Monday, April 2, 2007

Is it OK to be Mormon and gay?

A couple of weeks ago, in my blog posting titled Secrets, a blog reader named Brett commented:
Some of the language you've come to use and ideas you're growing to embrace are much more reminiscent of the Affirmation crowd than one who is as committed to the Church and your family as you say you are.
Ouch! That stings!

To be honest, when I first read that comment from Brett, I didn't really think much of it. I just figured everyone is entitled to their own opinions. But, then my wife made a similar observation recently. She said that she is concerned about my increasingly leftist views. It causes me to sit up and take notice when two people make similar observations: One who knows me intimately, one who only knows me via my blog.

The thing is, I'm not sure I understand what either of them are referring to. I asked my wife for examples of where my views are moving to the left. She brought up a couple of examples, however I was able to point to things that I've always said on those topics demonstrating that my views those particular topics haven't changed. She conceded that the examples she gave were bad examples, but it is just a feeling she has.

I don't feel like I'm changing that much. My views on what it means to be gay have certainly been evolving the last few months. But, I don't perceive that spilling over into other aspects of my life. I'm still very conservative in my political views (I actually like President Bush). I'm just as active in church as I've always been, if not more active (Saturday was the first time in a while that I actually wanted to go to the priesthood session of general conference). I still struggle with the same things that I've always struggle with (for example, I've never been very good at doing my home teaching). Yet, something must be different about me.

I can rationalize each of these comments individually For Brett, I could tell myself that the persona that comes across in my blog is not an accurate reflection for who I really am. For my wife, I could tell myself that she is being overly sensitive right now since she just recently learned she is married to a gay husband, so she is making a big deal out of little things. But, I'm not sure I can rationalize these two comments together.

What is it about me that other people are seeing that I'm not seeing? Has the devil cheated my soul and is leading me carefully down to hell? (paraphrased from 2 Nephi 28:21)

I've always been messed up in some ways, and I still am. But, overall, I'm much more content with my life now than I was before I accepted the fact that I'm gay. My wife has even commented on a couple of occasions that I seem happier now than I was several months ago. I don't want to go back to the way I was in those dark depressing pre-gay days. Maybe I am changing. But, is that a bad thing? Even if I am changing, I still love my wife and family, and I still love the church. And, I don't want to do anything that might jeopardize either my marriage or my standing in the church.

I feel like I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. And still just as confused as ever.


Beck said...

I'm still not quite sure what to think of that YouTUBE link! I'm sure that's a part of what some consider being "gay", but is that what you think when calling yourself "gay"?

I find my ideas toward acceptance of others, including alternate definitions of marriage, moving much more to the left side of the argument as I accept myself in this context. Does that make me more liberal? Is that wrong? No - I just find it interesting that I'm more open to other ideas.

Mormon Enigma said...

but is that what you think when calling yourself "gay"?


I hope people don't think too much about my YouTube selection. I actually thought a long time before I posted to my blog if I really wanted to include that link. I decided to include it because of the words "It's OK to be gay" and the idea of being in a closet and the tug-of-war between the closeted gays and the open gays.

I can't imagine myself ever dressing like that. Are there really gay guys who are so outrageous in their dress? Plus, I seem to recall reading somewhere that most transvestites are actually heterosexual (is that true?)

But, you have to admit, it has a catchy tune - the kind that can get stuck in your head. The other day, I caught myself walking around humming "It's OK to be gay da da da..." (I can never remember the rest of the words)

Mormon Enigma said...

...including alternate definitions of marriage

That was actually one of the examples my wife came up with for my increasingly leftist views. I was able to remind her of some things I've said for years: That I don't have any problem with civil unions, and that I thought same sex marriage was a major tactical error by the gay community - it's asking for too much too soon. I've even said that, IMO, it would have been smarter to push for civil unions. Then, several years later after civil unions were generally accepted, push for full marriage.

Anonymous said...

I have been reading your blog for some time now. I am a married member with SSA as well, and I have noticed a change in your attitude in the blog. It is kind of silly to say, since I don't know you at all except through what you write, but I have sensed a difference as you've come out to yourself and your wife.
I think it is important to understand and accept SSA as a condition we have in life, but I don't think we should embrace it. We need to remember that through the atonement of Jesus Christ, this condition will be taken away from us. If we are enjoying our gayness so much that we become attached to it, it is impossible for us to be healed. Christ only helps us as far as we let him.
I don't think you are in dangerous territory yet, though. Through my narrow window I have of you, I think you're committed to your wife and the gospel. And I realize my comments are founded on hardly any information. But I think it is a danger for us with SSA to become too comfortable with this problem that we start liking out gayness. SSA is something that needs to be overcome, though maybe in the next life, in order to be perfected. I think if we keep our focus on the atonement, we are on the right track. It has to do with the dilemma you had a while back--the same spirit in this life will stay with us in the life to come. If we are intent on overcoming SSA in this life, we will be intent on overcoming it in the next. If we get lazy and complacent in same-sex attraction, we will be so in the world to come.
We need to be diligent in following the prophet and perfecting ourselves. I think we should avoid gay-oriented television programs and movies, as well as frequent interaction with practicing gay individuals. I think after we accept that we indeed do struggle with SSA, it is easy to lose focus and become too comfortable with the idea. It reminds me of the whole "we first pity, then endure, then embrace" theory.
I am sure there are many who disagree with what I said, but it is just my humble opinion.

playasinmar said...

The Rock:
a growing empathy for homosexuals and the burdens placed upon them by their families and society

The Hard Place:
having percieved leftist views

Mormon Enigma said...

I seem to recall reading somewhere that most transvestites are actually heterosexual

I did read that recently. Yesterday, in fact. A gentleman had written to Dear Abby. It seems his daughter had been told she was having a baby girl when, in fact, she had a baby boy. Now the boy is being dressed in pink cloths, because that is what they have. He didn't think it was a big deal, but his wife did. She was worried that he would become a cross dresser.

Abby, in her reply said "If her grandson decides to become a cross-dresser later in life - which, by the way is NOT related to what color clothes a man wore as a baby - it won't make him gay. The majority of cross-dressers are heterosexual."

MoHoHawaii said...

Here's the definitive glad-to-be-gay song from 1976. Don't play this track if you're susceptible to catchy tunes and have them stick in your head.

Brett said...

Mormon Enigma,

I'm the one who made that initial comment. Most of what I’ve read of yours has been on the Q-Saints site, and, to be honest, I haven’t much either there or here recently. But I ran across this and wanted to comment.

As I said before, the way people become influenced by gay culture or gay sociopolitical philosophies seems to be spiritual poison. I brought up the Book of Mormon verse: “And it came to pass that Amalickiah caused that one of his servants should administer poison by degrees to Lehonti, that he died” (Alma 47:18). Generally people’s loss of faith in or obedience to the principles of the gospel doesn’t happen overnight. And some of my concern lies in the fact that I’ve watch a number of people begin where you are, stating the same commitments to Church and marriage, slowly embrace elements of gay philosophy until they have left the Church and their marriages.

What I DON”T want to infer is that we need to have some kind of otherwise crippling “struggler” mentality that I think is fairly common in the Evergreen culture (and I’m not tryin to dog Evergreen here). I think there is a healthy place of loving and embracing who we are, and appreciating the good of what we are learning through are experience with these feelings, without getting caught up in the false philosophies of the world. What the world teaches about this issue, as a whole, is NOT true. And to embrace those ideas would be slow, spiritual death, unless there was sincere repentance—and I’m not talking merely of behavior. Repentance can include the change of mind and of heart that can come in turning from false ideas and attitudes.

You said: “I'm much more content with my life now than I was before I accepted the fact that I'm gay… I don't want to go back to the way I was in those dark depressing pre-gay days.” There’s a difference from feeling good because we are “gay,” and feeling good because we are being more open and authentic as a person. Anytime we stop suppressing, avoiding, or denying, and start dealing with things openly and healthy, we are going to feel better. Is that why you feel better, or do you feel better because you are not embracing a “gay” identity.

It’s not my intent to be preachy here. I’ve simply seen some of that evolution in you, and I wanted to point it out. You can do with it as you will.


Samantha said...

These things you're going through are all part of realizing that you've neglected a very important part of you for a long time. It changes your thinking paradigms. It changes your levels of tolerance and leads to many different experimental thought processes. In the end you'll decide exactly what you believe and exactly how you wish to live--isn't that the whole point of our lives here on earth?

One of the wonderful parts of accepting that you are SSA/gay/homo/whatever, is that you learn that love has a depth and breadth that you haven't yet discovered--and that it can be used to serve others in any circumstance. Is is charity? The pure love of Christ? I'll let you decide...