Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Dear Sentry,

As I write this...I feel empty inside. It is a sense of false peace. I am merely sitting on a sea momentarily calmed in the midst of a storm waiting for the next wave to crash over and drown me. I warn you in advance, this is not a happy letter. There are no happy thoughts for me today. Today, my heart is broken and I feel once more at a loss when it comes to my family. I wish to share with you, Sentry, what I would say to my father in letter form if I could talk to him now.


I know that right now you don't want to hear from me. And I suppose I don't blame you. You have accused me of lying to and stealing from you. And after hearing how you see things, I cannot really disagree with you. But please, here this tiny plea for understanding.

My heart is breaking right now. I feel at a loss when I return to the words you spoke to me just a couple hours ago. How you do not "condone or condemn" me. But you do judge me. My heart breaks because I have become evil in your sight. My worst fears have been realized. 

Look, I know right now that it's gonna be difficult to love me. And I realize that despite everything I want, you will love me differently. But I only ask one day that you hug me and hold me close and whisper that you love me so that I know that it is without attachment or expectation instead of now...where I feel I've disappointed you and lost that love. 

I apologize for letting you down. It was never my intention to steal money from you. My thievery was done out of fear. Fear of not knowing how to proceed. Fear of not knowing where to turn for advice. The money I stole from you was out of negligence. I have been in anguish over what to do about my education. How could I possibly tell you what was going on in my life when I feared exactly your response? I did not maliciously take the money from you. I do not with evil thought in mind force your hand to continue to help pay for my loans and car insurance. 

Look, I know that you think I'm doing this to punish me. But that's not true. I am not seeking to change school as a way to punish myself for breaking the promises I made. If I wanted that, I would be going about it in a different way. What I'm trying to do is to do what I feel and think is right. I'm trying to live a life of honor and honesty. How can I continue on as I am and look myself in the eye or you, or Mom? I could not. 

You hate what I've become. You hate who I am. But these are things I cannot change. I am gay. And I can no longer believe in a God. I do not hate you for being straight or believing in God. I do not think you stupid or wrong or evil. But you do. 

I only want to do what is right. I only want to live a life with dignity and strength. I'm tired of lying to myself and to others. This has been building up for a long time, Dad. I did not tell you early on because it was a battle I have been struggling with. When I told you these things, I came to you for advice but I should have known you would judge me. In your eyes, I deserve nothing less. I have let you down in every way today. 

In every way.

Please, Dad, if you wish to punish me, do so. There is my self-flagellation. Take the car, refuse to help pay my loans, and cut me off. I fear, though, that if you do this, my heart will shatter. And once shattered, a chasm will have forever opened up between us. We will no longer be bound by familial ties. I have betrayed you and you will have betrayed me. I beg you now, please don't do that. I will not survive this if you do so. 

We will be saying goodbye on that day, if you do so. 

Your son,
For All Time

My heart is breaking, Sentry. My dad accused me of stealing and lying by not telling him that I had stopped following the rules and commandments of the Church. That I had, in essence, broken my covenants. For that, he wants retribution. He has decided to mull things over and to calm down before telling my mom. He believes she will scream for me to be cut off from them. Sentry, I fear I am facing the end of my relationship with my parents. I fear they will, in anger, decide that I cannot be their child anymore.

Today and tonight, Sentry, I am alone in a way I have never felt. Right now, I wish I had a hero in my life. Someone to comfort me through it all. To offer me hope because I don't know what to do right now except to prepare for the worse. To prepare for their permanent departure from my life. Will you be by my side, Sentry, or will you also decide to slip away from me?

Yours friend,
The Lost Traveler

Songs on my mind right now:


Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Dear Sentry,

Religion has been on my mind a lot recently. Discussions of God, homosexuality and faith, religions, religion within societies, and such. So far, Sentry, I have met straight and gay people that are nearly every shade of religious and non-religious possible throughout my life. I'm sure there are many more varieties but for now, I feel that I have experienced enough to discuss some of this with you, Sentry.

So what does religion and faith mean to you, Sentry? What are your experiences with faith and with organized religions? As is probably obvious, I was raised Mormon. I do not regret this and am not ashamed of that. My parents taught me to be honest, hard working, charitable, quick to forgive, and eager to learn. These lessons are still with me. They may no longer carry a God-oriented attachment to them, but they still carry the force of importance in them that they've always had while growing up.

My family came across the plains with the Mormons on my father's side. My great-great grandfather helped settle the Cache Valley area of Utah. My mother's side crossed the plains after the railroads connected the American coasts. They settled up in Montpelier, Idaho. My own parents were married in an LDS temple. Each of my siblings and I were baptized and raised in the Church. My sister's oldest son was baptized into the Church earlier this year. All the boys in my family received the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods. My older brother and I both served missions. My parents are still heavily involved with the Church to this day. All of my mother's friends are Mormon these days.

My point in sharing that, Sentry, is to show a small amount of the impact religion has had on my family's lives. Religion has influenced my life. Since my mission I have taken a look at other religions to see how they think and believe. I have gone to the Hare Krishna temple south of here, the Evangelical Christian church that meets in a converted car mechanic shop, the beautiful cathedral of the Catholics near Temple Square, and the small Episcopal chapel in the town I live in. A small number, yes, but enough to allow me to discover diversity of religious views even in this state.

It's my hope and desire to talk with you further about religious subjects. After all, religion is a powerful thing. It has occupied the minds of billions of people throughout history and around this planet today. Thinking it's no big deal is childish at best.

What do you think about all this, Sentry?

Your friend,

Friday, June 10, 2011

Long Term Goal

Dear Sentry,

Growing up in California, I met a few gay men and women there. My best friend was gay, a fact I learned nine months into serving my mission. I had one friend my freshman year of high school that was gay but I stopped hanging out with him. My section leader in band my senior year of high school was a lesbian. We promised to never "act on it (a promise we thankfully have both broken)." On my mission, I had one companion that was gay. He chose to come out shortly after the mission and I chose to remain in the closet. Coming home, my parents banned my best friend from the house because he was openly gay.

For two years at college, I knew no one that was gay. My solitary prison existed by my own design. When I finally wanted to come out, I found out that I knew no one in the entire state of Utah that was gay. It was only by pure coincidence that a friend of mine knew a friend that knew gay men. It was through that connection that I was able to connect to the gay community in Utah, Sentry.

But I have met dozens of gays that know of no other gay guys. They know me by pure happenstance. I cannot help but wonder at how many gay men are out there in this county that wish they knew other gay guys but don't know how to meet them?

There's a group at school called "Understanding Same Gender Attraction." It's the Mormon equivalent of GSA clubs at other universities and colleges. The nature of the group is more discussion oriented than socializing. It's education does not extend beyond the realm of discussion. It is not affiliated with the school but is permitted to meet on campus. It's existence has allowed for many other gays and lesbians to connect on campus. The feeling that "you're not alone" is a welcome relief, certainly. The public schools are also woefully weak on different clubs and organizations to assist and educate the LGBTQ community in the county. I know very little about what goes on in that area. When it comes to those schools, I am left in the dark on what goes on there.

What's my point, Sentry? Travel less than 40 miles north and the center of the LGBTQ community can be found in the downtown. The Pride Center, Equality Utah, clubs, and bars are all to be found there. Cross over into this county and there are no such things. The groups that meet are just groups of friends that are barely connected to other groups. Every once in a while a games night group forms but nothing else. The USGA group is not the first to have organized at BYU. It may not be the last. USGA risks disappearing without a trace like so many of its predecessors. What will happen then for the my community at BYU? We are unaware of each other. Sure, there are groups that know of each other. Some of the more social members of the group know many of us. But so many are unconnected. We have no ability to connect. The centers up north are focused on Salt Lake City's LGBTQ population. Meanwhile, my county is barely linked into the system.

I do not write this as a complaint against the groups in Salt Lake City. It is not their responsibility, in my opinion. It is our responsibility down here. If we want to change our situation, we must change it. Sentry, I want to see this changed. I want to see a group that organizes and registers different groups and activities that go on in the county. I want to see eventually educational resources available for the LGBTQ community here. I want to see groups organized to meet throughout the county to address the different needs of this community, my community. Sentry, I primarily want this information available to everyone that wishes to find it.

I want to one day see the Pride Center equivalent in Salt Lake City created and run down here in Utah County. I want kids from the high schools, UVU, and BYU able to know of its existence and go to it to find resources and information to help answer their questions and connect. I want to see adults also connected to it. Activities organized outside of the group that announce times and places through it so that attendance can be high and a sense of community exists. I want to essentially connect the LGTQ community to each other. I want to one day see bars and clubs open up serving our community and any others that wish to participate in it.

That's my dream, Sentry. I want to help make Utah a better place for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, and all others that belong in my community. I want to see positive change in this county. Wouldn't you like the same, Sentry?

Your friend,

Lastly: Lesbian Biebers