So a Mormon missionary walks into a gay bar…

Steven WilsonSteven met a Mormon missionary in a gay bar twenty years ago, joined his church, has lived with him ever since.

But apparently, nobody in this story is actually gay.

Check out FAIR Blog for the inside scoop.

From the link:

Steven Wilson is a member of the Church living in the San Francisco Bay area. Twenty years ago, he was introduced to the Church by a recently returned missionary he met in a gay bar. The two eventually moved in together and during the next seven years, Steven developed addictions, contracted AIDS and became severely depressed. As Stevens condition worsened and he began to feel that he was going to die, he turned to an in-depth investigation of the Church.

This is his story about how he joined the Church, and eventually became an ordinance worker at the Oakland Temple. He is now happy and no longer experiences temptations with same gender attraction. He was baptized by the same returned missionary that first introduced him to the Church and with whom he has lived for the past 20 years. During the past 13 years of active Church membership, the two men have maintained a close bond of love, friendship and brotherhood within the gospel. He attributes his success in overcoming same gender attraction and his addictions to the Churchs 12 Step Addiction Recovery Program and to the atonement of Jesus Christ. He shares his thoughts on gay marriage, President Packers October, 2010 Conference talk, and his strong testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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33 Comments

  1. 1
    chanson says:

    I would be really curious to get a reaction from (Gay) Mormon Guy — especially after this post Andrew S quoted.

       0 likes

  2. 2
    Andrew S. says:

    ^agree with chanson

       0 likes

  3. 3
    kuri says:

    Well, I guess they could be homoromantic asexuals

       0 likes

  4. 4
    Nick Literski says:

    I happened to notice this yesterday. I listened to both halves of the interview, curious about how FAIR would handle it. While I expected the interview to be problematic, I was surprised just how egregious it really was. With plenty of l…eading questions, this man (a) claims he’s no longer gay, (b) calls homosexuality an “addiction” wrapped up in the package of his substance abuse addictions, (c) claims that homosexuality is entirely a matter of choice, (d) claims his “former” homosexuality was the result of—seriously—an absent father and a domineering mother, (e) at least implies that the availability of effective HIV suppresive medications was the direct—not to mention totally unexpected by medical professionals—result of a healing blessing he received from an LDS stake president 15 weeks earlier, and (f) claims that he’s continued to live as “roommates” and “brothers in the gospel” with that “recently returned Mormon missionary he met in a gay bar” for the past 20 years, about 13 of which he has been actively LDS, with ZERO sexual attraction and ZERO eyebrow raising from his local LDS leaders.

    Further, this gentleman reveals that both he and his “roommate” have regularly used medical marijuana to deal with the complications of HIV and HIV medications. The interviewer attempts to sound non-judgmental, but makes it quite clear that he’s shocked that local LDS leaders would tolerate this practice. This man claims that when he first became LDS, both he and his “roommate” were interviewed in depth about it by their stake president, who finally had no issue with it. Nevertheless, this man says that he’s “tapering off” the use of medical marijuana, with the plan of discontinuing it entirely. While that’s certainly his decision to make, I find it VERY disturbing. He mentions that one of the reasons for his medical marijuana use has been severe neuropathy—a fairly common HIV complication. There are NO truly effective pharmaceutical treatments for neuropathy. The available medications can lessen the pain somewhat, but only one substance has been found that will actually *relieve* the pain. That one substance happens to be marijuana, and many with neuropathy use a small amount daily in order to be able to walk and function normally. I find it very disturbing that this gentleman is rejecting the one thing that will allow him to live without constant, intense pain, largely because his fellow church members disapprove (despite LDS doctrine not barring medicinal use).

    In a final “twist of the knife,” this gentleman reveals that he and his “roommate” were very active in promoting California’s Proposition 8. In fact, his “roommate” was called by the stake president as “stake coordinator” for the political effort. Personally, I can’t imagine the nearly-sadistic insensitivity of a stake president who would require a gay (albeit allegedly celibate) gay man to actually *lead* such an effort. This whole interview was really quite disturbing.

       0 likes

  5. 5
    Nick Literski says:

    Oh–and I had to chuckle that Mr. Wilson approved so openly of the anti-gay content in Boyd K. Packer’s nasty 2010 general conference speech, especially after FAIR has been desperately spinning that speech to say he wasn’t talking about homosexuality at all!

       0 likes

  6. 6
    dpc says:

    @ Nick

    I totally agree with you. The best thing to do in a situation like this is to call into question the sincerity of the interviewee and insinuate that it was because the interviewer dominated the conversation and put all the answers into the interviewees mouth. That way anyone who disagrees with their life choices (which are perfectly reasonable regardless of how you or I or anyone else feels about it; it doesn’t appear that they are hurting anyone) will feel a lot better about disregarding their opinions.

       0 likes

  7. 7
    Nick Literski says:

    dpc, it wasn’t my intention to suggest that Mr. Wilson isn’t perfectly entitled to make the choices he has, whether I would make the same choices or not. Having listened to the interview, I *do* feel that many of the questions were leading, and that the interviewer had a particular agenda. That doesn’t mean that I’m disregarding Mr. Wilson’s claims, nor does it mean that the interviewer “put the answers into” Mr. Wilson’s mouth. In all likelihood, the interviewer already knew Mr. Wilson’s story and views, and he asked questions to bring them into the discussion—something that most media interviewers do all the time.

    That said, I don’t apologize for disagreeing with several of Mr. Wilson’s claims about homosexuality, HIV/AIDS treatment regimens, etc. In fact, reading your comment, it appears that you have decided the “best thing to do in a situation like this” is to accuse me of attacking the messenger, so you can “feel a whole lot better about disregarding” my stated concerns about the things Mr. Wilson said.

       0 likes

  8. 8
    Chino Blanco says:

    Anybody else notice how Ty Mansfield left the exact same comment on both FAIR threads for this two-part podcast? Wow. Talk about a spam artist (not to mention a shill for Deseret Book).

       0 likes

  9. 9
    chanson says:

    @8 Yeah, that’s a little odd that he’d post the same comment twice.

    @4 Wow. Especially the part about his medication. Yes, of course, it’s his choice. But it’s not even LDS doctrine to avoid drugs for legitimate medicinal purposes.

       0 likes

  10. 10
    Nick Literski says:

    So “dpc” is the illustrious Mr. Mansfield?

       0 likes

  11. 11
    Nick Literski says:

    Nevermind–I thought you were saying that he posted the same comment there as here. In terms of full disclosure, I posted *my* same comment on both of the FAIR posts, because it was all one interview. Only one of the posts appears to have made it past the moderator. Perhaps Mr. Mansfield is one of the moderators, and was trying to make sure he responded to both of my posts.

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  12. 12
    chanson says:

    OK. Sorry, I didn’t read the comments over there carefully — I just looked up Ty Mansfield’s remarks to confirm Chino’s comment. But I’m pretty sure dpc is someone else. As far as I know Ty Mansfield has never commented here.

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  13. 13
    Chino Blanco says:

    Just a heads up, whenever the mods at FAIR Blog start clamping down, I’ve found it’s easier to get through moderation using my chino@kyni.net email.

    (On the off-chance anyone here isn’t already registered over at kyni.net, just drop me a line and I’ll be glad to hook you up)

       0 likes

  14. 14
    dpc says:

    I’m not Ty Mansfield, nor do I know who he is, nor do I particularly care who he is. Of course you can read all of this in my forth-coming book to be offered exclusively by Deseret Book!!

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  15. 15
    Alan says:

    I take it these two men will perhaps cohabitate for the rest of their lives? It’s a little odd how folks on that forum concentrate on how they aren’t having sex or calling themselves “gay,” focusing away from the obvious: that they’re cohabitating for the rest of their lives as a couple.

    In my opinion, it doesn’t really matter whether people call themselves “gay” or not, or even if they have “gay sex” or not. The threat to LDS culture is not the “sin,” since people “sin” all the time — the Church capitalizes on sin. The threat is love, which will force the Church to recognize that loving relationships and families take more than just one form. It can postpone validating these families, but it only makes itself look bad in the long run. It’s actually somewhat surprising that FAIR would consider these two men to be living “within the gospel.”

    (duplicated this comment onto that forum)

       0 likes

  16. 16
    chanson says:

    @15 Exactly.

    I want to respect this couple’s choice about the way they want to define their relationship. I’m not in their bedroom or in their hearts, so I don’t want to pretend I know better than they do what their relationship is like.

    However, as a many people have pointed out, gay Mormons are generally asked to refrain from more than just gay sex — they’re asked to refrain from having an emotionally-satisfying long-term committed relationship (which is, for some people, a bigger sacrifice than giving up sex). It looks like the faithful are willing to give these guys a pass on having an emotionally-satisfying long-term committed relationship — as long as they affirm that they aren’t having sex and they agree that their union is inferior to a heterosexual marriage.

       0 likes

  17. 17
    Chino Blanco says:

    I hope the powers-that-be at FAIR Blog decide to allow Alan’s comment.

       0 likes

  18. 18
    Chino Blanco says:

    FWIW, I just left this comment at FAIR Blog:

    Fascinating post. That said, it’s a bit disheartening to hear from thoughtful friends whose comments apparently aren’t showing up here.

       0 likes

  19. 19
    Alan says:

    @16: good, firm language there. I hope you don’t mind I included some of it in a response on that forum, since they did approve my first comment.

       0 likes

  20. 20
    chanson says:

    @19 No problem — it looks like quite a lively discussion!

    Interpreting their experience through the church’s framework, these two guys were a gay couple, but the power of Jesus transformed their love into a wholly non-sexual, non-romantic, brotherly love, like two straight buddies who love hanging out together but don’t love each other in that way.

    To me it looks like Kuri’s explanation @3 is more likely. A lot of people simply have a lower-than-average libido, and sometimes after two decades of marriage, a couple has sex less frequently or not at all. That doesn’t mean that the marriage is unhappy or that it has fundamentally changed in character. But if the couple is same-sex, they face pressure from the church to redefine their relationship.

    But the thing is that it’s their decision and their lives. Regardless of how the situation looks to me, if they say Jesus turned them from lovers to brothers, it’s not my business to contradict them.

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  21. 21
    Alan says:

    lovers to brothers

    Yeah, it’s kinda weird how that gets framed. The goal is to be straight so that you love your same-gender friends not in that way — because if you’re gay, apparently you can’t help but want to have sex with all your same-gender friends.

       0 likes

  22. 22
    Rob says:

    I left the following comment on the discussion thread at the FAIR blog, which was rejected. Guess that tells me all I need to know about the nature and agenda of the FAIR blog. I was hoping that “FAIR” meant they would actually be interested in at least hearing from varying points of view. Lesson learned. I’m not surprised, but I guess I will never quite get over being disappointed that people who claim that “the glory of God is intelligence” seem so determined to censor and spin and exclude. Hypocrisy irks the hell out of me. Anyway, here’s what I said:

    I would like to see whether those in this forum can walk their talk when I explain why I too am a conundrum, just as is Steven Wilson. But in a different way.
    I was born and raised in the church. Served a mission, graduated BYU, married in the temple, have worked professionally with the church. Was convinced of the churchs truthfulness and was a FAIR reader and amateur apologist for many years. Served in ward, stake and temple leadership. All the time, gay and closeted. Prop 8 pushed me out of the closet and prodded me to re-examine everything I had ever been taught and believed. For reasons too long to explain here, and after a long period of rigorous study, investigation, pondering and prayer, I came to the conclusion that the LDS church is not what it claims to be, and that the evidence for its alleged truthfulness is, as Grant Palmer said, either problematic or non-existent. I resigned on principle while still in compliance with temple covenants.

    I retain the basics of Christian faith, and am content to let the Mormons worship how, where or what they may. If LDS membership gives Mr. Wilson personal satisfaction, then that is his choice. Im certainly not one to insist that everyone must fit the same mold.

    That said, I do not understand why Mr. Wilson would want to be part of an organization which, at its most fundamental level, considers him flawed and aberrational, which has a record of such confusion and self-contradiction on the gay issue that in my opinion its leaders are utterly untrustworthy, and which continues to teach that he can never inherit the highest blessings as long as he remains who he is: a gay man. Such theological second-class citizenship for gay people is inherent and unavoidable in the very structure of current LDS theology, which thus denies the universality of Gods love for all His children equally.

    The only way to fix this foundational flaw in the LDS plan of salvation is for the president of the church to announce a revelation that would completely overturn the whole edifice in a way more radical than has ever been done since the days of Joseph Smith. I do not believe that will happen for a very long time, if ever.

    This would be irrelevant to me personally since I no longer believe LDS leaders speak for God and thus LDS teachings on this subject do not affect me. However, the churchs institutional homophobia remains worrisome because I see so many friends still suffering its effects. And if the church continues to oppose marriage equality and perpetuate legal discrimination, I will keep on contributing as much of my time, talents, and everything with which God has blessed me to fight those efforts since I believe they are contrary to the teachings of Christ.

    I try to do what the Savior said: judge things by their fruits. The fruits of official LDS teachings on the subject of homosexuality include suicides, mental illness, ruined lives and reputations, broken marriages and families, shame, self-loathing, physical torture (BYU re-orientation electroshock therapy), lost faith, lost hope, lost dreams, lost innocence. I indulge in no hyperbole here; this is documented history which I have read, seen, and experienced. I personally have found far greater happiness and peace for myself and my family once I was out of the closet and out of the church. My former bishop and stake president both freely conceded that the church had no answers for me or any other gay person, and that leaving was ultimately the best choice for us.

    There will always be a few exceptions like Mr. Wilson, but if FAIR is truly fair, it will also acknowledge that he is anomalous, and that most gay Mormons are like me: they understand that the LDS church offers them no hope, no future, and no real happiness, and that we are far better off seeking direct inspiration from God for our own lives, free of the shackles of a theology that never imagined our existence and has no place for us.

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  23. 23
    kuri says:

    I was hoping that FAIR meant they would actually be interested in at least hearing from varying points of view.

    They’re called “FAIR” the same way some bald guys are called “Curly.”

       0 likes

  24. 24
    Nick Literski says:

    There’s quite the sad bunch of closeted and/or repressed gay commenters there on FAIR now. The latest, calling himself “Joshua,” goes so far as to claim that the Salt Lake City anti-discrimination ordinances only cover “sexual orientation,” and not sexual behavior (what he insultingly calls “lifestyle choices”). I’ve challenged him on that, but we’ll see whether the moderators let it post. The Supreme Court (Justice Ginsberg, in particular) has condemned efforts to distinguish between “being gay” vs. “having gay sex” in discriminatory laws.

    Not that FAIRies particularly care about things like the Constitution or the Supreme Court…

       0 likes

  25. 25
    chanson says:

    Ive challenged him on that, but well see whether the moderators let it post.

    I hope they do! Nobody over there even acknowledged my question even though it was a reasonable and civil one.

       0 likes

  26. 26
    Nick Literski says:

    Nope–they’ve already deleted my comment, so as their post now stands, they have someone claiming that the ordinances ONLY protect sexual orientation. In other words, they think that an employer in SLC is absolutely free to fire an employee for having sex with another person of the same sex—just not for “being gay” while celibate.

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  27. 27
    Alan says:

    Nick, I would argue further with Joshua over there, but I already know (after talking with him extensively here) he just sidesteps and it wouldn’t be worth my time. I was surprised FAIR let in as many comments of mine as they did. I’m curious, though, do you have a link where Ginsberg condemns those efforts and/or her reasoning for it?

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  28. 28
    Alan says:

    In other words, they think that

    Also, I wouldn’t worry about his comments having too much resonance. When it comes down to it, the ordinances do protect non-celibate gays, and the Church is exempt because it doesn’t want to be held to the same standards. I’m pretty sure Joshua got my point, but he’s interested in wiggling into a comfortable space for himself. The typical FAIR reader strikes me as someone who is wary of the Church’s support for the nondiscrimination ordinances, anyway, so I doubt they’ll walk away from reading that thinking the ordinances mean that you can discriminate against gay couples, but not gay individuals.

       0 likes

  29. 29
    Alan says:

    Okay, I lied. I posted one more comment. In case it’s not approved, it reads:

    “Joshua, what would you do if one day you got fired from a Mormon institution, and youre pretty sure it was because youre gay?

    “Would you like to have legal recourse in the matter? Or are you okay with trying to resolve the situation through the Churchs ecclesiastical system? There is still a great deal of homophobia in the civil law system, but Id expect a lot more in Mormon circles. Im confident that eventually the courts will decide that even Mormons have a right to not be discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation, and if that means that, consequently, Mormons cant fire and kick to the curb other Mormons who are in same-sex relationships, well, tough luck.”

       0 likes

  30. 30
    wry says:

    I need a like button for #23. :D

    Also, I’m happy when people have good relationships, I don’t give a damn whether they are having sex or not. It could be tragic that the price to be paid for having a loving companionship is having to protest overmuch about your sexuality and/or religious testimony…but it’s also entirely possible that both are sincerely felt. So… *Shrug*

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  31. 31
    Hellmut says:

    I can only hope for the Church that gentiles will not listen to that interview or read the comments by the apologists.

    They don’t realize how damaging their arguments are to the Church.

       0 likes

  32. 32
    Nick Literski says:

    Hellmut, you just inspired my Facebook posting for the morning! SHARE IT, folks! The FAIRies deserve the kind of PR this thing will get them!

       0 likes

  33. 33
    Nick Literski says:

    Alan, you asked for a link to Justice Ginsberg’s statement. The case was CHRISTIAN LEGAL SOCIETY CHAPTER OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, HASTINGS COLLEGE
    OF THE LAW, AKA HASTINGS CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP v. MARTINEZ.
    http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/09pdf/08-1371.pdf

    “Our decisions have declined to distinguish between status and conduct in this context. See Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U. S. 558, 575 (2003) (When homosexual conduct is made criminal by the law of the State, that declaration in and of itself is an invitation to subject homosexual persons to discrimination. (emphasis added)); id., at 583 (OConnor,J., concurring in judgment) (While it is true that the law applies only to conduct, the conduct targeted by this law isconduct that is closely correlated with being homosexual.Under such circumstances, [the] law is targeted at morethan conduct. It is instead directed toward gay persons as a class.); cf. Bray v. Alexandria Womens Health Clinic, 506 U. S. 263, 270 (1993) (A tax on wearing yarmulkes is a tax on Jews.). See also Brief for Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc., et al. as Amici Curiae 720.”

       0 likes

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