Sunday, March 27, 2016


This month the Church released the world's largest virtual choir performance for the "Hallelujah" chorus from Handel's Messiah. I was able to submit a video for for both Tenor and Bass parts, and at least one of them made it in!'re welcome.

I spent this weekend back home in Arizona getting a family photo taken. While family photos are one of the most dangerous things we can do, I'm grateful that I did it. 

My mother always has me sing in sacrament meeting when I visit. Today the choir performed "Gethsemane," a children's song that quickly became popular among four-part adult choirs. The chorus is so simple yet so sweetly profound: "Gethsemane. Jesus loves me. So He gives His gift to me, from Gethsemane."

Thinking of the wonderful family that I've been blessed with, I've pondered over what it really meant to have a savior. I tried to wrap my head around the concepts of grace and reconciliation as I sat looking at a large painting by my dad of the Annunciation. Jesus was foretold by prophets and angels. His earthly ministry was so relatively short, yet its influence has reverberated across continents and oceans. No man has touched more lives and instigated more goodness.

Largely because of this, the Hallelujah chorus is possibly the most famous piece of music ever written, as many in other countries can recognize it over other English songs. I've had the pleasure of performing in Handel's Messiah as a tenor and as a bass, and both times my testimony of the divinity of Christ has been strengthened.

It is impossible with a mortal mind to truly grasp the infinite atonement performed by the Savior, but I know that someday I will. Until that time, I pray that I will have the trust to allow His grace to redeem me from my shortcomings.

There is no one on earth beyond the reach of His forgiveness. Hallelujah

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Baba Yetu

This week the BYU Men's Chorus released its newest music video, "Baba Yetu" featuring the amazing Alex Boye! It was such an honor and uplifting experience to be a part of it (I'm in there, somewhere, I promise!). The Lord's Prayer in Swahili, Baba Yetu has a deeper meaning for me and my journey. Something that Alex Boye shows our little world is that faith and devotion don't always take shape in cookie-cutter patterns. The Gospel is for all mankind. All cultures express their love to their God in their own respectful way(s).

I've constantly struggled with feeling like I don't belong, that if people really knew what I was struggling with they would judge me, and that my dedication to God would be counted as meaningless when considered in conjunction with my same-sex attraction.

This week I've thought a lot about how my life and future don't look like what I've always planned. Perhaps I'll get married to a woman and father children. Perhaps not. I'm doing the best I can with the cards I've been dealt. Sometimes, the "thoughtful" questions that people ask me imply that I'm studying a dead-end major or that I'm committing some sin of omission by not actively dating. Mind you, most of these negative feelings are simply stories I tell myself. I paint myself into a corner all too often. Juggling same-sex attraction, chronic pain, and the everyday demands of life often makes me feel like I'm not good enough for this world.

Something that struck me while working with Alex was that while many people I know (including, sometimes, myself) pick at how he sings so dramatically and ostentatiously that it takes the Spirit out of the hymns. In essence, I've downplayed his testimony because of his presentation.

It came as a slap to the face, albeit a soft one. Are words of love in another language any less genuine? Does presentation invalidate a testimony? Perhaps others see me when they find out that I experience same-sex attraction in an uncomfortable light, that perhaps if my testimony was stronger or my resolve deeper my attractions wouldn't need to be discussed (Again, stories in my head). Being a young, very single adult in the Church, my life may not look normal, and if I continue on this relationship-trajectory my lone wolf status may continue to puzzle those with whom I associate.

Whether others hold such perceptions of me or these are my misguided perceptions of myself, I think its a valuable lesson to learn that while many of our paths look very different from each other's, we are all trekking to the same destination. We can't walk another's path for him/her, but we can honor the life circumstances of our spiritual siblings by respecting their efforts to live their testimonies in an authentic manner.