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