Saturday, October 20, 2012

Quick Journal Entry from Vacation

So, I know I keep saying how my vaca was a respite from queermo, but the reality of it was that I am a gay Mormon whether or not I'm in the United States or in Australia or in Nairobi. I'm going to think about it, no matter how exotic my locale, especially when the men of that locale tend to be pretty exotic as well.


A few weeks before my trip, my brother came out to visit. He was actually moving across the country and passed through on his way. He'd mentioned that his SUV was having a hard time towing the car hauler and his wife's car, so I volunteered to drive it the rest of the way for him so he could unload it and return the car hauler and enjoy a more relaxing, easier drive.

(It seems like my lot in life is to deliver cars for people. That might be a bad thing if I didn't love it so much. Plus, his wife drives a NICE car.)

We were returning the car hauler to the local U-Haul and I ran into an old friend I met at school who lives nearby. I was asking about his singles ward and some people I knew there, including one acquaintance I have who was less active when he attended my ward. My friend said that he was inactive and I expressed a little disappointment. My friend replied, "Well, he's gay, so..."
After we finished checking in the car hauler, as my brother and I got in his car, he asked, "Does that make you feel awkward when Mormons talk about other Mormons who are gay?"

Well, in the moment, no, but after some thinking, I've decided it does. I ruminated on this a lot when I was on vacation, for whatever reason.

In the LDS culture, being gay is somehow a get-out-of-reactivation-efforts-free card. Being gay (as defined as living the lifestyle) means there's nothing a well-meaning home teacher or elder's quorum president could say to bring you back into the fold, so they think.

This thought troubles me in a few ways.

One, it seems to convey the message that gay is just one step beyond reparable.  Addict? We have a Family Services program with 12 steps designed just for you.  Philanderer? The Gospel of Jesus Christ can fill that void in your heart.  But gay? Sorry man, we got nothin'.

Two, I dislike the attitude of pity with which we address the lapsed-into-gayhood Mormon. "Did you hear about so-and-so?" "Oh, poor guy."  "That's so sad, he was such a good home teacher."  Somehow, being gay seems to be like a trainwreck you hear about on the news. No one could have done anything to prevent it, and so they stand around watching the news of the gay guy's spiritual death with eyes dry with pity instead of wet with sympathy or love.

And three, the incongruence with which the first two things exist with the idea that everyone needs to bridle their passions for a higher cause.  Apparently, being gay is simultaneously something you should fight, but also some kind of terminal spiritual disease that is impossible to overcome and therefore warrants a quarantine against religion or fellowship.

I could be a little sensitive because I haven't been an actively participating part of either the gay scene or the Mormon scene for awhile now, but the hypocrisy with which we regard lapsed, gay Mormons is an offense against God, because His commandments and teachings advocated reaching out to the sinner more than the saint. It's also an offense towards the gay man because it sends the signal that his lifestyle choice is beyond repair, even if we tried to bring him back.

I don't know for what I am advocating here, because for the scads of Mormons who leave the church because they are gay, the lack of fellowship is probably welcome and refreshing. It somehow seems very disingenuous, so for a solution I'll have to hypothesize a little more.

For another blogger's view of this whole fellowshipping-the-gays situation, read Name Withheld, over at unnatural selection [sic]. The gay biologist has a pretty fresh view of it.


  1. Ever spend an hour arguing with your possessed/inspired computer on how best to comment on someone's blog? Sorry, that was not all that relevant... still, I'm glad you are back, I always find your posts insightful, which is to say I admire your candor and openness. Part of me wants to make snide or unhelpful comments, sorry if they taint what I am saying. The Gay Biologist guy makes a good point that distancing with things like "Name Withheld" is only serving to damage relations. Bah, now I'm making efforts to distance myself... stupid subconscious and conditioning. Worse still is that I'm hiding behind a pseudonym and very much in the closet. I guess what it all boils down to is, what are you going to do about it? Are you just going to complain against the Church, or are you going to reach out and try to fellowship this friend of yours? or have you abandoned him to the leper colony? Sorry, now it sounds like I'm chastising you, when I am more guilty than you... and I'm rambling. I hope you do decide to serve a mission, but I won't push the issue anymore than I want to be pushed on marriage... I'll stop now.

    1. Holy crap, Blogger's commenting system must be majorly screwed up, I keep having the same trouble!

      That's a great question. I really have no contact with this old acquaintance, but that's no excuse not to try. I dunno how I'll contact him, but thank you for bringing up a hypocrisy of my own that I'd overlooked! I hadn't realized that I'd done nothing to at least let him know that he's welcome, either.

      The Gay Biologist's point is a little bit out there for me, because not all of us are ready to be proud of both being Mormon and gay, but nonetheless, he brings up an interesting point.

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  3. Facebook! It sees all, it knows all, and if you're willing to sell your soul to it, it tells all... sorry, that was a bit off, but I bet you could find that acquaintance on Facebook, only a select few oddballs can't be found there... and the hypocrisy is my own as well... and even if you can't contact this acquaintance, there may be other opportunities in the future with other members, something I should keep in mind as well.

    I'm glad that the problem with making comments isn't exclusively my computer, though I'm not convinced that it isn't possessed sometimes. Speaking of which, I have decided to prove that I am more stubborn than this infernal contraption!

    You are right about The Gay Biologist, his point is a bit out there, but in the case of people who are openly gay and their relatives, it makes no sense to try to rebottle the situation by hiding names. Oh well, I guess I am not ready to be both openly and with pride. Maybe someday.


Be nice, mmmmkay? I allow anonymous comments, but not anonymous (or even attributed) douchebaggery. The Gay Mormon Pioneer's tolerance for hate and venom are incredibly low, but his love of communication and debate are high, so have an opinion, but be kind and gentle when you share it.

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