Before packing up Charley (my Ford Focus) and heading out to Tinseltown to pursue my dreams of being rich and famous (as rich as possible, but only famous enough for people to recognize me without taking the time out to actually bug me) I taught 3rd grade for a couple of years. It was amazing and challenging and fulfilling and stressful and hard and wonderful and soul-satisfying and heart-wrenching all at the same time. I became a teacher in a fairly non-traditional manner and throughout my training I learned a lot about reading (long-story-short I got an advanced degree in reading instruction, so that sort of makes sense). One thing I discovered was the plethora of alphabet books that are available. I never used them b’cuz 3rd graders can *theoretically* already read, but there are numberless concourses of alphabet books out there (and for those of you with younger kids I highly recommend getting one or more): animals, transportation, plants, people, geography, colors, legos, monsters etc. etc. etc. The church probably has one with characters from the scriptures*. I’ve thought for some time what my alphabet book might consist of. The ABCs of dessert? The Theater? Film? An orthodontic laboratory? One day, when I’ve reached my modest pedestal of fame I might use that to get an alphabet book published in hardback form. Until then enjoy:
The ABCs of the Gay Mormon
A is for attraction. Appropriately first on the list. ”It doesn’t matter if you’re attracted to the same sex as long as you don’t act on it.” Said easily enough (and frequently enough, amiright?!). Harder to live. Especially when confronted with Chris Evans.
B is for blogs. If you’re gay and Mormon and don’t have a blog, you must have missed that commandment in the ultra-official Gay Mormon Handbook 2:18 – “Thou shalt blog.”
C is for cuddling. Fun? Yup. Dangerous? Can be. Appropriate? The opinions are as varied as Lady Gaga’s wardrobe.
D is for drama. ’Cuz seriously.
E is for Evergreen. Helpful? Inspiring? Thinly-masked dating service? Opinions are mixed, but they do put on one zinger of an annual conference.
F is for faith. Figuring out how to live accordingly.
G is for God Loveth His Children. An official pamphlet from The Brethren that says what, I think, the church has said all along: You are loved. There is nothing wrong with the way you feel, but keep your pants on.
H is for health. Mental. Physical. Spiritual. Emotional. We’re fighting to find it just like everyone else.
I is for Identity. This seems to be the big question for us. How do you answer it?
J is for JIM. Journey Into Manhood. It’s a weekend getaway where you get in touch with your manhood (not a euphemism). I’ve heard nothing but positive things from those who have attended. Very generic positive things as participants are not allowed to discuss what happens during the experience.
K is for keen. Our awareness of our situation? Our sense of color combinations? Our ability to pick each other out of a crowd? A general, vintagey adjective for just how cool we are?
L is for love. Cheesy? Perhaps. But there is so much love. So much. God loves you. Let me repeat that – God. Loves. You! We love you. I love you. We love each other (appropriately). You should love yourself because – wait for it – God loves you. If you ever forget that, give me a call. I’ll remind you.
M is for moho. MOrmon HOmosexual. MO+HO=moho.
N is for Northstar. Or Northern Lights. Welcome.
O is for outing. That awkward moment when a friend that knows forgets that everyone else in the ward doesn’t.
P is for…well you know what it’s for. The big P. There’s no shame. We’ve all been there. If you didn’t know, The Church has Addiction Recovery Meetings specifically for this. Check and see if there’s a meeting in your area. If not, you can download the manual here and go through the steps with a counselor, priesthood leader, or if you’re not there yet, by yourself.
Q is for Quiet Desperation. That’s what we’re all living in. Maybe not all of us all the time, but everyone has their days.
R is for reorientation. Is it possible? Is it worth the effort? Here‘s my official opinion on the matter.
S is for SSA/SGA. We do love our acronyms. And our semantics.
T is for Ty Mansfield. A powerful leader, fearless advocate, and (according to several friends of mine *cough*) distractingly-attractive poster boy.
U is for unconditional love. Have I mentioned love enough? I am required by my conscience and the mission statement of Northstar to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. To encourage you to live by and within the standards of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. BUT God loves you REGARDLESS of your choices, testimony, beliefs, feelings, attractions, actions, lifestyle, hairstyle, taste in music, church attendance, weight, gender, age, political affiliation, career path, or marital status. He is there for you. Always.
V is for Voices of Hope. Lots of voices = lots of hope. You. Are. Not. Alone. The website should be up soon!
W is for worry. Am I alone? (No.) Am I loved? (Yes.) Can people tell? (Probably) Are these feelings wrong? (Nope) Will I be judged if I wear a pink bowtie to church? (…)
X is for Xanax. Some of us need it. And that’s okay.
Y is for YSA ward. We come. We see. We conquer. We direct the choir/play the organ. We age out.
Z is for zeal. We gots it in spades.
Others I might add: Affirmation, anxiety, acronyms, besties, boundaries, controversy, choir, danger, emotions, fashion, firesides, gay, God, The big M, Matis, marriage, MOMs, Carol Lynn Pearson, Boyd K. Packer, self-control, self-awareness, spooning, testimony
What would you add?