Saturday, 14 January 2017

2017 - Where Are You Now?

Hey all! It's been a while since my last post so here's a bit of an update from my last post...

2016 in review:
I think 2015 was such an amazing year it would be hard to top and surely, 2016 was certainly not as exciting. Life was pretty ordinary. It was filled with mundane life activities which weren't all bad but certainly ordinary.

The year was filled with memories with my partner - moving in, going on holidays together, arguing over housework, stressing about life, sharing fond memories, building furniture together, cooking dinners, catching up with friends and family and work.

I probably would've had a more positive review of 2016 recent events haven't been a little negative. My partner and I which I left off with last time have been going through some challenges and the future is all a bit too uncertain right now.

Here's the 2016 wrap up!

Highlights:
- Partner moved in
- Met some amazing people along the way and friends I intend to keep for life
- Strengthened some friendships
- Met my partner's parents and our parents meeting (who would've thought?!?!?)
- Travelled South East Asia with my partner
- Started another new job
- Saw Carrie Underwood live in concert!!

So that's 2016....

Interesting enough Church almost always defaults back into my mind when other aspects of my life aren't as perfect maybe because it was so conditioned into me as a child that in hard time to turn to God. Don't get me wrong, I certainly have not felt an urge to return to activity in the Church or have a change of heart but somehow, the Church always seems to resurface in one way or another. In the last week I saw 2 set of missionaries on 2 different occasions. When I see missionaries I always feel compelled to give them money to buy food because we were always poor on our mission and I will never forget an inactive member giving us money to buy food on a train once. Then again, missionary service is very different these days then it was when I was on my mission - since when was Facebook appropriate on a mission?!

I have also been asked a question recently by a colleague about whether or not I am spiritual. I actually feel quite confident in explaining my beliefs now - I do believe in a higher power out there but I don't believe they align with organised religion. Life is too beautiful to be a coincidence. I guess I have found peace in what I believe in even though the citing of Mormons still catches my attention and probably always will. I am certainly a advocate for freedom and choices as long as the person is making a choice that is not coerced whether overtly or covertly. I too often see people feeling pressured to make certain decision in the Church due to social pressures, expectations or unspoken rules. What people choose is their choice but they need to make an informed decision. I certainly don't feel like I could've made an inform decision at 18 to stay in the Church without ever experiencing what it was like to embrace my sexuality. Not to say you should be a slut (not that there's anything wrong with that, just not my cup of tea), but I think everyone should see both sides before they dedicate their life to something.

Well there's my rant for now :)


Happy 2017!


Friday, 29 July 2016

To go or not to go

So it's been a while since I've blogged... probably due to my very minimal contact with the Church these days. So what's brought me back to write this blog? Well here I go...

Life has been quite good the past few months since my last post - my partner and I are still happily coupled, my family has been more accepting as I could ever have imagined, I have made some of the most amazing friends - I have never been more content with my life. 

Out of the blue, I get a text from my former Bishop inviting me to come to Church this Sunday as he has requested to teach a 5th Sunday lesson on homosexuality and would like my opinion on his lesson. If you haven't already read my previous posts, my Bishop has been nothing but supportive and understanding during the journey of my leaving the Church. He wants to use this opportunity to educate members around homosexuality and if anything help those feeling unwanted and those who maybe struggling with SSA to feel loved and that it is okay. I will never cease to be amazed at how progressive my Bishop is. His invitation for me to come to Church (without any pressure and completely  up to me) has brought some anxiety... Sunday is 2 days away and I haven't even made up my mind yet. 

I mean when I left the Church and put it all behind me roughly a year ago, I never thought I would feel this way about returning casually for a Sunday. I really feel that my views have changed and going to Church isn't something that I want to do. What would people think of me? How do I answer people's questions about what I have been up to? What do I say when the missionaries want to come visit me? 

On the other hand, when will I get another opportunity to give a lived experience to a progressive Bishop who obviously is a great ally to have. Or give a young person hope that life is not over and really does not have to be that bad being gay.

Should I be selfless and put my fears aside? Should I even let a part of Church back into my life when life has been going so well for me? Is it worth putting myself through anxiety to run the risk of being angry hearing members voice their views on homosexuality because lets face it - the doctrine is the doctrine, they will not be okay with someone being openly gay. 

What should I do?

Monday, 29 February 2016

The Mostly Unfabulous Life of an 'Ex'-Mormon Boy

As you may have already picked up from the title of this post... I have officially resigned from the LDS Church.

My inactivity in the Church over the past year have been the best year of my life however I've never felt like keeping my membership in the Church would cause any harm so I never really seriously considered removing my membership. So here's a few events that contributed to this recent move.

Policy Changes:
I really felt I wanted to express my stance on the Church and its policy change on the LGBTI issues. Did I really want to still show my support in an organisation that would disfellowship and ultimately ex-communicate me for being in a loving relationship? If this was the outcome, I would rather do it on my terms.

Parents:
My Mum told me one day that she wanted me to remove my membership as she felt that I would be held more accountable being a member and not obeying the commandments than not being a member anymore. I could see where she was coming from.

Closure:
The final reason is really for myself. I feel like the Church has still been apart of my life in many different ways despite not attending - such as the missionaries calling wanting to visit earlier in the year. I feel like my boyfriend feels somewhat threatened by the Church and the role it has played in my life and although this has been less and less of an issue, it is still the unspoken vibe that I feel everytime Mormons or Utah is mentioned on a TV show we're watching (and surprisingly Mormons are talked about quite a bit in pop culture). I've started a new chapter in my life and I feel like I have yet to completely close an older chapter and this is where my resignation comes from.

So I made an appointment with my Bishop to ask if I could see him. He was excited to meet me, it has been quite a while since we've met and I'm sure he was holding onto the hope that I had explored and realised that I wanted to return to Church. Even if that was what he was thinking he did an amazing job hiding it because he was nothing but supportive. In fact he shared some very inspiring stories and beliefs he has with me that gave me some hope that maybe one day LGBTI people would be more welcome in an LDS Church.

So that's that. A chapter closed and another chapter I'm excited for :)

I might expand a bit further in a future post some of Bishop's views.


Wednesday, 30 December 2015

What A Year !

Before I start this post, I'm aware that I haven't followed up on my cliff hanger post just over 2 months ago and I will address it for those who are dying to find out, (I know you're out there... somewhere).

So seeing as tomorrow is NYE and 2015 has seemingly flashed before my eyes, it only befitting to recap 2015 and look at how many of my New Year resolutions were met.

Let me just say... WHAT A YEAR!

So here they are, my goals from my resolutions post for this year:

GOALS:
- visit my parents at least 4 times (X - I only managed 2 visit this year)
- spend time together as an entire family twice (X - just the once)
 - fall in love (TICK - woohoo!!)
 - don't say no to an invite for no good reason (TICK - I reckon this one was met)
- make 2 new good friends (friends that actually hang out together regularly) (TICK - I've actually made lots of friends this year!)
 - work for protective services OR get a promotion in my current field (TICK - took the leap here too)
 - travel to the USA (TICK - best.trip.ever)
 - Fit into clothes the next size up (X - not quite yet...)
- Pick up a recreational sport (X - not even close)
- Get ripped Be healthy (HALF-TICK - going to the USA definitely set me back)
 - find God and develop a relationship with Him if He is there (HALF-TICK - well this is an interesting one, I'll elaborate below)

 All in all, 2015 has been one killer year.

Things I achieved in 2015 in no particular order:

 






Most of the pictures are quite self explanatory except for maybe the last one.

I guess the last symbolises the inner peace I feel with where I am spiritually. I feel free, no longer caged by an institution. I feel closer to nature and perhaps the being that overlooks us from above.

I don't feel a need to make any resolutions for 2016. I honestly feel that I have everything I could ever ask for and then some. I just hope the saying 'what goes up must come down' is not true otherwise 2016 will have a lot to come down from. Perhaps that's why I don't blog as much, I don't feel I needed the outlet I did in the past to vent or there may not even be anything to vent about. Afterall, why would I need to vent when I have an amazing partner by my side (#2).

Happy 2016!!




Monday, 12 October 2015

Will You Accept This Rose?

It's been a while since I've posted mainly due to the crazy schedule I've had recently.

Lots have happened in the last few months - mainly good (or great!) But also with it's fair share of dilemmas.

Let me try and recap some of the things I've wanted to post about but haven't had the time to.

Before I start, I should give bit of context to the entertainment climate of Australia... heard of the show The Bachelor? Well we're onto our 3rd season here and it's a massive hit! Everyone watches it and it's everywhere... it has correlations with the post!

Once upon a time...

About 2 months ago I was bored and probably a bit lonely so I used a lot of dating apps and as per usual didn't find anything substantial. I still refused to hook up with guys however I found my boundaries were getting pushed back further and further. Before I knew it I had a guy over for a movie and some cuddling. It felt nice but I knew it didn't mean anything to him because he clearly was looking for something casual. We had a good night watching a movie and cuddling and even made out. I constantly had to move his hands northward though. He made an excuse to stay over under the premise that we wouldn't have sex as it was too late for him to drive home and he was too tired. To be honest, I quite enjoyed his company. What I found really odd was he started texting me daily after we met up that once. Let's call him Candidate 1.

Simultaneously I had posted an ad for an old fashioned date which some random guy responded to. We had planned to go grab a coffee (or hot beverage) but he bailed on me last minute so I thought he was a bit of a flake. Nevertheless he rescheduled for another day or I thought I'd give him one more chance. We caught up for coffee (in relation to time we caught up for coffee a couple of days after I met Candidate 1), and it was really nice. This guy had great values, we connected on several levels and wanted much of the same things. I had my reservations though because I thought he was a bit young and wasn't really sure if he was interested. The date just consisted of us having an ice cream and chatting... for about 4 hours. I had to go or I think we would've talked for longer. He shall be Candidate 2.

Also simultaneously a guy had sent me a message on one of my dating apps and we had been sending messages back and forth for a few days. We had organised a date the following day from when I met Candidate 2. We caught up the following day and just walked around the beach and just chatted. It was for a good 2 hours too and it was quite nice. He was quite a quirky guy who had a great sense of humour and clearly very mature in his thinking. He had a lot of life experiences which was apparent in the way he talked about the way he handled situations and viewed life. He shall be Candidate 3.

So Candidate 1 had been texting me throughout this time and I had told him I went on a very promising date to which he then asked if he could take me on a 'proper date' soon before the other guys snapped me up. I was pretty shocked to be honest as I didn't think he wanted anything serious. I said yes and we met up later that night for a tea which was also very lovely.

Then there I was... 3 wonderful guys all at once... I only asked for one guy. All 3 of them were great in their own way and they were all so different. I felt like I had a different connection with each of them.

Candidate 1: Very intelligent, we shared a lot of commonality in life experience and our passion for social justice and we had amazing chemistry. On the down side he was a self confessed manwhore who apparently was sick of sleeping around and wanted something stable. He was 27.

Candidate 2: Very down to earth and we shared a lot of common values and aspirations in life. He also had a super awesome North American accent. On the down side, I wasn't sure if he really knew what he wanted in life. He is afterall only 22.

Candidate 3: Very creative and artsy type of guy with a wealth of life experience, made me feel very comfortable when I was talking with him. We were from very different worlds though and I wasn't sure if our world's were compatible. He was 30

There you have it. I can say that the decision was a difficult one. The most amazing part of this story was that I actually spoke to my Mum about these guys and she gave me very good advice on who I should pick. I could never have imagined talking to my Mum about boys! She gave me some very good advice too which confirmed who I should pick. I knew deep inside who I wanted to pick but I was afraid I would make the wrong decision. I felt like I was a contestant on The Bachelor.. all these amazing guys with whom I had a connection with but I could only choose one!

I can reveal that I am happily in a relationship with one of the 3 candidates. As per how these shows (The Bachelor) usually go, the result will be announced next episode (post). Hahaha!

Thanks for reading :)


Sunday, 5 July 2015

My 3 cents

I started writing a post about a month ago with my two cents regarding the social media outburst around Ireland legalising same sex marriage and the whole Caitlyn Jenner saga but stopped half way through just due to lack of brain power. I've always intended to finish that post and the recent news in the US sparked another fire in me to continue to write the post yet it doesn't seem right anymore so I've started from scratch. Let's hope I finish this one...

So to say the least I was quite angered by the overwhelming response on social media expressing their opposition to same sex marriage. Whilst I generally steer clear of political conversations on Facebook I could no longer hold my peace and posted my support for the legalisation of same sex marriage. The first Facebook friend to delete me was ironically a guy I had converted on my mission.

After posting the status, reading an abundance of articles and several intense phone conversations with friends about the issue I have somewhat come to peace with the issue.

There's a lot of talk of love and acceptance but too often the words are easily said yet so difficult to show. I understand the need to respect other people's decisions but I will continue to speak up and be an advocate for what I believe in.

I saw an article that didn't really sit well with me (amongst articles with allegations that same sex marriages will pave the way for polygamy & pedophilia), and I wanted to get fellow MoHo's opinions as I know that this forum has both Mormons who still choose to follow the Gospel and those that choose not to. I had quite a few friends share this article and while it presents a very unique point I could not see myself relating to it as a gay Mormon and this could be due to the fact that I have deviated from the Gospel.

 Have a read here

The question I'm wondering is do SSA Mormons really feel disheartened when their friends show their support for gay marriage?


I did get a crack up out of a status I saw on Facebook which I didn't know was supportive of gay marriage or a typo: "I believe marriage to be between a man and women". (Unfortunately the person edited the status and it was a typo).


Monday, 4 May 2015

The Road to Inactivity

It's been a long time coming but I'm finally ready to say that I am full fledged inactive.

I realised I haven't posted in a while and that maybe in part due to my busy schedule lately but also due to the fact that the Gospel actually doesn't cross my mind as much as it used to.

I went to Church last week for the first time in... about 2 months because my Home Teachers texted me and asked if they could share a message with me after Church on Sunday. I actually stayed for the whole 3 hours... I felt nothing. While my HT started sharing their message, they began asking me questions about how to have courage in defending my standards and beliefs and I thought it would be very hypocritical of me to lie about it so I told my HT that I didn't believe in the Gospel anymore. They really didn't know how to respond, I don't think they saw it coming but it felt good to be honest. There is so much power if verbalising thoughts that your mind has pondered for so long.

I think about my path to inactivity a lot and look at where I am now... how the hell did I get to where I am now?? Not in a bad way... I just can't comprehend how I managed to successfully breakaway from the Church while still feeling satisfied in my life and not harbouring any harsh feelings towards the Church.

I've written this post mostly due to reading some other posts by fellow MoHos and reading about the all too familiar struggles that they're going through. I remember being in the exact same position and remember feeling how I could ever be at peace with a decision and be happy. I thought I had found it when I decided to live the Gospel with all my heart and stay faithful the rest of my life... I think I gave it a good shot. Although I can't and won't try to convince others of what to do, I can only share what my experience has been hoping it could give some insight into what 'could' be on the other side.

Growing Up:

I was such a good kid growing up. Always wanted to serve a mission, always did the right thing. Served as Deacon and Teacher's Quorum President and also the Assistant in the Priest Quorum. I gained my first 'testimony' at 14 - I use quotation marks because my interpretation of a testimony and the experiences I had may not be defined in the same way the Church defines testimony. It was still a special experience for me but I won't go into details here.

I dated girls growing up and I really thought I would live a happy fulfilling life in the Gospel and get married. Minus a few hiccups along the way during my rebellious teenage years, I was quite grounded in the Gospel. I promised the Lord that if I were to stay in the Gospel, it wouldn't be a half-assed attempt and that I would do it with all my heart and do everything He would want me to do. I served the most fulfilling 2 year mission I could've ever asked. I didn't have to think about girls, relationships or marriage. It was all about serving the Lord and that was probably why I loved it so much.

Post Mission:

After my mission I still tried really hard to live the Gospel. I was called to be the Ward Mission Leader when I got home, I was also teaching Elder's Quorum and became an EFY counsellor soon after I returned home. I dated but could never commit to any girl because I just didn't feel anything. I just kept serving in the Church. I remember I would go out teaching with the missionaries at least 3 times a week and amongst studying and working, I wouldn't have time to 'have a girlfriend'.

I continued like this for a few years. I was feeling somewhat fulfilled because I had great friends. I knew something was missing though. I couldn't put my finger on it but something was missing...

Self Exploration:

After graduating from university, I moved interstate which was probably a pivotal moment in my life because I didn't have my family and friends around and expectations to live up to. I wanted to explore a new life, a new me. Funnily enough... I started going to Church when I moved interstate and started making friends in Church because I had no idea where else to make friends or what else to do. I was like a fish out of water, I had no idea how people made friends outside of Church.

Right around this time I also met my first boyfriend. We had a 'discreet' relationship as I was still in the closet and while it probably wasn't the best looking back it helped me realise that maybe this could work. I wasn't totally convinced though and I was too scared to let go of the Church.. something so familiar and safe to me. But this was the first time I had a taste of what the other side could be like... I liked it... but I couldn't see myself at this point leaving the Church and living a 'gay lifestyle'. Nevertheless, my Church activity began to waiver, I still went but I began missing weeks here and there.

Coming Out:

Coming out to my friends and family (again) was a huge step for me in discovering myself and what I wanted. It wasn't an easy process and certainly it wasn't easy for my family either. It has been quite an adjustment for them as well (and I think an ongoing adjustment). If anything, I felt like I can now be honest with myself, I can go and discover what it is a really want and whether it was worth it. I started meeting with Bishop who was nothing but supportive. We tried many different things such as reading my scriptures and praying, nothing seemed to give me the peace I was looking for.

At this time, the Gospel probably moved more to the back burner for me. I wanted a boyfriend. I wanted to be loved. I want to love someone. This was when I met my second boyfriend who in my opinion played quite a bit role in my life even though we were only together for a short 3 months (it felt like a lot longer). He pushed me out of my comfort zone, we kissed in public, we held hands in public and we lived a 'normal' life. It showed me that a partnership wasn't just the promiscuity or the secret relationships, I could live happily with my partner and live a normal life. The relationship as mentioned before was short lived but what surprisingly remained with me was the will power to not go crawling back to Church. I needed to discover who I was and what I believed.

Cross Roads: 

My meetings with Bishop became less frequent but because I didn't want to talk to him because I really enjoy our meetings, just that I didn't feel the need to anymore. I started questioning why I believed the way I did. I began to ask questions, questions that I couldn't find the answer to in the Gospel. I started to have doubts, (and if anyone says to be again 'doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith' I'm going to punch them). We should be encouraged to question BOTH our doubts and our faith - neglecting to question one or the other just means it's blind and we're only scared of what the answer might bring which in my case I was scared for so long... scared to see what my life would be like without the warm, fuzzy comforting blanket of the Gospel I'd believed all my life.

It all began with a seed of question and it begins to grow just as the same principle the Church uses about faith. I slowly began to question the reason WHY I believed what I did growing up. i wanted answers; I couldn't find any. I tried testing this faith principle oppositely - what if the Gospel wasn't true? What if God doesn't condemn me being with another man? To be completely honest, I feel more at peace with the thought that God would love me regardless. The Gospel taught me who God was... but I really had to find what that means for me.

Inactive Mormon:

Step my step, little by little, I began re-framing my life. I don't have all the answers and I don't know everything but I am at peace. I began going to Church less... (2 day weekend is actually amazing!!) I actually don't even have a second thought when I buy something on Sunday.

I recounted an experience with my HT on Sunday which I'd pondered about a lot. It was an experience from my mission when I visited a less active family. Lovely family, long history in the Church infact their ancestors were pioneers. A few years prior to me getting to the area they had dabbled in 'anti-mormon' material and had gone less active. I remember distinctly sitting with this family asking them what they believe now. They answered they didn't know. I thought to myself, 'man, how stupid is that? Why would you give up something you know for the unknown?' I remember talking to my companion afterwards about how stupid we thought that was and swore we would never leave the Church. I retold this story to my HT because I was wrong those years ago. Just because you're afraid of the unknown, doesn't mean you have to hold onto something you're not even sure is true.

So there you have it. I never knew this day would come. I can't even comprehend it sometimes... it's a bit surreal thinking about it really. The best thing is... this is solely my decision, it hasn't been influenced by a partner or a friend. I am choosing this other path even though I don't know what it means... and guess what? I'm exciting to see what it brings and the adventures that will come along with it. Everyone's journey is different and I'm all for everyone taking a different journey so long as it brings them peace.