Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Joy, sorrow and wonderful normalcy

I had dinner last night with Uncle D. He asked me how I was doing. My answer: "My life is wonderful, and my life sucks."

First, the sucks.

KK and the girls went to Utah in early August. They planned to stay for the month, then return to New Jersey so the girls--all three of them--could start school. E is in second grade this year. L starts Pre-K. And KK was to start her second semester of graduate school studies in social work. I was also going to establish my own residence rather than continuing to live in the attic and in the city with friends as I had been doing for the past few months.

But if I've learned nothing over the past year of my life, I've learned that things change. Life happens. And after spending a week or so in Salt Lake, KK made an important decision. She looked at her situation, considered her need to start over and the emotional support that a new beginning requires, and told me that she thought it might be better for her to stay in Utah and start the next phase of her life there. I was devastated. I imagine I feel very much the way KK felt last fall when I first came out to her and then told her I wanted to end our marriage. She didn't want that, but she accepted it and supported me as I emerged from the closet and began living as an openly gay man. And now she has made a decision that I don't really want, but which I accept because I love her and support her and trust that she is making the best decision for herself, which is ultimately best for our children and our family.

As I have struggled to accept this new reality over the past couple of weeks, I have battled feelings of guilt. The guilt exists on at least two levels. I feel guilty about starting the chain of events that has led us to this point of separation. And I feel guilty that my children will have to grow up in a way that, at least on the surface, looks like the way I grew up--divorced parents living in different states. I am still dealing with the fallout from that experience and at times it is unbearable to think that my children will have to deal with that as well. In my good moments, I am able to remind myself that I am not my father and Keri is not my mother and we do not feel the mutual animosity and ill will that my parents felt. In my bad moments, Keri is able to remind me of this.

Is this ideal? No. But it is our reality. And Keri and I have decided that we need not let the ideal be an enemy of the good. We'll make the best of it. And I am looking forward to this weekend, which I will spend in Salt Lake with Keri and the girls. I miss them. All three of them.

Second, the wonderful.

I feel more myself and more comfortable with the life I am living than I ever have before. I don't feel gay--and I certainly don't feel straight!--I simply feel... normal. Who knew that normal could feel so good?

In the midst of this wonderful normalcy, I have met someone. I have been reluctant to talk about him on my blog because the relationship is still new and I'm not always sure how to "come out" to people about it. I also don't want to expose this relationship to scorn and judgment from people who disapprove for whatever reason. But he is a source of joy for me, and I want to acknowledge that here where I have written so much about my changing life.

He has a Mormon background, so he understands that part of my experience. He is kind, caring, compassionate, funny, smart and terribly good looking. He shares my values and is respectful of my family and our unusual and evolving family structure. In short, he has become an important part of my life and I feel blessed to have him.

As my friend Leonard once wrote to me, life is wonderful even when it sucks.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Following different paths

I came across a new blog this morning. A Glass Darkly is written by a gay married man here in the metro New York City area who has just been through his own hurricane. Reading his story stirred up so much emotion for me. We live in the same city. We are almost the same age. We both have children. We were both young high priests in the LDS church. I did not fall into the love affair that he did, but as Santorio commented on one his posts, "There but for the grace of God go I..."

But more than that, as I read his blog I started to feel for the first time that though I share so much in common with this man, and the many others who share the experience of being gay and married and Mormon, there is almost nothing I can write or say that will be of any help to him--or me, as I move on in my life. Indeed, I've started to feel that there is nothing I can say on any of the blogs of gay married LDS men who want to stay in the Church that will be helpful to those on the "other" side. -L- and I went a couple of rounds on this blog a couple of weeks ago, but I was able to convince myself that it was a beneficial discussion. That I understood him better and he understood me better after the discussion was through. But now, after reading this new blog and posts on some of the others that have shown up lately, I don't think I have anything to offer--or, perhaps more accurately, nothing I have to offer is wanted by those who still believe that Mormonism and marriage are the only paths that lead to real and lasting happiness.

So, brethren, I will be taking a break from commenting on your blogs. I welcome your continued readership here, and even your comments. In time, perhaps I'll return to your blogs as well. Regardless, I wish you all the best of luck.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Faith, reason and truth claims

This summer I read a provocative book called The End of Faith. Given where I am in my journey of faith, it was an important read for me. It took me further down the road of confronting my doubts and examining my religious beliefs with the same rigor I apply to evaluating the factual claims I face on a daily basis in my personal and professional life.

Today I came across this quote on the website of the National Review. It resonates with me as I examine my life, my choices, my faith and my doubts.

I bow before — and therefore “respect” — the aesthetic legacy of Christianity. My life would be immeasurably poorer without Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion, B Minor Mass, and cantatas, or Mozart’s great choral works; it would not be life as I know it but a sad hollow thing. I also recognize that countless men of intellect light years superior to mine have been drawn to the great philosophical enterprise of Christian theology. But I will treat the truth claims of Christianity just as I would any other proposition about the world. The claim that we are overseen by an omniscient, omnipotent God who also loves every human being and treats every human being with justice does not square with the slaughter of the innocents that I see every day. I do not understand why religion should get a pass from the empirical and logical demands that we make towards other factual proposition. Nor do I think that serious believers exempt other religions from such demands. Do Catholics, for example, believe that the angel Moroni gave Joseph Smith a pair of magic spectacles in 1827 with which to read the mysterious golden tablets from God? And if not, why not? Doesn’t it matter whether it is true or not, or is it OK to live in error as long as one is happy?

- Heather MacDonald,

Monday, August 21, 2006

And now for something completely different

This blog has been almost exclusively about my journey out of the closet as it relates to my family and my relationship with Mormonism. But over the past year, I have also come out at work. At first, I did so very selectively and quietly. But at about the same time I came out to friends through this blog in May, I also came out much more widely at the office. My entire team knows that I am gay, and I am now the editor of the newsletter of my firm's gay and lesbian professionals network. It has been a rewarding experience and the responses I have gotten from my colleagues have been overwhelmingly positive and affirming.

I came out at work for the same reason I have come out to others in my life--to be authentic and honest. But according to Time magazine, this also may have been a smart career move on my part.

Come Out. Move Up?

Friday, August 18, 2006 "interview" on homosexuality

Because I know it won't be good for me, I'm not planning on commenting extensively on this interview-like interview that has been posted on the LDS Church's website. But since this is a blog that explores the gay Mormon experience, I feel some obligation to link to it.

Suffice it to say that as a gay man who feels alienated from the Church in part because of this issue, this interview has done nothing to draw me closer. Just the opposite.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Put your shoulder to the wheel

This post is for all of you gay married LDS out there who are still faithfully committed to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There is work to do.

Once upon a time, I was an active participant at a little discussion site called The site is owned by Mormon science fiction writer Orson Scott Card and has a little agreement called the Nauvoo Charter by which all participants must abide. Basically, you have to be a faithful, believing Latter-day Saint to participate on the site. In the day, it was a great place, particularly from my still faithful but liberal and unorthodox perspective. The discussions there shaped my evolving religious beliefs and were a nice balance to some of the more critical discussions I got into on other sites.

Nauvoo has changed. They've pretty much run the liberal Mormons out of town. For obvious reasons, I can't participate there anymore. (Turns out I've changed too!) But I still lurk. This discussion recently caught my attention. From my current vantage point, it is a fairly astonishing look at what average Mormons think about homosexuals and homosexuality. If you faithful gays want to change some attitudes (because I think we all agree that some attitudes need a'chagin'), this could be one place to start. And as Latter-day Saints in good standing, you'll be a lot more credible than this ol' ex-bishop apostate homo.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Moderated comments

Last week I turned off the moderation feature in the comments section of the blog. I thought that things had calmed down sufficiently that I didn't really have to worry about filtering out inappropriate or hateful comments. I was wrong, so moderation is back on.

Also, I will not post anonymous comments, supportive or critical, anymore, period. If you have something to say use your name or blogger profile (which is acceptable to me--I have friends here in cyberspace who do not use their real names but have an accountable and responsible identity). If you don't want your comment to be public, then e-mail me.

If you are going to hide behind the cloak of anonymity, we have nothing to discuss.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

My Cheetah

I was watching the movie "Duma" recently with my girls. I highly recommend it, by the way, to any of you with kids. Anyway, it's the story of a boy who lives on a plantation in Africa with his parents. He's riding in a car with his dad one night and they see a baby cheetah in the middle of the road, and stop. They can't see the mother anywhere and the boy begs his dad to take it home with them. The dad agrees, but makes sure the boy knows that he can't keep the cheetah forever, that they can help it learn to take care of itself but that they'll have to return it to the wild someday. The boy says he understands. They take it home, name it Duma (Swahili for cheetah), nurse it, raise it, try to teach it to hunt (which it can't do) and have fun with it. After a series of other adventures, the boy goes to return the cheetah to the wild. Duma runs into the savannah and immediately finds another cheetah to hang around with, and is finally successful at hunting and being the cheetah he was born to be. He turns back to look at the boy, and obviously recognizes him, but then runs away with the other cheetah and the boy is left in sadness. Of course, the moral of the story is that the boy loves Duma, and so he sets him free to be who he was meant to be. He understands that keeping him in captivity, while it's great for the boy, won't make Duma the happiest he can be.

I'm sure you all have guessed my intention in posting this story here. At the end of the movie, I told my daughter that was kind of how I feel about her dad. Of course I'm sad to set him free, but I know he's meant to be a cheetah, and because I love him, I want him to be the happiest he can be. She liked that.

Chris is running with another cheetah now, and though he looks back at me, I know he's happier in the savannah than on the plantation.

The problem is that the movie ends there. How does the boy move on from his relationship with the cheetah? Does he get another pet that is meant to be domesticated? How can that pet ever hope to compare to the beauty, grace, speed of Duma, and how can the boy possibly love another animal? I love my cheetah, but I feel like I am at the edge of the savannah, watching him run and hunt and play and be happy, while I just watch. I don't feel the capacity to move away from the savannah, and I can't imagine what that cheetah will need from me now. It's a sad realization for me, that I know he needed me to get him to this point, to help him realize his potential, but I don't see how I fit into the wild now.

I'm probably going to take a break from posting here for awhile. It's Chris's blog, and it should be about him and his life, which is increasingly separated from mine. Maybe I'll take up residence on another blog, or maybe keep quiet for now (I'm a lot more introverted than Chris...). Thank you for listening and responding. Have fun with my cheetah.


Monday, August 07, 2006

What about the women?

I've posted two recent articles that focus on gay married men. Here's a story about Emily Pearson, daughter of Carol Lynn Pearson and a woman who has emerged from a mixed orientation marriage of her own.

Salt Lake Tribune: A daughter steps into the light

Emily's website for women currently or formerly married to gay men is We Are Wildflowers.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Thursday, August 03, 2006

New York Times on Gay Married Men

From today's New York Times:

A Beard Too Painful to Remove


I have only a few regrets in my life. I regret that I voted for George W. Bush in the 2000 presidential election. Seriously. I regret that I didn't attend the funeral of a friend's mother when she passed away a few years ago. She was a second mother to me and I've kicked myself a few times for not flying to Utah from New York to pay my final respects and say goodbye.

And I regret that I did not tell KK sooner that I am gay.

Here's what that does NOT mean. It does not mean that I regret the life that I have lived with her. It does not mean that I regret having children with her. I have no regrets about the life I chose then or the life I am choosing now. But I do regret that I didn't have the courage to let her in sooner and share with her what I was struggling to understand.

Ideally, I would have told her before we got married. I loved her. She was the only woman I had ever fallen in love with, the only woman I was ever able to have a physical relationship with. So I wish I had done her the service of putting more trust in her. She gave me a few opportunities to do just that. She shared some very personal things about herself before we got married that she felt I should know. I remember thinking then, "Should I tell her?" But I couldn't. I really couldn't. And the closer I got to her the more convinced I became that I really wasn't gay. But still, I regret that I didn't say anything.

I also regret that I didn't tell her at some point sooner in the ten years of our marriage. Again, that regret arises not from a sense of guilt or because I wish I had lived a different life, but because I didn't trust her--the person to whom I was closest--with my most painful struggle. I shared everything else with her, but not that.

KK has pointed out to me that, with hindsight, it's easy to regret not telling her. It's easy because I know now how she reacted--lovingly, compassionately, empathetically. None of those things surprised me then or now, because Keri is loving, compassionate and empathetic. Her greatest happiness comes from seeing the people around her do well. And I have to admit that perhaps she is right, at least partly. I can look at how she handled this and say, "Ugh! Why didn't I tell her sooner!" But it goes deeper than that. I feel sometimes as thought I dishonored Keri by not telling her sooner and by not trusting what I knew about her character. I dishonored her by not empowering her sooner. That is my true regret. I regret that I didn't give her the choice of marrying a gay man, even recognizing that knowing something is not the same as understanding what it means--and I don't think either one of us would have understood what undertaking a mixed orientation marriage would entail. So even as I move past my shame of being gay and my guilt about divorce, I think I will always regret that I denied KK the power of choice.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


How many of the gay married men out there were products of a divorced home? I'm wondering because one of the reasons Chris had such a hard time accepting himself as gay, even though he didn't come from any kind of conservative or religious home, but had totally liberal parents, was that he was determined to have a better family than the one he came from, and didn't see how he could do this as gay. He felt like the divorce of his parents put pressure on him to form a perfect family. I've noticed that several other of you gay married bloggers also came from divorced parents. Is this a trend? Just wondering...