Friday, October 8, 2010

Seriously Blessed... Like Seriously.

Those of you who know me know that I am a very blessed guy.

I'm blessed with a supportive, loving family who keeps in regular contact with me.

I'm blessed with a boyfriend who stands by my side even at my darkest hours and lifts me up even though I'm petty and ungrateful at times.

I'm blessed with a job that pays my bills and leaves me with enough cash to do nice things for myself and my loved ones.

I'm blessed to live in a city and have a job where I can have my boyfriend and talk about him without fear of losing my job or public condemnation.

I'm blessed to live in a country where the rights of men are continually being fought for, even if sometimes there is collateral damage or retreat.

I'm blessed to have opened my mind to the possibilities of goodness in all things, and truth in all things instead of limiting my joy to the confines of an LDS chapel.

I'm blessed to have good health, and I pledge to work harder to take care of my splendid body.

I'm blessed with friends who love me and support me, who make my lives better with their warmth and compassion.

Sometimes, however, one needs to be reminded. And I'm a bit ashamed to say that I need reminding a lot of times. Last night I came home to a small package from my little sister, Katie. It was a birthday present which I'd all but forgotten about her telling me she was going to send. Obviously, it's very late, but it was well worth it. The package contained a small 'zine' called "2,500 miles of recycled air" which contains 4-5 pages of outlined drawings of things you'd see out a plane window. It's really awesome and I love it.

But that wasn't even the best part. Inside a small envelope was a CD with a song on it Katie had written just for me! It was awesome. Give it a listen for yourself if you want, but I can't guarantee that you'll understand all the inside jokes. But you'll walk away knowing what I do–My sister truly loves me.

Which was never in doubt, but all the same, it made the conversation I had with her last night all the more easy. My little sister is seriously considering a mission.

And she has been terrified and worried that I would be angry or resentful to her because of how the Church views me.

To cut a very long conversation short, the gist of it was this. I want her to go, and I hope she gets assigned state-side. Because if she really wants to find out answers re: homosexuality, representing the poster-child of anti-LGBT sentiment in America today will force her to discuss and pray about it constantly.

It may tear her to pieces... but maybe that's what she needs? It's what I needed.

I'm confident that she will grow and learn from this experience, and who am I to tell her what's best for her right now. God may end up showing her the same things he showed me... that everyone who loves is living in Christ.

Until next time, I love you all.


Friday, October 1, 2010

Long Overdue Update...

I hope you all don't think I've died. Maybe most of you don't even read this blog anymore, or have deleted if from your aggregators and RSS feed readers due to inactivity.

It would make me very happy to know that at least to those who know me still read. Maybe you can leave a comment just saying that you saw this?

There are so many things I'd love to start talking about but I know that I'm going to go all over the place unless I can stay focused on a few select topics. Then maybe I can write another post in the future.

A lot has changed since I last posted. Many who are also my Facebook friends know that I'm in a relationship with Wil Browne, who is my half icelandic half japanese sweetheart. It's been a long road to arrive at nine months (We consider the day we became "official boyfriends" to be Jan 26th, 2010.) but in the end we have grown stronger, helping each other through the rough spots.

I've never been in a relationship before. Sadly, gay men don't have much to go on when it comes to having committed monogamous relationship role-models. And since this is my first relationship, I sometimes get hung up on what should or shouldn't be. "Is [standard relationship issue] normal?" "Do I really love him? Or am I just afraid I won't ever find better?" etc.

Over time, I've learned that I don't need to worry about what-ifs. If I'm happy now, then enjoy it, and deal with problems or issues as they arrive. You can never know what might happen. He may visit Chicago and meet someone who blows me out of the water, and it could end like that. But it hasn't yet, so we're still working towards making each day as good or better then the past.

This weekend, we're traveling to Chicago as the last destination of our JetBlue All You Can Jet pass. We've spent more time together in the last month then ever before, but all it's done is prove to me that I really do love him.

I've still got a lot of growing and healing to do, and I apologize to my friends whom I've undoubtedly neglected as I've embarked on my relationship journey. It's been difficult for me to learn how to maintain my own personal life when I've got my man around. I can't say I've been perfect, but I'm getting better.

Wil and I do have some delightful fun times though. For example, here's a fun story: When we were flying back from NYC, we didn't have anyone sitting next to us on the flight, which was perfect because Wil could slump sideways against me and we could snuggle on the flight. The flight attendants saw us and were obviously pleased, because about halfway through the flight, we were asked very apologetically if we could move so they could seat another passenger there. Her TV was not working and she wanted to watch.

We sat up and a woman was seated next to us. She started to watch her program, and I placed my hand on Wil's knee. After a while, our new seatmate noticed this, and became immediately visibly uncomfortable. Wil also noticed, and wordlessly rested his head my shoulder, putting his hand on mine. Nothing obscene, just a tender closeness.

This woman immediately got fidgety. She couldn't focus on her TV, and before another commercial break, the woman stood up and moved back to her original seat!

I couldn't believe that a simple gesture of affection could make a grown woman so uncomfortable, especially on a flight from NYC to Burbank!

Anyway, I'll try to post more later. Love you all lots. Leave me a comment and say hello if you feel compelled. :)

Monday, December 21, 2009

My Mothers Visit / Mortified San Francisco

The first weekend in December, my mother flew out to LA to drive with me up to San Francisco for my Mortified performances there. I had not seen her in 18 months or so, and as a result I was a but unsettled. This would be the first time that she'd seen me as an out (done) and proud (working on it) gay man. This would be the first time that she'd seen me 40 pounds lighter. This would be the first time she'd seen me as a fully self-sufficient man.

It would be the first time she was really seeing me.

And so when I busted my hump to get from Hollywood to LAX during rush hour, you can imagine my frustration when she wasn't waiting for me on the curb. I called her, but her phone was off. Convinced that she'd sequestered herself inside the terminal, I was forced to park and go in after her.

She wasn't inside, either. I asked the Virgin America ticketing agent if she'd boarded the flight. When I was informed that she never boarded, my mind immediately went to the macabre. Certainly no one could be so inconsiderate as to have missed their flight and not called to say they'd be on the next one, so she must be dead on the side of the highway. It didn't take me long to get hysterical. I'd had such a hard week... I'd taken two sick days with a 103 fever earlier in the week, and I was looking forward to having mother come and "make it all better".

To make a long story short (too late), my mother had boarded the next flight. At this point, I lost it. I exited the terminal, screamed, returned to my car, screamed again, and called my friend Liz and cried my eyes out sitting against my car in an LAX parking garage.

I've always loved both of my parents, and I'm grateful for them. But so often it seems that I have to be the adult, the responsible one. Now, in fairness, my mother did say she tried texting me, but I guess she didn't actually send it or something--I've never gotten a text from her before, so I can imagine this might be true. But regardless, my whole life I've been as responsible and mature as possible, acting as my own adult in my life. For crying out loud, my father dumped me from his health insurance when I graduated college... that was essentially my graduation present.

For once in my life I feel like I want to be immature, to do stupid things that I know won't work, to be wreckless, do what feels good, and learn the hard way. I've always carefully considered the options, taken calculated risks, never attempted anything I wasn't pretty sure I could manage.

This blog entry is rapidly spinning out of control. I'm no longer sure exactly what this is about, or even if I should publish it. My mother reads this blog, and I don't want to hurt her feelings. I think my mother is very strong, and is doing the best she can. She needs to learn to forgive herself and realize that she is lovable, and deserves love.

I guess I need to learn that too.

Going to Mortified in San Francisco was a good experience for us both. I got to be me in front of my mother, and have a room full of strangers affirm me and the great job she did as a mother, raising a wonderful son. But how much of it is going to sink in? People were wanting to meet her after the performance, to tell her how proud she must be.

And I think she was proud. She is proud of me and loves me. And in that regard, I just might be the luckiest guy in the world. My life is filled with people who love me and support my identity and my happiness.

Here's my mom and me down by the Embarcadero, with the bay bridge in the background.

It's strange to watch your parents age, and to realize that they aren't going to live forever. I think that was something I realized while on this trip—while I will always be her little boy—I'm a man now, and we're all changing and growing simultaneously. As a kid, your parents seem frozen in time, unchanging pillars for you to rely on. Part of my journey into adulthood has been realizing that when my parents started our family, they were my age—young, ignorant kids trying to figure the world out, and find a portion of happiness along the way.

Forgiving them for their mistakes is easy now, because when I stand and think about how I would fare with a young family right now, I can't honestly say I'd do any better.

I'm grateful for the family that I have, and for the things I've learned so far on my sojourn.

Since the vast majority of my readers live thousands of miles away from me, it's unlikely that any of you will ever be able to attend my Mortified Performance. Which is why I set a camera up on my little table at The Makeout Room (the venue in San Francisco) and taped this video. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy performing it.

Also, this multimedia piece was done by [X]press: Check it out!

I love you all, and leave you with this adorable pic of me and my mother.

Monday, November 16, 2009

No Contact

So Sunday has come and gone, which means my Bishop has probably received the letter from SLC telling him to keep my ass in the church ASAP.

But I've not heard from him. I think (since he received a copy of my letter from SLC) he probably is going to respect my request not to be contacted, and submit my request in 30 days. I guess my Christmas present this year will be my letter of confirmation that I am no longer a member of the LDS church.

Other than that, life is going great!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Resignation Rejection: Full Text and Commentary

For those who are interested/requested, here is a transcript of the "resignation request rejection letter" that I received.

Dear Brother Horne:

I have been asked to acknowledge your recent letter in which you request that your name be removed from the membership records of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I have also been asked to inform you that the Church considers such a request to be an ecclesiastical matter that must be handled by local priesthood leaders before being processed by Church employees. Therefore, your letter and a copy of this reply are being sent to President Stephen J. Klenk of North Hollywood California Stake. He will have Bishop Mark S. Mikolyski of the Studio City Ward contact you concerning the fulfillment of your request.

In view of the eternal consequences of such an action, the Brethren urge you to reconsider your request and to prayerfully consider the enclosed statement of the First Presidency.


Gregory W. Dodge
Manager, Member and Statistical Records

 So yeah, then there was a pamphlet inside that was even MORE aggravating.

An Invitation to Come Back

We reach out to members of the Church throughout the world in a spirit of love and brotherhood inspired by the Lord Jesus Christ.

Our interest and concern are always with the individual man or woman, boy or girl. Our great responsibility is to see that each is "remembered and nourished by the good word of God" (Moroni 6:4). If any have been offended, we are sorry. Our only desire is to cultivate a spirit of mercy and kindness, of understanding and healing. We seek to follow the example of our Lord, who "went about doing good" (Acts 10:38).

To you who for any reason find yourselves outside the embrace of the Church, we say come back. We invite you to return and partake of the happiness you once knew. You will find many with outstretched arms to welcome you, assist you, and give you comfort.

The Church needs your strength, love, loyalty, and devotion. The course is fixed and certain by which a person may return to the fill blessing of Church membership, and we stand ready to receive all who wish to do so.

Sincerely yours,

Thomas S. Monson
Henry B. Eyring
Dieter F. Uchtdorf

The First Presidency

There are so many things about this letter that are aggravating.

Mostly, though, it's the magnanimous glee with which they "apologize" for any offense (but not apologize that they hold the opinion that causes the offense, it's more like "sorry you got offended, we were just trying to be Christlike, maybe you should pray about it until God tells you how right we were all along."

Also, I love this gem--"We invite you to return and partake of the happiness you once knew"

WTF? Um, I AM happy. I'm happier now and more at peace now then I have been in any adult memory. When I was attending church, my soul was in a constant state of turmoil, of self doubt, pain, and aggravation. My emotional turbulence prompted my college friends to dub the seventh day of the week "Sour Sunday" because I would be miserable and depressed whenever I came back from church. The inability for me to be one and at peace because of the doctrines of the LDS Church are what made me almost leap off a subway platform my Junior year in college. So, yeah, I'll pass on returning to THAT kind of "happiness".

I am sure that what ever happens, I'm going to be out of the Church by the end of the year, but I was hoping that I wouldn't have to be guilt tripped about it. The thing is, even though I'm mostly able to just let it roll of my back, my Mormon Programming is so deeply ingrained that I almost considered "prayerfully consider[ed] the enclosed statement of the First Presidency."

But I don't need to pray about it, because I know by the fruits that I am doing what is right for me.

I am really looking forward to the day when the church no longer has power over me—let's not forget, that is what this whole exercise is about—it's about the church trying to claim my agency to leave. To prove they are in charge, that they have the power. But they are wrong. I am empowered as an individual who understands his rights and is sure of the path he is on.

Let me know what you all think. Peace.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

They Won't Let You Go

I know understand why the LDS Church is seen as a cult by so many people. It's because cults don't allow their members to leave of their own free will. They have to fight, crawl and push their way through the bullies of the Holy Order of the LDS Church Administrative Bureaucracy™.

Basically, they refused my request, and are instead sending it to my ecclesiastical leader (Bishop Mikolyski). If he calls me, I'm going to be pretty angry.

I called the LDS Church Member Records Division (1-800-453-3860 ext 22053) immediately and this is pretty much exactly what I said, since it was a pretty concise way that I found online to express my feelings:
“As you know, I stopped being a member of your church on the day you received my letter. It is clear that someone in your office thinks I don't know what my rights are.
I do NOT have to contact anyone else regarding my resignation. As a non-member I am no longer subject to your rules and regulations or policies. I DO have a right to get a letter of confirmation from you that states that my name has been removed from the membership rosters of the church.
Please stop wasting time and effort and handle my resignation appropriately. If you don't handle this appropriately, I may involve a lawyer or the press.”
So, we'll see what happens.

I should have known better than to think they'd let me leave quietly. Now I'm gonna get nasty.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Fifteen Years

I was baptized on November 6th, 1994.

I dropped this in the mail on November 6th, 2009:

I've closed the door on an exactly 15 year long chapter of my life.

And I wish I could explain how it feels.