Friday, August 04, 2006

living a lie?

The Salt Lake Tribune has an interesting article today about being openly gay, married and LDS. The first man profiled, Ben told a Jessie before proposal that he was gay: "They talked a lot about it. They prayed about it. They both felt it was what God wanted them to do.
Now Ben and Jessie have two children..."

There are also support groups for folks like Ben and Jessie, unofficial of course. These LDS folks who are gay "talk about trying to change, their temptations, addictions to pornography, guilt and denial as well as faith, their marriages and their notions of eternity." I think there is a big difference between discovering you are gay during a marriage and knowing well in advance then deciding to get married to someone of the opposite sex and have kids anyway.

A gay man marrying a heterosexual woman "is just wrong," says Craig Steiner, an activist who was married for 12 and 1/2 years and has two sons.
"You are not being true to who you are and it traps women in an unhealthy relationship," says Steiner
Idaho State University professor Ron Schow has studied LDS homosexuals. Of 136 he surveyed in 1994, 71 percent were returned missionaries and 36 had tried marriage. Only two of the 36 were still married.

That is a pretty small sample size, but still, I bet it is hard to find that many, especially those who are willing to participate in that study.

The article lists three blogs of such openly-gay LDS men Ben's blog is:,Landon's blog is:; "Jason"'s blog is: I have yet to read any of them, but if I think I will add them to my Utah section if they are from the Beehive state.

So far, Ben's attempts to be 'cured' have failed: "therapy before and after his two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That helped him resolve issues with his father and other men, but it didn't diminish the strong attractions he felt for other men. He doubted those would ever go away." Yet, he believes God wanted him to marry.

Remember "The LDS Church says it's not a sin to have same-sex attraction, only to act on it." Langdon "doesn't believe he chose to be gay, so he doesn't feel guilty about having same-sex attractions. He agrees with the LDS Church's distinction between desire and actions and is trying everything he can to resist those desires, or even overcome them." "Jason" says, "Contrary to common misconception, I was never attracted to my [male] companions, and there was very little risk of problems arising from my attractions. It was a wholesome, formative experience, and was a paramount time period in my development and manhood."

As Jason anticipated making love to his wife for the first time, the thought was repulsive. He had a gnawing anxiety that he wouldn't be able to do it. But he was.
"I am surprised at how fulfilling my sex life is with my wife," he says. "It definitely exceeded my expectations."

I am just going to leave that one alone, but an interesting quote nonetheless. "Jason" married the girl he confided his homosexuality to all those years before.

So are these guys in denial, are their wives? Religious belief and faith is a big thing, and so is societal pressure. Yet all of these men (and it says something I think that this seems to only happen to gay men and not lesbians) know on some level that they will never stop having homosexual desires and/or attractions. They are trying to rectify their faith their beliefs and their heritage with who they really are. It is sad that the LDS church and the culture of its members makes them feel compelled to do so.

On another level, I think this is deeply irresponsible. If you want to try out straight marriage and still be openly gay, that is your choice with the prospective spouse. But once you create children, you are putting them in a situation not of their choosing. Given that study quoted above, these family's are extremely likely to head to divorce, probably more so than any other demographic. Divorces can be very hard on children. That isn't to say that parents shouldn't get divorced, but that they shouldn't take the whole marriage thing so lightly before they decide to get married and definitely before they decide to have kids.

There are no easy answers for folks like Ben, Langdon, and "Jason." Either they leave The Church, or remain single, or marry someone who they may love but aren't sexually attracted to. All are fraught with difficult, negative outcomes.

Reading stories like these makes me feel lucky that I have found the love of my life (whom I am attracted to) and that society condones our marriage. I wish everyone the same blessings I enjoy.

No comments: