Editor’s note: I’ve run into a few stories that I wanted to share from those who are religious and have experienced same-sex attraction for their whole lives…and who are choosing to live according to traditional Judeo-Christian standards of sexual purity and a belief in marriage between a man and a woman. And how God is helping them do just that.
The first story has made the rounds a lot in social media over the last several weeks. On the sidebar of his blog, he says this in response to who he is:
1. He’s a Marriage and Family Therapist.
2. He’s an active Mormon
3. He’s gay
4. He’s married to a woman (who is awesome!)
5. He’s amazing.
6. He writes this blog. He writes about ALL kinds of things. It will make you laugh. It will make you cry. It might even make you mad or offended. Give it a try.
Until recently, his blog followers did not know that he has dealt with SSA his whole life. He and his wife decided together to share their story on their tenth wedding anniversary. One of the parts of their post that has stuck out to a lot of people is their description of why their sex life is great. Some have wanted to dismiss their experience, but in truth, I think their statement about intimacy captures divine truth about sexuality and intimacy.
When sex is done right, at its deepest level it is about intimacy. It is about one human being connecting with another human being they love. It is a beautiful physical manifestation of two people being connected in a truly vulnerable, intimate manner because they love each other profoundly. It is bodies connecting and souls connecting. It is beautiful and rich and fulfilling and spiritual and amazing. Many people never get to this point in their sex lives because it requires incredible communication, trust, vulnerability, and connection. [And I would add, because the focus is on filling personal ‘needs’ rather than building a truly intimate, whole relationship — sharing fullness, not filling emptiness.] And Lolly [Mrs. Weed] and I have had that from day one, mostly because we weren’t distracted by the powerful chemicals of infatuation and obsession that usually bring a couple together (which dwindle dramatically after the first few years of marriage anyway). So, in a weird way, the circumstances of our marriage allowed us to build a sexual relationship that is based on everything partners should want in their sex-life: intimacy, communication, genuine love and affection.
[It struck me that this could perhaps be a guide for those who come to our site struggling with the impact of addiction or other unhealthy patterns on an intimate/sexual relationship, so I hope readers so struggling will consider what he shared here.]
The post is long, but it’s well worth the read. His wife, Lolly also shares her side of the story.
I stumbled last week on this blog post by a Catholic man whose blog tagline is “Catholic, Gay, and Feeling Fine.” I actually found his guest post on this blog.
There was much that struck me about his post and perspective. Following are a few snippets.
When Steve, the guest poster, shares with others that he is gay and Catholic and choosing to be celibate, he says he usually gets a loving, supportive response.
[T]he only time I get shock or disgust or disbelief, the only time I’ve noticed people treating me differently after I tell them, is when I tell someone who supports the gay lifestyle. Celibacy?? You must be some kind of freak.
Hooray for tolerance of different viewpoints. I’m grateful to gay activists for some things — making people people more aware of the prevalence of homosexuality, making homophobia less socially acceptable — but they also make it more difficult for me to be understood, to be accepted for who I am and what I believe. If I want open-mindedness, acceptance, and understanding, I look to Catholics.
I hope he could look to Mormons and other religious people, too. It’s my hope that there can be support and encouragement across religions for those who are making such choices. I applaud his choice and his faith in God.
Two more quotes from his post that I loved that I found inspirational:
And as my friend J. said when I told him recently about my homosexuality, “I guess if it wasn’t that, it would have been something else.” Meaning that nobody lives without a burden of one kind or another. As Rabbi Abraham Heschel said: “The man who has not suffered, what can he possibly know, anyway?”
[I]f you believe that men and women and sex and marriage are pretty much whatever we say they are, then okay: we don’t have much left to talk about. That’s not the world I live in….
Being a Catholic means believing in a God who literally waits in the chapel for me, hoping I’ll stop by just for ten minutes so he can pour out love and healing on my heart. Which is worth more — all this, or getting to have sex with who I want? I wish everybody, straight or gay, had as beautiful a life as I have.
What a beautiful testimony of the power of God’s love! Whatever our trials may be, and whatever our chapels may look like (or wherever we may choose to worship God), would that we could all feel such trust and comfort and peace in God’s love and grace.
Again, I recommend reading the whole post.
Gay Mormon Guy is a Mormon who has chosen a celibate life. We’ve shared his blog before, and we’re grateful for his willingness to share his story. He’s raw and honest about the fact that sometimes it can be hard, but he’s also bold about sharing his conviction about his faith and the rightness of his choice to be celibate. There’s no way to point to just one post that sums up his story, so you might end up reading several posts. His is a blog that many put in their reader to hear more of his journey as it unfolds.
Ty Mansfield is also a Mormon man who has written about his life being LDS with same-sex attraction. He also chose to be committed to celibacy and his faith. He had a time when he had what he describes as a “faith crisis” but had found peace and had decided to share it in a book (In Quiet Desperation). It was in reading that book that I first became acquainted with Ty Mansfield’s story. His faith and peace was evident and inspiring. I felt he had things to teach me for my own trials (in similar ways that Steve’s thoughts resonated with me — we all have trials, and we all need God, and we can rely on Him to help us!)
Ty says that “I had pretty much concluded that I probably wouldn’t marry in this life, and I had come to a place where I was okay with that.”
But his story didn’t stop there. In I think he surprised a lot of people by getting married. He shares in this LDS Living article how that happened. Some highlights are below.
I had let go of any personal or cultural pressure to marry and was content to stay single. Then I had an experience in which I felt prompted to continue to prepare myself spiritually and emotionally for the blessing of marriage and leave the rest to the Lord. As much as I felt I wouldn’t marry, I tried to leave it an open question and to trust in God. I felt good about that spiritually, but I continued to experience some emotional ups and downs.
Some time after that, I was earnestly seeking additional divine guidance. I was feeling frustration around some deep emotional connections I had developed with another guy, and it hurt that I couldn’t have what a part of me really wanted. I needed some spiritual reassurance. It was general conference time, so I wrote down some of my most heartfelt questions and went into the Saturday morning session fasting.
As soon as the opening prayer was given, I was completely enveloped by this spiritual feeling. I hardly remember anything that was said during the session, but the feeling was unlike anything I’ve ever felt. For nearly two hours, all the hurt, the pain, the confusion, the frustration were completely gone. In their place was this feeling of divine love I had also never experienced. As a part of that, there was a feeling of what I perceived as pure celestial love and desire to be with a daughter of God in the most holy, connected, and uniting of ways. The world’s portrayal of love and romance seemed so shallow and “false” in comparison. With the feeling came the words: “Just stay with me. If you do, this is the feeling you will someday feel—and it will be a permanent part of your being.” And then suddenly, as the end of the session approached, the feeling left. I didn’t know how I would eventually grow into that feeling as an integral part of my being, but I trusted that God would lead me there.
And He did. Read Ty’s whole story at LDS Living here. His wife, Danielle, also shares her side of their story.
Here’s an article from LDS Apostle Jeffrey R. Holland that might be of interest: http://www.lds.org/liahona/2007/10/helping-those-who-struggle-with-same-gender-attraction?lang=eng&query=homosexuality+%28name%3A%22Jeffrey+R.+Holland%22%29