The Big Question

Here we go.

Let’s try a question and answer thread. You ask the questions (in a comment), and I’ll answer as transparently as possible (in a comment).

I’ll start.

TIM, are you gay?

I’m 48, single, living in New York City, and I like musicals, opera, ballet, and often do interpretive dance around my apartment which I decorated myself. You do the math.

But you’re a Mormon?

Yes, at least 5th generation (on one line). I’m very proud of my LDS heritage, and even though I have some doubts about the official stance on the origins of the Church, I continue to be active there, as I have been my entire life, except for a couple of brief periods of sloth.

You don’t have a problem with this seeming paradox?

No, I don’t. The God who is my friend knows that I have tried to live a “moral” life, and I think he applauds my efforts.

So, you’re celibate?

Yes, for the present.

And you’re completely a virgin, sexually-speaking?

No, not at all, though I think I’ve retained some innocence. I’ve had dates, and I’ve had sex.

So, you’ve repented of these…dates?

I once thought I needed to repent, but no longer. I have given up all guilt about being gay. I also harbor no guilt at having brown hair and bit of a tummy.

Don’t you feel bad going to Church with this hanging over your head?

No. I go to Church because it makes me feel good to be there, to learn about Jesus and sing His praises.

Would you like to meet a man and have a relationship, possibly get “married” to him?

Yes, that would be ideal. And ideally, he would be another LDS man. I think it could be a wonderful life, one that I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid going to Jr. Sunday School.

But the Church wouldn’t want you to marry another man, and still come to Church, isn’t that right?

I can’t really say what would happen in future, if I married a man (say, in Canada). There might be some censure from Church leaders, but I think most everyone I know would be delighted for me, that I could find some happiness in this life (and maybe in the next one, too).

If the Church leaders decided to dismiss me from my callings, it would be hard for me, because I love to play the organ and serve God this way. And I get a lot of nice attention from it. But I’ve served for 25 years now in my ward, as a musician, teacher, clerk. Maybe it’s time to retire. If I was disfellowshipped, it might be difficult to attend each week. I’d make a valiant effort for a little while.

But I wouldn’t stop praying, and I wouldn’t stop believing in Jesus and His example, and his lessons for survival, for love, and a graceful life.


51 Responses to The Big Question

  1. TIM says:

    I thought of another question.

    Is this blog gonna be all Mormon, all the time?

  2. TIM says:

    Nobody’s asking any questions. Aren’t there are million things you’d like to know about me?

    It doesn’t have to be gay-related, or LDS-related. Anything at all. Fire away.

  3. TIM says:

    TIM, weren’t you engaged to a woman? What the hell happened to that?

  4. TIM says:

    Yes, I was engaged in 1982. The woman was someone I really loved (and love still), but I knew, and she ultimately knew, it simply would not work out for us. She later dated a guy who converted to the Church, and they’ve been married since 1984. I think we made the right decision, and I feel like I acted completely honorably toward her, and that she would agree about this. I can’t say whether her life has been happy, since I haven’t really been in touch all that much.

  5. Mayan Elephant says:


    i admire you in many ways.

    i have a few questions.

    are you sympathetic to homosexuals and those with homosexuals in their family if they have lost all respect or interest in the church?

    do you think the church impedes childrens ability to respect homosexuals?

    how would you describe the exmormon gay community in nyc?

    what color are your walls?

    do you have ralph lauren sheets and towels?

    did you see the boy from oz? by the way, i did. in australia. woo hoo.

    why do english folks only wear black shoes with a tux? (i think thats cool btw)

  6. Mayan Elephant says:

    more questions.

    i absolutely hate, with every fiber of my being, wendy watson nelson. can you give me one reason to hate her with with all but one fiber of my being. your engagement story reminded me of her. i think she is a disgrace.

    within the gay community, what do folks say or think about carol lyn pearson?

    you are a blogger. a bulletinboarder. obviously an emailer. how often do you use text messaging?

  7. Mayan Elephant says:

    this is fun.

    why do you stay in manhattan

    where would you like to go next.

  8. Mayan Elephant says:

    uh oh. i think i sorta killed the golden answerer.

  9. TIM says:

    WOW, lotta questions, ME. I’ll try to be succinct.

    “are you sympathetic to homosexuals and those with homosexuals in their family if they have lost all respect or interest in the church?”

    Yes, though I don’t know too many of these, because they often won’t associate with me, since I stay in the Church.

    “do you think the church impedes childrens ability to respect homosexuals?”

    Hmm, I don’t have children, and I haven’t really thought about this.

    “how would you describe the exmormon gay community in nyc?”

    I tried an Affirmation meeting just once. They were critical of me staying in the Church, so I didn’t stay there long.

    “what color are your walls?” They are white. The color is called China.

    “do you have ralph lauren sheets and towels?” HAHA, yes.

    “did you see the boy from oz? by the way, i did. in australia. woo hoo.” Yes, it’s not too good, though I do like that Hugh Jackman.

    “why do english folks only wear black shoes with a tux? (i think thats cool btw)”

    Do other nations allow brown shoes with a tux? I didn’t know.


  10. TIM says:

    I do not know who Wendy Watson Nelson is.

    I stay in Manhattan because I love my apartment, my friends, and my ward, and I do lots of music things here.

    I don’t know where I’m going next. I need to find a job, somewhere, that I like to do. Otherwise, what’s the point?

  11. Mayan Elephant says:

    c’mon. you know what i meant. they will not wear black shoes with anything other than a tux. semantics bully.

  12. TIM says:

    Oh, I see what you were asking. I wear my black shoes with everything. I have one pair of brown shoes that I don’t ever wear.

  13. Mayan Elephant says:

    TIM, i am laughing my ass right off about the ralph lauren sheets. i told my wife i asked that question, which i initially only put sheets in the question, and she reminded me about the towels. what the heck. ralph lauren has gay linen domination.

  14. TIM says:

    I only have one set of Lauren sheets. The others are Calvin Klein.

  15. Mayan Elephant says:

    now. that. was funny. have a great night.

  16. TIM says:

    You too, ME. And give my regards to Mrs. Elephant.

  17. Mayan Elephant says:

    she says right back at ya with the hellos. she was just in manhattan. missed ya. looks like ya gonna have to come out to the left coast.

  18. super sweet says:

    TIM – How come you always went to the family ward in Manhattan, instead of the singles ward? Well, now I guess there is more than one singles ward – but not a gay ward yet, but there should be! Although, it must be said, the Manhattan singles ward was probably not a bad place to meet a nice gay mormon boy. I know I met a lot of them there.

    Anyhow, I believe one of Mayan’s questions refers to whether or not children are raised to be homphobes in the mormon religion – whether they are socialized to reject homosexuality *and* homosexuals? My own answer to this (which Mayan is not looking for lol) is that parents make all the difference in this equation. Yes, I think the church’s stance is ultimately homophobic, but parents can ameliorate this by teaching the true love of Christ (or whatever works for them) and the acceptance of all people as human siblings in a very real way. I’ve seen firsthand the difference between parents who actively verbally bash gays, those who take a laissez-faire approach and just let the church teach what they will, and those parents who actively approach teaching within the family unit to clarify that homosexuality is not to be feared, hated, or even “politely” ignored. The first two tend to produce little bigots who sometimes later reject these learnings as adults (we hope); the third tends to produce little people that don’t look out for new ways to judge people around them.

  19. TIM says:

    “How come you always went to the family ward in Manhattan, instead of the singles ward?”

    An excellent question. When I started in Manhattan, there was no single ward. I attended the Manhattan First Ward, and I became the organist in 1985.

    They made a singles ward in about 1990, or so, but the older singles weren’t invited to attend it (over 30 years old). So, I was already too old. They later relented, but I chose to stay in my ward.

    I liked my family ward. The few times I attended the singles ward sacrament meeting, to play music or whatever, I felt very uncomfortable. I don’t go to Church to worry about my clothes and personality, which I always did when around the singles. Since the family ward having dating “behind them,” we can all simply worship and not worry.

    I suppose I was more labeled “single,” by being the only single person in the family ward.

  20. Ann says:

    How have you survived without a job all this time in Manhatten?

    Do you expect to make a killing on your apartment, and then move someplace where it’s less expensive place to live?

    If yes, how can you bear to leave New York?

    Have you pursued a full-time profession in music since you left your design job?

    How many DVDs do you have in your collection?

    What is your FAVORITE:

  21. TIM says:

    “How have you survived without a job all this time in Manhatten?”

    I had some money saved, and an additional amount in a 401K, which I went through, and then I re-financed my mortgage, taking an additional $50,000 in cash, which I have have now used up.

    “Do you expect to make a killing on your apartment, and then move someplace where it’s less expensive place to live?”

    Yes, this has been the major source of my freedom from working — the potential realization of a large profit from the sale of my co-op. However, it’s now been for sale for 2 months, and isn’t selling (at the going price). So, I’ve got to make some decisions again. The original idea was to sell, and then rent somewhere else in Manhattan, at least for a couple of years.

    “If yes, how can you bear to leave New York?” I’m not happy about it.

    “Have you pursued a full-time profession in music since you left your design job?”

    This is a good question for an entire other thread. I once had a full-time music career, which I gave up and went into computer design. It’s been 15 years since I have really pursued music, and I’m having trouble getting back into it.

    “How many DVDs do you have in your collection?” About 2,400.

    “What is your FAVORITE:

    I don’t have a specific favorite of these. I suppose I could say that Gypsy is the greatest traditional musical, Porgy and Bess the only worthy American opera, and Serenade a favorite ballet choreographed by George Balanchine to music of Tschaikovsky.

  22. Equality says:

    I’d like to add you to my blogroll but am not sure if you would be offended to be included in my list of “DAMU/Outer Blogness” blogs. Would you be amenable to having me add your blog to that list? If not, I also have a list of links to sites on Equal Rights, in which I link to Mike and Buck’s site and a few others. Would you rather be included there?

    Have you seen Jekyll & Hyde? If so, what is your opinion?

  23. TIM says:

    I’m offended by no one, no how. Add me to your link list, if you’d like.

    Jekyll and Hyde (the musical, I assume you mean) is a dreadful piece of junk.

  24. Ann says:

    Wow! I didn’t really think until I read your answers how incredibly PRYING my questions were. Gosh, man, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to poke into your finances. I was just sort of wondering how you got along…I didn’t think how much that would involve $$$

    Do you do any programming? You could write the “opinion-o-matic,” where somebody could plug in the title of a movie or musical and the software/blog tool would spit out your opinion. Because I can see that being a HUGE component of your blog…

  25. TIM says:

    Not a problem, Ann. This blog is all about exposing myself, I guess (without the prurient definition).

    I haven’t heard of this “opinion-o-matic” thing. Wouldn’t I have to put in all my opinions? How would that work, exactly? I can’t write reviews of every single show ever made.

  26. Sarah says:


    All I can say is that I feel incredibly lucky that you stayed in the church since this is where I met you and we ultimately became such close friends. I have missed you every Sunday that I have had to listen to anyone else at the organ and desperately wish we could have stayed in the city to keep you an even bigger part of our lives. You are so important to our family. I hope you find someone to share your life with, since you deserve to be happy in every way. When you find him, we will welcome him and be happy for you. I believe God sees all the good you have done and that you do every day and loves you. Your music is so beautiful, it shows the world your amazing faith. Just keep up all the good work. You are the best of men.

  27. TIM says:

    This last post made me cry. Sarah is my favorite singer of all I have ever accompanied, and she’s an amazing friend, as well.

    Sarah, you are the best of women. I love you forever.

  28. Why do you never come to New Jersey?

    Are you coming to my birthday party on October 28th?

  29. TIM says:

    Ha, Chris, I was in New Jersey 4 times in the last 2 weeks — I played two gigs out there at assisted living centers, and I had to rehearse for them on the other two days.

    And your birthday party isn’t in New Jersey, as I recall. I don’t know if I’ll make it or not. I don’t have a car, you see, and it’s a big trip otherwise.

    As to your last party, I seem to have some stomach infection. I’ve still got it, after three weeks of nausea and throwing up.

  30. Follow up question…

    Why don’t you ever come to MONTCLAIR, New Jersey? 😉

    My birthday party is not in New Jersey, you are correct. It’s north of the city. If you decide you want to make the journey, I’m sure I can find a ride for you. Just let me know.

    We should brunch soon. I’d like to introduce you to Jed.

  31. Ann says:

    The way I see the “Opinion-o-matic” working, is when you watch something, whether for the first time or again, you would put an entry into the database.

    When someone submits a question to the OOM, asking (for example) “What do you think of Jekyll and Hyde?” it will spit out your response. If you haven’t already put a review/opinion in the database, the response will be “TIM has not expressed an opinion”. Next time you go to add an opinion, you will also be prompted to complete the entry for Jekyll and Hyde. Next time the person who asks the question jumps into your blog, they’ll see that you’ve created an opinion, and they can read it.

    This would be a wonderful tool. TIM, the ultimate arbiter of taste…

    Of course, somebody would have to program it, but that shouldn’t be too hard for someone who knows how to do such things…

  32. joel says:

    I am a big proponent of Tim’s Opinino-o-matic. Especially if it involves Tim referring to himself in third person and one line dismissals. Try it and if it gets to be too much (remember it’d be on-demand) cut it off.

  33. Peggy says:

    So what would be your dream job, if you could find it? And what do all your other readers think you should do? If you had a job doing the kind of music Sarah and the rest of us treasure, would you consider living in (gasp) Utah?

    P.S. I agree with Super Sweet when it comes to raising children. Parents always have to counteract what their children are hearing either from church or the surrounding society. Parents who show love to their gay and lesbian friends, making no disparaging remarks or distinctions between them and everyone else, send an important message. But raising children without any faith community, awash in the narcissism, rampant sexuality and materialism of the American society, is even more difficult, I believe. At least the church talks about unconditional love, even if it doesn’t practice it. The society is all about me, me, me. That requires even more exhausting parental vigilence.

  34. Jack says:

    Why didn’t Jules Styne and Stephen Sondheim collaborate more?

    Why did they (was it the knukle-head producer?) take “Together ” out of the movie?

    Why didn’t Jules Styne listen to Jerome Robbins when he told him that “Little Lamb” was problematic?

  35. TIM says:

    “Why didn’t Jules Styne and Stephen Sondheim collaborate more?”

    It’s Jule Styne (no ‘s’) and Sondheim didn’t want to collaborate at all. He’s written 15+ shows on his own, and they’re little miracles.

    “Why did they (was it the knukle-head producer?) take “Together ” out of the movie?”

    The movie is only semi-successful, but there was a big problem with “Together,” — Ros Russell sang in the basement, and Natalie had to sing an octave higher, an awkward range for her. It sounds awful, and I understand why it was removed.

    “Why didn’t Jules Styne listen to Jerome Robbins when he told him that “Little Lamb” was problematic?”

    I love “Little Lamb” and all the rest of Gypsy, the very pinnacle of traditional Broadway musicals.

  36. Jack says:

    Whoops–thanks for the spelling correction.

    I guess I’ll have to listen to “Little Lamb” again. I can see what they were trying to do for the character–it just didn’t seem like a very good song, that’s all.

    I Love the Styne-Sondheim collaboration. Both are uniquely sophisticated in their style and yet they “jive.” Fun stuff.

    You’ll probably hate me for this, but, for most folks, Sondeim’s shows are little miracles if you like that sort of thing–and I like that sort of thing on occasion. No doubt he’s a brilliant lyricist, but I think his stuff works more because of it’s ingenious construct rather than it’s “musical-ness.” Jule Styne is a superior composer to Sondheim, IMO.

  37. TIM says:

    I might agree with you about Styne, Jack. We’re discussing this very thing over at my board about musicals, Sondheim and Us.

    I still feel that Stephen Sondheim is the greatest musical dramatist there ever was. Strictly as a composer, I think there a few people who were better, including Gershwin, Bernstein, and on occasion, Richard Rodgers.

  38. danithew says:

    LOL. I liked the summary of your interests followed by “do the math” statement.

  39. mikecane says:

    You say, You do the math. I’m a NYer too. Does this also mean you live in Chelsea?!

  40. Beijing says:

    Aren’t you related to a famous journalist?

    Were you really dreaming of married life with a man when you were in Jr. Sunday School? Mainly what I am asking here is when you started doing the math on yourself, so to speak.

    If I recall correctly, you came to the New Order Mormons board all upset about your church experiences, and later left the New Order Mormons board all renewed and reactivated and happy to be active LDS (popping back in only occasionally). Can NOM (and by extension the DAMU) claim you as proof that someone was *strengthened* in his resolve to be an active Mormon due to the opportunity to vent in the DAMU and to the beneficent influence of gentle, evenhanded DAMUites?

  41. wagi says:

    When waiting for the bus, do you actually wait for the bus or look for the bus?

  42. west-side, by-side says:

    Tim, I think we may have been in the same ward when I read at Columbia during the 80´s.

  43. TIM says:

    Sorry, I haven’t really kept up with the questions. Here are some quick answers:

    “What’s your dream job?” Conductor of the New York Philharmonic

    “Does this also mean you live in Chelsea?” No, I’m on the Upper West Side.

    “Aren’t you related to a famous journalist?” Yes.

    “Were you really dreaming of married life with a man when you were in Jr. Sunday School?”

    It’s complex, of course, because I didn’t know what sex was as a young child. But my memory, which may be faulty, suggests to me that I knew I was attracted to men at a very early age. I was always more fascinated by the Prince than Cinderella, for one example. One pretend game I played was ship’s captain, ordering about all the sailors. I was very insecure with other boys, and I’m sure that my pretend games were dealing with this insecurity. And as an adolescent, I knew immediately what my real attractions were.

  44. Mary Alice says:

    I think that older (35+) singles (gays and straights) in the Church face many of the same issues, and thankfully the Church is leaning more towards don’t-ask-don’t-tell where sex is concerned. This is as it should be. It’s pretty unseemly for bishops to ask unmarried adults whether and with whom they’re having sex (with self, male, or female partner) and to “confess” and “feel remorse” over something that frankly few educated, well-adjusted, upstanding people should feel guilty about.

    Often the idea taught at Church (especially to younger singles and teens) is that anyone who ever has sex outside of marriage (gay and straight) is an immoral, awful person and that person should “repent” or else they cannot return to God. It’s sad that people actually believe and teach that when there are good people such as yourself and many other older singles in the Church who occasionally find love, romance, comfort and passion with others without being married.

  45. nbjd - Nancy Bullock says:

    thanks for the enty – good insights and frank answers. i’m getting much closer to understanding my feelings concerning the church and “SSA”.

    in response to Mary Alice – in what situations have you found that the church is “leaning more towards don’t-ask-don’t-tell”? I agree the idea that a person who has sex outside of marriage is an immoral and awful person was taught for years. Now it seems to me that the church is making it clear that we are to be a loveing people, non judgemental and inclusive people and that our perception of anothers behavior neither “makes” them awful or immoral.

    We’re all on a journey, and we all have challenges – whether male or female, young or old, gay or straight. Some challenges are more difficult and some less, but we,( as much as we think we can), aren’t able to determine which is which. Only God really knows how we are doing.

    I believe that what is required is that we do the best we can. We have no idea what that is for anyone but ourselves. We need to stop making sweeping statements about mankind and focus on what our best is. I refuse to stand in judgement of anyone who has sex outside of marriage. Equally I won’t make any judgements on a brother or sister who does drugs, doesn’t love themself, seems to live a perfect life etc. It’s not my “work”.


    I’m a bi-polar woman, mother, wife, friend, sister, daughter and artist. I take prescription drugs to control my disorder. I’m able to live a full and independant life. I’m able to cope with my mood swings with the help of my meds, therapy, faith and wonderful people who love and support me.

    My grandfather was also bi-polar. He was a father, husband, friend, son, and a salesman. He also used medication to control his mood swings. He used what was available at the time – alcohol. It wasn’t as effective as the meds I have today. and he spent most of his life institutionalized after attempting to kill his wife with a butcher knife while deep in a manic episode.

    I have a gay son. He lives with his partner. He’s a son, brother, friend, and an artist. He contributes to society, loves his fellowman better than most and lives the best he can much of the time.

    Which one of us is closest to doing our best? For which one of us is the Lord’s grace sufficient for us to return and live with God?

    You do what you have to, and so will I. I believe there isn’t any need for anyone of us to decide who needs to feel remorse, or who needs to repent. Nor is there any need for one person to decide whether or not it is acceptable or appropriate across the board for one to “occasionally find love … etc. without being married.

  46. danithew says:

    I am wondering if you could update the link in your blogroll (for blognitive dissonance) so that it goes to


  47. greenfrog says:

    d, are you still around?

  48. TIM says:

    Thanks for asking, yes, I’m alive, barely. I’ve been going through some difficulties. Sorry to have abandoned this blog project just as it was getting going. If I recover anytime soon, I might pick it up again.

  49. MikeInWeHo says:

    Hey Tim,
    Your last entry is worrisome. I wondered why you had disappeared from the Bloggernacle. You even got mentioned in my first “official” LDS blog post, here:

    Are you OK ?? What is going on??

    I was really hoping to meet you in person sometime. I get to NYC a few times a year.

    Take good care.

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