SOME THINGS I HAVE LEARNED BY BEING GAY AND MORMON

SOME THINGS THAT I HAVE LEARNED

One thing that I have learned is: although Gay people are born gay; when gays have gone through the process of: first denial, then self-loathing and other steps, and finally acceptances; then Gay people are ready to move on to healthy relationships.  Another thing that I have learned is: that for relationships to work; each person in that relationship, must learn to deal with all the rejection from family, friends, the clergy, members of their church, and other so called Christians or any religious people and all other haters of gay people.  Along with this, there are the normal problems of a relationship, which for a Gay person, are similar to a heterosexual relationship, yet are different also, and for most gays, even more difficult than it is for straight people to handle, especially without expert help.

The difficulty for us gays to have relationships in the first place, is what I am getting at.  Because it is so hard to have a gay relationship, this is why so many gay people give up and just go to bars to try and “Hook-Up” (have anonymous sex).  But even these gay people still dream of having a wonderful relationship some day.  Now those who diligently strive for a long lasting relationship; if they find one, they are much more appreciative and thankful, than those whose relationship was not so hard or difficult to find or achieve.  This is why I have known gay couples who have been together for 27 years, 30 years, 36 years, 55 years, 63 years or even longer.  The point being, that Gay relationships can last a really long time or even for a lifetime if the two partners work at it and they love one another and are dedicated to one another.

Some gay people used to go from one relationship to another; but since the AIDS epidemic and Hepatitis C, many couples are staying together longer, and many singles are now seeking out a Gay relationship much more diligently than before.  These new Gay relationships stay together longer as well.  However, a relationship lasting longer than 6 months is still considered a long term relationship; one lasting a year, marriage is expected, and 4 years, a full term relationship.  If you pass 7 years, then your relationship is considered to be extremely long term, and finally if you reach and pass ten years then your relationships considered a life long relationship.  Many relationships between Gay couples unfortunately only last for a few short months and then they break up or one partner begins to sleep around.

ANOTHER THING THAT I LEARNED FROM EXCOMMUNICATION

On January 19th 2012, homophobic bishop Bobby W., excommunicated me from the Mormon Church.  Just as I was making plans to go back to church this happens and now I have not gone back.  I attend church at the Church of Christ in Porum, Oklahoma, with Cody and his family.  George’s grandpa is the minister in that particular congregation, which consists of George Allen Circle, his mom Sharon, his step-dad Jaun, his sister Juliana, his brother Roy, his grandpa the minister, me of course and 22 other people.  We sing several songs, we have Holy Communion; except for me of course because I am not allowed, do to the fact that I am not a member; they take collection, and then Grandpa gives the sermon, we then have closing prayer.

Cody and I are very happy together over these past 9 months and I have officially moved in with his family who completely accept me, at least a lot more than the Mormon Church does.  Cody and I share the same bedroom and bed and we have our desk in the back room.  Cody and I are good companions for each other and he is completely devoted to me.  We bring comfort and joy to each other and we share our lives together.  He gives me a sense of purpose and helps me to not be lonely.  I need him in my life and he needs me and we are there for each other.  Cody is my partner and significant other, and I do love him and I do love his whole family.

I miss the Mormon Church, so I went to the LDS church on Sunday just 2 days ago on September 23rd 2012.  I do not believe that I should have been excommunicated.  I still have a testimony of the church, the prophets and apostles and seventy; as well as the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Christ, The Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price.  The Church is true.  I do wonder though, why President Benson did not get more revelation about gays than he did (they fear change or did not like what they have heard already).

I HAVE LEARNED THIS ABOUT MY FIRST BLOG

I challenge anyone to prove to me that I “misrepresented” any general authority in my first BLOG.  I had before me several talks by Gordon B. Hinckley, Jeffery R. Holland, James E. Faust, 2 by Dallin H. Oaks, and 3 by Boyd K. Packer.  I read them over and over again, and I marked them with underlines and then I included all the underlined statements in this BLOG and none of them were taken out of context.  I also quoted all the scriptures from some of the talks that were listed and which were supposed to back up the points the brethren were trying to make.  I did not think that all those scriptures related to homosexuality, but apparently the brethren did.  Since the bishop supports all that the brethren say, I wrote that he was saying these things also that the brethren were saying and quoting, by way of agreement.

But I was mistaken about that; the bishop does not agree with all these talks by the brethren or the supporting scripture they used, or else he would not have excommunicated me himself.  I am excommunicated right now, primarily due to a homophobic bishop.  Because I was excommunicated before when I wanted to be, and it was justified; now I may not ever be baptized again in the Mormon Church.  It is very difficult to be rebaptized, let alone be rebaptized a second time.  Brother Bailey my dear sweet Home teaching Companion and church Choir coach was rebaptized twice, but I was told that it was very rare.  Also if I would have received my blessings back, the bishop would not have been able to excommunicate me himself; he would have to get his superior, the Stake President, to do it (and I do not believe he would have excommunicated me the way the bishop did).

The biggest problem the bishop has with this BLOG is that he thinks that I am going against Boyd K. Packer; but it is other general authorities that are disagreeing with him too.  In my understanding of things, if several different people are saying different things, or complete opposite positions about the same subject, then some one is wrong, or they are all wrong together.  There is only one truth out there and I for one do not believe we have all the truth about same-sex-attraction yet.  The Articles of Faith tell us that we believe that many plain and precious truths will yet be revealed to us.  I simply sided with the majority of those general authorities, who spoke on the subject of homosexuality and it is not my fault the bishop disagrees with those talks.

A WORD ABOUT THE CATHOLIC CHURCH’S BELIEFS

The Catholics have the same problem with the Bible; they believe in the “divinity of the Bible,” which means that they think it is perfect and infallible.

I have heard, that when the Bible says that a Priest must be 30 years old to make sacrifice in the Temple; and in another spot says that he must be 3 years old to make sacrifice in the Temple; the Catholics say, both are right, and if you do not understand, they say “just have faith my son”.  I know that one of these Old Testament verses is wrong.  I choose to believe that the correct age is 30, because that is the age that Jesus Christ chose in the New Testament to start His mortal ministry.

WHAT I HAVE LEARNED ABOUT THE MORMON CHURCH

Bishop W., like many other Mormons, believe that our general authorities are also perfect and infallible.  This is not true, because Joseph Smith said of himself, that he was only a man, and that he was not perfect.  One of my favorite general authorities who was a seventy, even Paul H. Dunn who was nicknamed the “great orator,” was later released and all his books and tapes were no longer sold at LDS Bookstores and his works were censored by the Church, because he embellished his stories.  In other words, he lied to the youth of the Church, which was his main group that he spoke to.

If a Seventy can lie to us, then why can’t an Apostle simply be mistaken about a certain subject, or even possibly be prejudice.  Well, I have already been punished for saying these things and I do not know how I am supposed to see it any other way.

This is why the Articles of Faith say that “we believe in the Bible as far as it is translated correctly”.  Mormons say that 2% of the Bible has mistakes in it; and it is not a perfect book, or set of books, like the Book of Mormon is.

Mormons are so against Gay marriage that they spent 22 million dollars to stop gay marriage in just California, and it was all for nothing, because it was declared unconstitutional; I guess then that Mormons are also just unconstitutional in their thinking when it comes to gays.  Mormons wanted equality for women, Indians, black slaves and anyone else, but they draw the line with gays.  They hate homosexuals so much they did everything in their power to get Catholics to also vote against gay marriage.

Mormons believe that you cannot enter the gates of heaven, the Celestial Kingdom of God the Father, if you are not baptized.  But my understanding of this doctrine is, that this is for people who refuse to be baptized in the Mormon Church especially after being exposed to the Church and rejecting it.  I have not rejected Christ and his Church, it is just one man, a bishop in the church named Bobby W., that has excommunicated me and he probably believes that I will never go to heaven now.  I know that he does not want me in the Celestial Kingdom because of his hatred of Gays.  I do not hate brother W., I am just disappointed in how he treated me, when I let him know that I still had same-sex attraction, even though I was still keeping all of the commandments and I was certainly not acting on my gay feelings or participating in any way, in the gay lifestyle for over 14 years yet.

WHAT I HAVE LEARNED ABOUT MYSELF

The time has come for me to stop obsessing about the Church and just be happy with the life that I have right now.  Besides, it would take someone like Joseph Smith to get all the correct information that we need from God.  I just know that I am not evil minded and that I love God and our Christ, and that I did not deserve to be just excommunicated the way that it was done.  But since I am not a member of the Church any longer, I think that I will continue to have an ear ring in each ear, and nail polish on my fingers and toes.  I also wear pants and t-shirts that are really women’s clothes, because they don’t have men’s clothes in pink.  I will continue to be in love withGeorge Allen Circleor Cody as he likes to be called.

I really believe that I would have been much happier in my lifetime if I were born to a family that accepted homosexuality a lot more.  If I could have had boyfriends when I was young, like my present husband has had, and if I had been able to accept my own sexuality then I do not believe that I would have developed so many mental illnesses.  My childhood sucked anyway, for many other reasons as well.

I am now glad that I am gay, and do not want to change myself anymore, like I used to.  I want to get married legally to my husband and spend many years with him.  Cody Pooh is my baby and I love him very much.  I cannot be happy any other way than being gay.  I am definitely not your average Joe; no, the gay life is the only life for me, from now on and for the rest of my life. Gay life is pretty cool when you are accepting of yourself and you are not being persecuted by your peers, family, clergy, neighbors, or just strangers.  Then it is really fun to be gay.

I really like myself now, and because I have got to know so many other gays; intimately and otherwise; I have grown to see that there is not really anything wrong with me, I just love young men and not young women.  I do not need to be fixed; I am not broken or maladjusted in any way.  I feel much better about myself, and I have a much better support system than I did when I was growing up inCalifornia; which is really weird when you stop and consider that this isOklahoma, home of the red man and redneck.  I am not recommending the gay lifestyle to anyone; I am just saying that it is right for me and for anyone else who knows that they were born to be only this way.  For if you are born this way there is really no problem as long as you can accept yourself the way that you are and do not give a damn what all other people think of you.

When I was growing up I thought that God would change me and that I must have done something wrong in the Preexistence to deserve being gay.  I now know that I am not sick nor am I a pervert, or deviant like Boyd K. Packer says that I am.

Because I have publicly stated that I am for gay marriage, I have been excommunicated from the Mormon Church and I will probably not ever be allowed to be rebaptized again, especially since I already was once before rebaptized & now excommunicated again.

Now that I am in a gay relationship I am still affected by my upbringing in the Mormon Church, because I almost never have any kind of sexual relations with my boyfriend.  Like I was saying earlier, we are like a couple who just love to be with each other and share our lives together.  I support him and he supports me and we are there for each other.  Love is what we have for each other, not lust.  Some other Latter-day Saints stay in the Church and deny themselves sex and just join clubs and participate with other members of the same sex in a somewhat intimate way, such as hugs and long embraces and maybe an occasional kiss on the cheek.  It really sounds too hypocritical for me though.  Besides bishop W. took that choice away from me and did not give me a chance.  His contempt for me will be judged by the Lord Jesus Christ and I know that the lord will be sympathetic towards me because he knows how I was living and what was in my heart.  After all, I think that I had proven myself, by the fourteen years that I was either faithful to my wife or celibate and single.  The misery that I was going through, the sadness, the intense loneliness and heartache and the incredible desire for a loving relationship that I was missing are all a testament to my devotion to the Church and it’s principles, doctrines and rules and regulations.

WHAT I NOW KNOW NEEDS TO HAPPEN

I need to put an end to this debate over gay and straight.  Gay marriage should be legal everywhere so that gay people can love each other and be happy; after all, what is wrong with more love in this world anyway.  I believe that straight people need to stop interfering with honest, happy gay couples that are not hurting anyone.  I believe that the reason that straight people do not want gays to marry, is not just because they think that it is wrong, but it is because they do not want us gays to have the one thousand and forty-nine rights and privileges under the law that they have and enjoy, who are already married legally and that is just the federal laws that would benefit all gays in the United States.  Most straight people are not even aware that they have this many (1,049) federal laws for married couples, let alone what they are or what they are entitled to under State laws; they just no way in hell want gay people to have them what ever they are, that is for damn sure.

Like I have said in my first Manifesto; the civil rights of a minority cannot be decided by a plebiscite; for if you allow this to happen, we will all be going backwards and not forward in the arena of civil rights for all minorities.  This is why we have a Constitution of These United States and elected officials to govern us and protect minorities and individuals from the more “immoral” majority.  Especially when a minority has many fellow citizens that hate them and/or are prejudiced against them like our recent past has shown against Indians, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Women, Children, certain religions, Gays, Lesbians and Transgender people.

THIS IS WHAT IS BEST FOR ME

Have I mentioned lately that I am completely happy with my life here with my Fiancé and his whole family. My boyfriend’s dad defends me all of the time and his mother is always kind and supportive of me and his little sister and brother just love me to death, so to speak.  I do like living in a house.  My boyfriend and I have our own dog, Ariel, and my boyfriend’s mother has a dog, Scooby and a cat named Whiskers.  No other pets though, except for a few mice running around.

I feel like I am really married to George Allen Circle, not just because we would have already been married by now if it were legal in this State, but it is not.  But also because we are so settled together and happy at the same time, and we both want the same things out of life.  We both voted for incumbent President Obama because we know that he will continue to fight for gay marriage.  George’s grandfather voted for the Mormon, Mitt Romney, just for the opposite reason; he is against Gay Marriage.

SOMETHING I LEARNED FROM MY FATHER

My father believed that you must suffer the pains of hell here on earth, in order to go to heaven.  The church identifies this belief as one of the seven deadly heresies.  Believing in this doctrine and practicing it only creates bitterness and unhappiness and of course leads to apostasy.  For years, my father was practically apostate, because he did not follow the Prophets and he lived his own way, and he several times said to me, “the hell with the prophet” when I would quote something that the prophet said, he did not like.  My dad was miserable and lonely for years and he thought this would get him into heaven.  I no longer subscribe to this doctrine which is a false doctrine at best.

Robin Lee Johnson

GAY COUPLE FIND GREAT HAPPINESS AT LAST, DESPITE MORMON BISHOP’S HOMOPHOBIA

I am now, and have been for over 11 months to date, very happy and my depression has become almost non-existent.  I have found out for myself, that being gay or homosexual, is not only right for me, but also can be enjoyed, and bring much joy to the lives of gay people.  Life is beautiful, and God has blessed me abundantly since I came out of the closet for the second time in my life.  Since “wickedness never was happiness,” I must not be all that wicked after all, because I am very happy!  I am happier than I have ever been at this time, in this life of mine, so far now.

I Prayed, back in October 2011, to Heavenly Father for help and understanding, and more specifically, for a boyfriend.  I reasoned with the Lord on the fact that in the Bible, God granted to the children of Israel, what they wanted, even though it was not his will for them to have what they longed for.  The children of Israel wanted meat, and God wanted them to have “Manna” that he had so graciously provided for them.  It was not the Lord’s will that they have meat.  But the Lord did bend his will to the will of the people.  They got their meat in the form of Quail.  In a similar fashion, his children wanted a King, but the Lord was their King, and therefore, it was not his will that they have an earthly King.   However, once again the Lord gave in to the will of the people, because of his love for them.  Granted, certain consequences befell them for this desire, but the point is; the Lord is willing to compromise, if his children desire something bad enough or if their hearts desire for it, is great enough.

In my case, I desired a boyfriend who would be able to love me.  I even asked for a nineteen year old male, so that I would recognize his hand in the matter, if my wishes were realized.  I also thought to myself; if the boy is real cute and likes older men that will be a sign unto me that the Lord approved.  I, in turn, covenanted that I would be a help to the young man in question and help a fellow Gay man, deal with his being Gay.  I did not know that this could happen or not, but I remained VERY hopeful.  You could say I had faith that Heavenly Father would bless me, or at least answer me.

Well, I have had a new boyfriend for 9 months now, and I love him very much and he loves me very much.  He was 19 years old, and is very cute to me.  He is everything that I hoped for and much more.  He is just my perfect type also.  His name is George Cody Allen Circle, and he is gay, but he was suicidal over being gay.  I have kept my part of the bargain, and I have been a tremendous help to Cody.  His mother and step-father really think I am helping him as well, and they really appreciate all that I do for their son.  I have brought Cody from the brink of suicide, to being very happy with his life.  I still have a challenging work to do ahead of me, but I am up to the task.  I will not be doing this alone however; I will use the aid of professional help for Cody.  I am helping Cody with Doctors, Psychiatrists and Medications and getting his insurance squared away.  I also help him with spiritual and emotional matters.  Cody also has mental illnesses, like I do, primarily due to his issues with homosexuality and dealing with the rejection he gets from the world at large, but especially his family and former Church—The Church of Christ, in Muskogee; but his Mother supports him also on the issue of being Gay.  Cody needs more support than this though, he really needs me, especially now that his grandfather rejects him and said that he wants nothing to do with him anymore, even though he helped raise Cody from 3 years old.  His Step-grandmother totally rejects him now that he has come out to them about his homosexuality.  She thinks she will get AIDS from him.  How ignorant is that and so uneducated are his grandparents.

Cody and I met at a critical time for both of us.  We need each other more than we want each other, and we want each other very much.  Our relationship is not based strictly on sexual attractions alone, as I very much knew that it would not be.  Our relationship is based on Love and companionship and all the other attributes that I mentioned in my previous documents.  Our relationship is based also on mutual respect for each other and it sparks much growth for both of us.  Cody was looking for an older, more mature person to have a relationship with, he told me so himself.  I believe with all my heart that God has brought us together for a purpose, and that purpose is good.  Now Cody smiles, which he didn’t do before.  I am like a surrogate father to Cody, and he likes that, especially since his earthly father past away when Cody was 8 years old, and he has no adopted father.  His grandfather does not even try to understand his same-sex attraction, because he’s a minister of the “Church 0f Christ” in Muskogee; and his step-father is very abusive.

I have not been going to Church, because of my homophobic bishop, but now that my depression is gone, and I have become stronger, I plan to go back to Church, but in a different ward.  Other members, like my friend Eddie Yadon, have left the ward also, primarily because of the Bishop, and because of the atmosphere that this bishop has created in the ward.  Most of the ward is happy with the bishop, mostly because they do not like to think negatively about anyone, especially their bishop.  The bishop has, however, created a lot of negative feelings and negative vibes in the ward that continues to go on behind the scenes.  It really is a shame that this is going on.  My bishop and Cody’s grandfather are a lot alike; they both totally reject us because of religious prejudices.  The more devout people are to their religion, the more hate they have for gay people.

Cody and I have more things in common than you could possibly ever realize.   We are extremely affectionate and loving to each other.  I find it hard to really understand why he loves me so much, but of course I love him with all my heart and soul, and he says the same to me all the time.  He means everything to me, and I would not give him up for anything that this world has to offer.  We truly share our lives together, do literally everything together, he even goes to all my doctor appointments with me.  Already, he cannot stand to be without me, and I cannot stand to be without him for any length of time.  For instance, he will walk all the way to Wal-Mart or Big Kmart with me and back, just not to be with me for a couple of hours.  I believe we have a strong interdependency for each other now.  Nothing or no one is going to come between us, or lesson our powerful love for each other.  Cody tells me he loves me, more than 40 times a day or more.   We are extremely close!

We watch movies, play games, play video games together and everything else everyday.  Cody Circleis the boyfriend of my dreams, come true!  My wife told me, that whenever she died, she wanted me to get a boyfriend and be happy.  I know, that she knew, that I could only be truly happy in a gay relationship and not in a heterosexual relationship.  She loved me so much, that her hopes for me were that I find a boyfriend or lover, and get married to him.  Cody and I consider ourselves a married couple, even though that is not legal in this state yet.  However, we had ourselves our own ceremony, and he wears my ring.  Cody likes to think of me as the “girl” in this relationship, and I only see him as a “boy.”

Cody tells me that he thinks that gay relationships are better than straight relationships, because we get along so well together.  The only thing that bothers either one of us is mood swings that we both have, because we are both bipolar.  We both have schizophrenia and depression, anxiety, issues with rage and anger, yet we are always kind and gentle with each other.  The thing that I worry about the most is that Cody tells me that if I leave him, or I die, that he will kill himself for sure.  Also, he wants to go to The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints with me.  This is fine with me, however, he wants the Church to accept his same-sex attraction as normal and love him just the way he is, as a gay man, and us as a gay couple.  In the recent past, when the “Christ for the World” church rejected us as gay, he tried to kill himself, and I had to stop him.  It took weeks for him to recover from depression over this situation.  I just don’t want another situation like this with the Mormon Church.  I have warned him about my bishop, and told him that we will go to another ward, but he wants to show my present bishop that we are a couple.  I do not want to make the bishop hate me any more than he already does right now, so I do not think that is such a good idea, but I understand why he does.

Cody, bless his sweet heart, wants to find a church that will rejoice over our new found happiness as a couple, and not reject us at all.  I know that he will not find this in the Mormon Church, and this worries me.  I do not want to forsake Jesus Christ’s true Church, but I will not forsake Cody and our relationship either.  I have never, ever, been this happy in all of my hard and miserable life, until now.  Now, doesn’t my happiness matter to anyone, or not?  Why should I become miserable again, just to please others, and so they can think that I am doing the right thing, when it is not right for me to do so?  I plan to stay in this relationship and keep it just the way it is.  Cody and I are both very happy right now, for the first time in a long time.  Cody is right for me and I am right for him.  Cody tells me that he has not been this happy with his life in years and years; and I am not going to mess that up at all!

On November of last year, 2010, on the 14th day of the month, Cody asked if he could come over to my apartment and visit.  After he did so, in the evening of the same day, he asked if he could spend the night with me.  I said yes, and he did so.  After that, he has never left my side and did not even want to go home and get his things and he asked to move in with me, and I agreed readily and happily.  He is now on my Lease with the housing authority, and he is my lover, and husband, and as you can easily see, he is very, very happy.       I will not do anything that threatens his emotional health and cause him to become depressed and unhappy again!  We are happy now and that is all that matters to me at this time.  Cody was not happy before he met me; this is what he told me.

We are openly gay, and we are not hiding anything from anyone.  The whole building of 200 apartments knows that we are gay and that we are a couple as well.  Cody wants everyone to know that he is gay, and is ready and willing to “kick anyone’s ass” that has a problem with it.  He is much bolder about his sexuality, and he is helping me accept myself, more than I have in the past.  My self-esteem, self-worth and self-confidence have all gone to heights previously unknown to me before.  The Church was never able to do all of that for me before.  That is because the Church members do not accept me as I am and still do not.  I know that it is their rejection of my sexuality and same-sex attraction that make me unhappy and miserable, because I cannot do what they want me to do, or change my life for them.  They do not know how to make me happy.  Their way has never worked for me, not in 44 years now, and I really tried very hard to make it work their Gospel way also.

Brother Marcellus and Patrick L. and Brother Parks came over to my place with the new Elders Quorum President, Brother Ferguson, the other day.  They read in Alma of the Book of Mormon, the story of Korihor, an Anti-Christ individual, who went around bad mouthing the Church, and leading people away from Christ.  I already knew the story (almost by heart), and could have told them from memory, the story.  I do not know if they were suggesting that I was like unto Korihor or not; but it seemed that way.  After we read the scripture, we had a short discussion. This visit, supposedly by persons, who care about me, left me deeply depressed and I was suicidal for about a week following the visit.  It took me a couple of weeks to get over the depression, and mood swings.  All they did was hurt me deeply.  I can’t help how sensitive I am, but they can stop being so insensitive to me like they are.  Patrick was the only one who I knew that loved me.  The others just want to save my soul, by destroying me socially (i.e. break me up with Cody).  They have proven to me, that I cannot trust them with my feelings.  They hurt me, more than they will ever know or admit to.  This is not what I need from the Church right now.  I need love and support and empathy, but I know that I am not going to get this from these homophobic members of the Church.  They never befriend me or visit me socially, just try and change me to what they think will fit with their understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, or I should say, their interpretation of the Gospel as they see fit.  Gordon Bintner Hinckley, former President of the Church taught that we did not choose to be gay and that it was not our fault that we are Gay either.

Brother Ferguson I like, but Brother Marcellus only made me upset and hate myself and want to die.  He says that I choose to be gay. This is opposite of what President Hinckley taught.  Yet he does agree with Hinckley, in that, I should remain celibate my entire life, or at least what is left of it.  This is the man that my friends in the Church, thought would be understanding and help me with my feelings.  How, by destroying me?  Because that is what would happen if I committed suicide, and that is all he caused me to have, is thoughts of suicide and hurt feelings.  He seems to think, like this is all new to me, and discounts the fact that I have been dealing with this issue all my life.  Cody has been dealing with this issue since he was a kid also; like when he was just eight years old, the same age I knew I was gay also.

It does not get better unless you can accept yourself for who you are.  Because this same-sex attraction was not going away, and it never did either; nor do I believe that it ever will.  Like some of the Church President’s have said: it will be settled in the next life.  I am sure the Lord will be much fairer about it, than the Church members are now.  Christ ways are not our ways, and our ways are not his ways.

I hope that I will not become depressed again, from going back to Church, and having to deal with the homophobes.  I believe that I can go back to Church and be happy, as long as my husband goes with me and we are not harassed by members of the Church, or the leaders either.  I do not expect anyone in the Church to understand my relationship with Cody.  I will not be telling anyone about my lifestyle, at least not in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  This way I will not be giving the members cause to further persecute or harass me and my husband.  Neither one of us needs anymore of that in our life.

One thing that I have always wanted to know from the Lord is: why do I have same-sex attraction in the first place, and no attraction to the opposite sex?  I have a good understanding of why, scientifically speaking, but not any real spiritual answers so far.  I have covered that information in my first and second Manifesto, and I will not elaborate here.  I know that many heterosexual people have the opinion that we queers chose to be this way.  They are dead wrong of course, and are not qualified to speak to this matter, because they can not empathize with the gay communities.  The old saying: “it takes one, to know one” really applies here.  My very good psychiatrist’s opinions are very relevant here also, which they said: “only you can know your own feelings and not someone else.”  They were so right, and most people with common sense, also have come to an understanding, that being gay or lesbian, is something that the individual homosexual, did not just decide to become a faggot or lesbo, and that they cannot change themselves from being that either.  It is just the straight Mormons and other churches also who have a lack of understanding about gays, and these straight Mormons are stuck in the dark ages still, on this issue of human sexuality and the gay world.  They do not want to leave their “comfort zone” either.  They cannot empathize or even sympathize with gay’s either.  Some so called Christians are now preaching hate and murder of gays here in the USA and in other countries.  One church holds up signs that say “God Hates the Gay’s” and another says “Death to All Fags.”  I have even heard it in Mormon Church’s also.  Hatred of homosexuals is much higher in the Mormon Church than you might think it is.  Most will not admit this to your face though; just behind your back.

Mormon leaders have the correct understanding about gays, because of revelations to them; see “the First Presidency Letter of November, 14th 1991” for details.  It’s not like these average straight Mormon members, are going to actually study out the issue themselves, like I have already done.  Instead, they would rather hang onto the same beliefs that were believed in, all through the “Dark Ages” regarding homosexual people.  Thus, they ignore, and are in non-compliance with our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the enlightenment that our deities have already provided.  Most members of the Mormon Church are not even cognizant of the revelation given to President Ezra Taft Benson in 1991.  These Mormon members here in Oklahoma, are 20 years behind in their understanding of homosexuality.  This is because, the subject is taboo in their eyes, and not something they care to learn about at all.  They have their own opinions and they do not want to change it.   They should educate themselves.

Straight Mormon members ought to read: “Born That Way” by Erin Elderidge and “Fred’s Story” which are usually available through Deseret Bookstore.  Both of these books helped me very much.  My Stake President Mark Ralph Sylvester, in California, gave me a copy of “Fred’s Story” because it was recommended by Salt Lake Leaders, not only for the bishops to read, but to let known gay members, that they were counseling, read also.  This book was written by a Mormon Psychologist, who studied homosexuality at none other than Brigham Young University, in Provo, Utah.  The book has extra wide margins on each and every page of the book, for the gay individual to take notes, or write personal experiences down, and other comments and thoughts that the information in the book relates to the reader.  I read the entire book and filled every margin in the book with comments and my understanding of the subject back then.  This book helped me and my Bishop, or “Bish” (as we priests affectionately called him), come to a much better understanding of homosexuality, and all the problems I was having with it.  My Bishop valued what I wrote in the Margins so much that he kept the book to this very day.  He would not give it back even though I asked for it many times.  Mark told me that what I had written in the margins had helped him much and that it was helping a lot of others as well that were struggling with same-sex attraction or homosexuality.

This California bishop, counseled me monthly from the age of 15 {picture below} thru the 1½ years while he was my bishop, and the 3 years while he was a counselor in the Stake Presidency, and then for 14 years while he was my Stake President.  He has been my Priest Advisor, My Young Men’s President, My Bishop and Stake Counselor, Stake President, and most of all, my mentor and best friend.  Mark was later called to the High Council, then Scout Master, then Bishop again, and now Stake President again.  The Lord keeps calling him to leadership positions in the Church because of his gentle nature, and his tender hearted feelings toward the members of the Church, especially those he counsels with.  Mark is especially helpful to gay members in the Church.  I told a friend of mine, who was gay, to talk to President Sylvester; and that Mark would be able to help him, and he did.  My friend, Gayland Cook, who was considered the “Black Sheep” of his family, could not thank me enough for recommending he talk to Mark.  Gayland told me that talking to Mark, changed his life for the better.  Mark has now helped a lot of Gay’s in the Mormon Church.

Mark loved me into the Church, got me active again at 16 years old and he then laid his hands on me, and bestowed the holy priesthood on me making me a Priest.  He set me apart as an Elder, and took me to the Temple for the first time; he gave me many blessings by the laying on of hands.  Mark put in my Mission papers and helped me prepare for my Mission, because I did not have a Father to do so.  He was like a Father to me and he said this as well, on my mission farewell, which he spoke at, before I left on my mission.  Mark has done more for my emotional well being, than any other person I have yet encountered in my life so far.

Mark is the one I went to six years after my mission, when I decided I must “come out” of the closet and explore the possibility that I was gay, and that it was not going to change.  At that time, in 1988, Mark said to me: “Robin, I would want for you to be gay, if I thought that you could be happy that way, I am just not sure if you can be happy doing that.”  I told him that I must find out for myself.  I left his house and went to find some gay clubs that I could go to and meet other gay people.  When I found them, I spent 157 hours in the clubs, in just the first month, just talking to and observing other gay people.  This means that I spent as much time, in a gay bar, than a year of church meetings, spent investigating the gay lifestyle.

I found out that I was just like the other gay people, or they were just like me.  Also many of them told me how they had always been gay or thought they might be and how no doctor or psychiatrist, priest or parent could help them change their attraction to the same sex.  Many of them told me that they had been rejected by their clergy, and parents and siblings and friends, and that this was a great source of psychological pain for them.  Like me, their churches had screwed up their lives and caused them to be suicidal, also.  Other churches can be even more brutal than the Mormon sect, to spiritual people who are homosexual or transgender.  My poor Cody cannot handle any church’s rejection of him.

My friend Mark, later Excommunicated me from the Mormon Church, even though he really did not want to, and tried to influence the high councils vote, not to excommunicate me.  Although those 15 men chose to excommunicate me, I never felt more loved at that time, as each and every one of them embraced me with their arms and their hearts.  I felt very loved at that time, and I felt happy and relieved after I left that high council room, still, I drove away from church and parked my car somewhere on the street in town (I was homeless at that time) and now excommunicated, and I cried for 4 hours straight.  And what do you think happened at this time when I was most vulnerable? Some cute guy came by, and saw me crying, and tried to comfort me.  It ended up as a gay “hook-up” in the park no less and I did not feel guilty about it.   However, I was determined to get back “straight” with God and the church and be straight again.  3½ years later, I was re-baptized, one month after I was married to a Sister in the church.  Mark was my best man at my wedding, and although I spent the next 14 years as straight as an arrow, and was completely faithful to my wife for the 9 years that we were married, (until she past away on March 22nd 2006) I was never given back my Priesthood.  Even after 5 very long years (2006—2010) in which I was completely celibate, I am still denied the priesthood and all participation at church.  Even though I felt that if, my wife had not past away 5 years ago, I would still be married and faithful right now; I am denied blessings, treated like a social outcast, and persecuted by my present church leaders, all because I told my bishop that I still had gay feelings.  Now I really feel cast out into the street, for being gay.  I was not sinning by telling my bishop I still had same-sex attraction, after all, I was obeying all the commandments.  I just reached out for help, and in doing so, I was misunderstood and treated with contempt by Bishop Robert (Bobby) W.  Bobby W. most certainly, must be a “Redneck.”

Now it seems that coming out of the closet for the second time, I feel better than I ever have before.  I am not so needy, for the church now; I feel more and more independent from the church.  With a committed and loving gay relationship now and several new gay friends, I am much better off.  Since the church members only make me depressed and unhappy, and have such a huge lack of understanding of gay relationships and such, I will pursue a course that is correct for me and one that will benefit me both spiritually and make me happy at the same time.  Like I said before, I am really happy right now.

Just keep in mind that I will never forsake the Lord and his Church entirely.  But, I also cannot let narrow minded people make me suffer needlessly, especially when that suffering is not creating any positive growth for me in this life.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not have a “plan of happiness” for its gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, and that is not my fault, it is their fault entirely.  Until the Church endorses a real plan of happiness for us gays, that is truly fair and that does not take away someone’s faith; then I will be forced to find my own way along the path that leads to the tree of life.  So far it is going very well for me and Cody.  I am growing spiritually, despite those homophobic members.  I have become a lot stronger than I used to be when I rejected myself.

There is a lot of hate for gays out there and it overlaps into the Mormon Church also.  Where are all the hate groups for the adulterer’s, fornicators, and other home wreckers, and the like out there?  Apparently, the real problem is not just who sins or not, but it is about who is different from us, and who we are willing to accept among us as equals.  The real hate is about, who is black or white, fat or slender, beautiful or homely, short or tall, big or small, gay or straight, republican or democrat.  Heavenly father rejoices over our differences, and we, his children, who are all equal in his eyes, fight and bicker and point fingers at each other, hate each other and even kill one another over them.  We blame all our problems in life, on the ones who are different than we are.  That way we don’t have to blame ourselves or hate ourselves for our own imperfections and mistakes.   If we were all the exact same, then none of us would grow, and we would waste our mortal probation here on earth.  I have always been different from my peers in school and other members of the Church, and people I have worked with and certainly different from non-gays.

Well I am different, and I am not going to be miserable, just so others can justify themselves, and feel better about themselves, at my expense.  The Lord taught us not to be intolerant and to Love everyone, including our enemies.  That means that members should Love the homosexual, not shun them and find endless fault with them.  If you all think that life long celibacy is the answer for all gays, then why don’t you try it yourself.  As for me, I want to laugh and be happy.  I no longer want to be changed from who I am and neither does Cody; we are happy just the way we are.

I can only be happy now, by being left alone, and allowing me to be myself, which is gay.  I won’t tell you how to live your life and you don’t have to tell me how to live mine.  I am no Korihor, I am no Anti-Christ, I do not bother anyone, I do not tell anyone how to live, I live and let live.  I certainly do not try and stop people from believing in Christ, or try and get them to not believe in Heavenly Father. In fact I teach the Gospel all the time to my friends, neighbors and to Cody all of the time, and everyone I know, knows it.  I helped bring more people into the Church while off my mission than I did on my mission back east.  I love all people, and harm no one that I am aware of.  I want a better life for all people, I have never hated anyone, including my enemies of which I have very few.  I am very loving, kind, generous, sweet, and have charity for all people.  I don’t lie, steal, cheat, murder, or commit adultery.  I do not even have sex with my partner, and I do not push my lifestyle on anyone else.  I am not trying to persuade anyone to do anything wrong either.  I just want to be happy the only way that I presently know how to be happy; so leave me alone.

Happiness has been fleeting for me, because of my life long depression and mental illness that I still have.  I have been my own worst enemy all my life, because I listened to all the hatemonger rhetoric, and I have hated myself because of it.  I will hate myself no more, nor will I persecute myself any longer and I will tolerate persecution from the Christian world, not for one more second, either.  I would rather be a Gay Rights Activist and Gay Counselor than anything else.  This is where I have come to at this time in my life.  I recently heard on a Gay Documentary that we gays often expect our straight friends, families and neighbors to accept us the minute we come out to them, when in fact; it took us years to accept ourselves.  She was right, and this is not fair.  Therefore, I will give all people as much time as they need to adjust to the idea, as they need to.  But, I will avoid those who would hurt me, try and change me, and bring me back to my depression.  I believe that I have suffered long enough for this one area of my life.  Enough is really enough!  I am now very content with my life, and I plan to keep it going this direction.  I do not see the point in trying to fix something that is not broke.  I am not busted, do not fix me.

My doctors and nurses have noted a huge growth in me, since I came out this last time, as well as a big lift in my depression.  I do not know how long my relationship with Cody will last, but for now, it is working out very well for me and for him.  No matter what happens in the future, Cody and I will forever love each other, and that love is a gay romantic love that we share.  Call us evil, if you must, and if we are evil, then love is evil.  If love is evil then God is evil, because God is love.  This is how the world makes sense to me, and this is the only way that I can make peace with it.  All those who love us, will wish us the best, and hope for our happiness, just as we hope that the rest of this world has love and peace as well. God bless the peacemakers and all of us who continue to love one another and themselves.

Love to all, love to all, love to all!   I love God with all my heart, might, mind and strength, and I love my neighbor as I love myself.  I wish to tell all my friends, who have stuck by me, through my difficult times, that I love you with all my heart and soul.  May the Lord bless and keep you all.  To all good people everywhere, I hold no ill will or bad feelings, toward anyone who has been unkind to me, because I know that we are all of God’s children, and we are still growing and learning.  The day will come, when all of us will know, all of the answers, to the world’s most perplexing questions.  But in the end, what will matter is, who loved and who did not love his fellow man.  What will matter is, who was kind and who was not, who spread the word of God and who was afraid to open their mouth for their Heavenly Father, who gave of themselves and who did not, who helped others and who did not help, who worked for peace and understanding and who did not.  It will matter who loved God and who did not, who was tolerant and who was intolerant, who had charity and who did not have charity to all people, and who would die for his neighbor and who would not.  In other words, who was like unto Christ and who was not, this is all that will matter in the world to come; not the traditions of each generation and every morel of the day or each leader’s interpretation of what’s right and what’s wrong; many things change with time.

To other gays I would say: what makes you happy and truly brings you joy in this difficult world, is what you should pursue.  Do not listen to the haters and non caring people of this world.  Those people are only selfish and have an ulterior motive for trying to change you to something of their own liking.  God loves you the way that he created you and no one can change you from being gay anyway.  People will always hate and find fault with others, instead of looking after their own life and taking care of their own business.  What matters are your feelings about yourself and what you can live with.  If you know that you are a good person inside, then you do not have to have approval from others, just God.  Pray about it and you will get the same answers that I have gotten in life.  God loves you, and you can know for certain that I love you, even if I do not know you, I know of you and I have been there where you are now.  Also, be sure that you love yourself as you love others.

To all the non-gay people out there, know this one thing, and get it into your stubborn souls, that gay people did not just decide to be gay one day, just to bother you or anyone else.  We gays have an inborn attraction to the same sex, just like you have an inborn desire for the opposite sex.   Our parents did not make us this way and neither did anyone else, nor did we do it ourselves.  It is just part of our natural make up and we cannot change even when we want to, and most of us have wanted to, sometime in our lifetime.    We would change for you if we could, but we cannot do this, so get over it already, we had too.  Just be thankful you are straight.  This message goes double for Elder Boyd K. Packer, who is so hell bent against homosexuality that it is not funny.

The book, “Born That Way” that I bought In Salt Lake City, Utah, at the Deseret bookstore, will tell you the hell that we gays go through with our own selves, let alone the hell you straight people put us gays through. Many gays become alcoholics or drug addicts because we do not except ourselves and then the straight world has the nerve to judge us when they have not spent one day in our shoes.  Many straight people would not last a month if they were in our situation.  How dare they say that we chose this life for ourselves!  The only choice we have before us is to accept ourselves and be happy, or reject ourselves and be miserable.  Mormons say that we have the choice to act on our being gay.  True, but to not act is to be alone without love in your life, something that they themselves would not put up with or endure either.  “…and God said, is it right that man be alone, and Jehovah answered, no, it is not right that man should be alone.  And so they made an helpmeet for man…” I have a helpmeet now, it just happens to be another gay male not a female.

Now I can move on with my life in a positive way and stop hating myself.  I no longer have to figure out what am I going to do with the unhappy feelings that I have had all my life and that other people have perpetuated throughout the years of my life.  I will be 50 soon and probably lived more than half of my life already.  I hope others do not take as long as I did and have as many hardships as I have had in this life.  Now life is great and I love it for the 2nd time “coming out.”  I was very happy the first time I “came out” also; so I do not know why I let others talk me into going back into the closet for 14 more years.  Especially when those people did not forgive and forget like they were supposed to either.  They remained against me even when I was doing so well.  If they will not forgive me in 14 years I believe that they never will forgive me and let me have full fellowship in the Mormon Church.  I cannot get the priesthood back or be sealed to my wife  in the Temple because I am Gay.

When the Good Sheppard comes again in his glory, I believe he will call my name, because I have done the best that I can do to live in harmony with other people as well as the Gospel, and Jesus Christ, my savior and redeemer.  I keep the Ten Commandments and nearly all of 637 other commandments that I have gleaned from scriptures.  I do not believe that Jesus Christ, who is my judge, will hold against me the fact that I am gay or that I have same-sex attraction or that I have mental illness either.  The prophets have spoken on this and they agree with me.

The Mormon Church has completely cut me off, and now no one comes to see me monthly for the last 9 months.  I am supposed to receive Home-teachers each month in my home, but instead my Home-teacher has been released and I do not know who is going to be my new Home-teacher’s either.  Also, I asked for a blessing when I was in the hospital and in ICU, and nobody gave me a blessing at all.  When I moved a few months ago I asked for help to move from the Elders Quorum, because that is what they do; but they all refused to come and help me move.  I was told someone was coming for 3 days straight and nobody came to help us move.  Then I called and told my old Home-teacher that I and Cody had no food for 3 days and we needed help.  My friend Eddie came over the 3rd day and gave us some MacDonald’s food and that was good; but the Bishop would not give us a food order.  This Bishop used to give me food orders from the Bishop’s Storehouse.  After I told the Bishop that I still had same-sex attraction, he stopped giving me food orders, even when I was still active in Church.  It is the Bishop’s stewardship to take care of the poor; however, Bishop Woods refuses to help me at all.  This is proof that the Bishop is homophobic.

I have straight friends, like Kayla Johnson, Ace Pardue, Carol Didway, Carol Turner and many others like Evelyn, Tom, Clarence Richardson and more that accept me and I can talk to about my homosexual feelings and they do not judge me or put me down.  Instead they support me and encourage me and help me. There are also many friendly people here where I live that continue to be friendly even though they know that Cody and I are a couple and that we are Gay.  Some LDS people are supportive but most are not.  My Psych Nurse, Marie Leaf is very supportive, and so is a friend who is a Psychologist, Shirley VanHalen; they both help me a lot with understanding hearts and helping me deal with the judgmental people.

With all the judgmental Latter-day Saints in the Church and their unwillingness to accept people as they are, it’s no wonder that the retention rate is less than half.  Some bishops make you feel guilty for being poor, and therefore many of the poor stop going to church.  I find myself getting help from the Baptist, Catholics and Presbyterians because my bishop will not help me at all.  LGBT have it much worse in the Mormon Church because of these same judgmental members and leaders.  I have been rejected by most members of the Mormon Church just because of the way I would dress, which was more colorful and perhaps feminine also.  I do know that Heavenly Father Loves me and so does Jesus Christ; and that they are more accepting than the members of my Church.  Therefore I can be happy and endure the rejection of the members, no matter what they do to me.

Peace, Love and understanding to all; I forgive you all of any wrongs done unto me, whether perceived or real, it does not matter.  Most of all, please forgive me of my personal weaknesses that I have, and seek only to help me grow in a positive way.  I especially want to thank, Mark R. Sylvester, my bishops past and present that actually helped me, Eddie Yadon, Patrick Lewis and Brother Marcellus for trying to help.  I thank all my friends like Marie Leaf, my friend Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father.  I also thank, David Goodwin, my first boyfriend, for teaching me how to be loved, and Cody Circle, my present boyfriend, for making me feel loved and for allowing me to love them back.  Cody has shown me more love than anyone I have ever known in this life.  Now how can that be wrong anyway?  I did not choose to live here in Muskogee, Oklahoma, but I was sent here by circumstances beyond my control.  Now I know why I came here, God led me here so that I would meet Bishop W. and subsequently meet George Cody A. Circle and become the very happy person that I am right now, so that I can start helping others, because I will no longer be bogged down by my depression, Thanks God for All You Did For Me. —Robin Lee Johnson. LOL (Lots of Love).

Mormon Moment Series on poetrysansonions.blogspot.com

Ahhhhh! The smell of fresh, juicy, slightly wrong Mormon blog posts. It must be Sunday!

I have been doing a series of posts related to Mormon and Post-Mormon issues that seem to be *hot* this year. With more and more people interested in Mormons, and now the change in rules for when male and female missionaries are allowed to serve, the Bloggernacle keep heating up! So, if you missed the first posts in the series (because I was a slacker and wasn’t cross posting) here is your chance to catch up. If you have been catching them on my blog, you will notice they are a little different. Thanks to Kevin who suggested that I should include the topic of the post in the title, and not jsut which post number it is. Ahhhhh, aren’t friends great for helping you see your blind spots? I am glad I have so many friends looking out for me.

I am using the same introduction for each post, both because I think that it helps keep them uniform, but also so I don’t have to try to come up with 20 ways to say the same thing!

What this series is about:

If you are Mormon, you are probably sick of hearing about the Mormon Moment. There are so many people who are suddenly interested in Mormon culture, and there are lots of Mormon bloggers that are cashing in and sharing their stories. Some of the stories end up being kind of silly, but if you are simply trying to get people to read about what is important to you, the Mormon Moment is one way to draw people in.

I do not want people to think that I don’t respect the bloggers whose posts I am sharing. All of them are good bloggers, and most of them write about Mormon topics all of the time. I have no doubt that they would have shared these thoughts and stories at some point, but as one friend told me the other day, “in the race to the election, bloggers are pushing hard to attract new readers before the Mormon Moment is gone.” So, to help you, I sifted through hundreds of posts to share the ones that I still remember. (This group of posts are nowhere near a complete view of Mormon bloggers. All of the bloggers are either Mormons, post-Mormons, or write about Mormon issues, even when it isn’t election time.)

So, what have you missed?

Mormon Moment Series – Part One – Mormon Mind Control?

Mormon Moment Series – Part Two – Ayn Rand and Quirks in Mormon Culture

Mormon Moment Series – Part Three – Modesty, Perfection and Secrets

Mormon Moment Series – Part Four –Why can’t we seem to say what we mean?

Mormon Moment Series – Part Five –Fasting For Followers!

Mormon Moment Series – Part Six – Who is a Mormon?

While it is not officially part ofmy Mormon Moment Series, please take a minutes and check out this post about Mormons, Masterbation, and the story of a teenager driven to attempt suicide, because of his wet dreams.

But for the Grace of God….

This post is about a teen suicide attempt and some of the actions that led to it. The language is not vulgar, but it is specific. Please read only if, it is emotionally safe for you. A few days ago, I sent an email out to several family members and friends about a post on the Mormon Therapistblog. It deals with a sensitive subject, so please understand that this particular linked post is not g-rated, although it will not include any explicit language either. If you are uncomfortable with discussions about sexuality, masturbation, how to teach adults and children healthy sexual attitudes, or the negative impacts of shame, I suggest you skip this post, and not click onto the linked article.”
You can go here to read the entire post, including the responses from TBMs who are supportive of Mormon Therapist’s view, who also explain how the email about this young man touched their lives, and the lives of their children. This is a bold stand from all sides, as Mormon Therapist boldly proclaims, “Masturbation is not sinful behavior in of itself nor is it a transgression.”
We live in a time of great turmoil, and out youth especially need to love and support to deal with a variety of challenges. From masturbation to Coke, homosexuality to the age of sister missionaries, the church is changing or softening on a number of important issues. I believe that we need to support those who are members of the church, who continually ask questions and look for answers. I also believe that current and former members need to find common ground, in as many areas as they can, and work together on those shared goals. Almost every post-Mormon still has family or friends who are members of the church. Almost every member of the church knows someone who has left, been kicked out, or is inactive. While there are very real hurts on all sides, I believe that coming together and being the chance we want to see in our own lives, the lives of our family members, and in the lives of all of the children we love, can make that change a reality.
Whether you are celebrating General Conference today, or are in mourning because of it, there are always ways to find a little common ground, a little place of friendship, a little piece of shared light. We do not have to change our minds about our belief or lack thereof. What we can do is put the first brick into creating a bridge, that will help span the gap between us, and the children and youth who need to know that it gets better, no matter what your sexual orientation or habits!

One last link. If you have a talent to share, leave a comment, and you could be the lucky winner of a pair of pearl stud earrings!

It Even Gets Better for Straight Spouses

Here’s an “It Gets Better” video made by a group of straight spouses in MOMs:

OK, I can’t make the embed code work, so here’s the link to the youtube page: http://youtu.be/xkKoD1uVbrE

The “about” page of the website of the group that produced the video, Straight Spouses, states

We started as an informal group of LDS women with children, on a journey to find peace with our religion and our lives, the center of which seemed to always be the fact we are or once were married to a gay or bisexual spouse. Soon our group began to grow, including men and people from other religious (primarily Christian) backgrounds.

I find it interesting that a couple of spouses claim that divorce actually saved their relationships with their (former) spouses and their families.

 

 

Gay People Do Exist – Coming out to my Grandparents

Gay People Do Exist! Coming Out to My Grandparents

My grandparents were/are committed Christians. They’ve taught 3rd and 4th grade Sunday school for as long as I can remember. On the infrequent occasions when I attended their church, from kindergarten until I was about 12, I always pulled up a chair and sat between them while we were going over the lesson as a class and eat doughnuts my grandma faithfully bought every Sunday. They taught me about God, prayed with me, and told me of God’s grace. We sang songs such as:


“Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”

I had a girlfriend of three years before I came out in April of 2008. I was dealt the harsh truth: Jesus loves you unless you’re gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, intersex, or queer. Jesus couldn’t love gay people, because gay people didnt exist!

My first nephew was born nearly a year and a half ago; my grandparents are now great-grandparents! They bask in their new role with zeal and eagerness along with awe and wonder as they babysit him three days a week. They revel the time they spend with him as they play their newest silly game of peek-a-boo.
He giggles with delight as he covers his eyes. At his young age when his eyes are covered, it doesnt matter if his head, shoulders, knees, and toes (eyes, ears, mouth, and nose) are showing — he is invisible to you and you are invisible to him. This is how he understands visibility: seeing = mutually engaged. My grandparents, however, should know that covering their eyes doesnt mean that another person doesnt exist!

Not unlike my nephew, my grandparents cover their eyes and gay people go away; they cease to exist! By association, I ceased to exist. Me coming out as (non-existantly) gay meant that I had succumbed to “the world’s view”! I was defying what God had revealed in the Scriptures.

I am not gay because there are no gay people! Get it? Got it? Good! I am a straight person dabbling in homosexuality. Describing myself as gay belied my lack of faith in what God had told them (sic)! The only thing they failed to do was question my faith in God completely because I, a heterosexual mind you, loves and advocates for the equality of gay people. Completely un-Christ like, I know!

The kicker is this: While my grandma never got so far as to tell me this in this heart-to-heart, fuzzy spirit-filled conversation, she has said she believes THERE ARE ex-homosexuals!?!? So, there are ex-homosexuals, but not homosexuals? It is a logic nightmare!

From this, I learned the simple, unvarnished truth: My grandparents are bigots. While progressive in a couple of ways, their racist views that have since long passed and their current views towards homosexuality are representative (reminiscent??) of many people in their generation who view the Bible as the infallible Word of God and the Scriptures inerrant.

Our three hour talk had somehow strayed into a series of invectives about my character and crescendo'd when it's affect on familial affairs were brought up: I was told that if my girlfriend of nearly three years and I ever got married (never mind that this conversation took place in 2008, and the fact that I lived in California and she in Virginia - at the time it wasn't even a logical possibility) I would no longer be allowed at family gatherings. My grandma said, "Homosexuals are fine as long as it's not in 'this' (meaning her) house."

At this point I knew: I knew that it would only be a matter of time before, as a lesbian, I would be forced to choose between fidelity to my sexual identity and acceptance and approval from my fellow Christian grandparents (and, by extension, the rest of my family). I knew it spiked a fear of further mistrust and oppression. I knew from the intense intuitive emotional reaction I had that the homophobic bigoted view of my grandparents were irrational and unjust.

And unfortunately, I learned the hard way that the divide between the gay and straight Christian community that I grew up in was large and all-pervasive. I was told that gays and lesbians are more depressed, arent normal, and that I definitely was not one. Believing that God allowed me to born with such desires while condemning me to hell/annihilation lead me to a year of suicidal ideations. My grandparents were able to shove me back in the closest, rationalize away my existence and effectively ignore an entire class of people with their childish thinking of peek-a-boo, I don’t see you.

Up until then, I figured my grandparents would always love me. At that moment however, I learned the harsh truth that love is not unconditional. My grandparents claimed to love me, but she only loved the person they thought I was and the person they hoped I would be. My grandparents certainly dont accept who I am, let alone tolerate the possibility of it even being mentioned. I haven’t given up the hope that my grandparents may someday move past their homophobia, but my existence no longer hinges on their acceptance either.

I just wish they would have been more willing to remain a part of this grandchild’s whole life – not just they part that they can accept. I wish they would uncover their eyes and see me, their grandchild, and the injustices I’ve suffered. I want them to know that I do, indeed exist!

[END NOTE: TODAY I DO HAVE A GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH BOTH MY GRANDPARENTS AND MY FAMILY. UNSUPRISINGLY, I REMAIN UNOPEN AND ON GUARD. NEVERTHELESS, I DO ATTEMPT TO CONVEY MY GENERAL INDICTMENT OF PREJUDICE BY SPEAKING EUPHEMISTALLY OF “HUMAN TOLERANCE.” I CITE LOVE AS A MOTIVATOR OF KINDNESS, AND I MAKE PASSING REFERENCES TO THE VALUE OF SHOWING UNDERSTANDING AND ACCEPTANCE TOWARD THE FULL DIVERSITY OF HUMANITY.]

Aslongasitstranslatedcorrectly,

~ SoACTing

Put on your own oxygen mask first

A while ago, we had a medium-sized crisis involving one of our kids. One of the first thoughts that raced across my mind was “Just when I finally thought I had my act together — now this!!” Then I immediately caught myself. Would I rather it happen while I’m drowning in three other crises? Or when I feel like I’m in a position to let everything else slide for a bit while I focus on my child’s problem?

Meanwhile, my husband jumped up to the plate as well, and we both found solace and emotional replenishment in each other’s arms while dealing with the problem.

This incident came to mind when I read the following comment:

Excuses like the kids would want me to be happy that adults use to justify their divorce (news flash your kids dont give a damn if youre happy. Kind of like how you dont give a damn what they think about the divorce. Funny how that works).

Sure, most kids (being, by definition, immature) don’t consciously care much about other people’s happiness. But having the emotional and physical energy to deal with crises (as well as with day-to-day parenting) is not something you can fake or simply conjure up by force of will. It’s the parents’ responsibility to provide a safe and healthy environment for their kids, and it’s the adults’ responsibility to figure out what they need to do to create that environment. It is the couple that knows whether their marriage is a source of comfort and solace or whether it is a source of additional stress, hindering the parents’ efforts to focus on their kids’ needs.

When people say that no-fault divorce is destroying the family, I take issue with that personally — because if it weren’t for no-fault divorce, I probably wouldn’t have the happy family that I have today. I remember thinking that if the point of restricting divorce is for the sake of the kids, I shouldn’t have even had the six-month waiting period for my no-fault divorce. If a childless couple has already decided to call it quits, the last thing you want to do is insist on giving them another opportunity to bring a child into this picture. Of course, even for couples with kids, if they’ve decided to split amicably, it’s not necessarily in the kids’ interest to insist on turning it into a fight.

Now, I know that the defenders of traditional marriage will say that the point is that if they create more obstacles to divorce, maybe the couple will choose not to divorce. Because that’s what a stress family needs: more obstacles. (Aside: A historian studying Victorian-era illegitimacy told me that there was a high rate of cohabitation and illegitimacy due to one or both partners being unable to obtain a divorce from an earlier union.)

Studies on kids’ “outcomes” have shown that kids whose parents stayed married do better than kids whose parents are divorced. But if these studies are used to tell people that they need to stay together “for the kids” (and they are used for that, consistently), then the fact that some of families in the “married” category actually didn’t even want to split up is a major factor that should not be glossed over. The only relevant studies are the ones that specifically compare outcomes of families where the parents wanted a divorce (but decided to stay together for the kids) to the outcomes of families where the parents divorced and cooperated in child rearing. And, to be credible, such studies should be free of major funding conflicts of interest.

Sometimes I get the impression that people who want to “defend” (heterosexual-only) marriage don’t really think very highly of marriage, even straight marriage (see this recent critique of straight marriages where the spouses are in love with each other). Personally, I think marriage is a commitment rather than a prison, and — even though it represents some amount of work — on balance it is a comfort and joy rather than a punishment.

Mormon Beards Exploring the Issues: Patriarchy and Duplicity

This is the fourth in a series of posts addressing issues relating to gay Mormon men marrying heterosexual women. The first post was published on my own blog as well as Main Street Plaza. The next two posts were published only on my blog (here and here), and beginning with this post, the rest of the series will be posted dually on my blog as well as here on MSP.

As I have previously explained, beard (as used here) refers to a slang term for the heterosexual spouse of a gay Mormon who is effectively used to conceal the husbands sexual orientation. In the past two posts, I have discussed my own personal situation regarding my mixed orientation marriage. Id now like to turn to a discussion of why Mormon Mixed-Orientation Marriages [MoMoMs] continue to happen.

So why do guys keep doing it?

Why do gay Mormon men keep marrying Mormon women?

DISCLAIMER: Let me say right here and now that I KNOW there are some MoMoMs that work, where both the husband and wife are happy and fulfilled. HOWEVER, the odds against a successful MoMoMon are extremely high, and information pertaining to the issues and problems endemic to such marriages needs to be made available to help such persons make informed, moral decisions as they contemplate traditional marriage.

Beginning with this post, Id like to take a closer look at the factors that have contributed and continue to contribute generally to the creation of MoMoMs, including Mormon doctrinal background, the Mormon understanding of homosexuality (particularly within that doctrinal context) and Mormon sexual mores generally. My hope is that an examination of these factors will lead to alternative ways of thinking about these factors and, ultimately, in more enlightened, reasoned and responsible choices and actions as gay Mormon men confront the prospect of heterosexual marriage.

Before turning to the other factors mentioned, however, I want to first address one of the key factors that Holly Welker (who originally issued me the challenge to write these posts) believes contributes to MoMoMs: patriarchy. In her Sunstone essay entitled Clean-Shaven: No More Beards Straight Women, Gay Men and Mormonism (located here), she writes:

I know it can take a while to figure out ones sexual identity, and that people who eschew sexual behavior during their teens only to marry in their early twenties might not have a firm handle on their sexual orientation But I also think from observing various marriages and divorces that theres something different happening when men who know ahead of time that they are gay marry women they know are straight, particularly in Mormondom. I submit that patriarchy endows men with a sense of entitlement that blinds them to the real cost of their actions

In a couple of separate comments left on Mondays MSP post, Holly wrote:

What I am actually saying is that Mormon men who know they are gay prior to marriage should be real Christians and put the happiness of any woman they might consider courting above their own. They should work out their ambivalence about the plan of salvation without threatening the happiness and well-being of another. Im saying that men who know about their sexuality at the time theyre courting straight women, and fail to tell those women, are engaging in patriarchy and misogyny.

It seems to me there are (at least) a couple of points to be made about Hollys comments.

First, though I dont know exactly how Holly defines patriarchy, I would agree that the Mormon Church and, by extension, Mormon culture, is patriarchal. Wikipedia, that ever-trusty source, defines patriarchy as a social system in which the role of the male as the primary authority figure is central to social organization, and where fathers hold authority over women, children, and property [implying] the institutions of male rule and privilege, and is dependent on female subordination.

I do not personally want to get into an academic discussion of patriarchy (for which I am not qualified or equipped); I do not believe the parameters of the definition are particularly relevant to the ultimate objective of these posts. I do believe, however, that the patriarchy that is reflected in Mormon theology, church administration and culture has historically been and remains an important factor in the creation of MoMoMs, though in ways that are (still) not immediately apparent to most Mormon men, gay or straight.

For this reason, I would personally be interested in Hollys comments (as well as those of others) as to examples of patriarchy in the LDS world and how this patriarchy endows men with a sense of entitlement that blinds them to the real cost of their actions. This is a sincere request. I do think such information would be extremely germane to the overall objective of these posts.

In the mean time, I think Alex, a gay Mormon who recently came out and is now going through a divorce, provided some useful observations in this regard in comments left on Mondays post on my blog:

I’ve seen that even as a gay man, I treated my wife according to family customs and religious practices that were extremely patriarchal I wanted to have kids right away, wanted her to stay home. I expected her to clean while I was at work, cook dinner, etc. We didn’t have kids right away and she worked, which I supported, but I didn’t necessarily pick up the slack. The “perfect Mormon family” image, strict gender roles image was hard to break for me. I did help clean and cook but not to an equal degree as my wife. The fact that I’m gay doesn’t undo these societal values and norms I’ve been instilled with Even if I outwardly disagreed, it takes a lot of work to fully change your attitudes beliefs and behaviors.

In a comment to the original MSP post, Alex wrote:

I tended to approach my marriage in a very patriarchal way. I wanted to be the one who earned the money so we went with my career. I wanted to be the one to provide for my wife while she stayed home with kids. I always insisted that we should think about having kids soon. Im grateful we didnt. It goes beyond this, but my point is that it can be very difficult to unthink this, forgive the overused term, ideology. The church likes to view itself of being above and outside ideologies. But there is no question that at the very least the institutional practice of running the church is influenced by a heteronormative, patriarchal way of thinking. Gay men marry women because even if the church doesnt counsel anymore to get married as a fix or cure, it is virtually impossible to ignore the culture and ideology that teaches that every man should be married, and be out dating women. Just listen to the last general conference. I couldnt help but feel for the thousands of gay Mormons out there that hear the message that men are not being responsible enough, and will make like I did the unfortunate choice to get married to a woman.

A second set of observations about Hollys comments relates to her references to men who know they are gay while dating or at some point prior to marriage.

This matter of knowledge (i.e., of ones sexuality and what this means) is one of the most complicated aspects of the creation of MoMoMs, and will be addressed separately later. However, I would like to make some comments about men who truly do know they are gay and/or those men who like to tell themselves (i.e., pretend) they are not gay, yet (in the words of one of the introductory quotes from Mondays post) mess around with guys.

I dont know about Hollys use of the term misogyny in connection with such guys. (Again, I havent done enough reading in this area to comment intelligently or even coherently.) I will say, however, that in my view – Mormon men who

  • truly know they are gay gay gay (e.g., theyve had sex with guys, they know what it feels like, they know who theyre attracted to and know they dont just have SGA) and/or Mormon men who tell themselves they arent gay yet go out and mess around (read, have sex, though I realize that, in some circles, there is some dispute as to what the definition of sex is; thus, the use of the more inclusive term, mess around) and who
  • nevertheless in todays world – court, become engaged to and marry women without having disclosed their true sexual orientation to their girlfriends, fiancs or wives,

have a lot to answer for.

Why? Well, to quote from a comment Chanson left on Mondays MSP post:

Young people of my generation [i.e., 30-somethings] (even sheltered Mormons like me) had at least a vague awareness of homosexuality, and hence had more tools for understanding their situation than earlier generations did. Kids today [however,] have to be living in a cave not to be aware of homosexuality, hence are better equipped to analyze their own sexuality (and to reject hateful messages about it) than kids of my generation.

With such knowledge and understanding comes a corresponding requirement to act responsibly and morally in accordance with the knowledge and understanding.

Such men as described above appear, in my view, to be either amoral or immoral. These are not men who are truly, sincerely struggling with, or are functionally ignorant of or blind to, their true sexual orientation. These are not men who are sincerely grappling with issues of faith, obedience and identity. In short, these are not men who are trying to do what is right; they are rather men who are doing what is expedient. I would like to think, and trust, that they constitute a small minority of those gay Mormon men who enter into mixed-orientation marriages today, but I’m not so naive as to think that they don’t exist.

I am reminded of the story a gay friend of mine told me of attending, within the past year or so, a wedding reception in a suburb of Salt Lake. He and his former wife were approaching the newlyweds when he suddenly realized that the groom was someone he recognized from having seen on more than one occasion in a Salt Lake gay bar. The recognition was apparently mutual, for my friend thought the groom seemed extremely uncomfortable as he and his wife approached and greeted the couple.

One wonders if the bride knew that her new husband, fresh from a temple sealing room, had fairly recently frequented gay bars. Ummmm. Somehow, I doubt it (although its possible).

There is to me, and I think to most reasonable people who are to any degree knowledgeable about issues relating to MoMoMs, a vast difference between the young, faithful (read sincere), moral (moral, not necessarily morally clean) Mormon man who is honestly trying to do the right thing and the cynical, immoral (immoral, not just morally unclean) Mormon man who is using his wife as a cover, a way (in Holly Welkers words) to preserve his own respectability and righteousness. Again, I would very much like to think such men are a small minority of those who enter in MoMoMs.

In both these cases, however, it is likely that many of the same factors propel these men to the same temple sealing altar. It is to these factors that I will next turn.

Mormon Beards – Exploring the Issues: The Challenge

So I found out a friend from my freshman ward is doing the “I’m in the closet and I mess around with guys but I’m not gay and I plan on marrying a girl in the temple” thing. I feel really bad for him. Not much I can do, but it’s sad That makes 8 gay guys from that ward. Recent comment on MoHo Facebook Forum

[G]ay men who court and marry straight women have privilege, power and information their wives lack. Gay men who court and marry straight women might have been deceived and victimized by the church, but they subsequently deceive and victimize their wives, and they can and should stop. ~ Holly Welker

This is not a post about the appropriateness of facial hair. It is about gay Mormons men who have married, or perhaps plan or hope to marry, a woman. More to the point, it is ultimately about the women in such marriages: the beards of their gay Mormon husbands (in that they are used as a spouse to conceal the husbands sexual orientation).

The Challenge

I was challenged to write about this topic by a commenter who participated in a long string of comments in response to an essay I published here on Main Street Plaza called Reflections on An Overwhelming Emptiness. The MSP essay (which I had also published on my own blog) consisted of a review of and commentary on comments left on my blog in response to a couple of posts about Mormon mixed-orientation marriages (MoMoMs).

The challenge was framed by the following comments by Holly Welker:

Anyone looking at the images [on your blog] would think that a straight woman/gay man [Mo]MoM is entirely about the man in it and from every gay male MoMoM blog Ive read, that would be a reasonable inference. What could you do to bring more attention to the woman in a/your marriage? Could you have images of women beautiful, broken, defiant, angry, weeping? Could you write posts with titles like Remember: Youre marrying a WOMAN, not an Idea and Whats Going to Happen to Your Wife When it All Falls Apart?

[Y]our marriage is not about only you, and I am suggesting that it might be a good idea to demonstrate in your writing and on your blog more awareness, concern and compassion for what your decisions have cost your wife, because by doing so, you can get single gay men on the verge of repeating your mistake to factor in more accurately and appropriately to their decision what that decision will cost any woman they might marry, and I would hope most devoutly that they would actually care about that.

I had several knee-jerk reactions to what Holly wrote. My initial reaction was that my blog is written (1) by a gay man, (2) about gay men, (3) to gay men; it is not written by, about or for women. I also frankly resented what to me was the patronizing insinuation that I needed to demonstrate on my blog more awareness, concern and compassion for what my decisions had cost my wife. Furthermore, I am not a woman, and could not, even if I chose to, purport to express a womans feelings, let alone my own wifes feelings.

For these and other reasons, I extended an invitation to Holly to write a guest post for my blog that would bring more attention to the woman in a [MoMoM] and achieve the other goals she described. She declined to do so, however, referring me instead to an article she wrote for Sunstone on the subject (to which I will refer in later posts).

In the weeks since that post on MSP, I have thought about Hollys challenge and about some of the issues raised by commenters to the MSP post. I decided I would try to put together a series of posts on my blog that address these issues albeit probably in a manner different than Holly (or any other woman) would have. This is the first of these posts that will be published in the coming days. I anticipate that there will be at least an additional four, perhaps more (published on my blog), depending on comments received to this and subsequent posts. I am hopeful that these essays will generate a lot of discussion on a subject that desperately needs to be discussed openly.

What Did You Know and When Did You Know It?

This question, a paraphrase of a famous question posed by Senator Howard Baker during the Watergate hearings, is about as good a place as any to start.

In one of her first comments to my MSP post, Holly wrote:
[However,] a major concern in all of this remains the timing of gay mens deep concern about the welfare of the women they marry. I wish it happened sooner as in, before courtship. I cant help feeling that so many MoMoMs happen because the person with the incompatible orientation doesnt think through the anguish theyll be creating for a partner who is deeply in love with a spouse who cant reciprocate.
She was responding to the following comment I had made: Every gay man I have met, either in person or online, is a real man (with reference to [a] term [used by another commenter see below]) who has expressed deep concern for the welfare of his wife, even in the cases where the wife has initiated divorce proceedings. Myreference to the term real man relates to a comment left by Seth a heterosexual married Mormon:

[I]f your marriage is wrecked, divorce if you must. But dont delude yourself into thinking that youre just setting [your wife] free to fly off and find love. For a lot of single moms out there, there is no second shot, and no one else waiting out there. Sure, she may have been miserable WITH you. But that doesnt automatically mean shell be less miserable WITHOUT you. A real man faces that fact, and takes accountability for it. No matter what his sexual preferences [emphasis added].

In a follow-up comment, Seth wrote: I dont really think a gay guy has any better reason for divorcing his wife than your average straight guy who no longer finds his wife sexually attractive, or doesnt love her, etc.

Well, besides the issues I had with Seths tone and choice of words, I was left with the firm impression that Seth has little or no understanding of what it means to be gay or what it feels like to be in a deeply troubled marriage.

But enough about Seth.

Lets get back to the question: For those guys out there with beards, what did you know about your sexuality and when did you know it? And the $64,000 question when did (or have) you disclosed the fact that your gay to your wife? For those gay guys out there who are considering damning the torpedoes and proceeding with a traditional Mormon marriage, in spite of the fact that you know or strongly suspect you are gay gay gay, when do you plan to tell your young lady about it?

I have to admit that my initial reaction to Hollys comments, quoted several paragraphs above, could be characterized as irritation. She certainly seemed to be saying (or implying) that young Mormon men should, prior to even courting a girl, (1) know their sexual orientation, (2) embrace that orientation enough to be able to take responsibility for it, (3) feel comfortable enough about that orientation to be able to come out to a girl, and (4) have resolved any conflicts between their sexual identity and LDS teachings concerning homosexuality, eternal marriage and the entire Plan of Salvation.

The Gameplan

I want to address each of these points in subsequent posts, as well as Hollys statement that so many MoMoMs happen because the person with the incompatible orientation doesnt think through the anguish theyll be creating for a partner who is deeply in love with a spouse who cant reciprocate.

Because I feel I should put some skin in the game and respond to Hollys challenge, to the extent I am able, I will devote a couple of posts to my own experience and marriage (making it clear that I have always been very protective of my wifes privacy and will continue to be so). I will also examine the factors that have resulted and continue to result in MoMoMs, including addressing issues relating to female sexuality in the Church (relying heavily on comments left on the MSP post by Holly and Chanson). I am hopeful as well that I will be able to include remarks by women who are married to gay men.

Though my initial reaction to the implied points listed above and to Hollys comment (about thinking through the anguish created for a beard) was again – one of irritation proceeding from a perceived lack of understanding on Hollys part and the imposition by her of unrealistic expectations on young Mormon men, this reaction has been tempered somewhat by thought and time, and this will be reflected in subsequent points.

I do believe that Hollys main point is valid and true: As difficult and painful as MoMoMs are for gay men, they are likely to be equally, if not ultimately more, painful for the woman involved. And more often than not, she is likely to be ignorant, going into the marriage, of her husbands true orientation. Gay Mormon men have to take responsibility for that ignorance.

As Holly wrote, men have more agency and control in the matter of courtship and they have privilege, power and information their [future] wives lack. As such, it is incumbent on young gay Mormon men in no small part because they have the ability to do so now more than ever before to come to grips with their sexuality prior to any kind of a marriage. Gay men who court and marry straight women might have been deceived and victimized by the church, Holly concedes, but they subsequently deceive and victimize their wives, and they can and should stop.

I would alter Hollys statement to say that gay Mormon men have [not might have] been indoctrinated, deceived and victimized by the Church in a number of ways that I will discuss in subsequent posts. As to the rest of her statement, however, she is absolutely correct. The downstream deception and victimization of women – which is foreshadowed by the other quote at the beginning of this post – needs to stop. And the moral responsibility of the Mormon Church to do something about this situation can no longer be ignored.

Invictus Pilgrim blogs at http://invictuspilgrim.blogspot.com.

The second installment in this series is posted here.

The third installment in this series is posted here.

Reflections on An Overwhelming Emptiness

About ten days ago, I published a post on my blog (invictuspilgrim.blogspot.com) entitled An Overwhelming Emptiness. It was Daves story, the story of his struggle to come to terms with his sexuality and identity in a Mormon mixed-orientation marriage (MoMoM). Then, on Wednesday of this past week, I published another post, entitled Falling Away, in which James described his struggles with his MoMoM.

These posts have, to date, generated over 30 comments and have racked up more page views in a shorter period of time that virtually any other post since I started blogging last October. An Overwhelming Emptiness, in particular, generated some wonderful comments that I wanted to highlight in this post, along with some of my own observations, around some general themes of concerns faced by gay men in MoMoMs.

Accepting Who You Are

Dave had written that his counselor had suggested that being honest about his sexuality with himself and others is a first step. But, asked Dave, will that lead to happiness? MoHoHawaii responded to this question by writing that coming out to yourself and those closest to you is only a first step. By itself, it may not make you feel better, but it can be the beginning of a longer process that may result in significant life improvements [After all,] coming out is scary. It has ramifications. It may introduce changes in some significant relationships in your life, including your marriage. If you’re ready to start this journey, give it a go. If you need more time, then wait.

For those of with a Mormon background, coming out to oneself may be one of the most difficult things one has ever done, every bit as difficult if not more so as coming out to a spouse. The reason: because we finally not only admit to ourselves what was previously unadmittable, but also accept it and most difficult, but which provides the greatest degree of health embrace it.

Once that hurdle is overcome, however, peace can come. As Alex (who has only recently come to terms with being gay and has reached a decision with his wife to divorce) wrote: I can totally relate to what youre going through. You feel at peace for the first time with yourself because you can accept something that youve been trying to change and fight for years. But it scares you because you dont know what that means for your future, for your marriage.

Like you [Dave], he continued, I spent some time with Evergreen. I went to the conferences, read their books, went through the manual – all the time believing that if I just prayed long enough, worked through enough, I could diminish my feelings of same sex attraction. I dont have a condition called same sex attraction. Im gay. Im homosexually-oriented. And what that means is not just that I have a sexual attraction that I have to keep in check, but that I want to be emotionally and physically intimate with a man. If you know what orientation is, you realize you want fulfillment.

In response to Alexs comment, Dave wrote: Until I reached this point [where Im at right now], I didn’t understand the dimension of emotional love that is missing. As you point out, it’s not confined by the generic “same gender attraction” term, it is my sexual identity, which is part of me; it’s who I am. At the same time, accepting my true identity makes me want to live in harmony with my identity …

Gay + Heterosexual Marriage = Happiness?

In response to the (theoretical) question of whether a gay man can be happy in a heterosexual marriage, MoHoHawaii responded: It depends on how gay you are. A minority of gay people appear to be capable of relating romantically with a person of their non-preferred sex. These folks are capable of maintaining acceptable opposite-sex marriages and making the necessary compromises. For the rest of us, an acceptable level of satisfaction in a mixed-orientation marriage is just not possible.

However, MoHoHawaii continued, the statistics no matter how dismal aren’t really relevant to any individual case. The relevant question here is where you fall on the Kinsey scale, from super straight to super gay. The fact that you are 14 years into a relationship and still feel a severe inability to achieve a passionate emotional connection with your spouse could be seen as evidence that you’re more on the gay side of this continuum. People on the outside can’t really advise you here. You need to look into your own heart and decide if you can continue along your current path, or if real change is needed.

Don wrote: I’ve seen many gay men leave their religion and marriages and find happiness but I’ve never seen gay men find real peace and happiness in a [Mo]MoM or in a religion that doesn’t fully support their natural state of being. Religion and fear seem to be the drug of choice and those who give advice to continue on that path are enablers. Misery loves company. The real truth is all of this can just go away. It happens every day. Men choose to step out of their old way of life that was never really working and into a new life of self acceptance.

Giving Yourself Permission to (Even Think About) Divorce

In addition to all the other issues gay guys in MoMoMs have to deal with is the issue of divorce itself. With the Churchs emphasis on the stability of marriage and the additional (very thick) layer of the doctrine of eternal marriage on top of that, it is extremely difficult for many Mormon men to allow themselves to even contemplate the possibility of divorce. To do so carries not only the normal anxieties that most (non-Mormon) men would face while contemplating divorce and all of its ramifications; it all carries the ponderous and excruciatingly weighty concerns over the crushing failure that divorce represents in the temporal (i.e., the here and now) Mormon world and culture and in the context of Mormon theology and the entire Plan of Salvation.

As I have written before, I refused to allow myself to even contemplate divorce for most of my married life. My parents had been divorced; one set of grandparents had been divorced; my siblings had been divorced. I was determined that this would never, ever happen to me and my family. As it turned out, I was willing to force myself to go to great lengths of unhealthy behavior to ensure that it never happened.

When my wife started floating the prospect that our marriage was seriously over, I panicked. I couldnt allow myself to contemplate this. Until I had what I can only describe as an epiphany last summer well before my Packer-induced gay crisis whereby my mind and heart was suddenly opened to the concept that there could be life after a divorce; and not only could there be life, there could also be happiness. This experience prepared me for what lay ahead in the next few months.

For these reasons, I was pleased to read the following advice to Dave from MoHoHawaii: I do think you might be happier if you entertained the possibility in your mind that you might end your marriage. What this thought experiment does is help reduce any feelings that you are trapped in your situation. It’s one thing to choose to stay in a marriage because of various practical reasons; it’s another thing to feel trapped and hopeless in such a situation. Staying married should be something that you actively choose, not something that’s forced on you. If you seriously gave yourself permission to get divorced and considered it as a real possibility, you might still choose to stay married. I think the fear of divorce causes a lot of stress that can be alleviated by simply admitting that it’s one of the real possibilities and then starting to work systematically on the underyling issues.

The Wife

Of course, there are always two people in a MoMoM, usually a gay husband and a straight wife. Guilt and concerns for a woman that a gay husband often feels a great deal of love and affection toward are also issues that weight heavily upon the mind of the husband. Often, these feelings of guilt and concern are so strong that the husband may not even allow himself to consider that perhaps his wife might be happier as well if the marriage was ended.

Dave described his feelings in this regard in a follow-up comment: Believe me when I say that I care a great deal about how my choices have affected my wife. Much of the anger, despair and self-loathing I’ve carried around is related to this very issue and what my choices have done to her and my family. And although I noted that we discussed my SGA several years ago, I didn’t explore the depths of my sexuality enough to really understand and explain what this means to me and my wife and our relationship. Instead, I bought into the notion that I should determine the causes (distant father, etc.) and thereby understand solutions, which allowed me to go back into the closet.

This time, I hope to behave differently. This includes bringing my wife into this process. She has to understand the journey I will take to explore my future. And she needs to know that accepting my sexuality means I will not swallow all the koolaid. And I need to learn to live honestly. The lying that is required to masquerade in the role of perfect Mormon husband/son permeates many aspects of my life. By being honest about this process, what I’m feeling, what my goals are, etc., I hope that she will be able to decide for herself what she wants and not feel that she has to settle for an incomplete marriage because of all the baggage the church piles on top of us.

Alex, who recently came to a decision with his wife to divorce, wrote the following: Its been a hard process talking to my wife. Having to go back and tell her that I don’t fill emotionally fulfilled by sexual intimacy with her. Having to explain that the attraction I feel for her isnt the same as the attraction I feel for men. It hurts me and her I thought that could change. But I really feel that with the lack of emotional intimacy that should come with physical intimacy [is] probably not going to change. And why should she or I accept anything less than a true marriage?

[S]he asks herself if shes doing something wrong. And she asks herself if she just isnt pretty enough. And a lot of things As I opened up to her, she opened up to me. Ive been withdrawn from my marriage. I havent put myself into the relationship like she has. I realize what Ive put her through. My wife has been suffering from this. Telling her didnt necessarily make it worse. It just helped me open my eyes to the reality of my situation.

[The bottom line is that] Im not getting divorced so I can go be with a man. Im getting divorced because I realize that we cant make our marriage work. Living together as roommates, best friends, sure. But marriage? No way.

For the Kids Sake

Right behind the concerns over getting a divorce are concerns over any children of the marriage. Of course, almost any father contemplating divorce would be concerned about the effects on his children. However, once again, in the case of MoMoMs, there are additional layers of concern arising out of Mormon culture and theology that may prevent a gay father from allowing himself to gain more perspective on the situation.

Once again, MoHoHawaii framed the issued succinctly: Would your kids benefit if you could relate to them from a place of happiness instead of despair? Not to plug the institution of divorce, but just because you have a bad marriage doesn’t mean you can’t have a good divorce that includes respect, affection and a significant improvement in the outcomes of everyone involved.

Ill close with these words of Don: To think that the best thing for your wife and kids is an unhappy, unauthentic father is delusional. When the plane is going down put on your own oxygen mask first and then help others. You are of no use to those around you if you are suffocating. There’s lots of air available, all you have to do is breathe.