Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I've been told a few times by a close frined of mine, who is aware that I am attracted to men, that I'm not special. He suggests that the more we believe our situation to be unique among all other temptations, the more we will become dissatisfied and angered with the church, with ourselves and with life in general. This assumes that our attractions are temptations, nothing more and nothing less. I think what I have learned over the years is that the physical aspect of homosexuality is a sin, however all other behavioral and psychological aspects may or may not be considered a sin, depending on the situation and the extent to which these aspects are publicly voiced. In my view, longing for and having close male relationships that do not involve a sexual component is not a sin.

I know this view is a greatly simplified context for discussing whether or not certain actions and feelings are considered sinful, but if isolating the physical from the emotional helps to draw a boundary that I can understand and implement, then surely it can serve a positive purpose. We really aren't all that special and deserve no more attention from the church than any other member. Is more really asked of us as compared to other members of the church? If I had my choice, I think being attracted to men is much easier to deal with than most of the other challenges faced by members of the church.


GeckoMan said...

I had a Bishop tell me once, "Adultery is adultery, whether it comes from heterosexual or homosexual transgression; the consequences and penalties are the same." I tend to agree. We need not feel unique in the struggle against temptation, or feel we are due any special treatment just because we are same sex attracted.

I agree with you that having close male friendships that do not involve intimate physical connection is no sin; rather, it is a great blessing to me. My close male friends help me to stabilize my angst and to feel grounded in my ability to cope with my attractions.

I don't know what other issues you may be referring to as being more challenging, but I don't think that we gay men trying to stay faithful in the LDS Church have it any easier than others. On the contrary, by nature of the homophobia of our culture, which drives so much of our issues under the table, I think it is doubly difficult to deal openly and get loving support and understanding from most people in the church.

One of So Many said...

I have to think it is a tougher one than most as well.

Yes everyone has temptations and issues they struggle with, but a drug habit is more acceptable a challenge, and I can see a greater degree of empathy from others towards him. Sometimes it feels like I would be deemed a leper if I ever came out at church.

The fear and stigma that the Mormon culture, and even the general culture by and large place on those that have these feeling, makes it a bit more of a challenge. Even the fornicator could marry, sate the lusts that got him there in the first place, and also be let back into the fold. A gay fornicator...has to completely change, and cease what was done to return to the fold, but those that know about the past will always be leery.

For me, I can't really separate the feelings and emotions well. They come along for the ride. If I have one of those sinless SGAY feelings, it's to XXX status almost immediately as to be indistinguishable. I've kept people at bay because of that.

It's good to hear from you again. hope you will consider posting mroe often.

Beck said...

I don't feel I'm any "worse off" than others, or that my temptations are 'different' or 'unique' than others. They just are.

They add a level of tention and stress in my marriage and at times that tension boils over, and we learn to deal with it together. If it weren't this issue, it would be another. We can't compare with others on what would be 'easier' or 'worse'. They just are.

It is how we learn from these things that matters.

draco said...

Hmmm... now that would be an interesting survey:
Would you rather be gay or handicapped?
Would you rather be gay or an alcoholic?
Would you rather be gay or have cancer?
Would you rather be gay or lose a loved one?
Would you rather be gay or be the only member of the church in your family?
Would you rather be gay or unfertile?

But I think I agree with Beck- how can we say whether my trials are easier or harder than another person's trials, although I also believe that homosexuality is a HUGE trial if you're a member of the church. It's true, everyone is equal in the church and deserves attention and help; the problem I see is that the general church membership isn't offering us the same kind of help that other people going through HUGE trials receive.

I feel like the general feeling of members, especially here at BYU, is to hush things up and pretend that the problem doesn't exist. It's also hard to feel love and support when you're lucky to go a whole day without hearing some gay joke. But members would never make fun of someone whose house had just burned down or someone who is going through some other HUGE trial. I also think that the church as an institution needs to change something in how they help us because so many mohos end up leaving.

And just a fun fact: I asked my mom last week whether she would prefer that I was gay or Mormon. She said gay. So should I honor my mother's wishes? ;)

Forester said...

I didn't go to BYU and in fact my own experiences at the University of Utah were quite different from what you are describing. I've never felt that the church was trying to hush up the SGA issue any more than it tries to hush up adultery. However, I do wish as a youth in the church that SGA would have been specifically addressed in a lesson or by the Bishop in a loving and accepting atmosphere. I haven't been involved in the youth programs so I don't know how it is being addressed today.

Since July 15, 2007