28 June 2010

"Dangerous" Is My Middle Name

That's right: Original "Dangerous" Mohomie.

The story: Not so long ago, in a place not at all far away, in a panel discussion about SSA geared towards friends and family of "strugglers", someone whom I shall call "Pat" interjected before closing the session to say someone had asked a "dangerous question" that absolutely needed to be addressed. I braced myself for a concern about crystal meth, gay hookup sites, or secret BYU-I unprotected shenanigans. I was on the edge of my seat, awaiting the dangerous discussion topic.

Pat read the question, which was something like this: "My son tells me about something referred to as a blogosphere, I think it's called moho. What is it?"

Affectionately amused at how clear it was the questioner didn't know anything about it, I waited for the rest of the question to be read.  I wondered if they were asking about blogs in general, or maybe the MohoDirectory specifically, but I wondered what more there was to the question.  I figured Pat, clearly reacting to the question, was trying to regain composure before finishing it. This was not the case. That was the question.

Pat answered, wide-eyed, in a trembling voice, "Absolutely stay away from it! The people who call themselves that are living the lifestyle, and it's very dangerous. Very dangerous. That's all that needs to be said."

My jaw dropped. No explanation of what the terms were.  No invitation to panel members to respond.  For a moment, I was sorely tempted to stand and say, "Hey, I invented the term "moho" (actually it was a friend, in an e-mail to me, and I promulgated it). And a main organizer of this event, a friend of mine and yours, is a prominent blogger. Wanna ask me about it? Yes, the term 'moho' has been adopted by many who are mostly only culturally LDS and who think the church is wrong about homosexuality, but it was originally meant to denote someone who experiences same-sex attraction and who supports the church's stance on homosexual relationships, and there are still many in that boat who use the term in good-natured ways. And yes, many bloggers end up hooking up or buying into ideas which are anything but orthodox LDS thought and which undermine more conservative or fundamental views, but most of them are hooking up anyway, with blogs being just one more avenue, and most of those who "lose their testimonies" or become "dangerously" liberal had problems with LDS theology or practice long before they ever started reading blogs, and I know many who have remained very faithful to the church and its leadership and are blogging to make their voices heard.  Many have benefited from the 'blogosphere' in amazing ways, finding dialog and community they might never have found otherwise, giving some of them hope and reinforcement in living church standards and finding happiness doing so. Let's not be so reactionary, here. But then, I'm an agnostic blogger, so I'm one of the 'dangerous' ones." In my mind, I would then stand firm and invite the author of the question to see me after the panel if they wished.

I did none of it, though. Most of the discussion had been productive, and I perceived Pat wasn't in any condition to discuss the matter rationally, so it probably would've just caused a messy scene. Instead, I turned to my friends sitting next to me and said, "That answer was not true and obviously came from a very emotional place. I'm so blogging about this." Wry grinning followed.

Epilogue:  I've met Pat. Pat seems like a nice enough person, and we have many mutual friends, many of whom blog. I can only imagine Pat has very strong personal feelings, possibly from limited (and very negative) experience, and though Pat and I probably disagree on many things in some very fundamental ways, I wish Pat well and hope for healing and understanding. The organizers of the event, after all, are bloggers (at least incidentally), listed in the MohoDirectory, and rather connected with many self-described "mohos", many of whom are committed to the church and supportive of its stance on homosexuality, even if they've become the minority among those who use the term "moho". She doesn't have the full picture, but a couple hundred friends and family of gay LDS folk have now only heard the terms "moho" and "blogosphere" in a frightening context, terrified of their children being involved with something so dark, so insidiously menacing, that Pat trembled at the very mention.

So if any of you readers may be the son about whom some parent was speaking, and your parents are now banning your internet access and sending you off to boarding school in far off lands or to ex-gay camp, you now know where their panic may be coming from.

Incidentally, I no longer call myself a "moho". Nor do I think it a travesty if the term is passe. But if "moho" as the lighthearted, church-affirming term it was meant to be wasn't already dying, that one statement in a fireside sure did hammer a few more nails into the coffin for that region, at least. I've occasionally wondered when my blog name will become irrelevant in every way and whether I'll change it or leave it as a vestige of an era gone by. I think I'll opt for vestige. Call me dangerous.


Bravone said...

CD, I'm glad to see that at least YOUR eyes were opened to some truth as a result of the fireside. Dangerous you are and likely always will be, especially for slandering such a nice person. :)

As a seeker of truth and clarity, I WILL get to the bottom of this, and report my findings.

On a serious note, much of my personal healing, meaning acceptance of myself as a person of worth, came after shakily typing in the phrase 'gay mormom married man.' I wondered if anyone else out there was like me. I was totally alone, never having shared my feelings with anyone.

Forester's blog popped up, and my world literally changed forever. I read all his blog, followed links to other blogs, and realized that I was not alone, not by a long shot. One of the links I clicked on was North Star. I never dreamed the affect that site would have on my life.

I quickly made many friends, found the courage to trek to Utah for Scott and Sarah's party, where I made lasting friendships. From there I summoned the courage to attend a Matis Fireside, and the list goes on.

As a 'newbie' I had to learn moderation, and learn to not get overly emotionally invested with people I didn't 'really' know. While my blog list is really large, I read more than I comment. Even though I disagree with some posts on many blogs, I have found a richness in the diversity of thought that exists in the blogoshpere.

My thoughts and convictions have been challenged, sometimes more than I'd like to admit. Overall, participating in blogging has been a very positive experience for me. I'm even glad to finally know your middle name!

Adam said...

I always suspected you were dangerous. Now I have proof ;)

Beck said...

Having hung around this community of "very dangerous" MOHOs now for over four years, I guess I have become numbed to the "danger". I must be brainwashed by now to their evil ways that I don't even know it. I never suspected that I was "living the lifestyle" or would be considered "dangerous".

Thanks for the clarification. I think I like the label. :)

Samantha said...

Having been Queen of the Queerosphere for more than four years now, I hereby dub thee the current Moho Monarch and retire from the dreadfully dangerous virtual community over which I reigned with invisible impotence.


Admit it--you miss me.