Wednesday, January 30, 2013

God Loves Uganda And Other Reasons You Need Good Karma

Funny. Dupree decides to write about how she believes in karma the week I wanted to talk about good karma. Stealing my lime light...

Anyway, as a logical scientist, I don't actually believe in karma. But I love the idea of it. Help a friend with homework and suddenly you can actually do your own. Someone has a holier than thou attitude and they constantly get humbled. My plain-tempered roommate who will not stop asking for my food has to go on an empty stomach when I don't make dinner. (Fine, that isn't karma per se, but this is revenge on a leech.) (And I'm not passive aggressive until it comes to food.)

But what happened last Thursday can only be called good karma.

To start the night, we went to a coffee shop. Half-asian got something sugar-ry and I got my sugar-free latte and, since I had extra cash, I put three dollars in the "good karma" tip jar.

Next, we end up buying tickets to see a random sundance film called God Loves Uganda. We didn't really know what it is about but what we did know was it was suppose to be controversial.

We get in line to sit (thirty minute wait) and decide to ask the woman in front of us (and, I believe, her partner) what the film was about. After about thirty minutes in line, we find out that I'm from BYU, she is a molecular biology professor at U of U, she studies the same things that I'm currently studying in my research lab and, best of all, she is on the board to accept grad students into U of U. She then asked for my e-mail and we have hence e-mailed. Talk about sheer, dumb luck (or good karma if we're going to stick with the theme of this post).

P.S. We also found out the film was about homosexuality in Uganda.

And holy Hell guys, the film was amazing.

Basically, there is a homosexuality bill in Ugandan Parliament that would make being homosexual a life imprisonment sentence and homosexual acts will result death. And, worse, the bill has 90% popularity and there is only one place in the entire country where LGBT people can stay and be safe. That place was founded, and run, by a man named Bishop Christopher Senyonjo. And, this amazing man who believes in God made a spectrum of people, tall:short, straight:gay, appeared and did a Q&A after the film.

I can't write about the entire thing (that would need several pages to put what I want to say) but I can't stress enough how much the Evangelican church has done to promote this anti-gay bill to cure what they term "sexual broken-ness." I realize that most people who contribute to this church don't realize where their funds are going, mainly because churches are NOT required to publish where their funds go and it makes me wonder. Where is the Mormon church's money going to? If I could take one thing out of that film it would be that churches need to be more open about their worldly spending.

Anyways, I consider this all good karma because I will not forget this night for a long time. Such a good night. Meeting people who can help me with my post-BYU future and watching a film that has an extreme emotional impact on me.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Why You're Single

We all have those friends. Or maybe you are that friend. You know exactly who I'm talking about. It's the friend that longs for love, a relationship, something meaningful to fill the void in their life. Every cup of coffee or meal with this person, the conversation eventually turns into "I'm so single. I wanna be in love soooooooo much. It won't happen for me though. I'm [insert degrading adjective here]."

In many instances, I have been that friend. Waiting, wishing for the right opportunity to come along. Looking at my surroundings and wondering what's wrong with me and what I need to fix. For some people, maybe there are issues that can be overcame now as a single person, and when an opportunity comes along, you'll be that much more ready for it. For some, these notions of something wrong with us are fallacies we use to degrade ourselves and convince ourselves we're anything but worth it.

Maybe my longest romantic relationship in my 20 years on this planet was 3 months. Maybe I do have a lot to learn about myself, not to mention romance and what it means to connect with another person on that level. But I do know this: I've seen heterosexual couples, I've seen same-sex couples. I've seen super skinny & super fit people be single, and I've seen fuller figured people in relationships. I've seen young love, I've seen old love. I've seen people consciously "play the game" and succeed, I've seen people who didn't even try and found the love of their life. None of it matters. There comes a point where I just accept that despite the hours of theorizing and postulating about how love chooses whom to infect, there's no telling. And until we have it in our lives, there's nothing we can do but keep pushing onward, putting our best faces forward, and bettering ourselves so that we may be happier, for ourselves first and then for whoever happens to stumble into our lives .

"Why You're Single by Amanda Crute

You’re single because you’re single. It’s not because you texted too much or too little or waited 33 minutes to respond because he took 23. It’s not because you met up with your ex that night at 5 a.m. that no one knows about, or because you kissed another boy after a date with a loser.

You’re not single because you spit food on that date or tripped coming out the the movie theatre. You’re not single because you hurt your first boyfriend really badly when you were 15 or because you have yet, to this day, to apologize. It’s not because you were secretly jealous when your friend got a boyfriend or that a guy you dated for two months now has a really cute girlfriend and looks really happy. And you’re happy for him. But still ill that he found someone before you.

You’re not single because you slept with your ex boyfriend. You’re not single because half the world found out when you didn’t even want to remember it yourself. You’re not single because you think the guy your friend wants to hook you up with is ugly or not tall enough. It’s not because you’re not willing to put up with someone who doesn’t brush their teeth on a regular basis.

You’re not single because your standards are too high. Good for you for having standards. It’s not because you didn’t like that really, really good guy who wanted to take you on a date and you just weren’t feeling it. And it’s not because you like to wear pajama pants as soon as you get home and wash all the makeup off your face. You’re not single because you didn’t learn enough from the past or would rather chill on a Friday night with your blanket and a cold beer than shower, get ready, and go out. You’re not single because something is wrong with you.

You are single because you are single. It’s really as simple as that. You haven’t made the connection with another heart yet. You can get dolled up, dress cute, cut your hair, dye your hair, tweeze your eyebrows, put on lipstick and you may still. be. single. You can go out to a bar hoping to meet the love of your life and not find a damn one in the place attractive. And it’s going to remain that way until it’s time for you to find one. Stop hoping for it. Start living the life that you do have instead of wishing for things that you don’t have. There will come a time you’ll meet a boy and you’ll have to give up some of this single freedom you currently have. Start being more thankful. Start doing that now.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Apologies, again

I'm writing this while running a bath for myself after a tired, stressful day. Ironically, perhaps, given the subject matter of my last post, I was too depressed to write a post last Sunday. Apologies, all. Part of the problem might be that I write on Sundays, and Sundays are rarely good days for me. But this particular Sunday is happily winding to a close, and I'm feeling grateful for that. I'm even looking forward to my typical Monday of getting up earlier than I'd like just to teach students, something I usually dread (or at least moan and groan about). But given today, and last Sunday, and the Sunday before that, Mondays are turning into the most wonderful day of the week.

Today was my little brother's mission homecoming. I went to my home ward for the first time in a year. It was weird. People kept coming over and hugging me and asking me how I've been. In a way, it was nice of them--these are the people I grew up around, the people who taught me and babysat me and became my friends. But my mom has gossiped about me to a lot of them, namely her friends and visiting teachers, who spread it around the ward or else glean their information on my very! depraved! activities! (read: I am a democrat) from my facebook page. One is the mother of a friend who I don't talk to any more and who tells her mother everything, and her mother tells her friends everything, and they tell their friends everything, and it just spreads and spreads and spreads and leaves me feeling very uncomfortable.

My former bishop (or chief ecclesiastical leader in my area, if you're not familiar with Mormons), who is also one of my parents' best friends, came up and grabbed my arm after church and complimented my on my little brother's talk. He said, "That boy owes so much to you. You were integral in raising him. He's the way he is today because of the person you are." And I almost started crying. Everyone else in the ward was nice and friendly and wanted to know about me, but I don't know how much they want to know because they're just going to turn around and gossip more. But he kind of asked me about myself, talked about his family, and complimented me. Even though the compliment came through my brother, he basically just said to me that I was a good kid and continue to be a good person, and no one in my ward or anyone connected to my parents (including my parents) has said that to me in a long, long time.

The rest of the day was stupid, but that little moment stood out to me. As much as we should strive for self-validation and self-confidence all need people to approve of and appreciate us and make us feel loved.

This contrasted with the rest of the evening with my family, which was fine in a number of ways, but it's uncomfortable there because I'm not approved of. It's frustrating how much I have to censor myself. When we're watching something I have to catch myself and not comment on the relative hotness of anyone there. I mean, as a girl, I'm allowed to say the male leads are cute, but I better not say, "Damn, Penelope Cruz is the hottest part of this movie," because that! is! not! appropriate!!!!! It's weird how something as small as not being able to exclaim with my brother when some hot girl appears on screen makes me feel so small and weird in my family's house.

In other news, I saw some fabulous Sundance Film Festival films this week that you should consider seeing once they get a wider release. The first was God Loves Uganda, a documentary about the anti-gay bill and American evangelical influence in Uganda. I liked it because it had a lot to do with neo-colonialism, which I am particularly interested in as an African lit grad student, but it had some interesting things to say (though not without problem or bias, both Western and religious, but what fun is a documentary without bias?). You can actually email them and ask for a free screening--anyone up for this in the Provo area?? It would be rad. Check out their website here.

Plus, the director was a gem and very fun to talk to.

I also got to see the final screening of Kill Your Darlings, which I thought was an even better examination of being lgbtq in modern American society, as well as a really interesting look at the Beat poets, who I've never particularly cared for. Dan Rad was F A B U L O U S fabulous!! as allen ginsberg. You will love him and this movie. Go see it when it gets released!!!

What cute sad babies!!!

Here's a Ginsberg poem in honor of that fabulous film. Have a good week, all.

Five a.m.

Elan that lifts me above the clouds
into pure space, timeless, yea eternal
Breath transmuted into words
Transmuted back to breath
in one hundred two hundred years
nearly Immortal, Sappho's 26 centuries
of cadenced breathing -- beyond time, clocks, empires, bodies, cars,
chariots, rocket ships skyscrapers, Nation empires
brass walls, polished marble, Inca Artwork
of the mind -- but where's it come from?
Inspiration? The muses drawing breath for you? God?
Nah, don't believe it, you'll get entangled in Heaven or Hell --
Guilt power, that makes the heart beat wake all night
flooding mind with space, echoing through future cities, Megalopolis or
Cretan village, Zeus' birth cave Lassithi Plains -- Otsego County
farmhouse, Kansas front porch?
Buddha's a help, promises ordinary mind no nirvana --
coffee, alcohol, cocaine, mushrooms, marijuana, laughing gas?
Nope, too heavy for this lightness lifts the brain into blue sky
at May dawn when birds start singing on East 12th street --
Where does it come from, where does it go forever? 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Feeling Love Is Where It's At

Some people have a problem with the phrase “I love you, but [any non-gay-affirming thing].” Not me! This is the third in a series of (probably) four posts that examines why I think that and what I think we should be talking about instead.

Matt here. In the second post, I established that you can’t prove or disprove what a person says they feel. A person’s feelings exist in their self, and there is no guaranteed behavior that correlates either with love or lack of love--and if there were, it would not be saying “I love you, but.”

Now, I’m not particularly Christian these days, but since Clyde thought the words of Christ were pertinent, I’ll point out that in all the words of Christ, he never made a statement about making people feel loved. He never said “Thou shalt make thy neighbor feel loved as thyself,” he simply said “Thou shalt love thy neighbor.” He never said “Make your enemies feel loved,” he just said “Love your enemies.” Things that make us feel loved tend to be associated with people who claim to love us--but the association isn’t intrinsic.“Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends”; whether they know about it or not, the love is there. Or, dying for your friend might be a sign that you loved them, but it might also be a sign that you felt reeeeeeally guilty for cheating on him with his husband.

Even though Jesus didn’t talk about it, making people feel loved is also important because it’s the measure we use (rightly or wrongly) to assess how much we are loved, and we use that information to make decisions in our day-to-day life. Whether we feel loved influences who we spend our time with, what advice we listen to, and the quality of our life, among other things. Most importantly, feeling loved opens us up and makes it possible to love others and make other people feel loved. In the end, taking people to task for not loving is something only God can do--but imagine a parable of the talents, where the talents are love. I really doubt that God will be happy with a servant who loves, but doesn’t make that love felt and multiplied.

The idea that love and feeling loved are the same can also be problematic because many people, like Misty, put the burden of feeling loved on the feeler. “If you don’t feel loved,” they say, “that’s your fault. The love is there.” That this is a common perspective in Christian populations shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, since that’s the way their worldview accounts for the concept of a perfectly loving God and a population that doesn’t feel perfectly loved. Don’t feel loved? You must be doing something wrong. Read your scriptures more. As John Bytheway put it in one of the many, many cassette tape talks I listened to over and over on the annual family roadtrip from California to Utah, “If you don’t feel as close to God today as you did yesterday, who moved?” But this idea can’t function once we acknowledge that the act of loving is itself unfeelable. “I feel loved = I am loved” can be a useful shorthand, but it’s not necessarily true.

In reality, when we feel loved, it’s because for whatever reason (and sometimes no reason at all) we believe, really believe, heart and mind, that someone loves us. It might be enough for them to say “I love you.” It might be enough for them to take us out to dinner, or play videogames with us, or hold us when we need to be held. There are a million modes of making people feel loved, but none of them work if we don’t believe they’re sincere. We can’t believe they’re sincere unless we trust them.

Partly, that’s on us; if we are self-centered, uncharitable, or generally slow to trust, we’ll probably miss or disregard sincere efforts to make us feel loved. Partly, though, that’s on the lover. Words and actions can easily undermine our willingness to trust and thus our ability to feel loved. It takes a massively unrealistic amount of openness, vulnerability, and depending on the circumstances naivete to feel loved while at dinner with the guy who slept with your husband last week (though it’s still possible). If you betray my trust, you can’t very well fault me for not trusting you.

There’s a third aspect, too:  Feeling loved by someone who has no idea who we are doesn’t mean much compared to the love of someone who knows us well. In other words, we have to trust that the lover is qualified to honestly love us before we can really feel loved by them. If they don’t know us, don’t know what’s important to us or why, what we think about or how, how can we believe they know who we are? If they don’t know who we are, how can we feel loved by them?

In my comment on her post, I allowed that perhaps Misty did, in fact, love me, but I also pointed out that I didn’t feel that love. I was open to feeling love, and I could even see how, from her perspective, her perspective was the best, most love-packed response possible. What I couldn’t see was how she was qualified to say she loved me. She obviously doesn’t know me (though I was disheartened to see a lady from my parents' ward among her commenters), her knowledge about homosexuality and AIDS is tiny and selective, and her post in general was hugely, hubristically patronizing. She said she loved gay people, but is it any wonder that that wasn’t enough, in the face of everything else, to make me feel loved?

So, to wrap up: Loving still doesn’t equal feeling loved; according to the New Testament, the important thing is loving; even so, making people feel loved is important too because that’s how love spreads; we don’t feel loved unless we are open to feeling love, we experience words or actions that we interpret as signs of love, and we trust that the lover is qualified to love us.

Next week, I want to talk about why any of this matters.

Tangential and wonderful: Mouthwatering phrases of Neruda + cats.

Tangential and Star Trek: Picard gets sassy.

Friday, January 25, 2013


I believe in Karma. I believe that when you put good juju vibes into the universe, the universe will present you with more good juju vibes back.
So over break I was tempted with something bad. Something I knew was wrong and degrading to my integrity. Something I knew would totally mess up my juju vibes. But I did it anyway. And my karma has been shot to hell since.
My phone broke. My car broke. I was quickly running out of groceries and staple toiletries. I had to ask people for help (I really do hate that) and life was just stressful. I wasn’t signed up for the class I needed and so I was missing things and it was just this big glob of mess and all I could think about was how I had messed up my karma and how dumb that was of me. I’ve essentially been kicking myself in the arse since Christmas.
The bottom of the barrel had arrived two days ago. I got a letter stating that my endorsement could be withdrawn. I had to meet with the Bishop. I essentially just crumpled to the floor. I couldn’t take it anymore. I was trying so hard and it just kept coming. I wanted nothing more than to let them kick me out so I could run home to my mommy and be done with this place. I was so beyond tired. I even toyed with the idea of suicide but tried to keep it at bay.
But that was the bottom of the barrel. It has to be. I can’t keep serving a punishment for this. And today my car started working again. I was finally able to put food in my cupboards (there are only so many variations of eggs and bread and ramen that I can stand) and get my phone working again. I got an iPod and I’m starting to get over this cold. I have all weekend to work on homework and best of all I called my bishop and he seemed happy to work with me.

The moral of this story: don’t screw with your juju. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

How Far Out Of The Closet Am I?

Let's make a bunch of little stories really quick.

First, an old FHE sister of mine keeps asking leading questions about whether or not I'm gay. But, frustrating to probably both of us, she won't ask the question directly and I won't answer the question.

A different old FHE sister of mine talked to me about how much she hates the church's view on homosexuality and she's so glad that I've given her details about my half-asian. (But really, it wasn't much).

I was home with half-asian when one of my roommates walked in on us causally holding hands. I'm only 60% sure he saw us... but, regardless, he didn't say anything.

A different roommate asked about who I'm dating (it's obvious that I am, with all the valentine's day prep). I just said someone from Salt Lake and he asked "who's the girl?" and then quickly corrects himself and says "or guy. I'm openminded." Still not sure if he knows or was just making a joke.

My final roommate must know I'm gay. After all the flirting me and half-asian did last semster, I'd be almost disappointed if he didn't know.

Dupree's roommates know.

All my old roommates know.

Everyone I worked with last semster knows. Hell, they even help plan some of the dates that I went on.

Everyone I do game nights with knows.

Everyone from Aspen Grove knows.

A whole apartment full of females from my ward know. (You tell one, you've told them all)

In fact, I'm pretty sure at least half of everyone I associate with know that I'm gay. I think I'm more out of the closet then I once thought.

And I think I'm okay with it.

I'm comfortable with myself. I now realize that Utah culture has far more sub-cultures than I thought. People seem to instinctivly know who not to tell. I mean, yes, I know there is still risks. But I don't think it is as risky as I use to think.

I'm still not going to wear signs around campus or tell people I'm dating a man. But what I will do is surround myself with only the best people there are and continue on, being me. Sometimes being who I want to be, but mostly, just being me.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Looking for a New Blogger! It Could Be YOU!

Hello everyone! We've got an opening for a new blogger.
Send an email to and include:

1. A short biography

2. A photo (of you is great, but if you're going for anonymity then something that shows your personality- it will be posted in your profile tab)

3. A post on what silence and/or breaking the silence means to you.

Please note that bloggers for Breaking the Silence must write a new blogpost (which can include text/picture/video/poetry/etc) every week on their assigned day of the week.  The opening at this time is for Tuesday. Feel free to ask me any questions in an email.

Thanks for reading Breaking the Silence!


Monday, January 21, 2013

One Giant Step for Ryan, One Small Step for...

It loomed over my head this past week. I grew more anxious and nervous thinking about it. I have long since wanted to do. I needed to do it. I knew that once I did it, that things in my life would begin to improve. But still, I couldn't bring myself to do it. Maybe I was fearful of the change. Maybe I was afraid of being brutally honest. Finally, on Friday, it happened. I don't know why; perhaps I just grew so tired and fed up of weighing the decision in my mind. But I mustered up the courage and the balls to do what needed to be done, what would make things easier for me and those around me.

I made an appointment with a therapist.

With all this buildup to my dialing a phone number and scheduling an appointment, I began thinking about stigma. In larger society, mental health has long been a topic that people never discuss. Moreover, seeking help or treatment for one's struggles with mental health is seen negatively: psychotic, weak. For me personally, I don't really care what other people have to say about me seeing a therapist. It's not them that have to live in my body, my mind, and go about life in my shoes. It's me. But what I found astonishing was how much I fought my own self in making the appointment. I kept wondering if it was the right thing to do, if maybe I just waited things out, I would start to feel better. In hindsight, societal views on therapy may have subconsciously influenced my actions. Mostly, however, I knew that I was just getting in my own way: fearful of change, progress, and confronting my past. Something I've long done and need to learn to stop doing.

I don't know what therapy will do for me, but I hope it will open new doors and help me to resolve issues I've long fought with. I don't see it as a way of saying, "I give up. I can't fix my problems." Rather, I see it as a way of saying, "I need to develop introspection, and therapy will not only help me in doing so, but also provide perspective and insight onto influencing factors unbeknownst to me, but visible to a knowledgeable professional."

Saturday, January 19, 2013

A postcard

Matt here. The post I had planned for today isn't ready yet. In the meantime I thought I'd share something with you: 

My older brother sent me an email today. The one I haven't talked to in three years.


"We just got the New Year's postcard that you sent.  It's beautiful!  Thank you."


I don't think we'll ever agree about who was at fault in the events that split us up. He hurt me more and made me angrier than I think anyone else ever has. To me at least it's clear that I'm in the right, but he disagrees.


If I'd insisted he see things from my perspective before reaching out to him—building a bridge—I wouldn't have this little tendril of hope that maybe he's ready to stop insisting I see things from his perspective and one day we'll be friends again, even though it can't ever be like it was. 


I want my brother back.

Friday, January 18, 2013


When I was younger I refused to take pills. My mother relates horror stories to me as to how she would squish my cheeks together and try to force it into my mouth and then I would just spit in her face. Later I tried to crush the pills and mix them with water… more spitting.
I just didn’t like the idea of medicating. Later I realized that pretty much everyone in my family was self-medicating. My grandparent’s house had a bunch of random pill bottles with prescriptions for people I had never heard of. Even when I lived with a “normal” family they were constantly on medication. Like as soon as I walked in the house I was diagnosed with allergies and forced to shove a sprayer into my nose daily. I didn’t like medication. (Also pills are essentially what killed my cousin. She was on anti-depressants and when she was locked up she didn’t have access to them. The withdrawal fucked her up. When she was released she shot herself.)
As I got older I got over for fear of medicating. Maybe a little too over it. I kept a bottle of Nyquil next to my bed and would take ten Ibuprofen at the sign of a headache. Even with the Nyquil I was constantly taking sleep medication.
But last year my depression got really bad and so I started on my first anti-depressant: Prozac. I was on it for a while and it really helped but during the summer I felt fine so I stopped taking it. Now I know how dumb that sounds. “Oh it’s working so you stop?” But I kept having these great moments and I had this nagging sensation that I had to attribute that to the pills. I wanted my happiness to be mine, not chemically created. I guess I was just raised in a way that you took the good with the bad and if you didn’t have the bad, how would you appreciate the good?
However it started to get bad again. I had people on my back about how I should get a prescription. My mother pleaded with me to at least research it. I searched out experiences from my friend who was on Zoloft. I was actually trying…
But it wasn’t until my first anxiety attack that I decided to actually see a psychiatrist. The feelings of not being able to breathe or sit still or focus or have any control… I absolutely hated losing it like that. And when I wasn’t able to function these last two weeks at school I knew I needed a change. But it wasn’t because everyone was telling me I needed the pills; that just went in one ear and out the other. It was finally accepting for myself (probably for the billionth time) that this was a chemical problem and I truly needed help.
So this morning I talked to a psychiatrist and I am now on Zoloft for depression with anxiety and Gebapentin (which apparently treats seizures) for insomnia. Maybe I’ll be a functional adult now… I kind of hope so.


Patrick Forrest

I woke up when I was younger
And bawled "Mummy I have a headache"
She said
"Don't you worry darling,
Mummy's got a pill for you."

I sat up when I was 7,
With my head all full of phlegm
I said
"Mum I've got a runny nose"
And she gave me pills

I didn't sleep much at all
Once I had turned 15
The doctor said
"There's pills for that!"
So I was given pills

When my head felt like exploding
And my spine seized up with fear,
I thought to myself
"It's not a problem!"
There's plenty more pills
In here.

So I opened up a box or two
And I took them two at a time.
No matter how many pills I took,
The world just kept on screaming.
Until the day I took the lot,
And they found me cold and bleeding.

I woke up in the hospital
And was told
What they thought I'd tried to do.
The nurse just smiled
And told me softly
"I've got some pills for you." 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I Think I Need A New Fhe Group

Monday nights of my Freshman year were the BEST nights. I worked until 7:30, true, but then I would go to Fhe which my Fhe family would push back so that I could attend. And I loved Fhe.

Then sophomore year came. And Fhe started. For two weeks. And then the parents got lazy and we didn't have it anymore. But I wasn't angry. I understood. I mean, they had classes, they had school. Far more important. (I was a little sad). (I'm not THAT emotionless).

Last semester was a similar story, but this semester, we had our first Fhe! With a family of people I already knew about half of. Walked into the apartment. Smelt the brownies. And, somehow, I knew this was going to be perfect.

And I was completely wrong.

Opening song. Opening prayer. Silly name game. Then the lesson. A lesson in truth.

Irony, because the concept of "truth" is the biggest argument made against the church. You know. The church says that they are truth and truth is eternal. Divine even. Yet there are some, shall we say, inconsistencies.

Anyways, I would have been OK with the subject if it hadn't gotten ridiculous and offensive. We talked about how the church is absolute truth. We talked about truth being divine. And how God never changes the truth.

But wait! They bring up polygamy! The truth can change?

And the answer to that was the truth is different for every era, every people. The truth can change depending on circumstance.

Which directly contradicts the church being absolute truth. For, the truth can change. Depending. (On what? you may ask. Well, that is why we have apostles and prophets and current revelations.) (This is also why we don't teach what Brigham Young once taught, why Mcconkie had to publicly refute much of what he said.)

Anyways, I don't want to go into problems with the church. Or this silly argument they were making. Instead, I want to go into what my Fhe Dad said that almost made walk out. And I would have except I had one female fight against what he said. She spared me that awkward moment of walking out.

My Fhe dad (Jesse, we shall call him), said that people outside of the church believe in evil things such as adultery and gay marriage. I tried to correct him. I mean, he couldn't have meant adultery, instead meaning fornication outside of marriage. Pretty sure that THAT is a standard no-no for most people. But no. He insisted that cheating on one's spouse is what people believe in and then went on to group these two things (gay marriage and adultery) were the two most evil things outside of murder.

And, that, my dear friends, is why gay people end up hating the church.

Again, I would have walked out, right then, if one girl hadn't stepped up and said that he was being ridiculous. (Probably referring to his obvious mistake about cheating on your spouse being commonly accepted, but still something.) He tried to get defensive, but people didn't want an argument and shut both down.

So, I've decided that, despite positive experiences with Fhe, I will not be going back. To this one. Instead, I think it is high time I joined fabulous home evening. Where people don't believe in hour long lessons. Or that adultery is common outside of the church. Or that gay marriage (or being gay in general) is evil.

Monday, January 14, 2013

1 Girl, 5 Gays, Eh?

I could be the worst gay ever. More often times than none, I have not had any of the typical gay “rites of passage” that many have long since experienced. We won’t even mention the fact that I have not seen Brokeback Mountain yet (oh, the shame). A lot of what culturally happens in my community always transpires without my knowledge. Although I am familiar with many LGBT music artists, I am typically culturally illiterate until someone brings me into the light.

Such was the case when I walked in on my roommate watching “1 Girl, 5 Gays.” For those that don’t know, it’s a Canadian show airing on MTV Canada, and on Logo in the United States. The show features the heterosexual and charming Aliya Jasmine Sovani as host and a panel of 5 gay men chosen from the Toronto community.  The 6 talk about various aspects of their love and sex lives, which results in humorous and outrageous confessions.

After watching just one episode with my roommate, I was hooked. Each episode is entertaining and light, with just a small smidge of adversity and inspiration. In other words, it’s a lot of happy with an “aww” moment every now and then. Also, I experienced something rare while watching the show: I was able to relate to most of these guys, their answers, and their experiences. Let me just say that if this show is representative of gay life in Toronto, I’ll start packing my bags. The guys, on camera at least, are like nothing I’ve ever experienced before: positive, genuine, and normal. 

Season 4 episodes can be watched online here, and season 1 episodes can be watched online here. And if you live in Canada/an area where the copyright doesn't apply to you, well, then I envy you because you can watch them all here

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Some Words on Depression

I just had the greatest first week of school ever. All my classes were so interesting. I took notes and was excited to the do the reading; I talked with people in my class and made comments. Today I was sitting in bed and remembered that I needed to refill a prescription, so I grabbed my phone and refilled it right after remembering that I needed to. Yesterday, I thought I should prep my lesson for tomorrow, so I did, and today I printed out all the crap I need to hand out to my adorable new students tomorrow.

All of this is in stark contrast to the way I felt about things last semester. The first week was hard, and the semester only got harder. Everything was terrible; I didn't have the energy to do anything. I stopped going to class halfway through the semester, and if I did make it to class, I missed at least the first half, except for the one class I had with my boyfriend, since he picked me up and drove me to campus so that we would be mostly on time.

I had also broken my foot, so getting to and from campus (and to and from everywhere) was a little tricky. But I didn't realize until this week of school started how terrible things actually were last semester. They were a huge, gigantic bummer, and it sucked.

The main contrast is that I feel like I have energy today--energy to do my homework (some of it, anyway) and to refill my prescriptions. You don't realize how draining it is not to have that energy until you regain it and wonder how you ever survived without it.

This isn't to say that everything about last semester was awful; I made a lot of friends in my new program, which was fun. I started out dreading teaching but came to like it and changed from hating my students to thinking they were cute. I read some interesting books and saw some good movies and did a lot of hanging out with my friends and boyfriend and had some good times.

And it isn't to say that now everything is magically better. My classes are better, I actually know how to teach now, and I'm actually interested in the subject matter I'm studying this time around, but just because today has been a good day doesn't mean that every day from here on out will be. I dread the next time all this perky energy leaves me and I slouch around the house and up to campus feeling empty and useless and the only energy I can gather is to wish I were dead.

But days like today give me the confidence that not every day has to be like those days. That some semester, or days, or hours, or minutes, can be better than others. This is always a good time to refer back to The Return of the King and poor sad Frodo Baggins, who I way over-identify with. Last time I watched that movie, I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed, not just because Frodo was getting more and more depressed and more and more suicidal but because he always had someone who cared about him--whether it was Galadriel outside of Shelob's Lair or Aragorn and company at the end or, and most especially, Sam, who followed him around even when rejected and ultimately says that while he can't carry his friend's burden, he can physically (emotionally, mentally) carry his friend. Maybe it's overwrought and dramatic and I know it's just a fantasy tale, but it is so incredibly emotionally resonant with me because I spend so much time feeling like Frodo and I just need to be reminded that everyone around me has been a Sam to me at different points in my life. No one can be a Sam all the time; that would be emotionally exhausting, and even Sam can't save Frodo in the end. But I think we can all take on the role for someone else when we have the energy and love to do so. If you don't have a Sam, I'm so desperately sorry; I hope that you will find one later in your life, and keep believing that you will. And I hope that silly us on our silly, heartfelt blog can be of some help, Sam- or otherwise.

Anyway, this has been a long and silly ramble, and all of my energy might leave again when I go to my parents' house for dinner tonight, though I'm trying to be optimistic. Regardless, I'm glad I had this week and this weekend to float out of the sludge and grime of depression, even if I just sink right back down again. Good luck to everyone struggling with this same thing; I very much sympathize and empathize with you, including those of you who I know and love very personally and those of you who I've never met. I'm not always on my best behavior, but I hope that sometimes I can help people around me like they've helped. Cheers and love to all of you on this cold and sunny day, and please stay warm and remember that there are people around you who love and care about you, online or off. Loves.


Little Fishy Thing
Jenny Browne

When I learned of you I tattooed
a morning glory
round my belly button

and played Bach's 6th Cello Suite
every day, left
headphone to womb so you'd know

the sound of the world waiting.

I snorkeled the coast of Carmen, hovering
my little fishy thing, among sea-
suck green and leaning
over webbed purple lungs, six ton
brains, such fluttering. We are

breathing below every surface
a glare, salt a skin
floating belly, butt, bloody hole
you call home.

Eyes on the side of a head turn
inward, turn
nicked black seeds half inch below earth winding
into a cord between sky
and it's time.

When I learned I licked
salt from behind your father's knees. Can you see
the ocean floor inside our one body, two
webbed hearts attached to stone,
half life to make, half
second to break?

Of you I swam
where every voice its own echo. Keep keep
turning to feel

anything. Everything

now a window in the tropics propped
open by a spider web turning
from dance in the dark of wish
to tongue in the deep

mouth of when.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Righteous Indignation Doesn't Excuse Hypocrisy.

Some people have a problem with the phrase “I love you, but [any non-gay-affirming thing].” Not only do I not have a problem with that sort of phrase, I think that having a problem with it shows a lack of empathy. My next few posts will examine why I think that.

I established last week that “but” does not generally negate what comes before. When people say they love LGBT people and then say “but,” they are in fact saying (1) that they love us, and also (2) some other thing that contrasts with that love. However, even though no one has shown any hole in the reasoning from my last post, it seems pretty evident from the responses to Clive (and those who’ve preceded him) that, reasoning aside, quite a few people think it’s impossible to say “I love you” and “I don’t accept your lifestyle” and mean both.

I thought about why this might be, and I think I know. And as we leap into the meat of things, a question: is it really a question of being loved, or is it a question of feeling loved?

Because “but” can, certainly, be used to make one clause negate the other. It’s raining, but it’s clear. It’s 110 degrees, but it’s cool. I love you, but I don’t love you. The thing about these sentences is, they’re nonsense statements. It can’t be both raining and clear, and it can’t be both 110 degrees and cool, and a person can’t both love and not love you, because the meaning of the two clauses are opposites on the same scale, whether weather conditions, temperature, or degree of love, and (outside quantum things, I guess?) we can’t have a condition from one end of the scale and another from the opposite end of the same scale at the same time.

This is why so many gay people find “I love you, but I don’t support your lifestyle” -type statements so frustrating: they are clumping “support for lifestyle” onto the continuum of love. As a result, “I don’t support your lifestyle” is synonymous with “I don’t love you,” and obviously “I love you, but I don’t love you” is crazy making. In their minds, loving someone without supporting their lifestyle is as nonsensical as claiming it’s both raining and clear. The problem with this is that accepting someone’s lifestyle is on a completely separate scale from loving that person. You can love a son away at college without loving his lifestyle, which burns through your money. You can love a friend who cheats on her husband again and again, even though he’s your friend too. You can also support a lifestyle without loving the liver, as we all do for (almost) every elected official. “I don’t support your lifestyle” is not synonymous with “I don’t love you.”

But the homeless kids!

I’m not a heartless bastard.

However, Clive said this: “Rather than try to understand, support, and accept these young men for the sons of God that they are, their fathers and mothers demanded conformity as a pre-requisite for granting parental love.” This as an unjustifiable claim. Of course parents are wrong to put their children on the streets. Some of the demands Clive attributed to them were stupid ("I love you and want you to stay, but you can't keep thinking you have same sex attraction"), and some were reasonable ("I love you and feel your pain, but you better not bring your gay friends into our home"), but not a single one is a sign that those parents don’t love their children.

This was impressed on me by Misty, the same Misty Clive mentioned. In fact, my comment on her post and her response come just after Clive’s comment. If you read her post, brace yourself. It’s awful. It’s offensive. It’s infuriating. Yet in it, Misty is adamant about the fact that she loves gay people. I wracked my brain over how I could prove her wrong, and I came up with . . . nothing. I can’t prove that her mother heart isn’t full to bursting with love for the gays, just as you can’t prove that those parents who kick their children out don’t also love them, because it’s impossible to prove that a person doesn’t feel what they say they feel.

This should be a very familiar concept to gay Mormons, because so many of us have been in this situation with the roles reversed. How many times have you heard that gay love isn’t real love? “I love my wife, but what you have with yours? That’s just lust.” Though this happens less as the years go on, it still happens all the time: people try to tell us what we feel, and we dismiss them as ignorant patronizing hicks who literally don’t know what they’re talking about. How can we possibly justify using the same (failed, faulty, stupid) tactic on people who say I-love-you-but?

We can’t. Every time we do, we leave ourselves open to charges of hypocrisy.

Tangential: "
The underlying issue is that these parents do not or cannot accept the fact that their sons are homosexual males, no more afflicted than any of their heterosexual children. They believe that in the end, their SSA-behaving sons have a choice."--Clyde, same post I linked to in the middle

Now, whether it's ever, ever, ethical to pressure or guilt someone into "choosing" a life they don't want, that's a different question.


“If language is not correct then what is said is not what is meant. If what is said is not what is meant, then what ought to be done remains undone. If this remains undone, then morals and acts deteriorate. If morals and acts deteriorate, justice will go astray. If justice goes astray, the people will stand about in helpless confusion. Hence, there must be no arbitrariness in what is said. This matters above everything."--Confucius in The Power of Words

"Aristotle is only warming up to his main theme, which is the study of sentences that assert or deny something . . . He says that one statement is contradictory of another if it is an exact negation of it, and, as he points out, it's a matter of some subtlety to determine this. For instance, the contradictory of 'all humans are white' is not 'all humans are not white,' but rather 'some human is not white.'"--Peter Adamson in The History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps, Episode 35

“Offence-takers win by society’s choice of appeasement as its response to their unreasonable demands and incessant agitation. The agitators will generally present themselves as people of peace. They have no desire to start a culture war. All that society has to do is to accede to their – perfectly reasonable! – demands and peace will prevail. . . . Offence-takers consistently lament the belligerence and intractability of their opponents.” --Alastair Roberts in On Triggering and the Triggered, Part 4

There’s no call for butchering innocent conjunctions and denying the feelings of our straight family. Leave the hypocrisy, the faulty logic, and the victim cards to the small-minded Christians. We don't need those things to win, and in fact, they're only bogging us down.

Next week I’ll explore the concept and consequences of feeling love without making that love felt.

Friday, January 11, 2013


I remember the adventures of Rellesnevel and Eerpud.
I remember you comforting me by going to rub your shoulder but actually rubbing mine; your sneaky ways to show that you were there.
I remember every word to Hot N Cold and It’s Not Over and Love Remains The Same.
I remember watching Twilight and being the “Cold Ones” because I didn’t know how to make a fire.
I remember being complete dorks but loving it.
I remember meeting you and instantly removing everything else in my life to make room for you.
I remember crying the whole way home when you had to leave for school.
I remember the Rummie Notebook.
I remember the Lake Swings.
I remember when you thought the ice would hold you and when it didn’t I caught you.
I remember how the bumps on the road felt going to your house.
I remember noodles and one glass of milk.
I remember planning my future around you.
I remember my hair not being on fire.
I remember you playing better when you were pissed at me.
I remember waking up to you smiling at me.
I remember you telling me to dance in the rain and me asking you to be my partner.
I remember falling in love with you.
But I also remember when you left me after my grandmother got sick.
I remember you being pissed because I was sad.
I remember you being relieved when you found out that I just fucked some kid that I had no emotional attachment to because you thought I was going to tell you I liked girls.
I remember you yelling that I tricked you after I came out to you.
I remember you pretending to be okay with my sexuality even after I profusely offered to move out.
I remember you calling me Satan.
I remember you leaving.

Do you even remember me?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

New Year's Special

Hey HEY!

So, remember that Christmas special on the T-shirts? Well, we're extending it into January. It's a New Year's Special! Until January 31, you can purchase an "i'm okay if you're gay" t-shirt for just $5 and a flat rate of $5 shipping!

Check it out in the side bar!

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Generation Gap?

So, this week, my parents came up from our home base southern California. You know, they passed through, ate lunch with me, dropped off my best friend Kim and met my half-asian.

Expected reactions vs. Actual Reactions

Kim: General quietness so I can, respectfully, talk with my parents.
Actual: Same.

Dad: Largely ignore half-asian (except to ask what his job is) and let my mother dictate her happiness. Actual: I was wrong. He didn't ignore half-asian. Instead, he gave him disgusted looks THREE times while he thought no one was looking. And that was just how many times I saw those looks.

Mom: Dictate her happiness.
Actual: Same.

Half-asian: Talk a lot, try to talk about cars, get to know parents, let them know who he is.
Actual: Didn't say a word and manages to shift uncomfortably whenever he is looked at.

I've been thinking about this one for a while. And I can only think it is a generational change. I went to a fairly conservative high school (maybe not Utah level, but defiantly conservative for California). Yet, despite this conservatism, there was a good sized GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance). The club might have even been a bit popular. Most high schools I know have one (except in Utah, where people are not okay if you are gay). Yet, ten years ago when my pseudoscience-major brother was going to high school, a GSA was unheard of. Being gay was not acceptable. It wasn't on tv. It wasn't talked about. I don't even know if it was thought about in all honesty. Gay people were just queers and that was that.

And my half-asian is as old as my brother. He doesn't have the four kids my brother has, nor a lovely spouse like my brother has, but they are roughly the same age: 30. And so I think half-asian is use to that world. That world where being gay doesn't exist because it wasn't in people's minds. I'm not saying that gay people now where diamond-studded thongs and demand that sort of attention, but people in high schools now are different, more accepting. (Surprisingly, 21st Jump Street got that concept surprisingly accurate.)

I'm not mad at half-asian. Not over something as silly as him being embarrassed. But I am a bit mad at myself. I should have been more careful when asking him to step further out of his closet. I didn't realize it was that big of a deal for him. Don't get me wrong. It is a big deal for me too but, for me, it is mainly because I'm at BYU. Once I get away from here, I will probably still be a bit hesitant to tell people I'm, you know, gay, but I will be further out then I am than ever (and I have at least a foot in my closet door).

Tomorrow will be 16 weeks for me and my half-asian. Also 17 weeks since my (painless) breakup with Jay. Interesting, right? Didn't think I was the person who needed/wanted a relationship. And yet, here I am, in college, proving myself wrong. Oh well. I like this thing I have going with my beautiful half-asian.

Monday, January 7, 2013

They Crowd My Head, These Thoughts.

Today, swirling around in my mind:

*Classes start today. I really dislike this.

*3 weeks was not a long enough winter break, especially when compared to last year's month long winter break.

*If I can't fit in, I'm going to do everything in my power to stand out. 

*I just wanna be in warm pajamas in bed with Netflix, the best lover that there is.

*This world is so incredibly flawed and backwards, most of the time.

*Too many things on my to-do list and no idea when I'll be able to accomplish any of them. 

*Just keep swimming, just keep swimming...

*Why do all the nice, good hearted people get trampled on and shoved into seclusion as the cruel minded and cruel hearted people move up in social graces? Why can't good people come out and play so I don't have to deal with a-holes?

*Will things ever get easier, or at the very least more manageable?

*This quote:
"People say that what we're all seeking is a meaning for life. I don't think that's what
we're really seeking. I think that what we're seeking is an experience of being
alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive. That's what it's all finally about ..."
- from Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth

*This song:

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Belated Christmas Thoughts

After a hiatus brought on by vacation and a lack of planning ahead on my part, I am finally back to writing my belated Sunday night posts. Yay! And many apologies.

I don't have much to write about still. I have now seen Les Mis three times, and I still really like it. Christmas with the family was funny. We watched the Doctor Who Christmas special, starring a new actress who is really quite adorable, and my (younger, innocent, cute, etc.) siblings were joking with each other about her; my sister was teasing my brother about how cute she was and he responded with a drawn-out, typical, sexual sigh of teenage longing--"yeeeeaaaahhhhh....sigh" Which I of course joined in on, which they were not expecting.

I also requested Louise Erdrich's book The Antelope Wife as a Christmas present, which has a kind of cubist painting of a bare-breasted woman on the front cover (a sexualization of the Native American female subject that bothered the Native American female author), but was not given it because my parents didn't want me opening it "in mixed company." Meaning that of my 14- and 17-year-old siblings, I guess. Or maybe that there were men in the room and it might be pornographic? Who knows. Anyway, I bought the book myself at a used bookstore in Washington a week later.

There were some less funny moments, like when my dad (intentionally or not) equated both suicidality and bisexuality with "choices" that he hoped I would steer away from making so that I could end up in "a good place" by making "wise choices." Also implicit was that suicide and sexuality are worldly ideologies that I have apparently bought into. My parents' view on suicide is fairly disturbing; when talking about a boy we know who committed suicide, they concluded their discussion on him with, "Well, but he did commit some pretty serious sins, so." As if that explained the whole thing. Only those who choose to sin choose to commit suicide, I guess.

What bothers me more is that my parents, who are tired of all the emotional pain I apparently heap on them with devilish glee, have adopted an attitude of disinterested disapproval; rather than listening to me when I talk, they have taken to informing me that what I do as the Laman/Lemuel combo of the family is no longer their problem. They have, as they said, chosen to step out of the path of the "speeding train of self-destruction" that is now my life. It was nice of them to take me to see Les Mis with them and to give me Christmas presents and all those traditional family Christmas things. And I kind of hate to be talking about all this on a blog, knowing what would happen if they saw any of this anywhere on the internet. But there were just these moments where my parents so affectedly do not care about me at this point. When I tried to explain to my dad about how I was feeling about this, he just said, "Well, we're trying to help you feel welcome at our house, so stop feeling anxious about it." I think that they think I'm a robot now (which they've said many times to my face), which I guess means I have no feelings--apart from devilish glee and a general delight in sin and mayhem--but when I say that I feel stressed and anxious I'm just told not to be, like it's not something that is a part of my makeup anymore even though they know that I've been stressed and anxious for my entire life. In the past they've tried to help with that. Now, not so much. They just don't care. So those are the reasons why Christmas mostly just ended with me sobbing every night. It was not that great.

Happily, I only had to be there for like three days, and then I went to lovely Washington, which was good. And I'm trying to focus on the positive aspects of being back in Provo, like finally going to the Sundance Film Festival with friends in a few weeks. I feel bad about the people who also had crummy Christmas breaks but didn't get to escape to Washington at the end of it. That sucks, and I'm sorry.

That concludes the summary of the bad parts of Christmas break. To be clear, even though they seem to believe otherwise, I do love my parents and especially my cute little siblings. But that doesn't mean that hanging out with them doesn't suck sometimes.

In lieu of the Leslie Norris poem I wanted to share, since I can't find the full text anywhere, here's a poem I read on Christmas that I quite liked. Cheers.

Li-Young Lee 

In the dark, a child might ask, What is the world?
just to hear his sister
promise, An unfinished wing of heaven,
just to hear his brother say,
A house inside a house,
but most of all to hear his mother answer,
One more song, then you go to sleep.

How could anyone in that bed guess
the question finds its beginning
in the answer long growing
inside the one who asked, that restless boy,
the night's darling?

Later, a man lying awake,
he might ask it again,
just to hear the silence
charge him, This night
arching over your sleepless wondering,

this night, the near ground
every reaching-out-to overreaches,

just to remind himself
out of what little earth and duration,
out of what immense good-bye,

each must make a safe place of his heart,
before so strange and wild a guest
as God approaches.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Contrast Isn't Negation.

Dear readers, this is a post I’ve wanted to write for a while. At first I wanted to write it because I’m Right And He’s Wrong, and for a while after that I wanted to write it because He’s Giving Us Gays A Bad Reputation, and then I forgot about it. And then I remembered, and I found that I didn’t really care like I did before. I still think I’m right and I still think what I’ll take issue with today gives us gays a bad name, but that doesn’t seem like the big deal it did when it was fresh. I hope that means I can keep from stepping on toes, but if I can’t, well, if you care enough to comment, I hope you can comment with something substantive.
Without further ado:


“I love you, but . . . "
Some gays hate to hear this phrase. Hate it. When they hear it they go blind with rage. They are offended, often loudly, and they lecture the person who said it. If they don’t lecture in the moment, there’s a good chance they will lecture later, in writing, through Facebook or email or a blog. If they don’t do that, they’ll just let the rage boil in their spleen.
Today I want to talk about Clive’s discussion about this phrase. Clive, and many others in this community, have a problem with the phrase “I love you, but [any non-gay-affirming thing].” Not only do I not have a problem with that phrase, I think that having a problem with it shows a lack of empathy. My next few posts will examine why I think that by looking at at Clive’s words.
First: “But” is as foul as “any of the four letter words that I try sometimes unsuccessfully to avoid.” Points off right out the gate for outrageous hyperbole. You think “but” is as foul as “shit,” “fuck,” or “cunt”? Maybe you avoid different words than I do.
Second: “When I was young, I learned something that has stayed with me my entire life ... a little insight into English grammar. I learned that when we use ‘but’ in a sentence, we in fact generally negate most of what we have said before the ‘but’.”


Let’s test this!
“He would have protested but he was afraid”
Negation? No. Exception.
“There is no doubt but he won”
Negation? No. It’s a synonym for “that.”
“It never rains but it pours”
Negation? No. Requirement.
“No sooner started but it stopped”
Negation? No. It’s a synonym for “than.”
he was called but he did not answer”
Negation? No. Contrast.
not peace but a sword”
poor but proud”


"But" does many things, but to say that it generally negates is just not true. Back when Clive’s post was fresh, I mentioned this in a comment, and though three people responded to that comment, no one disputed the point—they just considered it inconsequential. I got very frustrated then, because how can the fact that the underlying assumption of the series is obviously faulty be inconsequential?

Clive responded by telling me that “The point of this series is to help those who are Mormon and really want to build bridges to the gay community understand that communication for communication’s sake is worse than meaningless. If Mormons want to build bridges, they have to be willing to actually open their hearts, reach out, and show a little understanding on OUR terms, not theirs. That’s what reaching out is all about . . . Moving from a safe space to the place where you feel a little discomfort.”

I have all sorts of problems with that (next week we’ll explore them!) but for now I just want to say that if you get to your conclusion via faulty reasoning, then you leave your conclusion wide open to claims that it is faulty as well.

Suppose that some Mormons who really want to build bridges to the gay community read this. Perhaps they, like me, will notice right from the start that something is amiss and so will be skeptical of everything else in the post, right up to not believing the series’ conclusion, not necessarily because it’s a bad conclusion, but because they don’t trust the source. Or perhaps they’ll agree with the argument right up until the conclusion, which challenges them in uncomfortable ways—then they back up until they find this flaw and say “Ah ha! I knew it. The foundation is wrong, so the conclusion is wrong, so I don’t have to change.”

In the end, the people who will agree with Clive after reading the “I love you, but . . . “ are the same people who agreed with him before, but worse: all of those people are now more strongly confirmed in their belief. In their minds they’ve just experienced a well-thought out argument supporting their beliefs, despite the fact that the argument really supported nothing at all, because it was based on faulty assumption. Whatever the intended point of the series is, the result is that no hearts or minds are won and everyone is just convinced more strongly that they are right.

Now. Next week I’ll talk about the circumstance in which “but” statements actually are negation markers and what that means to this argument (hint: It includes the word “hypocrisy”).


In case you’re not yet convinced that that thing Clive learned in grammar school has been corrupted to suit the speech he wanted to give, here is the definition M-W gives for ESL learners (all examples in this post are taken from, the editors’ preferred dictionary!): 

1 — used to introduce a statement that adds something to a previous statement and usually contrasts with it in some way 

  • I don't know her, but my husband does. 
  • He wants to go to the movies, but I want to go to the museum. 
  • He plans to visit Boston and Chicago, but not New York. 
  • The book is not a biography at all but (instead is) a fictional account. 
  • It's not the music I don't like but (rather) the band themselves. 
  • She got the promotion not by luck but by hard work. 
  • The fighting has been going on for years. But to really understand the current situation, you have to look at the history of the region. 
  • She called his name, but he did not answer. 
  • He fell but (he) wasn't hurt/injured. 
  • I told him to stay, but he refused to. 
  • It might have been raining, but it was still a nice wedding. 
  • I'd love to come to the party, but [=however] I'll be away that weekend. 
  • I'm sorry, but I won't be able to help you. 
  • The dress is quite plain but (it's) pretty. 
  • They were polite, but not really friendly. 
  • Not only was it quite cold on our trip, but it rained the whole time too. 
  • I can't do it—but neither can you.

Look at all that contrast.