Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Option 2 - celibacy

Young Stranger recently blogged about celibacy. While he and I sparred back and forth in the comments, we reached the conclusion that we were basically in agreement with each other and that more discussion is needed.

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?


Peter said...

"My personal opinion is that it should be possible for two gay men to live together in an intimate non-sexual relationship."

Beyond Sesame Street, I don't see the Bert and Ernie situation as being very doable. It's a nice idea, but I can't see it working.

The only sphere in which I can really grasp the concept of celibacy is the mission. When I was on my mission, I was both celibate and happy. If I could be a missionary for the rest of my life, I could be happy. It would provide the fraternity, appropriate doses of male intimacy, purpose and direction, and spiritual strength that I need to survive as a celibate person.

The problem is, the Church can't let men do life-long missions because it would be denying those faithful, righteous people the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom. I'm with Youngstranger, celibacy doesn't fit into the Church's doctrine.

Abelard Enigma said...

celibacy doesn't fit into the Church's doctrine

I respectfully disagree with you on this. Celibacy IS the lifestyle of choice that our church leaders encourage for gay saints.

marriage is not an all-purpose solution. Same-gender attractions run deep, and trying to force a heterosexual relationship is not likely to change them.
"Helping Those Who Struggle with Same-Gender Attraction" By Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Ensign, October 2007

the perfect plan of our Father in Heaven makes provisions for individuals who seek to keep His commandments but who, through no fault of their own, do not have an eternal marriage in mortal life.
"God Loveth His Children", p.4

Chris said...

It's the lifestyle they encourage, but celibacy doesn't really have a place in Mormon doctrine and theology.

playasinmar said...

Celibacy is the current lifestyle choice that our church leaders encourage for gay saints.

It replaces the previous lifestyle choices Spontaneous Excommunication and Straight-Marriage.

Beck said...

My twist on this, I'm sure, isn't what you are looking for, but I find valid in my case just the same: I am permitted to pursue non-sexual close relationships with men BECAUSE I am married. Be that a fraud or facade, it points out that such relationships can exist when there are "borders" or "boundaries" that keep one from going too far. Such boundaries, as Peter describe, exactly exist in the mission field. We are allowed to go forward in our non-sexual relationships of same-sex closeness BECAUSE of those boundaries.

Remove those boundaries, and I don't think it's possible. I would have been in the sack long before now!

One of So Many said...

I think this is a little new to the church. They are stating the only known philosophy that can work within the current bounds.

Will it change significantly? I dint' think so, but eventually there's the possibility that they make things for those who deal with this more...realistic, plausible, unlonely. It's a hope perhaps more vain than anything...but still a hope.

J G-W said...

This idea of life-long, perpetual missions has come up a couple of times. I'm intrigued...

Like Peter, I was very happy on my mission. I felt I was doing the Lord's work, and (as I noted in my post about celibacy) I loved every single one of my companions. I thrived in that environment of same-sex companionship.

Some of the statements made by our mission president and other Church leaders compared the missionary companionship to a marriage. We were encouraged to love our companions, and I took that to heart.