Wednesday, November 14, 2012

CTW SLC Part V- Marriage Panel

View my other CTW posts here

Both Josh Weed and Steven Frei spoke on a marriage panel, with Craig Mangum and John Gustav-Wrathall.  Craig was previously married to a woman before their divorce and his subsequent, recent marriage to a man and John was married to his now-husband about 15 years ago. John affiliates with the LDS church; Craig does not. In this wise was a widely varied perspective addressed, including people with many different stories.  It was fascinating.

To open, I'm going to address what each one of them said marriage meant to them, mostly because it's just so darn cute.

Steven said that marriage is what has brought him the most happiness in his life, Craig said that it has given him a sense of family and commitment, with all the related peace of mind that attends that, Josh said simply that Lolly is just so good and John related a touching story of his husband sitting with him in his hospital room after a surgery, holding his hand and watching TV.  Tears may or may not have flowed during this part of the discussion.

Next, each one of them addressed the unique challenges of having children in their situations.  Josh intends to sit down with his daughters as they become mature enough to understand their family's uniqueness, saying that he and Lolly want dialogue and openness to be "touchstones of our home."  John, who has a gay son, says he always encourages his kids to be positive, contributing, self-loving people, regardless of their choices.  Steven said that he sat with each one of his children individually and spoke with them in a way they'd understand about his challenges and noted that he was received with unconditional love from them.  Craig's story was perhaps the most upsetting, as following his divorce and second marriage, his ex-wife fought to withhold visitation rights to their children, but little by little, his relationship with them is being restored.

Finally, they discussed how marriage has changed them and will continue to change them.  Craig said that his life 10 years ago was dark, but that coming out and remarrying has been a liberating and growing experience.  John spoke on the incredible power of love.  Josh, when asked about the potential of the church to change its position, said that his marriage to Lolly wasn't a consolation prize, saying, "I chose Lolly out of all people, not out of all women." Steven echoed that sentiment, saying that any future contingency was irrelevant because he is happy with his life.

I must say, each one of these men has taught me a great deal about what my potential marriage should look like. Each one of them made me somewhat jealous because I really do want to be married so bad, but each one of them also helped me see how woefully underprepared I am for it.  John's passion for his marriage and Craig's humility in his showed me that I'm neither selfless nor humble enough to be married.  It was Josh and Steven's final statement that solidified that feeling, because any kind of marriage would be a consolation prize to me, at least right now.  My marriage to a woman would be built on feelings of resentment that I couldn't marry a man and still be faithful to my other covenants, and my marriage to a man would be built on feelings of bitterness that our marriage is what would keep me from full fellowship in the gospel.

As such, I now have a new acid test with which to judge my relationships: As soon as a girl becomes so lovable in my eyes that I'd never leave her, even for another man, then I'll know she's the one.  And by the same token, if I honestly come to the conclusion someday that gay is eternally okay and a man becomes that lovable to me, then I'll know he's the one.

Until then, I get to be a swinging bachelor, staying up as late as I want, eating whatever I want, spending money on whatever I want and playing video games as long as I want. Life could be worse.


  1. Fascinating. Thank you for writing all of this up!

  2. I also attended the CTW conference. I'm in a MOM and felt a bit worried how I'd fit in or feel accepted.

    I really enjoyed the experience. I think I spent half my time trying to not cry too hard.

    I think you spoke at the end for a couple minutes. Good on ya. There were things I would have enjoyed sharing, but there was no way that I could imagine boiling any of that down to 3 minutes, so I kept it to myself for then.

    Anyway, thanks for blogging about this.


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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