Sunday, June 10

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.


  1. I completely agree with you! I don't know what it was that made his blog all of the sudden go completely viral. Maybe because his blog was popular before that for other reasons? And him coming out was just a shock to everyone? And aren't you completely anonymous on this blog? I bet if you came out and said your name, PEOPLE would respond. I think it's just the nature of it all. I love your blog though. I've heard of a lot of people coming out recently, and I commend them. I thank you for that, and for being such an awesome example.


  2. Just a suggestion, but you made the point that his post is unmoderated. His blog is apparently about other topics so that isn't his only thrust too.

  3. I think it is the highly controversial nature of his "take" on the subject and his jovial attitude about it all that made it catch on. I don't envy them what might happen next. People can be mean.

  4. I think it was the story itself. The fact that he hasn't been "healed" of his same gender attraction after 10 years of marriage and three children. The fact that he is still physically attracted to men, but has a good intimate relationship with his wife. The fact that his wife chimed in with her feelings. This is unlike pretty much any coming out story I've ever read. I won't continue reading his blog. I'm just not interested in what he usually writes about. However, that post gave me a new insight that I won't forget.

  5. I read your blog because you are in the thick of it. He has found someone. HE has been married 10 years. I'm sure he probably has struggles...but he can deal with it in the context of love. It's much more difficult to write in the middle of the issue. When you are in the middle of it people feel much more inclined to fix you. You are still possibly sway able. You are vulnerable. There is hope for you which ever way people want to hope for. It is more difficult to read through someone's struggles than for them to be able to tie them up in a night little package from the happy perspective of having figured it all out.

    Also some people who are also in the middle want to have the hope that his post provides...a big beautiful light at the end of the tunnel.

    Josh's post is also controversial. Much of what he says is controversial for a heterosexual in a heterosexual marriage to say...guess what? sex can be good without physical attraction. maybe---just maybe all of this emphasis on physical attraction isn't as necessary as we'd like to say it is. Maybe real intimacy and real love are so much deeper than physical attraction we should even put them in the same time zone. Just maybe it take patience and long suffering and sacrifice to make a relationship work.

    Maybe we have to sacrifice and don't get everything we want...not even if we wait ten minutes.

    Those are bold assertions in any situation. Then you add the hot button "Mormon" word and the hot button "gay" word and wowza.

    He is very genuine and open.

  6. I think that, like you said, he already had a regular following to his blog. And his blog talks about things that everyone can relate to--like WalMart and kids playing therapists--and he's a good writer, witty. And I think one of the biggest factors is that he presents himself and his family completely, without any anonymity. And the main message of his story is about love, which is also something nearly everyone can relate to, and it's said in a loving way. (This is not to say you are not any of these things! I just came across your blog now, via the comments section of Josh Weed's entry, and this is the first and only post I've read so far. From what I see, you are taking a brave step and I will pray for you!)

    Did you ever read Steve Gershom's blog? Like you, he blogs anonymously (Steve Gershom is not his real name). He is Catholic, dealing with SSA, and faithful to the beliefs of the Catholic Church. Here is his blog:

    1. I agree. I was introduced to Josh's post by a friend a couple of days ago. Since then I have read some of his past stuff, and for me personally, I can't wait to read more because he is such a clever and hilarious writer. I am really enjoying his writing style. I also enjoy reading your blog. Just different perspectives.

  7. I don't read blogs everyday or even every week but when I do I always read yours. I really enjoy your thoughts and admire a lot of the decisions you make. I do not know Josh but know his sister pretty well and that is how I came across his blog. I think it isn't a shock when we find out there is someone gay in the LDS community. I think it is unusual to come across a gay man who is HAPPILY married to a women with children. I have know a few LDS gay men who get married to a women and struggle their whole lives. The few I've know were mostly unhappy and eventually left their spouses. I think his story is unique and interesting because he is happy (well he says he is and I believe him). He answers a lot of the questions we are thinking but would never ask (about being gay and having sex with a women and how that works?). I also think him coming out saying his name made being react more. I hope you don't look at your blog as any less bc of all the feedback Josh's blog has gotten. I would be confident in saying you have reached and touched many lives as well. I would hope you continue to share your faith and example.

  8. Its the timing I think. Ex-gay has now been pretty well debunked, so there's an opening for a new idea to reconcile religion and homosexuality. His narrative offers a new twist, that you can be gay and not just married, but *happily* so with a great sex life to an opposite gender person. It IS the same idea as "ex-gay" in the end, just avoiding that tag by acknowledging that the attraction does not go away. The final idea is the same - that LGBT persons should marry as heterosexuals and that this is good.

    He comes across as a genuine guy and seems even to be a nice one. Yet despite saying that he doesn't think this is a for "everyone", that *is* the reaction that many, many people are having to the story. I've seen lots of comments along the lines of "oh you give me hope for my gay niece!" And its also a reaction that is pretty predictable. Of course people would want to take this story of an unusual arrangement that works for the Weeds and extrapolate that therefore it will work for others if they just try hard enough.

    The rejection of the label bi-sexual is troubling to me too. If you are having satisfying heterosexual sex but also feel attracted to the same gender, this is a form of bi-sexuality. Why the need to reject that term, unless there is a bit of a political agenda involved, perhaps?

    This is nothing new - gay men marrying women and hoping for a happy life is an old, old idea. There was a term for it - a "beard", I think it was. So this is the new style "beard." And in most instances it leads to much unhappiness and divorce, not great sex.

  9. First I think it is a fascinating story. It has grabbed my complete attention.
    Second, it is authentic- his name, family photos, videos, his wife's verification, his biography, his glog, facebook, all the comments from friends (with real names), and his comments responding to questions.
    Third, timing. National election, Mormon candidate, gay marriage amendments,Mormons in gay parade.

    I think it would have been more viral if it had been shorter and a video. I can tell by comments on other sites, when people ask basic questions answered in the original post, that they did not read it, but are just reacting to the idea. It takes an investment of time to digest his message, that many will not make.

    1. I have one concern about Josh coming out of the closet with this Unicorn Club as he states clearly and he writes clearly in #8 that their is no incorrect path for gay religious to live out their lives, although Josh choose to marry. According to God their is only one straight narrow path if you know what I mean. The Weed's will be harming many gay and homosexuals if they don't understand that clearly sex was meant only in marriage with a man and woman. Outside of marriage sex is very destructive, including fortification, polygamy etc... I praise God Josh has controlled his same sex attraction feelings and has married, but telling others their is no incorrect path for gay religious to live, is going to harm his family and the world. May God bless Josh and his wife to guide others to the one and only narrow path paved by God.

    2. Lisa:

      I think that Josh is pretty clear in his beliefs that sex is only righteous within heterosexual marriage. What he was trying to say was that his choice - to get married - may not be the best option for others. The only other righteous option is celibacy... which are the exact same two options that anyone has. I have a good friend who fell in love and then circumstance pulled her away from her fiancé. She's never been married, and it was incredibly hard for her. I don't think that Josh was endorsing gay marriage or homosexual relationships in the slightest. He doesn't believe in them.

  10. I am a happy married father who have been struggling with same-sex erotic attraction when younger and we also accepted this when we married and I discovered the very same things this Mormon guy (J.Weed) writes about. I am able to identify. Of course I am not Mormon and as i did not not live a "gay" life I prefer to say (if asked) that i used to deal with a fathering deficit 8which I have handled through therapy and especially groups of addicts and buddies there - with no need of erotic encounters as I stayed loyal to my wife.) I appreciate the fact that this issue gets slowly thematized in many unusual ways.

  11. His story made me so happy--look! Someone who dealt with this issue and has found such a happy place to be! At first, I wanted to share it with everyone too. I'm so glad he's happy, but I don't think people trying to copy him will achieve the same sort of success. What I got from his story is that if we truly trust God, he can lead us to happiness. But that doesn't mean our happiness is going to look anything like Josh's. But that's OK.

    Keep doing what you are doing. I am grateful for your blog. It can't be easy, but it's definitely worth it.

  12. I just wanted to say I have enjoyed the comments and discussions going on here.


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