Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I've Been Found Out!

And I couldn't be happier.

In this post I had intended to talk about another wall in my life, emotional separation. But things changed last night.

While I was working on another post, I noticed a chat box pop up in Gmail. One of you, my fellow MoHo bloggers, was saying hello and striking up a conversation.

I looked at the little box in the corner of the screen and pondered for a moment the significance it meant to me. I had never before talked to or chatted with anyone in real time who knew I was gay. I had only sent individual messages back and forth. With comments and e-mails, I am able to think more about what to say, and it feels safer.

But the thrill of chatting with one of my MoHo peers was too great, and so I dove in, almost giddy for an inexplicable reason.

I had previously corresponded with this blogger through comments and e-mail because of some similarities in our lives we noticed through our posts, though only recently. Confidence building because of these shared experiences, we had an invigorating conversation, quite academic at times actually, which I enjoyed. With similar thought processes and both of us reveling in rich, thought-out and properly punctuated communications and language, we hit it off quite well.

From what was being said, even in the casual back-and-forth dialog, I started to get the sense that he was someone I could trust and talk to. He emanated such an aura of both comfort and confidence. We agreed that the feeling was mutual.

In the middle of our conversation, we happened upon subject of common friends. He generously shared his Facebook profile with me, and I discovered we had three friends in common, though most were peripheral to me and not too close of acquaintances.

I mentioned two of the random common friends to him, knowing it would be possible, though implausible, to figure out who I was from that information. I was less worried than my normally paranoid self would have expected because of the calm I felt and because both our common friends had almost 900 people each in their friend lists.

He jokingly asked if telling him the names of the friends we had in common was a challenge to figure out my identity, and I replied that it might be fun, though improbable.

Within an instant, my friend, who might have a better career as a FBI agent or analyst, cross checked the two lists for commonalities and bam, there I was. His next two-word post both excited me and terrified me: “Found you.”

My heart skipped a beat. I quickly concluded he was just playing with me. No one could work that fast.

And then he said my name.

I don’t think I can accurately describe my emotions in that instant. Instead of the dread I was preparing myself to feel, instead of the fear I expected to shortly overcome me, instead of the insecurities and lack of confidence that had always plagued my mind in my lifelong pursuit of hiding from the world, I felt something shockingly new. When he said my name, I felt relief.

I felt a calm release, a refreshing freedom, a reprieve from the mental, emotional and spiritual grief I had known for so long. The secret burden I had been carrying around my neck my whole life had just been shared, and my load was unexpectedly lightened. I was overjoyed.

No one had ever seen my face and known the truth. Only I had ever looked into those eyes in the mirror’s reflection and witnessed the true me. The realization that someone else knew my identity and my deepest secret was the best feeling in the world.

I can’t tell you how happy I have been today. I can’t stop smiling. (My coworkers all thought I was nuts or high on drugs.)

I am sure the moment was not as impactful to him as it was to me, nor should it be. I am sure with time I will look back on this post and sheepishly smile to myself about what I have written. But it was one foot out of the dark.

Our conversation lasted two and a half hours, and within that time, he had written himself into my life history as the first person, other than myself, who had seen my face and knew I was gay. I am grateful he found me, because I’m not sure how long it would have taken me to reveal myself on my own, and the joy I have felt because of it has been indescribable.

And with that, the first person who truly knows me, GMB, has also become the first person on my newly created Facebook MoHo friend list.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Time Difference: I Don't Have the Time to Be Gay

I’ve known I was different since the fifth grade.

I always wanted to hang out with the other boys, not just because of mutual, youthful bonding, but because of some other inexplicable attraction that I did not consciously understand. In my innocence, I didn't know exactly what I was feeling or why it would be wrong. I just accepted it as who I was and was happy.

In middle school, I was in the throes of a building full to the brim with the pangs of young love fueled by puberty, and I thought I was turning out all wrong. I found myself looking at the other boys changing for gym and was embarrassed at what my body was doing so I changed in the bathroom stall where no one could see me. Something was wrong, but I hadn't chosen to do something wrong. I was a good person. I did everything right. But I still felt befuddled at what my body was screaming at me. I was confused and held it all in, not daring to talk to anyone about it.

I tried with all my might not to feel the way I did and convinced myself that I was interested in girls, even though I was always subconsciously on the lookout to catch a glimpse of certain boys walking through the hallways. This continued throughout high school, except this time I learned that there was a word associated with how I felt: gay. And it terrified me.

Determined not to entertain that word, I dated girls, went to dances and did everything I could to run away from that word. I tried to not let myself even think and consider the actual possibility that I was. I tried to fill up every second of my day with an activity, school, church, scouts, clubs, band, anything to keep myself so busy that I wouldn't even have a moment to consider my difference. Everyone just thought I was an overachiever, but I knew the truth.

I reveled in the fact that I had found a way to prevent myself from engaging or patronizing my difference. I would just be so busy doing things that I wouldn’t have to even think about the constant agony.

My eyes were the only problem because I couldn't control them or what life threw in their direction. If anyone really wanted to know the truth about me, all they had to do was follow my eye line. I was tortured by what I knew I was and what I wanted to become. I felt dirty and outcast on the inside even though I had never done anything wrong and seemed perfect on the outside.

On my mission, I threw myself into the work. I devoted every ounce of my strength and being to serve with all of my might. I knew that the scriptures said that bringing souls into the gospel would bring me great joy and, even more importantly, forgiveness of my own sins and salvation to my soul. Even though I had done no outward wrong, I felt that my mission was the chance I had to redeem myself from my difference. I worked so hard, had a broken heart and a contrite spirit. I was not free from my wandering eyes or temptation, but I brought as many people into the church as I could, secretly praying it would be enough to cover my past mental lustings and cure me heading into the future.

During college I followed the same pattern I had learned to avoid my feelings which were consistently present. I filled my schedule taking too many classes, was in the marching band, got involved in student organizations, had a part-time job and was a pillar of dedication in my ward. But at BYU, it is impossible to not see some sort of eye candy every moment of the day.

I was a desirable candidate to date in the ward because the girls saw me as a returned missionary, go-getter and an active priesthood holder who was accomplishing so much. I was always pursued rather than being the pursuer and would go on dates to give the appearance that I was doing my part. But the struggle increased with every month, to the point where I thought I would have to get married to cure myself of the word that had haunted me my entire life. I went through the steps, but my heart wasn’t in it and I couldn’t do it.

As I moved out on my own and into the beginning of my professional life, I continued to avoid my feelings by working too hard at my job and dedicating every free moment of my life to my singles ward. I still do. I volunteer for everything, be it cleaning the church or temple, working at the bishop’s storehouse, going to every meeting, fireside and family home evening. I have a hand in every activity so I can be so busy enough to not remember that one word.

Even now when I decided to blog about this struggle, I have either subconsciously or consciously increased the amount of my other activities and responsibilities to prevent myself from having the time to simply write a post.

My whole life, I have tried to not feel the feelings I've felt. But since that hasn’t worked, I fill my life with so many other commitments that I falsely convince myself that I simply don’t have the time to be gay.

Friday, April 23, 2010


Walls are interesting things, serving a plethora of purposes.

Walls can promote order and categorize. Walls can protect. Walls can support weight. Walls can define boundaries or unite a cause, stretch across a vast continent and protect an empire. Walls can restrain the incoming waves of the sea and safeguard against the winds of a storm.

We mark height on them as we grow as kids and then post the minutia of our lives on digital walls we come into our own. Classic love stories have been told to thousands utilizing a chink in a wall and thousands of prayers are offered and placed in the cracks of a wall.

If only these walls could talk, what stories they would tell.

Walls can also hide secrets. Walls can isolate, divide and contain. A wall can imprison half a country of people struggling and screaming for freedom. Walls are used to detain and impede forward progress as well as segregate and obstruct a movement of people and their combined will.

We can be driven up walls in crazy fits of annoyance or punch holes in them out of futility in our anger or extreme despair.

But walls can fall, either by circling armies of trumpeting heavenly hosts, thousands of protestors chanting the time has come, or a solitary individual chipping away one piece at a time. Walls are built to be climbed and overcome, eventually to crumble into bits destined either for museums or to be forgotten in the dust.

With that exposition said, I invite you to join me as I begin a series exploring some of the walls in my life. From what they are to how they got there, physical, mental and emotional walls surround me and, for the most part, have defined my life.

So let me leave you with this thought, best said by American novelist Bernard Malamud:

“There comes a time in a man’s life when to get where he has to go, if there are no doors or windows, he must walk through a wall.”

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Quick Note

I haven't been able to post lately because work has been busy, and I haven't had the time to write. But rest assured that I have some good posts in the hopper that I am excited to finish writing.

I do want to say that I appreciate all of the support I have received so far. You have no clue how much it has helped me in recent days.

Take care,


Friday, April 16, 2010

To My 18-Year-Old Self

Dear 18-Year-Old Horizon,

You can grow by opening up, and yes, you will be exposed and feel more hurt, but you can’t hold out forever.

Go on your mission. It will be exotic and amazing.

When you get back, stay in shape. Hiding behind your body to prevent temptation doesn’t work.

Live more. Love more. Don’t be so afraid.

Don’t buy the ring to will yourself into “the normal” path. It is humiliating to take it back.

The path of least resistance isn’t always the best path. You are not an electron.

Hang in there!

- Future Horizon


Buy stock in Google. Lots of it. Now.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

One Week Anniversary

I promised myself that my entire first week I would post something every single day.

I told myself that I would be completely honest and straightforward, even if it hurt.

I challenged myself to engage with others, not only reading blogs but responding.

Looking back over my first week, I think it has been a success. I am happy with the direction this blog is taking and was relieved to be universally accepted and welcomed in such a short time. I have tried to be upbeat and positive while taking the time to write well-thought and composed posts. During this past week, I have learned some things:

I didn't realize how difficult, yet relieving, it is to write consistently about the things I have kept hidden from the world for so long.

I learned how knowing and being able to talk with people who have gone through similar trials in their lives can be comforting and insightful.

I underestimated how thrilling and addicting it is to get comments.

Looking around the “MoHosphere,” I applaud all of you, my fellow bloggers. I never realized what a commitment blogging truly is, and Beck just hit four years! Yet, some of my fears and concerns remain the same:

I worry about the course my life may take in comparison to my nurtured beliefs by opening up and becoming more comfortable with my nature.

I fear someone I know discovers this blog and figures out who I am, yet deep down I want it to happen.

I fret being too aloof, too preachy, too depressing, too introspective, too random and too boring.

Looking forward, I hope to find a balance in all things which results in me being happy with who I am and who I have become. I hope that this blog turns into a living journal of my journey that I can look back and be proud of my progress. And I hope that each and every one of us finds our way amidst whatever life throws at us.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Mormon Case for South Park’s Book of Mormon Broadway Musical

The creators of “South Park,” the composer from “Avenue Q” and the director of “Shrek: The Musical” are teaming up to write and produce a musical comedy about Mormons which will debut on Broadway early next year.

Cheyenne Jackson is attached to the project to star as a Mormon missionary serving in a third-world country as the stories of the early church and background of “The Book of Mormon” are told simultaneously.

I am not sure what to think of this quite yet. The combination of those four creative forces is bound to come up with a result that will drive people to go see it, politically correct or not. The marketing machine will be unstoppable.

I am sure there will be an uproar about this endeavor, especially in LDS communities. There will be testimonies born on how the world cannot make fun of what a religious group holds sacred, Facebook groups pledging against it and attempts to boycott or stop the production.

But the production is moving forward regardless, which is why I have chosen to hope for the best. Actually, now that I think about it, I may even be excited about it.

Let me explain my reasoning.

“South Park” and its showrunners, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, have actually been quite generous to Mormons over the course of the show. They have said to the press that they grew up around Mormons and admire the faith. Compared to other religions and organizations, Mormonism has gotten an easy ride on the oft-controversial show.

One episode had Satan’s doorman deadpanning that “Mormon is the correct answer” to a group of protesting religious devotees in hell, another depicted Joseph Smith as a superhero, and the one dedicated episode about the religion, “All About the Mormons,” essentially had a positive depiction of good people of the Mormon faith and was nowhere near as crass and offensive as it could have been. It was a story that had heart.

The writer and composer of “Avenue Q,” Robert Lopez, knows how to write a solid show with catchy music. Remember, “Avenue Q” beat “Wicked” for best musical that year. And he wrote another fantastic and fun musical, “Finding Nemo,” that plays in Disney theme parks.

“Shrek: The Musical” director, Jason Moore, translated the beloved and farcical animated movie beautifully to stage with powerhouse songs and staging, attracting top talent and putting on a show with heart. It was a fun show that had good messages and was an uplifting story, though crude at times.

Cheyenne Jackson can really sing and has a dedicated audience thanks to his previous theatrical work and his role on “30 Rock” (not to mention Cheyenne Jackson as a Mormon missionary would have me buy a ticket in an instant).

Simply put, I think that as potentially edgy as the show might be (though for Broadway, shows are fairly family friendly), “The Book Of Mormon” musical comedy will be a well-written, composed, directed and performed production with a decent message.

Trey Parker even said to the media, “I’ve never met a Mormon I didn’t like. They’re really nice people. They’re so Disney. They’re so Rodgers and Hammerstein.”

So for now, I remain cautiously optimistic and hope for the best, knowing that what they create will have some bite, quality music and a whole lot of heart. To the rest of Mormondom, let’s not rail against this like it the spawn of pure evil ushering in Armageddon. I may be wrong, but this might actually be good.

Plus, it is bound to be better than “The Book of Mormon Movie.” I mean, that was bad.


What if it wins a Tony?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Left Behind

I am starting to stick out.

Today a good friend of mine (and also an off-limits crush) got married. This week, a significantly younger cousin of mine will get married, the second one to do so.

My last remaining mission companion who is single just announced he was engaged on Facebook. Most of my mission buddies have been married for several years now and have a baby. My friends from college wards and even high school are all married. Heck, the girl I took to prom has been married for three years and already has four children.

My mother (who wants to be and is an awesome grandma) has sweet, wholesome intentions and does her part to tactfully and lovingly encourage me along by asking about my dating prospects and reminding me of everyone I know back home who is getting or has gotten hitched.

I am acutely aware of the fact that I am not yet married and am reminded of it more often than I would like. I am the only son in family with a unique last name and a proud family heritage that would end if I stay in my solitary state. When compared to the typical Mormon marriage standards, I am becoming a menace to society since I have not yet found a wife and started a family.

Because I have the desire for a happy, postcard-like eternal family, yes, I am frustrated that I do not yet have a companion. There are times when I achingly yearn for it. Seeing couples growing old together is a beautiful manifestation of love, service and devotion. There have been many opportunities for me to possibly move forward and get married.

My last year at BYU, I was all but crazed to take advantage of my remaining time and find a wife. The clock was ticking. I almost did. I already had the ring. In the back of my mind I wanted to (and hoped I could) marry the gay out of me. I prayed about it in the temple and was frustrated that I didn’t feel I had received an answer either way, and this was a huge decision for me.

Feeling that I needed to talk to someone, I called my father from the parking lot almost in tears to discuss my situation, saying that I liked this girl except I did not find her physically attractive. My father is one of the nicest men alive and helped me think through the benefits and challenges the decision would bring. He suggested that many times it is the spirit and personality we are attracted to rather than the body. He counseled me to do what I felt was right and told me that there was no ticking time bomb ready to go off if I didn’t get married at BYU (even though the last three generations in my family had).

Ultimately, I never asked the question. I let things fizzle because deep down, I knew I could never truthfully love her to the fullest extent. I could never give her the true measure of devotion she deserved because I thought I would always have wandering eyes. And so I remain solitary and single to this day, having never yet truly been in love.

Contrapuntally, though, I am comfortable being single. Having never acted out on my attractions, being single and Mormon is essentially a safe holding pattern where I can remain in the knowledge that I am still alright in eyes of the standards I am subject to. Yet, I am starting to stand out. I don’t want to fly in circles my whole life long. I just can’t see which way to land.

Who knows what the future will bring. I may get married one day (to which sex is still up in the air). But in my comfortable holding pattern I feel like I am missing out on much that life currently has to offer. I want to experience life. I want to live. I want to love. But right now, I am feeling left behind.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Star Struck

I don't want to make anyone jealous or anything, but this afternoon as I was leaving work, Cheyenne Jackson walked right by me on the sidewalk, body guard at his side.

We even made eye contact for a moment.

He was wearing a slick black suit with a fitted white dress shirt and thin black tie. If anyone is wondering, he is taller than you would think and as dashing as you might hope.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Many Thanks

I just wanted to post a quick thank you note to everyone for your encouraging comments and e-mails. I really am happy to be here and share my thoughts with you as well as read your posts.

As to the comment about my blog image, I knew I wanted to join this blogosphere for a while, so I planned for it for quite some time. I wanted to do it justice the first time around, giving the blog the proper attention it deserved since the issues I planned to discuss have taken up so much of my faculty in life.

Plus, I knew if I took the time and liked what I created, I would be more inclined to come back and blog frequently. I compiled a whole list of names I could fit the anagram “MoHo” into and ultimately liked the symbolism of the “MOving HOrizons” title. I even have a list of topics to eventually cover, but some are easier to write about than others, and I would like to keep an upbeat tone.

Once again, thanks again for the encouragement. It is interesting to see where each of us falls in terms of progression along the MoHo path as we have so many shared and similar experiences. I look forward to getting to know you all.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Eye Problems During My Mission

I was reading some of my journal entries from my mission the other day. I didn’t keep too consistent of a journal and the entries are sporadic. I mostly wrote everything that was happening in long letters home to my family which I have compiled into a big three-ring binder at home.

If you were to peruse my personal mission journal, though, you would think I had suffered severe eyesight problems. Either that or I was going blind. Why? Because very frequently I would write that I was having problems with my eyes.

Here is an example:

“Still having problems with my eyes. I can’t quite see straight. Not sure if I should go to the doctor or just carry on. Seems to get better with time but it comes back in waves. My companion isn’t aware of the issue or that he might be contributing to it, but for now I think I will just persevere.”

And one more:

“Eyes are still sore and it is giving me a headache. Don’t know what I should do. Washing them out seems to help, but the problem keeps coming back.”

I smile to myself reading these entries. I developed code words for things in my journal and in letters home so everyone could read them but only I knew what they really meant. By sharing these specific excerpts on this particular platform, I am quite confident you can deduce what my eye problems truly signified.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Anonymity and the FBI

I am a longtime reader of the MoHo blogosphere but never a contributor for one simple reason: paranoia of leaving an electronic trail.

In this life, I have been blessed with a natural and innate understanding of technology. With that comes the burden and knowledge that nothing you do online is ever anonymous.

Because of Internet providers, tracking software and Google, I know that any anonymous posting can essentially be tracked back to the computer used to post it if you have the time and resources.

I was utterly convinced that if I posted anything on a MoHo blog, it would give me up and the FBI would be seconds away from breaking down the front door and hauling me away.

Well, maybe not that dramatic, but I was sure that my communications would be catalogued somewhere and used against me at a later date. I didn't know if ever wanted to do something in the public eye or run for office one day so I kept my distance.

I made certain that every trip online was followed by a good scrubbing of my history, Internet cache and cookies with the occasional use of a scrambler to hide my computer's IP address.

Looking back, I can see that my efforts to maintain my anonymity were a way of protecting the divide between the two worlds I live in concurrently. Ultimately, I was frightened to death if my parents found out. Still am.

So what has changed? Why am I posting here and now?

I was tired of living in the shadows, silently celebrating your triumphs and accomplishments and quietly mourning your trials, setbacks and sufferings. I wanted to participate. I wanted to share and be part of the community that I had so much in common with.

And I eventually realized that if someone had the time and resources to track my anonymous postings on a MoHo blog back to me, there were worse things they would find than a journal of boyhood angst and misunderstanding.

So to the clerical assistant in the dark suit with an earpiece sitting in the desk chair reading this post in a musty underground office at FBI headquarters, feel free to put this in my file under “Harmless Ramblings - Possible Future Blackmail.”

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Moving Horizons

Hello world. I am a Mormon young man who is attracted to other men.

Wow. I can’t believe I finally said that.

Whether I am gay, suffer from same sex attraction or am a MoHo (as I have come to learn is the going term these days) all I know is that I have been silently screaming for over half of my life now. And I am weary from the constant battle.

If you knew me (and some of you might), you would never know. I have tried to be an open minded, optimistic person, looking for the good in everyone and every situation. I have gone on plenty of harmless dates with women, hoping one might spark a flame that would drown out my other leanings. But that has never happened.

So in the solitude of my own being, I have suppressed everything I feel and everything I am in order to reconcile myself and my religion, which has defined my entire life. I have been living in two completely different worlds simultaneously, and recently I have begun to feel that I may lose my mind and more in that private struggle.

In my mind, these two worlds can never meet, but maybe I am wrong. So I am here, opening up like never before, writing these details about myself in the hopes that instead of watching from the sidelines, I might be able to learn from you and contribute to the discussions that I have already benefited from.

I promise I will try to post regularly. Believe me, after holding everything in for so long there is a lot to talk about. I look forward to interacting with you and having invigorating discussions as I explore my moving horizons.