Thursday, June 28

Not-so-Secret Love

I'm in love.

With home teaching.


maybe phrasing it that way is a bit awkward.

I'm in love with the feeling that comes with home teaching. With the instant trust that builds with home teaching. With the inroads to understanding people's lives and seeing into their hearts.

I love the midnight calls from a sister who just needs someone to talk to... and the text messages asking for a blessing or to keep her in my prayers.

I love putting names on the temple prayer roll and thinking about them as I pray there.

I love sharing the First Presidency message, and talking about the gospel and the prophets.

I love looking into the eyes of those I teach, and listening to try to understand the things they aren't saying.

I love laughing - about life, the frustrations of dating, work, the world, and anything else.

I love working alongside them, fixing a broken wall or weeding a garden... or just showing up unannounced to find a way to serve.

I love leaving treats on the doorstep and sprinting down the street... or ringing the doorbell and staying there so I can see their eyes and add a voice to the love I feel.

I love praying for them by name and being inspired to ask the Lord for specific blessings on their behalf... and watching them happen.

I love being a shoulder to cry on, someone to talk to, a friend in time of need... the person they can always rely on no matter what.

I love praying as we leave and calling down blessings from Heaven on their homes.

I love seeing them at Church or somewhere else, and being able to start up a conversation and show that I care.

But, most of all... I love that, as a home teacher, I'm allowed to love people. Completely and totally and honestly and outwardly and unconditionally.

When I'm a home teacher, no one questions why I care so much.

There are so many people that I love in this world. So many people who, if I were truly honest, would wonder why I care.

But not the people I home teach. They know I love them unconditionally and completely, and they're okay with it.

I can say, "I love you," and no one questions what I mean, because they understand.

And that's why I'm in love with home teaching.

Sunday, June 24

Mormon Guy, Why Aren't You Married?

I realize that some of my readers don't relate at all to dating, have no interest in conversations about marriage, and feel disconnected when I write about it. That said, a conversation brought the subject to mind, and I wanted to write anyway. And I think almost everyone... even many of those who are openly out to the world... have fielded questions.

It's amazing how interested we are as a society in the welfare of others. We watch them, listen to them, pray for them, find them networking connections and blind dates and references...

When it comes to interest in marriage, I've seen a number of styles. Some people just watch from the distance, aren't really familiar with my life, and give advice. Others honestly want to know, and watch more closely. And some realize that there is more than what they can see on the surface... so they ask.

They preface the question with the usual: compliments, "you don't have to answer if you don't want to," and their own personal observations. And then it comes.

"Mormon Guy, why aren't you married?"

If only they knew.

And if only I knew.

Every time I get that question, I wonder how to respond. Not because I want to withhold information - I don't - but because I am honestly trying to figure out the answer myself.

There are men and women who don't have the opportunity to get married in this life - of no fault of their own. Some men never find a woman they're attracted to, or vice versa. My patriarchal blessing promises that if I am faithful and "endure to the end," I'll have the opportunity to be married in this life and raise a family. That blessing has been confirmed to me dozens of times as I've sat in the Celestial room of the temple, or pondered under the stars, or in the days when I wonder how it will ever happen.

Even with that confirmation... and the knowledge that it's in God's timetable... I find myself wondering if marriage is even an option.

I mean, for all my forced realism from facing life's trials, I'm still a romantic. I realize that marriage isn't bliss... that love takes more work than luck... and that the Lord expects me to do my part... but that doesn't change the reality that I'm carrying a lot of emotional and spiritual baggage.

In addition to the one facet of being more physically and emotionally attracted to men, I find it hard to make connections in the first place - even among those who know everything about me. It's like, in order for anything to stick in friendship, there is a massive barrier that both of us need to constantly and continuously overcome... and most people don't feel it's worth the effort. You've probably even felt it here. Add to that emotional scars from depression & sexual abuse... and I find myself balancing the honest thought that I wouldn't wish a relationship with me on anyone, and the feeling that I'm being too hard on myself and far too judgmental of others. Then I give it a chance and nothing happens, over and over and over again... but that happens to everyone in dating - same-sex attraction notwithstanding.

Maybe I'm just thinking too much.

"Why aren't you married, Mormon Guy?"

Honestly? There could be lots of reasons. There are probably lots of reasons. But, as of right now...

I don't know.

Monday, June 18

...With His Angels Round About Me.

But not really.

Being alone gives me two choices. Talk, or listen.

For a long time, I talked. I poured out my soul to God, asking Him to help me. To help me make friends, to help me fit in, to help me feel loved when others loved me. I prayed for strength, for wisdom, for patience, for charity, for humility, for anything that would give me the tools to solve my problems.

And then, after it seemed that I could pray no more, I stopped.

And listened.




And in the silence of listening, everything was ok. God knows me. He loves me. And whatever happens, He is at the wheel... and if I do what is right, He will always be at my side.

I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.

So whenever I'm alone, in a group, or on a date, or with family, or talking with someone who knows my heart... I just stop, and listen.

Be still, and know that I am God.

I know He is.

Sunday, June 17


I stand in a crowd of people, and feel alone.

I sit across the table from a "cute" girl who is listening and smiling, and feel alone.

I have conversations with family members and people who call me friend... even those who know my innermost thoughts... and feel alone.

I find myself in the hug of someone who cares, and feel alone.

I read letters and comments about the love and concern and care of others about my life, and feel alone.

I spend hours talking with a colleague about dreams for the future, and feel alone.

I bow for a standing ovation, and feel alone.

I look at the sky, and feel alone.

I live in an omnipresent society, where communication is instant and people never leave your sight. Where finding those with common interests or pursuits is a button away. Where people I've never known watch my steps and pray for me by name, entangled in the chaos and faith that is my life.

And I feel alone.

Sunday, June 10

To Readers: A Personal Request

Many of you have been reading here at (G)MG for a while now. You know my writing style. You've felt my frustrations. You've listened to my soap-box rants and gotten a front-row seat to my (sometimes woeful) dating life. And I'm honestly grateful for that.

This blog has slowly evolved from a desire to simply share a message of hope and faith... into a place where I can work out my thoughts and get feedback on what is happening in my mind. When nothing else in my life seems to be working, I know that I can find something compelling to write, share it here, and it will be worthwhile to someone. I often write things here that I never tell anyone else... and, beyond helping others, the simple act of writing my thoughts helps me understand and face them in my own life.

I have a personal request. Based on what you know about me, and from your own perspective, I want your critical thoughts on who I am:

If you were me, what would you change?

It can be about anything - deep or trite. Maybe my obsession with ellipses drives you personally crazy... or maybe you feel I'm arrogant or distant or needy. Maybe I'm too optimistic and don't realistically acknowledge the pain I encounter in life... or maybe I need to brighten up and find more joy in the journey.

Whatever your thoughts, please let me know.

I'm not looking for praise or adulation or thanks in this post... my head is big enough already. I just need help understanding I can improve... and I trust you enough to ask.


Mormon Guy

Viral-ity & Josh Weed

Early this week, I got an email suggesting that I read Josh Weed's blog post where he comes out to the world... and likens it to being a unicorn. (If you want to read it, just Google it. Finding it that way ensures that his post stays high in the search rankings.) I read it, thought it was well written, left a comment, and went on with life.

Since then, I've gotten another 40 emails insisting that I read his story... and some are even arriving in my real-life inbox. Intrigued by the onslaught, I went back to the post and saw his comment total - over 2000 (his comments are unmoderated - moderating that would be a nightmare). A quick search of press sites confirmed what I had thought: his post had gone viral.

To be honest, I have mixed emotions. Part of me is curious. The curious part is me wondering how a single post can tip the scales and hit Facebook, Twitter, and people with such force that it appears overnight in liberal and gay press sites with an outstanding reach. I haven't really seen this before... and there have been a lot of coming out stories, even some like Josh's, since I began blogging. And with the exception of one, two years ago, none of my posts have gone viral. Few stories have had this type of impact.

And I wonder... was it just that Josh had a larger base of readers? Or was better connected through social media (Facebook) than other sites that have tried to accomplish the same goal? Was it the story itself - coming out after ten years of blissful marriage? His writing style? The timing? The mixture of novel and sincere and compelling and unique? Or something I'm totally missing? I obviously analyze things a lot... it definitely intrigues me.

I'm also wondering how long this story will last in the media, and how it will change his blog, and approach, over time. Is Josh going to leverage the impact he has here and continue to post on or reference the topic... or will this post will be a one-hit wonder and his blog will "go back to being light-hearted?" He's already been a part of the community, as seen in his participation in Voices of Hope... and I wonder how much he will be involved to share the message... since people are listening.

The other part of me is thrilled. Recently I've been more conscious of the people that (G)MG doesn't reach... the people who have no connection to me or who I've somehow offended... and asked the Lord in prayer to help the people I can't. Josh's post, and its explosion on Facebook, was an answer to prayer... because, with his background and context, the message has traveled far more than it would have coming from a blog called (Gay) Mormon Guy. At least from reading the comment thread, people have been inspired, uplifted, and changed just from reading that one post... and that is awesome.

Wednesday, June 6

For Thy Good - Call for Stories

I just began a new project called For Thy Good.

It's a blog about finding purpose in life's trials, with the invitation for anyone and everyone to submit their own stories to share with the world.

I'd like to ask each of you to think about your life... and submit your own stories of faith. What have you learned from the trials of mortality? How has God taught you through life? And how have you been able to find peace and realize that your life was for your good?

The website is

Invite your friends, your family, your neighbors... and anyone you know who has a story of inspiration to share.

My story is the first posted. More will come.

Tuesday, June 5

Loved and Lost

I met a guy today. He may not remember our meeting tomorrow... but already it's burned into my mind.

At first, nothing seemed out of the ordinary in the conversation. It was just another meeting. Jokes, banter, talking about life and going through the motions of getting to know you before the agenda begins. But there was something more in his words. Most of what he talked about - the stories he shared to illustrate his thoughts - centered on his family. He had been married, had children, and was now divorced.

He wasn't old, but it seemed to me that he was speaking about his family too freely for the divorce to have happened less than a few years ago. And yet, the connection was still there. He still joked about his in-laws. He recounted positive stories of his marriage... and I found myself wondering what had happened. The brief glimpse I saw in his anecdotes of the past seemed wholly different from what I could see across the table. The man I saw was stressed to his limits, trying to prove something to the universe by taking on far more than he really wanted.

What had happened? What pushed him from married life to being yet again single... from balanced stress to chaos?

And then it hit me - not only what had happened, but why I felt I could empathize so deeply with this man I had never met. His friend made a comment, and all the rest of the signs and stories fell into place. He was gay.

In that moment, I saw through the facade and realized how it all fit together. I understood the banter and the sarcasm, the stress and hectic schedule. A guy, attracted to other guys, who tries his hardest to make life work... somehow falls in love with a woman who returns that love... they have a child... and then something happens that pushes them apart. She learns about his attraction to guys... divorces him... he loses the one person he loved more than anything in the world... gives up on trying to stay chaste... and is left to pick up the pieces of his life. A few years pass and here he is, still bearing the signs of wear and tear, but trying to push through life.

I don't know if I'll ever talk to him in person again. But later that day I had tears running down my cheeks... frustrated and wondering how many other men and women felt the same way... betrayed, lost, confused... and, for a moment, I felt like I could understand why someone would just give up when that happened.

Then I saw part of The Vow.

For those who aren't familiar with the storyline, a man and his wife are in a terrible accident that leaves the wife unable to remember anything from multiple years before. He tries valiantly to help her remember, attempts to court her again, drops his job and stays by her side... but she can't remember him, doesn't accept him, and leaves him completely.

I found myself crying a whole lot... exactly what I would be doing if I were in that situation. And after she served the divorce papers, I felt myself in his shoes and wanted... honestly... to jump off a bridge. Just end life completely. I mean, when the person who means everything to you walks away, what else is there to live for?

There's God... which He gently reminded me... and with God life always a purpose. But sometimes that doesn't make it any easier to get up in the morning or not cry yourself to sleep each night.

The realization I had looking at the man across the table and into my own heart... is that I don't know if I have the strength and faith to live through the trials that finding love, and losing it, would bring. I would hope so. But that seems far more difficult than anything I've experienced... and I hope I never do.

To those who have loved and given and sacrificed and lost: may you have the faith and hope to find God in your trials. May He heal your wounds and give you peace. Tonight you are in my prayers.

Saturday, June 2

Will You Kiss Me, Mormon Guy?

To the girl I'm dating: If you read this (or one of your girlfriends hears about the conversation, reads the post, and puts two and two together... which would not be ideal in any way)... please don't share it with the world. Please don't let it ruin your life. Hopefully it helps you understand. Either way, I hope you can support me in trying to do what's right.

I just left a heartfelt conversation with the girl I'm dating and feel like... I can't even find a metaphor.

No. Wait. I can find one. But it may not be a metaphor.

I feel like a jerk.

Dating, for me, is hard. I push myself to date because I feel like the Lord wants me to, because it helps me to have faith that someday I'll fall in love and get married, and because I honestly care about people and want to help them feel loved and appreciated... And in the Church, dating is currently the only acceptable way to make friends with girls I don't really know... since hanging out has gotten a bad rap. But I find that dating women, at least in my case, often causes more grief than I could ever imagine.

There are lots of casualties. Some of them I can explain upfront, at the beginning of a relationship, and that at least puts things in perspective. But there's one that rips me apart more than any other, and has probably been the biggest reason I've broken up with girls in the past... and it happens when my lack of physical attraction begins to show through.

I date amazing women. They are smart, beautiful (I'd guess so at least - I'm definitely not a judge in that world), confident, accomplished, caring, and they love the gospel. I have the desire to help them feel loved, and to never do anything to betray their trust. But sometimes those conflict... so there are divergent camps in my mind on how to deal with the physical aspect of dating. One side says to use dating to try new things, and give women the affection they need. Kiss girls I'm not attracted to, and see if I can get anything to work, reverse frog-prince style. I'm not comfortable with that and don't think it matches who I am. Instead, I'm completely honest in my relationships. I try to send clear signals that accurately relate where I stand, and I don't express physical attraction unless it's there. Which means I don't express physical attraction at all. And that's painful.

Today I had a DTR (defining the relationship) talk with the girl I've been dating. It didn't start out as a DTR, but it steadily went in that direction. I could tell that something was on her mind... something important enough that it was keeping her up at night and distracting her from the rest of life... and so I waited for her to ask whatever question she wanted to ask. I think the only question I wouldn't have answered would be about same-sex attraction. We were in a public place, with lots of people... and that's not something I share with anyone anyway... unless the Lord asks me to.

She asked half a dozen questions, and I felt like the questions answers were benign... but there was one at the end... the one that was pressing on her mind:

"Will you kiss me, Mormon Guy?"

Imagine yourself in my shoes. Kissing her would be enough to assuage whatever concerns she had about how much I cared. It would be enough to help her feel okay walking down an incredibly confusing, frustrating path. It would be enough to help her sleep at night and focus on life during the day.

But kissing her, even just once, would betray her trust and make everything far more painful, because of the implication of that kiss.

I'm the kind of guy that feels that kisses shouldn't be given away like pretzels. It has to mean something. That said, I've changed from my pre-mission thoughts that I'd never kiss a girl until she knelt across from me at the altar. As soon as I fall in love, it will definitely happen. But not before.

So I looked at her, felt like a jerk, and told her no. I wouldn't kiss her... at least not at that point in our relationship. It wasn't a shut-down, but it definitely wasn't a kiss. It was a "that's not where I am right now... but if I get there, then it will happen."

As I went home after dropping her off, I found myself wondering. There are few things I hate worse than causing emotional pain through relationships... and dating me does exactly that. So do I just cut off the relationship because I know it will probably not work anyway, to lessen the eventual pain? Do I let her make the decision of how long to keep dating, without showing physical affection beyond courtesy, even though she doesn't really have all the information (like the fact that I live with same-sex attraction)? Do I just keep going until I personally get a feeling that marriage isn't an option and this isn't going to work? Do I try to move the relationship to a "let's be friends?" And if I keep dating her, what are the terms? How often do I ask her out so that I'm not taking all her time or attention...

...and the questions went on and on and on.

The answer I've chosen is a mix of the above. When I feel like asking her out, I'll ask her out. If not, then I won't. And it'll stay that way until I feel strongly about the relationship one way or another.

And as far as her frustration and confusion... there's not a lot I can do right now. If I fall in love, I'll tell her everything I face and let her choose. But that hasn't happened, and, until it does, I care about her too much to betray her with a kiss.

Seeing the Divine

Sometimes, on my low days, I look at my life, and honestly wonder if it's all worth it. Tons of work, effort, fatigue, stress, and everything that I can put in... and this is all I have to show for it? Really? I'm nowhere near where I need to be, and if I'm moving, it's far more slowly than even I can see.

Not that I really have any other option... I already know that swerving from the strait and narrow would only make the road less pleasant, in the long and short run.

But then, sometimes, the Lord shows me a glimpse of what I'm really working towards. A stranger who passes me and stops because he feels compelled to stop... and asks me if I'm okay. Another one who does the same thing. A third on the same street... each of them visibly overcoming the social awkwardness of asking a stranger who looks okay about his life, each of them proof that God's angels are round about me. A prayer answered so clearly and miraculously that I feel uncomfortable telling the story. A friend who calls and asks for a blessing in the middle of the night, and the incredible feeling of love, peace, and power I experience while giving it. Standing in the temple, knowing that in God's eyes, I'm doing my best... and that's all that matters... and that's enough. Sitting under the stars, and realizing that all the stress of life doesn't really matter... the only thing that matters is living the gospel, and helping others do the same.

It's worth it. Giving one blessing of comfort and healing that changes a life forever is worth a hundred sleepless nights of wondering and a thousand prayers of humility and grief. Feeling God work through me, knowing that He will guide and direct and take care of me, is worth giving up all of my dreams, my hopes, and my shallow goals of brilliance and accomplishment. And feeling peace... the peace I feel right now albeit all of life's storms... is worth anything I can give.

God doesn't ask me just to keep His commandments and make a difference in the world. He doesn't expect 10% of who I am, or devotions on the Sabbath and pieces each day along with professional achievements and secular advancement. He wants me to consecrate everything I am, everything I have, and everything I will ever be to Him... and still accomplish everything He expects. And as I do, He blesses me. He gives me the strength to move forward one day at a time, and, sometimes, I get a glimpse of the promises He's made. Brilliant vistas of Heaven and peace beyond comprehension. In return for everything I can give, He promises me all that He has... far more than I could ever give in return.

Friday, June 1

Blessings (video)

I was listening to Pandora the other day when a song came on that I had never heard. The words struck me because they seemed to fit my life so well... in so many ways. The song is called "Blessings" by Laura Story. 

I went online to see why she had written it, and found that it came from a period of turmoil in her life while her husband battled brain cancer. Laura isn't Mormon, and even though the song suggests that perhaps God can bless us through trials, she really isn't sure if that is true... only that there is a power in trusting in the Lord during difficult times.

I decided to make a video response to her story and post it here. I've had my own conversion story... and I definitely feel that my own trials and sorrows have made me who I am today - more faithful, kinder, and a better man overall. The Lord has blessed me with blessings, talents, trials, and everything I've needed to return to Him... and I wouldn't trade that for anything.