23 December 2007

Happy Tears

Today I was the substitute pianist in primary. I love playing piano for all the little kids at church. First of all, they don't know if you've messed up, so it doesn't matter if I've never played the song before and hit a few sour notes. Mostly, I just love their innocence and the simplicity with which the teachers share the gospel with them.

Today they were talking about how Jesus interacted with little children when he was on the earth. How much he loved and adored them. The time that he spent with them. They talked about the children in Israel during His mortal ministry, and then they talked about the children in the Americas after His resurrection. The teacher read these verses from the Book of Mormon:

And they arose from the earth, and he said unto them: Blessed are ye because of your faith. And now behold, my joy is full.

And when he had said these words, he wept, and the multitude bare record of it, and he took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them.

And when he had done this he wept again;

3 Nephi 17:20-22

The teacher asked the children why Jesus was crying, and one of the little kids responded, "They were happy tears!" So we learned about how sometimes people cry, not because they are sad, but because they are so happy.

Today I kind of felt like crying. This time of the year is always the hardest for me. I'm alone again for Christmas, and my 35th birthday is 3 weeks after Christmas. It's the worst time of the year to see so many of my married siblings, friends, and everyone else for that matter, with their families, enjoying each other and loving each other. They have their children. They feel the joys of parenthood that I long for. My soul aches. And I want to cry sad tears.

But today, something happened at church. Our bishop gave a talk in sacrament meeting about how much the Savior loves us. How much He knows us individually and the trials we have in our lives. And how He is always there for us, no matter how far from the path we stray. His arms are always outstretched and will always welcome us home. He paid the price for our mistakes, for our errors, for our transgressions. All we have to do is belive and follow Him.

As I sat there listening to what the bishop was saying - things that I have heard a thousand times before - I felt the Spirit inside of me. I felt the warmth and caress of the Savior's hands on me. I felt His love for me. And my sad tears turned into happy tears.

20 December 2007

Owning Up

I recently told a friend of mine to start owning his decisions. Thus began the apparent decay of our friendship - but I'm not going to write about that one. I think that on a scale of 1 to 10, I am at about a level 7 or 8 for being good about owning my decisions. For the most part I can take responsibility for something I have done, and take my lashings for it. So, in an effort to not be hypocritical about calling my friend's attention to that fact in his life, I also need to be sure that I'm owning my deicisions. So here it comes:

This whole incident I had with the choir I sing in is crazy. It is ridiculous the way that some other Mohos have chosen to view it, and capitalize on it to fester their own angst against Mormonism. It's really pathetic the lengths they have gone to distort and twist what I said, so that they may villify the choral organization.

But, I will own up to the fact that the crap they are pulling is the direct result of a bad decision that I made to allow myself to get worked up over something so trivial. If I had maintained composure and controlled my overreactive self, none of this would have ended up like it has.

So what do I do now? I've worked things out with the choir. I have no problem with the person who offended me. He apologized. I apologized to him for letting things get to where they are. We are on good terms. The problem is, the scavanger Moho that seized on this for his own personal aggrandizement is still harping on it. He won't let go, and continues to try to defame the choral organization. I asked him nicely to stop. He refused. Then I got angry and asked him angrily to stop. He refused again. He's done it all in the name of being my "ally and friend" and righting the wrongs which I have been burdened with.

I'm sorry, but the last time I checked an ally and a friend doesn't do things that hurt your reputation. If he really was my ally and friend and cared for me, he would cease and desist, understanding that the continued flaunting of my indiscretion of blabbing my problem to the whole world is damaging my image more than anything else.

But, he is neither my friend, nor my ally. He is much more akin to having the mind of a sadistic serial killer - one who gets pleasure out of seeing others suffer. Perhaps his blogger name should be "It Puts The Lotion On". (For you non R-rated movie people out there, that is a reference to the killer in Silence of the Lambs - great movie, but disturbing. I recommend it.)

But, in spite of how distasteful his current actions are, I truely have nobody to blame but myself. If I would have just let my emotions settle before I responded to the original offence, I would have been much more level-headed with it and things never would have been carried to the level that they have been.

I apologize to the choral organization for my actions, but apologies don't undo actions. I wish I could go back in time and kick myself in the head. I haven't felt this bad about doing something stupid for a very long time.

The Whinery

I decided that if I ever get my PhD in psychology and open up shop, I will name the business "The Whinery".

18 December 2007

Thinking About Marriage

So, recently I was reading one of the few blogs I still keep up on and the poster was talking about prospects for a heterosexual marriage. I've been taking inventory of that one in the back of my mind to see where I stand on it at the moment.

Right now, I don't really see it happening. I'm in my mid-30s now. I'm pretty good at not being attracted to the opposite sex. I've determined that if the Lord intends for that to happen, then He is going to have to produce the miracle for me. I've done all that I can. I've tried my best with dating and such to get on the "straight" bandwagon, but it just feels awkward and unnatural. I've done everything I can possibly come up with to meet and be attracted to a girl. I don't know what else to do. So, I'm leaving it in His hands. If marriage happens it happens, if it doesn't it doesn't.

With this in mind, I've had to begin the process of organizing my psyche so that I can deal with being single for the rest of my life. That's a tough one. I've always held out this vision, this hope for the seemingly impossible. That is what has always driven me and kept me going down the path that I have been going down. It has propelled me forward in my career and in my investments, always driving me to be ready to support a family. It is one of the things that has helped me retain my testimony at times when it has been very shakey. There is nothing I have ever wanted more than to have my own children.

So now I have to reorganize things. What am I going to live for now? What are my sights going to be set on? What's my motivation?

I'm still working those things out. It's a daunting task. I need to find new things that engage my interest enough that I will see them in such a way to inspire me to work for them.

One thing that has percolated to the top of the sea of endless choices are my nieces. Both of my brothers had babies this year. Well, their wives had the babies, my brothers just helped to make them. The whole family lives up in Utah in the Provo-ish area. This year as I've received emails of pictures of the girls as they have grown (one is 11 months, the other is 6 months) I have felt this great tugging at my heart. And I must interject that they truely are the cutest children to have ever been created. Sorry, everyone else. Yours are homely compared to these two. :P Anyway, I want to be around my family more. I want to see these little girls grow up. I want to be the cool uncle that they love to see. Since I don't have children of my own, I want them to be a part of my life, to fill that void.

This one thing has given me motivation in the business I've been trying to start. I'm declaring the business of 2007 to be a failure, and I'm starting anew with a new plan and a new partner in 2008. I need to live here in So Cal to get this business to succeed. I can't do it in Utah. The market won't support it. I can't move to be closer to my family. So, I need to have success in my business so that I can afford to go visit them much more frequently.

The desire for family, even though it's not my own blood, can still be a inspiration for me in various aspects of my life. I'm going to be the best darn uncle this world has ever seen.

Now, if I could just convince the capital investors of that...

Out of Hand

Sometimes things just get out of hand when you let other people know about them. I was annoyed at the whole choir thing, but some people on both sides of the issue got really worked up about it. Holy crap, people. Calm down. For those of you Moho's that are making a bigger deal out of this than what it is - knock it off.

I apologize to the choir director for the uncalled-for things that some other people chose to do. But, I would also ask better understanding from all members in the future with regards to their brothers and sisters in the gospel.

Might I suggest that everyone read what Elder Jeffrey R Holland had to say about working with gay Mormons.

17 December 2007

Random General Authority Visits

So, one of the relatively new converts in our ward turns out to be cousins with the wife of Elder Gary J Coleman, of the Seventy - not to be confused with Gary Coleman the actor. Elder and Sister Coleman decided to come pay him a visit this past weekend, and they came to our ward. And here's the hilarious part:

A friend of mine, who just started coming back to church about 5 months ago after years and years of inactivity, was recently asked to be one of the teachers in Elder's Quorum. Yesterday was his first Sunday teaching, and it was the day the Elder Coleman was there. It was hilarious. My friend was really quite nervous about teaching, and one of the things that some people do when they are nervously teaching is talk A LOT and never ask for audience participation. Well, throughout the lesson, Elder Coleman kept on raising his hand to make a comment, and the teacher kept on ignoring him. It was hilarious. I was sitting there using all of my mental superpowers trying to call to my friend's attention that maybe he should go ahead and let the GA offer his insight. But, alas, I don't have superpowers. So, I just got to sit there and chuckle to myself that Elder Coleman was being ignored. It's probably the first time in the years he has been a GA that something like that has happened to him. Maybe being ignored was a humbling experience for him and he'll talk about it at the next General Conference. :)


15 December 2007

A Mild Annoyance

So, in the young adults section of the Northern Lights email discussion group (yes, I'm still in the age range to be in it for another year) there have been several emails this week about the topic of masturbation. It was actually a good, mature discussion of the topic. Nobody was giving out their favorite websites to go to, or giving tips on how to make the experience better, or anything like that. For most adults, it was a perfectly benign conversation.

I say most, because there are always those who cower away from discussing anything uncomfortable. Someone started a "don't we have better things to talk about" thread. I found it annoying. Here's my $0.02:

If you don't like the topic being discussed, then don't read the posts. Nobody is forcing you to read them. Nobody is holding you at gunpoint and making you open every message that shows up in your inbox. There are other people who are interested in discussing the topic in a mature fashion. If that makes you uncomfortable, then don't participate in that particular discussion. Stop whining about it.

I may look back on this post and wonder why I was so bitchy when I woke up this morning. I dunno. I read the posts and was instantly annoyed. Maybe I should just go back to bed.

12 December 2007

The Choir Which Shall Not Be Named

The Choir Which Shall Not Be Named is a brand new choral organization here in Southern California, and we just had our inaugural concert this evening. It was absolutely maginificent. We sang in Segerstrom Hall at the Orange County Performing Arts Center. There are about 110 members of the adult choir, and we had maybe a 40 piece orchestra accompanying us.

I experienced a bit of a personal mircale too. I've had a head cold for almost two weeks now. I'm not really sick other than sinus congestion. Well, the worst thing you can have, when you're singing tenor, is sinus congestion. It just becomes impossible to hit the really high notes. So, I prayed with much faith today, took my meds, and lo and behold my entire head cleared up for the concert. I was able to sing as well as I normally do. I hit all the high notes - and for those of you who sing and understand, we hit a high b-flat in one of the songs.

The whole concert was just a wonderful experience. We are singing 3 shows per year, so any of you who live in the LA/OC area, let me know and I will keep you informed of our next show.

10 December 2007

Homosexuality in Fruit Flys

Apparently it's genetic:


05 December 2007


An interesting definition of pride as put forth by Pres. Ezra Taft Benson. I found it in the chruch's Addiction Recovery Manual. Remember this one the next time you talk about it in Sunday School. Then you won't have the same old lame conversation about "good" pride and "bad" pride. If you get everyone on the same page with respect to the definition you can have a good conversation about it.

“Pride is a very misunderstood sin. . . .
“Most of us think of pride as self-centeredness, conceit, boastfulness, arrogance, or haughtiness. All of these are elements of the sin, but the heart, or core, is still missing.
“The central feature of pride is enmity—enmity toward God and enmity toward our fellowmen. Enmity means ‘hatred toward, hostility to, or a state of opposition.’ It is the power by which Satan wishes to reign over us.
“Pride is essentially competitive in nature. We pit our will against God’s. When we direct our pride toward God, it is in the spirit of ‘my will and not thine be done.’ . . .
“Our will in competition to God’s will allows desires, appetites, and passions to go unbridled (see Alma 38:12; 3 Nephi 12:30).
“The proud cannot accept the authority of God giving direction to their lives (see Helaman 12:6). They pit their perceptions of truth against God’s great knowledge, their abilities versus God’s priesthood power, their accomplishments against His mighty works” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1989, 3–4; or Ensign, May 1989, 4).

04 December 2007

Waning Addictions

So, I've had something very strange happen to me over the last week and half since the Guatemala vacation. I've felt one of my addictions waning.

Porn and masturbation? I wish. That would make my life so much better. Like I always say, I don't have a problem with masturbation... it works every time. :P

The addiction of which I speak is my video game addiction. The game in particular is World of Warcraft (WoW). I've been a junky-esque player for a year and a half now. I have spent far, far, far too much time behind my keyboard at night battling monsters and saving damsels in distress. It's been fun. Indeed it has. I was a big Dungeons and Dragons nerd growing up, so I found the transition into online fantasy gaming to be quite easy.

In the past, I would spend at least an hour or five every night playing. My excuse was that I didn't watch tv anymore - which was mostly true. I tivo Heroes, Pushing Daisies, The Office, My Name is Earl, and Scrubs. That is a grand total of 3.5 hours per week, minus commercials since it's on tivo. I watch those and rarely do I watch anything else. I never turn on the tv just to surf channels. So, as I saw it, I was just replacing my habits of tv channel surfing with a different one. And at least in this one I was exercising my brain in solving problems, building strategies, etc.

Well, we went to Guatemala for a week and a half, and when I got back I felt somewhat detoxed from WoW. It wasn't like other times when I was away from the game for a few days, and got the shakes like a heroin addict. I got back online on Sunday night for one of the large group activities (I normally participate in "Raids" on Sundays and Tuesdays), and it was okay. It wasn't super fun. It wasn't a bad time, but it wasn't a great time either. I did the same on Tuesday night. I felt the same afterwards. During the rest of the week I didn't play very much. I found myself very occupied with a lot of other things and just didn't have the time to play. Saturday rolled around, I played for a couple of hours in the afternoon. It was fun, but not great. Sunday evening came along, I raided again, and I really didn't enjoy myself at all.

Yesterday I didn't play. Today is Tuesday, and I didn't play. I didn't feel like it. I had no desire to turn on my computer when I got home from work. Instead, I ran a few errands that I've needed to get done and I wrote a couple of blog posts. I don't feel the big pull to turn on the game tonight.

I wonder if I will stay this way. It's still a fun game. I still like it. But, I think maybe I'm finally coming to the point where my brain has decided to regulate it's propensity for addiction, and is allowing me to comfortably cut back on the amount of time I spend playing it so that I can get other, more important tasks in my life completed. I hope so.

Now, if only my brain would do this for my other addictions...

Checking In

Hello? Is this thing on?

I've really failed in my desires to return to my former prolific blogging persona. The last few months I've just not felt it. Maybe it's time to get some feelings out there again. I have a lot. I have good ones. I have bad ones.

I look back through some of my older posts and remark to myself, "Why the hell did I ever write that in a public forum?" I'm not going to go through and delete anything. It's already out there. It's already been said. Who would I be kidding?

I also look at some other posts and think about how my perspective has changed over the last many months that I've been in the Moho community. It's been a good experience. As I've come to know more and more Mohos personally, my once rigid view of how people should live their lives has softened up a bit. I can see instances where something that I feel would not be right for me to pursue would be okay for someone else, due solely to how their life has progressed over the years and the trials that they face.

I'm not willing to say anymore that I think that everyone should live the way I've chosen to live. When I look at the emotional trauma that some people experience by being a gay Mormon and looking at the oft-described "dreary" prospects for living their life, I think that maybe it would be better for them to pursue a more gay-themed lifestyle just for their own sanity. I would rather see someone alive and living with another guy than attend their funeral because the desperation was too much for them.

In saying that, I don't want to put across the idea that I think it's okay for anyone to do that. I think that most people should and are able to live a fulfilling life within the current boundaries that the church has established for all of us. I think that many people who express their exasperation at living the SCF (single, celibate and faithful) life actually do have what it takes to live that life. They just need to reorient their spirituality and tap into the testimony that lies dormant inside of them.

We all get down. We all get weary. We sometimes veer off the path and make mistakes that nobody else knows about. But God knows everything, and He is always there to listen to you if you humble yourself before Him and talk to him in sincerity. No matter what you're struggling with, He loves you and cares about you. And He will always welcome you back with open arms.