Sunday, June 28, 2009


About a month ago, a friend asked me to save today on my schedule so I could go to Pride in Seattle. It was going to be an educational experience for me because, though I've been out for quite a few years, I've never actually been to Pride before. He thought it would serve me well to go and honor the gays that came before me that helped open the eyes of the world to acceptance of men like me, like Harvey Milk and other people I fail to remember.

Then I found out that this weekend was our Multi-Regional YSA Conference. I thought I'd book myself for the conference on Friday and Saturday, and go to Pride on Sunday. I wrestled a little with the decision until my bishop called and asked me to teach Sunday School today. It was over - no Pride for me.

A very funny thing happened, though: over the last week, as I prepared the lesson for the class today, I kept getting little prickles from the Spirit. The lesson was about apostasy in the church, and how to fortify yourself against it. I was impressed to share my life openly again with this class. I was very nervous about this, but I knew that if I could do it once, I could do it again.

I remember looking out at the crowd today as I played the organ during the meeting. The entire chapel was full, and so was the overflow. Half of the gym was full as well. We had somewhere around 400 people today, from all over the state and parts of British Columbia. I was asked to teach in the chapel. Many people filed out of the chapel after Sacrament was over to attend other classes, but we still managed to fill the entire chapel for Sunday School. I was still nervous...

I spent a good deal of time this morning praying for the Spirit's aid today. Along the way, I randomly met an LDS family living near me, on their way to church. I took it as a good sign. At church, I continued to pray for help. As the opening prayer to class was spoken, I prayed for one last burst of strength. God's so good: we had an awesome lesson. The class was upbeat, and everyone was very helpful, and insightful, and inquisitive. I really enjoyed it.

At the end of the class, after we had talked about things like pride, getting offended, lacking in testimony, judging others, and other reasons why people leave the church, and counter-balancing them with a list of things to do to battle them like personal scripture study, praying often, obeying the commandments, and so on (I know, they're so simple, I love this list!), it came time to close the class. We had laughed a lot, and chatted amiably for so long, I felt pretty comfortable. I asked the class if I could get personal. I proceeded to tell them of my life at 19, coming to terms with being gay, and going through the process of repenting after making some unfortunate decisions. I told them about two friends I have, and of the experience of watching one of them take offense, and leaving the church; and the other who built a relationship with his savior, and is still here reaping the blessings that come from doing so. I chose the latter path, and was taught by him and others in my life who loved me so much that they were there for me. Now, 7 years later, I'm still here, and I'm deeply blessed because of that experience.

After the closing prayer, I received an overwhelmingly positive reaction to the class. One boy thanked me for my testimony, and told me of his own struggles with SSA, and his 5 year excommunication from the church. He's been back for 2 years now, and he's happier than ever. Another guy told me about a friend of his whom he thinks is lonely, and needs support from another guy like him, dealing with SSA, and asked if he could give his friend my number. One girl ran up to me, and gave me a hug, telling me how brave I was. Another hugged me as she cried. I couldn't believe it! We are so scared, for so long, to share our plight with people because we think the outcome will be bad. I experienced the complete opposite. I even had many beautiful, manly heteros that thanked me for the lesson. One told me that he admired people with guts, and that I had guts! Another told me it was the best lesson he'd ever had, and that he wished more people were open like that in church, because it invited the Spirit in for stronger and more meaningful bonds and experiences.

I am so grateful for this experience. I think it's ironic that I almost missed it because I was going to go educate myself on the gay world, and instead, I had the opportunity to provide one for so many Mormon kids inside the chapel of God.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Beat It!

Okay, I know that I am not the most sensitive person. And I know that I have my share of not-so-tasteful jokes, and terrible timing.

But can we please lay of the Michael Jackson jokes for AT LEAST 1 DAY?!

I know that he's not everyone's favorite person, but I love that man. His music inspired the entire world, shared messages of love and unity, bridged the gap between people of all colors and cultures, breathed life into POP!! He could dance and entertain like no other ever could or WILL. He was able to turn much of his troubled childhood into great songs. And despite whatever drama he caused the world as an adult, Michael Jackson positively contributed more to the world than anyone else in Pop music. He deserves the title of "King of Pop", and he bore it well.

So is it too much to ask for all of the haters to BEAT IT for just ONE DAY?!!!

Moment of Silence for Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, and MICHAEL JACKSON

I love and miss you guys so much, especially you, Michael~

Monday, June 22, 2009


I wrote this song a few years ago. I'm in a great mood, it just came to mind, and I couldn't get it out of my head, so I thought I'd share it anyway. Haha, it gave me a good laugh, even though I was doing anything but when I first wrote it...

(Don't) Take Me For Granted

You think I'm stupid; you think I'm shallow
You think that I'm so young and naive
You think I'm hopeless; you think that I don't know
You think it's okay to walk all over me

But not anymore, that just ain't the case, no
Not anymore, just look me in the face to know

I'm not who you think I am
I won't let you take me for granted again
You're not gonna use me, or abuse me, or push me to the floor
I won't let you take me for granted anymore

Not anymore...

You say I'm easy: you say I'm awkward
You say that I can't handle the facts
You say I'm cocky: you say that I'm disturbed
You say a lot of things behind my back

But not anymore will you sit in the judgment seat
Not anymore, you've got the wrong impression of me

'Cause I'm not who you think I am
I won't let you take me for granted again
You're not gonna use me, or abuse me, or push me to the floor
I won't let you take me for granted anymore

Not anymore, no...
Not anymore...

I'm not who you think I am
I won't let you take me for granted again
You're not gonna push me to the ground, kick me when I'm down
Make a fool of me whenever your friends around
I'm not listening anymore to the words you said before
So just shut up, shut up, shut up, you whore!

I'm not who you think I am
I won't let you take me for granted again
You're not gonna use me or, abuse me, or push me to the floor
I won't let you take me for granted
So don't take me for granted anymore

Not anymore, no
Not anymore...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Sunday Outting

All year long, I have wrestled with the thought of coming out to my Sunday School class, and using my life as an example in so many our lessons. Then, almost 2 weeks ago, after another semi-depressing conversation with my best friend, I decided that the time had arrived for me to grow the balls to finally do it. So for roughly a week leading up to last week Sunday, I prayed for the courage, and derived strength from my close friends as I prepared for that fateful time.

Sunday, June 7th, 2009 marks the day it finally happened. The lesson discussion was focused around the second coming of Christ. I used the story of Peter the disciple and Jesus Christ walking on water:

22 And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.
23 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.
24 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.
25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.
27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.
33 Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

I encouraged the class to pull apart the story, and to tell me what they got out of it. Their responses were wonderful. Some spoke of the miracle it was that Peter was able to walk on the water at all. Some talked about the example Christ was in setting aside time to commune with his Father in Heaven. Others spoke of their personal desires to remain faithful to Christ always, and to never be paralyzed by fear.

At the end of the lesson, we came back to the story, and pulled it apart some more. We related it to ourselves. Christ was with us once, but left to be with his Father. We know he will come back one day, but we don't know when, just like the apostles didn't know when he'd join them again. The disciples were out there on the seas during the fourth watch: this time period fell between 3-6 AM, just before dawn. We live in the last dispensation of time. In their geographical area, the winds were often very violent, and the waves very daunting. When the savior came to them on the water, it was no wonder the disciples were freaked out. Yet amidst the storm, Christ said, "Be of good cheer...". How often do those words have to give battle to the virulent torrents in our lives?

Then came the exchange between Peter and Christ. After Christ invites Peter out onto the water, Peter actually stands on it and begins to walk! That's so AWESOME!! But his environment scared him, and he began to sink. Peter IMMEDIATELY called for the savior's help, and Christ was there instantly, helping him back onto his feet. Christ's scolding, though often taken as chastising, to me sounds more like a gentle chiding: "O ye of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" Did he say, "O ye of little faith in me, wherefore didst thou doubt in me? NO! I think the implications were more along the lines of "O ye of little faith in yourself, wherefore didst thou doubt in yourself? We agreed as a class that more often than not, that's what happens in our lives. It's not that we lose faith in Christ, or doubt in him; we lose faith in ourselves, and our own abilities. We start drowning, because the waves in our lives get so high so quickly. So often, we are quick to judge Peter for sinking, but we all in essence experience the very same thing in our lives when times get scary, right?

I love verse 32: And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Which says a few things to me: (1) The winds didn't let up at all the entire time Christ and Peter remained on the water. They calmed once they got to the ship. And (2) they had to get back to the ship. Now in every picture I've seen of this story's depiction, Peter and Christ were a good distance from the ship. Did Christ tow Peter through the water until they reached the boat? I don't think so. I think after Christ lifted Peter out the water's grasp, he set him on his feet, and together they walked on that water, all the way back to the boat.

When they got to the boat, what happened? Not one of the disciples judged Peter for ever sinking in that water. Instead, they were happy that Peter was there, and that Christ had come, and they all worshipped Christ together. After discussing the consequences for the righteous and the wicked when Christ comes again, our class agreed that the prize for the righteous was much better, and that we would love all of our friends and family to be there on the boat, together in love and happiness. I asked if anyone had friends or family out there in the water, drowning, or if they themselves felt like that. Most of the class responded with an understanding affirmative.

And that's when I told my class about my own experiences with drowning, with SSA, and with those in my life who came to my aid and grabbed me by the arms, lifted me out of the water, and helped me on my feet, even when I wasn't crying out for Christ's help. I got to bare my testimony to the class about how happy I am that I am still here in the church today, walking on water once again, on my way with those I love to the boat that's big enough for all of us. I told the class that my experience should not be special - that all of our friends, no matter what they deal with, whether it's abusive and addictive substances, violence, same gender attraction, depression, whatever it is - that we all belong here, that we all have a place on that boat.

This past Sunday, my bishop approached me after sacrament meeting. He is brand new to the ward, and it was only his second Sunday here when he sat in the back of my class and observed the class. He thanked me for teaching the class, and told me that the lesson was wonderful. He said he could really feel my spirit, and that he was glad I was able to share what I did with the class. I was so grateful to God for giving me the strength to do it, and for sending the bishop as reassurance that what I had done was for a good cause.

P.S. The two boys that I spoke about in my last blog? They came to my performance on Sunday! Their mother said they'd been talking about me nonstop all week, and so they came to the fireside just to hear me sing again! I was so touched.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Such an Awesome Day

Yesterday, I performed at a large Arts Festival put on by a Multi-Stake group in the greater Puget Sound area. It was the first time in 4 years that I'd done something like this, so I very nervous about it. I was asked to do a 20 min set at 10:30 in the morning. That's so early for me on a Saturday!! But I was glad to do it, and it was an even bigger treat when my family showed up, and my non-member co-workers came out to show their support. Afterwards, one of the talent managers of the day approached me, informed me that an act later in the evening canceled due to a family emergency, and asked if I'd do a repeat performance. I originally hadn't planned on sticking around for the time, but something told me to gladly accept, so I did.

So many great things came of it the rest of the day, that I am still high on the gratitude I feel.

First, I got to have a very enjoyable lunch with my co-workers, where I was given the opportunity to share the gospel with them again. They had questions about polygamy, and I was able to give them a historical and spiritual account of the events that revolved around the laws of plural marriage. Then I was able to catch the performances of other good friends I haven't been able to hear play in a long while. During another break time, I was able to go to the studio and take care of some phone calls and paperwork. My studio is close to the house of a friend who was celebrating his 21st birthday, so I was able to visit him for a while before going back. He's a recent convert, and the only member of his Buddhist family, who received me very well. We had a great time, and I was glad I went.

I went back to the church to watch another performance before my next call time. There were several children and youth walking around without adult supervision. I noticed two young girls and two slightly older boys. The two girls were probably 12ish, very good friends, and they smiled shyly at me every time we crossed paths. I recognized them from my morning set. After my second set, they gathered the courage to approach me and introduce themselves, get pictures taken with me, and encourage me to audition for American Idol (I felt like a mini celebrity!).

The two boys were 14 year old fraternal twins. They were beautiful, tall and skinny creatures with perfect hair (I learned later their mother's a hairdresser). We struck up a conversation while looking at the art on the walls. I thought perhaps they created some of it, but they hadn't this time around, they were just admirers. I asked them about their art, and they told me their individual styles. They were doing a scavenger hunt game with the art on the walls, and solicited my help, so I roamed the gallery with them, helping them find the answers to the art questions. From the talks we were having, and their behaviors, I gained a sense that they were very special, and that they needed affirmative older-brotherly love. So it only mildly surprised me when the boys latched onto me the remainder of their time at the festival. I educated them on ballroom dancing while the dancers performed, and they told me about their musical interests (country!). They confirmed my suspicions when they told me they were adopted, and that they went into the foster program when they were 4, and could still remember it. I asked if something bad happened, and they told me something terrible. But they were adopted at 7 by a nice LDS couple, and they are great kids now. My heart cracked a little bit for them, and I praised God that they were being well-taken care of.

Whenever I needed to excuse myself for even a moment, I would turn around the next second, and they were with me again. When I left them to go to the green room, they came looking for me there as well. During my performance, Max sat and watched wild-eyed, while Jake walked around. Afterwards, Max excitedly told me about his desires to become a great singer, and Jake triumphantly handed me my scavenger hunt checklist with every item marked found. They sat with me and my niece and nephews for the next half hour before they left. I was so grateful I met them, and I suspect they have meaningful futures ahead of them.

There was also a woman in the crowd who was so impressed with my performance, she called her son in L.A. to tell him about it. Apparently, she's an A&R Rep for him, and he owns his own production studio there. She also contacted her Seattle talent agent, and is now trying to hook me up with the two of them, fly me down to L.A. to see if we all mesh well, and help me get my music out there. I honestly don't know what to think, and I don't want to put my hopes in something that may not amount to something, but I'm grateful for the opportunity at any rate.

At the end of the event, I stuck around, got a couple friends together, and helped them tear down the place. I actually really enjoyed it, and I felt that kind of tired afterwards where you are exhausted from doing something good, and you know you're going to sleep well. And I did, and I woke up and had to write all about it so I never forget what and awesome day I had.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


So I found some poetry I wrote a while back, and I thought I'd share some of it here. If it peaks your interest, let me know, and maybe I'll share more~

P.S. Thanks guys, I love you all tons~

It's Not You...

Blue as the skies above, your eyes
Shield something deep inside them;
And just as I think I've glimpsed their prize
Something new catches their attention.

It's not you, it's not me
But I don't know what it could be...

Your legs, so limber and so long
Glide across the carpet that at one time
We shared; now a memory gone
That I never again will find.

Your feet take you to the door,
An exit once before an entryway
To my heart; but no more
Can your feet permit you to stay.

It's not you, it's not me,
But I wish we still could be...

Darkness now, where light once dwelled.
It faded as your golden hair
Slipped from view; now all that's felt
Is the emptiness of no one else there.

My eyes, which once deceived my body
Now shed tears of emotions deep,
I never knew existed; the honesty
Is too much for my heart to keep.

She's gone, she's gone

No more her, no more we,
It's not you, it's just me.