Thursday, April 25, 2013


As humans we love analogies. "Life is a highway." "Life is like an old time railroad." Analogies help us make sense of our experience. They also help us verbalize for others what we are feeling, to help them better understand our situation. If I feel the Spirit, depending on the particular fruits I'm feeling, I may say, "I feel a burning in the bosom." This helps others begin to grasp the warmth I'm feeling. Hopefully they don't think I need an antacid.

With homosexuality, metaphors abound. Perhaps that's because it's a topic so many people cannot fathom. So we try to to find words to explain it. This post is about an oft used analogy. Feel free to share you favorite analogies, good and bad, in the comments. (I sort of started an informal collection a few years ago.)

"Homosexuality is like alcoholism. Some people may be predisposed to homosexuality like others are predisposed to alcohol abuse. But that doesn't mean either needs to be acted on."

First. what is accurate about this? Homosexual desires and the desire to drink are both urges that some people feel. Indeed my brother (as the son of a different marriage) is definitely more likely to become an alcoholic than me. If there is a gene for this, he's got it. It's true that neither of us needs needs to act upon our urges. So in that sense this analogy is true. Alcoholism (or the propensity towards it at least) is my brother's cross to bear and I am gay.

One of the problems with this analogy (and all analogies have problems) is that it compares my desires to love and be loved by another man with a potential vice. Homosexuality itself is not a vice, though uncontrolled promiscuity or perhaps even unbridled lustful thoughts, regardless of orientation, likely would be. But before we throw out the analogy, perhaps the issue is with our framing of it. Perhaps we should say, "Homosexual urges are like the predisposition some people have to alcoholism." I personally think this is a little better. But it still trivializes the issue.

If you agree with Maslow's hierarchy of needs, sex is lumped in with our most basic physical needs like food and water. An overly active desire to drink alcohol is not. (I suppose some may argue that this desire for drink is a perversion of the need to drink water. My brother would likely disagree.) Telling someone they shouldn't drink is not the same as telling them never to have sex. A better analogy would use food, since the need to eat is a most basic need.

"You not acting on your homosexual urges is like me giving up chocolate. It would be hard, but can be done."

This analogy still doesn't get at the root of the issue. True both sex and eating are basic human needs, but chocolate, even the finest of dark chocolate truffles, is not.  I suppose a slightly better analogy to help straight people understand what it sounds like when gay people are told to live a celibate life would be:

"For the rest of your life, you are only allowed to live on bread and water. You must do this while everyone around you is feasting on meat and fruit and vegetables and chocolate and bacon... lots and lots of bacon."

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Why create an anonymous blog right now?

Really that's three questions. Why create this blog? Why now? And why anonymously? I'll take the questions in that order.

Why create this blog? My wife asked me a similar question when I told her I was considering this. (Let me point out that she is very supportive. She merely wanted to help me clarify my own motives.) As I said in my first posts, I really want to let others know that it is possible to have a successful mixed orientation marriage. It may be harder than your average marriage, but it is possible.

Here let me add a disclaimer. I am not advocating that everyone who is gay get married. I have seen and heard of mixed orientation marriages that end in divorce and immense heartache, even when there has been no infidelity. I am simply saying that my marriage works. If there is someone else out there considering a mixed orientation marriage, I want them to know that it is possible.

I've heard stats that more than 60% of mixed orientation marriages end in divorce. While this may be true, I have a hard time not questioning the survey methods used to come up with this number. Especially in the LDS church. So many of us have been closet dwellers our whole lives I don't see how you can get an accurate read on how many mixed orientation marriages there really are in the church. I wanted to add my voice to the side saying this is possible.

Why now?  As more and more people are leaving the closet (which is a good thing), the cries against mixed orientation marriages are growing. Homosexuality is apparently one of the key issues of our generation. The other side of this debate is becoming increasingly vocal. I just feel that now is the time to speak up. I am in the minority. As a minority we have been silent too long.

Finally why stay anonymous? To this I would just add the words, "for now". I will come out when there is a purpose to it. At church I am more willing to be open about this issue. I just don't think my Monday to Friday coworkers are ready for this. I work for a very progressive company. If I came out to my superiors today and said I was leaving my family to embrace my gay attractions, I would probably be celebrated. I just don't think they are ready to support my alternative lifestyle of living with these urges in a marriage to a woman. It's too bad that I fear retribution from a world that advocates inclusion.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

My Story--part II

I went to BYU out of default more than out of desire.  I got in without effort and I didn’t really know what I wanted from life so it was easy.  My freshman year I went to church because you have to go to church if you are a member at BYU, not because I wanted to go.  I believed in God.  Period.  End of testimony.  As others on my dorm floor started putting their papers in, I decided I was not going on a mission.   Knowing awkward it would be to stay at BYU without going on a mission I began researching what it would take to transfer.

Everything changed a week before the end of my freshman year when I had a powerful spiritual experience.  It came completely unbidden, in a manner that I would have a hard time denying.  I knew without a doubt that God wanted me to go on a mission.   So even though I didn’t want to and worse that I couldn’t testify to the truthfulness of the gospel I began to prepare to go on a mission. 

I had previously prayed with God to take my homosexual desires away.  As I prepared to go on a mission, my fasting changed.  I’m not sure why, but I began bargaining with Heavenly Father, not to change me, but to prepare a woman that I could marry, a woman who would love me in spite of my attractions to other guys.  And then I went on a mission.  It was a great two years.

When I returned from the mission, I had many first dates, a few second dates, and very few third dates.  There was one girl that I really liked but she mentioned once that a good friend of hers had come just out to her.  She didn’t handle it very well.  I knew then that we would probably be just friends.

I was nearing graduation when I met my now wife.  She was a member, but didn’t go to BYU though she did have friends who went there that she would go and visit occasionally.  On our first official date I asked her what she learned from not going to a church school.  “I learned how to love.  My best friends in college were all gay I have grown to love people who live different lifestyles in a way I would not have learned to love them at BYU.”  I was in love.  A month later I told her that I had homosexual attractions.  Four months later, we were married.

We have a great marriage.  I’m not saying it hasn’t had its rough patches.  There have been eras when I wondered if calling it quits wouldn’t be easier.  And I KNOW there were times when my wife planned an escape hatch, in the event that one had became necessary.  But we’ve worked things out.  And more importantly God has blessed us.  We love each other very much.  And she puts up with me and supports me and loves me.  And I her.

I decided to start this blog because I want my fellow gay Mormons to know that some mixed orientation marriages work.  I’m definitely not advocating this for everyone.  I know that the only reason my marriage has survived is because of whom I married.  It’s much less me.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

My story--part I

"When did I become gay?" you ask.

I’m not sure I like the way that question is phrased.  It implies that at some point in time I wasn’t gay.  I have vivid memories of watching TV shows as a young child and becoming aroused when a guy would take off his shirt.  Dukes of Hazzard was a personal favorite.  Sure, it was fun when Daisy Duke was in her bikini.  Skin of any type is fun to see.  But there was something different about male skin.

When I was 10 my mom, my siblings, and I were in the car when news of Rock Hudson’s death blasted on the radio.  From the backseat of our station wagon I peppered mom with questions. “Who was Rock Hudson?” and “How’d he die?”  My mother squirmed not knowing how to explain being gay.  “Well, sometimes men don’t like to marry women.  Instead they like to date other men.  And these men are more likely to get sick and die.”  In spite of all her euphemisms I thought, “Gay.  That’s what it’s called.”

When I was in the sixth grade kids began pairing off.  I realized that having a crush on girls was the thing to do.  And I sort of had a crush on a couple of girls.  But it was more, “Hey, she likes music and so do I!“  It was less “I really think she’s hot!”  I was mostly oblivious to which girls were sexier than others, a favorite  topic of all the other boys my age.  (I’m still that way, much to my wife’s dismay.  I’m getting better.)  When I was 12 I remember having a crush on this one girl, probably because she was popular and lots of guys had a crush on her.  But in the evenings as I was going to sleep, I had this fantasy that involved her boyfriend not her.

I don’t remember much of the academics I was supposed to be learning during middle school or early high school.  I was so busy checking out which guys were good looking.  I remember World History class was particularly challenging.  I don’t remember the Rise and Fall of the Roman empire, but I do remember my dreams of certain studs in (and out of) togas.  Looking back I mourn the time I didn’t spend learning.  I would have enjoyed those classes immensely.

When I was 16 (I think, the years run together) we were visiting my grandmother and I don’t know what happened, but I refused to go to church.  After a yelling session with my father, my mother stayed home to talk with me.  I had a crying session in my grandmother’s dimly lit basement.  I was laying on the couch with my head in my mom’s lap.  I told her how lonely I felt, how I didn’t have any friends, how I hated my life.  Near the end of the conversation, I threw out “And I think I might be gay.” 

I wasn’t looking at her, so I can’t remember her facial reaction.  I do remember her tensing up and then groping for what to say.  She asked questions trying to understand from where this was coming.  She expressed her love for me, though I doubted her a little.  I had seen how nervously she had reacted In the past when discussing homosexuality.  At the end of the conversation she asked if it was ok if she told my father.  I said, “Sure,” mainly because I figured she was going to tell him anyway. 

Love you mom, but even back then I didn’t trust you could keep a secret this big from dad. ;)

I never told my father personally.  (Back then, he was something of a homophobe.)  I don’t think I ever brought it up again directly with my mother or my father, though I did allude to it once.

I did tell my bishop.  I was blessed with the perfect bishop to handle this topic.  He had given up on the church when he was a young man, moved to New York City, and experienced the world or at least Greenwich Village.  He had several gay friends that he was close with.  So when I told him that I thought I was gay, he didn’t flinch.  He shared with me some of his observations of the gay community and encouraged me to stay active.

My senior year I totally crushed on this one guy, who was totally hot, though a bit short for me.  He was the subject of many pleasurable dreams.  One night I was lying in bed, a typical fantasy running through my head.  Perhaps it was the Spirit, I’m not sure I was particularly worthy of the Spirit at that point, but my vision sort of fast forwarded 10 years.  I saw the life I could have with a man.  We would be two men loving and caring for each other.  It was not a bad life.  Then I saw myself with an ideal family, a wife and kids.  (I’ve always loved little kids.)  I realized that I couldn’t have both, that the decisions that would lead to one would not lead to the other.  I remember thinking, “I want a family.”  It was a quick, but vivid thought.