Friday, August 21, 2009

Third batch of answers

More answers.

The offer to answer questions still stands and I'll answer them if/when they come in; but, I'll probably move onto other topics after this post.

Q: As a gay LDS person, how do you relate with Church leadership, including the President of the Church, when it comes to their views on SSA? To what extent do you grant them absolute moral authority on such matters?

This, my friend, is the essence of my struggle with the LDS church.

Three years ago this wouldn't have been an issue. The LDS church taught that there was no sin in having same sex attraction but that homosexual activity was wrong - and that was that! The LDS church still teaches the same - but acceptance of that teaching is no longer as clear cut as it once was.

I still have a problem with the stereotypical promiscuity that many associate with homosexuality. But, when two people love one another other and want to build a life together in a committed monogamous relationship, even marry if it were legally available to them - I just don't see the sin in them consummating that relationship with sexual intimacy. But that puts me at odds against those whom I once granted absolute moral authority in such matters.

On the other hand, once I start questioning and disagreeing with the absolute moral authority - then where does it end? Can I accept sexual intimacy between those who love one another but are not yet willing to commit to a monogamous relationship? Am I willing to accept recreational sex - just for fun - between willing participants? Is the absolute moral authority more like the pirates code - a set of suggestions rather than hard and fast rules? Tis a slippery slope that I find myself on, I recognize that.

Life was so easy when I accepted the president of the LDS church as the absolute moral authority - he did all of the thinking for me and I merely had to listen and obey. But, the LDS church also teaches that we can know what is right by the burning in the bosom we feel. A former prophet, Ezra Taft Benson, taught "You cannot do wrong and feel right. It is impossible!" So, what if something feels right - something we're taught is supposed to be wrong?

Getting back to the question at hand - I really don't know anymore. My absolute moral authority is no longer as absolute as I once thought it was. This puts me in a state of moral flux - and I really don't know where this is leading me. On one hand, I want to believe and accept the LDS teaching. On the other hand, it feels wrong to do so, without question, in matters regarding homosexuality. And it also begs the question: If they are wrong about homosexuality - what else are they wrong about? Plus, it puts me in a moral dilemma: Can I support a man as a prophet, seer, and revelator yet disagree with some of his teachings?

Q: did you like the music for the new star trek spinnoff "enterprise" yes/no, why/why not?

I didn't mind the theme song for Enterprise. Although, truthfully, I only listened to it a couple of times. I seldom watch live TV - most everything I watch is prerecorded on the DVR so I can fast forward through the opening and commercials.

Q: have you seen the syfy tv show Warehouse 13? and what do you think?

Yes - love it!

I rarely watch anything that's not on SyFy, BBC America, Food Network, Bravo, or Lifetime.

Q: I like being gay. I like myself for who I am. I define myself for those reasons. However, there are many who prefer that we do not use the term "gay" to define ourselves. What are your views?

Personally, I think "Same Sex Attraction" and "Same Gender Attraction" sound like some sort of disease or mental disorder. I do not like those terms; and, until someone comes up with something better, I prefer to think of my self as simply 'gay'.

The argument against 'gay' is usually something along the lines that people will draw wrong conclusions about me if I refer to myself that way. However, for me - that's more the reason I should refer to myself as 'gay'. People need to learn that much of what they think they know about gay culture and gay people is probably wrong. What better way to open their eyes than to expose them to gay people who do not meet their narrow minded stereotype?

Something else to consider: Although there are aspects of gay culture that I'm not comfortable with (like the whole gay bar scene), I am still part of that culture - gay culture is much more rich and diverse than many realize. I've never been to a gay pride parade or participated in any sort of gay activism - but I am still a beneficiary of the social strides that have come as a result of those who went before me. While there is still a lot of homophobia in our culture - we've reached a point where I do not fear my physical well being for simply being gay - because of events like the Stonewall riots and activists like Harvey Milk and others. By being 'gay' instead of 'struggling with SGA', I honor those who have made this possible.

Besides, I don't struggle with same gender attraction - I struggle with opposite gender attraction. Being attracted to guys is natural and feels normal to me. Being attracted to girls - now that's hard.

Q: Kirk or Picard?

It depends. If I want someone who will go kick some Romulan butt then I'd definitely want Kirk. If diplomacy is needed then Picard is the man.


Philip said...

I liked your responses on moral authority and how you define yourself.

For me, one of the toughest things about coming out was what happened to my belief system.

My gay feelings brought into question what I believed and I could not reconcile what the Church taught and what I knew to be true about gay men.

It is like you opened pandora's box. If this basic tenent of my faith was wrong then what other beliefs did I hold always without question were wrong.

That my Church saw me as being defiant didn't have anywhere near the impact of me as no longer knowing what to believe; what my values were.

I had to rebuild my belief system and that included empowering myself to do the defining of who I am.


Anonymous said...

I was interested in reading your first bunch of answers that there is nothing about masturbation in the handbook for Bishops. I thought surely there would be a statement on that there.

I was also interested in your remarks about how most men actively participate in masturbation and that there might be some females out there who also masturbate, but that you do not like to think about such things. I felt your keen aversion to the thoughts of women being sexual with themselves. You had also written previously that you do not like to imagine or think about two women being sexual with each other. After reading this post, and your "other gender attracted" difficulties, I can now understand why you feel the way you do about women being together. And, I feel much compassion for you and your experiences and remarks.

Yet, I do want to say, as a gay woman,(and I am in complete agreement about the term "same sex attracted" as sounding like a disease- I feel the same about the term "lesbian") in my opinion, the idea of two women being "together", who truly and honestly love, care for, respect, and trust each other, and are committed to each other, is about the most loving, peaceful, exciting, nurturing, healing, serene, giving, warm, sensual, and complete idea that I can even imagine. I am clearly NOT a gay man. :)

Much love to you, "Abe". I appreciate all your answers.

AmbiguouS One said...

Oh my gosh that is so funny! I have never thought about it that way - struggling with "opposite-sex" attraction. Now THAT is the truth!

Anonymous said...

So do you have rage against the church or what? Do you still believe most of what they teach otherwise?