"A conversation with myself"
Jeromy: I did WHAT!?!?!?
JEROMY: I went to a Matis Family Fireside. (A group designed to provide a loving environment where gay lds men can support each other in striving to maintain temple-worthy lives. It was started by Fred and Marilyn Matis, whose son killed himself on the steps of a stake center in Los Altos, California).
Jeromy: But I thought I hated stuff like that. I’ve accepted my sexuality and I’m fine with it. I don’t want to change it. Why would I go to a Matis Family Fireside?
JEROMY: I know it seems out of character for me. And yes I’m a little surprised, myself. I guess I have many reasons for going.
Jeromy: I’ve been to those meetings before. They’re kind of preachy aren’t they? I thought only married gay men, insecure, unstable and undecided gay men go there. They teach celibacy. The Matiss voted YES to prop 22 and YES to Prop 8. Doesn’t that bother me?
JEROMY: I am keeping a positive attitude, and trying to walk on higher ground here. Yes I expected to meet a variety of ideals there. But I didn’t go for political reasons.
Jeromy: Why did I go, Jer?
JEROMY: Because I am sad and angry (sangry?). I am lonely. I have lost a spiritual connection with my savior. I have lost the direction I once had. I feel the bitterness creeping into my soul, that I have detested in others and I want it out of me. The only way I have ever known to root out bitterness is with the purging power of the holy spirit. The best way to feel the spirit is to testify of true doctrine. Last night at the Matis Fireside, there was indeed true doctrine taught, and I did feel the spirit. Sister Camille spoke brilliantly. She was funny and entertaining but also very personable and poignant.
Jeromy: Do I feel satisfied or healed?
JEROMY: A little. Does one session in a tanning booth make me HOT?
jeromy: No. It takes many layers with many isolated visits.
JEROMY: That’s my answer then. I need many good doses of the spirit to peel away the hardened part of my heart before I feel good again, or satisfied.
Jeromy: Why else did I go?
JEROMY:Because I have need for humility before the Lord. And believe me Jer, sitting in a meeting (as a willing patron) that I once looked down upon was incredibly humbling. I felt so out of place.
Jeromy: Why did I feel so out of place?
JEROMY: Because I am the founder of a supportive fraternity for openly gay men. I encourage acceptance of homosexuality- the exact opposite ideology to the Matis family.
Jeromy: Then why in the world did I go?
JEROMY: I know right? It seems to be so contradictory. But I went to feel the spirit. I went to affirm my place in God’s plan. I went to combat the hatred in my heart for Mormons who hate me, as a gay man (because you know they exist in plentiful supply). I don’t want to hate. I want to understand, and promote an open dialogue. I feel I have a legitimate claim on Christ’s atonement. I feel I am able to be a whole person both as an open gay male and a latter-day saint (even if only in faith and not practice).
Jeromy: Then Jeromy, if I feel I have claim on all of these blessings, why did I feel so out of place and isolated in a meeting that speaks both to gays and Mormons at the same time?
JEROMY: Because there were many there who obviously were opposed to having me in their midst. I didn’t know what (or who) to expect, but I DID feel purposefully judged. I was introduced to several really nice guys. I was also introduced to a group of guys who I did not know, but who obviously knew me and felt I was not worthy to be in their presence. The sideways glances, fingers pointing (yes they pointed at me for real) and the whispering one to another while staring me down let me know that I was an outsider. I felt condemned. I think its because I've been around the block, and they knew it? Am I paranoid?
Jeromy: Yes, I think. You sound paranoid. Besides feeling the spirit did I get anything else good out of this fireside?
JEROMY: Yes, I made some very good friends and gained a better understanding of gay men in the gospel. I met several married men whose wives accompanied them to the meeting. I met some gay married men whose wives were completely supportive of their sexuality, within the bonds of fidelity of course. I also met some very kind souls who were happy, successful and celibate. I never knew or believed that was possible. But it seems to work for them.
Jeromy: Do I think they are deluded or suppressed?
JEROMY: I have no idea. Maybe, maybe not. But, from a psychological perspective it doesn’t matter. They are happy now. It isn’t my business to say to them “You THINK you can be celibate forever, but you’re just naive.” How dare I say that. They seem to be happy. I don't know why it works for them and not for me. No need to dwell on differences like that.
Jeromy: Stuart matis was celibate until he died. What are my thoughts on him?
JEROMY: Honestly, I have to ask this question, is Stuart Matis in a better place for having never acted on his homosexual feelings? I don’t doubt it.
Jeromy: But Jer- am I in a worse-off place than Stuart Matis for being sexually active with men? I had a partner for 3 years and am still inclined to date once in a while. I haven't ruled out the possibility of sex.
JEROMY: I honestly don’t know. Stuart Matis killed himself, a deplorable sin. Nothing frustrates God’s plan for salvation more than to deliberately cut a life short. I dare say, while homosexuality frustrates God’s eternal plan of salvation to a fundamental degree, suicide does more than frustrate it, it STOPS it dead. (I didn't intend the pun, but it works) Plus, maybe Stuart Matis would have acted on his sexual impulses if he lived long enough to come to a greater understanding of his sexuality. I don’t know. I’ll never know because he died. The grading scale is completely different. And by the way Jer- don’t compare us to Stuart Matis or anyone else on this matter. It’s unhealthy.
Jeromy: What other kinds of people did I meet there?
JEROMY: I was thoroughly surprised by the variety of people I met there. I was greeted by a very kind soul who was older (a grandfather). He talked to me for quite a long time and shared a very nice conversation with me. He was so welcoming. I also met several other bloggers who were so nice. I had no idea there was such an underground blogging brotherhood. They know and respect one-another. I want to be "IN" with this group so badly. They’re all great. I met lots of guys who were in full fellowship in the church and want to keep it that way. I met several guys who were simply cruising for dates or hook-ups. (that surprised me) Strangely I felt turned off by them because I came for spiritual enlightenment only. The “meat market” feel was uncomfortable and out of place. I’d expect to be ogled at the gym in Salt Lake, but not after a spiritual meeting followed by a prayer and an amen. I also saw several guys who were friends of the notorious “Mike Cramer” in SLC. Almost everyone there was seriously good looking in a very clean-cut kind of way. I was thrown off my game a little bit because part of me was startled by the physical beauty of all of them, but I knew I was thre for a spiritual purpose and I didn't let the gorgeousness detract from that purpose. Maybe, having the spirit makes you hot? Hmmm, I should go more often.
Jeromy: oh Jer- don’t leave out the juicy dirt. Stop saving face. Tell them what they want to hear. I know what I’m talking about. I’m proud of it in a twisted kind of way and I know it.
JEROMY: ok, ok. . although it felt strangely inappropriate I did get a phone number.
Jeromy: I KNEW IT!!!
JEROMY: for a HAAAIIIIIRRR appointment! He’s a stylist and offered to give me the feaux-hawk I wanted.
Jeromy: whatever! (rolls eyes). I know he held me a little too long when he hugged me goodbye and said I’m sexy.
JEROMY: k, fine. . . . I couldn’t resist.
Jeromy: Am I going to mention CRAZY JERRY? Cuz I know our readers want to hear about it.
JEROMY: OMG you guys!!! Crazy Jerry was there. He followed me around and talked to me several times. He said “I went to the Mayan (restaurant) the other day and I thought of you.”
Jeromy: and what did I say? I know I hate him!
JEROMY: I said, “Funny, I remember that time at the Mayan too, and I haven’t been back since.” And I walked away. But that wasn’t the last. Apparently some other guys noticed he was present as well, and they have had similar negative interactions with him. I felt totally vindicated.
Jeromy: What else did Jerry do or say? Give details.
JEROMY: I was standing alone (which happened a few times cuz I was so awkward in the new group) and he came up to me, uncomfortably close, and said “You know I don’t hate you.” So many things went through my mind. I wanted to blast him. But, as many may know about Crazy Jerry, he thrives on contention. That is the ONLY reason he still tries to get my goat. He gets a demonic thrill out of watching people squirm. So, I maintained my composure and said “Okay.” And turned and walked away briskly, hoping to make a point without saying anything more.
Jeromy: Did he have any cronies with him this time?
JEROMY: Well, he was chummy with a few people, and some guys did sit next to him. But he didn’t seem to have his favorite twinky Bishop’s son with him this time. He WAS dressed in all black (perhaps he thinks it’s slimming?) which added to the demonic affect.
Jeromy: What did I take away from the meeting. . .final thoughts.
JEROMY: I still need a spiritual awakening. I’m working on it. I want to go to the Matis Firesides again. Maybe next month. I want to go to OTHER firesides as well, maybe a Motab concert?. Perhaps I will even go to a real church meeting. I like the feelings that I felt while the speaker was speaking. I like feeling close to Christ and the Father of all. I feel Brother and Sister Matis provide a wonderful service for those who want to be openly gay, but also feel the spirit. I have so much soul searching to do. I’m a work in progress. I wish I could talk about these things more openly with my friends. I’m a bit embarrassed to say “hey guys, can we talk about the spirit?” . . lol. Nevertheless, I’ll deal with this longing in my own way, quietly and dignified. You lucky readers get to peak into my soul and see what’s cookin.