Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Dear Dad,

As goes without saying, I love you. You have taught me many things in life and I am grateful for that. But I write this letter out of frustration and it is directed at you. Seriously, Dad, grow up. While I was watching the first episode of Glee, you walked in for perhaps ten seconds, watched a clip and made a comment that irritated me. Here's the clip, in case you forgot:

You made the comment, "I don't want to watch any show where a girl sings 'I kissed a girl.'" Why did this frustrate me? Because you speak out of ignorance. Yes, you have the right to listen to what you want and believe what you want, however intolerant or stupid it may be. But had you watched the rest of the show, or even another episode, you would have discovered that girl is straight and just loves to push the boundaries. But no, you had to make your judgment based off of whatever moral standard you think is right.

Now on to what lies beneath your bigotry. I am tired of hearing you spout phrases and comments from Rush Limbaugh to defend an ideology I am so certain you have barely thought through. How is it you can comfortably say that the government has no right to lay claim to your money or make laws that protect the rights of others from your views and your opinions? How is it you can believe that Democrats, gays, feminists, and so many others are evil, misguided, and full of hate when all I ever hear from you is bitterness, anger, and frustration? How is it that you believe the government has the right, that you in particular have the right, to intervene in the life of a pregnant woman and tell her what to do with the baby? How is it that you can tell gay men and women that they are second class citizens in this country, undeserving of the most basic of rights? How is it that you can claim that the real victims in the United States of America are white Christians? I am sick of this.

Let that girl, or any girl throughout this whole wide world, say that she likes kissing a girl. Let her. I am not particularly interested in this or even find it attractive but I don't recall thinking that what I think or want matters to that girl. She doesn't care and that's perfectly fine. You, Dad, are permitted to like Mom because society agrees that their opinion doesn't matter in this. They simply support a union forged in love and commitment to each other. Never mind that your beliefs are repulsive and blasphemous to fundamentalist, evangelical Christians. Never mind that your political views are laughable to nearly half the citizens of this great nation. Never mind that your words, spoken with flippancy, have hurt those around you. Never mind any of that. It doesn't matter. That a girl could like a girl causes you to speak with such disgust and hatred is what frustrates me. Grow up and get over it. We're different and that's that.

What will you say to me in the future? I am gay and proud of it. That has taken me years to reach this point that I could even state that. It has taken me years to even look myself in the eye in the mirror and to even be comfortable in my own skin. Why? Because people like you have taught me that I am evil, selfish, and unwanted by God. You have sought to set at naught the very teachings of the God you believe in and that disappoints me. There is already so much cruelty, despair, and hopelessness in this world. How dare you add to it.

If she were real, I'd say push boundaries. Let all society enter into the debate on whether what's being pushed is good or not, without the employment of hate. We as a nation have never achieved perfection. Our greatest moments in history are not the pinnacles of our achievement, merely a point to reach on our continuous upward climb to a better society. That's what we as Americans are engaged in: a social and political experiment. I am so sick and tired of the bullsh*t that you spout. It's sickening how you think you are obligated or permitted to tear down others just to make yourself feel better. Whatever happened to the dad that I grew up with? Did I imagine a father that was more interested in the affairs of his family over what politicians on the other side of the nation did or said? Did I imagine a father that would read his scriptures, share his testimony, and talk to his children about what mattered in their lives? Perhaps...

I will let you rant and rail in my presence for as long as you feel necessary. I have my views and am no longer interested in giving heed to what you say until you can meet the most basic of my requirements for discussion. But what I will not tolerate is if you attack my friends or, someday, the person I love based on their political beliefs, religious beliefs, personal beliefs, or even their sexuality, race, or gender. This, is a warning in advance: you will never be permitted to speak rudely of the person I love. You may speak of concerns you have. But if you mock or belittle a boyfriend or my future husband on the grounds that he is gay or acts not as manly as you wish, then we will have words. Cruelty is intolerable. I will not permit your bitterness to inflict wounds upon those I love.

With that said, allow me to share things that I think are good and wholesome to me. They will likely be offensive to you. But I find Rush Limbaugh and most of your well-liked political pundits repulsive. Yet still, I sit through their hate-filled rants when I am with you and am willing to express love to you and a desire for a better world around me. You don't have to like or even watch these videos but know that they carry the message that means a lot to me: we, in all our variety as human beings, are equal to each other.

Merry Christmas, Dad. My hope is that you will find what is promised in this song below and remember what it is teaching. Christianity is not a warrior religion to me. It is the religion of the fallen, the hopeless, the forgotten. It is the religion of healing and forgiveness. It is not the religion of utterly crushing your fellow man or of utter humiliation over your opponents. It is not the religion of pride or of arrogance but of humility, of meekness, and of love.

Your son,

Friday, December 3, 2010


Dear Sentry,

I have learned something most grievous tonight. I have hurt another individual. Such a realization saddens me deeply.

So tonight, I wish to discuss an aspect of my character with you: my cowardice.

I speak such words without any attempt to elicit sympathy, pity, or forgiveness. Let us look at this calmly and with reason. You can substitute the word "cowardice" with "pathetic" if you wish, Sentry. For as the days go by I am increasingly aware of my cowardice. I see it in the little things I do and in the words I say to my friends. It fills my eyes with tears. I am no great angel of mercy in this world. I am selfish, petty, and weak.

Tonight, a friend told me that he regretted hanging out with me one night because I had made him feel horrible. I did this, Sentry. My heart is filled with such anguish and my head is hung with shame. I told this individual how truly sorry I was for what happened. In that moment, I could feel this cowardice in me become revealed. How truly, pathetically human I was, as my friend showed me. But worst of all, Sentry, he blames himself for it. He tells me that it was his fault and that I am not to blame.

That is not the case.

I am to blame. For years I was afraid to really look myself in the eye in the mirror except to put contacts in. All I could see was this pitiful creature attempting to exist, an existence down right wretched at times. The previous sentence is charged with emotion, Sentry. I recognize this. Let me take a step back and examine things. True, I have improved a lot of the past couple of years. I have shed much of my childishness. But I do believe that on some level I recognize how much cowardice still remains within me.

When I run and hide from all the stress in my life, that's cowardice. When I run and hide when someone tells me they like me, that's cowardice. When I take advantage of another, that is cowardice. So, in summation: I am a coward.

About a month ago, Sentry, I hurt a dear friend of mine. I used her without pause for consideration of her feelings. I took advantage of her. How pathetic on my part, Sentry. That she forgave me says far more about her character - merciful and kind - than it does about mine -cowardice.

A friend of mine, over the summer, expressed outrage that I belittled his friends and family members through the use of degrading labels. He showed far more courage and decency in that moment than I ever have. I am a coward.

The coward in me is a glutton, a sloth, and an idiot. He hurts people without care, Sentry. Such a loathsome creature, indeed.

Again, Sentry, in my defense, I am trying to improve. I wish such changes would occur over night but it seems I am doomed to remain the coward in slowly decreasing amounts. It saddens me that I am such a way. I am a coward because I am afraid to recognize how I should be and ignore the great need this world has for strong people.

Without attempting to invoke the phrase "the grass is greener on the other side" argument, I state this: my friends are strong. I am not. I have much to learn, Sentry. Forgive me, I ask solemnly, for this weakness within me.

Your friend,

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Dear Sentry,

I have never questioned the reality of my many imperfections. Like so many others, I accept my flaws and then seek to magnify them tenfold, hundredfold, and so on. I find that my battles are not with outside forces but myself. I already carry the darkness that seeks to overshadow whatever bright hopes exists within my so-called soul. Doubt, shame, silence...characteristics that insidiously tell me what I can't and shouldn't do.

I am always afraid to work through these aspects of me. Why? Because I really am afraid of my potential. What if I am all that people claim I am...or worse, even more than that? I don't mean that with any form of arrogance or narcissism. I write it as one that is attempting to reconstruct his mind after such damage has been inflicted on it.

In my heart of hearts, I believe - in error that everyone but me deserves happiness. I truly do hope for happiness in the lives of my friends. I am always eager to learn of a new love interest, a new joy, a new friend. I want to believe in a happy ending for them. They deserve such happiness. But when it comes to me, I just don't believe it. I see every flaw, every falsehood, and every sickening thought that I hold within. I see my failures, unnecessarily huge in my sight, and wish to retreat and surrender. My skin is thick as well, for no amount of persuasion from friends can make me think otherwise. And, in keeping with honesty, I have always felt that the line from Beauty and the Beast applies to me, "For who could ever love a beast?" I am that beast and no amount of watching that movie through to the end can connect the beast at the beginning with the prince at the end. They are two separate beings to me. I fear that I will be alone all my life and yet feel as though I will have to accept this reality and make do. There is something rather disgusting about that attitude, don't you think, Sentry?

So yes. I do not believe I deserve happiness despite the fact that in contradiction to that belief I still strive for it. I still harbor the descendant of the view that I am somehow hideously ugly. But what about those that say I'm cute? I anticipate you're responding with. I never know what to do about those compliments, I admit. I alternate between thinking they are teasing me to just being nice. For example, "How are you?" is a phrase people say because polite society demands it but it's an empty phrase, it seems. The polite response is "Good" regardless of how you really feel. This is how I see it for the benign side of people telling me I'm cute.  And that is rather insulting, no? I reduce, arguably, genuine compliments from what they are - truthful - to lies veiled by a smile. Is my view of humanity so tainted? Am I really that cynical, Sentry?

I know that I am fragile and weak. I will stand mightily by my friends' sides and defend them till the bitter end. I will soberly take note of their many triumphs and mistakes. I will bolster them up when they are feeling down and give an outpouring of love towards them on days of sadness and days of joy. Why? Because I think people need to be reminded that they're not alone and that people do care about them. I'm a hypocrite, aren't I? Because in that same thought, I will proceed to deny my very friends the opportunity to help me. After all, I'll think to myself, I'm beyond help.

I will take verbal abuse and pretend not to show it (unless they know just exactly how to pierce that thick skin of mine). But come the end of the day, when no one is looking, I will still drop to my knees and let slip the tears down my cheeks. I have noticed that in coming out of the closet, I accepted the reality that I am emotionally vulnerable. That by allowing myself to feel, I have to actually feel. Such a funny situation, really. I used to put my most vulnerable feelings far away from where they could get hurt, psychologically speaking. But I have learned that in order to truly feel and truly allow myself to love, laugh, and care I must allow myself to be vulnerable, allow myself to be hurt. What I mean by that, Sentry, is not that I seek to start blubbering in front of people at the first mean comment thrown my way. Rather, that I become emotionally available to myself and capable of giving 100% to situation, be it amorous or amicable.

I'll be honest, even though I have shattered much of my past attitudes of how ugly and stupid I am, I still harbor those fears that I am those things to some extent. Ugliness has just shifted to the view that I am a slob and fat. Stupidity has just shifted to believing me to be lazy, not smart enough, and drearily dull. These, thankfully, are weaker than their predecessors but they still hurt. What is most interesting throughout all of this is the disgust that I possess that I am weak because of these attitudes. That is most certainly true, Sentry. So long as I see myself in such a negative light, I am weak. That weakness, though, translates into a not-so-strange phenomenon that I must rely on myself to deal with problems even when those problems drive me to my knees and cause me to do things that I will later regret. For example, I may not cut myself as frequently as I did in the past. But the temptation, however slight, remains and I have given into it before...but that's a topic for another day, Sentry. My only point is that we find ways to cope and some of those coping mechanisms are not healthy or wise to engage in. I am no different in this with how I cope.

Really, in utter honesty, you must admit that I am pathetic to some degree. I am a quarter of a century old and I still act like a child. I possess all the understanding of romantic relationships as a four year old does. I am rather stupid on that, as on so many other subjects in life. I desperately want to be done with school but I have no plan for what to do after school. I believe I am nothing special. One must accurately admit that my need for protection stems from a false view of my being weak. That desire is ultimately undermined by the need to prove to myself that I can be strong. Ah, how funny the mind works!

So, Sentry, I suppose this letter to you really qualifies as a self-examination. But that shouldn't surprise you. I am incomplete and flawed. I would love one day for my knight-in-shining-armor to capture my heart. But I think my knight is as real as any mirage in the desert. This world is full of flawed people trying to make do with what they think is right. I am no different. I can only expect from another what I expect from me. So, you cannot blame me when I admit with frustration that such expectations are paradoxically low and high since that's how I see myself.

I have much to learn, Sentry...

Your friend,

P.S. After reading over my letter to you several times, I feel a sense of relief and peace. Relief at accurately expressing my flaws and admitting my knowledge of their flaws. Peace at expressing them and hoping that I might change and be truly capable of expressing love.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


My friend,

I have more to say concerning our conversation of earlier and I will repeat segments of our conversation for the sake of this blog and for recorded memory. I know the path I am about to descend down and I want to cry right now. My atheism is a statement or condition of a crisis of faith. It is not some permanent condition though it is part of an effort to rethink the world and to find happiness.

But, please, imagine for a moment me as a small child. I wanted so badly to feel loved by my parents and by God. I felt like an inconvenience to all those around me. I just wanted to be hugged and held by someone when I was younger. I wanted so badly for that to be the case but I always felt forgotten and unwanted. When I was young, no more than eight, I knelt down one day and prayed to know if God loved me. I remember how I felt so ashamed to even ask that question of Him. I felt like I was wasting His time by even bothering to speak to Him. But still, I wanted to know. I had to know. I had to know if God loved me for I felt ugly and unwanted.

I received no answer to that prayer.

I felt as though I had annoyed God and prayed for forgiveness. How silly of me to have wasted his time to even condescend to answer such an unimportant question. God had more important things to do than waste his time on such a pitiful thing as I. I knew it even at a young age that I was some kind of accident in the eyes of God.

When people spoke of the love of God in Church, I understood it intellectually but never believed it applied to me. God's love was for people that he actually liked. God did not even want to acknowledge me but had to because he was God and I was some accidental creation surely. As a teenager, I strove to understand the scriptures and to be a good Mormon boy. I just hoped and prayed for some confirmation that I was loved and wanted.

When I learned that I was gay and that it was evil to God, I felt so low. Surely this was a sign that God didn't really want me. I was truly ugly to him and unwanted. But still, surely I could somehow gain some level of at least God tolerating me. So I still studied and I still learned but I hated myself and hated all that I was. I hid that part of myself until I could no longer hold it inside. I sought for acceptance and love from others. And when I sought for help, support, and love I found it outside of my family and far from God. I felt abandoned and lost beyond words. Beyond description.

God had marked me as something to be avoided and despised. I never felt like I could ever reach even the basic level of God's love. On the mission, I never felt like I could receive inspiration or the Spirit because I just simply could never be worthy enough in God's eyes. I was also too wrong and too evil to even dare approach God's presence. But still I felt I had to, that I was commanded to. I just would ask for him to forgive me for even daring to ask for help. As I think back on those memories, I cannot help but cry. I felt that even my praying was a great evil before God but since I had to obey commandments I had to pray and that I just had to ask for forgiveness for offending God with my pleas.

I knew I was an abomination to God at the beginning of my mission. I was something that clearly did not deserve God's love. I wept then. I had spent three years before that hating myself for something I could not help. I hated that I liked boys instead of girls. I hated that every desire I had had ultimately, through that development, been rejected by God. I was so very ugly in God's eyes.

Why would God ever want me?

So, understand, then, that believing such a Being does not exist makes me feel happy. It is as though a great weight has been lifted off my shoulders. No amount of pleading in prayers to know if God loves me has ever yielded the answer that such is the case.

That is my answer to you.

Your friend

Heavy Heart

Dear Mom,

I wanted to respond to your other arguments. I wanted to point out fallacies and ask you questions in response to your claims. But I don't have the energy to do so. 

I have only one thought to share with you.

I am human. I am not what you want me to be. I am just me: imperfect, flawed, and messed up. I want to be sweet and loving, kind and caring, funny and full of laughter, and always there for you. 

I love you always.

Your son,

Sunday, October 24, 2010


You are a remarkable woman that stands as an amazing example to me and provides many lessons for me to learn. For that I am grateful to you. Your years of experience in life are ones that I do not doubt have a wealth of wisdom to guide me in life. I hope to have the opportunity in future years to continuously go to you for advice. But even with that said I know that you are not perfect and definitely no where near close to that definition, as I am not as well. 

You are my mother, a person I will honor all my life. You have taught me such lessons as the importance of moral decency, honesty, integrity, charity, humility, and compassion to those that need it most of all. You have taught me to trust, love, and work hard. You have instilled in my very soul the value of learning, of seeking truth and wisdom, of having fun, and of trying new things and stepping outside my comfort zone. I continuously strive each day to apply these lessons more fully in my life. 

Even though you do not like or approve of what I think and feel, I must still do what I think (and not just feel) is right. There is a difference in my mind between what makes me happy or feels good/wonderful/etc and what I consider to be right. When you accuse me of doing what makes me feel good/wonderful/whatever I feel that you are suggesting I am merely walking this path because it strikes a chord with some carnal or lustful nature within me. That couldn't be farther from the truth.  My decision is not based on some purely hormonal or emotional basis. To do so would mean that I am merely an animal and I do not believe you taught me to be that way. Let me ask you, have I ever been like that? I would think you would state that as emotional as I can get at times, I am also very analytical and a lover of knowledge and wisdom. I do not jump into most things without some forethought and consideration on the matter.

That it took me nine years after I realized I was gay to finally embrace this part of my soul should be evidence that I am very careful and thoughtful in my approach to such a serious matter. That I submit my new thinking towards religion and theism as well as atheism to rigorous contemplation and research should also be a sign that I am serious about what I do. That I am willing to discuss this with you and even invite you to help me believe should show that I am not some lazy creature that seeks the easy way in life. That you have chosen to do virtually nothing on your part to discuss this topic is not my fault and I am not to be condemned for acting as I find to be correct and right. You are still more than welcome to invite me to read articles, discuss religious topics, and especially to bear your testimony to me with all the energy and Spirit you can bring to bear upon me. I still extend that invitation to you for the remainder of my undergraduate schooling.

My decisions are based on what I think, feel, and have experienced as being right. I can do no more than that and in fact to do less than that would be a terrible wrong that I would then be committing. On my mission we taught the same thing to those people we invited to hear the Gospel. We invited them to pray, ponder, and investigate. When it came to deciding on whether to come out, I prayed harder than I had ever prayed before. I pondered deeply, investigated carefully, and, again, prayed while on my knees and while walking. I poured my heart out to know what to do. I begged and pleaded until I cried. I wrestled over this issue both in times of joy and depression. So I cannot help but repeat: I did not come to this decision lightly. I still examine how I am doing in this new mindset of mine. I submit myself to a question I investigate very deeply on a yearly basis, "Am I truly happy?" You would recognize this question as being similar in thought to the familiar scripture "wherefore by their fruits, ye shall know them" (Matthew 7:20). It is one standard that I use to determine through the course of my life.

You asked me to not mock your beliefs. I ask you to not mock or ridicule the process that led me to this conclusion. Mutual respect is essential if we are to accomplish the task of building bridges between us and respect is truly a two-way street. With that written, I apologize for mocking your deeply held beliefs. I was wrong in doing that and know better.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Another Day


Our conversation on Tuesday left me feeling frustrated. I don't know what happened to the woman that was willing to discuss more openly about my "temptations" and my perceptions of the Gospel, but I would like for her to return. I want to be able to have an open and honest conversation with you. After all, I feel as though I should be able to come to you for advice and to be able to share what is going on in my life. Why is this so difficult for you and I to talk about? Perhaps I did something that shifted your openness to talk with me. Perhaps I have offended you in some way that I didn't realize. Perhaps it has nothing to do with me.

I'll confess that I feel like I don't know what to do next in regards to preparing you for what's going to take place in my life after graduation. But perhaps I was wrong in thinking I needed to prepare you. Maybe I should just let you face all that's gonna happen without my trying to soften the blow. Perhaps I was being selfish trying to talk to you about these things in advance. If so, then my deepest of apologies for doing that to you.

I feel as though I must surrender my desire to ease the shock that is likely to happen in the months that are rapidly approaching. I feel as though I've done all I can to help you but you are not interested in it. Please note that this letter has been written with heavy sighs and with a feeling of helplessness. I can only hope that somehow something will change in the time to come that will leave you more willing to talk to me. But I fear that pride, disapproval, confusion, or hurt will somehow turn you away from me. I know you said you loved me, and I love you in return, but I fear that you will still turn away from me and I must admit that that saddens me so much. But what more can I do? 

I won't do so in this letter, but I do want to respond in detail to your arguments and claims in our conversation the other day. For now, know always I love you very much and think fondly on you.

Your Son,

Monday, October 18, 2010

Soul Mate

My Soul Mate,

I love you.

I would end this letter there for that one statement accurately describes how I feel about you. You are the only one I have ever been happy doing nothing and everything together with. From the moment I first met you, I have never forgotten just how happy you make me feel.

You are beautiful in such a way that I can only describe as flawless. It shows in the way you smile, the way you walk and talk, dance and sing, cry and laugh. I just want to hug you whenever I see you! My Soul Mate, you are intelligent and wise, kind and caring, selfless and loving.

What can I say further about you? I do not love you because I think you are perfect for I know you're not. I love you because you are flawed and do not hide it. I love you for being unabashedly you. And had I the power to make it so, I would surrender everything just to have a chance at being with you. I would happily live my life with you.

Last night, I learned something I never really consciously understood. I know you without having to ask questions. I know you as if you were me. Though we are not the same and there are certainly many mysteries, I feel as though I have known you forever. I feel as though you complete me in such a way that no one has ever managed to.

Where you walk, let me come with. Where you stop to take in the sights around you, let me join. But most of all, when you wed, allow me to be present to meet the man you marry. Let me see who it is that captures your heart at last in such a way that I could not.

I will love you always and no amount of years will ever change that. You are my soul mate, I feel.

With Love,

Monday, September 20, 2010

What Matters Part 2

Mr. Hunter,

I am tired of being beaten down by this place. I'm tired of this spirit-crushing climate where with a smile they offer in one extended hand joy beyond comprehension in the form of eternal families and living with God again, in with the other strike me down so viciously for wanting to do exactly what I've been told to do: form a family. I'm tired of being told that serving others is somehow equivalent to the peace, security, and joy found in a companion that you've spent decades with side by side in tragedy and wonder. I'm tired of feeling like I am somehow subhuman to all those around me. That I have some kind of disease, temptation, or evil spirit placed there by biology, culture, choice, God, or the Devil.


No more with this word play that leaves me gasping for breath and struggling to hold back the tears. I will not yield one more piece of my heart to them so that they can feast upon my pain, sorrow, and desire to be human! I have reached the end of my complacency while watching the placid smiles on the faces of those that express belief in a loving God that is at best distant and at worst cruel beyond imagination.

My heart has bled enough from this. I have shed too many tears and have allowed too many times of panic clutching at my chest and stomach until I want to drop to my knees in surrender. How can such an institution that claims to be the Ultimate Good cause so much sorrow and pain? When I think back on my own pain I want to take my fist and break through the wall. I don't want to beat my fists against solid wall anymore. I want to obliterate that wall.

I have seen too many friends twist and turn as they attempt to find themselves. Standing at crossroads with a weariness so apparent in how they stand, shoulders barely held up, and eyes downcast. I have stood by the side of friends that have begged for life to not extend beyond this moment. I have heard the words of fear, seen bodies contorted to meet the needs of people that barely acknowledge the twisted state of my friends' souls. I have steadied trembling limbs, brushed away tears of pain, and kissed back pain. I have done all of this without any complaint and without question will do it again a million times over. But come daylight or the bell ringing or the hours passing they bury their pain and put on a face to hide their torn souls from the world.

I want to scream until my voice is hoarse, Mr. Hunter. I want to rage and shake the very pillars of the earth. I want to just flex this rage within and strike vengeance at someone...something...

But how will that heal broken hearts? How will that bring my friends (and I) to understand we are not evil, wrong, or abandoned? How will any of my anger soothe painful wounds inflicted by careless or deliberate words? How would my anger help?

So here I am, Mr. Hunter, fists raised and ready to fight but shoulders slumped under the knowledge that it would make no difference. I lower them knowing I possess not the power to make things right. It's times like these I wish the God of Justice, spoken of in Christian and Mormon scripture, were real. But that God hates my brothers and I. We are a scourge down through the ages. We have no place with that God. He would never give us justice...or mercy.

What do I do now, Mr. Hunter? I just want to be done with everything in this place and leave and never return.

Your brother

What Matters Part 1

Mr. Hunter,

I apologize for using a name I gave you in high school but it is necessary to do so at this time. I choose to write to you out of a need to put to words what I normally cannot say. Perhaps as I do so, I can begin to dissolve the bitterness that's inside of me these past few weeks. I cannot seem to channel it. So I write these words to you in the hopes that you can answer the questions that I have, lying hidden between the lines.

Hypocrite. The very word knifes through my soul with a heat that I cannot seem to cool. I see the word etched into my face and hear the word thundering in my ears whenever I step foot on campus or walk among these Mormons. It is a sensation that I cannot seem to shake. I am bothered by what I see around me as well as inside of me.

Mr. Hunter, you have experienced so much more than me and have developed a cynicism towards the world for a good reason. Lend me some of that now, please. How can a person profess belief in a God that teaches that stealing is immoral and even numbers its among the 10 Commandments, hallowed rules that have stood for centuries, but proceed to take movies - the hard work of another - without paying and feel no guilt? How can that very same person turn to me and tell me that my disbelief in God is misguided? How can a person express a belief in the LDS faith but ignore rules and commandments concerning the consumption of alcohol or the wearing of garments? How can a person profess love for his spouse and then with premeditation cheat on them? I just don't understand it. I know that I am no where near perfect.

The other day, a friend so dear to me spoke in jest and lashed out words of such a cutting nature concerning my heart that I could not help but lower my defenses and accept the piercing remark. It was an insight into how he viewed me, a hypocrite, and at once I realized the vulnerability of my heart. What I saw made me want to get up, apologize, and walk away. I feel like a stranger sometimes and feel as though I do more harm than good to others. To him, I write this, I apologize for being a hypocrite in the past and promise to do all in my power to avoid such a classification now.

This is a letter that wearies my very soul as it is a confession of the darkness within and the darkness I see around me. There are times that I hate this place, Mr. Hunter. I hate it with so great a passion that it breaks me heart with sorrow. I see beneath the facade of blank and vapid shallowness too many lives living hypocrisies or depression or emptiness. I feel like this place attempts to turn me into a dog; some pathetic creature meant to scrounge around in the rubbish and filth in search of meaning and purpose. I feel as though I am encouraged to abandon my values, morals, hopes, and dreams and accept a mantle that would crush me into oblivion, dehumanize me without the slightest acknowledgment of the crime against me that doing so would be.

I have met some out there with deep and purposeful believing that are nearly devoid of hypocrisy but those that I have met have been naive. In this last remark I must bluntly state that the poster child of this concept forever remains to my Nemesis.

Mr. Hunter, I plead with you to help me understand what I am seeing. Show me not goodness, I do not need my eyes veiled again. Show me naked reality.

Your brother

P.S. Give your wife my love as well as your two cats. I hope to see you during the holidays. Enjoy NYC for me, even if just a little.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Goodbyes and Realizations

Arch Nemesis,

I have come to the realization that I am using you as a cover for my real Arch Nemesis (though you come close, putrid creature of darkness). That Arch Nemesis is my own self or the antithesis of me. So, Arch Nemesis, I hereby strip you of your title and relegate you to merely Nemesis. My Arch Nemesis, the place where darkness reigns coldly and certainly shall be where I direct much of my letters now. But fear not, Nemesis, I will still cut through your lies and bumbling oddities.

May You See Reason Someday,
Mr. Sanity

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Request

Dear Wild Runner,

I do not hate you and never could. There is a grace and beauty to you that is so rare. Beneath that chameleon-like surface where toughness and gentleness dance in such a strange duet, I see a soul so restless and anxious to rise beyond what is going on around you but unable to do so due to the circumstances currently going on in your life. I have heard in your voice that yearning for more than just what you have. If I possessed the power, I would unshackle you and set you free to fly beyond this claustrophobic place.

But, Wild Runner, I cannot do so. Instead I am required to watch you make your choices and actions in life and see what consequences do follow. So it is always my hope that happiness, joy, wisdom, peace, and fulfillment are what follow you even if after time. Some day the pain will end, as I do hope it does. Some day you will have answers to some of your questions, as I also do hope. Such tragedy that now exists within your heart, played out upon the stage of Life, is truly a comedy in the making that will bring tears of relief and joy...someday.

When I watch you stand side by side him, I cannot help but feel the measure of your strength. You are at your greatest when you are with others. It is felt in the warmth you possess and that instinctual ability to help others. I feel it so easily like that of a gentle rain that warms the earth and brings laughter and delight from all those that pause to take notice of such a blessing. Your smile, singing, laughter, and even shouts always elicit a smile in return from me.

From the moment I first met you, I could sense the fragility of your soul as it fought to become whole and complete, certain and sure amidst the chaos and uncertainty of this life. I felt it in your words, deeds, and concern for those around you.

Where will you wander as the days go by? Where will you run to when you can no longer escape the pains of life? Yes, I see so much more pain in the days to come. You seek escape from the very events that make us strong and sure in this life. Run no more from it, Wild Runner. Cannot you harness your many great and varied abilities into overcoming the stresses in your life?

I love you, pure and simple. I feel I have caught a glimpse of your heart and have seen so much goodness and gentleness within you. I cannot help but confess a fear of that goodness and gentleness being snuffed out by the natural progression of life and its indifference to all that walks its paths. Hold on to what makes you beautiful. I beg you to do so and do so quickly. If I were to somehow lose you, it would fracture this poor heart of mine for a long time to come, if not indefinitely. Yet I do not ask for you to do so out of some selfish need to make me rest easy. I ask because I can guess at how of a blessing you be in the lives of all those you come in contact with.

For how could you not be a blessing to the people around you? Thank you for entering into my life only a short number of months ago when winter yielded to spring. Thank you for undoing the knot of tension that existed within my heart and gave release to so much of my own pain. Let us share a friendship beyond these days of spring and summer and far beyond into the dark seasons ahead and beyond them to for many, many cycles to come that make up Life.

Your Friend

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Words From the Heart

Dear Sister C,

I congratulate you on the wedding of your daughter and wish them the the brightest of marriages: full of hope, much joy and laughter, and deep and thought-provoking moments in life! I can only hope for a long and happy life for the two of them and I only hope for a long and happy life for you, your husband, and your children and their spouses.

It is evident in your very words and actions the depth of your love for God and the LDS Church. In every word that you put forth and in deed, I can see and hear the measure of your faith and the desire to do what you feel is right. The warmth of that belief and your love for me as one of your missionaries is so clear. I thank you for that, Sister C, and express my love to you in return. You are a wonderful, wonderful woman.

My words last night must have been disappointing for you. I do believe you are right to say that you saw it coming. It is truly only a matter of time before I leave the Church. It is also quite likely that nothing will stop this decision now despite the fact that at least a year stands between me and that choice. I cannot provide words to soothe that disappointment or soften the small shock that you might be feeling concerning my departure from the organization that you love and found salvation in.

You knew me best as a missionary. You listened to my companion and I talk about people we were teaching, of baptisms, of Confirmations, and of new people we had met. I cannot help but wonder if it would have been best to have never kept up communication with you so that in some way your memory of me would have been preserved and remained unblemished from the taint of time and of reality. But it is too late to retroactively fix what has occurred and I certainly have no intention of submitting to what you think is right for me.

I love you most sincerely and still think of you as my "Mission Mom." But I am no longer a missionary and to a certain extent, no longer a child. What I am, I am not so certain of for I do no feel as though I can claim I am a man. One day I may at last find out what I am but that will only be after the test of time.

I know not if there is a God and cannot with even the slightest amount of hope express that I believe there is, nor do I wish to. The burden of pain and anger have negated such desire to do so. I did not express this situation with you because I felt that you were already having to deal with one reality (me leaving the Church) and didn't need to be thrown into the deep end just yet. I share it now so that my response to your comments will make sense to some extent.

Right and wrong. Good and evil. These are concepts that are not universal in application. Not all societies view the same things as evil and good or right and wrong. Not all individuals share the same values as you or I or our neighbors or even citizens of nations half a world away. I have never found any reason to find homosexuality to be morally wrong or evil. Look at me, Sister C, and tell me that I am evil for wanting to have a relationship with a man. For hoping to share a life with another man, raise children with another man, go on vacations with him, suffer his quirks and bouts of anger and frustration, take care of him when he is sick and be taken care of when I am sick, and to share private moments where only we know what the other is thinking at that moment. I ask you simply how that is evil? Demonstrate this for me, please.

Your concept and view of homosexuality as being evil is, in my view, limited and stripped of humanity. You view this "challenge" as something that must be mastered and controlled. I ask you this: can love be mastered and controlled? I submit that there are ways to temporarily divert the flow of such interest and caring but ultimately it cannot be controlled. To attempt to do so is to weaken the human spirit, crush feeling altogether, and empty the mind of anything profound or useful. Family is the most basic unit in society. Why? Because such units, when properly existing, are knit in love and support amidst differences and similarities. Men and women were never meant to be solitary creatures.

Let us put aside the fact that I do not believe in any God or gods or Goddess or goddesses for the moment and pretend that I do believe. It is my view that if God wishes to seek me out and feels that I am someone He wants, then he will do so and there is nothing that I can do to force his hand to do so. I can only act in this life as I think right and good. I cannot consciously decide to do what I think is evil or wrong. Denying my very soul, as you would have me do, is morally evil to me. So it is my opinion that I will let God, if he be there, inform me if I am wrong in my decision. Until such time, I will work to make my life and the lives of those around me better through work, service, friendship, and love.

Lastly, I wish to bring up your point on "happiness." Yes, you are correct that I am choosing to be happy and to seek after happiness. Is it not written that I have an inalienable right in the "pursuit of happiness"? Does not the vast majority of humanity try to do so? Those that join the Church, do they not do so out of a feeling of joy and of believing that it is right? Once those feelings occur within, does it not then fill them with happiness and that ultimately drives them forward? Was it not the prophet Lehi that stated to his son Jacob that "men are, that they might have joy" (2 Nephi 2:25)? For the purposes of this letter, I view the happiness that I speak of as joy and define this kind of happiness as that which weathers the storms of pain, stress, frustration, and loss and still remains there. I am happy! I have felt over the past year and half a joy and happiness that I have never felt before. It fills me up inside until I cannot help but shout out with all the energy inside of me and desire to share this happiness with others. I am smiling so much and I feel at peace. I am not at war with myself and have come to love and accept me for who I am and not what any institution or individual says that I am. You expressed that I am choosing my "happiness" and implied that it would be empty and hollow, replaced by misery and despair someday. I can only respond in one way to this: I will take that chance. If this happiness that I described previously is actually a hollow and shallow happiness and the "happiness" that I felt before (that of sorrow, suicidal thoughts, seeking escape through self-mutilation, loneliness, heartache, and longing) is true happiness, then I will take this empty and hollow one.

As stated before, I love you very dearly, Sister C. You shall always be to me my "Mission Mom." I shall always have fond memories of the fun times we missionaries had with your family on Preparation Day and when we celebrated our birthdays at your place. Thank you for your kindness and may it provide you with the joy that you seek and the testimony that you desire to have.

Formerly Elder _____

Monday, July 5, 2010

A Return to the Past

Dear Mom,


That word conjures up memories staggering in pain and bitterness. This is a subject, Mom, that I realize will be difficult considering your history and the history of our family. Bear with me as you read this. It is of vital importance that you do so. 

I love you, as I have shared in the past, and nothing will ever change that. But what has changed is what I now believe to be right. My commitment to truth, courage, and love all remains the same. But what happened nearly a year and a half ago was something that could not have been foreseen. You could not have prevented it, so if you have any feelings of guilt, shed them now. The time had long before arrived when I had to take responsibility for my own actions, safety, and future. Though I shirked that responsibility, it was still mine and mine alone to bare. Understand that, please.

Back then, I was slowly succumbing to death in body, mind, and spirit. Everything that you knew about me was slowly fading, disappearing into nothing. I wish to share with you the entry that I had in a blog back then that captures how I felt. Please read and understand that things had truly gone wrong in my life at that point and everything that followed after (even now) are all attempts to change myself for the better.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Thoughts of a Fool

I wish I wasn't writing this but I feel I must. I think it's high time I discuss some of the other issues that I struggle with. I call it sorrow because I haven't been diagnosed with depression or anything (just General Anxiety Disorder). When I was a sophomore/junior in high school, I unfortunately began to perform self-mutilation on myself. I didn't use a razor or a knife (thought about it) but used a pencil because it was discreet. My parents never found out about it and I eventually managed to overcome my need for it by finding healthier ways to work through my problems.

It appears I haven't learned my lesson.

Unfortunately, after 5-6 years I have cut myself again. As I sit on the computer there are four angry red slashes across my right forearm. I cried and I cried today feeling like an utter failure (these feelings have not passed). It frightens me to the point that I don't know what to do. I feel utterly and completely lost and I feel like no one even notices.

It seems like unless I make a sound I am forgotten and not even needed. But enough on that. Unfortunately, there is something else that haunts me now. Over the past six-seven months, the usual suicide thoughts that came about once or twice every few months (or even a year) have become more frequent to the point of occurring several times a week. I feel emotionally taxed already alongside a bad ability to handle stress, worn out from constant school work and just working to find ways to solve my financial situation. I believe that the suicide thoughts are still at the stage of harmless but are alarming nonetheless.

I don't know what to do. I need help. But it feels like everything in my life is just falling apart...and I can't seem to stop it. I'm terrified that if this isn't crisis mode yet that I won't be able to handle crisis mode.

I apologize for these remarks. I feel like such an utter failure.
 I am glad that I have changed. I do not regret any of my decisions since then. I have thought through a lot and have come to accept and love who I am. But, I am not finished with this letter. I have a poem to share from October of 2008 that captured how I felt during my first breakdown that lasted for two weeks. You didn't want to understand what it was about when I first shared it with you. Maybe in light of the blog post, you'll be more willing to accept that I was falling apart?

Upon the Ground
Sometimes things break,
Fall apart.
Single unity once displayed
Becomes several parts of a whole,
The loss of the singular
Can devastate the holder,
Clinging to the broken pieces
Like a child to a broken favorite toy;
Wishing for an impossible dream, and
Unable to stop reality
In its cold,
Uncaring walk over such shattered dreams.

Where is the answer that undoes reality, and
Brings back the fragile,
Temporal elements that once gave form to
All hopes and dreams?
Perhaps the many can pull together and be
Singular again.

Like light fragmented,
Scattered by a prism,
But continuously the same,
Unfailingly one in its purpose and
So too can broken things be healed,

Temporal things are like fractured light:
Scattered for a moment,
Yet eternally one.
Weep not over loss,
Pain, for they are scattered.
But in time, unending time,
Unity is to be not denied
Its domain.

Cry no more and gather,
Reunite those broken pieces.
They cannot deny their
Eternal design,
 Please, I'm begging you with all the energy in my body, understand what I'm trying to say here. I am not some selfish, sexual creature that cares only about what his hormones tell him. I am human, with thoughts and feelings. More importantly, I am your son and not some stranger. Read these words and feel the force of my emotions. This is not some game. It's life and I am doing what I think is right. All the sterile debates in the halls of academia and theology cannot measure up to the totality of experience, feeling, and thought in one person's life. See me for who I am and not what you want me to be.

I love you always,
Your son

Saturday, July 3, 2010

When Hearts Heal

This picture above could have so many comments given on it. But after reading the post in this blog that featured this picture, I can honestly state that I am moved to tears a little. Arch Nemesis, after seeing this picture and reading the story behind hit, how can you maintain your stance against people like us? Is your heart made of stone?

Mr. Sanity

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Dating Advice 101

Dear Arch Nemesis,

I have commented on your lack of fashion, taste in music, and your absurd views on gays. I shall now focus on your rather dreary record with women. You, corrupt in mind and soul, have as much chance of successfully flirting with a girl as a one legged, completely blind with one eye missing, foul-smelling, nearly dead, mangy feline does with a female of its species. True, you may be able to ask a girl out and, out of Mormon duty and kindness, she'll say yes; but I often wonder about the sincerity of those girls' intent when she agrees to go on a date with you. I mean, seriously, Arch Nemesis, what kind of a date is it when you spend all your time doing everything you can to avoid touching your date or even carrying on a conversation with substance with her? Evidently a date with high success in your eyes.

I find it mind boggling how you can even function! But, creature of darkness whose soul is so black that the absence of light looks brilliant in comparison, you can't run forever (no really, Arch Nemesis, you can't. Eventually you tire and the girl gets bored with you). So, I have some suggestions on how to improve your rather pathetic track record in dating women.

1. When approaching a woman, do not turn tail and run like all Hell is coming after you (it's really embarrassing to watch)
2. When talking to a woman, it's best to actually communicate with her. Don't talk at her (to help you out, I've armed the next girl you ask on a date with a taser gun. Each time you just talk at her or she doesn't understand what you're talking about, you will be promptly tasered. After you've awakened and pulled yourself off the floor, you can make another attempt at communicating with her. Stick to two topics: the weather and her health. Thank you, My Fair Lady).
3. When preparing for a date, wear cologne. Trust me. You MUST to wear cologne. Oh, and for the love of all that's righteous and good (my side of course), spray the cologne on you. Don't stare at the bottle and try to will it on you.
4. Do not tell your date that you brushed your teeth or put on cologne. DO NOT TELL HER!
5. Do not play any sports or do anything that requires you and your date to be at least twenty feet apart. Honestly, that's just pathetic.
6. Don't date just to date.
7. Hide all your random churchy quotes that are plastered all over the inside surface of your car. You're not a missionary any more. Be the RM.
8. Remember: you are a guy attracted to girls...be attracted to them for once (it's all I ask).
9. If you're not attracted to girls...well, suddenly your awkwardness makes sense, Arch Nemesis (and I just pity you now).
10. Avoid double dates. You end up talking to the other couple's guy anyway. Either take that as a sign of your real attractions or that you're really that horrible at talking to a girl. Man up and talk to her, Arch Nemesis.

That's my advice, Arch Nemesis. I have had some people question your loathsome existence. I admit that it's hard to believe that all the evil in the universe could be concentrated in someone, but I know that you are real (real in all your awkwardness too). You do exist unfortunately and I am here to expose your fallacies and crazy talk. Oh, and never play Cheetah Girls on your date. Just stop. Trust me. It's not cute and not at all worth sharing.

Hopefully, Arch Nemesis, these little suggestions will help you in your efforts to approach women. I can only thank the titanic efforts of girls in the ward last year for getting you over your fear of hugging women...even if only a little.

May you see reason some day,
Mr. Sanity

Thursday, June 17, 2010

My Bright Joy

Dear Mom,

The words I cannot speak to you in person, I write to you in pros with the hope that one day they will reach you and touch your heart. They are not capable of doing so now, this I realize, but it is my hope that time will soften your words. Let not my choices harden your heart against me but rather let a mother's desire to understand and love her child overtake you. That is my plea.

What words can I communicate to you now that have not already been spoken? How about the words that I dare not speak. Those words, if i were to say it, would spell out the fear that I cannot name: death. The darkness that I speak of is one that follows the long and slow descent into a depression that seals off the doors to optimism, hope, and a brighter future. The thief would strip me of all humanity and therefore deprive you of your son. That fear of mine is why I do not wish to ignore my self any longer. When I ignore who I am, I invite death to come closer, a death by my own hand.

How tragic. How utterly dismal an ending to this life: cut short by the one that is alive. I have stood on the brink of that darkness and even taken a few very dangerously slippery steps down that last of all descents. I can safely say that I do not ever wish to approach that darkness again. I became familiar with it, too familiar with it. I pitied it and grew comfortable with it all while fading away. Let not death come no more by my own hand. Rather, let life draw nearer.

I will never find joy down the paths that you think right. Hopefully by the time you read this, you'll understand what I know now. I am happy right now. I am happy with where I'm at and happy to know a fraction of what life has to offer. Dearest Mother, believe me. My heart beats for my own gender by some bizarre unknown that cannot be accounted for right now. But look beyond that and see how bright my happiness is and my hope. Is not that enough? Let not your desire to save my soul overtake your common sense and compassion. It is my hope to find someone to invite into my life forever and to be invited into his life forever. I hope to build a family with him and to share my life with him through all the many twists and turns, for better or worse, and for richer or poorer. To laugh and cry with. How can that be wrong? Perhaps, when you read this you'll understand that there was never a choice to abandon my "homosexuality" but rather a choice to live or die.

You cannot escape who you are forever. You can only delay the inevitable or remove the spark of life that lies inside of you. I chose to make that spark grow brighter and I do not feel guilty about that. Not at all. Not ever.

I love you, Mom,
Your Son

Fanny Packs: Evil's Mark

Arch Nemesis,

It has been some time since I last wrote to you. And a lot has changed. For example, you've started wearing fanny packs while traveling Egypt. While I realize this is just your thing, can I at least make one request of you: stop. It's embarrassing that my own Arch Nemesis is being seen by the world dressed up in fanny packs, shorts down to the knees (in a not cool way), and socks half way up the calves. Really now, how am I supposed to hold my head high when I tell people that I have a worthy rival? People are starting to laugh at me. Don't make me kidnap you and force you to wear clothes that make you look decent and civilized.

What kind of a statement are you trying to make? That you've reached a point in your life that if your mother were to dress you, she'd be doing us all a favor? I may have to speak with her on that. Are you trying to be a nonconformist or are you unable to notice that such dressing is actually silly?

I only ask this because I really have to wonder what goes through your mind. Do you honestly stand in front of a mirror, check yourself over to make sure your shirt is tucked in and your fanny pack is adjusted, and then give yourself a thumbs up before making plans to (awkwardly) flirt with that girl that you like? I have to think that you do do something similar to this. Is it any wonder, then, that girls find you just "cute" and not a person with dating potential? Really, you have to at least agree with me on that.

Seeing that you are my rival, I need only briefly mention my virtuous depravity and righteous sinning to your evil, corrupt, and mournfully depraved ways. I in my humble arrogance am always right and correct while you are beyond redemption in the banality of your evil. You so quickly and willingly make statements and insinuate that people like me (my fellow gay brothers, lesbian sisters, and transgendered siblings) are somehow evil and foul. That we are somehow incomplete when he embrace that core aspect of ourselves. But as individuals meet us and get to know us; come to recognize their brothers, fathers, sisters, mothers, friends, grandfathers and grandmothers, aunts and uncles, cousins, and lovers as human they shed the belief that we are evil. We are as human as they are.

Here's the clincher: I call you all these evil things acknowledging that if people were to meet you they would fall into the same phenomena as I have previously described. The difference? I'm being satirical and you are not. How is it that reality has so escaped you? You know, in high school your attitude and views would have been understand as childish and regressive. Now, those views are just sad.

As ever, I am right in my ways and you are wrong just as the light is good and wholesome and darkness is evil and corrupt. Lose the fanny pack, Arch Nemesis. Lose it quick.

May you see reason someday,
Mr. Sanity

Monday, May 24, 2010

To Love and Be Required to Let Go

Dear Mom,

I want to share with you about some of the strange pain that I feel while at BYU. In keeping with the Honor Code, you know that I cannot date other men. I want you to know that I look forward to the day when this self-imposed prison is at last removed and I can stand in the full light of freedom. In those days, I will have already chosen to ask men out on dates with the purpose that one day I will find someone to spend the rest of my life with in service and love. 

But that day has not arrived. No, rather, today I am planning to return to BYU in the fall to begin what I expect to be my last year of undergraduate work. I will return to what has come to feel like the walk of shame. Each and every day I see couples walk hand in hand. They are beautiful couples and I smile easily when I see how happy they are together. I am happy for them. I am happy for all those couples choosing to make commits of faithfulness and love to each other. I wish them all the opportunity and chances to succeed in those commitments. But I know that if I were to ask for the same opportunity I would be denounced, hated, and verbally and emotionally spit upon. I know that they would not rejoice in the same way that I rejoice in their relationships. 

See, I may not be allowed to date while at BYU but that does not change the reality that I still develop crushes on other men. I cannot help the fact that my heart wants to feel and that I desire to truly be human. Such a shame, I know. I cannot seem to turn off my heart or shut away my feelings. Last school year, I developed a crush on another guy. I knew nothing would come of it but my heart still yearned as it does and I was helpless to do anything about it. My friends became worried for me; afraid I'd make the tragic mistake of getting involved with that man and thus screwing myself over at BYU. I am grateful for their kindness but I cannot remove the sting I still feel from that memory. But the cruelest comment of all came from one woman in particular. She once told me that she hoped that I failed in my relationships with men. I understood where she was coming from. Being gay was wrong, sinful. She hoped that somehow I would repent and come to God and the Church. 

I still wanted to cry.

When my heart skips a beat or my breath is stopped when the guy I like says something or stands close to me, the words of my friends and those around me echoes in my ear. My heart is twisted already by the yearning to love, to reach out in hopes of being loved in return, and the knowledge that such would only hurt me because of the school I am at. I feel hurt and confused. I honestly don't know what to make of this. I feel like I am taking a dagger to my own heart and twisting it.
Beyond that, there are no words of happiness anyone wouldwish to extend me. Will you ever speak words of kindness and hope that I find someone to love? Or will you express "loving the sinner, and hating the sin" syndrome? Let me explain to you this, it is the cruelest thing of all. I would rather have them hate me then mock me with kindness. I am a second class citizen to them. I am somehow subhuman in their eyes. The cruelty of their mockery is that it is wrapped in some kind of nicety. I want to vomit. 

It is the most painful thing I have ever experienced in my life: to love another and know I can do nothing about it. My heart is bound by my own decision. For every love I possess towards another, I must ignore it with all my might lest I break BYU's rule of falling in love and being loved in return. No amount of words can convey the anguish that my heart feels and there is nothing, it seems, that can truly soothe it.

That, and that most of all, leaves me bitter towards BYU and the Church.

I want to love and be loved in return. I want to have the opportunity to mean something to someone and for someone to mean something to me. At the end of a hard day who do I have to turn to for solace and love? No one. If I had someone it would be equal to being expelled. How tragic...

So what will you do, Mom? When I am finished with school and am free to date, what will you say? Will you breathe the same insanity that I have heard here, "I hope you fail in finding love"? If so, spare me and just don't say it. I doubt I would ever be able to hold back the tears after you have so stabbed me in the heart like that. 

Your son always,

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Your Children

Dear Mom,

I never realized how hard it is for you in all of this. A friend of mine helped me realize that you are still grieving over the loss of so much. What must it be like to be in your shoes? I have been so selfish these past couple of years focusing on trying to come to grips with who I am and wanting you to see this that I forgot what you are going through. I am a terrible for this.

I have never been able to fully comprehend the loss that you have felt and continue to feel since Grandma and Grandpa passed away nearly eight years ago. My relationship to them was never really wonderful and I was most definitely not close to them. I preferred to love Grandma and Grandpa with as much distance as possible between us. Grandma always seemed to know exactly what to say to make me want to yell at her and Grandpa was as warm as a stone in northern Alaska would be to me. But they were your parents and provided you with decades of support, advice, and love. You could always turn to your mom whenever something was going wrong. I remember countless times that you would call Grandma and I remember how she would do her mother-daughter bonding time (which was usually shopping). Grandpa was the fountain of advice that never seemed to cease. Whenever any of us kids were sick, you knew that you could always turn to him for advice. He, the only doctor in town, knew all the ways to cure our childhood illnesses. 

You have done everything you can to live up to the model that Grandma and Grandpa have shown by example. You have raised us with all the love that a mother could give. For each and every injury I had as a boy from running through the fields and forests to riding bikes and doing all the things that a boy can do to hurt himself, you were there with the patience and love to get me back on my feet. You let me play make believe and helped me realize that I could build cities, star ships, castles, forests, forts, and hundreds of other worlds in the family room. I love you, Mom. You have been such a powerful influence in my life. Yet I have smashed practically everything of value that you have ever tried to instill in me. Love. God. Politics.

But I am not the one that makes you cry at night, right? That will perhaps forever belong to my sister. She is the one that became a mother, to your chagrin and eventual joy, only to turn and throw it all in your face. It was she that cruelly destroyed all that you had hoped for her. Mother of two, and she decided to throw it all away and turn into chaos the lives of so many. I know that she wrenched out your heart and did so with such anger and fury that you are still stunned by it. Now she has come back into your life in an attempt to set things right. But your daughter of yesteryear is gone. She is full of such unyielding stubbornness (a family trait, I've noticed). What could you have possibly done more to help her be a good mother? Now your grandchildren's future is uncertain and that has to break your heart. Do you wonder if you have somehow failed Grandma's legacy? I know you haven't and believe that you have ultimately succeeded. But what do you think and believe?

Your oldest son divorced his first wife, left the Church and is seems bitter about it, and is now married to a non-religious and beautiful Japanese girl. He has come a long way but he was the first of your children to hurt you. Have you recovered from that at last?

Now what of your youngest son, my little brother? He should have done everything you ever wanted. But that didn't happen did it? And now what? Now he is married, having never served a mission, and you know that he will regret it. None of us could ever convince him to serve a mission first. He knew what he wanted and now he has it. What now? 

We have all not lived up to your hopes. Such is the nature of kids, right? It is my hope that you realize that you are not a failure to any degree. All four of your children are strongly independent. For the problems that we have inflicted upon each other, we have worked to amend and solve. Your daughter is trying to build a better life for her children. Your youngest and oldest sons are working hard to be good husbands to their wives and to work hard to build their careers and education. I am working hard to finish my degree and have high hopes that I will find someone that will be good and kind that I can love with all my heart and expect the same in return. 

I love you, Mom. You are truly amazing. I hope one day that you will see that with your grief you also have much to delight and rejoice in. 

Your son always,

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Dear Mom,

I write this letter to you in the hopes that in the future you will either stumble across this blog or that I will be able to feel comfortable enough to invite you to view it. A friend's mom recently discovered his blog and the result was extremely positive. It is my hope that that will be the same when the day comes that you read my blog. I love you and no amount of words (however fluent in the English language I become) will ever fully express the depth of that emotion and feeling towards you. Perhaps when you read this my heart will have broken because you cannot accept all of who I am. But it is my hope that you will take things as you did the night we walked together and talked of my growing disbelief in God.

That night - how strange it seems that only last week we talked - I walked with you not really expecting much beyond pleasant words exchanged and nimbly dodging topics of substance in our lives. Certainly that's how things began. Our conversations about people we knew and things going on in their lives was pleasant and nothing more than superficial. Sure, I love all those people, but I haven't talked to any of them in years with the single exception of Jo Ann.

That you should bring up the topic of my not holding a temple recommend was a wonderful surprise. When you did I tried my best to be careful and respectful of your feelings and desire to remain ignorant of all that was going on in my life. You have so many things on your plate that I didn't want to burden you with the knowledge that yet another one of your children was beginning to move away from the foundations you and Dad had tried to build for us.

Thank you for not backing away.

Your willingness to know, to really know, meant so much to me. Yes, I do have a hard time believing that there is a God in this whole wide universe. I have an even harder time accepting the notion that some anthropomorphic Being has done all that the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants claims He has done. I read of so many inconsistencies and I hear so many contradictions that I cannot help but wonder what is really "true." But if anyone can truly help me see "the light" it will be you and Dad. You know my heart better than anyone.

I've seen the actions of so many Mormons from California and Washington state to Colorado and Wyoming and I see so many conflicting attitudes and views concerning doctrine and beliefs within the Church. I see the same disorganization concerning God as I do within Christianity. For now, Mom, I just cannot believe. It makes no sense to do so and it hurts too much. You know that now, and I thank you for that.

Perhaps in time I will change and perhaps not. But know once more that I love you and to me that's all that matters. I love you so very much. You have done so much for me and have been a wonderful mother. Thank you. I know that hard times are coming for us, all of us. What with your daughter still volatile, the grandkids' future unknown, your oldest son and his wife so far away and him struggling with some kind of depression, and your youngest son and his wife uninterested in so much.

Life is life. You cannot ask of it for something else. We must accept what is, change what we can, and deal with what we cannot. So, thank you for listening to me. It is my hope to write many more letters to you and that one day you will be able to read them and know of the love and concern I have for you as well as the optimism that I have for the future.

Your son always,

Friday, April 30, 2010

My Faith

Arch Nemesis,

I have been avoiding this letter for sometime. Sure, it's been easy to do so with finals and the wrap up of school but I could have easily wrote this letter at any time over the past several weeks. I have avoided it because I have not known the direction I wanted to take with this and how I wanted to present this. Now, I think it's time. You are now thousands of miles away, across oceans, and continents now. That distance makes things easier for me to write this for some reason.

As I write this, Arch Nemesis, I am listening to a spiritual song about following Jesus Christ. It is amusing to me that such a song would be playing while I'm writing a letter about religion and atheism. I do not write this to offend you and your pernicious evil. I write this to explain the context of why and who I am concerning this one small facet of my life. Surely your wicked mind set will not impede you in reading this and comprehending what I am attempting to convey.

I mean no disrespect towards most beliefs and doctrines that are held by most people on this planet. The richness and diversity of those beliefs fascinates me. I do not begrudge the belief of any individual and I do not hold any notion of destroying another person's beliefs. I follow the philosophy, as I have always done, of "live and let live." The journey I am on, far from complete, began with me being raised as a Mormon. I learned and came to love many of the Primary songs and memorized the Articles of Faith. I loved the stories of faith, courage, and devotion to God. It wasn't until my senior year that I developed a deep connection with the stories of faith. I term those stories the Crisis of Faith stories. Those stories are the ones when Alma and Amulek what their recent converts burn in the fire and they are placed in prison. The story of Hezekiah and the Assyrians, Elisha and the servant against the Syrians, Shadrach, Meshach, and Obed-nego with the fire. They touched my heart because I felt alone and cut with facing my being gay with a far stretching future and a feeling of failure on my part with God.

I served a mission and did so with as much joy, curiosity, and faith as I could manage. To say it was hard would be an understatement. It was what it was and I don't regret having ever served a mission. I look back on that time of my life with fondness and an understanding that it shaped and continues to shape my life. I believed in God without question during that period of time though I heavily doubted that he cared about me despite my efforts to seek after him. It has only been three and a half years since I served. The memories from that time are still fresh in my mind and still bring a smile to my face when I remember.

Post mission was different from any other point in my life. Suddenly, I was truly on my own. My faith was no longer building to something. I tried to study daily and maintain those habits that I had developed while on my mission. But it was as if things were many times harder. I began to enter into a period of depression, emptiness, and confusion. I will discuss that part of my life to you in another letter.

My point in all of this? I believed. I believed strongly. I cared about that faith and nurtured it with all my heart. I found purpose and joy in my faith, my Church. I loved the beliefs and doctrines that were taught by my leaders. I knew the doctrines and beliefs better than many of my peers throughout my childhood because I loved to learn about them. I did not experience my doubt and eventual departure from these beliefs until I was in college.

My arch nemesis, my hope is that you understand more clearly just the type of person that you have talked with. Convert me if you'd like, but before you do, learn a little more about who I am, please.

May you see reason some day,
Mr. Sanity

Summer and Snow

Arch Nemesis,

The semester has ended at last at Brigham Young University and with it's end you have actually managed to graduate. This is further proof in my mind that schools are morally blind to the evilness that radiates off you. Now sure, it might be said that you with sweet naivete passed through the campus of BYU blissfully unaware of reality, but really who are we kidding? The evilness of your approach to life and schooling lies in your inability to want to see reality as it truly is and not as you want it to be. But I will concede that we all have that problem, Arch Nemesis. I am just morally superior in my ways. It's what happens when you are right in all your thinking.

So now what? Will Jerusalem, city of your current residence, now break out in rejoicing? Is it too much to hope that reality will sneak up behind you and clobber you over the head? Perhaps. But I find it humorous that you are in a program that forbids you from dating. Are you so afraid of women that you have to join institutions that frown upon romantic interactions with them? Seriously, it's ok to like women...if you even like them at all.

Summer is here at last, dear arch nemesis. What will you remember it for? What will I remember it for? I suppose that only time will tell. It has been my view that summer should be a time where goals are made and met and fun times are pursued with as much zeal as can be given to it. It is the season of going out on the lake, ocean, river, and/or pool; bonfires and camping; hiking and road trips; late nights full of movies and just hanging out and chatting; night games; day games; board games; fun reading; movie watching; barbecuing; and star gazing late into the night.

It certainly hasn't felt like summer here, though. I have seen snow falling over the past couple of days and that is just an affront to my righteous senses. Can we at least agree on that or has geographic location destroyed your ability to even agree with me on that?

I owe you a letter on religion and will get to that. I realize that my usual elegance in cutting through the evil that encumbers you is somewhat lacking in this letter. Fear not, arch nemesis, I shall return to that in later letters.

May you see reason someday,
Mr. Sanity

Friday, April 16, 2010

When We Were Gods

Arch Nemesis,

I want to change topics for a little bit. We've discussed gay rights and your lack of taste in music. Now, I'd like to shift the focus to religion itself. To start off, though, I wanted to summarize my thoughts in the form of a poem. I can only pray that you are capable of understanding my thoughts. As a rival, it is essential to be able to do so! But if not...I'll explain it in the next post.

When we were gods,
Immortality constantly within our grasp,
The seas bent to our command;
Trees shuddered:
Our footsteps were the stuff of nightmares.
Where we walked
None dared follow.
Our rage was pure, undefiled.
The very elements voiced our emotion.
Hatred unmatched.
Echoes of primordial screams,
Rending the sky and earth.
Fury tangible.

With a mere thought,
Men and women became as animals;
Our jealousy:
The power they feared.
All forces bowed to us:
Light, darkness, death, and nature;
We bent them to our will as none else could.
The world,
The universe was ours forever,
When we were gods.

Now, fate has betrayed us,
Turned time against the immortals.
We have become like the brutes:
Subject to death.
Our lives have faded,
From dust to dust;
Glory of our beauty
In stone, wood, and metal
Has become tarnished,
Worn, and corrupted.

No Zeus guides the lightening,
The sun and moon have no masters,
The titans are dead as we are soon to be,
Images and memories of our days of glory
Now reside in the few.
We have become as myths:
Stories to enchant little ones,
Scoffed at by all of humanity.
Love lacks the blindfolded archer to guide
And a goddess that rose from the sea to command him.

The skies, seas, woods, and mountains are empty.
The faeries, gods, nymphs, and dryads:
Voices from the dust,
Nothing in which to cling to.
The typhoons have lost their masters,
Tsunamis their purpose,
Volcanoes their drive.
All has faded away,
The stuff of myths and legends
Of a time long since passed:
When we were gods.

May you see reason someday,
Mr. Sanity

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Chasms of the Heart

Dear Mom and Dad,

How do I even begin this? I have started this letter so many times that even as I write it now my stomach twists up in knots of fear and panic. You two mean a great deal in my life. I love you both beyond words. I ache so much to just tell you this in person, to walk with you somewhere (anywhere) and talk with you for hours. If it were in my power, I would talk until you understand where I'm coming from and accept me for who I am. 

As I write this, I realize that I have been trying to tell you this ever since the day I came out to you. Eight years later and the fact is that I'm still gay. Nothing has changed. My heart remains ever bound to the male gender as it did in the beginning. 

I am as scared now as I was then when I sat on your bed in the house on Gray Mare Way. My palms were sweaty then and I was so terrified to admit what I had come to realize. It was you, Mom, that I talked to first. I was too scared to actually ask to talk to you. I had to make you ask me what was wrong first. So when I told you and you didn't even respond I was devastated. It felt as though some chasm had opened up and I was falling down into a dark hole. But then I felt betrayed when days later I discovered that you told Dad and he never thought to share that he knew this about me. That knowledge hurt so much. My parents knew of the terror that was overtaking my life at the time but didn't think it necessary to talk to me about it. 

I stood alone then.

Now I stand here once again. I don't know how to close the chasm that I feel has opened up between us. I'm afraid that you don't want that chasm breached. But I have to do it. I have to cross over and reach out to you. I am your son! I love you guys more than anything in the world. I'm no longer afraid of who I am. I'm no longer afraid to walk through life as I am: a gay man. But I am afraid of losing you two. I know that I can't wait for you to come to me. You won't. But I will come to you. 

Stand with me. 

Love me for who I am. It's all I'm asking. I want more than anything to tell you about how my heart beats over a guy that I like. How I look forward to the day when I have kids with that special someone. How I ache so much to be loved and needed. I want to share with you my pain and joy. Not to torture and torment you. But as an expression of love. Let me have that with you. You have that with your other children. Why not me? 

I am the one that will happily care for you when old age has at last caught up with you. I am the one that will happily and willingly strive to make your life easier for you. I only ask that you do that for me in return. Be there emotionally. Don't pull back, please! We are a family and I want to do my part to be there for everyone. Why is it permitted to ignore who I am and then to lash out at me to be something I'm not? I love you and always will. 

Your son always,

End of the World

Arch Nemesis,

This is quite possibly my favorite sad song. You should like it too.

May you see reason someday,
Mr. Sanity


Arch Nemesis,

Compassion. Forgiveness. Communication. Understanding. These are qualities that are essential to friendship. They transcend the arbitrary barriers of religion, race, sexuality, gender, and age. Love, in all its forms, rests upon these most simple and yet difficult qualities. Without these qualities, friendships and romantic relationships whither and die. Upon these qualities rests the entirety of a relationship full of experiences and commonalities that reside between individuals bound together by the cords of friendship and love.

Humans are social creatures. This is most apparent when some of the cruelest forms of punishments that can be dealt out in civilized society takes the form of ostracizing a member from a peer group. The pain of loneliness, isolation, or being ignored are heavy and almost impossible to bear at times.

Those qualities listed above are essential and for that, arch nemesis. But I have learned more than just that. Who am I? Am I the sum of just labels? Do they offer any real insight into me as a person? Am I the sum total of characteristics, quirks, and the odd smile now and then? Am I who I am from my actions or what others see of me?


What do these three things tell about me? Very little actually. None convey the joy that I have for reading, the compassion and love I have for my friends and those around me, or even the zest that I have for life. They cannot because they aren't meant to. They are simply labels of the most mundane kind. Rather, I am what I am by how I treat others. What I think, feel, and say matter very little except to only reinforce how I react to others. We are all defined by how we treat others. A prophet is nothing unless he is serving others according to the calling God has given him. A father will never be a father unless he has children to raise, support, and love. A dictator is nothing unless there are those cowering beneath the lash of his tyranny.

I am more than my labels. Labels are one-dimensional, shallow descriptions of nothing more than just a flimsy description instead of the depth and eloquence of truly knowing someone for all their faults, strengths, quirks, sorrows, and weaknesses. Whatever you are, arch nemesis, far outweigh your labels (evil, terrified of women, sissy, etc.).

So, arch nemesis, what are you?

May you see reason someday,
Mr. Sanity

Friday, April 9, 2010


Arch Nemesis,

I want to talk a break from pointing out your many horrid political and horrid flaws and instead focus on music. Now, this is a touchy subject so I won't necessarily attack your rather childish interest in music. Instead, I want to share some of my favorite songs that are, in my opinion, quirky.

The Dumbing Down of Love by Frou Frou

Ohio by Over the Rhine

Lie to Me by Shane Mack

Enjoy. See the light...leave the Cheetah Girls behind. Really, Arch Nemesis...people are laughing at me because my arch nemesis listening to that group. People are starting to talk...

May you see reason someday,
Mr. Sanity