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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Here's to New Beginnings!!!

Alright, with all the mumbo jumbo explanation of why I've been MIA out of the way, it’s about time to get a real post goin!

For those of you who aren't completely familiar with where I come from, this would probably be a good place to start. I moved to Utah in August of 2004 to start school at BYU. Although I kinda got tricked into going there (my Mom tells a different story about that than I do haha), my first year at school was great and I actually decided to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I left for my mission in July 2005 and moved to Los Angeles to proselyte to the Hispanic people in the area. These two years were also wonderful and a great opportunity for me to grow and learn more about myself and the world around me. I returned to BYU in the fall of 2007 to continue my education.

It wasn't until the spring of 2008, after I lost a close election for BYU Student Body President, that I really started to explore and accept the possibility of who I was - a gay Mormon. 'What!?' you say. A gay Mormon? Isn't that a pretty big contradiction? Well, yes, yes, it is - but I didn't realize how conflicting those two ideas really are until early the following year...but I will get to that in a minute :)

After completing my second full year of school, I decided to move to Sacramento, CA in the summer to sell pest control with some friends from college. I figured that getting out of Utah for a bit would give me a chance to clear my head and refocus on the ideas and values I had always been taught to believe growing up...but it didn't quite turn out that way after all. After I moved, I ended up meeting two other BYU students in the area who were also gay and struggling with the same things I was. Needless to say this really kinda opened my eyes and reinforced my need to come to terms as to who I was and what would make me happy in life.

As the summer of 2008 was drawing to a close, I joined the College Republican National Committee as a Field Representative and was sent to Columbus, OH to head up recruiting and Get Out The Vote efforts for all the universities in the area. While this was a great opportunity for me (since I want to run for President in 2028), it was even greater in that I could actually be ME! I had a great network of friends who supported and loved me for who I was, no questions asked. Anyway, like I said, it was a great time and, even though most of the candidates I campaigned for didn't win (that seems to be a trend in my campaign experience lately haha) I wouldn't ever trade that opportunity for anything in the world.

That November, after the election results were finished coming in for Ohio, my attention turned to California where the voters passed Proposition 8 and banned gay marriage. Now, not only did this disturb me because of its blatant bigotry, however, the Church in which I was raised and for which I served a mission was its biggest backer and financial supporter. It was at this point that my conflict of being gay and being Mormon really began to consume me.

Almost as a reaction to the Church's involvement in Prop. 8, I applied and was selected to model for a 'beefcake' calendar that portrays Mormon Missionaries shirtless (Men on a Mission 2010 calendar). While my view of the calendar was one of simply allowing people to make a statement that not all Mormons are the same, the reaction from the Church and BYU was not nearly as simple. First, someone at school had reported that I was gay (which is not allowed to be 'practiced' as a member of the Church or as a student at BYU) and that I had participated in this calendar which the Church now condemns. Long story short - I was called in the BYU Honor Code office, interrogated, and nearly expelled from school. Luckily for me I was able to wrap up the last of my required classes early and graduate in August of 2009 (finishing in 3 years instead of 4 in order to move on and prevent further run ins with the school).

After graduation, while there was some bitterness towards BYU and the Church for how I had been treated during my last year at school, there was also a lot to be happy for. That March (on St. Patrick’s Day to be precise – luck o’ the Irish I guess) I met Seth (now my fiancé) at a party. During the spring of 2009 we began to date exclusively and moved in together that summer. Over the course of the past year and a half we have grown together (as have our families!) and found a true love that is so hard to find in today’s world!

Now, while many amazing times have been had the past year and a half, my blogging skills have been lacking so I figured that the best way to chronicle all of our new adventures (the move to D.C., Seth’s new job, me starting law school, the wedding, etc…) would be to start this up again from Day 1 in D.C. So, ladies and gentleman, without further adieu, welcome to my life and welcome to my BLOG!


Daniel said...

So great to hear your story. Thanks for sharing!

icnebavo said...

Wow Brandon, it's good to hear all of that. Thanks for writing it down. I love getting insights into your life. I'm bummed to hear about how your last year went for you at BYU but glad I got the privilege of meeting you during your time there!

Sarah Taylor

Pamela said...

Thanks for sharing your story, Brandon! Each and every person walking this earth have a story to tell so your journey is really no different than anyone else's...just a different chapter!

Munchy's Mama said...

Brandon, you've shared this with me before but reading it through was just as powerful and inspiring. You're such a strong, wonderful, influencial person and definitely have my vote for 2028!!

President Roman!!!