Saturday, March 7, 2009

I cry a little

My brother Zane has recently removed his name from the church records. Its been a hard road for him finding his identity within the church, and he is now searching in other ideologies for something he can connect to. He is doing really well lately; discovering a new sense of purpose and meaning outside of the Mormon paradigm. I am a firm believer that it doesn't matter what you believe in as long as what you believe helps you to connect in a positive way to your existence on earth. He seems wide open now, not depressed as he has been for some time. I am so proud of the progress he is making toward LIVING. His life now seems like a world of possibility and opportunity. Yesterday he left me this voice message:


"Hey Clark, I wanted to call because I just watched Milk and I really liked it. It was touching, tragic, and interesting. One of the things I thought was especially interesting was how he encouraged everyone to be out, and I thought that was interesting because it applies to my life. I just wanted to thank you for being out and for being a great person, and for saving most everyone in our family from being bigoted homophobes. Otherwise I think our family would be buying into the way Christianity or Mormon doctrine would consider homosexuality that its really wrong or really disgusting and that kind of thing. So I really appreciate that your a great person, and that you're gay, so that you could teach us something. I'll talk to you soon, bye."

You can imagine how I felt getting that message from him. To feel like my honesty and my choice to be who I am is something that benefited him and in his opinion, my family as well, just made me feel so much gratitude. My brother Zane is such a gifted and intelligent person, and I feel so blessed to be connected to him. The painting I have as my blog header is his. He painted it in 2005 and in case you didn't notice it, he painted me as the subject. I think he entitled it, "Finding his center". I still am Zane. Aren't we all? What a blessing it is to be sharing that opportunity.

10 comments:

Evan said...

What a great painter he is :)

My little brother stopped attending church meetings in October, which eventually led my parents kicking him out of the house... however, he isn't struggling financially at all, considering he has a full-ride scholarship, found a cheap place to live, and makes a decent amount of money.

When he did attend church, I could always tell he was miserable. He didn't like going at all.

I am still pretty frustrated that he stopped going. Sometimes I think he partly left because of the 19 year old rebellious instinct inside of him. It upsets me to be the only Clayson in the student branch. On top of that, people always ask me about him, and sometimes they pry a little too deep with questions like "Why did he stop coming?" or "What does he have against the Church?" Just the other day, my parents asked me if I knew whether or not he started drinking or doing drugs. I really don't like getting in the middle of all that stuff.

He is also definitely one of my closest brothers, too! For some stupid reason, I had trouble coming out to him, and eventually he found out through someone else. I felt terrible about not being able to tell him, but he told me he understood, and has been totally cool with it... he and one of my other 9 siblings have even both expressed disgust in the church's involvement in Prop 8.

Anyways, I hope your brother is able to find what really makes him happy. It's great that you 2 have an amazing relationship :)

Ezra said...

I bet you've helped a lot of people, Clark, with your videos and your positive, supportive outlook.

Keri said...

Although I wasn't raised Mormon, I can understand Zane's feelings about church in general. I've been separated from church for awhile now, and I'm sure you can imagine how hard that has been for my parents. I wish my sister was as understanding as you are with Zane. Zane is so lucky to have a caring brother like you to lean on and share his feelings with (and vice versa!).

MoHoHawaii said...

This is very touching.

I hope your family can come together and rally around all of its members. I like the 'circling the wagons' metaphor that Carol Lynn Pearson uses.

Religious belief is often divisive, but it needn't be.

Jim said...

I'm so glad that you have a brother like that, who appreciates you and your gaydom. :) You are a lucky man.

CLARK JOHNSEN said...

Thanks so much for all the comments guys, it really means a lot to me to have your support as well as his. Evan-- I think it is the mark of a great person to be willing to let people change, even if you don't feel perfect about the changes. It can be really hard for LDS peeps to deal with people deciding that the church is not for them, and certainly it must be tough to be getting caught in the middle- or worse yet to feel in some way responsible to make him see the error of his ways. I'm out of the church now, and my brother left for different reasons than I did, but I think it's especially tough for someone who is trying to stay in the body of the church and effect change in that way. Its awesome too to know that your family was so supportive emotionally about Prop 8.

Ezra-- so sweet of you. I'm trying as hard as I can to shine what light I have!

Keri- I remember how strongly religious your parents are, I am surprised that your sister followed suit so fully. I didn't really know about that. She was so materialistic and such a rebel back then! It SUCKS that she has not been more supportive of your new direction in life. It is SO SAD to me when family can't see beyond their own belief system to the larger concept of people making choices that are the best for them.. and that "best for them" is not the same for all people.

Hawaii- so great to hear from you! Yes I was very touched. My parents seem to be responding quite after a short period of giving him a speech or two about what he is missing out on by leaving the fold. Zane informed me yesterday that my dad had him fill out a "what he wants out of life" questionnaire so they could discuss it and help him get .. well, what he wants out of life! I think that seems positive to me. They are admitting that he can still get something he wants out of life without being in the church, which is very significant to my mind.

Jim-- I agree. I am a VERY lucky man in the hugest way. I adore my family and I am so glad to be loved and appreciated in different ways by all of my siblings. :)

J@y kr{}LL said...

That is so cool that you have a little brother who is so supportive. My little brother is only a freshman in high school right now but he is amazing like that too. I think he is one of the most accepting and supportive members of my entire family. Sometimes I worry about him because I see how miserable he is when he is at church and I wish he wasn't. Sometimes I wonder if I wasn't a good example. But in the end I know he'll trod the path that's right for him.
As others have pointed out, you might say you shine what light you have, but I know that for some people you are a burning beacon. In one of your videos you said something to the effect that if they helped just one person, saved one person from making a terrible mistake, that they would have been worth the effort. I can assure you that they fullfilled that purpose. I stumbled across your videos and blog when I was in a really scary place and they made all the difference. You saved me. Thank you.

Stella said...

Clarke! I am SO excited to read this entry and to find you through Ezra's blog. I actually knew you at BYU. And I was in your ward in NY and I am SO SO SO SO SO happy and elated to read this because I always thought you were the most amazing person and I always wanted to talk to you about a struggle that many people seemed to gloss over in your life.

I too have recently left the church. For many reasons, and I feel very connected to Zane. I have been much happier this past year. I have been able to start to feel ok as a woman (something the church made it very hard for me to do as I felt I had to fit this mold, get married, have children, and do all of this other stuff that didn't make me happy).

In any case, so glad to find your blog. I'm using a nom de plume for this one (I haven't combined my two blogs as this one mentions a lot of people in my life in detail)

But I'll send you an email via facebook so you know who I am!

loving and admiring you SO much!

J@y kr{}LL said...

Thanks. Chorus Line was amazing. I loved it an will definitely have to keep my eye out for more theater performances in my area.

2Mod4U said...

That made me cry.

I too am blessed with a brother (one of them, anyway) that I am close enough to, that I was blessed to come out to him not many months ago.

He loves me and told me that he admires me for having the courage to live according to what I have come to accept as being a part of my soul.

I've not come out to anyone else as yet, in my family, but I've been coming out to friends bit by bit.