Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Refusing Callings

Today, for the first time in my life, I refused a calling offered to me. In some ways, I feel awful about it, but in reality I feel much more relief. The first counselor ward was going to call me to be a ward missionary. Right after saying it he says, “Now you’re probably thinking to yourself ‘What would a ward missionary do in a BYU ward.’”

I stared back at him and bluntly said, “Actually… that is not what’s going on in my head at all. I’m just not going to be able to accept that calling.”

I just know that I couldn’t have that calling. In my previous ward I had to ask to be removed as Elders Quorum instructor because I couldn’t stand up and testify of the gospel without having too many conflicting emotions wash over me. It’s not that I don’t believe or have some testimony of the gospel, it’s more that all the emotions and sadness that come with accepting the fate of never being able to find someone I can share eternity with wash over and flood my mind every time I do bear testimony now. Then it just hurts too much. I know if I couldn’t deal with that kind of emotional pressure every time I tried to fulfill my calling.

I understand the idea that some callings are more for the individual who is called than for the people I would affect, but I can’t take that right now. Maybe this would help me to sort out these ideas and find where I fit in all this, but more likely it will just make me more upset and guilt ridden.

When I moved to this new ward I was hoping to be able to move in with a clean slate; to just blend in with everyone else in the ward. But now my bishopric knows that I’m dealing with some issues. They don’t know what, thankfully, but I’m now under their awareness radars.

Marcus, my brother, said people refuse callings all the time. He just never said how hard it is to actually go out and do it, especially if you’re trying to avoid actually telling them the issues you’re facing. It’s hard to maneuver through those probing questions, even if they’re trying to not do it.

The first counselor was really trying to accept and be understanding of my issues (without actually knowing what they were). I told him I was temple worthy, but that there were some ideas and doctrines I was working through. He gave me the whole schpeel about how our testimony is like a wall of bricks: sometimes there are doctrines of the gospel that we don’t understand. These are like bricks that don’t fit. Instead of throwing them away or giving up on the wall we need to set them aside and move on to other things. Those bricks will fit somewhere later on.

In my case, this is a load of crap. I can’t just set these feeling aside. I can’t set this part of me, that I have just begun to accept, and that has given me so much happiness lately aside; maybe other doctrines, but not this one. It just doesn’t work. So I had to refuse this calling.

I feel really good about my refusal though. I feel it’s better to refuse than to accept the calling and avoid doing anything with it. Then you’re shirking on something you agreed to do. I’ve done that before and it always feels like you’re letting people down.

Anyway, what do you all in the MoHo blog-o-sphere think about refusing callings? Is it justifiable?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Law of Chastity Question Box

This afternoon in Elders Quorum our bishop announced that next week they were going to be talking about the law of chastity and how and when couples can approach and begin talking about it while dating so that there is no confusion before marriage. They said they'd be addressing pornography, and infidelity and other issues as well. Then they said that after that they would be open the meeting up to questions that anyone might have about the law of chastity. To make things less awkward they passed around papers and a box this week that people could submit their question into if they were not comfortable asking these questions next week.

My initial reaction was that I was going to do as my brother had told me he did when a law of chastity box came around in his ward. He and some friends decided to ask very strange and unorthodox questions just for fun, like "Are kissing orgies okay?" or "Is masturbation okay after marriage?" They thought that their bishopric would dismiss them as a joke and move on to real questions. Instead they tried to answer these awkward questions to the delight of my brother and his friends.

After thinking about that for a bit I realized that instead I wanted to be serious and get the ward and others thinking about the issues pertaining to homosexual. So here are the questions I actually asked.

  • If homosexual marriage were legal and a gay couple waited till marriage to have sex is it still against the law of chastity?
  • Are the dating standards for straight couples (i.e. kissing, cuddling, holding hands etc.) also acceptable for homosexual couples?
  • How can homosexuals reconcile with the idea of Eternal Temple Marriage?
I don't know if any of these questions will be addressed by our bishopric next week, I'll let you all know if they are and how it goes, but if anything it will bring an awareness to my bishopric of the ideas that I and perhaps others in my ward are trying to come to terms with. We'll see how it all goes.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Moho Map Madness

****This post should actually be part of the last post but I waited to get permission for quoting my friends Facebook message.****

So last Saturday morning as I woke up and was getting ready for Marcus' wedding I noticed that I had a Facebook message from my sister Louise' ex boyfriend, who also belongs to the ward I just switched to. I opened it up and was jolted by what I read. He started by saying "So this is really weird how I came across your new blog." That's all I read at first and knew that he was talking about this blog. Turns out he had been added on Skype by a friend who had a link to this on their Facebook page. "I started reading different links to educate myself cause a friend is in your same situation right now. Then I thought, 'Hmmm I wonder if I know anyone that posted from Provo,' so I clicked on the different links and lo and behold there was Chuck D!" I didn't really think of this as a consequence, but I really am not trying to hide myself. I feel that anyone who is looking at the Moho map is doing it with the right intentions. But it was a surprise. He just felt he should tell me and offer his support. "You're a great person and I hope you know there is no judgement coming from my direction. You've got a great family and I'm sure they'll love you no matter what. I'll see you...at church!" I think it takes a classy guy to write a letter like this and I really appreciated it. It was jolting, but I'm okay with it.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

So Much Stuff...

too little time.

Okay, so a ton of things have happened lately that I felt I should blog about, but I didn't. Sorry. I am such a slacker right now. Anyway, these should all be different blog posts but I'm doing them all at once. Oh, I've given them titles just for the fun of it.

Wedded Bliss
My brother Marcus got married to Sarah on Saturday. (Marcus totally married up 'cause Sarah is AMAZING!) So I was able to attend their temple ceremony and everything else. This was my first wedding I've been to in the temple. It was really nice and I was amazed at the simplicity of it all. Of course, as the sealer was explaining to Marcus and Sarah the importance of their matrimony I couldn't help but think if I will ever be able to experience marriage. If so, it won't be in the temple, and it would be with a guy. Enough of the pity party, the wedding was awesome and I am so happy for them.

Cornered by the Bishop
Now I almost didn't get to the temple ceremony because I had to renew my temple recommend two weeks ago. So, I set up the interview as usual and go into to meet with my bishop on a Thursday during my 15 minute alloted time. He sits me down and explains that my roommate Art had told him that I had been going through some troubles. So I try to tiptoe around the subject and explain that I'm trying to understand and work through some doctrinal issues. My bishop then asks for specifics. He's not letting me settle with generalities. By this time I feel cornered, and on edge and decide that there is no other way of avoiding it so I tell him that I'm gay. I hadn't planned on it and didn't want to tell him but I was very straight with him (pun intended) and laid it all out there.

First off, he didn't seemed shocked, but he did seem like this was his first run in as a bishop with this. He began asking about the law of chastity and pornography and I answered as directly as I could. It was so excruciatingly painful. He then asked if I wouldn't mind meeting with him again before having a temple interview so that he could process this. In my mind I was screaming "Hell no!" but I said it was okay. He set it up for me to meet again that Sunday after church. That mean't I had from Thursday and Sunday to go over all the possible scenarios that could be played out. Basically it was the weekend from Hell.

Outed by a Friend
Okay so this title basically sums it up...sorta. The Sunday that my fate would be decided by my bishop I was texting my friend Art about the situation during Sunday School. The Wednesday before Art had left for seven weeks to Virginia to work for EFY. I was explaining how I was cornered into telling the bishop I was gay. The next text I got from him was an apology. Art had told the bishop my situation earlier in an interview he had. He had told the bishop to get advice for himself and his life and how to deal with my being gay. So the bishop already knew and just wanted me to admit it to him. That's why the bishop didn't seem surprised when I told him! I initially couldn't fully process what had happened and just felt betrayed. But I've moved on from it. I told Art that next time he should say "a friend" instead of outing someone to their priesthood authority.

Before I move on I want to make it clear that Art is really an amazing friend, he just wasn't thinking when he did what he did, and he has apologized many time for it and I forgive him. Accidents and stupid mistakes happen and we move on.

Decision Time
With only an hour between finding out that Art outed me to the bishop and my interview I was a nervous wreck. I left Sunday School early to go process and glazed through Elders Quorum and then it was time to meet bishop. Well, needless to say it was all okay. My panic had been in vain and the bishop had researched and said that as long as I was temple worthy my sexual orientation didn't matter. He actually kept commending me for the integrity of my spirit. I don't know how to take a compliment like that. Anyway we went through the interview, I got my recommend, and left. Thank goodness I only have to go through that kind of hell every two years.

Oh, and during that interview I asked to be released from my calling as Elders Quorum instructor (I couldn't stand up there and teach something that I personally am wrestling with. I felt hypocritical) and told him that I would be leaving the ward in a week. We didn't technically live in the ward boundaries, it's a complicated story. So I'm gonna go to the ward that I'm suppose to. My sister Louise attends that ward and I've come out to her so it'll be nice to have someone who understands things.

p.s. the Stake interview went much smoother.

Working Through It
The next two weeks were spent working through my feelings of being outed by Art and hanging out with my family as they all came in for Marcus' wedding. I even ran the Provo Freedom Festival 5k on the 5th with my family. I waited on writing about some things till I had worked through them myself. Anyway, it's been a crazy chaotic nerve wracking, and fun two weeks.

So that's what's been going on in my life.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sympathizing With a Serial Killer

So about two years ago I began watching the TV series Dexter on Netflix. I had heard or read a review of it somewhere and I thought I'd see what all the fuss was about. For those of you who don't know what this show is about here is Netflix summary of the show:

Playing a sympathetic serial killer might sound like a stretch, but former "Six Feet Under" star Michael C. Hall pulls it off in this macabre drama about a likable forensics expert who channels his violent tendencies into knocking off miscreants. Dexter Morgan (Hall) seems so harmless, in fact, that neither his girlfriend (Julie Benz) nor his cop sister (Jennifer Carpenter) suspect the true nature of his extracurricular activities.

Basically he is a serial killer of other serial killers.

Okay, so I knew that the show was a bit "adult" and all and since it's on Showtime you deal with more swearing, sex, and violence. I was sorta okay with that. But, I eventually had to stop watching the show after about six episodes. I was too creeped out. It wasn't the gore, or language that got to me. No, instead I found myself relating to and sympathizing with this serial killer. I felt that I was experiencing the same emotions (more like the lack thereof) to a smaller scale in my life and I didn't like it. It scared me to realize that maybe something was wrong with me.

Since then I've occasionally tried to think about what exactly was going on with me and how I sympathized with this psychopath. Then a couple days ago it hit me, I finally got it. I realized that it wasn't his psychopathic tendencies that I could see in myself, but rather it was his ability to go through the motions of living a life that was completely fake, and not letting anyone else realize who he really is. For instance, in the show Dexter has a girlfriend who he has no sexual attraction to. In fact Dexter doesn't have any sexual attraction at all. He is going through the motions of liking her and dating her, when in reality he cannot genuinely reciprocate her feelings. 

Now that I am honest with myself about who I am I can look back on my life and see the instances where I was simply going through the motions of being a heterosexual when in reality I didn't have those feeling and emotions. I think about the girlfriend I had right after my mission, and all the dates I went on so that I'd have something to report to my parents.

Well, for the most part that is over. I can't do it anymore and I'm happier for it. So, maybe I'll give Dexter another chance...