Monday, October 8, 2012

Oh Conference.

   Every 6 months the church has the blessing and privilege of instructing its members and the world through General Conference, as more appropriate God speaks to us through his leaders.  There are total of 8 plus hours of this televised from Salt Lake City.
      Anyways, growing up I have never really been a big fan of General Conference and still don't enjoy it.  Even on my mission I didn't look forward to it.  Yesterday I even came out to my mom about not enjoying conference and she seemed worried about my spiritual well being over not liking conference.  Conference is not my spiritual forte like it is with others such as my dear mother.  In my opinion, I feel like sometimes Leaders don't go by what God would want them to say and instead the Leaders give a sermon about doing or being a certain way is wrong.  Going on to this Conference, I occasionally listened but was somewhat uninterested.  The only session I really listened to and watched was the priesthood.  I understand that there might be a talk I need spiritually.  Ever since I first came out of the closet, I found it hard to listen to the leaders, due to the fact that they don't know what we as homosexuals deal with.  To be honest I have prayed to God to help me become attracted to females and it never happened, instead I realize I am meant to be this way.  I feel like either the leadership of the church may struggle with this subject, or God may not reveal that homosexuality allowed, or etc...  As of now I need to remain patient and maybe God is testing my humility, I don't know.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Will Things Get Better?

       I always hear and see videos of people who are in my shoes saying, "It gets better".  I wonder does it really get better.  I feel like I am at a spot where I keep going down and not going up on this Roller Coaster of life.  Being a Member of The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has blessed me and has also hindered me.  Being Gay in the church doesn't seem to corolate.  I try my best to remain obedient and faithful and then also be told I can't be gay.  I have recently felt torn apart by going to church as well as living at home with my family.  I feel so trapt with living at home.  Yeah rent is free, however the price of living at home weighs down on my emotions.  I keep telling myself I should move out and don't.  I just don't see things getting better.

Such is Life

Regarding Church and My Family

      Since coming out to myself in October of 2010, I have felt rather uncomfortable with going to church yet even being around my immediate family.  I have been blessed being LDS and with a good family.  Although I have always felt like the ugly duckling of the family.  I was always the perfect little nice boy growing up, I was well behaved.  Recently though it has seemed like there has been conflicts between my parents and I.
      Being gay and trying to stay active in the church as well as obedient is a hard issue for me.  Recently I have had the desire to take a step away from being active and at least go 1 to 2 times a month to church.  In October 2010, I started drinking weekends.  Then decided to stop and get back to being worthy, especially for my favorite cousin's sealing in September of 2011.  After his sealing I kinda went back to drinking but on occasion.  I know what the word of wisdom says, I know alcohol is bad.  I have turned to it sometimes as a way to escape my battles.  As for my family, they are all devout, strong, faithful members.  They however, emphasize "the church says this about this..." in a way it has done nothing but bring me down.   My parents and brother are the only ones who know that I am gay.  My sisters don't know yet.  I realize living at home is another thing that has weighed on me and my family.  Everyone says when you live away, you appreciate your family.  I have repeatedly told myself I need to get out and on my own, but I don't make the effort to do it.
          On facebook I have posted statuses regarding my view on marriage equality and my mom has decided to take offense to it.  She worries about what relatives and her friends will think and say.  This has been a big problem of frustration I have with the church.  The church tells people they have agency and yet instructs it's members that you can't do that.  I have told my mother that I have the agency to say what I feel.  Tonight I kind of took things a little to far by saying how much I hated BYU on facebook, and made comments saying it's not the Lord's University and Screw BYU.  My mom was livid and worried about people seeing my post.  In reality people need to realize we have opinions and to respect each others differences.  I shouldn't have posted the screw BYU comment.  I wish the church wouldn't brainwash its members to condone issues and opinions.  Like in previous posts the church has recently emphasized on not judging or ridiculing others.  I hope one day my mom will be understanding of me and not so much worried about what others think.
           In Conclusion, I feel like if I moved out/away these issues will be resolved as well as me having more freedom and agency to do what I want and what will make me happy.  I miss being accepted by my family members as well as treated with respect.  My only wish is that someday I will be.



Sunday, September 2, 2012

Stop it!

            Today when my family got home from church, I could hear my mom and dad gossip about a Primary Chorister in their ward wear pants and not a dress.   I replied well at least she is fulfilling her calling and coming to church with her family.  My parents agreed with me but then went on to say she is probaly wanting attention.
           In my mind I thought of President Uchtdorf's qoute (pictured above) and talk in Priesthood Meeting of General Conference.  His talk is one of my alltime favorite talks.  I think mormons can be some of the most Gossiping, Judgemental people in society.  I consider myself a mormon, but in all honesty growing up I rarely gossiped or said anything bad about someone.  Who am I to say something bad about a fellow individual.  It's none of my business about how an individual chooses to dress or act.  This is an important issue in the Church that people need to quit doing.  It disapoints me when my family members go ahead and gossip about someone.  When I even stand up and remind my parents that it's not good to do they come back on me with something.
           In Conclusion, I think we all can work on respecting others and stop hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges or wanting to cause harm.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Ranting of Critical People

    Tonight I got invited by my Grandfather to attend the Arizona State Football Game.  While on our way my Uncle brings up the Mormons interview on TV a couple nights ago.  My Uncle mentions how he enjoyed the show except for when they interviewed Huntsman's inactive daughter, the temple garments, and Clark Johnson (The Gay Ex-Mormon who is in "The Book Of Mormon" broadway).  My Uncle and Grandfather don't know that I am GAY, however I got somewhat offended by my Uncle's remarks.  My Uncle thought that the interview was somewhat biased towards gays.  I don't see how Ethical-wise being gay to be wrong.   I really enjoyed Clark's Interview and was moved by him talking about his mission and how it brought him closer.  What baffled me is that my Uncle didn't realize that interview Clark didn't speak ill against the church.
          I feel that many gay ex Mormons I meet don't have any ill feelings towards the church rather they respect the church and move on while having a great relationship with God.  I only wish fellow members of the church wouldn't be so critical of Gays and realize Gay people can have a testimony, Gay people can fall in love, and Gay people deserve the same respect given to heteros.  Although I am a somewhat active member and gay, it bugs me when conservative, strict Mormons judge and discriminate against LGBT members.  We are all human and we all are imperfect.  If I really wanted to I could point out flaws to my Uncle at what he does or says, but that's not my place.
          One day I have a wish that everyone will be treated equally, I have a wish that LGBT won't be an issue, rather it will be accepted.  I wish that Gays will be allowed to participate actively in church.  However I respect the temple and it's sacred work to bring husband and wife together for eternity, I understand that no Gay couple can be sealed there, however I do feel that anyone should feel free to marry whoever they want.  Well there is my ranting.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Thinking Spot

       I don't know if any of you do this, especially when struggling and stressed out, and go to a quiet place to escape from being down. Last night I felt alone and felt like many of my friends don't care enough to be there for me. So driving around, I decided to go to my spot.
       My spot is in a secluded area of Mesa, Arizona on a freeway overpass, and it overlooks a dry riverbed and mountains around the valley.  So while sitting in my car depressed and lonely I began thinking and praying to God why am I gay? Why dont I have great friends? Why does my life have to be so hard? I started crying and what helped brighten my experience was seeing the sunset and the colors of the sky. I went from being down to being calm and peaceful. I love having a special spot to get away and to evaluate where I am. I would highly encourage all of you to find a spot to escape those tough days.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Please Do me a favor.

     I know this is not a typical blog post, but it's something I am moved by.  I am sure most if not all of you have seen the Far Between movie trailer and clips.  I have been assured by my other fellow Gays and Allies that it does get better.  Anyways Far Between is trying to raise up to 75,000 dollars toward finishing the movie.  So far they have reached over 11,000 dollars.  I love what this movie has to offer and would love to see it in a theater and the only way of making it possible is by a simple donation of anything.  Here are a few videos that I have enjoyed from Far Between:

Here is the official page to donate as well as with a video/sneak peek:

I hope and urge you to make a donation, if you support homosexuality within the church and elsewhere then show your support and donate!

                             Mike Woods

Sunday, August 12, 2012

To Relate With....

        Part of being different as well as human, is finding people who are in similar situations as we are.  I know, God, and Jesus Christ know that we can't do life or tasks on our own.  We all need a support in certain aspects.   Support and Relationship is so important in society.  We see it in Church, Employment, in Schools, and Groups.
         When I first came out to myself that I was gay, I felt like I needed to turn to someone for help and also someone to listen and relate with.  I turned to a dear best friend and came out to him.  Not knowing about him, he came out to me that he too was gay.  2 years later, here I am with many friends, family, and leaders who know that I am a gay mormon.  Recently here in Arizona, I am in a mormon group of LGBTQ and allied members,  it has been such a blessing being able to have others to relate with and see similar of what they are going through.  I feel like God has brought about 100 of these individuals into my life to help me and have me relate with.  As a Group we meet monthly for a Social at straight member home to have a discussion as well as a time to talk and share similar experiences.  I am truly blessed to have this group as well as friends who have my back when I am going through hard times.
           Another thing I have found easily to relate to is finding other gay mormon blogs through the MoHo Directory, I have found a number of guys who share such similar stories and views as what I share.  The internet is a great tool in finding people who are in similar situations in life as a gay, les, bi, trans mormon.
           In closing, I am grateful to be able to see that there are others like me who are gay and mormon and who want support and friendship and who mainly just want to be accepted just as straight people are.


Monday, August 6, 2012

Is it time to come out publically?

Today I have been having thoughts of coming out of the closet fully public, I have been out to many of my close friends, some relatives, and a few people in my singles ward including my bishop.
The only reason that is stopping me is my parents and me respecting their favor. However I want to begin dating and finding the right guy. I also respect the church on the law of chastity however if I find a guy I want to marry, I will do it.b When it comes to premarital sex I believe no matter what orientation you are sex should be til after marriage.
I am trying to think of the reasons behind coming out or hide part of myself. I also feel like living a lie is not right. I really admire our former prophet Gordon B. Hinkley and his philosophy on being ourselves. Well I will try to see what my thoughts, desires, and prayers decide for when and if I should come out to the world.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Love and Human Rights

      This week was a bit painful seeing as a gay human being, especially in such a conservative religious area.  I saw alot of hateful and homophobic comments on facebook from people who I thought were supportive of me.  The issue regarding Chic-Fil-A speaking out against gay rights was an annoyance.  Seeing both sides of the issue on facebook was pure annoyance in general.  I am not a big fan of politics, but when it comes to my rights as a gay being I feel like I should have equal rights as heterosexuals.
        In High School I didn't think much of dating girls and all, but I also didn't think too much of my orientation.  One thing that I believed was and still is that any human being should have the right to marry whatever sex they please.  Love is a universal thing,  love is a gift for everyone.  Therefore, If you truly love someone and want to be with them forever why not be granted that gift.  Is homosexual marriage going to affect heterosexuals?  I know I am on a ranting right now, but why is it that most lds, conservative, and hateful people hate on us when we are the ones that just want to be allowed the same right as heteros.
         As for the Chic-Fil-A comment and stance on Gay Marriage, I feel it is wrong to come out and rip on the gays and lesbians and Trans.  You don't see Walmart coming out and speaking hate against humans.  I understand people have opinions and especially in a Commercialized Setting, you shouldn't state your opinion to the world and speak evil.  What also got me frustrated was the fact that many people went to Chic-Fil-A on the 1st, to me it was like a big "F*** You Gays",  seeing people rip the LGBT's apart on social media networks got to me and I decided to post a status on my facebook.  Later that day my mom told me she was disappointed in me for posting that.  It got my disappointed in her as well.  What I realize too is people don't understand what we go through.
         Recent news with me, this week I came out to 2 additional people who I look up to.  One is my right-winged Uncle who has clearly stated he opposes homosexual marriages.  He has asked me numerous of times if I am gay and I have just been quiet.  This week I went swimming with some of my closest supportive friends, All of one of them didn't know I was gay.  While we were chilling in the pool we had a discussion about gays in the church and it was a good biased convo.  On my way home from swimming I texted my friend who didn't know and told him I am in fact gay.  His reaction was supportive.
         I know I have supportive friends, some of which support human rights (gay marriage and etc.).  I also have friends and family which love me, but in general don't feel good about me being gay.  It is hard telling people I am Gay and can't help it, but I surely did not choose to be this way.  I am glad to be a gay individual in the Mormon church and have learned alot about my self.  I sometimes wish my close friends and family who don't get where I'm coming from could walk a mile in my shoes as a gay person.  I find it hard being gay, but also amazing because I have been blessed with many new friends who love and support me.   I have been blessed of being a part of a LGBT & Straight Allied Mormon Group here in the Phoenix metro area.  I also have friends who support me and want me to be blessed as they are.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Being Put Down for who I am

      Last night I was going to hang out with a good friend of mine, until he brought up his feelings of me being gay.  He ripped into me about how I can change being gay and how what I am doing will bring me down the wrong path.  He also went on to tell me I am not going to be happy being gay.  I tried explaining to him that being gay is not a choice and that it's something that makes me who I am as an individual.  He disagreed saying it's bull crap!  "People aren't born that way nor do they randomly become gay growing up!"  It hurt me in a way hearing him say he won't support me and be there for me if I am gay.  I was heart broken, someone who I thought cared about me, no longer did because of who I am.  He went on to say other things.
        After about an hour of no longer talking to each other, he messaged me apologizing for his actions.  He said it's hard comprehending me being gay.  I feel for him as well as my parents.  People close to us have to come out of their closets as a friend and Allie of a LGBT person.  I didn't apologize back due to feeling some resentment.  In my case I shouldn't feel sorry because I didn't rip into him about being straight and married.  I also am not the one to judge a person based on how they are.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Disney Story related to Me

   Today I went to see Disney & Pixar's "Brave" in the theaters with some friends.  To be honest I didn't want to see another feminist themed Princess movie made by Disney.  I went anyways and came out of the movie liking it.  In this movie, this Princess is into doing Archery and doing manly things.  To my thought I was like could this be the first Disney Lesbian Princess?  The movie didn't lead to that.  Into the movie her mom who is the Queen attempts to teach her to become a princess, in truth this girl wants to be what she is a unique person.   This princess somehow finds a way to curse her mother to be a bear.  
     This movie really made me relate well to this girl.  I found myself thinking, "My parents want me to be someone I'm not made to be.  I also thought  about about doing something to prevent my parents from bothering me, bur not like a curse.  I may be gay but I will always be my parents son.
       In conclusion this girl proved to realize that her parents were important and her parents realized that even though their princess was different they loved her and supported her.
      I hope that it will get better and my parents will love and support me regardless of what I am or do.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

My Story

            I guess I should have wrote my story of how I came to be in the very 1st blog post I created, but I guess you get it in the 4th post. Here it goes:
           Growing up was great I was a typical boy, played sports and kinda sucked to be honest. One thing I was great at even now is music. Not nessesary playing, but my taste in music. As time progressed in Junior High I struggled fitting in, I wouldn't say I got bullied, but it was hard fitting in. Then High School came and I went on dates with girls but never really felt attraction towards them. Some of my best friends in High School were girls. In High School it never clicked in my head that I was gay. During one summer in High School I went to Warped Tour and had a great time, I was in the front seeing one of my favorite bands when this group of 3 girls came up and talked to me. One of the girls had something about her I liked. After warped tour I went on this bands message board to see that she was on it. As time progressed this girl named Karen and I developed a relationship. Unfortunatly she lived 2.5 hours away from me but we would chat everyday. She was also lds, and what I liked about her was her personality and spirit. A month before my graduation and mission call, she died in a fatal car crash. It brought me down and she was the only girl I felt attracted to, we were going to wait til after my mission to get married. The week of her funeral I had to get my wisdom teeth removed and I decided to go ahead and miss it. Karen was the only girlfriend I had.
               Fast-forward to September 2005, I go into the MTC for my mission to Boise, Idaho. Going on a mission never seemed so scary for me. The thought of being gone for 2 years seemed infinite. I remember my first panic attacks I experienced on the first day in the MTC. Well time went on and my depression still existed since Karen's death. 3 months into my mission I had thoughts of going home, my mission president made it known to me that I wasn't going to go home unless I committed a bad sin. I met with a psychologist and was diagnosed with depression, still to this day diagnosed with it. My 3rd companion at the time was gay and pretty much out and not acting. He was a really nice companion and was a little too sympathetic towards me which kinda bugged me, but also helped me a lot. If it wasn't for his compassion I might have been home sooner. My 4th companion was my favorite next to my trainer. I got transferred into my 3rd area placed with companion number 4, who my mission president said is the happiest missionary in the mission. I loved being with companion number 4, he was a goofy kid that showed me how to have fun and work hard on my mission. I felt somewhat attracted to this missionary but still didn't think anything of it.
            Fast-forward again to September 2007, I finish my mission and return home to Mesa, AZ. Being home seemed like a easy adjustment I went into a fast and odd relationship to this girl who was somewhat forceful about being romantic and I didn't like it so we broke up. I didn't feel happy at all being home. In March 2008 I got my first tattoo of the outline of Idaho and had thoughts of moving back. I was still active in the church too. I kinda dated girls on and off but never really felt attracted to them, I dated because I felt like I had to.
           Then in summer of 2010 I began questioning my orientation, it took a few months of figuring me out but in October 2010 I came to conclusion that I was gay and attracted to guys. On my mission it kinda made me realize that I could be gay, due to being with a male 24/7 and caring for him and the work. Even in High School I never had a girlfriend! In October 2010 I was also depressed realizing that I was gay and mormon and if I was to act on my attractions I was be ousted. I turned to drinking every weekend. In December 2010 I came out to one of the first people my best friend. My friend was supportive and in a week or so he then came out to me saying he was gay too. On New Years eve a few weeks after coming out to him, we hung out at his home and got drunk or at least I did. We ended up cuddling, kissing, making out, and touching each other. It felt so right and normal for me. Not too long after that my father approached me one day and sat down in the living room and told me he had feelings that I had been drinking and participating homosexuality. I replied that I had and met with the Bishop. The Bishop helped me with getting back on track. My good friend and I quit hanging out for a year due to what we did, it wasn't so bad. But we wanted to be friends and only friends. Earlier this year we starting hanging out again and still are good friends. My bishop is so supportive of me and helpful. Recently I have struggled somewhat spiritually and have also realized that it is okay to be gay. I have come out to a lot of my good friends. My parents know, and I understand as a parent it is hard to have a gay son. I just hope they come along soon and support me. As for dating wise I want to start dating other gay guys preferably mormon guys due to good values and similar lifestyles as me. As for the church, I love this Gospel but struggle somewhat with going to church, I go every week but sometimes feel I have to go due to living at my parents. Being gay is not so bad, but being gay and lds is a hard. But it's life and life isn't meant to be a piece of cake.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Finding strength through a support system

          One of my favorite prophets: Gordon B. Hinckley once said, "3 things a member of the church needs are Friends, a testimony, and a calling." I am going to emphasize this post on what has helped me get through as a gay member of the church. Recently within the past year I have got the courage to start coming out to my friends and some family. I never would have thought of having almost full support and friendship from my friends would exist. Some friends I was scared of telling because I thought they would reject me have been the most supportive. Some of my best friends have been the biggest example of Christ-like attitudes.
                 If it weren't for some of my close friends giving their support and friendship to me I don;t know if I'd still be here. I recently joined a LGBT and Straight Alliance mormon group from Facebook and Corinvictus and have met some of the greatest friends there as well. I have become friends with the Cook family through the Group. Bryce and Sara Cook are parents of a gay son who is also in the group, have allowed us to have a social once a month in their home.  Hearing the support from a parent has given me hope and understanding of my parents.
            Today I met with my Bishop to seek support and advice. My Bishop who I thought would be somewhat harsh, has been the total opposite and caring and supportive. He is a perfect example of Christ. I am so grateful for my support system and how much stronger it has become. I know and hope I can continue to be a support for others who need me. My only hope and dream is for "It to get better" and I am beginning to realize that it's already getting better.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Asked to speak in Church on Fathers Day

Today I got a call from my singles ward Bishop, asking me to speak about fathers this Sunday for fathers day. I texted him back, declining. This was the first time in my life declining to speak in church. There are many reasons why I declined:

1. I don't feel comfortable speaking about my father. I love my dad, but yet I don't get along well with him, so there's not really much to say and if there was it would be a lie.

2. I am not much of a public speaker, I get kinda nervous speaking from a pulpit to a hundred people

3. As a gay Mormon why would I want to speak on an aspect of eternal marriage pertaining to the husbands perspective.

Don't get me wrong I am a gay semi active Mormon. I go to at least one hour of church a week, if I didn't live at my parents I probaly wouldn't go every week. I love the gospel, I just don't feel comfortable in church alot. I am grateful for my Bishop, he has been really supportive and helpful for me, I remember telling him I don't feel comfortable attending all three hours and he replied back: "if you don't feel comfortable cause of your situation then don't go three hours, he did tell me that I should go for sacrament tho.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Don't H8! Love!

Today was my newly Mesa YSA East Stake Conference, during the meeting they had the Stake Presidency and their wives get up and give a testimony (Supposedly a testimony, more like a talk). The new Stake 1st Councilers wife got up and gave her talk on Marriage and the importance of marriage, to me when I hear that word especially in church it's a big turn off. During her shpeel she mentioned how grateful she was that the church put forth the effort on Prop 8 and 102 to protect marriage. She then went on to say how marriage is between a man and woman and that homosexuality is an ambomination. I was immediately mad and disappointed, I thought to myself why is it that our church and members don't support us homosexuals. I did not randomly choose, "I'm gay and going to like guys!" It happened to be with me most of my life. Being gay is not a choice, just as being straight isn't either. It's a part of who we are. I wish parents, members, and leaders would understand more that we are normal people with feelings and attractions to be loved by someone! Yeah we are different in one thing, we are attracted to the same sex. I will admit that more people who used to not be open with arms are now realizing that they need to love as Jesus Christ did. I love the saying "What Would Jesus Do". I hope and pray we all can do as Jesus did and love everyone.