Sunday, February 22, 2015


An aspect of my journey which I will likley elaborate on is the role that shame plays and has played in my life. To illustrate, I have included the following poem by Vern Rutsala:

This is the shame of the woman whose hand hides 
her smile because her teeth are bad, not the grand 
self-hate that leads some to razors or pills 
or swan dives off beautiful bridges however 
tragic that is.  This is the shame of being yourself, 
of being ashamed of where you live and what 
your father's paycheck lets you eat and wear. 
This is the shame of the fat and the old, 
the unbearable blush of acne, the shame of having 
no lunch money and pretending you're not hungry. 
This is the shame of concealed sickness—diseases 
too expensive to afford that offer only their cold 
one-way tickets out.  This is the shame of being ashamed, 
the self-disgust of the cheap wine-drunk, the lassitude 
that makes junk accumulate, the shame that tells 
you there is another way to live but you are 
too dumb to find it.  This is the real shame, the damned 
shame, the crying shame, the shame that's criminal, 
the shame of knowing words like 'glory' are not 
in your vocabulary though they litter the Bibles 
you're still paying for.  This is the shame of not 
knowing how to read and pretending you do.  This is 
the shame that makes you afraid to leave your house, 
the shame of food stamps at the supermarket when 
the clerk shows impatience when you fumble with the change. 
This is the shame of dirty underwear, the shame of pretending your father works in an office 
as God intended all men to do.  This is the shame 
of asking friends to let you off in front of the one 
nice house in the neighborhood and waiting 
in shadows until they drive away before walking 
to the gloom of your house.  This is the shame 
at the end of the mania for owning things, the shame 
of no heat in winter, the shame of eating cat food, 
the unholy shame of dreaming of a new house and car 
and the shame of knowing how cheap such dreams are. 

Shame and same-sex attraction are so intricately connected that it has been very difficult to separate the two (at least, in my experience). The reason for this lies in the meaning of shame. It is very different from guilt, because while guilt means that you feel that something you did was bad, shame means that you are bad. I don't know if I've met a single person in the LDS SSA community that hasn't struggled with shame in relation to his/her attractions. Being taught that homosexual behavior is an abomination often translates to "I'm an abomination." I certainly believed this for many years. In succeeding posts, I will analyze different areas of my life in which shame rears its ugly head and how it affects me. My hope and goal is that you will be able to reflect and identify how shame is hurting you and hindering your progress.


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day

As today is Valentine's Day, I expect to see many of my friends from the LDS SSA community posting memes following a theme of "Forever Alone." I don't feel lonely today.  In fact, I feel great!  I was able to spend time with cousins and blew the crap out of a bunch of junk using shotguns.  Very fulfilling.  I expect, however, that Valentine's Days won't always be this easy, this simple.

The idea of romance associated with this day reminded me of a conversation I had a while back with a recent convert.  This new friend also experiences ssa.  He once asked me "If the church were to change its policy on same-sex marriage, would you marry a man?"

I've heard this question before, and honestly, it really bothers me.  Big time.

Part of the package that the Church comes in is its strict dedication to idea that God is unchanging and that we have no authority to change His laws.  Opponents to this belief argue that the Church changed its policy on polygamy and who could hold the priesthood.  While the safest answer to this argument is "we don't know," it certainly isn't the most satisfying.

However, if we examine these two "changes" within the context of the scriptures, we find that at no point in time was everyone and anyone able to hold the priesthood authority of God.  From what I've gathered, the priesthood was limited to few men leading up until the time of Moses, when the tribe of Levi was given such keys.  For whatever reason, be it sociocultural otherwise, God chose not to extend this power to all morally worthy men until the 1900s. 

In a similar vein, polygamy has not always been practiced in God's organizations here on earth.  Only through His permission were certain men allowed to have more than one wife (the Old Testament has multiple examples of this condoned behavior).

On the other hand, throughout the entire Bible and Book of Mormon, never has homosexual behavior been acceptable in the eyes of God.  While both polygamy and the limitation of eligible priesthood holders have clear instances in sacred text, homosexual relations have none.

With these facts in mind, the idea that our Heavenly Father would uproot thousands of years of consistent chastity law to accept a lifestyle so counterproductive to the Plan of Salvation doesn't make sense to me.  Unsurprisingly, it's very difficult for me to imagine what I would do should the Church change its stance on marriage.  My testimony would be shaken, if not shattered.  With increasingly fewer exceptions, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only major religious organization still defending traditional marriage.  It seems that other churches are eroding to the relentless tide of public scrutiny, bending their policies to fit the modern mold of moral relativism.  If our Church was to follow suit, I would begin to doubt its divinity.

So I see the question he asked me as unanswerable.  At the time, I told him that I still wouldn't, because I know that the path I would follow as an actively homosexual man would never bring me true peace and satisfaction.  I would not reach a sense of divine fulfillment or have the kind of family I've always wanted.

Don't get me wrong; there is unquestionably a part of me that would love to be married to another man.  This makes answering my friend's question that much harder.

I do know, however, that all the blessings of the Father will be available to me as I continue to follow His plan and commandments. It isn't helpful or healthy for me to dwell on the earlier-proposed question, so I'll be moving on now.