June 20, 2010

I Need to Clear the Air

I am Mormon.
I am Gay.
I am different from most mormons.
I am different from most gays.
I am different from most gay mormons.

This puts me in a unique spot. A position of uniqueness is often times a lonely spot. One side doens't understand my reasoning to want to date men when I believe so hardily in the church. One side doesn't understand my dedicated defending of the church. Both sides don't see how the other side can fit into my life.

Let me clear up the differences.

For me the church is true. 100%. God is my father in heaven. Jesus Christ came and died for my sins. Joseph Smith was in the grove and spoke with God and Christ and was instructed to restore the truth. Every prophet in his succession has had the authority from God to speak and direct his church. The Book of Mormon is true. The organization of the church is inspired, and the leaders are guided by the spirit do do God's work on this earth.

For me, I like men. I love how I feel around the same sex. I desire to date and fall in love with a man. I want to spend the rest of my life with a guy who wants the same from me. I want to cuddle up on a rainy night (I do live in Portland after all) and watch a movie together, while we share the same popcorn bowl. I want to snuggle up next to his warm body when I fall asleep. I want his arms wrapped securely around we when I sleep, so I know I am protected.
I don't believe the church is in some sort of fault or wrong path because of their stance on gay marriage. I don't believe the leaders of the church are blinded by bigotry, and I don't think the members are walking by blind faith off a cliff.

I don't hate myself. I don't believe I am a homophobic homo who is afraid to accept what I want. I don't think that I must rid myself of association with the church. I don't feel I have to participate in gay pride simply because I am gay (which I canceled going with friends to Portland Pride this weekend because I decided thats not what I want to do).

It frustrates me that members of the church hold gays at arms length, for fear of sin rubbing off on them.

It frustrates me that members of the church would leave the church because of its stance on gay marriage.

It upsets me that I have to hide who I am while among my church friends for fear that they wont want to associate with me because I like men, and want to date men.

It upsets me that I have to continually defend my church and my beliefs while among my gay friends for fear they wont want to associate with me because I am a Mormon and want to remain a Mormon.
I get defensive when people talk smack about the church.

I get defensive when people talk smack about someone because they are gay.

I want to date and be with a man.

I want to go to church and be a Mormon.
I hate how the church is portrayed in the gay community and media at large. Because I am Mormon, I must be a bigot, who thinks I am better than everyone. I think the movie Prop 8 is a smear piece full of hyped up opinions and skewed facts.

I hate how a gay is portrayed in the minds of Mormons. Because I am gay, I must be anti-mormon, going and getting drunk and having sex every night.

You see my dilemma? How can I fit into any group without shunning the other.

I had a gay friend tell me that she doesn't understand how I can stay in the church and deny myself what my heart wants. I told her that my heart is in the church as well as wanting to be with a man. For me to deny myself as a mormon would be hiding my hearts desire.

I had a Mormon friend tell me that he doesn't understand how I can choose to live the gay life and deny myself what I know to be true. I told him that I know I want to be with a guy as much as he wants to be with his wife. To deny that feeling is to hide my true hearts desire.

Because I believe the church is true, I cannot say, like many of you, that I think the church is wrong with regards to homosexuality, therefore allowing me to stop following something I think is false. Instead, I choose to willing go against something I believe. I choose to be with a man, even though I know that is not God's intended purpose for me.

Does this make me a self hating gay? NO. Does it make me a hypocrite? Maybe. I do not feel guilty for choosing to date men. Even though I know it is wrong, I don't hate myself for doing this. I have come to comfortable terms with this decision.

If I were to leave the church I would be turning my back on something I know is true.

If I were to never be with a man, I would be turning my back on something that I want.

This is why I am different from many gay Mormons I know. This is why I am not a "real" gay. This is why I am not a "real" Mormon. This position I have placed myself in is lonely at times. But it is where I am comfortable, and where I have decided to put myself, therefore I am ok with it.

If it means I will never be a member of the church in good standing, then so be it. If it means no gay wants to date me, then so be it. I am stubborn, and wont waver because someone wants me to.


  1. I'm going to try to say this without judgment, but by way of simple observation: people are confused about your decisions because your decisions, and your defense of them, aren't rational but emotional. You're choosing to act based on what you "want" and "feel", both in regards to the church and to dating men (your belief in the church is likely based largely on feelings from what you believe to be the Spirit, and your decision to date men is based on desires you have for men). And you're owning that. That seems honest. It doesn't make sense to me in a logical or rational way, but it is understandable on an emotional level.

    I don't think you have to hate yourself to be in the position you're in. I do think you'll necessarily come to an eventual breaking point of cognitive dissonance, one way or another, if you allow yourself to analyze your decisions to conclusion. You'll either have to take a less fundamental stance where the church is concerned or set aside the option of romantic/sexual involvement with men. To believe yourself to be willfully transgressing and thereby deliberately living against what you believe seems, to most people, a non-sustainable long-term path and/or damaging to one's integrity. That may be where your friends' confusion comes from: they're drawing it out to conclusion, where you're at a point where you're simply making decisions and not worrying about the eventualities...for now.

    Perhaps you believe it's more respectable to believe something and acknowledge you're openly defying what you believe to be true than to spinelessly adapt your beliefs around your actions? Of course, that does require you to openly defy it and not look down on others for doing what you're doing and not pretend you are "worthy" in the eyes of the church when you're not, etc. But maybe that's exactly what you're saying?

    Am I understanding at all? :-)

  2. @OMOHO- I appreciate your comment and didn't feel it was judgmental at all. :)

    Can I ask though, how feelings and wants aren't rational? What would you feel is a rational motivation to act on?

    I don't I hate myself for being in this position, this was more of just a statement of where I am. (several people had asked me where I stand with the church and being gay, and so this was a written... declaration of sorts.

    I agree that eventually I will have to make, or be forced to make a decision, but right now, I am searching and finding what I want, instead of acting without 100% dedication.

    I don't look down on others for choosing to leave the church to be with a man. That isn't what bothers me at all, for in a few years I may make the same decision. What does bother me is the anger and resentment towards the church that some portray. I understand that their feelings come from a honest source in their life and I don't question that. What irks me is (I have to think about this before I say it, because I know it can be hurtful, but I don't entend it that way), what irks me is the vocal hated spoken about the church and its leaders.

    Its like when someone attacks the church, a member can't help but feel they personally are being attacked. The same, visa versa is true, when someone attacks a gay, you can't help but feel they are attacking you personally as well.

    So I don't look down on those who have left the church to live with a man. I don't pretend I am more worthy cause I still consider myself an active member (even though on paper I am not).

    I think overall though, you pinned the tail on the ass (excuse the language).

  3. I absolutely agree with Mohomie. I think trying to compartmentalize who you are versus what the church teaches about being gay will at some point be at odds. Some believe they can be gay and be married to a woman and remain in the church. I think that is an unwise decision because they are sacrificing part of who they were created to be so as to fit a theological and cultural norm that otherwise doesn't have any answers. Yet that is their choice.

    Since I left the church several years before coming out I'm in the unique position of having a different perspective than many that admit being gay and leave the church as a result. With that said and despite my different path I admit I still have a great deal of animosity towards the church. This feeling would not occur if I still believed in the doctrines of the church.

    We are taught from our youth to defend the church and its teachings at all costs from anyone that may attack it - even if what they are saying happens to be true about the church. While I believe this is because really the church wouldn't exist with out the continual action of self preservation wrought by the defensiveness of its leaders and members, it doesn't give the church any sort of permission to denigrate other persons in the world, which it is very guilty of doing through out its history. The problem of it feeling personal has nothing to do with members but everything with how the church controls and manipulates emotions. It is very much a sign of cult preservation I hate to say.

    With all that said the church deserves every bit of criticism heaped upon it by those the instution harms. Even if the church were true it must be held accountable for the consequences of its actions. Any organization claiming to be built on Christian tenants should know better than wield its power for unrighteous purposes of control and dominance of those in the surrounding communities, and the leaders of the church have done that more than once in history. But again I have spent years studying the church prior to leaving it and before realizing I was gay.

    Maturity will always refine perspective. I remember a young gentlemen, David Baker, who avowed he would never leave the church even though he is gay. He has matured and seen the church for what it is - he too has realized that it isn't all it claims to be and is beginning to find his own path. I suspect in time you will find a path that leads you from Mormonism if you desire a life that harmonizes with who you are and what will bring you happiness.

    I could write a book on the subject but you get my point. Don't be like so many other active members and quick to judge those out side of the walls of Mormonism. You too may one day find yourself outside those walls and your eyes will be opened to what really lies with in the confines of the church. And then your heart will be softened to help those still on the inside see what it is those of us on the outside see.

  4. Quinn, I get where you're coming from, I also use to get very uncomfortable when people would speak disparagingly about the church and it's leaders. I'm guessing many of us were there at some point in time to varying degrees.

    I've slowly allowed myself to realize and accept that the church and it's leaders are not perfect. Not by any stretch of the imagination. It's easy to say that conceptually, but to internalize it and really believe it is another thing altogether. For me, it's helped make the church more human and for some strange reason even a little more endearing to me. Like a crazy uncle who you love even though he says some crazy ass things at family reunions. If you look back, leaders of the church have said some crazy ass things. You don't even need to look back.

    So I guess I get why people get angry. I think they have a right to, and I don't take it personally. My identity isn't tied into the church as an institution or into being gay.

    The church and it's leaders aren't perfect and even if the church is true, like Sean said, it has to be held accountable for it's actions. Just like any other person or institution. It's a basic eternal law that we are taught since youth.

    As far as it coming to eventually having to choose between either the church or homosexuality, I don't think it has to be that simple if you don't want it to be. There are guys who are in committed relationships with other men and continue to be involved to a limited extent at church. I'm sure it's not easy, but I think it's possible if that's what you want.

  5. Here's what I think OMo is saying (or at least this is how my thought process went as I read your post)...

    Your position (as I understand it) is something like this:

    The church is true. God and Christ came to Joseph Smith and had him create the organization, and he and each of his successors (Brigham Young, John Taylor, ... Thomas Monson) has had authority from God to speak His will. When they speak, it's like God speaking.

    So when the prophet (or others sustained as prophets, e.g. the apostles) say that acting on homosexual feelings is wrong, it's the same as God saying so. Which means God doesn't want me to act on my attractions. I believe this.

    But I want to be with a man--it's just a part of who I am--so even though I believe that God
    doesn't want me to, I'm going to try to find a man to be with. I'm deliberately choosing to go against what God wants.

    ... Have I got that right?

    What OMo is saying (I think--I don't want to put words in his mouth) is that you're going to find it very difficult to sustain such a dichotomous mindset indefinitely. Deliberately "sinning" over an extended period of time is going to catch up to you, and eventually you'll have to make a choice: either being with a man is a sin, and you'll want to stop doing it, or it isn't, which means the church leaders don't always speak for God.

    JonJon mentions others who have found partners but continue to be involved in the church. I know a few of them, fairly well, and it's true that they're making it work (something that I'm not sure I could do). But every person I know who is partnered and still "active" (to some extent or another) believes that God accepts their partnership, and that church leaders are mistaken (i.e. not speaking for God) when they set policies that prohibit such relationships.

    The "anger and resentment" toward the church that you see in others (and dislike so much) comes (typically) from a realization that the leaders of the church aren't inspired on this issue, and from an understanding that their efforts to prevent the legalization of gay marriage and their support of policies that prevent gay members from finding a fullness of joy are doing real damage to individuals and families. They believe (and I agree with them) that these efforts are the antithesis of true Christianity, and so they feel anger or bitterness toward the organization that promotes them.

    Nothing is black/white either/or, though. I know many who firmly believe that the brethren are wrong, but who are not angry or bitter toward them or the church. I consider myself one of them, in fact. I don't resent the church itself. But I do dislike (and feel some anger about) its efforts in the political arena, and I don't hesitate to speak against those efforts. To many members, any ill-speaking of the church or its leaders or its policies and practices is seen as a blanket bitterness toward the organization. But I see it differently. I can love and respect my parents, and feel general good will toward them, which still criticizing (hopefully in a constructive manner) particular actions of theirs that I believe are wrong. I can take the same attitude toward the church that I was raised in.

    Finally, just out of curiosity...
    I think the movie Prop:8 is a smear piece full of hyped up opinions and skewed facts.

    Have you seen the film? If so, I'd be interested in a more detailed explanation of where you think it's skewed the truth. If not, how is your deciding that it's not true any different from a non-member declaring the Book of Mormon a fraud without ever having read it?

  6. @ Jon - Thank you for sharing with me. I know you and respect you a great deal, so I can appreciate your thoughts and "counsel". While I do believe the leaders are not perfect, I believe the church is, and when they guide the church they speak for God, as Scott said. So I don't believe that they steer wrong on some issues and right on others, because in my mind that would be saying God is steering it wrong.

    I fully agree people have a right to be angry with the church, but as far as them holding the church accountable... In my mind and my personal belief, and I realize this is not as others see it, they are saying God must be held accountable, and that is not acceptable to me. For if God directs (as I believe he does) then it is correct, and there is nothing to be challenged.

    You are most likely correct in not having to have a clean cut between the church and a gay relationship, but that is still a burry post in the road of my life, and I may find it.... I may not.

    @ Scott - You do have it right! I think you put into words what I was fumbling to say. Thanks.

    I have heard from some that I will fall on one side of the fence or another, and I hear from others that I can build a happy paved path between the two. I am still on my journey, I will have to get back to everyone on what I find, but right now I only see in full view one side or another.

    I can see your comparison of parents, and I can accept that. In the past it has all sounded, to me, out right anger, so I will try looking at criticism in this new light.

    About the movie:

    I said "I think" because I have not seen it. However, I did watch trailers and clips online, and read blogs about those who had seen it (all from a moho perspective) and that is a main part of what I am basing my preconceived opinion on. I realize this is a portion of what is in the movie.

    BUT, (quite a big but), looking at who the movie was made by, who its directed towards, and the content of the movie, it is un-questionably lop-sided. I think that everyone can agree upon.

    Will I see it in it entirety? Possibly. Will I pay money to see it. HELL NO. I'll wait till a friend rents it or something. But something tells me I won't be changing my opinion about it.

    @All - Thank you for responding and sharing your opinions! I appreciate hearing what you have to say and appreciate we can discuss this civilly.

  7. I don't think it's a matter of me or others holding God accountable. I see the church and the gospel as two separate things. I think it's possible for God's prophet's and apostles to get things wrong. Joseph Smith started a bank that failed miserably. Bruce R. McConkie said incredibly insenstive things about people of African descent, etc. I don't think that necessarily needs to mean that they aren't men of God or that the church isn't true. It's just how imperfect mortal life goes. I think that if the church were perfect, Jesus would be here already and everyone would be taken care of. I think the church as it is now, is but a mere shadow of what it will and needs to become.

  8. Scott, your re-wording of my message was accurate.

    Quinn, thanks for the explanation. I appreciate your frankness, and it does make more sense of where you're coming from.

    As for the emotion/rational decision-making, I do think emotions should be examined and considered in decisions. I think it's very useful to examine your desires and emotions to figure out what that tells you about the way you're responding to things, how you're thinking about them, and where your priorities are. Then you can use the ol' noggin' to respond to those things. But I also think decisions shouldn't be driven by emotional reactions if there's no rationale behind them. Emotions change all the time, and "wants" aren't always what's best for you (just ask my gut how good my decision to eat excessive junk food lately has been *wink*).

    I think part of your conundrum is that you're trying to figure out what is "true" and what you _hope_ (or "desire") to be true. Or maybe you're choosing same-sex companionship despite believing it's wrong because you long for it and are ignoring the rational conclusions of seeking it because your emotions are a heavier motivation for your actions than logic. I don't know if that's "wrong", per se, but it's not rational to try to believe two absolutely opposing things, such as actively seeking a relationship you believe is absolutely wrong (because the absolutely correct institutional church is guided by a god who absolutely prohibits it for absolutely all people). Doing that, however, does fulfill both your desire to be attached to the church, to believe the message it carries, or to be right about your interpretations about what you perceive as spiritual confirmations, as well as your desire to be loved in a certain way by the kind of person you want that love from.

    In the end, I guess if making that kind of irrational (not "bad", just not rationally defensible) decision keeps you sane until whenever you can make more sense of life, the universe, and everything, and you do it without deception, then I guess ya gotta do what ya gotta do. And if you can admit it doesn't make sense, but it's what you're doing to cope, then that's pretty dern honest.

    I'm just saying be careful: emotion-based decision-making is also how married men avoid facing reality and "decide" it's OK to remain with their wives but secretly sleep with their secretaries. :-)

  9. @ OMo - You and Scott will be hired when I write my Presidential memoirs, you both have cleared up what I was trying to say.

    I can see what you mean now by the "un-rational" decisions I've made. Like you said this will only maintain me on a temporary basis. I never intended this to be a final destination of decisions. Merely a reststop till I can figure things out. When someone gets to know me very well, they know that I am not someone to act without having thought something out fully.

    I was talking to my brother recently. I had just bought a new mac book pro, and dropped quite a big sum for it. He said, "Quinn, you don't splurge on little things, EVER. But when you've made your decision, you spare no expense." I asked him to clarify.

    He said, I never go and buy little things, like clothes or weird little trips, or trinkets. I hold my money very tight. But when I make a purchase, I go only for the best. He told me that is a good thing. I research out what I want, and spare nothing to have the best.

    I suppose this is how I deal with life. Im not going to make little decisions until I know what I want. And then I will go for it.


    I told my bishop and stake president, I don't want to begin the repentance process because I don't know if that is what I want. IF I am going to repent, I want it to be for the right reasons, and be firm to that decision.

    I also wont leave the church, because I want to be with a guy. If I am going to be WITH a man, then I will be with him, no matter what.

    I haven't made my decision, but I am investigating and doing my research. I am dating, I am going to church. This foot in both camps is intended to only be a step in the total process.

    Like I said, this post was just to let those who wanted to know where I was RIGHT NOW.

    I have tried explaining this way of thinking to some friends, and I tell them, "I know it doesn't make any sense to you, but it does to me, and thats all that matters." I know its my own way of thinking, and Im ok with that.

    As far as your affair analogy lol... I dont take offense by the way lol. There is however a disconnect with one side (the spouse) for someone to cheat. I don't feel a disconnect with the church or a relationship with a guy. So I wont cheat!

  10. I am new to the MoHo blog world so I do not know a lot of your history. I do, however, like your position as described two years ago. I relate to it in many ways. My biggest difference is that I had not participated or wanted to participate in the church for 15 years prior to resigning my membership. My inactivity was based more on dealings with and decisions of some people rather than questions about fundamental church doctrine.

    I make some decisions based on logic - my mind. I make some decisions based on emotion - my heart. There are times when I need an emotional or spiritual confirmation of a logical decision. I call that making decisions by my soul.

    I concluded through logic that I needed to resign once I made the decision to come out and look for a partner. I had a hard time reconciling that decision in my heart, though, due to some of my earlier church experiences. One example - having a strong witness at the LTM (now MTC) that Spencer W. Kimball was a prophet. There was also a spiritual aspect of my birth that was part of the emotional decision. I was born due to my mother's faith in her patriarchal blessing. I worked through those items, but still was not ready to resign. I needed the confirmation in my mind, heart and soul. I received that confirmation in my soul while listening to the Benji Schwimmer interview #3. I wrote my resignation letter and mailed it immediately after the interview ended, and felt at peace with the decision.

    Where ever you are on your journey today, I wish you well. Some parts of me don't fit in the gay community. Some parts of me don't fit in the Utah Mormon community of my birth or the North Carolina Christian community where I have lived the past 20+ years. Nevertheless, I am what I am, and I am trying to move forward.

    I ask people to let God be my judge. So far, most have agreed. I do not know where I will end up after this life. I told some people if I am going to hell that I want to be the most kind and ethical person in hell. I don't think that is where I will end up, though. I think God knows the intentions of my mind, my heart, and my soul. He wants me to be happy and fulfilled. That requires a man as my partner.

  11. Hi Trevor. I just found your blog and have been reading much of it with interest. I am not gay myself, though I do have close friends in the gay community here in my town. I was born and raised in the Mormon church. I don't mean to offend, but you seem as a child in my eyes, in regards to your "testimony" of the church. I am in my fifties. I was BIC, attended seminary, fulfilled a mission, married in the temple, attended BYU, was a teacher at the MTC for 4 years while at BYU, and held many positions of leadership in the church. I only mention these to show a long history as a true believer, and I was, I thought, very firm in my faith. Yet, over the years, as many do, I put things "on the shelf", things that just didn't ring true, didn't make sense, or were outright historical fiction.

    At one point, 2 years ago, while reading a book about the FLDS polygamist community, I had an epiphany. I realized, and suddenly knew, that the church wasn't "real". It wasn't what it claims to be. I knew it better than I ever "knew" that it was true. I now had both logic (brain) and feeling (heart) together, confirming my worst fears: that it was all a lie, from the beginning.

    I'm sure you don't want to hear this. You have been programmed from the beginning to believe that anything said or taught against the church is "anti-Mormon". But the church itself is "anti-Truth". It's not difficult, in this day and age of information and technology, to research the history of the people and events that make up the story of the church, and anyone who undertakes an honest and serious study, with an open mind and the courage to accept the truth, can discover plenty of hard evidence that it was all made up.

    Well, perhaps it doesn't matter. We all believe what we want to believe, and in most cases, the real truth is not important. I just wanted to share because I see a train-wreck coming, and it involves you and your dissonant beliefs. I would hope that you will be able to let go of the dream you hold onto, of the church being what you have been told, and be brave enough to take a real, honest look at the evidence that disproves it.

    I wish you all the best. Everyone deserves to know the truth, the question is whether they really want to.