Friday, March 27, 2009

Interviews with Christ

After separating the sheep from the goats, Christ interviews the sheep.

Interview #1

Christ: So I understand you are homosexual, but were married to a woman your whole life. What was that like?

Interviewee #1: Well, as you can imagine, it was very challenging. I followed the advice of Church leaders and got married, believing that if I did my sexual orientation would eventually change. It never did. And as I gradually realized that it wouldn't, I was disappointed, angry, depressed. I almost lost faith in my Church leaders and even in you. But I hung in there, and gradually I realized that there were other blessings that helped keep me going. I sure love my children! They made everything else worth it.

It was really hard for my wife, too, as you can imagine. She had to be twice as disappointed and frustrated as I was, once she realized I could never be the kind of husband she thought she was marrying. Boy did we argue sometimes, and we both said things we later regretted. There were times when we thought our marriage would never make it. But we hung in there. Boy, do I love her! The temptation to be unfaithful was very difficult, and there was even a time when I failed her in that regard. But somehow she was able to forgive me, and I went through a repentance process. And in the end, we realized we had something precious, even if it wasn't what we had initially hoped.

Even though we were surrounded and supported by friends, family, and Church, there were times when we felt so alone. People loved us, but they just never could understand what we were going through. Sometimes we thought we would go crazy. But we learned to reach out and rely on others more. And we learned how precious our relationships were to our extended family and members of our ward.

Christ: You're fortunate. It didn't work out so well for most people in your situation.

Interviewee #1: Oh, I know. I know.

Christ: What do you think you've learned from all this?

Interviewee #1: Well, I learned the value of obedience and how unexpected blessings can come from it. And I learned a LOT about communication and fidelity. And I learned how nothing important in life can be achieved without recognizing our interdependence. And of course I learned about the nature of love.

Christ: Well, we have some very important work for you to do that requires just those skills! Congratulations! You made it!

So I have one final question for you, and I want you to be completely honest. How do you feel about remaining together with your lovely spouse for all eternity?

Interviewee #1: Well, we've made it together this far. All of life's most important lessons, I learned from her. I can't imagine continuing without her.

But, um. I'm wondering, could you arrange for us to have a little more 'umph' in our marriage going forward? If you know what I mean?

Christ: (laughing) Yes, I know what you mean. And yes, I think adding a little more 'umph' to your marriage will be possible.

Interviewee #1: Yippee!

*****

Interview #2

Christ: So I understand you are same-sex attracted and consequently you chose to remain celibate your entire life. What was that like?

Interviewee #2: Well, as you can imagine, it was very challenging. Members of the Church, friends and family tried to be supportive, I think. Their hearts were in the right place, but so often they just didn't get it. Sometimes there were things said in Sunday School and Priesthood meeting that made me just want to get up and scream. But I didn't. And gradually some folks figured it out, and I learned not to get upset by the ones that didn't.

But the hardest thing, as you can imagine, was the loneliness. Sometimes it was just grinding. It felt like I was dying. Sometimes I was so angry at Church leaders who counseled me to stay celibate. I thought, "What do they know? They're married! They have a wife and kids to go home to." Sometimes I felt like just giving up on the Church, even on you. But I hung in there. And I discovered strengths I never thought I had. And gradually I learned that I never really was alone. I could feel you there by my side. And there was no companionship I would rather have than yours!

And with no wife or kids, I had so much time and energy to get involved in some really great service projects... Serving food to the hungry. Building houses for the homeless. Visiting people in prisons. You were there too. Boy, nothing in the world gave me a better feeling than seeing people's faces when you'd done something good for them.

Christ: There are very few who gain as profound an understanding of the whole meaning of life as you have.

Interviewee #2: I was blessed. I was always so blessed. Thank you!

Christ: What do you think you've learned from all this?

Interviewee #2: Well, I learned the value of patience, and how friendships can be blessed and deepened by it. And I learned a LOT about the value of obedience, and how it can teach us to be stronger than we ever imagined possible. And I learned the pure joy of service. And of course I learned about the nature of love.

Christ: Well, we have some very important work for you to do that requires just those skills! Congratulations! You made it!

So I have one final question for you, and I want you to be completely honest. Would you still like to continue single, or are you interested in the possibility of finding a partner going forward?

Interviewee #2: A partner, please!! That's what I've been saving myself for! I've had enough loneliness for all eternity.

Christ: Male or female?

Interviewee #2: I can choose? But, um, suppose I choose a woman... There wouldn't be any issues with, um, you know...

Christ: No, it's possible to work that out.

Interviewee #2: Well, I love women, so let's make it a woman.

Christ: Good choice.

*****

Interview #3

Christ: So I understand you are gay and you found a life-partner of the same sex, though you faced some very difficult social challenges. What was that like?

Interviewee #3: Well, I couldn't have done it without my husband. We were there for each other through rejection by our churches, job discrimination, alienation from our families. We had to learn to really make extra effort to be there for each other, because all of those stresses took a toll on us, and sometimes made it hard for us to give as much as the other needed. And we managed to stay faithful to each other too, despite the usual temptations. As a result the mutual love that grew between us was incredible. And it taught us how to give to others as well, and gave us a foundation to give service to the broader community. And we adopted two children, and just can't imagine what our life would have been like without them!

Of course, I also had to wrestle with my anger. People could be so hateful, and could say and do things that made us feel like shit, like the scum of the earth. I felt so crushed and betrayed by the Church. So often, I even lost faith in you, and believed that you didn't love me either. I almost committed suicide at one point. But you were there for me, and I learned to rely on you. And I gradually learned that in order to survive I had to come to terms with my anger, and learn to forgive others for what they had done. And when I did, I realized what an incredible gift that was! I realized that there is no love that even compares to the love that we return for hate. What an amazing gift!

And so often there was just incredible self-doubt that tormented me. How could I be right, when it seemed like the whole world disapproved of me? At least the part of the world that really mattered to me -- the Church, our families. But I knew that our love was a good thing, and choosing each other and taking care of each other the way we did was the right thing to do, even when everyone else called it a "sin." Learning to stand up for what you know is right, even when no one else has faith in you... It came in handy in lots of important situations. I'd say it was worth it.

Christ: I'd say you've done well with the gifts you were given.

Interviewee #3: Thanks for helping me with that!

Christ: What do you think you've learned from all this?

Interviewee #3: Well, of course with my spouse I learned the value of communication and fidelity in helping us build a love that made life worth living. And of course I learned a LOT of patience! And courage to stand up for what is right. And of course I learned about the nature of love.

Christ: Well, we have some very important work for you to do that requires just those skills! Congratulations! You made it!

Interviewee #3: You mean you're not sending us to hell?

Christ: (smiling) No, you've done enough time in hell. We need you in Heaven, even if only to ruffle the feathers of the "righteous"!

So I have one final question for you, and I want you to be completely honest. How do you feel about remaining together with your lovely spouse for all eternity?

Interviewee #3: You're not going to split us up now, are you? After all we've been through, I can't imagine continuing without him!

Christ: No, if that's what you want, you and your husband may look forward to learning and growing together forever.

Interviewee #3: But what about our kids, can we be with them too?

Christ: Yes, we can make arrangements for you to be with the kids too.

Interviewee #3: Yippee!

16 comments:

El Genio said...

Thank you for interview #3. It's a very rare day when I am moved by blog posts, but this one did it for me.

Bravone said...

John, we need to talk. Please shoot me an email and I will give you my number. I really have a lot I would like to bounce off you, if you don't mind.

Thank you so much for this post... and the last two!

Alan said...

#3. How I wish.

Evan said...

Wow, John. I was moved as well.

You're perspective portrayed on #3 is something I have often thought about. Why is it that committed, good, gay couples can't have eternal families? If you have proven to be a good husband and father, why can't you stay together with your kids and partner forever? Why would God take such a thing away from someone.

Anyways.. I love it. I agree that doom and gloom is not the future for those in healthy same-sex relationships. Thanks.

D. said...

I can't tell you how many times I have pondered an interview like this. I feel like I have done all I can do and I hope and pray Christ treats me like the guy in interview #3. THANK YOU.

A.J. said...

wow what a beautiful post! Thank you.

Beck said...

The bottom line is lessons-learned, right? What have we done with what has been given? The great lesson of the Parable of the Talents. We have been given different scenarios to play out. The point that escapes people is that we are in different roles. The point isn't "what role did you play", but "what did you do with the role you were given?" or better still "what did you learn from the experience of playing that role?" and "what have you become because of the experiences you've gained?"

Virtue, honesty, integrity, selflessness, loyalty, faithfulness, devotion, passion, compassion, love, charity... these are the lessons we should be learning no matter what role we play.

Bravone said...

John, thank your for the call. I am truly impressed with your faith and conviction. I am glad to now call you friend. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us.

I wish more could realize that staying in the church is a viable option, as you have proved. I hope other wards will show the love and acceptance that you have felt.

Thank you,
Steve

Bravone said...

John, one question I have you for you is this, How do you deal with comments in church meetings about Prop 8 and similar discussions that can be so personal to you? I would benefit from your thoughts.

J G-W said...

Bravone -- Thanks so much... Our talk meant a lot to me as well, and I was grateful to hear parts of your story. I look forward to getting to know you better.

I've written a lot about how I coped with Prop 8, including some description of reactions of people in my ward, and how I have responded. I wrote eight posts on this topic, from Nov. 6 - Nov. 20, starting with this one.

Beck -- I was hoping you would read this post... I hope something of this resonated for you.

Beck said...

John: Oh yeah, it resonated! I've been thinking about it all weekend. As I taught my lesson on Sunday I really felt the need to express that we really are going to one day be interviewed by the Savior, and he'll want to know how we gave, not what we got!

You're my hero.

P.S. Bravone is my brother! I'm so excited to see the two of you talking and getting to know each other better!

J G-W said...

Beck - I'm glad. Your ears might have been burning Saturday afternoon, as we were talking about you. :-)

Joe Conflict said...

Your blogs show an emotional and spiritual maturity that is really beautiful. I loved your seven myths blog. I needed to read it. Thank you.

J G-W said...

Thanks, Joe.

drakames said...

Serendipity just posted a link to this post on my blog and I'm so glad she did. This is an amazing perspective and brought a tear to my eye just imagining it. Thank you so much.

J G-W said...

Thanks, Drakames... I appreciate it.