Monday, February 13, 2006

The Tabling of the Testimony

I just read a post about me and some other gay Mormons on the blog of a married gay Mormon. Actually, the guy doesn't identify as "gay." He prefers "SSA." Anyhow, he essentially said that I just don't get it. He concluded his post by saying:

"Maybe I just value my membership in the church more than they do. I certainly value it more than the short lived pleasure I would get from indulging my desires. Maybe it really is as simple as 'they just don't get it.'"

A couple things regarding his post ...

First, I admit that my actions indicate a departure from the church and its teachings on homosexuality. If I am sinning, may God have mercy on my soul. I'm simply trying to figure things out. I'm trying to be cautious, and I'm learning a lot. Perhaps I will eventually learn that I made a huge mistake by beginning to date guys. That conclusion is a very real possibility. I just read a great post from a guy who is questioning his notion of true love. I really enjoyed his analysis of it all. I think that I, too, might be seeking something that doesn't exist. I don't know.

Nonetheless, I do know that my quest is not for the "short-lived pleasure I would get from indulging my desires." The implication in that statement is overtly sexual. So far, I've learned that the last thing I want is some one-night stand or casual sexual encounter. I realize I am vulnerable at this point, and I'm trying to be extremely cautious. I'll keep you posted on my successes and failures.

Second, I must say that I envy "LDS with SSA." His faith is exceptional. I lack that sort of faith. For better or for worse, this struggle of mine has made me question my faith. As "LDS with SSA" points out, the church is very much an all-or-nothing belief system. I can't select the parts I like and disregard the ones I don't like. That's why I've basically tabled my testimony for the time being. I don't want to make that difficult decision yet.

I've been told by several people in the last month that I must seek God's will for me (which means, by interpretation, that I must find out if the church is true). I guess I am afraid of finding out. For example, let's say that God tells me the church is absolutely true and is his one and only true church. If that were to happen, I don't know if I'd have the will power to live its teachings honestly. On the other hand, if I don't get a response and I feel the church isn't true, then life will immediately become more confusing for me. What would that mean for my spirituality, my belief system, my future, my life. Honestly, my religious convictions have gotten me through so much in life. They have enriched my life, I dare say. Heck, the doctrines have given my life meaning and purpose. I like them. I love them. I would hate to abandon them.

That's why I have put my testimony aside for right now. I am not in the mood to confront the answer. But I can't just sit in limbo for the rest of my life. I need to revisit my belief in the church very soon. Sigh. I think I'm going to wait a little longer. I need to figure out careers and other things first.

I'm such a fricking procrastinator.

9 Comments:

Blogger Dave Walter said...

I can't read the post on el veneno's blog -- every time I go to his site, my browser hangs (el veneno: what's up with that?).

Anyway, you said: "I think that I, too, might be seeking something that doesn't exist." What? True love? Are you worried that it won't be a possibility for you because you're gay? Chin up: True love's available for all flavors of people!

11:12 PM  
Anonymous Foxx said...

First of all, the link is wrong - click here for Veneno's post.

I, too, question the validity of my definition of love - at least, how I view my relationship with the man of my dreams. It is easy for me to look out at the world and what seems to be going on from my perspective and think, "All that I dream of doesn't exist. This person I'm looking for who cares about me so much that he pays attention to me without losing his amazing self in the process, who cares more about intimacy than sex, who has passion and determination. This man who can overcome stereotype and doesn't worry about what other people think and is down to earth, real, and cares about the truest parts of himself does not exist. Not in the straight world, nor in the gay."

Luckily I know at least one person who does fit this description - It's just a shame she's a she.

So I hold on to that and I have to believe that the dream I have is real, somewhere, because I don't want to have to settle for less than perfect-for-me. And although I realize that the definition of perfect changes, and that I may not yet be the kind of person my dream guy would like to be with, I have to believe it's out there, and that I can have it.

My dreams come from some deep, mysterious part of me. If I let my dreams die, what do I have to live for?

7:45 AM  
Blogger Elbow said...

I don't think that anyone either gay, LDS, ssa, or PhD has the clear and concise answers to judge you or your actions. I leave that up to the Lord, and recognize that this road: The gay/ssa and Mormon road is just not as carved out as people would like to think. No matter how you look at your situation or my situation, or his or her situation: it's just not easy. Plain and simple, people fall, people get up again, and hopefully people learn along the way.
I know that the whole SSA camp says one thing, and that reparative therapy sounds really appealing, but at the same time there are no statistics and there are no obvious answers to prove a theory or opinion. Even the Church says that "we don't know." So if the Church says that they don't know then how can anyone feel good about saying that: "Maybe it really is as simple as 'they just don't get it.' " Of course we don't get it, what is there to get?
You "Gaymormon" have not forsaken your testimony, you haven't denied that Christ is your Savior. You haven't had sex or done anything to lose your temple recommend. You are doing what you feel you need to do. How can anyone judge you for doing what you feel is best for your situation. To be honest, I think that part of it is jealousy. People who are Mormon and call themselves "ssa strugglers" or whatever, know that there is nothing wrong with kissing. There is nothing wrong with lips touching. You have kept the laws of chastity, you are worthy of all of the blessings that Heavenly Father has for you. Just because your lips were connected to another man's doesn't make it anymore right or wrong than if they were touching a girls. No difference.
I know that you are learning so much about yourself. You are coming to understand what these desires of same sex attraction mean to your life, you are balancing a testimony with matters of the heart. You are succeeding in living a good and clean life. You are trying to involve your family and friends in your deepest most personal struggles: that is admirable. That is good. No one has the right to tell you that you are doing anything wrong, or that you simply 'don't get it.'
I personally like the blogger who calls himself "LDS with SSA" I think he has important things to say on this topic, but the Church has never officially made the statement that Evergreen or any other therapy or practice is the right way to handle being gay. I think we as gay men who suffer from "ssa" or desires of homosexuality need to stick together and support one another through this journey of ambiguity. If someone is making decisions that you don't agree with, then it might be helpful to remember that the answers you have received for yourself are only answers that the Lord has given to you, and that other people have received different answers to the same question.

And on the topic of your testimony, you will be able to figure things out. I know that it is hard right now and that of course there are other things that the Lord wants you to focus on as well. You have a career to think about, you have your family, and other life decisions to make. Trust in the Lord, He will bless you. You are His son, and He loves you no matter what.

12:14 PM  
Blogger David said...

I'd read a few of that guys posts and commented one or two times before I read his profile and realized he was 40 years-old. I had gathered and assumed that he was much younger from the things he was writing and his perspectives. But, I suppose his feelings do fall more in line with the era he grew up in.

Definitely a different perspective and life choice.

1:34 PM  
Blogger David said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

GM: "LDS with SSA" is frankly, a self-righteous, arrogant person. "I'm more righteous than you are! Neener, neener, neener!" Being in and around the chuch as you have, I'm sure you've seen that sort of attitude infecting the membership like a virus. Personally, I wouldn't give his comments about you any (*ANY*) credibility.

12:13 AM  
Anonymous hurricane said...

GM: I, too, found LDS with SSA's comments and attitude to be a bit much (and posted on the thread you linked to). You've shown a humility in this thread that is impressive and will help you as you seek to figure your life out.

8:03 AM  
Anonymous Another Gay Mormon said...

GM, You are doing just fine! "To thine own self be true" is probably quoted several times with topics like this, and for a reason! So many people have so many opinions, and that will ALWAYS exist as long as you're posing religion v. sexuality.

Truth is, homosexuality and Christianity will never share a table but you CAN be party of both, your existence alone testifies of that. Unfortunately, nowadays, they are provoked and torn from each other in politics, and such contention is not of God.

I don't pretend to know what God feels exactly. I do know that you are His child and so am I, and so is the cute guy that I met at Barnes & Noble (so is the right-wing antagonist marching across from the other child of God marching for his/her rights as a union or marriage) and He loves us all equally.

My only request (not advice) is that you remember that you are doing your best, trying your best, and that you are God's son. Love thy neighbor. Don't bear false witness.

Disclaimer; I don't carry a TRC and live a gay lifestyle, but I do know that God, Jesus, family and friends still love me. I try not to pay attention to those who judge me, yet don't know me.

**Good luck GM and may God Bless**
(yes, that's the closest I've come to 'bearing testimony' in a while - it feels good.

5:32 PM  
Blogger LDSwithSSA said...

GM - That post wasn't specifically about you, and I apologize if I offended, that was not my intent. My post from yesterday explains my point of view a bit more (and links to some church stuff about this issue...because many people misunderstand what stand the church actually takes).

Again, I apologize for any offense. I realize that I wasn't very tactful in my opinions.

10:18 PM  

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