Friday, September 16, 2005

A delicate topic

Mormonism and its relationship with homosexuality seems to be the hot topic. If Steve would ever bother to restart his Bloggernacle Zeitgeist column, it would certainly be this week's winner.

If you haven't checked out Silus Grok's guest stint over at Nine Moons, I highly recommend that you do. Frankly, it's tough to read about someone willing to sacrifice so much to stay Mormon; I have to admit I'm a little ambivalent about it. I think the Church is richer with people like Silus in it, and I think his openness can only help tolerance and understanding develop in Mormon culture. On the other hand, I can't help thinking that he might be happier in a church that didn't brand his most basic desires as irredeemably sinful.

For those of us not in Silus's situation, the question of the Church's policy towards homosexuality can be troubling. The way I look at it, there are a couple possibilities:

1. God approves of the way the Church is handling the "gay question" and...
(a) will never change.
(b) will eventually include all sexual orientations. The time is just not right now.

2. God disapproves of the Church's policy towards gay members, but...
(a) chooses not to intervene. He lets the prophets make their own decisions.
(b) not so much that it warrants a new revelation.
(c) he can't get anyone on the line.

3. God isn't Mormon/doesn't exist/doesn't involve himself in human affairs.

I don't know that any of these are really attractive options for me. This is a tough and sensitive subject. I truly believe that God wants all of us to be happy, or as close as possible; I guess whether this includes the Church or not depends on the individual.

Regular readers will know that I am a huge Morrissey fan. On his latest album, he had a song that seems very relevant to this discussion (especially considering Morrissey's ambiguous sexuality and proclaimed celibacy), called "I Have Forgiven Jesus." Some of the lyrics are as follows:

"I have forgiven Jesus
for all of the love
he placed in me
when there’s no one I can turn to with this love...
why did you give me
so much desire?
when there is nowhere I can go
to offload this desire?
and why did you give me so much love
in a loveless world?
when there is no one I can turn to
to unlock all this love
and why did you stick me in
self-deprecating bones and skin
Jesus-do you hate me?"

I can't really add anything to that.


Tess said...

I know that I would probably leave the Church if I were a gay man. Not only is it impossible, I think, for most people to remain celibate for their entire lives, the rampant homophobia of Mormons (and most of the world, unfortunately), would be unbearable.

I look around at church, and I see men that I think might struggle with same-sex attraction, and I wonder how they come to terms with that to marry and have a family. Subverting your identity to channel into more socially acceptable relationships is a huge price to pay to fit in. But men and women do it all the time. It's so hard, though.

I respect Silus and D. Fletcher for their choices. I wish I could change the perception Mormons have of homosexuals. I guess you have to admit that the Church has come a long way, though, from Boyd K. Packer's "To the One".

Not sure if you want to keep this link up, Ned, but I found this letter to Pres. Packer from a former bishop with a gay son that is so moving, and despairing.

Tess said...

As for T&S, I think there are one or two people there who have their own opinions about homosexuality that other bloggers at T&S disagree with vehemently. See Kristine Haglund Harris' and Julie in Austin's comments, for example.

I bet the individual bloggers don't have much control over what the other bloggers write about on T&S. Which I'm sure can be infuriating at time, because who wants to be associated with sexist homophobes?

NFlanders said...

Tess-- Thank for the link. (People too lazy to copy and paste can click here.)

That is a heart-breaking letter. Unfortunately, it often takes a family member to show us just how intolerant and uncharitable we've been. I think as more people are able to come out, more and more members (relatives and friends) will be forced to rethink their views on homosexuality.

m said...

nice post ned. really not an easy subject for mor
mons, unless you're a bigot, then it's simple.

if you have time you should check out this blog called struggling.

it's a blog by a gay byu student. just really difficult stuff. a lot of them suffer from major self-loathing and wonder why god would make them that way, if it's something he's so disgusted by.

melissa c said...

I am new to the blogging world but I really enjoyed reading your blog. My opinion is this. We were sent here to learn to deal with our own set of problems. One of those challenges being to love each other unconditionally. I believe we had a glimps of some of those challenges before we came here and had the option to accept them or not. It's all about free agency. I don't profess to have any idea why some people are gay or not but I do know God loves us all no matter what we do. He doesn't make bad or good things happen TO us. I believe he sets the world in motion and we make our own beds. I do think he helps out, gives strength and inspiration but lets us live and choose. Someday we will hopefully figure it all out. I think we have been given only the tip of the iceburg where the gospel is concerned. When we can handle it, we'll get more of the details but I don't know if it will be in this life.

NFlanders said...

Thanks for the comment, Melissa. I think you pointed out the two most important things: 1. We should love each other unconditionally and 2. there is a lot of stuff we can't understand about this life.

I think that most of the times in my life when I was being a jerk (and that's a lot of times) it was because I refused to understand how I was affecting other people.

Chad said...

I'm not a Mormon, but I too very much enjoy your blog, and as both a gay person and a Morrissey fan, it was a refreshing read.

NFlanders said...

Thanks for reading, Chad. Other things may come and go, but my love for Morrissey will never die.