Saturday, December 22, 2007
But, despite all of the frenzied hustle and bustle, this is a special time of the year. It is a time for us to be with family and friends. It is a time for us to celebrate the single most significant event in the history of the world - the birth of the Son of God.
As you are driving around doing last minute shopping with cars honking and people pushing and shoving - Imagine what it must have been like in Bethlehem those many years ago with people from all around converging upon that small town and overwhelming its resources.
As you listen to Christmas music and attend one of the many holiday parties enjoying fellowship with family and friends - imagine how the shepherds must have felt when the heavens opened up with an angelic chorus, how they too wanted to seek after that lowly stable in fellowship with one another.
As you are out shopping for that perfect gift for a friend or loved one - remember the gifts of the maggi who traveled from afar seeking out the Christ child to present to him their most precious gifts.
As you see children lined up to sit on Santa's lap eager to tell him what they want - think of Joseph, a strong, silent, almost unknown man; a man chosen by God to raise the Christ child in mortality seeing to His wants and needs.
Most of the people who read this blog share a common bond - a certain affinity for people of our own gender. As such, we are misunderstood and maligned. At times it can seem like a tremendous burden, especially for those of us who consciously choose to suppress these feelings. Even those who have chosen a different path often feel reproof and condemnation from those who profess love of mankind.
But, it is also a gift - because it grants to us an ability to love our fellow men and women in a way that others cannot comprehend. I'm not referring to a sexual love, but a brotherly and sisterly love that transcends.
A number of months ago, as I was coming to grips with this part of me, a part that, for most of my life, I had tried in vain to deny existed, I wrote the following poem. I want to leave this with you as a gift to my fellow residents on the gay island of misfit Mormon's - my family.
The Way I Am by Abelard Enigma
I don’t know why I am the way I am
I don’t know if it is an inherent trait from birth
Or the culmination of experiences from my youth
But, one thing I do know
Is that I did not choose to be this way
The choice was made for me
By forces beyond my control
Conspiring together to make me who I am
And, I must believe that there is a purpose
God would not punish one of his children thus
Therefore, it must be part of His grand design
And, if it be from God
Then I must accept who I am
For, to do otherwise
Would be an insult to God
But, what grand purpose does He have
For making me the way I am?
What is it that He would have me do?
Life is an exploration
So, as I travel down the road of life
It is up to me to discover my purpose
My reason for being
And to seize upon the very essence of my existence
So that when I return to God
He will say to me “Well done, thou good and faithful servant”
And I will spend the rest of eternity
For making me the way I am
May this holiday season bring you joy and happiness as you journey through life on your chosen path.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
- There have been 6,984 visits to my blog since May 1st when I started keeping web site statistics. The astute reader will note that number is much higher than the statistic that shows on my blog. The astute-er reader will note that the number which displays on my blog is since July 26, 2007. The astute-est reader will note that this number was obsolete as soon as I typed it.
- December 4, 2007 set an all time record of 96 visits on a single day. That is the day after I ended my month long sabbatical (I was averaging about a dozen visits/day during that month of no posting).
- Visitors to my blog come from 45 countries. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of visits originate in the united states; however, other countries which have a significant number of visits are: Austria, Canada, and Kazakhstan
- Firefox is the browser of choice for my blog visitors with 48%. Internet Explorer accounts for 45% of the visits. The remaining 7% is made up of miscellaneous browsers, such as Opera, Safari, etc. Does this mean that Firefox is the official gay browser?
- Counting this post, I've posted 164 times in the past year. My most prolific month was January 2007 (with 21 posts) followed by February and May 2007 (with 19 posts each). My least prolific month was November 2007 with zero posts.
- My most popular blog post (number of hits) is The "M"word, which is also the post which generated the most comments (29 comments). Which begs the question, what are you guys going doing when you're not reading my blog?
- My blog is referenced in a Wikipedia article titled Homosexuality and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (check me out, I'm #62). I am an example of someone who "identify themselves as gay or homosexual, even if they are heterosexually married."
- The blogs which I get the most links from are (in order): Keep Changing- A Gay Mormon Journey, Northern Lights, Beck, flying under the gaydar, Young Stranger, Gay BYU Student, Distinguishing Preoccupation, and Bobbing Gecko.
- February 15th marks my first blog post with an image attached. My most controversial image was this. I'm still a bit confused as to why it generated such negative feedback. I mean, I've used similarly edgy images before, such as this, this, this, this, and this with nary a "tsk tsk". I'm thinking it's because Beck posted this image the day before - and two edgy images in a 24 hour period was more than some people could handle.
- When I first started blogging, I would receive an occasional email from some stray straight LDS guy who happened upon my blog - usually calling me to repentance for heading down a dangerous path towards embracing a deviant lifestyle. I was really bothered by these emails at the time; but, now I look back and laugh. I haven't received one of those emails in quite a while. While I don't miss them, I do wonder why they stopped. Did straight people stop visiting my blog? Are the straight people who visit my blog more tolerant and understanding? Have the straight people who visit my blog given me up as a lost cause?
I've changed a lot in the past year. I've gone from wringing my hands saying "I'm gay, woe is me" to "I'm gay - deal with it!" OK, I'm not really quite there yet - but I'd like to be. But, I am much more comfortable in my gay skin than I was a year ago. I still revert back to my "I'm gay, woe is me" phase occasionally, but I'm getting much better about it.
I got this idea from Sean Tibbitts (who got the idea from Todd Hammer); so, here is my first year as a blogger in review
December 19, 2006 - Introduction
To be honest, I've never understood blogging. Why do some people post intimate details of their lives for everyone to see? And why to other people read blogs? Yet, I find myself reading blogs, and now I am writing my own blog.
January 3, 2007 - A new year
The holidays are over and we begin a new year. It's hard to believe that it's already 2007. I remember, as a young kid, wondering what it would be like when we got into the 21st century. It certainly isn't what I imagined it would be all those years ago. For one thing, where are the flying cars??? Weren't we supposed to be flying around like the Jetson's by now? And weren't we supposed to have robot maids to help around the house?
February 1, 2007 - Out of the closet, day 3
First of all, I have to say that I'm overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support I've received from my friends here in the blogosphere (or queerosphere, which ever term you prefer), both through comments to my blog entries and via emails sent directly to me. I want to publicly thank everyone who has reached out to me. I don't feel so alone anymore. I just wish there wasn't the geographic separation between us because I feel like I want to give each and everyone one of you a big hug.
March 7, 2007 - Back in Texas
We got back last night from our visit to my daughter/son-in-law/granddaughter in California. My granddaughter is beautiful, of course, I'm a bit prejudiced. I think I'm really going to enjoy being a grandfather. In some ways, it's even better than being a father. For one thing, when you think the baby needs a diaper change, you can just hand her back to mom or dad :-)
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!
May 2, 2007 - In the gay world, but not of the gay world
There is a common axiom we often hear in the LDS church: We should be in the world, but not of the world. I've used this phrase with my children and when teaching lessons at church. It rolls off of our tongues so easily, but what does it really mean?
June 3, 2007 - Guidelines for Gay Mormons
There is an idea that has been brewing in the MoHo community for the past week or so. It started out in private chats, and became public in -L-'s blog; that is, the need for something like a "For the Strength of Gay Youth" pamphlet to help people with SSA understand what is OK and what is not in their unique situation. This has generated a whole lot of discussion over on -L-'s blog (here and here), with several interesting, and at times odd, tangents.
July 2, 2007 - Satisfying my urges
Lately I've been feeling an emptiness in my soul. I've been having these urges deep within my bosom, a burning desire to
resume practicing the piano.
August 1, 2007 - God Loveth His Children
I just read the pamphlet, God Loveth His Children, that seems to be generating some amount of controversy in the gay Mormon community. To be honest, I didn't have the same negative reaction that others had when I read this pamphlet. Is it perfect? No! Is it better than anything else we've seen to date? A most definite Yes!
September 5, 2007 - It still sucks to be me
The other day I needed to go to the pet store to get some dog food. I opened up our A/C closet (which is where we happen to keep the dog leash) and there was water all over the floor of the closet - from a clogged condensation drain (another $250 down down the drain [pun intended]). Anyway, I walked into the pet store with my dog, and I felt really gay (in a good sort of way) - until she pooped on the floor. I sheepishly informed the clerk and ask for some towels to clean it up. Instead, she got on the PA and announced for all the world to hear "Service 92 near the ProPlan aisle, Service 92 near the ProPlan aisle". I don't think I'll ever be able to show my face in that store again.
October 2, 2007 - Maybe ...
A new pamphlet recently released.
December 3, 2007 - Can you believe it?
One of my responsibilities as a counselor in the bishopric is counting the tithing receipts. Yesterday, the financial clerk and I were concluding this task and were at the point in the process where we were just printing reports and sending the financial data to SLC (via modem). While we were waiting for it to complete, we were chatting.
December 19, 2007 - One year later
Today, December 19th, 2007 marks the one year anniversary since I wrote my first blog post. A lot has changed in the last 12 months. But, before I get into that, let me include some interesting blogging statistics. (At least they are interesting to me. But, I'm a nerd - and proud of it!)
Monday, December 17, 2007
Personally, I'm neutral on the strike. I really don't watch much network TV anyway. Plus, we have a whole season of "Flash Gordon" on our DVR waiting to be watched. And there is always the Food Network and BBC America. If all else fails, we have Flickr.
Anyway, I wasn't even going to mention it in my blog as I don't have any strong feelings about it either way. Then, I read a comment by one of so many in response to Max Power's recent post - and it hit me. We have a Magisterium in this world too!
We have the zealots on the religious right who want to define how the world should be for all of us. They want to approve every TV show I watch, every movie I see. They want to approve what books I should read. They want to approve of what products I purchase. They want to approve of how I spend my free time. In essence, they want to remove my free will to live my own life as I see fit. By simply acknowledging I'm gay I am an abomination that shouldn't be allowed to exist.
But, we also have the wacko's on the left who seek to define how the world should be. They want to police my speech and the things I'm allowed to say. They want to take control of my money and how it is spent. They also want approval rights on the products I purchase, the books I read. In essence, they want to remove my free will to live my own life as I see fit. By acknowledging I'm gay and not acting on my natural passions, I am mocked and belittled and told that I am being dishonest with myself and everyone else.
Yes, we even have a Magisterium within the rank and file membership of the LDS church. These are people who would be utterly appalled and disgusted if they ever were to become aware of the Mormon queerosphere.
Overall, the movie was OK. Not bad, but not great either. I'm sure I'll go see the sequel (and, believe me, there will be a sequel - one of my beefs is how abruptly the movie ended). There were some continuity problems in the story that kind of bugged me (some things probably ended up on the cutting room floor that might have explained things better). Perhaps if I read the books. Although, apparently, the books upon which The Golden Compass is based are more blatantly anti-religious (anti catholic, to be more precise) than the movie; but, I only know this because the religious right Magisterium told me so.
BTW, does this remind anyone else of John Gustav-Wrathall?
And John, I hope you take this as a complement, as it is intended.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
The Lost Christmas Eve by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra
I'm listening to it as I type this. Unfortunately, this CD doesn't have Christmas Eve/Sarajevo; so, I think I'll also have to acquire the album titled Christmas Eve and Other Stories.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Handel - Messiah produced by The Academy of Ancient Music
A version arranged to sound as it likely would have at the time of Handel, meaning an all male chorus, using boys for the high treble parts (Women were only used for the solo parts) and authentic instrumentation
A Renaissance Christmas by The Boston Camerata
All of the Mannheim Steamroller Christmas albums (although, the one titled The Christmas Angel is my least favorite).
A Little Christmas Music by The Kings Singers
The Gift by Jim Brickman
A Family Christmas by John Tesh
This Is The Time by Michael Bolton
These Are Special Times by Celine Dion
And last, but not least
Rudy the Redneck Reindeer, Volume 2 by Mistletoe Music
Which has immortal favorites, such as "All I Want for Christmas is a Real Good Tan", "Santa Claus is Comin' on a Boogie Woogie Choo Choo Train", and "12 Readneck Days of Christmas"
Saturday, December 8, 2007
I am a 45- year-old mother of three, and about five years ago, I decided to start coloring my hair to cover up the gray. My color of choice is blonde.Gentle Reader:
The three hours I spend at the hairdresser every six weeks is the only luxury I have in my life. When I come out, I feel relaxed, young and beautiful. I get plenty of compliments. However, there are people who will point out to me that “that’s not your real color.” Usually, I laugh and say it’s part of my midlife crisis, but I don’t think I need to justify why I chose to go blonde, nor should these people be able to go away thinking that they were right in insulting a person.
Do you have any suggestions for polite, yet assertive responses that would gently yet firmly put these people in their place? I would never dream of commenting on a person’s hair or clothing unless it was a compliment.
Would it be of any comfort to know that these busybodies are every bit as active advising those of us who do not color our hair to do so?
No, and it shouldn’t be. Having other people pick over one’s hair is revolting.
Miss Manners does not advise you to taunt a person who has just been proven to be rude. Your answer should be a soft, “Why, that’s very kind of you to point that out.”
The phrasing prompts the other person to say an automatic “thank you” that is choked off with the realization that gratitude is neither meant nor deserved.
I love Miss Manners - she is one classy lady. I just love her suggested response to rude comments about the womans hair color.
Can we put our collective gay brains together to come up with a similar response to rude comments about gays? Something that would make Miss Manners proud!
Friday, December 7, 2007
Thursday, December 6, 2007
So, I want to follow up with some random thoughts about celibacy, in no particular order.
- I do not consider celibacy to be synonymous with being single or being alone. The dictionary defines celibacy as: Abstinence from sexual intercourse, especially by reason of religious vows. There is nothing in that definition that says you have to remain single and alone the rest of your life.
- All other things being equal (education, income, etc.), a single celibate man, being free of family obligations, will likely have more free time and more disposable income than his married counterpart. Perhaps it could become ones calling in life to use these towards the betterment of mankind (i.e. philanthropy).
- Celibacy does not preclude fatherhood/motherhood. I believe many, if not all, states allow single men and women to adopt.
- I've blogged about the Gay Christian Network before. The members of GCN divide themselves into two camps which are called, for lack of better terms, Side-A and Side-B. The Side-B folks believe that God calls gay Christians to lifelong celibacy. Side-B consists of Christians from all denominations (Baptists, Catholics, Methodists, Presbyterians, etc.). These are not ex-gays (often referred to as Side-X on GCN). They are not in denial; they acknowledge their sexual orientation and choose to not act on their attractions. Not surprisingly, Side-B is the minority group; but, at last count there are 300 people on GCN who identify as Side-B; enough such that celibacy should not be dismissed so easily. Side-B has their own forum on GCN; but, it's private. You have to join GCN and then request access to the Side-B forum to even be able to see it. But, in that forum they discuss topics that might also be of interest to celibate Mormon's, such as: Committed friendships, gay identity, porn and masturbation, how churches can do better, etc. Email me if you would like more information. Or, better yet, just go join GCN, it's free.
I'm sure we can all agree that celibacy is probably the most difficult of the options I discussed. We might even agree that it's not the right path for most. But those who choose this path deserve our respect and support. I see this on GCN, Side-A people (those who believe gay relationships are blessed by God) who support, even encourage, their Side-B counterparts. We need more of that here in the Mormon queerosphere.
(much of the information on celibacy that I could find is directed specifically at women; however, most of what is discussed applies equally to both genders)
Is celibacy the new virginity? Living the single life without sex
Does Abstinence Make the Heart Grow Fonder?
How to Live a Life of Celibacy
The New Celibacy: A Journey to Love, Intimacy, and Good Health in a New Age
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
He was becoming painfully aware at how aroused he became in the locker room, yet he felt nothing when he looked at girls. He was forced to admit to himself that he might be a homosexual. All his life he had been taught that homosexuals were disgusting perverts who only sought to seduce unsuspecting boys. The idea that he might be one of them was frightening. This was in the days before the internet, before gay rights had become a political force; so, he had no where to turn. He became severely depressed, he started to withdraw within himself, his desire to live was waning. He was alone and scared - and he wasn't sure how much longer he could hold out.
Fortunately, for this young man, his parents recognized the warning signs. Although both of his parents worked, they did everything they could to minimize the times he was home alone by himself. They did everything they could think of to help him. Eventually, he found a friend in school, and life started to look up - he finally returned to a point where he wanted to live.
In case you haven't guessed already, that young man was me. I am no stranger to suicidal thoughts. There have been a number of times throughout my life where suicide seemed like the only viable option for me. Fortunately, for me, I'm a big wuss when it comes to pain - I've always gotten hung up on how to do it in a way that is quick, sure, and painless. The last time it happened was a few years ago - and the only thing that keeps my feet firmly planted on this earthly life are my antidepressants. It is a topic that is on my mind more than I care to admit. I've even been working on the lyrics of a song these past few weeks. Here is a rough draft
The Lost Son by Abelard Enigma
Oh please ne'er forget me though earth now lie o'er me
I was once young and handsome and my spirit ran free
But wretched confusion overcame my delusion
And a family in mourning for the son I couldn’t be.
A young lad with feelings too frightened to know
I was fearing and trembling for the loss of my soul
Amid struggle and fear my family did pray
That my demons would leave me, no longer to stay.
When I was a young boy with skin t’was so fair
And tussles of curls adorned my hair
I was thoughtful and timid, my books were my friends
I kept to myself for playmates were rare
Other boys would avoid as if I were unclean
To them I was different, another poor queer
Relentlessly teasing, they taunted and sneered
And thrashing while mocking and brought me to tears
Down trodden and saddened, I was in despair
For within me these feelings where none could compare
My family, they loved me, their souls were laid bare
But, to them I had fallen to the great tempters snare
At length, I made my choice - I wanted not to live
I dreamed of a peace only death could give
So one day when alone I found some pills
I finally found peace when laid on the hill
Oh please ne'er forget me though earth now lie o'er me
I was once young and handsome and my spirit ran free
But wretched confusion overcame my delusion
And a family in mourning for the son I couldn’t be.
My personal views are, in many ways, at odds with Affirmation (an organization for gay and lesbian mormon's). But, I do visit their suicide memorial page from time to time. And I say a little prayer for those who have given up hope.
In my last post discussing the last of the 3 main options available to gay Mormon's, playasinmar suggested a 4th option - suicide. I, rather flippantly, dismissed that as an option. But, playasinmar is right - suicide is the option of choice for many of our gay brothers and sisters, both young and old.
I have a great deal of respect for the Matis family. I feel they are a tremendous force for good in the gay Mormon community. But, I have to confess, I cringe every time I read her statement about how grateful she is that her son, Stuart, never violated his temple covenants. I'm sure it wasn't her intent; but, it seems to suggest that suicide is the preferable option to breaking ones covenants. I also cringe when I hear people say, from the pulpit, that they would rather their son come home from his mission in a casket than without his virtue intact.
I just cannot agree with that notion. Isn't taking ones life breaking covenants? Does anyone really truly believe that breaking the law of chastity is worse than murder? And isn't that what suicide is? Aren't you murdering yourself? Murder is defined as the premeditated killing of a human being by a human being. The only difference between murder and suicide is that the same person fills both roles.
Stuart Matis's bishop didn't agree with that idea either. Bishop Russell Hancock, who counseled Matis for several months, says he "pleaded with Stuart. I said if this is a choice between life and the church, he should choose his life." See "To be Gay - And Mormon" by Mark Miller.
If you are contemplating suicide, please please please talk to someone. Talk to me, I'll send you my phone number. Visit this page on the Affrimation website which contains contact information. Get yourself a boyfriend. Go to the local gay bar and apply to be a go-go boy. Join a gay affirming church. Anything is preferable to taking your own life. Your life is too precious to willingly give it up.
And, if anyone tries to tell you otherwise then they are just a poophead whose opinions are worth less than dog excrement! I pity the souls of anyone who advocates suicide as a viable option as I strongly believe they they will have to answer to God for their grievous sins.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
The truth of the matter is, this is the path that most gay men and women in the church will ultimately take; and, at the risk of sounding like a heretic, I believe it is a viable option for some.
The sad fact is, in the LDS church, we don't set a place at the table for the gay man or woman. We tell them that they can stay in the church as long as they sit alone in the corner and don't bother anyone about their disgusting attractions. Some are OK with this, holding out for promises of eternal exultation. But, most are not.
I've mentioned before that our retention rate of gay saints is abysmally low. And, is anyone really surprised? It almost seems as if there are some who like it that way because then they don't have to deal with revolting people like us.
The thing is, just because a person decides to leave the church doesn't necessarily mean that they are totally turning their back on God. Even if we don't obey all of God's comments, we can still receive blessings by obeying those that we can obey - it doesn't matter which church we belong to, or even if we believe in God at all. The atheist who serves mankind is blessed for doing so.
It is extremely unfortunate (and, in my opinion, un-christlike) that we vilify those who make such lifestyle choices. With the exception of those who are in a position as a judge in israel (e.g. a bishop), none of us are justified in judging another person for their lifestyle choices. We may disagree with it. We may think they are making a huge mistake. But, in the end, we have no choice other than to accept it.. Our eleventh article of faith says we must
We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.
Consider also that the dictates of our own conscience includes those who decide to not worship God at all. Unfortunately, there are some who seem to think that, as members of the church, we forfeit our right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience. We are only allowed to worship as the brethren say we should worship, and anything short of that is deserving of the wrath of the general membership.
The fact of the matter is: If we choose to follow a path other than that taught by the church then we have to accept the consequences. And, those in authority have every right to administer those consequences. But, for the rest of us,
I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men. (D&C 64:10)
Who can say with utmost certainty that a person who gives up his membership in the church in this life to pursue a gay relationship forever forfeits any possibility of exultation? Joseph Smith only translated 1/3 of the gold plates - the other 2/3'rds were sealed. This tells me that the things we don't know eclipses the things we do know.
Lost by Abelard Enigma
Today, we lost another brother
He did not abandon us
But we abandoned him
And, with his departure
A part of each of us goes with him
We all become somewhat less than what we were
Because no one reached out to embrace him
To accept him for who he is
Instead, he was ignored along with others like him
Pretending that he and his soul mates don't exist
Forcing him and others to hide their true selves
Living in constant fear that their secrets will be discovered
Is it any wonder that we lost yet another brother?
How many more will be lost
Before we realize that these losses diminishes each of us?
How much more can we be diminished before we too are lost?
For the people who read this blog, I just want to say that there will always be a place for you at my table. Gay or straight, true believer or doubting thomas, member or simply curious.
This is the option that our church leaders espouse. Unfortunately, there isn't much guidance on how to do it. It's something that sounds so simple in theory yet is nearly impossible in practice.
My personal opinion is that it should be possible for two gay men to live together in an intimate non-sexual relationship. But, it's unproven, and two gay men considering such a relationship would need the help and support of others to make it work.
There are many who would advise against such a relationship because of the temptations it would create. And it's true, some gay men might enter into such a relationship with the best of intentions yet ultimately give in to their passions. But, is that really justification for denying others the close intimate relationships that they crave so much? Heterosexual couples give in to their passions all the time and fornicate and adulturate - but we don't tell them that they should avoid intimate relationships because of the temptations it creates.
I agree with Young Stranger, much more discussion is needed on the celibacy option. And where else better to have such a discussion than here in the Mormon queerosphere? So, let's discuss.
- How can we make lifelong celibacy a more attraction option?
- How can a celibate satisfy his need for intimacy while remaining temple worthy?
- Assuming two gay men can have an intimate non-sexual relationship, how do they find each other? How does a committed celibate find other committed celibates?
- What could family and friends to do help the celibate?
- What can the church do to help the celibate?
Last summer, Elbow blogged this subject which also generated some passionate responses. In his blog, he said
... I want every woman who is considering to marry a gay man to RUN FOR HER LIFE! And I sincerely mean that. There's no reason why a woman should try to force herself into a marriage that is full of homosexual thoughts, desires, and tendencies. It's not an environment for love to flourish and it's not an environment where self-esteem and self-worth can thrive.
At the risk of sounding like a hypocrite - I tend to agree with him. I believe that, in general, a gay man should not enter into a heterosexual marriage. There are, of course, exceptions (myself being one of them). But, I'm speaking in generalities.
The thing is, most mixed orientation marriages will end in divorce. No, I don't have any irrefutable statistics to back up this claim. But, consider
- Church leaders have said on a number of occasions in recent years that men with same sex attraction should not enter into a marriage as a way of 'fixing' their SSA.
- Try searching Amazon using "mixed orientation marriage". There are a number of books on this topic. And, all of them recommend against it (at least that's what I gather from the reader comments).
- Carol Lynn Pearson approaches this topic briefly in her book "No More Goodbyes", and she recommends against it.
- On the internet, there are numerous stories of mixed orientation marriages that haven't worked out. There are precious few stories of those that have. In fact, the only ones I'm aware of are in the Mormon queerosphere.
As I've said before: A gay man should marry a woman for the same reasons that a straight man should: Because he loves her. But, therein lies the catch - can a gay man truly love a woman? Being best friends is not the same as love. Being compatible is not the same as love.
The answer is yes, a gay man can love a woman. But, it's a different kind of love than the straight man experiences; and, when it does happen, our church leaders support the possibility of a mixed orientation marriage. But, you can't force it to happen. No matter how much you want it, no matter how hard you try, you cannot force yourself to love a woman for whom you feel no natural attraction. And, that doesn't mean you are any less of a man because you can't marry a woman. Those of us who are married are not better or more righteous in any way.
The thing about mixed orientation marriages, not only are you impacting your own eternal salvation, but you're impacting the eternal salvation of a daughter of zion. So, a gay man needs to be very careful about entering into such a relationship. A mixed orientation marriage can and does work for some of us; but, it is not the end all answer for every Mormon guy who likes guys.
And now, at the risk of sounding totally schizophrenic (I'm old now, I can do that) ...
The gay Mormon man should not totally dismiss the idea of marriage to a woman either. I think you should, at least, remain open to the possibility while accepting that it will likely never happen. But, you never know. You may, one day, meet a girl for whom you have feelings that you've never experienced about a woman before. It happened with my wife and I. The first time we met, we both knew that we would one day be married. And, she didn't even like me at the time! It was, at least, 6 months later before we even went out on a date. And, we broke up before I left on my mission - because we knew that 2 years is a long time and our feelings for each other might not be the same. But, after my mission, we rekindled our relationship and were married 9 months later.
A mixed orientation marriage carries with it a lot of unique challenges. Once you get past the honeymoon phase, physical intimacy will likely become a challenge. Even emotional intimacy may be difficult at times. There are some things you may never be able to do. For example, my wife and I don't kiss. She would love to be able to kiss me; but, I just can't do it - it's repulsive to me. To be honest, I don't really know if it is the act of kissing itself that I have a problem with, or is my problem with kissing girls. But the fact remains, we seldom kiss, and we've never made out. Other gay men may be able to get past this - I can't.
So, how can we make mixed orientation marriages work? How can we improve our success rate? We have a good mix of people here in the queerosphere. We have married people, divorced people, those considering marriage, those who have written off the possibility of marriage. I'm sure everyone has thoughts and ideas on this - so let's hear them!
For a gay man or woman in the LDS church, it all boils down to, essentially, three options
- Stay active in the church in a mixed orientation marriage.
- Stay active in the church and live a life of celibacy.
- Leave the church and pursue a gay relationship.
The sad truth is, each of these options suck to a certain degree. There are certain advantages to each of these, to be sure. But there are also definite disadvantages to each as well. There is no one size fits all answer that applies to everyone who is attracted to their own gender.
I'm going to blog about each of these individually.
And, I've put on my asbestos suit - let the flaming begin!
Monday, December 3, 2007
I don't even remember how the topic came up; but, he started telling me about an email he recently received from a friend of his. It seems this friend, while attending college, had an institute director for whom he had a great deal of respect. The man was, evidently, a spiritual giant and a scriptorian. But, his friend had just learned that this man had since divorced his wife and had left the church - because he was gay.
"Can you believe it?" he kept repeating. "Can you believe there are people 'like that' in the church?"
I wanted to tell him that yes, I could believe it.
I wanted to tell him that my heart went out for that brother and his former wife.
I wanted to tell him that we shouldn't judge him - that we just can't understand what he has probably been going through his entire life.
I wanted to tell him that there were more people 'like that' in the church than he realizes.
I wanted to tell him that I was one of 'those people'.
But I didn't say any of that. I just nodded my head - like I always do.
Why do I feel like such a recreant right now?