Post Policy Change Q&A With A Queer Mormon

How are you?

It changes a lot. Thank you for asking, though.

What are you going to do about this?

Try and remember how to breathe. Make sure I eat breakfast.

Are you staying in the church?


Really? Why?

It’s complicated.

Seriously? Because that’s kind of lame that you are.

Please go away.

Hi, I’d like to share with you this article on why the policy change is totally a good thing!

Please go away.

Oh come on. Just have a little more faith.

Faith is not the issue here. Please go away.

What should I do about this?

Please stop asking me. Please. Stop. I’m still trying to process this and I’m not in a “give advice” place. I’m not trying to be cold or ignore your pain, and know that I love you.

How do you feel about the new policy change?

That is a very long answer, and it is not one I am willing to give. To quote my newest love, Eliza Schuyler from Hamilton, “The world has no right to my heart… they don’t get to know what I said. Let future historians decide how [Rebecca] reacted when you broke her heart.” I know I’ve spoken on pretty much all personal aspects of my life in a very public manner, but there are some things that will stay mine.

Acceptable topics of discussion with me over the following weeks:

  • Your favorite crock pot recipes
  • The weird thing that was seen flying over the coast of California
  • The significance of Hamilton’s musical and casting choices
  • Recent filming spoilers from Once Upon A Time
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda’s appearance on Jimmy Fallon
  • Adele
  • The Potato Challenge I’m working on at The Mars Generation
  • My brother making Nationals
  • The validity of the Jar Jar Binks theory
  • What song the Hamilton cast should perform at the Tony’s

Book Club: Bel Canto Review

Life is an odd thing. Primarily because we have to experience it with others. Being constantly surrounded by other people who can make choices that you have no say in, yet somehow affect you is profoundly frustrating and exhilarating. It is what makes this whole experience of humanity so unique.

Reading Bel Canto, I couldn’t help but constantly be reminded of this. As far as the plot goes, it’s fairly straight forward; a terrorist organization has taken a group of foreign nationals hostage and are wildly unprepared for the crisis that unfolds. But Ann Patchett’s dedication to the little things are what struck me.

What if Mr. Hosokawa’s daughter had never found that CD?

What if the President hadn’t prioritized his soap opera over attending the party?

What if Gen had been unavailable to fly to South America?

The characters all make small decisions throughout the book that makes both them and the situation feel profoundly real. After all isn’t that how life is? The million mundane decisions that make up our day-to-day lives, leading us to the climaxes we never knew we were heading toward.

This book is lovely reading, but more than that, it is a reminder of free will, and how the tiny choices in our lifes define us as much as the large ones. And, in the end, while we may make our own choices, we cannot decide the consequences that accompany them.

Book Club: The Martian Review

“It’s like MacGyver….on Mars!”

“It’s like The Hatchet… on Mars!”

“It’s like Castaway…ON MARS!”

In my attempts to get other people to read The Martian over the past few weeks, these tend to be my statements- some standard reference followed up with “on Mars!” Because the world should know by now that I’m a sucker for anything involving space.

Rather than giving you a slightly more detailed summary for those who didn’t read the book, I’ll share the trailer for the upcoming film adaptation.

Can you say, “amazing cast?” Jessica Chastain has won my heart and should be in all space related moves.

Back to the book…

Even though it could have gone a dark route and indeed been much more like Castaway in dealing with the struggles of human isolation, Andy Weir took this book in a comical direction. Mark Watney, played by Matt Damon, is nothing like the actor’s Interstellar counterpart. He takes isolation and the stress of survival in stride. While never happy about being abandoned on the Red Planet, he deals with his difficulties by cracking jokes. Thus, you as a reader will find the monotony of several hundred days stuck millions of miles from earth drastically less tedious than our intrepid hero. Well, that and you also get to read about what’s going on at NASA and with the rest of his crew. It’s not all red dirt.

One of my favorite parts of this book was how well it was thought out. There is a “why” to nearly everything that happens, as opposed to simply happening for the sake of plot. For example, why does Mark react to his personal wasteland experience with humor? Why does he know how to grow food? How can he fix all this junk in space? The answers to these are all the reasons he was selected for this mission to Mars. His personality was deemed needed for crew morale by the psychologists at NASA. He, and every other team member, had multiple areas of study, so as to increase the amount of work accomplished by fewer people. I never felt like I read something and thought, “How convenient.” Weir took the time to make this universe seem real to me.

While I find that to be a strength, I will admit it may be a weakness for others. Warning: This book is very technical. It’s filled with a ton of science talk and he will spend pages talking to you about things like the chemical approach of converting rocket fuel into water. While some may enjoy this because, one, that’s insanely cool, and two, they appreciate the dedication to accuracy, there may be others who could find those parts a little dry and hard to get through. Mark is a wonderful narrator of his story, but at the end of the day, if you don’t care about the process of creating farmable soil, you might just want to wait for the movie.

It should be noted that one of my favorite things about this book was how effortlessly diverse its characters were. Weir fills his story with women and people of color who are given real roles. Instead of saying, “Why should I have to make this character Indian or Hispanic?” or, “Why does there have to be so many women?” there just are. Why on earth (or Mars) shouldn’t there be more types of people? The answer is it’s 2015 and this should be how we build our universes.

This story was killed with suspense, humor, raw human emotion, and hope. Not just in one man’s ability to survive, but in humanity’s ability to care about the life of another. While we are constantly surrounded by the stories of a post apocalyptic future, I much prefer the one presented by Weir. It felt like a future that is not only in reach, but also one that I want to live in.

Reminder: Rebecca’s Book Club’s next read, two weeks from today, will be Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. Go check it out before then!

Welcome to Rebecca’s Book Club!

Last week I spent my days with my family down at Duck, North Carolina. And of course, no vacation would be complete without some beach reading. As I sat there with sand in my toes, I was also contemplating how to better interact with all of you, as opposed to just writing.

Then it hit me. Book Club.

Every other Wednesday I will post a review of a book I recently read, but more than that, I’d love to get discussions going. Tell everyone what your favorite parts were, recommend similar books, and request other books for me to cover.

I picked 5 books to start off, but going forward I’d like to start a poll here and my other social media outlets for what to cover next. I’ll still be writing my regular articles, but I thought this might be a fun addition for all of you.

Below, you’ll find the first five books.

The Martian, Andy Weirbook-review-the-martian

MacGyver in space. Really. It’s about a guy who gets stranded while on a mission to Mars, and he has to figure out how to survive on the Red Planet and how to get back in contact with NASA. It should come as no surprise I picked a book about space exploration to start this off.

Bel Canto, Ann Patchett5826

While I was doing a marathon thrift store session with my cousin’s husband and daughter last week, he pulled this book off one of the many discount bookshelves and assured me I’d like it. I added it to my haul of a coat, comforter, and several vinyl records. According to the back, it appears to be a political thriller set in South America. He’s writer and a critic, and his recommendations are very good, so I will read it and hopefully you will all like it.

The God Who Weeps, Terryl and Fiona Gibbons81902b3b946f5847fc86cae93e220ea2

I recently attended a meeting where these two spoke, and I have to say, I was deeply moved with their take on my own religion. I look forward to reading this book about God’s compassion for humankind, and will probably read their other published works as well.

The Secret History of Wonder Woman, Jill Leporelepore_wonder_woman_cover

Wonder Woman is one of my all-time favorite icons. Also, a lot of my friends refer to Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 12.50.06 PMme as such, so when I saw this on the shelf, it was an obvious purchase. This book doesn’t go into the secret identity, but the secret history of the longest standing female superhero and her link in the struggle for women’s rights.

No Future Without Forgiveness, Desmond Tutu41tVeD6-EML

This is not light reading. While not long, this book goes into the horrors of the South African apartheid, and how they worked, and are still working to heal the gaping wound that it caused within the country. It is compassionate, inspiring, and honest. The author, Desmond Tutu, is an emeritus Anglican Archbishop and Nobel Laureate who headed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

I look forward to seeing you all next Wednesday!

Update: I’ve recently taken on some extra work, so they may not be as regular as initial intended, as this is simply not my highest priority right now.  

As A Liberal, I Need Conservatives: Rejecting Political Homogeny In The Church

I was walking through Barnes & Nobel the other day and saw a book titled, “Adios, America: The Left’s Plan to Turn Our Country into a Third World Hellhole.” My first reaction was sadness. Sadness that book titles have now somehow been reduced to clickbait article headlines.

But then, as I stared at Ann Coulter’s face, I started thinking to myself, Does this women genuinely believe that I am attempting to destroy America? That I wake up and hit the floor with my first thought being, “What can I do to make my country worse?” After all, the word “plan” in the title implies that I have some sort of “Ruin America” checklist….

See! Look. I have more in common with the Socialist party than Republicans. I mean it when I say I'm a liberal.

See! Look. I have more in common with the Socialist party than Republicans. I mean it when I say I’m a liberal.

Yes, I am a liberal. While in the American system I’m an Independent, since I won’t register for either party, my political leanings are very left. I’ve said it before, but people have a hard time swallowing this. And by people, I mean the very conservative indivduals I associate with. After all, as Ms. Coulter once said, “If Democrats Had Any Brains, They’d Be Republicans.” (She really can come up with book titles…) Most of these people don’t think I’m an idiot, so I must not be that liberal. As a culture we have come to assume that a person who is intelligent will think the same as we do. After all, only an idiot would think something else.

Liberals are painted to be devil worshiping-bleeding heart-lesbians by the right, but I am aware that conservatives are seen as gun toting-sexist-greedy-one percenters. As much as I disagree with them on pretty much everything, I do not believe they all fit this picture. I don’t see them as stupid. I don’t even think they are wrong.

“Wait! But you said you disagree with them!”

Yes. I do. But I can listen to them and make a genuine effort to understand why they believe what they do. When any of us do this, which requires listening without arguing or trying to change someone’s mind, we can see that those we disagree with are often fully rational people. You have to go into the conversation with no desire to prove someone wrong, but only to connect with another human being’s thought process. It can be difficult, but it’s worth it.

I hang out on Mormon Newsroom a lot. It’s a side effect of having a background in public relations. Well, that and being a Mormon. Earlier in August, Michael Otterson gave an hour long talk on current issues the public affairs department is working with right now. At one point he discussed common questions he heard, such as, “Can a member be a Democrat and a good Mormon?” His response was,

“That one makes me smile, because if the members who ask it could travel to some countries of the world and meet faithful members of the Church who belong to their national communist parties I fear their blood pressure might be permanently damaged.”

Why is that? Why would our blood pressure be damaged? How is it that we are so incapable of understanding that people can come to different conclusions about the world we live in, but still be good, intelligent, and well rounded?

Within the church, perhaps it’s because we are used to the notion of absolute truth. However there is no current political or economic system in which that can be found. So, reject the idea that you must belong to only one ideology to be a member in good standing.

But this concept that the other side of the aisle are fools for thinking unlike us is not one that is unique to Mormons, as pointed out earlier. Between sensationalized news and polarizing elections, most of America has come to view those with political differences as the enemies to all that is good and right. We are not a team that bring different views to the table to come up with the best solution representing as many constituents as possible, but rather opponents, waging a constant war in which compromise is not a sign of intelligence, but rather weakness.



I want to tell you a story about a friend of mine. To give you an idea of how far we are apart on the political spectrum, she didn’t like Mitt Romney because he was “too left” while I am sitting here happy that I can finally vote for a candidate that willingly identifies as socialist, (looking at you Bern.) She works for a Pro-Life firm here in D.C. and believes deeply in this cause. I respect her, and what she is trying to do. I don’t think she hates choice; I think she is an incredibly compassionate person who feels it his her moral obligation to give her voice to the voiceless. She isn’t trying to set women back 100 years; she is trying to stop what she sees as a horribly violent act.

I’m Pro-Choice, but I don’t think she looks at me as if I’m desperately trying to encourage infanticide. Probably because I’m not. I believe that making abortions illegal is an ineffective way to go about stopping unwanted pregnancies. Also, between rape, incest, and medical issues, there are plenty of times in which I could see supporting that decision, and therefore it needs to be kept as an accessible medical option. And even when I wouldn’t “support” abortion, I still remember what Frederica Matthews-Green once said,

“No woman wants an abortion like she wants an ice cream cone or a Porsche. She wants an abortion like an animal caught in a trap wants to gnaw off its own leg.”

This isn’t intended to be an abortion debate, so please don’t email me about this. I’m not looking to argue, simply to say that this, like so many social, economic, and international political issues, has multiple sides that can be reached by fully functional individuals.

Any desire for America to reach only one political party, or to paint one side as being always in the wrong, is ridiculous, and frankly, to quote everyone’s favorite overused declaration, “not what the founding fathers intended!” We need each other. We are each other’s checks and balances. No one party has all the right ideas. The other side is going to be right. A lot. In fact, we may even be right at the same time. We may be wrong at the same time. But the point is, mature people should be able to sit down with others and acknowledge what they have to offer, and see how that can compliment what they have.

Perhaps asking America to put aside political differences is a bit much. I hope not. However, it certainly isn’t too much to remind people within the church that a variety of political opinions are perfectly ok, and in fact, good. It brings greater diversity of thought into our meeting houses and enriches all who have the privilege of existing in that kind of environment. It allows our opinions to grow and change as we seek to see the world through the eyes of another.

We are all children of God, and none of us are identical. He did that on purpose. Do not try and limit His creations by forcing them into sameness.

The Good, the Bad, and the Extremely Attractive: The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Review

I grew up on a steady diet of classic film and television. I think my mother preferred Gilligan’s Island to SpongeBob, so TV Land was on as much as anything at our house. While the original U.N.C.L.E. series was not a staple of our home, my father was certainly inclined to the 60’s spy genre, and both parents had an affinity for Cold War films, sparked no doubt by their military contracts in the 1980’s. Then again, who doesn’t love a good USA vs. USSR movie?

Walking in to the theatre, I brought somewhat high expectations, but also a certain nostalgia factor.

Set in the early 60’s, the film starts with establishing the not overly complicated plot of an evil organization, with former Nazi ties, has built a nuclear bomb to sell to the highest bidder. This emergency situation calls for America and Russia to put a pause on the whole Cold War thing and send in their best two agents to handle the situation.


See what I mean?! Its Matt Bomer + 007.

The American, Napoleon Solo, is played by the ever dapper Henry Cavill. He has been essentially blackmailed into the CIA after being arrested for art theft. Ever the American way, the government decided to release him from prison and use his set of skills to their advantage. Imaging if someone combined James Bond with Neal Caffery from White Collar. While I would not call him a particularly three dimensional character, I don’t think that was the point. Cavill nails the ultra-suave spy type to a tee. I found myself even impressed by his speech patterns.

From behind the Iron Curtain comes Armie Hammer as Illya Kuryakin, a giant, yet refined looking, KGB agent. He is quickly established as terrifyingly strong, chasing after a car in the opening sequence, and ripping the trunk lid off after attempting to stop said car by shear brute force. Solo first refers to Kuryakin as an “it.” Many have already noted that Hammer’s Russian accent is nothing to write home about, but it didn’t bother me. His dry humor and likability brought the character to life in a very pleasant way.

This movie is filled with cliches. There is no other way around it. But the fact is, it does all of them very well. The two unlikely partners argue all the time, but still manage to be an excellent team. There are “surprise” double crosses, crazy Nazis, car chases, and spy gadgets. But it works because that’s exactly what they were trying to do. The entire movie is a very stylized homage to the genre of spy thriller, and what it may lack in originality, it makes up for in pure entertainment.

The one major deviant from its 60’s counterparts would be the leading female charater, Gabby Teller. Alicia Vikander’s character was a pleasant skew from the lackluster women that were so often only written to be rescued by the hero. To be fair, she does get rescued, but all three of the leads need rescuing at one point or another, so I took no issue. She was smart, independent, and easily went toe to to with the two leading men. In fact, she went toe to to with just about everyone in this film. Her unique skills are found in cars, both as a mechanic and rather impressive driver. This is of course in addition to a variety of other spy related things I won’t list in an effort to not give too much away.

The film was beautiful to watch. It was colorful, sleek, and stylish. The cast and cinematography were really quite pleasant to look at, and I know if they ever make another, I will be more than happy to go see it.

Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 4.07.33 PMScreen Shot 2015-08-15 at 4.08.08 PM Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 4.11.20 PM

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. didn’t try something new, they worked to make the best of the classic formula. Some may call that playing it safe, but regardless, I had fun. And isn’t that what going to the movies is about?

Overall Rating: B

See the trailer here:

I’m Back (An Honest Answer to “What’s New With You?”)

There is a question that I think most people dread at one point or another when seeing family or friends they haven’t in a while. That is, “So, what’s new?”


Nothing is new with me.

This past week I was with my family at our annual family reunion, and for the first time ever I was not wholly looking forward to the experience. The idea of having to answer the question of what is going on in my life right now seemed like an experience I’d rather avoid.

As of late, the most honest description I could give of myself is a failure. In several areas of my life, most notably my professional one, or lack thereof (I have now been out of college for a year and am still mostly unemployed), I feel a deep sense of guilt. Here I am, this person that so many have expected such great things from, doing what feels like nothing with my life.

These days it feels like I’m climbing an impossibly high mountain, getting a little higher every now and again, but still falling all the time, and never making any noticeable gains. If you’ve seen Pixar’s Inside Out, imagine the scene where Joy is attempting to get out of the Memory Dump, except for me it’s been about 1,001 tries and I am becoming a little discouraged.

When I got back into the car to leave my family reunion, at which I had given as optimistic an outlook on my life as I could, I completely broke down. I cried and cried, feeling as if I was the greatest disappointment. I had no career, no relationship, no money, no accomplishments of note.All those success indicator boxes we look to for check marks were blank.Now let me be clear, my family is wonderful and did nothing to bring this on, but the simple fact is, my expectations for myself were not met. I had wanted to tell them wonderful things, but I felt I had nothing.

So, I let myself feel all the things that I had only briefly breezed by these past months. I let myself feel sad and ashamed and angry and frustrated. I said the words, “I failed.”

But then, after I allowed myself that honesty, I remembered something I said. The last piece I wrote for NASA Social was on the Hubble Telescope. It contained the following:

“[F]ailure is never the place in which we must take up permanent residence.”

It’s funny how we sometimes need our own advice to get going again. I realized later, this sense of optimism was something I had grown up listening to all the time. Gordon B. Hinkley was the president of the LDS church while I was a child and I believe that man was himself optimism personified. Notable quotes from him include,

“Things work out, it isn’t as bad as you sometimes think it is. It all works out, don’t worry. I say that to myself every morning. It will all work out. If you do your best, it will all work out. Put your trust in God, and move forward with faith and confidence in the future. The Lord will not forsake us.”

“Please don’t nag yourself with thoughts of failure. Do not set goals far beyond your capacity to achieve. Simply do what you can do, in the best way you know, and the Lord will accept of your effort.”

“You have not failed until you quit trying.”

My circumstances have not changed, but tenacity has returned. I didn’t start climbing the metaphorical mountain that is adult life because I thought I couldn’t do it. It takes a lot of confidence to move yourself across the country to start a life in a city with no job leads or friends. I just needed to remind myself why I did this in the first place. I have ambition and goals and dreams and I intend to see them through. I intend to build a life, and that is no small feat. It will take time, but it will come. 

So the answer to the question, “What’s new?” is still nothing.

But it will be something soon.

The Most Important Thing I Learned From Hubble

In 1990, NASA launched a multibillion-dollar telescope into space. Within weeks, everyone realized something had gone wrong. The pictures Hubble was capturing were a drastically lower  quality than intended. In fact, they were essentially the same as the images we could get from the ground. It was awful, a worldwide embarrassment. All the years, money, and labor that had gone into this project looked like a waste.

But NASA did what it does best. It reminded us of the tenacity of the human spirit. It reminded us that failure is not defeat.

Every person will fail within his or her life. In fact, we will most likely do it repeatedly. That is the reality of the human condition. But whether it be flunking the ACT, losing that job promotion we wanted, screwing up our own relationships, or even making a $2.5 billion telescope that takes blurry photos, failure is never the place in which we must take up permanent residence. We can push through and grow from what we have lost and learned.

In a commencement speech given at Harvard, J.K. Rolling said,

[S]ome failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.

Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will, and more discipline than I had suspected…

The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more than any qualification I ever earned. 

(View the entire speech here.)

We can escape the confines of our mistakes by how we react to them. We can refuse to stay down when life knocks us to our knees. We can brandish our free will in the face of our adversaries and say, “You can not and will not control what I will become! Only I can.”

In spite of the many jokes and naysayers, NASA pushed forward and sought to solve the challenges they then faced. They did not abandon their work, and they did not lose sight of why they needed this. They were seeking to learn about the universe we exist in on a scale that had never before been possible. They knew the work they were doing could dramatically affect the scientific community, and was essential to the overall goals of the space program.

The problem with Hubble was its mirror. The edges were too flat by 2.2 micrometers. Such a small error, but nonetheless catastrophic to the images. But after the discovery was made, a plan was put in place to fix it. In 1994, the Space Shuttle launched a servicing mission and the results were dramatic.


Since then, Hubble has supplied the world with now iconic pictures of our universe. It has taught us about the very nature of our origins. We can see planets, nebulae, and galaxies in drastic clarity. The knowledge it has brought us is forming the foundation for human spaceflight as we push to explore beyond our earth.

One could easily feel dwarfed by the grandeur of the universe we now see, thanks to Hubble, but I find myself in awe of humanity. When we see infinite galactic objects, from planets, to black holes, we do not shrink back and say, “No. I think I’ll just stay here.” There is something inside us that says no matter how small we are, or relatively insignificant, we will not be halted in our attempts to grow beyond ourselves. And while we may fail, fail, and fail again as we seek to do this, that same place within us that creates a desire for exploration will also remind us that we are infinitely more than that which what holds us back.

“Endings are not our destiny.” – Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Horsehead_Nebula_1680x1050_03 NGC 2174 25th-gallery-090 25th-gallery-220

For these, and many more stunning images from Hubble, including the 25th Anniversary image, go to

5 Things to Know About My Experience As An LGBT Mormon

1. I am an LGBT Mormon.

This may come as news to many, since it’s not something I’ve probably discussed with the majority of people reading this. So, I will begin this article by “coming out,” as it were, to the whole world. In all reality, I don’t know if I have one “coming out” moment, as we live in a heteronormative society, so I’ve had to do it several times, nor do I expect this to be the last time, but from here forward, it will be fairly public information.

Now, some of you may have known me in the past and say, “But I remember you dating a boy!” or  “Didn’t you like that guy, that one time?” To clarify, I identify with the B in LGBT.

2. My sexuality is not a defining factor in my personality.

Fun facts about me, Rebecca Moore: I have brown hair, I’m 6 feet tall, I am attracted to more than one gender, and I’m allergic to sulfa drugs.

Seriously, it’s no bigger deal to me than those things.

Now, don’t get me wrong. My orientation has more of an affect on my day to day life than my other fun facts because of the society we live in, (I’ve never had to sit in a conversation where people all sat around talking about how everyone with allergies to sulfa drugs were just lying sluts, but you can bet I’ve had to hear that about bisexuals), but to me personally, it’s not good, it’s not bad, it just is. I’m not ashamed of it. I’m not interested in repressing it, or making it go away. It’s just there.

Obviously, this affects me enough that I’m writing about it, but my decision to share my perspective has much more to do with how other people view LGBT individuals and how it affects my life, than how I personally view myself.

3. The LDS Church has been my safe haven.

Many people have had tragically negative experiences within the church, but mine has been far from that. With one or two minor exceptions, I have never faced homophobia, nor any sort of discrimination from my fellow members.

My friends never treated me any differently, my priesthood leaders were compassionate, and overall, everyone treated me with the same respect after knowing as they did before. None of their actions ever changed, and that, for me, was beyond ideal. I didn’t need fanfare or a ruckus, I just wanted to be seen as a complex human being, and this is simply one of a thousand other things that make up who I am. They see me as a child of God first and foremost, and I will always be deeply grateful for being blessed to have been surrounded by so many who are living the gospel of Christ, not just preaching it.

4. My parents accepted me long before I came out.

Both of my parents raised me in a very empathetic and open home, and I credit them to be a major reason to why I never had to go through an identity crisis with my own sexuality. While I can say that I have always experienced attraction the way I do now, or at least as long as I can remember, it wasn’t until I was 14 that I finally put a word to what I am. This can be a trying time for anyone, the rage of youth starting to come on in full swing, but when I came to grips with myself, I felt no shame or guilt. It simply was.

In my younger years, when my mother had explained sex to me, she had always done so in a positive way. When we addressed the topic of homosexuality, she told me a story.

My uncle Luke, her older brother, is gay, and years ago, she was sitting at home with her mother when their phone rang. It was Luke, calling to ask if he could bring his partner home for Christmas, as his partner’s family had essentially disowned him, and he had nowhere to go. My grandmother, a staunch Mormon who had grown up in the South, assured him he was welcome at their home for Christmas. Afterwords, she turned to my mother who was 16 at the time, and said, “No one who would ever treat their child like that deserves to be a parent.”

While it was several years before I would come out to either of my parents, I knew that whenever I was ready to talk about it, I would be loved and always have a home with them.

5. My sexual history is not up for discussion.

We live in a world that has hyper-sexualized people whose orientation is different from heterosexuality, and mostly see LGBT people as sexual beings first. When many think of a gay man, they think of his relationship with other men before they think of his accomplishments in, perhaps, astrophysics or banking. They see the person’s interest in sex as their primary interest, when in fact their primary interest could be in cultivating a rather impressive herb garden.

But here we are, and so I feel the need to address what may become a barrage of questions about my own sexual experiences.

You don’t get to know about them, nor do you need to.

I am more than one thing, and while it has been my decision to be very open about a lot of personal things on this blog, this will be where I draw the line. Delving into my own sexual history to satisfy someone’s curiosity about my own orientation is wholly demeaning to me as an individual, and completely unnecessary in understanding the simple fact that I am attracted to men and women.

Also, while we’re here…

Sexual orientation is not about your current or past sexual actions. It is about to whom you find yourself attracted.

I am currently not sleeping with anyone, but that does not make me asexual. It simply means I’m choosing to not have sex with anyone right now. I do not intend to change this fact until I’m married.

As far as monogamy and bisexuality are concerned, they are not mutually exclusive. If a bisexual settles down with one person, they do not become “straight” or “gay” depending on the gender of their partner. Or in even simpler terms: “I don’t stop being Italian whenever I’m not eating Italian food.”

Lastly, I currently worthily hold a temple recommend, which means I am living LDS standards. I do not intend to change this at any point in the future. This decision was my own, and I ask that, while some may not understand it, it still be respected. I am my own person. However, I also would never wish that my choice be used to prop up bigotry toward individuals who have chosen a different path. Respect should come from all sides. 

As I leave this with you, I also issue a challenge to others similar to me, if they wish to accept. Share your story. My time in the church as an LGBT member is neither unique nor common. I know plenty who share my feelings and experiences, and plenty who don’t. I believe that if we want to improve as a community, open and honest discourse is vital to bringing us closer to a more Christlike society. If only certain stories are told, we cannot see the entire picture, and will not be able to truly improve ourselves.

In the end, I admonish everyone to seek to see humankind as Christ sees us.

Worthy of love.

Note: I will not be reading the comment section of this for my own sanity. If you have serious inquiry, I’m considering writing a follow up post, and of course want to engage in this discussion, so I will be accepting questions or comments at These will all be screened before being forwarded to me. 

The Stars Are For Everyone

“Make no mistake, this journey will help guide and define our generation.”

nasa_bolden_state_of-nasa_020215_945Last week, I had the privilege of attending the State of NASA, which is essentially the same thing as the State of the Union, just for the space program. I participated with many others from Langley Research Center, where I was able to tour their facilities and see what they are doing to contribute to Orion and The Mission to Mars. Later, we heard from Charles Bolden, NASA’s Administrator, via Kennedy Space Center, who gave a wonderful address on where the space program is heading.

I’ve thought a lot about what I wanted to write in regards to his remarks, and going into the event, I was pretty sure I wanted to write about the importance of private partnerships, but there was a particular line that struck me that I have not been able to shake.

“It was through the Space Shuttle Program that NASA opened space flight to many who had previously had no chance of flying – bringing diversity in our crews to include women, minorities and astronauts from many of our partner nations – perhaps its greatest legacy.”

Out of all the tremendous advancements made by the Space Shuttle Program, why would the diversity of the crew be its greatest accomplishment?Dr._Mae_C._Jemison,_First_African-American_Woman_in_Space_-_GPN-2004-00020

As I’ve thought over this question, I’ve come to realize the simple truth that the push to the stars is our future, but that future is impossible unless we are taking everyone with us.

NASA and what it stands for is the American dream in its best form. It is the spirit of exploration and the triumph of human will over the unknown. It is the desire to push to be something greater than who we are now, and we will never be able to accomplish our best if we are putting limits on our people. For years, the American Dream was not actually a possibility for a rather large section of our population. It still isn’t one hundred percent there, but we must keep trying. Our future cannot include only a fraction of the world.

Representation matters. Being able to see someone like yourself triumph and accomplish their dreams matters. It inspires the lost and the lonely because they see themselves and it lets them say, “If they can do it, maybe I can too. Maybe everyone else is wrong. Maybe I can be more.”

On my wall, I have a print of Uhura from Star Trek bending down to a little girl who is saying “Representation Matters.” The painting was inspired by this story from Whoopi Goldberg.Representation-Matters-1

“Well, when I was nine years old Star Trek came on, I looked at it and I went screaming through the house, ‘Come here, mum, everybody, come quick, come quick, there’s a black lady on television and she ain’t no maid!’ I knew right then and there I could be anything I wanted to be.”

The idea that anyone can be anything they want, if they just put their mind to it, has long been propped up as what makes America great, even when we have not actually lived up to that mantra. But now, through NASA, that statement is becoming a greater truth for the American people.

Diversity will become our greatest legacy because it is how we will inspire the best and brightest from all walks of life to carry us into the stars and beyond. It is how we will change who we are as a people while we push to change the world we live in for the better.

Social and scientific advancement must go hand in hand.

Read the entire State of NASA here.