- How long have you been married? What was your marriage like before your husband disclosed this information to you? Specifically what was your sex life like? I assume you have children? What if anything is still good about your marriage?
- Are you involved in the counseling that he is undergoing? What type of counseling is it and with what type of therapist?
- How do you define addiction to pornography? Is this something he indulges in every day, every week, once a month? Does it affect his ability to work or time spent with family?
- Has he been unfaithful in the marriage by acting out sexually with other men?
- Has he or you confided in your bishop? In other words, are you leading a “double life” at church where no one is aware of your circumstances? If you have gone to your bishop, was this a positive and helpful experience or not?
- What are your joint beliefs about homosexuality? What information have you both sought out?
Communication about the issue seems to be your number one problem. It seems like after the initial disclosure there has been no further discussion or even steps taken towards any type of resolution. Maybe through patterns you saw in your families of origin, you are conflict-avoiders. Which means you would rather avoid conflict at all cost – including the cost of your marital relationship and personal mental health. It is “easier” to suffer in silence and avoid each other than face each other directly. Maybe you are afraid of what the resolution would look like? What are you afraid of? Is this a marriage that you both want to salvage? Are you terrified of divorce, fantasize about it or both? Have you discussed this openly? If so, what are the parameters and boundaries that you are both comfortable with? In order to start rebuilding the trust in this relationship you both need to find the courage to address these questions openly, honestly and respectfully.
I know what I’m about to say next is probably very difficult to swallow. But you need to know that your husband’s sexual orientation and his problems with pornography are NOT about you. This is NOT about you! It FEELS personal because it affects your direct relationship with him, your shared trust & intimacy, and because he has possibly broken vows he made to you. However, if you can somehow embrace this position of not taking it personal long enough to take a step back, it can help you find enough compassion for what he is dealing with to begin the process of communication I am speaking of above. I know it is extremely difficult to find compassion when you are justifiably hurt and angry. But it will truly be the key to finding the ability to move past the rut you find yourself currently in. You are in no better position, unfortunately, to begin to understand the concepts of mercy, compassion and forgiveness.
You mention affection and it seems like there are times that your husband reaches out for you in an affectionate way which you reject because of your own pain and confusion. Affection at this stage of your relationship is probably nonsexual. Which is fine. Connecting emotionally, even through physical touch, should be the priority. Your husband’s affection attempts are an important measure of your his desire to reach out to you. It is hard at times to seperate physical touch from sexual touch. But I encourage you to try to meet his affection with an open heart. What is it he is trying to communicate at these times?
My suggestions are mostly applicable if your goal is to stay married to your husband. But even if you are not wanting to salvage your marriage, the lines of communication have to be opened for the two of you to be able to resolve the complicated situation you find yourselves in- especially if you are parents. You need to have an open discussion of what your lives would look like if you stayed together and what your lives would look like if you separate. You also need to be honest with each other and with yourself about what the “deal breakers” are – what in your mind would mean the relationship was over.
I would also encourage you to find ways to care for yourself. You may find yourself depressed, in “a fog,” etc. Do you have hobbies you enjoy? Even taking a bubble bath, going to a movie by yourself, anything that feels like “me” time. I would hope your husband would be supportive in helping you do this. Regardless, do it anyway.
My heart goes out to you both. This is an extremely difficult challenge you’re being required to bear. Please seek professional help from a qualified therapist. Don’t do this alone. There are no easy answers and you will find that in many ways your perceptions of the world and even the gospel have or will completely change. This will most definitely stretch you. However, there is hope for growth, renewed trust, friendship and peace. And this is true whether or not your course will stay on the married path or not. Take the leap of faith, and start talking.
Are you by chance in a similar situation? If so, would you be comfortable sharing anonymously your advice or parts of your story that may be useful to others. Did you stay married or eventually divorce?
Even if this is not a personal struggle, do you know of others who are dealing with homosexuality within a heterosexual marriage? What insights can you share?
If you’ve never heard of anyone in this situation before, would you be surprised to find out that one of the active families in your ward are dealing with such issue? Because, in my experience, this has been the case (if not more).
What are your thoughts about couples trying to stay married in this situation? Under what conditions?
Is celibacy a deal breaker for marriage?
This is a sensitive topic, so I encourage all who would comment to do so carefully, respectfully and with the understanding that what is right in one situation is many times not right in another. I expect and welcome opposing positions. I expect us all to be able to handle being disagreed with in a mature way. Thank you.
Natasha Helfer Parker is a Licensed Clinical Marriage and Family Therapist and a member of the Church with 13 years of experience working with LDS members. Here she shares with us representative cases from her practice and insights she has gained from her work as a therapist. She blogs at mormontherapist.blogspot.com.
Natasha, don’t want you to feel ignored, but this post is beyond me in terms of my being able to offer any useful input or advice. I suspect it will be for many.
This is a very complicated situation – with no easy answers. And it is such a taboo subject that I usually find people completely isolated from friends, family and church. They don’t want anyone to know. So the pain, loneliness and frustration ate often overwhelming.
No worries – I don’t feel ignored 🙂
How does someone not know? Some signs to know that a possible relationship is not good for you.
1. The guy has a cigarette on his ear or hanging from his mouth.
2. He hangs out in bars.
3. He checks out guys
How did this person NOT know? I think it is tragic when a spouse discovers this. Some guys may think it’s a turn on to discover their wives like women but they should remember that they are no longer %100 loyal to you and that they have interests outside the marriage.
Natasha, I don’t know how counselors do it. Hats off to you.
Natasha, I thought your questions, ideas and advice in the OP were excellent.
For me personally, celibacy in marriage would be a deal breaker. For me, the issues would be all about how to divorce as amicably as possible. But I recognize that’s just me, and others might want to try to salvage the marriage for various reasons.
I just had a very interesting conversation with a homosexual man who married and he said something that struck me. He said “the church was an excellent place for me to hide this issue.” He was expected to be chaste, not date until a certain age, and then when courting his wife he was to be respectful and not go “too far.” This man was a return missionary and similarly to many others I have spoken with, he just figured that as long as he did his part, this problem would go away. If he went on a mission, and married in the temple, then it would all just work itself out. These are not people who are living against church standards. In fact, they are usually following them to a tee out of desperation for something to change. As secretive of an issue as this is, I have found it very common for the wives to not know this is an issue until much later in the marriage, if ever. If there are sexual issues, it is attributed to low sex drive or asexuality vs homosexuality.
I’m a gay dad who’s divorced (for reasons unrelated to this issue) who has numerous gay friends still in mixed orientation LDS marriages and friends who’ve left such marriages. My two cents’ worth:
The single most important thing these two spouses must now do is individually and then collectively decide whether they want the marriage to continue. Everything else flows from that collective decision. If one spouse doesn’t wish to stay married, then that’s it. Then all the other issues follow, re children, finances, etc., everything a regular divorce entails. If husband entered the marriage in reliance on LDS teachings, then both are victims of horribly flawed counsel. It’s neither one’s “fault” and I would hope they could re-arrange their lives in a cooperative spirit, especially if there are kids.
If both spouses want to continue in the marriage and I were their therapist, frankly I would urge them to reconsider. Sexual orientation can’t be changed, and the wife would have to realize that she’s volunteering for a life with a man that can never give her a fulness of what she wants or deserves. Friends of mine who are themselves in mixed orientation marriages have said the same thing. Personally I don’t think it’s fair to either spouse to be locked into such a situation. It permanently limits each one’s chances for the kind of happiness and intimacy and fulfillment that could otherwise be possible for them.
That said, if the couple decide in good faith that other factors or issues predominate and make it advisable to stay together, and they understand the implications, then that’s their call and I would hope they could make it work. Statistically the odds are against them, but there are always exceptions. But regardless of the outcome, full and honest communication is essential.
I’m open to any other ideas others have as well.
Well, if she can’t get past her own hurt enough to communicate and accept even non-sexual affection, she likely won’t need to be making any decisions. Her husband will walk. It’s hard enough when you feel loathsome, but if it seems like those around you find you loathsome and aren’t likely to stop, you’re eventually going to want to run.
Reaching out to somebody who has hurt you is one of the hardest things life you have to do, IMO.
Whether there should be hope for the marriage, I couldn’t say.
I’m not in this situation and I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to deal with these struggles. My heart goes out to both of these parties (both the husband and the wife).
I typed my opinion to this situation and the more I typed the more I realized that there simply are no good answers to this situation.
I just hope that whatever this couple decides to do that they learn to treat each other with love and respect. Especially if there are children are involved. Of the children in divorce that I’ve personally known, all of them would say that their greatest pain came from the contention between their parents. The more amicable and loving their relationship is… whether they remain married or not… the better for all parties involved. Also, I think they will have more respect for themselves if they handle this situation with compassion rather than if they begin a lifetime of bickering and hate toward one another.
Sexual orientation can’t be changed.
Other people have different experiences. Who are you or who am I to say what another person experiences?
Although I agree that it is a very risky move to marry a person that you know has been immersed in this issue.
Thanks for sharing your input. I agree that once one person has decided to leave the marriage, there is little hope. Of course that’s true of any marriage. I don’t have stats to back this up, but my experience has been that once the homosexual spouse has experimented with sexual experiences within the same-sex construct and outside of the marriage, there is less of a chance for the marriage to succeed. It is such a powerful experience that it is then difficult for that person to think of never having that type of possibility again. And when infidelity is part of the picture (especially if recurrent), it is obviously difficult for the other spouse to stay committed as well.
I think it’s way better not to get married. Isn’t the position of the church now that marriage is not a cure all for homosexual inclincations?
Jay is correct. Sexual orientation cannot be changed. It is a very hurtful and dangerous myth to tell a gay or lesbian that it can be overcome. It only brings pain, agony and guilt and leads to many a life broken. Sexual impulses can be controlled and, as you grow older, they get weaker due to general aging, but they cannot be changed. If someone is in the middle of the sexual range and is more bi-sexual then they can steer themselves either way.
Other people have different experiences? I have yet to find a person who truly has changed their orientation and has been successful in fully embracing their new persona without being somewhat naive or dishonest. Matthew 19:12 – natural eunuchs are just that. Natural from their mother’s womb. Even the Saviour recognized it.
If there is anyone out there who claims that their sexual orientation has changed, I would love to hear their voice. In all my years practicing, I haven’t come across one person yet. I’m not saying it’s impossible – I’ve seen enough to know nothing is ever impossible. Especially if someone tends to have more of a bisexual arousal template. However, I think it can be damaging to say this likelihood is possible, having people desperately trying to change, and then have them face yet another failure that further damages self-esteem and self worth. At the same time, I don’t feel comfortable ever telling someone that things are one way only and that is the only way. I just want to be upfront about the research, statistics and the odds of changing ones sexual orientation- which seems low.
Yes, church leaders no longer recommend marriage as a solution to homosexuality. However, many homosexuals got married 10-30 years ago, when marriage was recommended. These are the couples that are now dealing with the outcomes of this decision, and usually children are involved.
When I told my wife of my same-sex attraction, she was shocked. That was nearly 10 years ago and we are still married.
I do not pretend to know what it is like to be homosexual, as I do have a wonderful sex life with my wife, the only sexual partner I have ever known. But my attraction to men is clear and distinct. I have simply chosen (and agreed with her) to avoid acting on it (which means I no longer view or read homoerotic material, which is all I did at the time).
When I shared my concern with her, I had no idea what to expect; I assumed she would leave me (or force me to leave, given property laws in our state). It was a terribly risky step to take, but one that I had to.
I was fortunate that for reasons I do not fully understand, she did listen with compassion. She understood that I was never active with another partner. I have no way of knowing if my case is more or less severe than otehrs. I’m certain that there are many who have far stronger attraction than I do, based on what I have read. But I know that my attraction began when I was very young as it has for many.
I do not regret my decision to share with my spouse, nor do I regret our decision to stay in our marriage, because I am hopelessly and forever in love with my wife.
Your advice seems to be quite sound.
I would think that therapy would help your correspondent to understand her anger (or whatever emotion it is she feels) toward her husband that is preventing her from communicating with him. I would suspect if she can get past that roadblock, she might have a hope of at least addressing the other issues, such as whether the marriage should continue.
I am not suggesting that this is “her” problem, but rather that there does seem to be something preventing her from moving forward. Your questions seem to get at that, as well.
#3 Henry: How does someone not know? Really?? It would be remarkable to live in your black and white world, man.
Stay the course. You are doing a good thing.
#14 — “If someone is in the middle of the sexual range and is more bi-sexual then they can steer themselves either way.”
I wonder how many people this applies to. There seems to be a push to label people as “gay” or “straight,” when my impression is that sexuality — particularly male sexuality — is often naturally polymorphous.
I don’t believe a person can “change” his sexual orientation, in the sense that he makes same-sex (or opposite-sex) attraction disappear. But I do wonder whether more men than the conventional wisdom would allow, would be capable of deciding to focus on one variety of attractions, even if the others remained present.
Ironically, the Church, in the past, seemed to argue against the notion that men ought to be expected to deny their inherent sexual nature. There are plenty of statements from nineteenth-century prophets to the effect that males are naturally polygamous, and so the “one-wife system” is an unrealistic expectation that leads to all kind of frustration and evils. We’ve since taken a U-turn on that point, and now say that whether or not a man’s sexual orientation is monogamous or polygamous (or for younger women vs. his aging wife), he’s expected to be faithful to his one wife.
I still diagree. You cannot tell what a person goes through.
If we accepted your statement at face value, that means there are no common or shared experiences amongst humanity and that each life is SO unique as to preclude any reason for communication. If that be the case then why are we taught to rely upon the scriptures when faced with life’s challenges because within them you will find every experience common to humankind and they will guide you in the way of truth and light.
So a woman that goes through the joy (and pain) of childbirth cannot relate to another woman experiencing the same adventure? A father that loses his son to drugs cannot empathize with another that faces the same family tragedy? A missionary that has his or her mind open to a spiritual epiphany on their mission cannot share it with others of like mind and have them fully understand?
My own life experiences tell me differently. While I may not fully understand those things that I do not directly experience, I can most certainly relate to similar or the same experiences I have share in common with others.
As the preacher said, “There is nothing new under the sun”.
I am just saying that everyone’s experience is unique and it’s not possible to put everyone under a blanket statement.
1. No one can change.
2. I accept the fact that it may happen for some and not for others.
Statement 1 assumes everyone is going through the same exact thing and the end result will be the same.
Generally, a preponderance of evidence would allow one to determine what is the more common experience or attribute. Since the preponderance of evidence world-wide and throughout history regarding homosexuality is that orientation is not very mutable and the lack of any significant evidence for lasting change is very, very sparse or non-existent, then human reasoning can deduce that the odds of lasting change are minor or nil. Therefore, the message sent to those dealing with this attribute in life should be realistic and in line with the evidence. To give false hope, as Natasha said, is to only compound the pain, suffering and agony the person is feeling in regards to not fitting an acceptable social expectation.
If anonymous @#16 is happy, and if his wife is happy, then I applaud their decision to remain together and wish nothing but the best for them in the future.
Based on my own experience, and the experience of literally hundreds of gay men I’ve visited with (some married, most single), I suspect that #16 is closer to the “bisexual” middle of the spectrum than most men who identify as “gay”.
I was in complete denial about my orientation for the first thirteen years of my marriage. Even though I refused to acknowledge any attraction to men, and sincerely believed myself to be “straight”, my wife and I did not have a healthy physical relationship for most of our marriage. Sex was always her idea, and she frequently bemoaned the fact that I never seemed interested, and never instigated any sort of intimacy. She often assumed that there was something wrong with her, and we both wondered whether I had physiological issues (testosterone deficiency or similar) that might affect my interest in sex.
In many ways, it was a relief to both of us when I finally accepted and acknowledged that I have never been sexually attracted to women–that my interest has always been in men.
That was a little over two years ago. It’s taken us that long to talk things through and figure out where we want to go from here. From the time I came out, honesty and openness have been of the utmost importance to both of us, and my wife’s acceptance and understanding has been one of the things that has allowed us to stay together (and remain friends) for so long.
Despite her understanding, though, and despite our honesty and openness, I’ve come to realize that there will always be something missing in our relationship–for both of us. We (more me than her) have decided that we will make much better friends than spouses, and we’ve “separated” (I still live at home, but we no longer share a bedroom), with an eventual divorce almost entirely certain.
I agree with Michael and Natasha (and any others who have expressed the view) that sexual orientation cannot be consciously changed. As I said, I’ve spoken personally to literally hundreds of gay men, from the entire spectrum of “active in the church and celibate” to “out of the church and pursuing a relationship”, and I have yet to meet a single man who feels he has significantly decreased his attraction to men or increased his attraction to women. Some have improved their ability to suppress or ignore their feelings–but I did that all on my own (without Evergreen or NARTH or any of the ex-gay ministries) for nearly my entire adult life to this point, and the feelings, though often buried (with varying levels of success), never went away.
If I had a recommendation to the original poster, it would be to try to find a way to remain friends with his wife as they begin to build new lives independent of each other. I’ve seen that in some cases friendship is impossible, but especially if children are involved some measure of respect and cordiality is best.
From what he’s described of his situation, though, it does not appear that he has an accepting and understanding spouse, and I imagine that remaining married will become more and more difficult under those circumstances.
I’m more than happy to talk to anyone who has any questions for me–my email address is in my blog profile (click my name above to get to my blog).
(Sorry–after reading all of the comments I had forgotten that it was the *wife* who posed the original question. And it seems that perhaps the lack of understanding and communication goes both ways. Still, my recommendations don’t change)
How do you reconcile all this with the First Presidency and Apostles preaching that you are nor born gay that it is a vicious lie pushed by Satan and his minions? Should we not take the prophets and apostles at their word? I totally agree with not marrying a person of the opposite sex if you struggle with this issue but I am just wondering how poeople reconcile the above.
Natasha, I’m extremely impressed with your approach to this question.
Henry, I could be mistaken, but I think your frustration relates to how we define “change” in relation to this subject. Most professionals seem to agree that sexual orientation itself does not change, although it seems to be more fluid for women than for men. In other words, homosexuals (at least men) do not become heterosexual, and vice-versa. If you think about that for a moment, I doubt very much you can imagine yourself changing from a heterosexual orientation to a homosexual orientation.
For some, however, “change” is a measure of behavior, rather than basic orientation. A person can certainly choose whether or not they engage in sexual acts, whether with a same-sex or opposite-sex partner. As “anonymous” indicates above, a bisexual or predominately-homosexual man can choose to restrict their sexual activity to heterosexual intercourse, or even to complete celibacy. For example, I was married to a woman for 18 years and we had five children. In other words, I was physically capable of sexual activity with a woman–exhibiting a behavior. In order to accomplish that physical act, however, I often fantasized at the moment that I was with a man–reflecting my orientation. I was sexually faithful throughout my marriage, but that did not mean that I was heterosexually-oriented.
When you read about gay mean and lesbians “changing,” you should ask what the author means by that term. Almost always, you will find that the author defines “change” as “not having sex with a same-sex partner.” In some cases, they will define it as a “reduction in homosexual attractions,” but you’ll find that these individuals are blunting their sexual attractions entirely. They’re not becomming attracted to the opposite sex. Rather, they are training themselves to suppress sexual attraction at all. One of my favorite quotes is from an LDS man who claims to have “changed,” and now makes his living by “counselling” (without actual therapeutic training) gay men to “change.” He didn’t claim to have stopped being attracted to men. Rather, he oddly claimed (in his words) that he was now “as straight as I need to be.”
I joined the church at age 19 (being raised an active Catholic). I attended BYU and served a mission. I have had the attractions every since adolescence and was more aware of them as I grew older. I remained active in the Church until I had a breakdown at age 32 wherein I came out of the closet and for the next 12 years came to terms with my orientation. I was excommunicated but never gave up my convert testimony of the Restored Gospel. Luckily, I never married although I did give serious thought to it a couple of times. At age 44, I lost a sibling to cancer which led me back into the church. I was re-baptized in order to once again re-enter the House of the Lord and perform the work for my ancestors. To this day I remain the only member in my large extended Irish Catholic family. I have remained active and observe the law of celibacy as the Prophet of the Lord has commanded of me.
As regards your claim that the First Presidency and Apostles are preaching that you are not born gay, that is mistaken. They have admitted that they have since received further light and knowledge and that the cause (and purpose) of homosexuality in this life remain unknown. Until such time as a revelation is received that clarifies the place of natural eunuchs (Matthew 19:12) in the Kingdom, we should not accept dogmatic assertions that have no basis in the Scriptures. Elder McConkie was very clear in being careful to issue pronouncements about things of which we have not received direct revelation. Official Declaration #2 is evidence of that.
Leaders in the past have made statements claiming that gay people are not “born that way”. More recent statements have been much more ambivalent:
From Gordon B. Hinckley in an interview with Larry King, December 26, 2004:
HINCKLEY: …we love these people and try to work with them and help them. We know they have a problem. We want to help them solve that problem.
KING: A problem they caused, or they were born with?
HINCKLEY: I don’t know. I’m not an expert on these things. I don’t pretend to be an expert on these things…
From “Same-Gender Attraction” – a mock “interview” between the Church Public Affairs Dept. and Elders Oaks (of the Quorum of the Twelve) and Wickman (of the Seventy):
PUBLIC AFFAIRS: You’re saying the Church doesn’t necessarily have a position on ‘nurture or nature’
ELDER OAKS: That’s where our doctrine comes into play. The Church does not have a position on the causes of any of these susceptibilities or inclinations, including those related to same-gender attraction. Those are scientific questions — whether nature or nurture — those are things the Church doesn’t have a position on.
So… no, I don’t think we should “take the prophets and apostles at their word” when their word (on this particular subject, at least) is changing and evolving.
I’m a gay man who was formerly in a mixed-orientation (temple) marriage, with children. I’m now happily same-sex partnered. I have known many, many LDS people in this situation. I can summarize what I’ve seen as follows:
1) Whether couples choose to stay together or split up has a lot to do with how old they are and how many years they have been married. Ending a marriage often makes more sense for couples in their twenties than couples in their fifties or sixties who have been married for decades. Younger people have more of a chance to start over and find relationships that are a better fit for them. Older couples may want to rely on the stability they have built over the years. This of course doesn’t apply uniformly, but it’s a pattern I’ve often seen.
2) There is a spectrum that runs from purely heterosexual in orientation to purely homosexual, with degrees in between. How possible it is for a mixed-orientation marriage to survive often depends on where on this scale the same-sex attracted spouse falls. In some cases there is enough bisexuality to make it work, but there’s not much you can do to influence orientation. Vigorous attempts to change orientation, for example programs like Evergreen and “reparative therapy,” can be psychologically harmful.
3) A big misperception from the outside is that the issue is solely one of sexual incompatibility. Unfortuately, sexual orientation also governs the ability to form an intimate pair bond. There is a significant emotional or interpersonal aspect to the incompatibiity caused by mismatched sexual orientations. Being best friends often isn’t enough to give partners in a mixed-orientation marriage what they need in terms of emotional intimacy. The “spark” may be missing. This is perhaps one of the most frustrating aspects of the situation. It can interfere with a couple’s best efforts to reconcile.
4) Religious orthodoxy (and I say this with regret) is not a success factor in these relationships. Conventional religious views tend to place the blame for marital problems on the homosexual spouse. In fact, as the OP points out, both parties in the marriage deserve compassion and support. It is almost impossible to reach a realistic point of accommodation when one side is labeled as the bad or deviant party. If the couple can view the problem as one of mismatched orientations rather than the presence of deviancy, their chances of working things out improves.
Some couples can make it; others can’t and shouldn’t try. There’s almost no way to tell from the outside. That’s why it’s best to support the spouses as they work through the issues. Whether to separate or stay together is a decision that only they can make.
I would not presume to tell you what you should do. I luckily didn’t marry the woman I loved because I knew I was homosexual. She deserved better and so do you.
Your husband deserves to live honestly and authentically and you deserve to be loved fully as a woman.
How do you reconcile all this with the First Presidency and Apostles preaching that you are nor born gay that it is a vicious lie pushed by Satan and his minions? Should we not take the prophets and apostles at their word?
Henry, you’re very nearly quoting a statement made by James E. Faust, which was published in the Ensign several years ago. You may be interested in knowing that the very next month, a lengthy article appeared in the Ensign, written by Dallin Oaks, which stated that the reason why some people are gay has not been revealed, etc. Knowing that Oaks was an LDS apostle at the time, and Faust was a member of the first presidency, I doubt very much that the contradiction was accidental. The editors simply wouldn’t have published a statement which openly disagreed with something a member of the first presidency had published so shortly prior. Therefore, I can only conclude that Oaks’ article was meant in part to be a softening/clarification of Faust’s comment.
If you search this out further, you will find that the language of LDS leaders has backed far away from what Faust once said. LDS leaders no longer teach that it is a sin to experience homosexual attraction–in fact they directly state that it is not sinful to have such attractions. Instead, they teach that the sin lies in acting upon that attraction, i.e. having sexual intercourse with a person of the same sex. For the most recent official position on these matters, I suggest you read the LDS-published pamphlet, “God Loveth His Children,” which you can readily find on the LDS church website in pdf format.
“I totally agree with not marrying a person of the opposite sex if you struggle with this issue but I am just wondering how poeople reconcile the above.”
That’s easy. They’re wrong.
This woman can hopefully (I know it is hard) appreciate that he sought therapy and told her voluntarily. My father’s struggles were punctuated by arrests, sexual involvement with minors, and the associated trip through the legal system and church discipline. Reading her story makes me want to cry for her pain. Fortunately, it seems like they are both adults and hopefully capable of communication and appreciation of each other as they work towards the big decisions they need to make.
natasha can you speak to the issue of communication? my wife is conflict avoidant, and refuses to discuss anything. we are both heterosexual, and when there is no conflict, we have a good sex life. but when there is a conflict, she refuses to try to solve the problem. I have become so frustrated that I have been sleeping downstairs for 3 weeks.
her communication skills are terrible (nonexistent). when I get frustrated, unfortunately I express that frustration. it is a vicious cycle, and I am currently at the end of my rope. it is like our boat is sinking, but she refuses to bail the water for fear of making the situation worse. I am ready to abandon ship.
Henry, you’re exhibiting one of my favorite Mormon approaches —– suddenly embracing subjectivity, relativism, and deference to individuals whenever someone claims that gayness is inherent or at least outside the realm of conscious choice. We have a Church built on sweeping assumptions of human nature that often marginalize individuals, but we don’t bat an eye until someone else makes a claim about human nature that frustrates our happy judgmental existence.
“…one of my favorite Mormon approaches —– suddenly embracing subjectivity, relativism….”
Ugh. I see this way too often, too.
It’s funny how a person can go from rock-solid certain to Foucault’s second cousin once he moves from what he wants to believe, to the other guy’s inconvenient ideas.
Being conflict avoidant is a learned coping mechanism that serves to protect oneself. The unfortunate side effect is that it does much more than protect and can become harmful within relationships and even within ones individual construct. I recommend the book by Gottman: Seven Principles for making marriage work.
I am so grateful to so many of you who have shared personal experiences regarding this matter. Thank you!! It is such valuable information.
I am currently preparing to be a host on Mormon Stories and am looking for couples to interview in this situation who are deciding to stay married. If anyone is interested, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I recently finished an interview with a man who left his marriage due to this issue which should be available soon.
Early on in my marriage I became afflicted with Same Gender Attraction disorder. I can tell you that if one prays and lives the teaching of the gospel these feeling will go away. After counseling with my bishop and being disfellowshipped by the ward and stake for 2 years I realized what the lord had intended and wanted my wife and children back again. It took shame and guilt from family members for me to confront my sin and the sexual addition to members of the same sex. Every day can be a struggle to keep satan at bay, but I study the gospel of jesus christ and the feelings go away. Love for the gospel can help one overcome any addiction, and I am glad to have my wife and family back again.
Early on in my marriage I became afflicted with Same Gender Attraction disorder.
There is no such diagnosis, as I’m sure Natasha can attest.
I am currently in a mixed-orientation marriage. I was deeply closeted to even myself and unable to accept that I am attracted to men when I got married. We have been married for 6 1/2 years and have one child. I came out to myself and my wife just over a year ago and to the rest of my immediate family about a month ago. We are currently trying to make our marriage work. The most helpful book I have found so far is “When Husbands Come Out of the Closet” by Jean Schaar Gochros. I highly recommend it to any couple in a mixed-orientation marriage. I think it may be particularly useful to a wife who finds herself in this situation. You can read my review of it on my blog:
Edward, hate to say it, you sound a bit trollish.
Homosexuality used to be in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) listed as a disorder which was changed I believe sometime in the 1970’s. Now the only place you will find “sexual orientation and behavior” in the DSM would be under “Identity Problem.” Meaning someone is having a hard time adjusting to coming to terms with their homosexual feelings/behavior. Other things that fall under “Identity Problem” include career choice, friendship patterns, moral values and group loyalties. A “problem” is definitely defined differently from a “disorder” in the DSM. One speaks to normal challenges that affect most people in day-to-day scenarios, while the other speaks to a mental disorder (something is off chemically or genetically in the brain).
Having said this, I want to validate Edward’s experience just as much as everyone else who has commented on a personal level thus far. People will have different experiences. And although Edward’s type of experience isn’t statistically common as far as I can tell, it is still his experience. It is real and helpful to him. So, let’s please remain respectful and open to the idea that our way isn’t always the only way. I think we’ve done a really good job of that so far.
Thanks for the book recommendation.
… As a former Mormon, excommunicated for being gay after 15-yrs. membership & serving an honorable mission (also a BYU grad in Broadcast Journalism,) I see the most damaging aspect of this situation is the husband’s sex addiction to porn! Until he gets professional help for that, he’ll NEVER have a HEALTHY relationship! +, like so MANY closeted LDS gay men, he NEVER should have married! The church is going to be held accountable for so MANY ruined gay lives – it isn’t funny. I thank God I wasn’t born LDS, since so many spend yrs. in therapy & never recover! My personal experience, with Apostle Spencer W. Kimball & then Pres. of the 12 & Prophet, has been reported in my 1st. book about my 35+ yr. career in print-journalism. It is in L.A., with a former PR firm I worked for, & will expose the church’s blatant anti-gay teachings!
The addiction to pornography is, I agree, an issue that needs to be addressed separately from the husband’s homosexual orientation. The neurochemistry of pornographic addiction, involving dopamine and testosterone, is toxic and impairs the higher functioning of the brain that involves prioritization of activities. The counsel by Elder Oaks to admit in daily prayer that one is powerless to overcome the addiction without divine assistance can be helpful. Like any addicted person, however, attempts by a partner to pull someone away from their addictive behavior can lead to a backlash.
“I know it is extremely difficult to find compassion when you are justifiably hurt and angry. But it will truly be the key to finding the ability to move past the rut you find yourself currently in.”
The wife is understandably weary, and my heart goes out to her. There are so many sound reasons why she should not have to be the one to follow the above quoted advice. Moving forward as the one to start that conversation can take a lot of soul searching and be very emotionally draining. Whether that conversation leads to continuing the marriage or ending the marriage, either direction seems preferable to maintaining the abyss in which they are currently living.
Natasha, “My suggestions are mostly applicable if your goal is to stay married to your husband.”
I doubt she would have written if her goal was to separate. I think it is good advice though.
“What are your thoughts about couples trying to stay married in this situation? Under what conditions?”
They seem to be a marriage in name only, not the ideal situation off course but probably a step better or a step ‘higher’ than separation and/or divorce. They may not have physical contact at all but may still share a home, finances and most other things. So if they can share some things they may be rebuilding already rather than growing more apart. The shock though of finding out about this is sure to be massive. But he hasn’t as yet left for another man nor been physically unfaithful -or it seems so from what she wrote- so as long as there isn’t that added social pressure from full infidelity maybe then she would be well advised to stay in the marriage. Take some time out, maybe, sure, but staying married is normally better than divorce in my mind. But she needs to start talking to him and exploring these issues more.
It may be possible to try to bring them together as friends first or to start again as friends (for most women a gay man would be an ideal friend but I wouldn’t tell her that now off course). If he does leave with another man the friendship relationship would still be the ideal as ex-spouses and co-parents. Becoming or at least trying to become friends would be part of the healing and forgiveness process should they finally divorce anyway, imho. And the communication issue would be central to this off course. They need to start talking seriously and profoundly first as they try to be friends again imho.
“Please seek professional help from a qualified therapist. ”
I definitely agree there. And its probably better than a Bishop’s counsel at this stage. We tend to turn to the bishop far too often for just about anything but if there isn’t serious sin, and porn may not even be serious enough imo, going to the bishop may do more harm than good unfortunately, especially if the bishop is one of these extremist Utah right-wingers who rely more on their own opinions than on inspiration and revelations.
Nick and others:
There are very, very good reasons why society should not endorse/sanction homosexuality. It leads to so many problems including marriage issues.
Previous page: Homosexuality & God
Every form of sin has consequences and homosexual acts are no exception. Just as Satan downplayed and distorted the consequences of sin with Eve (Genesis 3), so he does in tempting people with sexual sin today. Simple lies like “Go ahead, nobody will know,” or “It won’t harm you to experiment a little,” or “This is the thrill you’ve been looking for,” or “If it feels good, it is good.” Such suggestions may be enough to push a person over the edge to act on the temptations.
Pursuing homosexual desires can lead to all sorts of troubles. At first, people may get caught up in the temporary pleasure that the sin brings, but sooner or later they will come down from their “high.” Here are some example consequences that can result from homosexual behavior:
• Physical sickness: The Apostle Paul mentioned a “due penalty” that people received for practicing homosexual acts (Romans 1:27). It is possible that such a penalty could be a physical ailment such as AIDS, Human Herpes Virus 8, Karposi’s Sarcoma (type of cancer) or some other sexually-related illness. Another less-publicized problem is the “Gay Bowel” Syndrome, which results from repeated anal intercourse. This is where the sphincter muscle in the anus loses its elasticity and can no longer close.
• Emotional confusion: Paul linked “futile” thinking, “darkened” hearts and “depraved” minds to homosexual activity in Romans 1:21-22,28.
• Spiritual confusion: Paul described this as exchanging the truth of God for a lie, which was evident both in the Romans’ idol worship and homosexual practice. The rejection of truth opens doors to every form of evil, including greed, envy, murder, strife, malice, gossip, slander, hatred, hatred of God, insolence, arrogance and rebellion (Romans 1:25,29-31).
• Consumption by lust (Romans 1:24,26-27, Genesis 19:4-13, Judges 19:22-28): Pursuing homosexual desires provokes God to withdraw his protective hand from a person’s life, so that he or she is given over to indulge in their “vile passions” and “shameful lusts” to their own peril.
• Lack of peace (Isaiah 48:22)
• See Consequences of Sex Sin for more info
With such serious consequences, it’s hard to imagine how anyone might escape the downward spiral of homosexuality. Yet, the scriptures clearly give homosexuals hope for freedom and recovery through Jesus Christ. As Jesus said, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26 NKJV).
Perma blooggers. Please delete above. Sorry.
Henry, under what rock did you dig that up? The appeal to authority is a pretty lame tactic in any case, but if you don’t even name the authority, it’s absurd.
It seems to me that the marriage issues presented in this post come from a lack of endorsing homosexuality. As long as there is the perception that homosexual relationships are less deserving or inferior to heterosexual relationship, there will be homosexuals who feel pressured to enter a heterosexual relationship. Society’s endorsement or sanctioning of homosexuality does not cause homosexuality.
This post and thread hit really close to home for me as I’m trying to navigate my path as a member of the Church with homosexual attractions. Sometimes it gives me a headache just trying to make sense of things. I have times when I don’t feel as attracted to men and I actually get excited at the prospect of having a serious relationship with a woman who I find [on some level] attractive. At other times I wonder if my hopes of having a fulfilling, temple marriage have been in vain (along with my testimony). It doesn’t help that there are a lot of conflicting (and often discouraging) messages coming from different places, and that the subject is so taboo with so many rank and file members of the Church.
It occured to me after reading #47 several times that it pretty much applies to heterosexuals as well. All you have to do is remove the prudent limits of sexuality and sexual expression and you can end up with the same problems. It would seem that the temple covenant on chastity would solve a lot of problems.
A lot of times, as in #52, LDS discourse centers around sex acts. In my experience, sex itself is just one of the problems in a mixed-orientation marriage and usually not the deal breaker. The emotional aspects are far more difficult to grapple with. For example, you usually find that the homosexual spouse experiences a persistent and unshakeable feeling of loneliness despite constant marital companionship. The heterosexual spouse on the other hand experiences a persistent and unshakeable feeling of rejection, which they may internalize as low self-worth and depression or externalize as anger and hostility (as in the letter in the OP). These problems are real and extremely difficult to resolve.
When I was in a mixed-orientation marriage, I was 100% faithful to my wife. It didn’t stop the relationship from being an unfixable train wreck. After our divorce, my ex-wife and I were both able to find partners that were a better fit.
• Physical sickness: The Apostle Paul mentioned a “due penalty” that people received for practicing homosexual acts (Romans 1:27). It is possible that such a penalty could be a physical ailment such as AIDS
Henry, if this is true, then your deity has remarkably poor aim in meting out his punishments. For example, 32% of Americans who were diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in 2007 were heterosexual.
To say nothing of Africa, where the vast majority of people with HIV/AIDS are heterosexuals.
Henry, it is not society’s place to “sanction” being gay any more than it is their place to saction being heterosexual. It just is what it is and we deal with it as best we can. Most gay people I talk with consider it a blessing, including myself. Society needn’t worry that humanity will cease to exist unless all you heterosexuals try to be gay. Having tried to be straight for decades, I can only say, “Good luck with that.”
I was temple married over 25 years and have one adult child. I had been married several years before facing the fact that I was gay. I love my wife very much and determined to keep the covenants I had made. It worked for many years as I pushed hard and rose in Church leadership and my profession. But eventually the stress got to be too much and I started to crack at the seams. Despite advice to the contrary, prayer and fasting and study and the temple and picking tomatoes on the Church farm for Jesus did not may the gay go away.
I did speak with one bishop about it when I nearly “slipped up.” He told me about a rather salacious affair he had in the Navy years ago with an officer he admired. It went on for two years, but eventually he married a woman and all was fine and dandy, so I should pray more. Uh, not helpful.
When I sought help, the therapist’s first words were, “I can’t help you become straight. I can only help you understand who you are and we can work together to come up with strategies that will help you regain your mental health, probably as a well-adjusted gay man.” She was wonderful.
I came out to my wife and we decided to try to work through things. We acknowledged that sexual intimacy did not have to be part of it. I needed to be able to discuss it occasionally with her openly without drama. She cried alot. We worked hard at it for another year. By then it was clear that we needed to move on with our lives and find partners with whom we could fully share our lives and intimacy. She would have probably stayed in the marriage forever. I could not. I needed sexual intimacy with a man and that couldn’t happen in our marriage. So we parted as best friends. We remain close. Our child was a teen and brought along as we worked through things.
I did not have a porn addition. I did not suddenly start smoking or drinking or acting out. I had spent many years preparing for the possibility, so I took time to make a warm and happy life. It was a good move for me. She is still sad. There is no easy way to make it happen. If I were to give advice, it would be to face it as quickly as possible, try to forge an HONEST understanding and arrangement that you can both live with, and give it a try. One LDS man I know remains married to him wife after nearly 20 years. He has a male partner as well and they are all friendly and celebrate holidays together. It works for them. If would not have worked in our case.
I am someone who from the time that I was 14, experienced homosexual feelings. I don’t think it’s helpful to believe the conventional wisdom or the politicized science behind it. We can’t even define being gay. There are straight men who have sex with men because its fun and convenient (the pervert motive) but abhor an emotional relationship with a man. There are true men who are attracted to both physically and emotionally. There are men that need an emotional relationship with a man but don’t care much for the sex, usually don’t care much for sex from anyone. There are true non-sexual persons regardless of gender. Finally, there are those that are “gay” who need both emotional relationships and sexual relationships with men. You need to find out where your husband is on that spectrum.
While its true gay feelings cannot be changed, they can be muted or mitigated. Sexual feelings for the opposite sex can become enhanced and they can grow. It is propaganda that gay men cannot change. Sometimes there are feelings that develop because of curiosity and intrigue. Sometimes its more inherent. I am married and have a healthy sexual relationship with my wife. She knew about me going in, and I had many male partners and one female partner before I married her.
Remember that we live in a fallen world with lots of lies told by Satan–you have to be skeptical of what is presented as truth–even the so-called scientific stuff. I’m not here to challenge those that feel you cannot change. From their own personal experience, maybe they feel like they cannot. Don’t discount those that have changed and have healthy relationships. Again, you need to find out where your husband fits on this spectrum.
The pornography problem is probably a bigger problem that needs to be addressed. It can be as addictive as drugs and it teaches men false notions about sex. Homosexuals tend to amplify it even more–the promiscuity is much more prominent and the sex is easier to get, and porn amplifies this urge. He should really make an effort to abandon this practice.
Finally, don’t discount compassion. We haven’t a good reason why some people are “gay.” We have this nature versus nurture argument–both can permanently affect the brain so it really doesn’t matter. I personally think that it may be chemicals in the food and the water that mothers drink. It has a tendency to make men more effeminate, more sterile, and more impotent. Our diets do not help us. They may also be able to find a “fix” in the future with hormone therapy if the politics would allow it. We’ll have to see.
I don’t think it’s helpful to believe the conventional wisdom or the politicized science behind it.
What do you suppose is a source of “non-politicized science?”
While its true gay feelings cannot be changed, they can be muted or mitigated.
What you describe isn’t a matter of “gay feelings” being “muted or mitigated.” Rather, you’re describing a process whereby a person is so continuously shamed about who he is, that he learns to suppress his own sexual feelings altogether. What I suppose you would call “straight feelings” can be “muted or mitigated” too, when all you really mean is that a person can be psychologically warped to the point that they avoid thinking about sex and/or relationships.
Remember that we live in a fallen world with lots of lies told by Satan–you have to be skeptical of what is presented as truth–even the so-called scientific stuff.
So what you’re really saying, is that gay men should hide their heads in the sand, pretend that science is a tool of the devil, and just listen to what their religious leaders tell them. I’m sure that made complete sense to the Catholic officials who excommunicated Galilleo for daring to question their dogma with legitimate scientific observation.
I’m not here to challenge those that feel you cannot change. From their own personal experience, maybe they feel like they cannot.
You appear to be defining “change” as an actual change in sexual orientation. Your choice of words, however, betrays the fact that you do challenge those who are comfortable with their own normal sexuality. After all, you don’t speak of people who “can’t” change their sexual orientation. You only admit that there are people who “feel like” they can’t. You’re only pretending to be open-minded, when all the while you’ve been brainwashed into believing that homosexuality is something that can and should be “changed.”
Here’s a question for you: Why should a gay man try to change his sexual orientation? Personally, I find my sexual orientation to be an incredible gift, bringing me great joy. I almost feel sorry for all the poor straight guys (grin!).
Homosexuals tend to amplify it even more–the promiscuity is much more prominent and the sex is easier to get, and porn amplifies this urge.
On what evidence do you base this glaring stereotype? You’ve already told us that science is unreliable, so is this just something that your religious leaders told you is true about “them there nasty ol’ faggots?”
We haven’t a good reason why some people are “gay.”
Again, your grammer and word choice speaks louder than your pretended open-mindedness. By placing those quotation marks, you make it clear that you don’t believe there is such a thing as homosexuality. Let me guess—do you see gay men like Ted Haggard (the Bible-thumping closet case preacher who was hiring male prostitutes on a regular basis), who claims he’s a “heterosexual man with a homosexual problem?” If so, it’s tough to tell whether you’re more deceived by the religious leaders who’ve taught you bigotted lies, or by your own desperate denial.
We have this nature versus nurture argument–both can permanently affect the brain so it really doesn’t matter. I personally think that it may be chemicals in the food and the water that mothers drink. It has a tendency to make men more effeminate, more sterile, and more impotent.
I see—so you believe that chemicals in the food and water make men moer “effeminate,” “sterile,” and “impotent,” and somehow that means these chemicals might be turning them gay? I’ve got news for you, buddy. Many of my gay friends look like they could belong to biker gangs—big, burly, bearded, and very traditionally “masculine.” Most of them could knock your average prissy elders’ quorum president on his ass in five seconds or less. In addition, I’ve certainly been around gay men enough to know that the vast majority are anything but impotent. You have some really twisted ideas about what it means to be gay. Maybe you should get out more.
They may also be able to find a “fix” in the future with hormone therapy if the politics would allow it.
If anything needs to be “fixed,” it’s the big homos who’ve swallowed so much uninformed nonsense that they’ve effectively neutered themselves with their self-loathing and internalized homophobia. Maybe we can give them testosterone shots, so they can grow a pair and come out of the closet, like real men.
Your comments seem a bit muted. How do you really feel?
No need for the level of defensiveness and language in your latest comment. There needs to be space for both sides in order for this to continue to be the valuable dialogue it has been so far. Thank you.
#58: “What do you suppose is a source of ‘non-politicized science?'”
The physics and chemistry departments. Not much beyond that, anymore.
‘Yes, church leaders no longer recommend marriage as a solution to homosexuality. However, many homosexuals got married 10-30 years ago, when marriage was recommended. These are the couples that are now dealing with the outcomes of this decision, and usually children are involved.’
I guess I fall into this group. I am a convert to the LDS church and was baptized when I was 17 and went on a mission a year and a halve later. When on my mission, and while lots of things were still new to me, I informed my mission president about my attraction to which he replied “get married and it’ll go away’. Because of my desire to serve the Lord I did get married, and though I disclosed about my attraction to my bride before the marriage, it still ended in divorce 12 years later. She just couldn’t do it anymore and I don’t blame her for that, but it kills me that now my children have to be the victims of a divorce and grow up in such circumstances. Especially in a church where perfect families are the order of the day. It is what most teachings are focused on at church and every church related activity. Family, family, family. Which is great for those that can have one. What about the rest of us? My attraction doesn’t change the fact that the gospel I proclaimed and learned to love is very true, but it leaves me in a position of confusion. I don’t want to be alone for the rest of my life, however it seems to be my only option.
Nelson My attraction doesn’t change the fact that the gospel I proclaimed and learned to love is very true — that is a very strong lead in to your question. I wish I had an answer at present.
Although I am a strong supporter of preserving the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman; if one partner has same gender attraction, they should not get married. Along these lines, if they are strongly attracted to anyone else other than the person they planning on marrying, they should not get married. It is just a plan for failure.
I think your righteous indignation is well warranted, Nick. You do a commendable job most of the time keeping your cool in discussions like this one. In the comment in question it wasn’t the ignorance that was so offensive, it was the condescention.
I don’t post anonymously, and so wonder how much I should say since I’m a known quantity. My ex-wife never made a close contact with anyone from my Mormon world, so I think I will be mostly frank. But, naturally, her telling of this story would likely be materially different.
I met my ex when I was very far from the church and living in a very open culture sexually. We were together almost 12 years, 6 years following my return to the church. Our sex life was entertaining for the first several months of our relationship, and we had a little renaissance about half way through, but was otherwise non-existent. She had always been deeply involved with what I came to consider gay male porn – she wouldn’t call it that, and to be fair the stories that she both wrote and read voraciously had a lot more to them than what you’d consider typical porn. I tried to not let it bother me – but the small feelings of rejection as she seemed to choose fictional characters over me, not only sexually but in terms of the kind of understanding I associate with intimacy, grew slowly, over the decade, to a real anguish. My own porn use she didn’t encourage but certainly didn’t discourage – she probably found it hopeful, in a way. After I returned to the church, I changed in some ways that I experienced as necessary but that she, I think this is fair, hoped would make me happy but didn’t deeply respect. She made a hard turn in the opposite direction, although I don’t believe there was anything deliberate about that. We had a number of things in common, and I really appreciated her uniqueness – there is certainly no one quite like her. I would say we had a pretty good friendship, there are some things about her I miss.
But, as the years went by, a real coolness set in between us. After Alex was born, she became quite gentle with me for a time, and a little maternal, and I hoped that this marked a permanent change. In fact, I never stopped hoping she would change right up to the last days. But the distance soon returned, with a vengeance. (She attributes those changes to hormones, and maybe that is so.) But she was far away. During the prop-8 debacle, we had a conversation – not really a conversation – I was undecided on the issue and was not arguing for the church’s position but just trying to explicate it. It was the kind of conversation we had had and enjoyed many times before, I thought. In the middle, she stormed out and didn’t speak to me for nearly a month, except to tell me she had no idea what a terrible person I’d become. We reconciled at the end of that time, but I never really trusted her fully again. I felt that anything I might say might bring on a similar reaction. The next several months were cold, and truthfully, I had just about given up hope and thought I would no hunker down and endure it – because being divorced once I didn’t consider it a possibility for happening again. Then she one day told me that she thought of herself more as a man than a woman. This was hardly a surprise to me, but I wondered why the conversation now. It didn’t mean only that she related to men more than women. There is something in her sexuality and right down in her being that is different. I asked if this meant she would one day go through a trans-gender process, and she said she didn’t think so but was unsure.
I think something about that conversation. For me, finally, the anguish was gone. I saw a couple things clearly. There was something deep in her identity that was not going to change. It is as she said, fundamental to her. No end of her interest in the erotic fiction, no beginning of a physical (not to say sexual) intimacy between us. None of the resonant companionship I hoped for – her energy in that regard would always be primarily focused in another direction. I also knew, though it took some time yet for it to surface, that while I cared for her in many ways, and appreciated her, I could not live the whole second half of my life with that coldness and distance from the person at the center of my life. In many ways I see myself, as a man, as having been married to a gay man, and i don’t think she would shrink from that description. I think that I could now be friend and be supportive of whatever it is she is going to feel that she wants and needs to do. I don’t know that will happen.
We don’t encourage divorce in the church. But I’ve now been in the middle of divorce stories, both my own and others, and no that at times the juncture is reached where something crosses over that cannot be crossed back. To people who have never experienced this, there is doctrine and ideals, but they simply do not really know what they are talking about.
Best to all parties in what are terribly trying circumstances. May love and friendship prevail in where marriage does not, eh?
“Here’s a question for you: Why should a gay man try to change his sexual orientation? Personally, I find my sexual orientation to be an incredible gift, bringing me great joy. I almost feel sorry for all the poor straight guys (grin!).”
🙂 good one.
Although you are asking someone else I have a stab at it. You try to change because of the eternal consequences of not changing. Not changing means that you can’t reach that highest level of celestial status or Godhood for lack of a better term. After time in the spirit world, and if you repent there, the best you can hope for is a terrestrial kingdom existence throughout all eternity, with visits from Jesus true and with certain joys true, but in a singularly state forever without the possibility of having children again. Why is that a problem? i believe you have children now so you know the joys and fulfillment that ability brings to life, so imagine what joys are involved in creating children that last for eternity ,ie those spirit children Gods. I know today you can feel that your gayness is a gift and fulfilling, but that’s now, here on earth when you have a body to use and can actually have sex with a man; eternity is a different thing.
There are plenty of scriptures to show all this but I’m sure you already know them. This is basically why i think we (Mormons) are so against homosexuality, because of the consequences in eternity for all those who choose to live today the homosexual lifestyle.
Natasha, in response to a question you asked a while ago (and not knowing if anyone else has tackled this…I didn’t read all of the comments), there is some evidence to suggest that women’s sexuality is fairly plastic. Women report a higher incidence of orientation changes than men and women who describe themselves as heterosexual are more likely to have same-sex fantasies than men (these differences may, in part, represent a non-response bias or willful lying on the part of men). So the answer to whether there is any credible evidence to suggest that orientation can change seems to dependent on gender somewhat.
re #69 “So the answer to whether there is any credible evidence to suggest that orientation can change seems to dependent on gender somewhat.”
A few years ago this was unacceptable to the gay lobby -either you are born gay or you aren’t.
Now today, when there are some women claiming to change from heterosexual orientation to lesbian …. well they say that’s ok and it can happen and women are more fluid in their choice of orientation. But if its the other way … nope today it can’t happen.
The question is ultimately what will be the thinking and rational in this debate 100 years from now. But if only they’d trust what God says about this issue…..
Interesting discussion. This issue is one of those that make me feel unable to be in total solidarity with the church. I’m so angry at the ruined lives. It’s a travesty for people to live their whole lives in unfulfilling marriages, weather it’s because we think people shouldn’t be gay or because we don’t give proper sex education to women so that they can learn how their own bodies work. All this effort to protect the sanctity of sex, and then we’re not taught how to experience the sacred spiritual power of sex! Tragic.
On the topic of being able to change sexual orientation, I have some thoughts. I have to say that it enrages me to hear about the gay-therapy practices, even practiced at BYU when it was the status quo in psychology. So, please understand me that I don’t think that gay people can or should change.
But, I’m interested in the topic because of my own experience of changing my “sexual orientation” so to speak, from being attracted to people who were mean to me, or unavailable, or dangerous, or taboo, to being turned off by those things and turned on by things I actually want in my life, like to be deeply loved, or to be my highest self, or to be One with the Spirit that moves through all things. I feel that I’ve re-wired my brain to respond sexually to the thoughts that I’ve chosen, through the judicious use of self-stimulation along with disciplined thoughts. This has been so healing for me that I can’t consider it sinful. The most sacred and powerful things in the world are also the most profane when misused. Fantasy re-wired my brain and changed my behaviors. That’s sacred and powerful. Lustful fantasy about one person while making love to another, that’s profane and I believe damaging on a spiritual level to the person you’re counterfeiting.
Just as food for thought and to represent a mid-place on the spectrum, I’ve at times had intense same-sex attraction. (I’m female.) Although this is a taboo idea, in my case, my same sex attraction was stronger before I worked out my childhood sexual abuse issues. Please don’t think I’m making any statements about why anyone else is gay! But, that is one experience I’ve had. I’ve also experienced times when I wanted whatever gender I wasn’t with, or I was turned on by the taboo, or felt that it was “cool” and “open-minded” to be bisexual. I’ve noticed that I used to feel very attracted to lesbians but not to heterosexual women, because I was basically attracted to anyone who might give me the validation of wanting me!
This all sounds like I’m a very confused person with low-self-esteem, but I’m really talking about a whole lifetime of experiences and observations, mostly from decades ago. I’m in a good place now. Just wanting to add in some mid-range experiences to the conversation.
I figure myself to be much more hetro than homo because as much as my eyes are drawn to women’s bodies, I much prefer to BE the woman, and a manly man makes me feel the way I most like to feel.
I sometimes wonder if my extreme views on modesty have something to do with my attraction to women. I have a hard time taking my eyes off a tight pair of jeans, and I think, “Gee, if a woman in tight clothing does this to ME, imagine what it does to a MAN!” I dress more modestly than most LDS women because I don’t want men looking at me the way I look at other women! LOL.
…Just thought that might be an interesting two cents for some readers who may have had similar thoughts and feelings. There surely is a whole range of experience.
As someone said earlier, it sounds to me like those who talk about being gay, but say they have a fulfilling romantic life within their mixed-orientation marriages, are likely somewhere in the middle of the Kinsey scale. If they experience some level of heterosexual attraction, perhaps they can make a marriage work. On the other hand, if they’re attracted exclusively to their own sex, marriage is (in the vast majority of cases) a disastrous decision. When those marriages explode, not only is the couple wounded, but their children and other family members get a face full of shrapnel. As for the couple in the OP, I have no idea what they ought to do––in their situation, every option is almost unbearably costly.
Well, at which word should we take them? The Church’s position has been all over the map on this issue. First, S.W. Kimball taught that homosexuality was caused by masturbation (The Miracle of Forgiveness). (Sorry to tell you, but if that were true, the human race would have been extinct a LOOOOOOONNNG time ago.) Then B.K. Packer essentially reiterates the same position (To Young Men Only, in which he discusses a “little factory” and its “lifegiving substance”; he also seems to advocate violence against homosexuals––a real peach, that guy). Later, he claims that homosexuality is just a product of selfishness (To the One), and says that when we understand that fact, “we will be able to correct this condition routinely.” Along the way, the Church has also taught that homosexuality was the result of a distant father and an overbearing mother. Beginning in the 1960s BYU began to use what I like to call The Manchurian Candidate treatment: gay young men get wired up with electrodes, on their arms, their chest, their abdomen, and on their genitals. Then they start a slide-show of gay porn, all the while zapping the hell out of the young man. Later systems began to alternate with heterosexual porn: naughty boys––zap, zap, zap; T&A––soothing music. These weren’t just little zaps either; they left scars that looked like cigarette burns. This “treatment” continued at least until the mid-1990s. Of course, in all this I am forgetting the most popular chestnut: just get married! Luckily, they’ve stopped recommending that. Given all of the above, one is compelled to conclude that (on this issue at least) they just don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. Their inspired counsel has been repeatedly, consistently, disastrously wrong.
On a more personal note, my bishop promised me that if I went on a mission, “my little problem” would go away. I’m not quite sure where his inspiration came from, perhaps he hadn’t checked the expiration date… In any case, I’m still queer as a three dollar bill. My parents, bless them, still think that if I pray and fast enough God will lift the burden of my enjoyment of Broadway musicals and my aptitude for interior decoration. They also once suggested (this is not a joke) that I should settle down with a nice, LDS lesbian. The thought is tempting, if only because I would so enjoy arranging our bedroom like those old B&W sitcoms: two twin beds with a night-stand between them. But it wouldn’t work––we can’t both just lie back and think of England.
Speaking seriously, I don’t think that the homophobia within Mormonism is primarily driven by disgust at the thought of gay sex. I think many are far more shaken up by the idea of gay love. (Personally, I would be happier in a completely celibate relationship with another man than in a marital relationship with a woman. The emotional connection is, for me, far more important than sex. MoHoHawaii’s #53 nails it.) If you can reduce homosexual relationships to lust, (im)pure and simple, then it’s very easy to use words like “abomination.” But if gay people actually love each other… well, that makes them almost human. It means you can actually relate to them. It’s easy to refuse them certain civil rights when they’re out to destroy your family and recruit impressionable children (because, obviously, “pedophile” is spelled g-a-y), but when you see that they have families too (instead of orgies), and pick up their kids from school (instead of picking up HIV in a bathhouse), you might not catch yourself before you ask that truly dangerous question: “And who is my neighbor?”
I just want to point out that these are very conservative doctrinal views that many Mormons would agree with. However, there are also many believing members who would not agree with them. As a believer myself, I believe we need to very careful about assuming we know who will or will not be making it to certain levels in the afterlife. One of Christ’s main messages all throughout his teachings was that we are not in charge of judging each other. For those who believe in a “final judgment,” we must realize that many things will be taken into account that are not in our current level of awareness – genetics, hormones, history, experience, intellect, emotion, etc., etc. It is not our place – any of us- to make assumptions about another persons judgment.
My other concern about voicing these types of traditional views, is that it tends to shut down conversation for those who are struggling. Regardless of what will happen in “heaven,” we need to be able to dialogue about this in the here and now. I think this is a balance many members find difficult to navigate.
I think there are lines you should not cross and I think you have crossed that line. Divorced or not, keep your dirty laundry at home and don’t through your ex under the bus. You could have at least posted this anonymously.
I have heard of some studies that might corroborate this position – that women may be more flexible in their ability to have a wider sexual template. And I have heard also the concern that women go from lesbian to heterosexual may not be received kindly in the gay community. But I haven’t done enough research on this to be able to give a truly educated opinion.
“One of Christ’s main messages all throughout his teachings was that we are not in charge of judging each other”
This is not true and is not what he said; he said “judge not unrighteous, BUT MAKE righteous judgment” He have us a directive.
Sorry..been a long day.. “judge not unrighteously, BUT MAKE righteous judgment”. He gave us a directive.
Righteous judgment about your choices and things you will believe, etc. But not judgment on where others will end up in the after life.
Will, unless you ARE T.P.’s ex, your opinion on when, where, and how he shares his personal experiences is completely irrelevant. “MAKE righteous judgment” ≠ “act like a pr*ck.”
I agree, partially. We cannot judge the totality of one’s existence, but we can and should have judgments about what is wrong and right. Not just individually, but collectively. For instance, we can make a decision that stealing is wrong. Not only should we not steal, but we should encourage other s to do the same. To me, the same applies to homosexuality.
Think about what this does for the child, who’s name was mentioned. Some things are better left unsaid.
Yes, it’s about righteous judgment more than simply being judgmental about others way of life.
Natasha, the point is was trying to make back in #68 is what the normal, basic LDS doctrine teaches us about what happens in the afterlife. Sure, I don’t know exactly where Nick will end up, that would be a Seer’s job to do, but we can say unequivocally that certain things and certain behaviours in this life, if left unrepented or even ‘unregretted’ will have certain consequences in the next. D&C is pretty clear that if someone repents in the spirit world then the best they can hope for is the terrestrial kingdom. He was questioning why a gay man should try to change his sexuality -or control it if one wishes to put it that way- and what I was trying to say was that if he continues and doesn’t change or try to change or wish to change, then what is revealed is pretty clear as to the consequences.
I seriously doubt that someone as vocal as Nick will shut down after what I said in #68. The doctrine and its various interpretations, are up for debate in a forum like this one and it regularly is debated and disagreed on.
81, Touché. You definitely have a point when it comes to using the child’s name.
What do you suppose is a source of “non-politicized science?” On this issue, good luck. I think the best method is to look at the experiences of each person as an individual.
What you describe isn’t a matter of “gay feelings” being “muted or mitigated.” Rather, you’re describing a process whereby a person is so continuously shamed about who he is, that he learns to suppress his own sexual feelings altogether. What I suppose you would call “straight feelings” can be “muted or mitigated” too, when all you really mean is that a person can be psychologically warped to the point that they avoid thinking about sex and/or relationships.
Folks, this is a perfect example of a person whose unwilling to accept other people’s experiences and has drunk the gay political cool aid wherein they refuse to see the reality that people are individuals who don’t need to be painted into a circle. What you presuppose is no different that those LDS that propose that ALL gay men can change and become perfectly straight. Sorry for the angry response, but you are trying to write your worldview onto all experiences of same sex attraction.
So what you’re really saying, is that gay men should hide their heads in the sand, pretend that science is a tool of the devil, and just listen to what their religious leaders tell them. I’m sure that made complete sense to the Catholic officials who excommunicated Galilleo for daring to question their dogma with legitimate scientific observation.
I’m assuming that the questioner is a true believer. True believers understand that there is a devil and that he warps the truth to destroy the family. Obviously there are those think this is hogwash, but we’re making an assumption here that there is deception out there–even in science. Not saying its true or not true, just to be skeptical of the information sources (follow the money and the politics).
Hey Nick, thank you. Thank you for showing how open-minded you are and how accepting you are of each of our experiences and world views. Oh, and thanks for the threats. I think we can all see what kind of person you are. You resort to ad hominem, threats, and personal attacks. I’ve read your posts for years and I always thought you were very well read and intelligent. I guess you’ve proven me wrong.
The bottom line for all of us is to accept the personal choices that we all make, no matter for what reason we make them. It’s VERY patronizing to assume that MY personal experiences are motivated by nefarious motives. I could say the same about you and that gets up nowhere. I know that the APA would say that my experiences aren’t genuine and that they will deny certification to any psychologist who treats people such as I–maybe it’s time that I assert my civil rights to be treated.
I didn’t say anything that throws my ex under a bus. I was quite careful to qualify where she would have felt the need for me to qualify. Perhaps you, imagining yourself in her place, think you would rather keep everything covered up. I guarantee that she – although she would present some things differently, as I said = would definitely _not_ cover up these aspects of her life but would be even more radical and would come out guns blazing. She hurt me, but that is common to all relationships, and it wasn’t malicious on her part – though there was plenty of malice, nothing came from a place of malice – that is maybe what I wasn’t explicit _enough_ about. There is a lot of personal benefit to not posting anonymously, to not covering up. We are all living with one another personal business whether we cop to it, or not. As to Alex, I said nothing that he shouldn’t know by the time he is able to read this. In fact, he already has quite a bit of understanding about it. He needs to since he lives with us. We have to do our best to not live in an imaginary world where we pretend to him that we are not what we are and things are not what we are. ~
Dude, you totally missed my point. Your son is going to have a hard enough time dealing with this; and, it is going to be a lot harder when the whole world knows the dirty secrets of his family life. Kids are brutal and I hope for your sake your son is not the victim of teasing and taunting stemming from a personal vendetta by his father. For his sake, zip it…
And, mostly for his sake.
Which of his playmates are going to be reading Mormon Matters, Will? If you think what I said reads like a personal vendetta, I think your reading skills could use a little brushing up. My post was full of qualifiers, for one thing. As for zipping it, whoever does the moderating here is welcome to both erase my post and ask me to not do anything like it again. But I’ll keep my own council, otherwise. Thanks!
anonymous, it appears that I’ve not communicated well, because you’ve drastically misunderstood me on some points. To wit:
Folks, this is a perfect example of a person whose unwilling to accept other people’s experiences and has drunk the gay political cool aid wherein they refuse to see the reality that people are individuals who don’t need to be painted into a circle. What you presuppose is no different that those LDS that propose that ALL gay men can change and become perfectly straight.
My comment wasn’t a blanket statement about all people, anon. My intent was to point out the problem in saying one can “mute” or “mitigate” their feelings of sexual attraction. That’s not the same thing as “changing” your sexual orientation. Rather, it’s simply suppressing your feelings of sexual attraction. For some, this can be a very destructive strategy, leaving the person more or less asexual. One method of such suppression, historically, has been electroshock therapy. Many men who were subjected to that “treatment” report a lack of any sexual response, as opposed to a “change” in sexual orientation.
That said, I would invite you to examine your own language, such as here, where you refer to “the gay political cool [sic] aid.” As a believer, I’m sure you would be offended if I said that you had guzzled “the LDS anti-gay Koolaid.”
Oh, and thanks for the threats. I think we can all see what kind of person you are.
anonymous, I suppose you got this from my comment about how many gay men I know exemplify a very traditional masculinity and could come out ahead in a violent confrontation (cleaning that up a bit since Natasha felt I was inappropriate in my language). Please know that I had absolutely no intention for that to sound like a threat–in fact that never entered my mind. It was a response to another comment (either you or another anonymous poster), wherein the writer implied that gay men are “effeminate, sterile, and impotent.” I only intended to point out that the stereotype engaged in by that writer was ludicrous, and not at all reflective of gay men as a whole.
It’s VERY patronizing to assume that MY personal experiences are motivated by nefarious motives. I could say the same about you and that gets up nowhere.
With all due respect, it appears that you did say that about me.
I know that the APA would say that my experiences aren’t genuine and that they will deny certification to any psychologist who treats people such as I–maybe it’s time that I assert my civil rights to be treated.
While this sounds a great deal like the claims I’ve read from “therapists” associated with NARTH (an anti-gay group which teaches that men are gay because they just never learned to be manly enough—something “anonymous” basically said in this discussion), it does not reflect reality. The most recent report on this subject from the APA cautions against certain potentially harmful/destructive approaches to attempted sexual orientation change, but also acknowledges that those who are unhappy with their sexual orientation have a right to receive treatment to assist them in conforming their behavior to their value systems.
81 – Carlos: “Sure, I don’t know exactly where Nick will end up, that would be a Seer’s job to do”
Correct me if I’m wrong, Carlos, but I think that judgement belongs to the Lord. Certainly above my pay scale, and probably yours.
Those guidelines in Sec 76 are great for understanding our own lives, and perhaps teaching within our stewardships (like in our families), but the Savior is clear that judgement is his, not ours (Mormon 8:20).
You have poor judgment. No, I don’t think small children will be reading this post; however, it is likely your neighbors will get a hold of this information. If you are going to openly transmit this on the public airways, it is likely you will speak about it elsewhere. Big mouths will talk and little ears will hear. After all, you’re talking about it on the internet.
Do you really want your son going through school with his schoolmates knowing his mother (questionable) and father were involved in porn and that is mother is contemplating having a sex changes. If you don’t see anything wrong with this picture then you have serious problems. The only reason I am being so direct with you is that a child is involved. I don’t want to sound like Dr. Laura, but please for his sake; watch what you say about his mother in front of others.
I read an article the other day and the author opined that by the time most teens reach middle-age they will want and identity change due to the dirty laundry that has been posted about them on the internet.
You’ll go much farther making your point without attacking. I agree that what we disclose can affect our families and we need to be careful. At the same time, Thomas has a point about secrecy and the damage that can do as well. It’s a difficult balance to strike and ultimately up to each individual family as to how they want to deal with their issues.
“Correct me if I’m wrong, Carlos, but I think that judgement belongs to the Lord”
Yes, you are wrong 🙂 . I said that’s a ‘seers’ job because allegedly he can “see” into the future and hence see where Nick will end up. I’m not saying that I’m passing judgement on where that is but we know from scripture that certain action will lead to certain consequences, so we can tell everyone and preach to anyone that an unrepentant person will end up in this or that kingdom of glory -note its a kingdom and not hell.
Although I agree that judgement is the Lords, he has expanded on that concept to teach that he wont be alone in the judging but rather he will preside the larger council that judges. The simple explanation is that a bishop will judge the common people, then a higher authority will judge him, aka a stake president today, and so on until the heads of dispensations are judged by Adam, with the Lord overseeing it all or presiding, kind of like a chief judge does today.
This is a perfect example of the beliefs that likely caused the situation in the original post. As long as it is taught that homosexuality is a sinful choice and that same-sex relationships are inferior to heterosexual relationships, gays and lesbians are going to get married to straight spouses and there will be more people experiencing the heartache evidenced in the post. It is a highly damaging doctrine to teach someone that their basic nature is sinful and displeasing to God and that it must be changed in order to be accepted.
Sure, I don’t know exactly where Nick will end up, that would be a Seer’s job to do, but we can say unequivocally that certain things and certain behaviours in this life, if left unrepented or even ‘unregretted’ will have certain consequences in the next.
Carlos, while I absolutely support your right to believe and worship as you choose, this is simply not an accurate statement. The only thing you “can say unequivocally” is that the LDS church teaches what you’ve said about next life consequences. For some, this is sufficient to make the claim “unequivocal,” but your personal faith does not make something “unequivocal” in terms of public discussion in a diverse group. This forum is made up of people who fully believe LDS teachings regarding the afterlife, people who doubt some LDS teachings regarding the afterlife, people who doubt all LDS teachings regarding the afterlife, and even people who doubt there is an afterlife.
Personally, I believe there is value in paying attention to the consequences our actions bring about in this life, for both ourselves and others. No future angelic choirs are going to undo the BP oil spill. No promises of postmortal bliss will solve present famine and poverty, let alone excuse us in failing to seek joy in this life.
D&C is pretty clear that if someone repents in the spirit world then the best they can hope for is the terrestrial kingdom.
Actually, Carlos, the Doctrine & Covenants doesn’t make this “clear” at all. In fact, since LDS theology teaches that only Jesus was perfect in mortality, everyone has to “repent in the spirit world,” which by your statement, would block everyone from the celestial glory to which you aspire.
He was questioning why a gay man should try to change his sexuality -or control it if one wishes to put it that way- and what I was trying to say was that if he continues and doesn’t change or try to change or wish to change, then what is revealed is pretty clear as to the consequences.
Carlos, I’m well aware of LDS teachings regarding the eternal consequences which follow what church considers sinful. My question wasn’t really intended to elicit a response in terms of religious dogma. I get that “mainstream” christianity condemns me to Hell, LDS-ism condems me to the telestial kingdom, etc. (though per the stereotypes some here want to engage in, Hell/Telestial ought to be very tastefully decorated, and have plenty of dance music–grin!).
Instead, I’m asking about social policy. Religious fear/beliefs aside, Carlos, why should a gay man want to become heterosexual? Just as importantly, why should heterosexuals attempt to use persecutory legislation in a vain attempt to force gay men to “turn straight?”
For what its worth, I also would have divorced in that situation.
“I don’t want to sound like Dr. Laura”
Ah! We come from and live in different worlds, Will. You wouldn’t like to hear what I think about yours.
Best to you!
#93: “It is a highly damaging doctrine to teach someone that their basic nature is sinful and displeasing to God and that it must be changed in order to be accepted.”
Then Christianity as a whole is highly damaging, and we should probably all go be Buddhists. Mormonism isn’t quite as far as Protestantism in the “total depravity” department, but it still recognizes the doctrine of the Fall, with that whole “the natural man is an enemy to God” business. (And of course plenty of grumpy secular people also have worldviews that recognize the darker aspects of human nature.)
And this opens up an interesting question: What if someone’s “basic nature” is not something basically victimless, like homosexual tendencies, but something that simply can’t be accepted?
Thanks, carlos. You mean that you think you would! 🙂 It’s very hard to say. People stay married or get divorced. They find themselves in circumstances they hadn’t imagined they’d ever face. We are rarely rarely in a position to make a call on their decisions. The damage that we do in the church when we _do_ think we can make that call is … immeasurable. Eventually, too, we have to measure our ideals against the evidence of our eyes and true experience, with a relentless self-honesty. Sometimes our ideals are reinforced a bit, rarely but sometimes shattered, almost we learn that we have to qualify our views. That has certainly been my experience both with homosexual individuals and with divorce. When you color a person based on some principle you think you have understood, you are generally neglecting awareness of a different principle, active in their life, that would deeply alter you assessment.
Thomas, you raise an excellent point which bears remembering, particularly in these discussions with Natasha — declaring a “right” or “wrong” outcome, declaring what we would or would not do in a given situation is difficult at best. Hence the value of the few comments (like yours) that describe actual events to help us understand the “different principle” as you call it. Thanks.
Actually, I think there may very well be damage done by various interpretations of the Christian belief of a fallen mankind. Do you really feel you are an enemy to God? How might your actions be different if you really believed you were an enemy to God? What are your actions if you truly believe others to be an enemy to God?
I think interpreting the fall of man as making us an enemy of God is a misinterpretation of a symbolic expression of what’s happening. God is integrating our spirit into the control of our physical bodies. It doesn’t pop in at one point of time and then pop out again when we die.
The better modern analogy might be the appearance of the cerebral cortex within our brain. Although we strive for that integration to be seamless, we are often — even after millenia of evolution — our OWN worst enemies, controlled by baser emotions or completely unconscious about the consequences of our actions. The physical controls the spiritual, and its supposed to be the other way around. Sometimes our spirits wake up, and realize, to our horror, that we have not been quite sane, and that the integration can only be completed by Someone who is.
(By the way, I still pray for you and your wife, and miss her comments.)
MisterCurie, in answer to your question — yes, I do, at least partly. I like to think whatever dark side I have is long submerged, but then I look at myself, “moored with two good addresses…a butcher round one corner, a policeman round another,” and I look back at my several-times-great grandpappy who gleefully set fire to the Knights Templar, and I think you know, maybe circumstance has more and I have less to do with my neat and tidy moral life than I like to think.
Believing that there is a moral duality to human nature — that we are not just “basically good at heart,” to borrow one of the more tragically misguided lines in twentieth-century literature — inclines me, not to go ’round smiting the enemies of God, as I think you’re hinting at in your last question. Rather, it inclines me to keep in mind that other people — and myself — are capable of going south, sometimes unexpectedly, and so I ought to make allowances for the possibility. That means, for instance, I like checks and balances in my government — and in my church.
Looking at the past century, it’s the Pelagian notion that people can perfect themselves, that’s caused most of the trouble, at least in the civilized world. Because of course that invariably seems to get elided into “people are perfectable, if only we’d let the closer-to-perfect smart people arrange things so Society doesn’t corrupt or confuse them.” The ideal isn’t Calvinist total depravity, either — you can be so suspicious or despairing of humanity’s corruption, that you don’t trust anyone, or yourself and get nothing done — but yes, I think at least a little healthy respect for the truth that we all have an ugly side, is a good thing. Especially in light of the Christian promise of redemption from it, after all we can do. It’s a good balance between humility and hope.
I’m not sure its much better to say that someone’s basic nature is due to a misintegration of spirit with body and that they are essentially broken and in need of repair.
I agree with you that there seems to be a dark side to life, but I find it to be inherent in existence and not something that can be perfected out of us. Every action has multiple consequences and I think it is very difficult to identify a single action that has wholly positive or wholly negative consequences. Even the best of deeds performed with the best of intentions and for the best of reasons will still have negative impacts from certain perspectives and even the worst of deeds performed with the worst of intentions and for the worst of reasons will have some consequences that can be identified as positive from certain perspectives. It is inherent in life. I’m not sure even God can escape it.
Well, that’s the whole hope, isn’t it? Recognizing that there’s nothing in the world that can overcome what’s inherent in existence, the only hope is someone who can overcome the world.
That, or just Stoic resignation, which is also fine as far as it goes. Not quite far enough for me, but others’ mileage may vary.
Where I think you may grate up against the Fall doctrine, is in various religions’ suggestion that desires that appear to be natural and possibly unobjectionable parts of the human being, are actually marks of a “fallen” nature. And I’ll grant that religions have been known to go overboard, in sinful-izing parts of life that should instead be innocently enjoyed. C.S. Lewis would almost certainly think that of the Mormon approach to beer, for instance.
Thank you #58 for sharing. As part of my own commitment to mute same-sex attraction, I usually avoid even discussing it in forums like this, but I want to support #58. I remember in my pre-school days having a huge crush on a neighbor girl who was a little older than me, but when I actually entered school, it became quickly evident that I was a different than average boy. I wasn’t aggressive or competitive in the athletic sense. This limited my sphere of friends in recess and I engaged in a fair amount of “girl” games. By the years of puberty, a large number of former male friends avoided me and the attention of the girls that I had played with were drawn to the male friends. I viewed attractive girls who were displayed interest in me with suspicion.
I had some early life experience with pornographic images of women that I found to be erotic, but a deacon-age interview with a Bishop led to extreme shame and guilt about that response and about masturbation. I was fascinated by my sexual development and this led to frequent comparison of myself with other boys in the locker rooms at school. My parents shunned discussions of sex, so I explored in secret at the library and wherever information was available. My athletic and muscular development was slow. In high school, I had experience with pornographic images of men and developed a maladaptive admiration for those who had been gifted with very masculine physical development and the confidence to put it out there. I continued to hold secret crushes for girls in high school, but guarded those feelings, sharing them with nobody, and related in an awkward social manner.
After the mission, I made the life-changing mistake of entering an adult bookstore. This led to viewing of pornographic movies. I still felt great shame about viewing pornographic images of women. The admiration I had for the physical attributes of men led to viewing of gay porn, because there was more emphasis on those attributes. I lost my virtue in an porn booth when I neglected to lock the door, and didn’t attempt to stop a male visitor from exploring my already highly sexually charged body.
Extreme guilt developed and I confessed to a Bishop. He asked if I was gay, to which I answered that I didn’t know. After meeting with me twice, sharing advice, and determining that I had repented, he returned my recommend and told me that I was back in full fellowship. What he didn’t know or understand was that I was still addicted to the porn, and still had same gender attraction. I was relieved that I was deemed worthy and didn’t understand myself what more needed to be done.
Eventually, I found my way to gay bath houses. It was like 3-D interactive porn. Of course, each visit was followed by extreme guilt, but less and less with time. I ventured into multiple more traditional gay meeting places, but they didn’t feel right to me. I didn’t care for the night club atmosphere, I didn’t want to drink, mixing with the more effeminate gays wasn’t enjoyable. I continued to be active in the church throughout this time. The unexpected questioning about masturbation that resulted in a lie to the Bishop at age 13 made lying to get a temple recommend easier. I would just convince myself that I was through experimenting with the forbidden. My experience with the Bishop earlier left me with a conclusion that there was no help to be offered. I had read in gay periodicals about the lack of success with electric shock therapy and had no intention of getting anywhere near that suggestion.
My secular college education had provided me with a classroom visit with a gay panel and the teaching was that if you have attraction toward a member of the same sex, there is nothing more to do than accept it and learn about the homosexual orientation. I knew this wouldn’t go away, but I loved my church. I wanted everything that was possible in the church. I wanted biological children. I wanted my children to have a mother and a father, just as I did. I maintained a close relationship to my Heavenly Father throughout all of this, and trusted that He had a plan for me. I can’t finish this now, but can share later how this has progressed.
Not broken or in disrepair. The universe is functioning exactly as designed, but creation is always a work in progress because creativity — even creative destruction — is an essential aspect of God/evolution.
FT, re: “creative destruction” — Very Shiva of you. Or Schumpeterian.
Jaramiah, based on these statements, would it be fair to say you experience attraction to both sexes? It sounds to me like you are describing a bisexual orientation. I do not want to diminish the difficulty or pain that this has brought into your life as a Latter-day Saint, (nor for the commenter in #58), but experiencing at least some level of attraction toward the opposite sex does put you in a different situation than many homosexual LDS people. As you say, you have a “commitment to mute same-sex attraction,” which (I assume) would allow your latent attraction to women to rise to the fore, right? However, those who do not experience ANY attraction toward the opposite sex––and never have––find themselves in a rather different situation, imo––particularly regarding their place in the Church.
only ” “can say unequivocally” is that the LDS church teaches what you’ve said about next life consequences”
Yes, certainly. I should have put that in.
“Personally, I believe there is value in paying attention to the consequences our actions bring about in this life, for both ourselves and others.”
Certainly, I agree! But we ask these questions of what happens here and what happens there after we die. I’m sure that -in the LDS view and belief system- you in a terrestrial or telestial kindgom will be as happy with other gay men as you are here on earth with other gay men. But then again if they were to throw you into the CK, you would probably be more miserable there. Imagine if you end up as a next door neighbour to Ezra T Benson? But yes all this is within the LDS belief system.
“Actually, Carlos, the Doctrine & Covenants doesn’t make this “clear” at all. In fact, since LDS theology teaches that only Jesus was perfect in mortality, everyone has to “repent in the spirit world,” which by your statement, would block everyone from the celestial glory to which you aspire.”
Hmmmm….. ah, yes it does make it clear. Your jumping to conclusions there I think, mixing what is know as ‘by the grace of god’ that those things which make us imperfect are set aside. Someone may repent everyday but there will be some small things left over, however these people have a ,lets call it, “repentent attitude” that makes them different to the totally unrepented type person. What D&C makes clear is that those who reject repentance here -as specifically is the case with the gay lobby and gay lovers- can then repent later but they will be limited to the second kingdom. I thought that you having years as LDS, and still a cultural mormon, you would know this.
“Hell/Telestial ought to be very tastefully decorated, and have plenty of dance music–grin!). ” You can be funny!!
“Religious fear/beliefs aside, Carlos, why should a gay man want to become heterosexual? Just as importantly, why should heterosexuals attempt to use persecutory legislation in a vain attempt to force gay men to “turn straight?””
Without religious considerations? No reason. If you is gay you is gay! forcing yourself to ‘be’ hetero probably wont make you happy here in this world. In fact, for me, the only reason why you would consider a change is only because of what happens after death. Note that a desire of the heart is also considered and important to keep in mind in the relious sense.
Why should heteros try to stop legislation and so on. One is the california situation where a few judges overtuned the will of the people. The other is with regards to children who SSM may now adopt. We aren’t sure what the long term effects are but for starters a child born to SSM parents will most like accept homosexuality as the norm and not sinful or wrong, so religions loose that kid before he even starts the discussion. BUT I’m assuming that’s the case because until many SSM raise many adopted children we wont know for sure.
#93: “It is a highly damaging doctrine to teach someone that their basic nature is sinful and displeasing to God and that it must be changed in order to be accepted.”
Is there any point in changing what one believes and effectively tell a lie to accomodate those who will be hurt by what I say? No there isn’t. We should be saying exactly what we believe will happen and what we think it is when we think its a sin.
#98 Thomas: “You mean that you think you would!” yes, certainly. Having not been in that situations makes it impossible to know exactly but I’m fairly certain that it would be a deal breaker for me.
” When you color a person based on some principle you think you have understood, you are generally neglecting awareness of a different principle, active in their life, that would deeply alter you assessment.”
Yes, in a way that’s trye. However the principales and doctrine are rather clear for some things. Like above its pointless to hide them if one fully believes in those doctrines.
“experiencing at least some level of attraction toward the opposite sex does put you in a different situation than many homosexual LDS people”
Yes, thanks for pointing that out #109, but my experiences you point to were buried for years under the intoxication of addiction to homoerotic porn and confusion about same-gender attraction. My skill in socializing with women had improved, but I remained very guarded and was fearful of physical expression. Thus, as an older YSA, I had many sexual experiences with men, but never a serious girlfriend.
When I shared this information with gay men with whom I corresponded with over the internet, they proclaimed that I was obviously gay, and just needed to come out. Many who read this will probably agree with them! I heard similar comments made about older LDS single men in general…they are 30 year-old virgins, so they must be gay.
And I did enter a relationship with a man who caused me to seriously contemplate doing just that. He embodied those physical qualities and confidence that I admired, and for 6 months, we enjoyed a great relationship. I let my guard down in a way that I had never done before. Of course, this led to a horribly devastating let down when he broke up. I finally experienced first heartbreak, and man it was a doozy.
I had a chance to grow through that and through some life changes. I moved after finishing an education experience to a town that was farther removed from adult book stores and such. I had more free time and got involved in weight lifting, running, and mountain biking, which led to some healthier interactions with men. My self-confidence improved some. I had some really good dates with women, among others that were not so good. I will never forget the moment that I knew I was in love with my future wife. I had never felt anything quite like it.
The initial experience with marital intimacy was a challenge. She loved me for my obvious inexperienced clumsiness, but I was willing to learn. I knew from the first time, as clumsy as it was, however, that I enjoyed vaginal intercourse over sphincter intercourse. It just took time for arousal to occur, but it works extremely well now. Just like an ex-smoker, however, the wiring of my brain to respond to homoerotic porn is still ready to receive input. Thus, like Christopher Reeve’s character who traveled back in time through mind control in “Somewhere in Time”, I avoid anything that can remind me of that other life. I don’t even like to comment on my experience in forums like this. Not to mention the secrets I carry this day that are unconfessed. This drudges them all up again.
So yes, #109, you could say that I was, in fact, bisexual the whole time, but for years, I wasn’t convinced of that, nor did I have any support in understanding that. I had come to believe that I was an Egodystonic Homosexual. So I share this story not to tell men who have never experienced attraction to the opposite sex, “yes you can”. I just suspect that somewhere out there there are men like me either single, or in marriages wondering if their attraction to homoerotic pornography means that they should go further.
And you are probably right, #109, that I don’t quite relate to those with attraction to the same sex who do not have any attraction to the opposite sex. I don’t have that exact life experience. I appreciate explanations by bloggers like MoHoHawaii and Nick that help me see this from their perspective. When I settled into a heterosexual relationship and was fulfilled, I felt anger that so many had told me that someone with my degree of same sex attraction had limited options. You summed up my experience, #109, as muting same-sex attraction to allow latent attraction to women rise to the fore. This was well put. It seems that you can read post after post on homosexual attraction, however, and come away with the philosophy that this strategy is universally destructive.
Thanks for clarifying, Jaramiah, and for sharing your story to begin with.
I’m sure you think it would be much better if Thomas adopted the standard mormon approach of just pretending a problem doesn’t exist and then when it becomes too obvious to ignore, throwing prayers and platitudes at it, hoping god will miraculously wash it away. Thank god there are people who take a different tack with their children. I think it’s beautiful that Thomas plans to be, and is already being open and honest with his son in a loving way.
I will be asking the administrative powers that be to delete your comment. It’s disappointing to me that your point of view can’t be maintained on the thread due to immature language and lashing out. In a good debate, these tactics are never successful in achieving their aim.
As far as all of us “TBM’s”, I’m actually looking forward to the point of time scripturally referred to when we’ll be sitting around feeling grumpy and hurt that our “undeserving brother(s-sisters)” have received a welcome home party and equal inheritance. Of course, that’s assuming that I’ll be in a position to be grumpy instead of surprised by my own welcoming process. 🙂 And the verdict is definitely still out there on that one.
We decided to edit vs delete brjones’ comment due to the fact that we feel he has an important point. As part of our policy on Mormon Matters we want to make it clear that we will not tolerate foul language. Thanks for all who have made this thread so valuable thus far!
Re #112, I have a lot of compassion for painful stories like Jaramiah’s, and I certainly don’t discount them. As I mentioned in an earlier comment, there seems to be a wide spectrum of orientation that includes some people with significant levels of bisexuality. In my ideal world, we would drop the stigma associated with sexual orientation and get on with life and love and happiness.
Just over two years ago, because of my acting out with another man, my wife found out about my lifelong struggle with homosexuality. She immediately went to our bishop and stake president with the news. I am in the middle of this endless drama, much like the couple you referenced in your blog. However, to add to once was my ‘silent struggle’, I am now at odds with the institution I have dedicated my life to. The pain is excruciating as I have five children who are also a part of this mess. I married because I was given very poor advice from my ecclesiastical leader at the time. The advice that was given, as represented to come from God, has brought several innocent lives into a very complicated, painful and hopeless situation. However, since I have no support from the church leaders who led me down this path, I have looked to The Father for answers as to why this was allowed to unfold the way it did. This is what I know . . .First and foremost, the birth of each of my five children has been a miracle in my life and they are who give me the will to live. Also, each of them needs me, as a dad, gay or straight, to father them through this life. This has been made abundandantly clear to me! Second, I was given, as a gift, a loving relationship with a very compassionate woman who walks by my side and supports me at great personal sacrifce to her own intimate happiness. Now, she is a heart-broken woman who clings to the hope that there is relevance to all of this. She prays desperately for reconcilation and some kind of reassurance that her dreams and ideals won’t be shattered for eternity because of my ‘disorder’. (She firmly believes I will be relieved of this ‘condition’ in the hereafter. I DO NOT).
I believe that every individual needs to follow their heart on this matter. The church needs to step aside and just support gay men and women in their decision to live a fulfilling, happy, productive life. If these ‘general authorities’ really believe in the atonement, as they claim they do, they will need to allow the Lord be the judge and allow Him to individually care for each of his children as he so capably does. If there is testimony of the atonement, then faith needs to be exercised that the Lord is in charge and is moving us in the direction we should relative to this matter. From our history, this is a lesson that is difficult for these men to learn because they insist on making the same mistakes over and over again.
Currently, we are living one day at a time. We have decided to stay married for the time being. We have too much good in our lives to deviate from this. Are we sexually fulfilled and happy? NO. However, my heart tells me that it is too late for me to leave a marriage or to leave my family to pursue a lifestyle that will fulfill me sexually. My wife believes the same. We exist somewhere in that gap between the ideal set by the church and our own, harsh reality. Some days it feels surreal and i just want to die. Other days, I look into the eyes of my children and know that they were sent to me for a reason. Even though the ‘powers that be’ have denied me my “blessings” and because in their eyes, my temple marriage is null and void, I know that God is much bigger than we give him credit for. The ‘sealing’ to my family has nothing to do with any ceremony conducted by an old man in the temple but more about what goes on in my heart. What is there is a pure love of Christ, a love for my family and yes, on some level, a love for myself. Am I wrong?
“If these ‘general authorities’ really believe in the atonement,… they will need to allow the Lord be the judge and allow Him to individually care for each of his children”
Actually, I’d say that the Lord has delegated some of his duties to these ‘general authorities’. That’s why we talk about apostles holding all the priesthood keys include that of sitting in judgment over the people, and they delegate to others.
“If there is testimony of the atonement, then faith needs to be exercised that the Lord is in charge and is moving us in the direction we should relative to this matter.”
I’d say that they actually are exercising that faith in the Lord and the answer, the one that comes from the Lord himself, is to speak out against intimate homosexual relations as they constantly do. So from the church’s point of view , or rather from a LDS believer’s point of view, the Lord has been moving us in the right directions which is against things like prop8, against SSM, and against homosexual relations. Some member’s don’t share this view of course but the message from the authorities is pretty clear and they claim that it comes from the Lord himself.
“We have decided to stay married for the time being.”
Considering you have innocent kids already in the equation, its always better to stay married where possible imo. Maybe you aren’t sexually fulfilled today but the future may be different, I don’t know off course, just suggesting. The difficulty off course is in obtaining those temple blessings again because in the process for reinstatement they will probably ask you many times if you can and will live with your wife in a hetero lifestyle. If you can’t answer yes to that then they will probably make you wait a little long over and over again
“What is there is a pure love of Christ, a love for my family and yes, on some level, a love for myself. Am I wrong?”
No, not at all. It is love I’d say. However what the sealing will do is allow you to be in a loving marriage relationship with that same women throughout eternity. Without the sealing one is left in a singularly state throughout eternity (as I understand it at least).
Of course, that’s assuming that I’ll be in a position to be grumpy instead of surprised by my own welcoming process
😉 indeed. Won’t we all.
You are certainly a person of worth, and you can have faith that God is trying to help work out what is best for all involved.. Yet, I am generally puzzled by some things in your story.
You speak of following poor church advice, yet also say that doing so has led to the blessing of a great family with whom you wish to share eternity. Their seems to be a certain cognative dissonance there. We don’t normally think of “bad” advice leading to great blessings.
Can you yet define in your own mind ANY advice that would have allowed you to both have the miracle of these children and relationship with your wife AND AVOID the lifelong struggle to be faithful to your wife and children AS THEY UNDERSTOOD FAITHFULNESS?
You have not lost the war, but you certainly have lost an important battle with obvious, painful consequences for a lot of people. Yet you still seem to reason that winning your family would have been worth the life-long struggle.
Perhaps insight and further healing can come by focusing on what really led to the acting out two years ago. Because, unless you are leaving something unsaid, the situation described, (while perhaps having more severe consequences once exposed) doesn’t seem to be qualitatively different from the life-long struggle of heterosexual men not to betray their families for another woman lover. Many straights fail at that, too.
I hope you can understand what really was happening two years ago, and that you and your family will be able to move forward in the best way for all of you.
I would like to make an appeal. I have spent enough time with gay church members who cover a wide spectrum of beliefs and struggles to know how real their pain – as expressed by many in these comments – really is. Unfortunately, the debates – internally in these gay members’ lives and externally among all comers – seems to then frequently devolve into a question of polar opposites. Either God is 100% against homosexuals following what their chemical/emotional/physical makeup is telling them is normal, or else the church is just plain wrong. I know there are many who land somewhere in the middle, but it does feel like many if not most easily pull to one extreme or the other.
Might I suggest that the problem here is in fact that we lack the ‘further light and knowledge’ that we need on the matter? My personal view is that church leaders haven’t really received much in the way of revealed guidance on this matter. I know many members disagree with that. That is a debate about when the prophet is the prophet so to speak. My view from watching the way matters on issues such as evolution, birth control, race, etc. have evolved is that if we haven’t canonized it, it’s simply church leaders trying to figure out the meaning of what God has revealed. In this case, I think we have a limited number of scriptures from a very long time ago, and then church leaders trying to use the Spirit to figure it out, but so far frankly not having gotten much. We are left to wonder why these differences in sexual orientation exist, and church leaders coming from traditional viewpoints have struggled to try to understand, though seeing the number of struggles more publicly over time has helped them steadily soften what were originally very harsh views (much like society in general has changed, but at a much slower pace due to fears that going awry of the old assumed order would be wrong).
I think what we have here is a case very much akin to the situation Alma faced in Mosiah 26. A new issue arose, and neither king Mosiah nor Alma knew how to react. Heck, they tossed the issue back and forth between each other waffling in confusion and trying to get the other one to figure it out. Eventually though, Alma saw the harm and damage the issue was causing because of all the appeals and cases that were coming to him and he repeatedly, with a Spirit of “Lord, we’ve tried to figure this out, but just have no clue, help!” begged the Lord for guidance. And then it came. The light and knowledge poured out, and the Gordion knot was cut.
(BTW, in making this comparison, I am not comparing anyone to those who were persecuting the church in that time, I’m not labeling good guys and bad guys, I’m just making the comparison of when the church doesn’t know what to do, fully weighing all the cases and personal appeals and then going to the Lord seeking guidance is what is needed.)
Other examples that come to mind are the New Testament church’s attempts to figure out what to do with non-Jewish converts, and President Kimball and the lifting of the Priesthood ban. In both cases, a highly troubling and contentious issue presented itself. Heated words were thrown about. Lives were hurt and the progress of the church hit large and rough speed bumps. But those the Lord gave the responsibility to figure this stuff out for the church and the world, ultimately did the right thing and sought the Lord’s guidance. And it came.
I deeply believe that is what is needed here. It pains me so much to see gay members who either feel they need to live a life with a huge gap in it to stay in the church, or that they must leave, or in all too many cases they simply cease to believe. All the good of the Gospel, lost in their lives, because of this one major problem. What I believe we need, is appeals from faithful members to the leadership of the church that say “I truly believe in [fill in all the core principles of the restored Gospel], but I can’t figure out this huge cognitive dissonance between the way God made me physically/emotionally/chemically and the way the commandments are currently interpreted exists. But I believe in James 1:5, and I believe in this case a revelation for the whole church and world is needed. I believe God is loving, compassionate, full of wisdom, and that because this is his church, he will give us full light from heaven so we can all be happy and fulfilled and not pained and scrambling in the dark.”
Basically, I believe we need faithful gay members and friends and family of gay members to go to their church leaders and the general authorities saying we need to end the pain by seeking full understanding of homosexuality from God and to cease relying on best guesses from past super-limited revelations. We believe in continuing revelation, but it seems we’ve stopped seeking it in many ways. We try to figure it out ourselves either with “we know enough about homosexuality from the Bible!” or “I already know the church is wrong”, but that is relying on ourselves. I believe in a compassionate God who set up his church to reveal light on precisely topics such as this, but we have to both want it and be humble enough to receive it. I think the way church leaders gain that humility is by having faithful gay members and their loved ones and supporters let them know that we need to know this from God in full blown revelation and that the status quo – which is hurting so many people – isn’t tenable. Too many sincere, loving, good people who at least start out with solid testimonies are being hurt. Some are killing themselves, others are losing their testimonies, virtually all feel in limbo. And the numbers are far bigger than most heterosexual members realize. We’ve come a ways in helping church leaders realize how serious this is, I think now we need to really show we have faith that God can reveal the truth, that we do believe in continuing revelation of the sort that poured out to Joseph Smith and Peter and Moses and Adam. And I believe the way we do that is by letting church leaders at all levels know the pain that is out there, but do so in a way that says simultaneously “I believe, I want to know the Lord’s answer, it’s your duty to go ask Him.” And then I believe it will come.
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The issue of homosexuality within the LDS church as come up in several conversations with members of my ward in the last year. I found surprising that both the individuals with whom I talked thought that a person who is attracted to the same sex but is celibate is NOT gay.
I think that it is sad that this is such a taboo, uncomfortable subject, and I think that it speaks to the uneasy attitude too many LDS members have about sex in general. We need the church to be a safe place for gays to be out of the closet. Celibacy will be required of them if they are single, of course, but there’s should be no stigma attached to being gay.
How long before we get to that point, and what are the obstacles to getting there? What can we each do to collapse the timeframe?
We are not asking the church or socity to “endorse/sanction homosexuality.” We want the recognition the reality of homosexual attraction, not only in human beings, but in other species. The real question is not, “Should we sanction homosexuality?” but “Given that some are homosexual, what should be our attitude, where do we go from here?” That is the lively debate we are having here.
I’m confused. Perhaps you or others can clarify Mormon doctrine to me. You say that a celibate gay man can never achieve the highest level of the celestial kingdomm and is doomed to the terrestial kingdom. What about some other destination besides those two? For instance, a level in the celestial kingdom besides the highest??
Official Church doctrine: Jesus Christ, or Savior and Father, will be the ultimate judge. He, and he alone, will judge the totality of our lives and determine what kingdom we will enter; and, will determine what kind of resurrected body we will receive: Celestial, Terrestrial or Telestial. Because of what he did, particularly in Gethsemane, he is the only one worthy to make that decision.
With that said, I would not flirt with homosexual activity, or any other sin. As he said “ For I God have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent, but if they would not repent they must suffer even as I.
“You say that a celibate gay man can never achieve the highest level”
I didn’t say that. I was only talking about the act of sex between same sexes, aka intimate relationship between same sexes, aka breaking the Law of Chastity. Hence a celibate gay man could reach the highest level after he resurrects with a ‘celestial body’ in that first resurrection (re #127) at the state of the millennium and then finds a wife during that 1000 years etc etc.
Your story interests me in that unlike you, I was never outed. I’m curious how YOU are different now compared to before you were outed. I’m curious what your plan was 2 years ago; were you planning to continue the secret double life indefinitely or were you building up momentum to make a change? I assume that prior to 2 years ago that you and your wife were physically intimate, at least on a minimal degree, so that she would avoid suspicion. Did you find anything erotic about intimacy with your wife without using homoerotic visualization? Were you like “Al Bundy” in that when your partner said is was time for sex, you cringed and motivated yourself with, ‘you know what you gotta do?”
I see that you find a number of paradoxes in relating your life with the church and your sexuality. I find those in my life. If I hadn’t so obediently suppressed my heterosexuality in regard to the Law of Chastity, then it may never have allowed the homosexual aspect of my bisexuality to become the escape valve. If I had been outed and ex’d, that probably would have ended my vision of acquiring the concept of marriage that I had been socialized to look at as ideal and it would have pushed me in the very direction that the church would have not wanted me to go. If a church leader had told me that my best option was celibacy, I would never have been able to adhere to that goal–being alone left too much time that could so easily be filled. If a church leader had told me to marry ‘anyone’–someone one to whom I had no physical attraction whatsoever, that would have been a disaster. I’m fortunate in that I find my wife sexy in mind, body, and spirit. Also fortunate in that she has a healthy libido, or I would likely feel that my masculinity was rejected. I have a friend who’s sex life with his wife is limited to a monthly sense of duty act, and an annual birthday oral act. I have asked him why he stays, and he replies that it is his Christian commitment to Jesus (Protestant) and because she is a good mother to his children.
I am also curious to know how with a wife, a full time job, 5 kids, and (previously) a calling, how you even found time or energy left for acting out with a man. I’m curious to know how your heart has dealt with the exposure your wife’s reaction created and how your heart is healing and forgiving. Please know that, as Firetag said, you are a person of worth. email@example.com
I’m a gay divorced man with 2 children and 2 former stepchildren who I love deeply. My marriage had plenty of problems, and once my wife knew I was gay, our marriage was effectively ended. I remember reading (prior to my mission) about how getting married would solve the problem. Of course it didn’t. It never does. I commend those who can make it work. I’m not sure they’ll find happiness in this life, though.
I don’t really believe that it is possible to change orientation. I believe it can be controlled for a period of time, but sooner or later, it will make its presence known. I pray for young men who find themself in this position in the church. They are far more likely than their peers to commit suicide, end up homeless, or find themselves addicted to drugs or porn. Why–because they find their lives dominated by an intolerant religious culture that leaves them no healthy options. Years ago, my stepdaughter had a close friend who lived in our ward a block from us. She informed me last year (12 years later) that he was gay. His parents kicked him out as soon as he admitted it to them. These things happen way too often in the LDS Church, and in other conservative christian faiths.
Ms. Parker, have you heard of any energy work (Emotional Freedom Technique, etc.) experiences with sexual attraction/ orientation?
A good friend of mine went to BYU in the late 80’s. Unfortunately he was gay. He was reported on by a friend after being seen coming out of a gay bar and threatened with expulsion if he didn’t sign up for “aversion therapy”. Dr. Robert Card of Brigham Young University patented a type of electroshock therapy (http://www.patentstorm.us/patents/6050959.html) that was being used at the time to “cure” homosexuality. His parents indicated that they would never speak to him again if he did not undergo treatment with Dr. Card.
My friend was tortured with electroshock and eventually ran away from the university and the “treatment” center. He borrowed enough money from a friend to get to Salt Lake City, where he ended up on the street as a male prostitute, who was patronized by many closeted gay married Mormon men, who paid for sex with him. Thankfully he met a wonderful man who helped him get off the street and eventually finish his education at Utah State. Of course, BYU refused to send his transcripts because he’d been expelled and excommunicated for leaving the electroshock treatment. His family refuses to acknowledge him or talk to him even 20 years later, with the exception of one sister who hides the fact she is in contact with him for fear she too will be disowned.
How sad that the LDS church still promotes this idea that being gay can be “cured” and that heterosexual marriage solves everything. It does not. Worse yet is the fact that Dr. Card continued his electroshock torture on young men and women at BYU with impunity for many years.
Reading through stuff like this makes me realize that some things in life are so complex that only the atonement of Christ can sort it all out. Not to make light of or to minimize any of this, but I can relate in the sense of my own problems in life like trying to lose weight. To not indulge in regular food and eat diet food is unnatural. Yet I just gained back 40 pounds that I lost, knowing that I have to keep certain natural laws in order to maintain a healthy weight. I haven’t yet found the internal strength to do so yet. Sooner or later, though, unless I can find that inner strength through sheer force of will, I will not be able to overcome it. I’m not saying that this in any way comes close to the issue of SSA. I’m just saying that in a small way, I can empathize, not that I can ever really know
Obviously, it is an incredibly difficult thing for a gay man to face being celibate his entire life in order to maintain worthiness. How could anyone ever make light of such a thing, or condemn someone that cannot find the strength or does not have the desire to have to go through such a thing.
At this moment I simply don’t know where I will ever find the strength to maintain a healthy weight consistently. And if they “raised the bar” on the word of wisdom to include this, I would fail miserably, and would be unable to maintain worthiness in that thing.
I don’t really know what to say, only that it will take the power of a God to sort all of this out. And that is what a Savior is for. Only in his grace is there hope for any of this. I just hope that some of those who are finding fault with authorities who have done their best in a very complex issue such as this can someday come to have charity for these authorities. In my experience, in my own life, revelation is sometimes very clear. But in other issues, I can only muddle my way through, and God leaves me to suffer through them. I could say, My God My God, why has thou forsaken me? I liken this to how the Church has muddled its way through the issue of Homosexuality without clear revelation, only to have started to come to some more rational positions on the issue only recently. I don’t believe that revelation comes as instantly as we are accustomed to on some issues. And for whatever reason, people are left to suffer through broken lives and broken marriages. And they can only turn to a Savior, and say, My God, why have you allowed this to happen to me? I don’t know. I only know that he has allowed me to suffer through this issue with weight, and an issue with extreme anxiety all my life, and all I can do is look to him.
Because of my anxiety, I find myself getting online sometimes and trying to share some of what I think. And then when people react negatively, I crash and burn. All I have been able to do is walk away entirely after I make a post, and not return to see what people have said in response. I went through some hypnotherapy very recently that helped out a lot and gave me some ways to deal with the anxiety, but it didn’t take it away. The Savior cares about what I’m going through, but has chosen not to take it away. He has left me alone to deal with it on my own, and can only once in a while take the edge off by giving me some of his grace. If there wasn’t some point in all of this, he would take it all away.
All I can say is that some people live with very real tendencies that are unfortunately more tied to worthiness than others. I wish it were not this way. And by acting on these tendencies, they find themselves in disciplinary councils and so on, and in broken marriages. I don’t have an answer. But hopefully at some point in life, the Savior will give these individuals some way to deal with what they are called to go through, as well as to maintain worthiness. That’s all I can hope for myself in what I’m called to go through. And hopefully, I can find a way to make more healthy choices in eating and have a more healthy lifestyle, but I see no easy way to do this consistently yet.
I have been in therapy groups (over a period of several years) with multiple people who were attracted to the same sex. Both men and women. From what I have seen, I’d tend to agree that sexual orientation is more of a continuum than an absolute. But I’m uncomfortable with the notion that orientation can’t be changed or affected in the direction that someone chooses. *This does not mean it’s easy*. I’ve seen people struggle, overcome challenges, and struggle again. But I have seen multiple people, both men and women, move meaningfully in the direction they want to. A combination of spiritual, emotional, relational, and physical emphases can help. Some of these have gotten married to opposite sex spouses.
I have tremendous empathy for anyone with this challenge. And the stigma that many receive is unfortunate. Would that we all could be more understanding and empathetic. Having said that, I’ve seen meaningful change occur.
But I’m uncomfortable with the notion that orientation can’t be changed or affected in the direction that someone chooses.
So, you believe that you could choose to be sexually, romantically, and emotionally attracted to the same sex, rather than the opposite sex. How do you propose that you would go about changing your sexual orientation from straight to gay, if you chose to do so?
Some of these have gotten married to opposite sex spouses.
Yeah–that’s definitely the proof that a gay man has become heterosexually-oriented! We all know that homosexual men never get married to women!
I’ve seen meaningful change occur.
Ah, “meaningful change,” the buzzword of the “pray away the gay” pseudo-therapy movement! I’m guessing you’re personally associated with, if not employed by, Evergreen, NARTH, Exodus, or LDS Family Services. They all like to claim “meaningful change,” when they can’t actually present anyone who has changed their sexual orientation.
Yes I do believe that people can affect their orientation based on a variety of choices. Note that I didn’t claim people could 100% change their orientation – I wouldn’t make that claim and I have seen people succeed and fail at changing. As stated above, I believe sexuality to be a continuum.
I raised the fact that I’ve seen people get married to illustrate that change can happen to the point that people can find satisfaction in marriage. Note that I’m not talking about people entering blindly into marriages not knowing the issues and fears of their spouse – only to have the truth emerge years later. I’m talking about people entering with eyes open, and understanding what they are getting into.
I have never been employed by, nor been a client of, nor been a volunteer for, any of those organizations.
I recently read an interesting book summarizing, in part, the research on changing one’s sexual orientation called “Coming Out and Disclosures” by Ski Hunter, PhD. She argues that orientation for men and women is largely unchanging, however one’s sense of sexual identity can change a lot over the course of one’s lifetime and of course people can control their sexual behaviors.
Most of the comments in this discussion on changing one’s orientation assume that one should become straight. These comments are evidence of the heterosexist society we live in. Dr. Hunter goes into great depth on heterosexism and how it influences LGBT persons.
i just discovered that my husband is a homosexual after 6 years of our marriage. i am too hurt. we have 2 kids. he admitted that he had sex with other men. he have done it three times. i was too hurt. i don’t know what to do. i love him and i told him if he is not happy with me, i am willing to give up our marriage. but he said he will kill himself if i will do that. he said he love me and that he just like the affairs to other. he said he will change. but i doubted it. is it possible for him to change? i dont know what to do. please give me an advise
I believe it comes down to what you truly believe about the nature of homosexuality…Do you believe it is a way of “being”, something that your “are” (gay)? OR Do you believe it is a feeling, a temptation, just like the temptation and pull to drink, smoke, to act out heterosexually, to overindulge in food, whatever it may be…all of which can be argued people have felt their whole lives or from a young age. Do you believe it can be changed? And if you say “no”, how do you really know that for sure? These are fundamental questions that any couple needs to ask themselves. If you can come to agreement, truthfully and honestly, on what your belief system is going to be about the issue, then maybe you can accept that your relationship will just be a little different, and that’s okay. You can work with what you have and try to improve it. And keep praying for answers, keep praying for the strength to keep covenants and strive to live according to the gospel.
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