Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Give me chastity, but not yet...

You may have heard the quote from St. Augustine in which he requests to be blessed with chastity, but "not yet." I feel that. Ol' Gus probably slept around a bit more than your average Saint, and judging from his writing, he enjoyed himself.

I've decided to give conversion therapy a try. From what I've seen on the gay Mormon blog circuit, I think I'm the only one giving this a try right now. I had a bit of a debate about it in the comment section of this post. After this dialog in which I was advised to proceed with caution, I've decided I'll keep right on with it. But I recognize the chances of success are low. And I'll tell you one of the reasons I think that is true.

Like Augustine, I want something, but not all the way. I really want to be closer to my wife. I want to fully connect with her sexually. I want to feel closer after sex, not further apart. But I also want to stop denying that integral part of myself that desires the love of a man. I ache for a man to love me, to understand me, and to be a loyal friend. It's what my bones tell me I need while my mind tells me I need something else--like a thirsty man surrounded by salt water.

Cognitive dissonance is kind of a buzz term these days. I understand it simply as holding two contradictory beliefs simultaneously. It can tear you apart if you let it. And it creeps up on me all the time. It rears its head when I decline to watch r-rated films because I'm being good, but knowing I watch much worse than that when I'm being bad. It shows up when I take the sacrament even while I have my questions about several doctrinal and historical points in the church.

But inner conflict should hardly be surprising to a latter-day saint. We fast deliberately to train our bodies to be subject to our minds--to symbolize and actualize sacrifice. But then that ends after 24 hours. Wouldn't it be nice if my gay fast could end tomorrow?

I'm left with my faith and my marriage vows, and the hope for a happy solution in this life that is against all odds.


Elbow said...

That's amazing that you are going to try conversion therapy.
I wouldn't do it, but if you feel like it is worth a shot then go for it.
I kind of think it's cool that you are going to do it, simply because people talk about it like it is the solution when they haven't even tried it.
Please fill us in. It will be good to know your thoughts and what happens in the process.
Be careful though, if it feels like you are getting in too deep then be mindful that it isn't worth damaging you to try to fix something that is most likely not going to change.
Good luck with it. I can't wait to hear more.

Chris (hurricane) said...

L, good luck.

Gay Mormon said...

Gotta love the ole cognitive disonance. I think it can also be defined as doing something contradictory to one's beliefs -- like hypocrisy.

Anyhow, I think your experiences with conversion therapy will be important for everyone on here. Please share your thoughts. We'll let you know if you're being brainwashed. ;) By the way, I didn't really think therapists practiced conversion therapy anymore (because of the ethical issues of it all). Interesting. Even my BYU therapist didn't try "conversion therapy."

-L- said...

Hey, GM, I've got plenty of cognitive dissonance going on in the hipocrisy area too. Ha! Just ask me about all my downloaded music/videos/games/software. Oops. Did I just write that in a public forum? Well, recording industry lawyers, it was just a little joke. See, funny. Ha ha.

How is conversion therapy thought to be unethical? I genuinely don't know. I'm assuming you mean because harm can be done in validating or supporting someone's unhappiness with who they are. Is there more to it than that?