Sunday, October 25, 2009

Where I Am in My Journey

Thanks, Abelard, for posing this question to other members of the Moho blogging community... It's a great exercise to think through these questions and answer them -- for ourselves, if not for others.

How did you get to where you are today?
I almost committed suicide the summer of 1986. At the time I was a student at BYU, struggling to deal with my feelings of same-sex attraction, struggling with doubt and self-worth. I was in a lot of pain. Later that summer, I had my name removed from the records of the Church, after having a powerful series of spiritual experiences in which I felt that God was guiding me to distance myself from the Church for a time.

In the late 1980s I came out. Also, following a series of spiritual experience in which I sought God's guidance to help me figure out whether I should be celibate or try marrying a woman, I felt the Spirit pushing me to be open to "all the possibilities." I spent a summer in a Roman Catholic monastery. Eventually I started dating men.

I met my husband in 1992. We've had our ups and downs, struggles and joys. We celebrate a number of "anniversaries." When we first moved into the same apartment together (1993), when we had our first "commitment ceremony" (1995), when we got married in the eyes of the state of California (2008). We remain lovingly committed to one another, despite the fact that, in 2005 I had a series of powerful spiritual experiences which led me to return to the LDS Church.

I've been "active" in my ward in Minneapolis since October 2005. I have sought guidance from the Lord on what to do in regard to my relationship with my husband, and the Spirit has instructed me that under no circumstances am I to leave him. I am to be faithful to him and honor our relationship as I would if we were a legally married husband and wife. I try to live as faithfully as I can, applying as many principles of the Gospel as I can in my life. I have a testimony of the gospel and the Church. I believe that the present leaders of the Church are called and inspired by the Lord though, like all of us, are not perfect. I strive to be faithful in the same way that all of us are called to be faithful -- to be loyal to the Church despite my imperfections and the imperfections of others.

Are you happy with where you are? why or why not?
I often experience sadness and pain about not being able to be a full member of the Church, given my current circumstances. Sometimes I wrestle with serious self-doubt. I have a testimony of the Church and its leaders, and the Church at present has taken such a hard position on same-sex marriage. Is something terribly wrong with me? Am I so out of touch? Will I be eternally damned?

But in general, despite this kind of wrestling on occasion, the Spirit is powerfully present in my life, reassuring me, comforting me, and helping me to grow. I believe I am a better, kinder, more loving, more patient person, a better husband and father as a result of my willingness to turn back to the Church and strive to live as faithfully as I can.

My life is FULL of joy, and I could not be happier.

Where do you see yourself in the future?
In ten years: Göran and I will still be together, and we will have had several more foster children. We'll be celebrating our 11th anniversary of getting married in Riverside, CA, and by then the US will have legalized same-sex marriage, of which we will be enjoying the rights, privileges and responsibilities.

In one thousand years: We will be living in the presence of our Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother, continuing to build God's ever expanding kingdom with joy and thanksgiving. We will look back at these trials and struggles with joy and gratitude for everything that they taught us about ourselves and about our relationship with God.

If no one else has expressed this intention... I plan to have regular Moho reunions in the Celestial Kingdom, so we can all get together and reminisce about the "bad old days."

What roadblocks do you have and/or have overcome?
One of the biggest challenges in terms of my relationship with my husband is my involvement with the Church. He saw it as crazy and dangerous -- to me, to our relationship. He was very resentful of any involvement I wanted to have with the Church. At first, it was so intense I wasn't sure our relationship would survive. But we have generally weathered those storms and have grown as a result of them. It is still not always easy, but is getting better.

Members of the Church have their share of "issues" as well, though I am blessed with a ward that is very generous and accepting. We have grown tremendously together. My Elder's Quorum is incredible. I weep when I think about how loving and supportive they have become of me.

What advice do you have for others following a similar path that you have?
If you think that you are going to "change" the Church, it is the wrong reason for getting involved in it. If you are to try to nurture any kind of relationship with the Church under circumstances similar to my own, you must do it because you have a testimony and because you want to enter into the path the Christ showed us. You need to have a genuine desire to listen to and obey the Spirit. If you enter into the path with those motivations, I guarantee you will be blessed beyond your wildest expectations.

What advice do you have for family and friends?
If you need advice, I will refer you to my parents... They have been so incredibly loving and supportive, and have become a huge source of strength to me. But it took them a while to get there.


Anonymous said...

there's a movie in there somewhere; or maybe an HBO series....

D-Train said...

I'm not going to lie, when I read your blog, I think you are crazy for returning to Mormonism,. But I am glad that you are happy and that you and your husband have worked things out. I am not sure how I would react if somebody I was married to for so many years suddenly returned to Mormonism. You both must be incredibly strong people.

Christopher Bigelow said...

I can't really logically refute all your talk of the emotional and spiritual fulfillment you find in homosexuality, but I'm curious: What is your defense of actual gay sex? How do you reconcile that from a Mormon viewpoint?

Here's the way I see it: Humans are made in the image of God, including genitals. Humans are sent to earth to learn to behave like God and avoid anything that diverts them from that path. By Mormon logic, you would have to say that God could could use his genitals with a member of the same sex. Because if God could not or should not do that, then neither should any of his children.

So in other words, unless God himself could be gay and engage in gay sexual intercourse, then there's no theological justification for any of his children to do that.

Are there any other exceptions that God has made to this pattern that you can cite to justify gay sex? In other words, an occasion where God has said, in essence, "I would never or could never do that, but it's OK for you to do it, and I fully endorse it."

My understanding of Mormonism is that we're supposed to follow God and Jesus's example, and anything that deviates from that is unholy and impure. Is there any way you can help an orthodox Mormon like me see how God could look upon the act of same-gender sodomy with any degree of allowance?

Personally, I find your arguments reminding me of some of the guys in the Book of Mormon. I sense echoes of Nehor, who taught that God created everyone, will redeem everyone, and that people need not "fear and tremble" because everyone will be saved. I also sense echoes of Korihor, who taught words and doctrines pleasing to the carnal mind and had even begun to believe them himself.