating because I don't want to send the wrong message... but to girls who are definitely friends, I'm there for them. With guys, I try to gauge their comfort in being physical to make sure I'm not overstepping my bounds.

Different with guys? Oh yeah. Night and day. Which is really odd... since it's the only love language that has marked differences between genders.

Thursday, February 24

Me & Love Languages: Acts of Service

The service love language is rooted in making life easier for the person you love. Cleaning the kitchen, raking leaves, or anything else is the best way to say, "I love you." The worst thing to do? Just sit there watching tv, talking, or reading while they work, or always do your own thing.

This is a love language that I definitely appreciate. Coming home to a clean kitchen or realizing that someone has cleaned the house fills me with a sense of gratitude, simply because they care. Ironically, I give off the "I don't need anything in my life, so don't ask" vibe, according to my friends, and I probably won't be able to think of anything I need... so getting up the courage to offer service and finding something to offer is pretty hard. But if you can find a way to serve me, I'll remember it and feel your love forever.

I have friends with this love language, and I have to consciously tell myself that I need to find things to do with them while we are spending quality time together. But I actually don't feel any of the ill effects of this language. If you show your love to me in other ways - even just talking to me while I clean for hours on end - I'll still feel loved.

Receiving - Good. I appreciate the service that others give me - random or personal. It warms my heart and inspires me to serve others with the time and effort they have given me so freely.

Giving - Great. This is my fallback language when I don't have a close enough relationship to profit from quality time. And I've realized, in loving people through this language, that much of my need is actually to love others - to just being loved by them. And serving them helps fill my need to love.

Different for guys? No, except that I find myself serving guys more often because it takes longer to develop a relationship with quality time. But, over time, it works out - and I feel great - loved and able to love.

Wednesday, February 23

Me & Love Languages: Gifts

The love language of gifts is what keeps Hallmark, 1800Flowers, and most chocolate stores in business. But it extends beyond simply wanting to receive gifts; it is focused more on the thought behind it - hence "it's the thought that (really) counts." The greatest way to say I love you is to find something perfect for them. And the worst way is to just pick something up at an airport gift shop, or not bring anything at all.

I'm not a gift person. It probably comes from living a somewhat monastic life, combined with carryovers from my childhood, when I didn't think I was ever worth the gifts I received. Today gifts make me feel slightly uncomfortable, since I have no idea how I'm supposed to feel about them except gratitude... and since I don't know how to reciprocate in any meaningful way... which makes living with gift-givers in my life horrendously complex. To make things easier, I try to figure out who needs gifts and leave myself reminders to get them things, but often I'm really bad at interpreting others' needs, and I end up giving a really nice gift to someone who would rather I not give them one, and not even giving anything to the person who needed and wanted it most.

In recent years, I've begun to learn to appreciate the gestures of gift-givers, but I still would be blissfully marvelous if I never got anything from anyone again. As I said above, I'm learning to give gifts, slowly... with the help of other gift-givers... so hopefully I won't be permanently Deaf and mute in this love language.

Receiving: None - I sometimes don't even realize when someone has given me a gift. And even though I will always remember they gave it to me, it doesn't fill me with a sense of being loved, yet. I think I'm moving in that direction, though - at least to be able to appreciate gifts.

Giving: Awful - I really am getting better, I think. But I still stink at gift-giving and even at determining who to give gifts to. Right now I try to find social "requirements" that I can fit gifts inside to take away my trepidation that gifts would be misconstrued or make situations awkward.

Different for guys? No - if a guy gives me something I still feel nothing. That's sort of lame now that I think about it - he could totally be showing love and I would be oblivious. I have people in my life who are like that.

Tuesday, February 22

Me & Love Languages: Quality Time

Quality time is the love language that requires simple, undivided attention and a willingness to just be there. People with this love language thrive on being with others - in their presence - with the ability to do things together or simply hold a deep conversation. The worst way to act around someone who is quality time? Don't give them the time of day.

This is my love language. For me, nothing says "I love you" like being there for me, and wanting to spend time with me even when you have other things to do. In my case, it's not a question of having undivided attention (I'm okay with people who divide their attention between multiple facets) - it's more a question of being kind, open, honest, and sincere in conversation and activity. Playing sports, giving service, and hanging out are nice ways for me, but, for me, the core of a loving relationship is open, heartfelt conversation (usually about the gospel and its applications to life).

This could be one reason why I have a hard time feeling like the guys in my life love me. Most of them wouldn't feel comfortable just sitting, having a personal conversation with another guy about the things that make them tick, their dreams, and the things that face them in life. One reader mentioned that I was looking for social relationships "with a level of emotional intimacy deeper than what many guys have with anyone - even their wives." And as I've looked, I've realized that her comment is probably accurate. Stereotypes exist because they are at least partially true - because I want good guy friends with emotional maturity higher than the cultural norm, they're hard to find.

On the negative, it's really easy for people to show a lack of love to me, whether on purpose or not. Never be available, specifically un-invite me to things where you will be, tell me you never want to talk to me again, and ignore me except for a curt greeting when social norms require it... without ever telling me why. If I had anything invested in the relationship - romantic or just to be a friend - that's a sure-fire way to break my heart.

Receiving: Primary - if you spend time with me and open your heart and mind so I can understand you, I feel like I'm on top of the world. It's why I love when people tell me their stories, share their testimonies of the gospel, or ask for help in facing life.

Giving: Primary - the way I show love to others is by being there for them. Being available if they ever need anything. I'd drop everything in my life for my friends, members of my family, even random strangers on the street. The best way to show I love someone is to help them solve their problems and gain a greater testimony of the gospel.

Different with guys? No - it's just harder to feel loved and show love in a society that encourages men to bottle their emotions and forgo real thought and spending time with others.

Monday, February 21

Me & Love Languages: Words of Affirmation

The relationship-help book called "the five love languages" or something similar has been making the rounds in my social circles. I think the concept is actually pretty cool - understand people's love languages so that you can better show love to them and so you can understand your own needs. It's already helping me understand others and better show my love, so I thought I'd share it here. The first language is "words of affirmation" - sincere praise, verbal affection, and warm, heartfelt compliments are the core of this language... and discouraging remarks are its opposite.

Words of affirmation really don't do that much for me... I had a reader who was really, honestly concerned for my emotional and spiritual wellbeing because I get so many "you are amazing" comments here on (Gay) Mormon Guy. He was concerned that it was getting to my head... and that I was "breathing in" the fumes, as President Uchtdorf humorously put in his talk on pride. But, as much as I try to appreciate sincere compliments and praise in my life, words of affirmation from other people usually don't have much effect. I mean, you're welcome to compliment me on whatever, but I'll probably forget about ten seconds later. And if I'm depressed, getting a hundred "you're amazing" comments doesn't do anything. I'm not good at making affirmative remarks either; I have to consciously make an effort to remember tell my date she looks nice, or to even give a coworker a compliment on a job well done.

At the same time though, I take every discouraging remark that comes my way personally - and I treat sarcasm as if it were an honest opinion. I may not remember what people said that was nice, but I can remember what they said that wasn't forever. While the words can't really hurt me, comments can turn my life upside down as I try to understand their perspective and what I need to change in order to become better. An example - once someone called me a liar, to my face, and told me I didn't care about others. They were angry and didn't understand all the information, but I still remember standing there, wondering what I had done wrong to merit the tirade I received... and wondering what I needed to do to fix myself in the future. I don't ever hold grudges against or judge people; I just believe that in every comment ever voiced or written - sincere or sarcastic - there is at least a grain of truth... and I try to find it.

Receiving: Mediocre. I'm getting better - I can tell when people are trying to show their love through sincere praise or compliments. And even though I don't feel much from the comment itself, I appreciate that they are willing to take the time to share their thoughts with me.

Giving: Mediocre. Unless I am actively trying to lift someone who's depressed, I don't often affirm the good things they do, or even affirm their character. But I'm getting better - complimenting others, letting them know that I esteem and support them, and especially saying thank you to the people who make a difference in my life.

Different with guys? No. For me, compliments from or to guys are just the same as to or from girls.

Saturday, February 19

If I Were a Superhero, What Superpower Would I Have?

That question is bogus. I can't think of one superhero who chose his power. It was something inside him - a set of conditions thrust upon him by forces far outside his own control - and it happened with or without his consent.

But, along with super speed or an incredible intellect, superheroes have something that, from my perspective, is worth far more than their superpowers. The greatest superheroes take their personal circumstances, overcome their weaknesses, and focus on their strengths. And once they find their own strengths, they begin to serve others, eventually developing a deep and abiding love for the people they serve.

If I had incredible speed, I'd probably be a runner, and try to find a way to share the gospel through my fame. I'd change the world through music if I could entrance with my voice or song lyrics. I'd wow people with my super strength and find ways to serve others with invulnerability or the ability to fly.

But I don't have any of those things. I'm just a normal Mormon guy, living a normal Mormon life. And yet, deep inside me, I feel like I'm destined for something far more than being a normal Mormon guy. Deep inside, I know that I am a son of God, and that He has sent me here to play a part in the history of the world... which is way better than being a superhero.

God gave me gifts, with the injunction to develop them so that I could bless the lives of others. He gave me the seeds of superpowers - gifts uniquely tailored to me and my needs.

I don't have superhuman speed. I do have the ability to love people and, sometimes, to truly empathize with them because I understand their pain. I can't jump tall buildings in even a hundred bounds. I can write and articulately share my feelings with others. I don't have X-ray vision. I can see the hand of God all around me in life, and I can share that with the people in the world. When I'm having a good day, I see the good in everything. And when I'm having a rough day, I can see the lessons that life teaches on every side. 

I'm not sure if Marvel will ever trademark a character named after me, but the Lord has given me enough powers or gifts to do my part to save the world. Being attracted to guys plays a part in those gifts, as does everything in my life. The real question is not "What superpower would you have to help save the world?" but "How will you use the cards you have been given to help save the world?" 

I am endowed with the seeds of divinity - promising me a destiny far beyond superheroes. Whether I attain that destiny is dependent on how I live my life - as a superhero, trying to find ways to love and serve others, or as just another guy.

Friday, February 18

The Index

For the first few months of (Gay) Mormon Guy's existence, many new readers took the plunge into understanding my life by reading all my back posts. "I finally finished reading all your posts..." was a common preface to emails and comments. As time has gone on, and I've kept posting (for better or worse), reading the entire blog to understand who I am has become daunting for any but the most heroic of readers.

So I've decided to make an index of all the posts I've written, with markings to indicate my favorites for newcomers. It's sort of like an annotated summary of everything that has happened, with links to each post in the body of the text - and hopefully, collectively, the entries explain my perspective enough that the bar of understanding my blog is lowered beneath the ordeal of reading everything I write.

Without further ado, the annotated index; my favorite/unique entries are bold. You can also reach the index by selecting "Post Index" along the top...

The Index

Thursday, February 17


Sometimes depression hits me like a ton of bricks, leaving me with nothing to do but cry. It makes me feel less than worthless, and nothing in the world can give me peace. I lose my desire to do anything because my mind is convinced (albeit on extremely questionable grounds) that I could never really do anything worthwhile. And if nothing I do can make a difference, then why try?

When depression like that hits, writing is often my outlet, and I find myself here, writing, reading my scriptures, and trying to lift my otherwise downtrodden spirit. And it ends up working and helping me to see deeper meaning in life; it gives purpose to the suffering I face.

But sometimes depression, or something, hits from a totally different direction. Instead of robbing me of self-worth, it simply robs me of my motivation... of the enjoyment and passion and all the emotions I used to feel in life. Things that used to be compelling are tiresome, and the commitments I excitedly made only days before grow into boring lapses of going through the motions. And when I feel that way (which describes me over the last few days), I don't find myself turning to God or to anything for help. To be honest, I don't find myself doing much of anything.

I miss my scheduled workouts, because I don't have the desire to go. And even when I force myself to get inside the gym, I don't ever feel the workout rush. The daily run of life loses all value, and people can tell that I've checked out of reality no matter where I go. I stop calling my friends or returning their calls, wake up late, and find myself going for hours without even a memory of what I accomplished to show for it - only a hugely deadened sense of guilt for having wasted time.

If I didn't completely lack emotions right now, the realization that a feeling of apathy could negatively affect my life would make me incredibly frustrated, or at least concerned. I'd write about my own shortcomings and light a fire beneath myself to make it less likely in the future and give me the tools to cope in the meantime. I've spent years trying to develop patterns and habits, and this is not helping. As it is, I don't really feel anything. And, in my current condition, I'm not sure that I could convince myself that it is worth caring about.

So what is it then that pushes me to write tonight? If it's not a desire to share anything or to work through my feelings or to answer a question on my mind... what keeps me here?

I think it's a sense of idle curiosity - the one emotion that perhaps even a cloak of apathy doesn't kill inside me. Somewhere inside me there's a deeply rooted desire to understand the universe and its workings, and I want to understand what is happening to me. I sometimes lack interest in specific subjects, but this is different. What is this overwhelming, universal feeling of apathy? Where does it come from? Are there precipitating factors in its manifestation? How can I fight it? Should I? Can I? What can I learn from it? How can I help others do the same?

I don't know the answers... and part of me doesn't care. But part of me has already woken up and is pleading for me to find a way to work through it - to read my scriptures and work out and eat healthily and pray even when I feel dead to the world... because they are important. And even in my apathy, I feel the soft whispering that tells me it's true.

I guess that's my answer. Maybe the apathy is just a test to see if I'm willing to push through and stay true to my covenants and commitments even without the immediate gratification that doing and being good often brings. To be who I am even without the carefully tuned desires and emotions that influence me each day. Or maybe it's to help me help others. One of my friends recently told me he felt an incredible sense of apathy, and I wondered what I could do to help... and now I know. 

Who knows. I still wonder about the apathy, but something inside me has woken up to tell me I have things to do. I guess it's leaving after all.

Monday, February 14

Forward With Faith

And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts? Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you? Do you look forward with an eye of faith...? (Alma 5:14-15)

Easier said than done.

Today is Valentine's Day - an annual celebration of romance and love throughout the western world. Beyond paper hearts, chalk-flavored candies that say "fax me," and extravagant boxes of chocolate, I think that Valentine's Day is about families... And learning to love others despite the opposition that comes in my daily life.

It's not easy. True love is more than just an infatuation, or even being willing to tolerate the presence of someone I once didn't like. The Lord expects much more of me than just tolerance - He expects me to love all men like myself, like He loves them. True love is the ingredient that causes the "might change of heart" that Alma spoke of ... the light that shines in those who have received His image in their countenances.

Again, it's not easy. I've been betrayed, outcast, insulted, cursed, made fun of, ignored... But love is not dependent on outcomes. It's not dependent on results or even on the actions of the people I love. Love is the knowledge of others, and the unconditional desire to help them be eternally happy... and when I have realized that, it helps me see through the actions of others, into their hearts and their souls.

I don't know what tomorrow will hold. I'm trying to develop meaningful friendships with others, but on the romantic side I don't even have anyone I'm dating. To complicate things, as I grow older, people seem to ask about my social life and future plans more and more often. It'll work out. So I move forward with hope, happiness, and a willingness to let Him share the load. For me, that's faith.

Today will probably still be hard. There are still guys that are attractive and girls who aren't. And there are people who unknowingly (or not) tread on my life, unaware of my pain and my needs since they've never taken the time to walk in my shoes. But that's ok. Of all people, I know what it's like to be imperfect. Life wasn't meant to be easy; it was meant to give me the tools to return to live with God some day... I think the greatest gift of love God gave me was people - the people who inspire love and teach me who I can become. I am a child of God. They are children of God. And with their help, I can learn to love and to press forward with faith.

Sunday, February 13

Falling in Love With You

I can tell when it's happening. Her eyes begin to sparkle and her lips curl upwards in an honest smile. The whole world disappears as her gaze focuses, reaching into the depths of eternity. She laughs as she speaks, and moves closer, if only to listen more intently. She tries to turn everything she says into a compliment or a flattering question. And she stands there, never moving, never looking at the door or checking the time. 

I'm not sure if it's falling in love, or having the feeling that someone might be a good fit, or something else. But, at least from the outside, it looks pretty amazing. I guess it must be an amazing thing to fall in love.

A few times in the past two weeks I've been in the middle of a conversation with a girl and realized, from the above described sudden preponderance of body language and verbal cues, that she really wanted me to ask her out. Part of me is more than willing in each case - I'm not dating anyone right now, and I love spending time with them - but it's never really that simple. Yes, one of them might end up being the girl I fall in love with... but even a semi-romantic relationship with a guy who is (as one reader tried to negatively put it) obsessed with the gospel and also not attracted to girls is much more complicated than your normal schoolboy crush. To complicate matters further, in each case, there is another guy... who is unsuccessfully trying to get the girl's attention. Unsuccessfully because as he asks her out, and she courteously says yes, she looks at me as if wanting to be rescued.

Most of the time I find girls to date based on their interest in me. I think girls are much better judges of character and match anyway. Other times, occasionally, the Lord will tell me exactly who I should ask out, and then sometimes I play point-and-call with the ward directory. 

If I figure out that a girl is interested in me, I try to help her realize that I'm an intense person before asking her out. We have a handful of conversations and I openly share my difficulty in developing relationships. Then, if she is still obviously interested, I give it a try.

In the past, whenever there was a guy involved, I've always ducked out. I've never been in love with or felt anything romantic towards a girl... and if there are no sparks by the time real competition arises, then I really have no right competing. But those guys were more seriously involved in their relationships than the ones I know now; I was the one challenging what was already a functional relationship,
not the favored suitor before the first date. So what about in the early stages? What about the time when neither I nor she is really sure if it will work out, but we want to try anyway? If there were no other guys involved, the answer would be simple. But when guys I count as friends are on the other side, I find myself wondering if I should even try courting the girl they want.

But you know what? The only way I'm going to find my future love is to actively search for her, and I have a right and responsibility to date as much as the next guy. I enjoy dating. And just because I date a girl doesn't mean she can't date another guy - I've never been an exclusive dater by any means. It also doesn't need to stress our (the guys') relationship.

So there's my answer. I'll ask them out. And maybe the miracle will come and I'll finally know what it's like to be falling in love with a girl who is falling in love with me.

Friday, February 11

Pre-Valentine's Day Thoughts

Pre-Valentine's Day Thoughts

I asked five different girls out for tonight, beginning earlier in the week, stretching through tonight. Everyone was busy. And I know it was that they were actually busy (and not just uninterested) since all of them have been pretty clear that they wanted to spend more time with me. Which leaves me without a date the weekend before Valentine's Day. Like usual.

Wait a sec - I just thought of one more person I could ask... We just sort of broke up, but she made it clear that she still wanted to be friends. And a friend date would be better than nothing...

Nice. She said yes, sounded excited... but is busy right now, so we'll work out the details in a bit. That's a miracle. Blog about my problems, and the Lord solves them for me on the spot. I don't have a real date for tonight, since it's clear between us that we're not going the romantic route, but that's fine - all I really need is someone to distract me and an opportunity to have fun.

On a side note: A recent comment asked why I'm so passionate about finding the right girl, instead of just deciding to be celibate for the rest of life. The answer is buried in posts somewhere (which reminds me that I should find a way to organize them), but I think it's worth mentioning. The question comes from a number of sources, specifically that the Church no longer encourages marriage as a form of therapy. Some people have mistakenly misconstrued that statement and claim that the Church "discourages" marriage. In reality, the Church supports those who fall in love with and decide to get married to a spouse of the opposite gender, even with same-gender attraction. It also supports those who feel it's right to live a life of celibacy.

My non-date went well tonight. I've tried to experiment with being more physical in this relationship; I usually feel incredibly uncomfortable even touching girls and I never hold hands... so I tried being more physical while we dated. At least, more than I had been before - holding hands, escorting with my arm, sitting or standing with my arm around her, brushing up against her whenever it was possible. Yeah. It didn't do much for me. But we enjoy each other's company... which is better than sitting at home.

I've been promised that I'll find and marry a wife in this life, and I believe that's true. Hence why I continue to search. I don't intend to marry someone I'm not attracted to, so it will take a miracle or something similar when the time comes, but I believe it will happen, for me.

"True love can be whispered from heart to heart when lovers are parted," they say... But I must depend on a wish and a star (and faith and prayers and good works) as long as my heart doesn't know who you are... 

Goodnight, my someone... Goodnight.

Tuesday, February 8

How I'm Like the Vampires in Twilight

Team Edward vs. Team What's His Name (the wolf guy) never appealed to me. I didn't even read the books. But, in recent thought, I've realized that Edward and I have more in common than I ever imagined. (This is a partially comedic post: some items require imagination and may not be completely true.)

1. We both live who we want to be - not simply who we are based on circumstance... even though most of the people around us will never understand why. Thanks to Autumn for this thought.

"Why do you do it?" I said. "I still don't understand how you can work so hard to resist what you... are. Please don't misunderstand, of course I'm glad that you do. I just don't see why you would bother in the first place."

He hesitated before answering. "That's a good question, and you're not the first to ask it. The others- the majority of our kind who are quite content with our lot- they, too, wonder at how we live. But you see, just because we've been... dealt a certain hand... it doesn't mean that we can't choose to rise above- to conquer the boundaries of a destiny that none of us wanted."

2. We are perfectly suited for courting beautiful women who are completely unaware of our real carnal desires. Twilight vampires secrete human-attracting goo and sparkle in sunlight. While I glow in sunlight, too, mostly girls like me because I'm just a really nice guy. In both cases, we're a breath of fresh air from a world of guys who look at girls only as potential dates and mates.

3. We're amazingly strong, fast, smart, and talented. I spend a ton of time ensuring that my muscles are in perfect order - and my body does anything I want it to. Years of putting myself in the hardest possible learning environment has paid off; the added introspection that comes from living with massive nonideal conditions helps, too. Vampires are just "born that way." Ultimately, every girl or guy I meet is likely to mention at least two of the four: "You're really strong/fast/smart/talented."

4. We both hide secrets whose publication could change our world. In Edward's case, it would mean moving again - just finding another place to live with his family (human vampire hunters don't really seem to play any role in their lives). In mine, I don't know what would happen. At the very least, it would make dating somewhat difficult.

5. We both have "talents" given by virtue of who we are. Each vampire had some sort of thing they did - read minds or whatever. I can sometimes read minds, but that's a gift of the Spirit - not just something I do. In addition, knowing what it is like to feel alone, outcast, and worthless has made me a better person - more loving and caring - and given me the ability to better understand the needs of the people around me. I guess my greatest "talent" (beyond the one of reading minds) due in part to who I am is being able to see the gospel and its application in everything.

6. We would never wish our condition on another. This one is actually not as clear-cut, since the vampires actually make people into other vampires, even the "good" ones. And I can see the blessings that have come with my struggle... and if I knew that it was the only way to help someone I loved, I'd wish the same experiences on them - to give them the same opportunity to learn from God. But we would definitely never willingly submit anyone else to it - not even our worst enemies - unless we knew there was no other choice.

7. We've both thought that we were doomed because of our condition. Someone mentioned once that "the vampires know they are going to hell." That statement shocked me, since the choice to be a vampire wasn't theirs at all. The choice was what they did with their circumstances - not the temptations that beset them. I, too, once believed that I was cursed - that being attracted to guys and not girls was proof that God didn't hear my prayers and that I would never make it back to Him. Now I realize that, while I am tempted with massive temptations, I am the ruler of my destiny, and while I will be judged by the same laws and commandments, I have the strength within me to keep those laws. I, like Edward, have the ability to be the person I want to be regardless of the hand I have been dealt in life.

8. We have almost no friends. Vampires can't make lasting relationships with humans, and outside of their "family" they had no one who understood them. In my case, not even my family understands me, and since I often find myself pushing people away, even the few people I've told slowly become less and less a part of my life. I don't think that people can understand this facet unless they've been there - in my thoughts, it could easily be one of the worst pieces of either struggle.

9. We know, deep inside ourselves, no matter what anyone else thinks or says or does, that we are making the right choice. In Edward's case, it means living at the periphery of society for an eternity, buoyed only by the conviction that doing right will ultimately help him in the end. I'm not going to push the metaphor and conjecture on his relationship with God since he is a character in a book. In my case, it could mean the same thing - standing at the periphery of the family society of the Church, not fully a part and yet never willing to give in or give up, buoyed up by a personal relationship with God. No matter how long the road, I will stand by what I know to be true.

10. In both cases, there is a happy ending. But it's not the usual, "And they all lived happily ever after." It's more like, "And for the rest of eternity they worked and struggled and fought and prayed and lived every day the best that they could, and each day they found the strength and faith to be happy."

We Should Be Lovers

I was listening to Pandora the other day when the song changed to "Elephant Love Medley" from Moulin Rouge. I've never seen the show, (and I'm not sure if I will, given comments made by a friend about it) but I fell in love with the song. The character who is singing (I think played by Ewan McGregor) is definitely about as crazy as I am, just as hopelessly romantic, and just as willing and anxious to find someone to love. I don't know the context of the song, so I can't comment on the actual nature of their relationship, but it struck a chord in me, as all love duets do.

I don't have many things that are on my list of qualities to look for in a future wife. I've never been attracted to girls with blond, brown, red, black, purple, or no hair. I used to have a long list of all the things I wanted to find; now I just want to find someone to love completely, and we can grow together. But there is one definite thing that I want - a love of singing love duets. Yeah. My favorite memories of talent shows and karaoke parties were convincing girls to sing love songs with me. When I'm singing, I can put myself into the words, and it's the closest I've ever been to really being in love. I'm not sure how the audience feels... since my voice probably butchers their favorite songs and leaves irreparable scars on their musical souls... but I like the feeling. I've given girls the wrong idea a few times, though... when they didn't realize that my real emotions were different after the performance... but I still think it's worth it.

The other theme in the song - beyond a love for "silly love songs" - is an interesting commentary on searching for love. "Though nothing will keep us together, we can steal time just for one day..." Both people realize that it may not work out between them, but they realize the beauty of being in love - and of caring for another person - regardless of the ending result. In that phrase is the reason why I sing love songs with girls I don't know and date when I know it won't work out - why I ask girls out when I'm pretty sure we have almost nothing in common - because showing love to others, and spending time with them, is worthwhile even if it's not with my eternal companion. "Love is a many-splendored thing. Love lifts us up where we belong. All you need is love." If I knew who my eventual eternal companion was, or if I always had girls that I thought were, somehow, potential candidates, then dating would be more straightforward. But it isn't, and so I approach each relationship with an open heart, open mind, and the words swirling in my head, "We should be lovers..." even if only just for one day.

There's nothing wrong with loving people. Now, the love I'm talking about is somewhat different from the love of the world - I firmly stand by the belief that sexual relations are reserved for expression between husband and wife. But showing love in every other way is an incredible thing... and one of my passions in life. The friendships I've made from showing love have changed me, and often my core motivation in the things I do is simply finding ways to show people that I love them. I'm not always very good at it (more likely that it matches my singing voice in creating emotional scars :) ), but I'm slowly learning. And hopefully, by the time I actually meet the girl I'll fall in love with someday, I'll better know how to show love. In the meantime, it will continue to play in the back of my mind, throughout each day... "We should be lovers..." In my mind, it's just an intense way of saying "We should be friends..."

Sunday, February 6

Sunday School Marriage Discussions

Somedays I wonder if we really ever talk about anything else.

Today was the first Sunday of the month, which meant that Priesthood meeting today was under the direction of the elder's quorum presidency. Among other things, the discussion turned to preparing for marriage.

If you've read my blog, you know I have strong feelings about the importance of marriage and preparing for it, whether or not it comes in this life. But that realization - that happy, celestial marriages may not be in the mortality for some of the guys in the room - doesn't really hit home in a ward composed of singles... and for most people that realization isn't really relevant to their lives. Most guys who have the desire and work will fall in love with a girl, be married in the temple, and then begin on their rocky journey towards happily ever after. But for some of us the dream is a little fuzzy.

As I expected, as the speaker continued to speak, I saw a handful of guys slowly begin to look at the ground - the look that pretty accurately matches how I sometimes feel in those discussions. I know that some of the guys in my ward feel the same way.

Ultimately, true doctrine is true doctrine, no matter what difficulties or trials I face. I need to prepare physically, mentally, spiritually, financially, emotionally... In every possible way, I need to make sure that I am prepared to be a husband to my future wife and a father to my children.

The amazing thing about the gospel is the universality of gospel principles. Even if I never get married and never have children, I still need to prepare to be a father and husband. In fact, learning those skills will probably be essential in my life.

I guess that's why the Sunday School answers are called Sunday School answers - because, at their root, they're universally applicable. I'm preparing for marriage - preparing to be a husband to my wife, father to my children, and a son to my Father... And in the process I'm coming closer to God.

Friday, February 4

Blogging when there's nothing to blog about

Most of the time I have an idea of what I'm going to post before I begin writing. The topics develop and coalesce as I write, teaching me new things and giving insight into how I feel. Sometimes it's cathartic, sometimes it's an incredible learning experience. And almost always it leaves me feeling better than I began.

But the last few days I haven't had much thought about what I want to write. Maybe it's because I've just been busy, or because this blog hasn't been as pressing on my mind, or maybe it's because I just feel peaceful and I don't feel the pressing need to communicate something to the world.

I guess that's an interesting insight - some of the shortest histories we have in scripture cover centuries by simply saying, "And they lived after the manner of happiness." The Nephites, in particular, have incredible histories documenting their wars, sins, destructions, and dysfunctional government. But their books are almost void of the years and days of peace.

So the last few days have been peaceful. Simple. It hasn't been perfect by any means - but I doubt that my life ever will be, since the imperfections of life are what I came here for. I've just felt the inner peace that comes from living the gospel and putting faith in God.

And so that's why I'm writing - to share the simple witness of the peace in my life. From working at the temple to working in general to working in my callings and among my friends, life is good. And if yours isn't right now, then remember that the storm clouds always clear. They often come back, too - I'll probably slam into depression when this is over - but when the sunlight shines from Heaven it's all completely worth it. And that's why I write.

Tuesday, February 1

Book: (Gay) Mormon Guy, the Blog

I've had a gazillion requests from people to write a book. Writing a book and tying it to this blog or pseudoynm would be really complicated and probably destroy any sense of anonymity I could ever hope to have. So I did the next best thing. I spent the last little while during my free time and just took most of my posts and put them in a book. It's called "(Gay) Mormon Guy, the Blog" (yeah, I know - I lack creativity. But it's full of keywords that I already know work well).

It's published through a print-on-demand company called Lulu - they're supposedly the best and they seem to be the biggest anyways... There are hundreds or thousands of books published on them each day. Wow. That's a lot of probably mediocre writing.

Since it's like 250 pages, they wanted me to charge an arm and a leg - the original suggested price was over $25. After searching for a bit I found a way to offer it at the lowest price possible for its size by eliminating my and Lulu's royalties - totaling $9.63 plus shipping. If you really want a hard copy you can buy it there. I know they have coupon codes - Google " coupon code" for a 30% off coupon code or something if you go that route. Or, you can download it from Lulu as a PDF for free, without even having to sign up or anything.

Here's the link to the paperback book:
And the link to the free PDF download:

And so that's done. Why would you want an actual book? Maybe because you want to send it to someone who doesn't have the Internet... Except I'm pretty sure most people do. Or maybe you want to put it on your nightstand just to create a stir with guests. Or have to read at the beach if you have a normal phone that doesn't get Internet. I think the free PDF version is nice because now I have a PDF of all my posts in a nice, readable format. But then again, I did have to create and edit them all to get to that point. Whatever. The book is available, and it will be listed on Amazon in a month or two. I don't think I'm buying one.