Thursday, August 28, 2014

Where I stand on being gay and being Mormon

"Keeping the commandments in the face of opposition" was supposed to be the title,

because I recently heard a decent talk given in sacrament meeting by a man that I respect. 

This by itself is news. (Not the respect issue but the decent talk issue.  I know, I know -- One only gets out of it what one puts into it) With gathering infrequency am I privileged to hear the like. 

His remarks were based on a conference talk from the spring of '96 by Elder Neal A.Maxwell who said that we must be careful who we listen to and emulate. 

Boy did that get me going.  I immediately thought of many of the MOHO bloggers that I feel have gone off the deep end -- the ones I do not look for information or advise.  The longer I thought about them, the more I started thinking about what I myself was writing about and what information someone reading would take away from reading my writings.

Based on that process of thought, I feel it is time for me to re-address my stance on all things gay and Mormon.

A gay Mormon man trying to being clear concerning his beliefs -- on which this blog is based.

I am not thrilled with the conservative moment to rename issues to fit conservative beliefs.  Therefore, I use the words gay and homosexual with abandon that borders on reckless.  The name that really got me going early in my life was faggot, and I will never be comfortable using that name on anyone.  Queer?  It's OK, but I don't use it.

The terms same sex attraction or same sex issues, or anything same sex seems like the conservatives way of being political correct -- only on certain terms that they get to define, and I am not interested.

Unlike many religious conservatives, I acknowledge that homosexuals and and gays exist.

I do not believe that they (we) picked from the sexual preference catalog, what they (we) wanted to be attracted to. I pick art supplies from a catalog, not my sexual preference.

I do not deny them (again, us) the right to live their own lives and make their own choices - a privilege that I expect in my own life.

I understand the LDS churches stance against letting gays marry in their temples, which is where the gay marriage push will end up. Mormons, due to the First Amendment protecting free exercise of religion -- a right we all share -- get to set the criteria for entering their temples. 

The law of chastity is very clear, and Mormons believe that they have a prophet who speaks for the lord.  I believe that we have a prophet who speak for the lord.  I also believe that the Proclamation on the Family speaks clearly what LDS believe, and I believe it as well. Because of it's forthrightness, I sometimes cringe when a gay friend reads it, and I sometimes try to find a softer way of interpreting it.  But the bottom line is that it rings true to me regardless of my political stance.

I am gay

I do not think that I am gay, nor do I feel that I am gay.  My knowledge is based on years and years of feelings, understandings, desires, and, yes, I will say it -- behaviors.  I have had spiritual confirmation that I am gay.  Based on my understanding, I have also had confirmation that if I act according to my knowledge and try to keep the commandments, I will have the opportunity to be complete in spirit, mind and body.

Believe me when I say that I understand the issues involved in the gay lifestyle - an iffy term.  I am not ignorant, nor am I turning a blind eye.  I spent years living as a sexually active gay man.

Not incidentally, I am a Mormon. Though I was born into and reared in a Mormon family, I am Mormon by choice. I am not, as some have suggested, lazily taking the path of least resistance.

I understand that being Mormon or being gay is not the norm. Being both is even less so.  I do not care.

I choose not to involve myself in to anything anti-gay or anything anti-Mormon.  I have too much respect for myself to engage in such nonsense.Nor will I argue with gay Mormon friends I have who are living together or who have married. I love them deeply.

I have chosen to live as a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who lives the law of chastity.  I do not have sex with men, nor am I seeking sex with men, or waiting for the day when having a sexual relationship with one of my own gender will be allowed in a chaste life.  I have decided that obeying the commandments is more important to me than fulfilling my sexual desire, and I cannot follow the commandments and live as a sexually active gay man.

Yes, there is more. 

I have also chosen to marry a woman who understands my nature and my desire to remain a worthy, card caring priesthood holder. When I married, I  wanted a family, and the way things were going, that wasn't going to happen.  Finding a lady that was willing to accept me for me was God sent. I also found someone I wanted to be with for as long as I could conceive, someone who expected me to act responsibly and supported me taking my power back from wherever I had sent it.

Gay, married to a woman, values a temple recommend, no lying or duplicity, allows others the same privilege.  I feel the need to say that last part again.  I allow others the same privilege.

One more twist: I am not publicly out, though most of those in my close circle understand where I stand.  I do not live in one manner and support another.  I am the same religiously/politically on both fronts. There is no difference in how I live and how I write.

I choose to present this blog under a pseudonym in order to protect my wife and family.  If someone were to "out" me (and it wouldn't be hard) I might be uncomfortable for a time, but I would get over it.  My wife has feelings, however.  How do I discuss my sexuality as a married man without discussing hers - which is no ones business?  I do not want to see her hurt.

Just to be clear.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Gay men working with the youth of the LDS church

I will never work with the young men in the church, and I am truly sorry to say that.

I would like to blame this predicament on the fact that I am a flake. My flake-y-ness, after all, is legendary -- something everybody would understand. And they certainly have enough flake fodder to support that stance. Most of the negativity in my life has come from my being a flake...and arrogant. An arrogant flake  Those two attributes have been my downfall.

But no, I can't blame my not working with youth in the church on either of those. The fact that I will never work with the youth in the church has to do directly with me being gay.

I am aware of gay men in the church who have been involved with the young men organization or have been advisers to the group.  The difference between me and these men is simple.  They haven't confided in their bishop on the topic.  Either they are not confessing their past, or they don't have a past that needs confessing because they have kept any "acting out on their sexual feelings and behaviors" under control. 
Let me be clear. I know of gay men who are as active in the church as they are not active in the homosexual lifestyle/behaviors/having sex with men. To reiterate the stance of the church, being gay is not the issue. Not obeying the law of chastity is the issue.

I will not ever work with the youth due to the fact that I have spoken to my bishops throughout the years before I was married -- back when I was, frankly, loose and on the loose with my morals.  I didn't get into the incredible specifics with my ecclesiastical leaders, but I was honest about what I was doing or had done. 

The option for me to just “keep it to myself” was not an option for me.  I had to confess in order to feel the spirit of the lord consistently and overtly in my life. 
And, apparently, they kept a record that has moved on to every bishop I have had since.

If I had to do it all over again, I would confess all over again.  I cant imagine going through all my same sex issues again without having the relief and the bolstering of the spirit throughout my young-man-hood.  And still, I am sad that because of my past, I have severely limited my future, at least in this existance.

I understand where the leaders in the church are coming from, so let me be real with this. If, as a straight man and without the understanding I have developed through experence, I had a daughter as a beehive, would I balk if I knew there was a lesbian in the young women presidency? 
I don't know.  I would hope not.

Ten years ago I would have had to think about it, and maybe pray for guidance.  With my nowledge now I would still consider the matter. But I would trust in the bishop and in the spirit of the Lord that directed the calling. - knowing that this woman had vowed to following the commitments we all make to follow the law of chastity.

I have made those same commitments to follow the law of chastity. But it may be too late. There are consequences of actions – something I didn't really comprehend at the age of. 25.