Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I last blogged about the paradox of being gay and Mormon. Being gay and Mormon makes certain life decisions much more difficult than they are for our heterosexual counterparts.

For example, although the election is long since over, the decision of the LDS church to enter the political fray in California caused quite a stir in the bloggernacle - and a chill through the gay Mormon community. For many, there is no question about their support for the church as they perceive the gay community using this issue to force their deviant lifestyle onto the masses. For some of us, however, it's not so simple - we may be active members, hold temple recommends, even leadership callings; but, we are also in a unique position, because of our own dealing with attractions to those of our same gender. We have greater understanding and empathy for the real underlying reasons behind gay marriage and, therefore, are better able to set aside the political rhetoric.

So, do we follow the prophet? Or do we follow our heart? I don't know about others; but for me, trying to reconcile this dichotomy is becoming a real struggle. The Sunday School answer, of course, is that we should follow the prophet. Unfortunately, simple answers don't always work on complex issues such as this. Having the LDS church jump into this political quagmire has emboldened some members to ramp up their homophobic reactions and comments. We see this in bloggernacle discussions as well as Sacrament, Sunday School, Priesthood, and Relief Society meetings. Following the prophet becomes increasingly difficult when his words and actions cause others to say and do things which make you feel hated and reviled.

For those of us who are not public with our proclivities, following the prophet becomes increasingly difficult when his words and actions cause us to retreat deeper into our closets.

Church should be an uplifting experience; so, following the prophet becomes increasingly difficult when his words and actions exposes us to inappropriate discussions within the context of church meetings; and, puts us in a difficult position deciding whether we should speak up and appear defiant or remain silent, cursing ourselves for not standing up for what is right.

My heart tells me that the church's decision to enter this political battle was wrong; and, I believe it will have long term consequences - which leaves me with a conundrum ...

One of the temple recommend questions says
Do you sustain the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator and as the only person on the earth who possesses and is authorized to exercise all priesthood keys? Do you sustain members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators? Do you sustain the other General Authorities and local authorities of the Church?
I do not support the churches decision to encourage members in California to donate both their time and means in the campaign to help pass a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage; in fact, were I still living in California, I would have been tempted to do just the opposite and donate my time and means to oppose the amendment. At a minimum I would have voted "No".

However, I do support both my local and church leaders in other things. So can I, in good faith, answer "Yes" to the question above? Or, do I need to say "Yes, but ..." and explain my support for gay marriage and my disappointment in the church for getting involved in the politics opposing it? Is 99% support good enough?

Another temple recommend question says
Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?
We have gay couples right here in the Mormon queerosphere who are living in committed monogamous same sex relationships and, presumably, are engaging in gay sex - clearly in direct opposition to the teachings of the LDS church. Yet, I affiliate with and support these couples and their families It's not a matter of simply knowing someone who is not living according to LDS church teachings - I approve of their same-sex relationships. I even feel a bit jealous - they are living a life I can only yearn for given the decisions I've made for myself.

So, can I, in good faith, answer "No" to the question above? Or, do I need to say "No, but ..." and explain my relationship with gay couples in the queerosphere?

And, how strong is my conviction? Am I willing to risk foregoing a temple recommend on principal? Or am I so weak as to be willing to lie in the temple recommend interview so as to avoid any such confrontation? Or should I just quietly let my temple recommend expire?

For those of you with temple recommends, are you facing this same conundrum? How are you dealing with it? I have until August 2009 to figure this out.

Friday, March 27, 2009


Yesterday I read Max's (Here's to Hope) latest blog post
[pause - go read it if you haven't already]
And now I'm so totally confused. He seems so happy, so content, so confident. But, he's not supposed to be dammit! He should be feeling lost and confused. We're taught that true happiness can only be found by keeping the commandments - commandments which tell gay people that they either have to be heterosexually married or live a life of lonely celibacy. He is supposed to be miserable - not joyful.

It's a paradox.

For most of my life I lived in complete denial of my sexuality. There was no paradox - I simply had a dark secret that I was prepared to take with me to the grave.

But just a couple of years ago I finally found the courage to come to terms with who and what I am. For the first time in my entire life - I was able to utter the words "I am gay" and not cringe in disgust. But, with that acceptance arose this paradox.

I am truly happy for Max (and, I must also confess, a wee bit jealous). Yet, I find myself feeling sad as well. Sad that he is forced to make a choice between his happiness and his religion - a religion that teaches people like us that we cannot be truly happy if we give into to our natural attractions. And yet, for many of us, that is the only way to find true happiness - that is the paradox of being a gay Mormon.

But, by being happy for him - am I supporting, affiliating with, or agreeing with an individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? Is this an act of apostasy on my part? Am I sacrificing my own eternal reward for simply wanting the best for my friends? A 'best' that is at odds with my religion.

How can I resolve this paradox? I want to fully support my church - I've covenanted to do so. But I am finding it increasingly difficult to support it in all things. I know the party line - I taught it myself for many years. I need to have more faith - I need to trust that the men whom I believe are called of God are doing the will of God. And yet, these words sound increasingly hollow.

Many people in my position want answers. But, is it possible to get an answer from someone who doesn't even acknowledge the question? It seems that the only people who acknowledge the question are the same ones seeking answers. We are the blind leading the blind.

I fear I am turning into a cultural Mormon - one who participates in body, but not in spirit. I attend church each Sunday, I sing in the choir, I teach seminary each weekday morning. But, I don't feel my heart is in it as it once was. Fortunately, I attend a ward where I am not being constantly bombarded with homophobic rhetoric. The topic of homosexuality only comes up rarely in my meetings - and then only in passing comments. And yet it stings when those moments occur - I cannot imagine what it must be like where such conversations are commonplace. I can only say to those that endure that you are a much stronger person than I - as I don't know if I could endure.

Some would say that I've been seduced by Babylon - that I've lost my grip on the iron rod and am groping around in the mists of darkness. But, how can something that feels so right be so wrong? If I cannot trust my own heart ... then how can I possibly place my faith and trust in others?

I believe in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

I believe that it is possible for two men (or two women) to love one another - and that consummating that love in a committed monogamous relationship is acceptable to God even if it is not acceptable to society.

I support Thomas S. Monson as a prophet, seer, and revelator

I feel President Monson was wrong to abandon our normal position of political neutrality and encourage church members in California to donate of their time and means in the battle to pass proposition 8 in California.

This is my paradox. But, how long can I keep clinging to to these irreconcilable ideals? I feel like I'm being torn asunder. Something has to give - but what? My faith? Or my heart?

Max, if the path you are on leads straight to hell - take comfort knowing that many (if not most) of your friends in the queerosphere will be right there with you. Hey, maybe Scott could throw one of his MoHo parties once we all get there.

Let us all felicitate Max with his new found happiness.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bloggers block

I can't think of anything worth blogging about anymore. I have a bunch of half written posts sitting in draft state that are too lame to finish and publish.

I want to blog - but the words just aren't coming.

Perhaps something will happen next week that will inspire me to blog about it.

Or, maybe I'm just all blogged out . . .

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Casting our pearls before swine

I have to confess, I'm having a difficult time getting all worked up in righteous indignation over HBO Big Love's plan to depict the LDS temple ceremony. First of all, it's already out there for anybody who's really interested. Just google and a few clicks and you'll find pictures, and even the text of the entire endowment ceremony. And the reality is, it's been available to anyone who was interested for decades. When I first joined the church - way back in college - I went to the public library looking for books on mormonism. Lo and behold, there was an anti-Mormon book in the library that included the entire temple ceremony.

Now, I do concur that there is a difference between having it available in some obscure media that few are even aware of verses blasting it out to the masses on a cable TV network. And, I think it shows a tremendous lack of respect on the part of HBO to make light of things we consider very sacred.

But, the temple ceremony is more than just funny underwear, odd clothing, words and a few hand gestures. It's being in a beautiful room with others all dressed in white. It's the quiet whispers. It's waiting in the chapel for the session to start in quiet contemplation. It's sitting in reflection in a beautiful celestial room at the conclusion. It's the whole experience. There is no way they'll be able to duplicate that experience on a TV show. What will be depicted on Big Love will be a pale imitation - distorted and out of context. True, a few of our pearls have been cast before the swine - but we still have the pearl necklace held tightly against our bosom.

What is interesting about all of this is the lack of outcry from non-Mormon's. Try depicting sacred parts of Islam and there would likely be a tremendous amount of righteous indignation with much weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth - and not just from muslims. The same would be true for the Eastern religions.

But Mormon's - in fact, Christians in general - are fair game. It's like white guys being the only ethnic group you can poke fun at without being accused of being bigoted. Christianity in general and Mormonism specifically are the only religions you can poke fun at without being accused of being disrespectful. We're the fall guys. We're the plunky side kicks who are constantly running into walls and having pies thrown in our faces. If you're a white Mormon guy - well then there is absolutely no hope - we might as well walk around with a jester hat and a sign on our back that says "kick me".

I also think we need to get used to it - because this is how it's going to be from now on. With proposition 8, we can talk all we want about how we were simply standing up for morality and families until we're blue in the face. But, the reality is - we threw down the gauntlet and told the world that we will only respect the beliefs of others so long as they don't conflict with our own beliefs. And, so the world has responded - "if you aren't going to respect us then we won't respect you." Perhaps this is just more reaping of what we have sown. We can cry foul and say it's unfair all we want - but, from the media reports I've read it seems that, for the most part, our indignation is falling on deaf ears - and Mormon's are coming across looking petty and small-minded.

So, when we are kicked. we can allow ourselves to get all worked up about it - but in the end, it won't change anything. Or, we can just shrug our shoulders, say "whatever" and move on with our lives. I opt for the latter.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Politically incorrect

I'm probably going to get hammered for this; but, I thought this was pretty funny. Although, admittedly, these may apply to some of us in the queerosphere too (I can certainly relate to a couple).


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

And so it continues

This was posted on Queers United today. Can anybody confirm the accuracy of this? It certainly seems completely plausible. If true, it appears to be initiated by local church members In Nauvoo rather than by LDS church headquarters - although no doubt spurred on by the actions the church took in California with proposition 8.

I have to wonder where else this type of thing is occurring where members feel empowered to utilize the church (ward web sites, bulletins, announcements in meetings, etc.) to further a political cause. Was proposition 8 an anomaly with a return to political neutrality? Or was proposition 8 only the beginning of a new direction the church is taking in taking a more active role in battling what it perceives to be moral issues?

Mormon Machine Working Against Civil Unions in Illinois

The following official email was just sent out (via the LDS Church website) to all the members of the Nauvoo 3rd Ward, as approved by Kristy Combs, ward website administrator, and by Bishop Chris Church of the Nauvoo 3rd Ward. (Because it was sent through the LDS website, it required the authorization of a bishop or higher.)

"This message has been authorized for sending by Bishop Church.

The Civil Union Bill (HB 2234) has been scheduled for a hearing in the Youth and Family Committee this week on Thursday, March 5, 2009 at 9:00 a.m. in Springfield. If the bill is voted out of committee, it becomes eligible for a vote before the full Illinois House of Representatives. This bill will legalize civil unions in the state of Illinois, and will treat such civil unions with the same legal obligations, responsibilities, protections and benefits as are afforded within marriage. In other words, civil unions will be different in name only from marriage. As has already been seen in Massachusetts, this will empower the public schools to begin teaching this lifestyle to our young children regardless of parental requests otherwise. It will also create grounds for rewriting all social mores; the current push in Massachusetts is to recognize and legalize all transgender rights (An individual in Massachusetts can now change their drivers license to the gender they believe themselves to be, regardless of actual gender, which means that confused men and women are now legally entering one another's bathrooms and locker rooms.What kind of a safety issue is this for our children?). Furthermore, while the bill legalizes civil unions, it will be used in the courts to show discrimination and will ultimately lead to court mandated same-sex marriages.

To help defeat this bill, please call your state representative and state senator and ask that they support traditional marriage and vote against the civil unions bill. If you are unsure who your legislators are, please see the link at the end of this email.

Also, please take a moment and call the following members of the Youth and Family Committee to encourage them to vote no on this bill. We need 4 votes to keep it from passing out of the committee. And - as always, please pass this on to all who believe in protecting our families and our children. If you are interested in attending the hearing, it will be held on Thursday, March 5th at 9:00 a.m. in Springfield in Room 122B of the Capitol Building (I can give you directions to the Capitol Building if needed).

Members of the Youth and Family Committee:

Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) (Greg Harris is also the sponsor of this bill, but he needs to hear your opposition to this bill)

Rep. LaShawn K. Ford (D-Chicago)

Rep. Mike Fortner (R-West Chicago)
Republican Spokesperson

Rep. William D. Burns (D-Chicago)

Rep. Michael P. McAuliffe (R-Chicago)

Rep. Al Riley (D-Matteson)

Rep. Dave Winters (R-Rockford)

Directions for identifying your legislators:

You can use the following link to identify your state legislators and
their contact information: http://www.elections.il.gov/DistrictLocator/SelectSearchType.aspx?NavLink=1 (and enter your 9
digit zip code). If this link doesn't work, you can use the general
link www.ilga.gov and then click on " legislator lookup" near the
bottom of the page, then click on "by zip+4". Type in your zip code,
and you'll see a list of your legislators. You want your state
senator and state representative as they will be the ones voting on
the bill.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Sister Combs"
Please do the opposite of this action alert by the church and tell your legislators you support the HB2234 the civil unions bill.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Breaking point

A couple of months ago, I blogged about the choices we have has gay Mormon's - which prompted a couple of interesting comments. At the time I started to write a detailed response - but opted instead to make it into a blog post of it's own. Unfortunately, this blog post has been sitting in my drafts folder since then and I am just now getting around to publishing it.

In my blog post on January 7, 2009 titled Choices, one of the comments was
Anonymous said...
Enigma, are you okay with your wife being married to a queer man? Do you believe she has the right to be in a relationship with a partner who loves her in ALL ways? Or do you have an open relationship where both can have your intamacy needs met? As they say, too often Mormon women are sacrificed on the alter of male vanity. I hope that's not the case for your wife.
Followed by
Jodi said...
Would you be okay with your daughter living in a sexless , incomplete, and unsatisfying marriage?

Anonymous broached the topic of, so called, open marriage - where both spouses are free to seek out sexual relationships outside of the marriage covenant.

Now, I am an accepting person.
  • I can accept that some mixed orientation marriages are just not going to work out - that it is best for all concerned to end the marriage.
  • I can accept that some young men cannot live with the limited options the LDS church gives them - if they want to remain an active card carrying member; that is, marry a girl or lifelong celibacy along with the associated loneliness and isolation.
  • I can accept when two men or two women love one another and live in a committed monogamous marriage-like relationship.
  • I can accept gay marriage.
But, like Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, I can only be stretched so far - if I bend too much I'll break. There are some things I just cannot accept, such as the stereotypical promiscuity that gay culture is known for. Open marriage is another area I just cannot accept. I know that some couples in mixed orientation marriages find that an open marriage works for them - but I find the whole notion of an open marriage kinda creepy. You can't have your cake and eat it too. If there is anybody reading this blog who has an open marriage - I'm sorry if this offends you, it's just how I feel.

Now, I'm not exactly sure what these two comments are getting at. Are they suggesting that I am doing my wife a disservice by staying married to her? Are they saying that my wife would be better off without me than she is with me?

Jodi's comment presumes that when a straight woman is married to a gay man then it will be a sexless, incomplete, and unsatisfying marriage. I'm sure that may be true in some cases, perhaps even in many or even most cases - but it is wrong to assume that to be true in all cases.

As my mother used to say "it takes two to tango". My wife is just as free to end our marriage so that she could seek out a heterosexual male companion as I am to end our marriage to seek out a homosexual male companion. My wife is a strong independent woman - I have no doubt she would do that if she felt that would be the right thing to do. But, the fact of the matter is, both of us feel that the life we've built together is worth saving. While being married to a gay man is certainly not a fairy tale marriage - truthfully, how many marriages are?

Now, perhaps Jodi is the victim of a husband who came out as gay and then cheated on her. If that is the case then I am truly sorry. This is another area that I just cannot accept. If a married man feels that he needs to seek sexual fulfillment outside of his marriage - gay or straight. He owes it to his wife to formally end their marriage relationship before starting another relationship. Being gay does not give us license to do things that straight men shouldn't do.

I've known several work colleagues who have been unfaithful to their spouses (men and women). In a couple of cases I considered them a close personal friend. But, once the infidelity started - I distanced myself from them. Not out of some sort of self righteous indignation - I've known other single work colleagues whom I knew were out sowing their wild oats and have gotten along well with them. It's just that, once a married person gets involved in infidelity - I just don't feel like I have anything in common with them anymore. Also, if they are untrustworthy in their marriage - what's to say they won't be untrustworthy in our friendship?

Like the song "Then What" by Clay Walker says
Then what?
Whatcha gonna do
When the new wears off and the old shines through?
When it ain't really love and it ain't really lust?
You ain't anybody anyone's gonna trust.
Then what?
Where ya gonna turn
When ya can't turn back from the bridges you burned?
When fate can't wait to kick ya in the butt
Then what?
Oh then what?