Monday, March 11, 2013

Truth as an anchor

I made a new friend a few months ago. We actually made our initial connection via the trashiest mobile chat app ever, but what initially stuck out about this guy (call him Alan) was that in his profile he says he's a Christian. Also, he claims fidelity to the Oxford comma, which therefore made him my sworn journalistic enemy and gave me a good icebreaker.

Alan lives in another state so I've never actually met him in person, but we've kept in touch since that first grammatically violent conversation. As a recently out Christian, he had a fascinating experience with his religion that somewhat would correlate to how a Mormon would experience life after deciding to openly participate in a gay lifestyle. Being as that I've been wondering what life on the other side would look like, his experience was very intriguing and I could see a lot of myself in his reactions to the events in his life. More on that conversation in a bit.

Alan has a funny way of looking at things. He's an entertaining guy to spitball the gayer events of my life off of. In that vein, tonight, I sent him a message about something silly that happened last week, but the particulars of it started spinning off into a pretty grandiose conversation.

I don't need to tell anyone on this blog that I've been having a hard time with my testimony off and on for about a year now and once again, it culminated on my lap tonight. As the frivolity of Alan's and my conversation began to erode into the more serious issues that I've been avoiding, he began to sense my concerns. I told him about how I constantly feel as though I'm giving up one thing for another and that I don't have a sure knowledge that either choice will be worth it in the end, a feeling any recently outed Christian in a conservative religion would understand. He acknowledged and empathized with the difficulty of the situation and then asked a most compelling question.

"What do you know to be absolutely true?"

I balked a little bit. I said that occasionally I know that God exists and loves us and occasionally I'll fight tooth and nail to convince others of the truth that Jesus Christ died for us and through Him we can attain ultimate joy, but then amended that statement to include that within the past year, the doubt that there's anything out there but ether has entered my mind occasionally as well.

He kind of cut me off. He said I was overthinking a bit. He wanted to know what I knew to be true, not necessarily religiously, but just in general. Something that could anchor me no matter what happens tomorrow.

I thought for a moment and came upon something. I know that, no matter what, I don't want to stop being the sweet guy I know that I am. I also know that I would like to continue being considerate of others generally speaking.

He asked what I knew of my relationships. I responded that I know I have several friends who love me unconditionally, regardless of what tomorrow might bring. I know that my sister, brothers and parents love me without reservations as well.

He then said that no matter what comes tomorrow, those things need to be at the forefront of my mind to help me remain who I am. He said that the world is a sad, selfish place and that many of the people in it are godless, depressed people who are all too willing to sacrifice others for their own gain, and that if those things I know aren't anchoring me, then it'll be easy to wash away with the rest of the world. We talked about suicide, which I claimed had never been an option in my mind, but he pointed out that if I ever give up those things I know to be true, then I will in essence be committing suicide, killing a person I know and replacing him with something I don't.

I don't suppose I'd ever thought about testimony in those terms. I'd always considered my testimony of the Book of Mormon, or my testimony of Thomas S. Monson's calling as a true prophet, or my testimony of God's existence to be the things that would keep me safe. To be certain, I know they'd play a part. But what's most gripping is that, regardless of the truthfulness of those three (and other religious) statements, the thing that will keep me most grounded is how I view myself and how I value relationships independent of both religion and gay culture.

Things still suck (and I certainly wouldn't say no if y'all offered to pray real hard for me) but knowing that I know something, especially something I'd never before considered, really makes tomorrow look a little more certain and a little less depressing. As before, I'm still staying the course, and those things I know will still require work so I don't lose them, but damned if things don't look a little more doable.

Sidebar I: Alan prayed for me out loud over the phone before we hung up, which was a very appreciated, kind gesture. Also, he asked God to forgive us when we f--- it up. That was hilarious. Probably shouldn't have been, but it was.

Sidebar II: That trashy app? Turns out it has some pretty amazing positive uses as well, like connecting struggling Christians with other Christians who can empathize and give good advice and perspective.


  1. grammatically violent conversation. i love you.

  2. Nice story. Nice friend. I've had some real good and helpful friendships with people I never met in person. Although I do take exception to the "godless = depressed or whatever other negative thing there is" (seeing as how I am an evil agnostic, secular humanist), he is wise to point out that the things you know, most especially the interpersonal relationships, are the bedrock of life. Keep that chin up and hold that head up high sir.

    1. A clarification, because you pointed out a flawed ambiguity in my communication. First off, we're both Christian, so godless in this instance is indeed offensive to those who don't believe in God's presence in our lives. For that, I'm sorry. Godless in the context of our conversation referred more to those basic humanistic truths, although I do still stand by my own need to believe and rely on a loving god. Thanks for your comment, hope I wasn't too offensive.

    2. Oh heavens (yuck yuck) no! I was the least bit offended. Just having some fun with it. I know it's a theistic world really. And I know what positives sincerely held religious beliefs can bring to someone. I would never want to discourage that even if I don't believe in it personally at all. No worries my friend.

    3. "Wasn't" of course. Hmmmm. Freudian slip?

  3. Well written. I notice there is a comma missing in this sentence: "I know that my sister, brothers and parents love me without reservations as well." Please fix that.

    - Alan

  4. I agree with Alan on the comma!!! And thank you for this blog!

  5. Listened to this talk again this morning:

    It reminded me of this post, about relying on what we DO know as an anchor. xo


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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