Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Secret

I know it has been a while since I’ve posted. I think that is because after my excommunication, it has taken me a while to get into the mindset of feeling like I want to continue opening up and sharing. Today I’m going to go a little backwards, and give you what I believe to be the secret to staying in the church as a gay Mormon. Hopefully this will help bishops, councilors, and etc. up the chain know how to handle people who might approach them with this situation.

It is just too bad I had to leave the church to realize it. The thing I’m not to sad about, however, is the fact that I met my amazing partner – and now I can’t/won’t leave him.

So here it is: You are a gay Mormon. These are two very real and very large parts of your life. They might not seem like they go together at first – but trust me – they can.

If you are still in the church, then you have embraced, fully, your Mormon side. Good for you. You don’t have to let that go, but you do need to embrace your gay side. You can’t just starve it away. It never dies.

Instead, you need to accept it, recognize it, and love it. This doesn’t mean you have to go out and act on your desires, but instead, means you should prepare yourself for full disclosure. To survive in a family oriented church, with or without a family of your own, is going to require that friends, family, church leaders, ward members, everyone knows that you, in fact, are gay. There will be plenty who won’t understand, perhaps some that will shun you, but there will be more who will appreciate your strength in remaining faithful to the gospel.

You are always accompanied in the room by a giant pink elephant. You can’t and shouldn’t hide it. Doing so just makes it worse. Parade that damn elephant around – because there is nothing wrong with a giant pink elephant.

The gay community has a word for this: pride. You should have it for both your gay side, and your Mormon side. I do (and my partner sometimes doesn’t understand it), even though I’m no longer a member of the church.

Coming out is an important psychological step for all gay youth. Just because you are religious, that doesn’t mean you get to avoid this step! You have to do it. It is not fair to yourself to not. You can be an out-and-celibate, or an out-and-married Mormon. This is the only way your relationships with members of the opposite sex can work. This is the only way your relationship to a church who doesn’t understand you can work. You must make this topic less taboo. You must talk about it. The amount of strength that will be required to live such a life will be a redirection of the strength you are currently focusing on you homosexuality. That’s right – avoiding the pink elephant is feeding it. You cannot “white-knuckle” it forever. There is no amount of strength on the planet or in the heavens for that (this is a rephrased quote from my LDS counselor). That energy must be refocused.

If all goes well you will have accepting and loving ward members, leadership, and neighborhoods, and hopefully change a few minds regarding the struggles of same gender attraction along the way. You can finally be a complete person, by embracing all of the goodness in your person – you can even help your sister color-coordinate her wardrobe. Trust me, you’ll be doing everyone a favor =)

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