Monday, September 24, 2007


I am obsessive and need things to have direction. What is my direction with this thing? Why am I doing this. I think that I am trying to define myself. The problem is that neither sexuality or spirituality can be defined. They're too complex and too unique and too abstract. But because we like things in pretty packages tied up with string, let me group, or categorize, the way people treat homosexuality in the Church. I believe there are three main reactions to the issue, and I frankly have not chosen (or discovered) one for me. So that will be my goal- my direction: To determine how I want to react to my sexuality in light of my spirituality.

Three Reactions:

To demonstrate the three reactions to homosexuality, I'm going to draw on some themes from the recent X-Men movies. In these movies, people all over the world start to experience genetic mutations. I will liken these to mutations to same sex attractions. In the movie, the mutations are not necessarily good or evil, they just are. Some aspects of the mutations are very painful, destructive, gruesome, and dangerous. Other aspects seem to enhance the abilities and perceptions of natural talents. Everyone who experiences them is different and experiences them in different ways. Their reactions are likewise different. This is the same in homosexuality. Some aspects of the attractions are painful, destructive, gross, and dangerous. Other aspects seem to enhance the personality and perceptions of people. Everyone is different.

Xavier reacts positively and yet privately to people's mutations. He creates a safe haven for these people and teaches them to channel their powers. Outside of his school, they wouldn't learn how to appropriately use their powers. He teaches self-mastery, but also self-denial. His reaction is moderate, and yet it is very controversial. He certainly gets hit by both sides of the spectrum. Some wonder if he is justified in some of his techniques which can be manipulative.

Magneto's reaction is much more public. He embraces rebellion against society. To him, the mutations do not need to be controlled. His approach is just to accept and use them. There is no hiding the lure of his cause. It is passionate and result driven.

The humans react both publicly and privately. They react out of fear. They believe that the mutations are evil simply because they are different. Their initial reaction is for those who struggle with the mutations to deny it- suppress it and maybe it will go away (the private approach). Just don't use your powers. When that doesn't work, and the situation escalates (mostly because of Magneto and his people), they resort to a cure (the public approach). This cure offers hope to people like Rouge, who use the cure to become who they want to be: normal. The problem is that the cure is not ethnically sound or proven over time. At the end of the movie, Magneto, who was forcibly cured, still retains some hidden power- relapse, in other words.

These three reactions from the X-Men movies make such perfect metaphors for the social decisions facing Latter-day Saints with S.S.A. you would think it was intentional. All three groups have diversity and disagreements within themselves. All three groups are controversial. There is no black and white, just blue, red, and yellow. As I write about my experiences- many of which I am going to write as if they were memoir fragments- I will be thinking about these three groups and which is the one I need to meet my needs.

1. Control the same sex desires privately. Find fulfillment in meaningful relationships with men, without making those relationships sexual. This means facing an attack on both sides. I'd have to deal with obnoxiously ignorant humans, and obnoxiously sensual rebels. There would never be complete fulfillment with my spirituality- I would never feel completely LDS. There would also never be complete fulfillment with sexuality- I would always be denied my sexual desires.

2. Live a bold, active homosexual life. Rebel against LDS society and be promiscuous with other men. Find happiness and fulfillment in sexual desires and emotional attractions.
Leave my family and friends and all the LDS support groups I have for a set of new people. I would be happy. I would be free. I would be fulfilled sexually. I would still have a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that would haunt me forever.

3. Live a suppressed life, hoping desperately for a cure. This is what I have been doing. I tried pretending that I wasn't gay. When I couldn't do that anymore and had to face reality, I went to counseling (and still am in therapy) via Evergreen International.
This is a life of denial. Unlike in the movies, there is no cure yet. If therapy is considered a cure, then relapses are very very common. I would never be fulfilled in any relationship, but I would feel at peace with my testimony.

We'll see how I shape this over time. Feedback is VERY welcome.


playasinmar said...

As long as you're considering options:

4. Live a bold, active homosexual life. Rebel against LDS society and find a nice guy to settle down with. Find happiness and fulfillment in sexual desires and emotional attractions.

SSA said...

Interesting. It's funny the options that we don't consider or think are possible or even realize are options.

I have a lot of fears that would be in the way of this option, but it has certainly made me rethink the #2 possibilities.

GeckoMan said...


I'm going back and reading through your blog, and I just have to comment: this is a great post! You're open-hearted, thought-provoking and you're not being judgemental. Bravo. And I like the analogies, even though for whatever reason I've avoided X-men series, but now you've stirred my curiosity... Thanks!

I'll 'come out' upfront and say that I'm a proponent of Door #1, with some adjustments. Sorry Vanna, I used to hide behind Door #3, but I'm with you, Peter, it's no fun. Repression isn't really healthy, its fraught with 'relapses,' so it's not really an option. That leaves basically two healthy options: Door #1 which remains faithful to LDS standards, or Playa's Door #4 (I don't think the promiscuous Door #2 is healthy) which is perhaps more natural, but activity in the church is definitely limited to cultural tradition, if anything.

Why do I stand at Door #1? Well, it's basicially been my life. I love the Lord, I love the church, and I want to remain faithful to my covenants and family. Yes, the denial of M4M sexuality is a real issue, and I've come to accept that as a sacrifice. I sometimes wish I could drink wines or coffees, but I don't.

So here's my adjustment on your appraisal of Door #1: you said, "I would never feel completely LDS. There would also never be complete fulfillment with sexuality- I would always be denied my sexual desires."

When perfection is a goal, I think we all (gay or straight) feel inadequate. I choose to feel 'completely LDS' because I am doing my best, even though that's not always perfect or up to gospel standard. We should not feel shame or less than LDS because we are SSA.

Secondly, I think sex is over-rated. Physical pleasure is great (and yes, you can have that by yourself!), but it is for connection with men that I truly yearn. Because of my orientation, I can love men whole-heartedly (perhaps moreso than straight men) yet still develop ways to share and bond that are not sexual. And although hetero sex may not match my expectations or fantasies of homo sex (I confess I'm a homo virgin), luckily I got married early and I enjoy the intimate connection of sex with my wife and I hold that sacred.

So, being faithful to Door #1 has worked out for me. Most of all I'm grateful for my family. I don't see this as the only solution, I'm just saying that it isn't as bad as a young gay idealist might think.

playasinmar said...

One of my favorite quotes ever is from the second movie:

"Have you ever tried not being a mutant?"

Foxx said...

So, in other words, homosexuality is a super power? AWESOME!

My initial reaction was to suggest what playasinmar suggested: look for other options. You can have whatever you want out of life. In fact, you could:

5. Live a bold, active LDS life. Date guys, have a good time, but stick to your chosen sexual boundaries. Be open with your Church leaders about your situation and your intentions. Be a catalyst for change, if that's what's important to you.

6. Have a boyfriend. Don't rebel against the LDS church, but don't let it determine what you need to be happy. Maybe attend church once in a while. Read your scriptures with your man. Keep God a big part of your life.

Or not. On the continuum of life, there are infinite options. Fortunately for those of us who find ourselves in between, life isn't black and white after all. You get what you choose to get out of life.

If there's one thing I would say to anyone who is coming out from a religious background, it is this: homosexuality is not about promiscuity unless you want it to be. It may seem like it from the outside, but the reality is that homosexuality is about what you want it to be about.