Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Jason Parks, 1

You may be struggling to make sense of homosexual attractions in light of the gospel. Although you have a testimony of the gospel, you also know these feelings are very real and strong and in spite of your efforts to live the gospel, the feelings don't go away. You are caught between the gospel which is right and the attractions toward men that are contrary to the gospel. The response of most men is to (1) try to suppress the feelings and live the gospel or (2) decide that the gospel doesn't fit in their life and pursue the attractions, thereby losing out on the blessings of the gospel. Rejecting the gospel was not an answer for me, but suppressing the feelings didn't make them go away either. Suppression means a continual struggle where, at best, you are celibate but miserable, and at worst, lead a double life by pretending to be a good member of the Church but secretly engaging in homosexual behavior. The only way to resolve the problem is to identify the needs that cause the attractions and fill them in legitimate ways.

Jason Parks,
in Resolving Homosexual Problems: A Guide For LDS Men

I've started doing a little research. I've checked out a few books from the library and decided to give them a read and report back what I thought. I'm not far into Parks' book yet, but it has pleasantly surprised me. Well, it follows my personal trend of being quite impressed when I set my original expectations low and being disappointed when my original expectations were high. :-)

Parks' book is unique in that there are few by LDS authors that specifically address my issues in the context of the gospel. So far it has referenced the typical studies on the prevalence of homosexuality, how genetics may or may not contribute, and whether plausible options exist. It takes, not surprisingly, a conservative slant on the data--presenting mainly the data supportive of his position and excluding the contrary. This is typical of both sides of the debate, and at least Parks has clearly annotated his discussion so that primary resources can be consulted.

The thing I like about the book, and why I'm excited to continue reading, is that its explanation of defensive detachment and unmet needs for homoemotional interactions is so compelling to me. It's not a new concept, and certainly criticized by some, but that doesn't change its clear significance for me. When I read the chapters, they described me. I can recall situations in my past where my sensitivity has kept me from bonding with other boys/men. This scenario was laid out in such detail and resonated with such clarity that I'm certain it's true, despite the inconclusive interpretation of data. I know I have or had needs that must be addressed. Whether or how that will affect my sexuality I'm not certain. On that I have only the testimonial of Parks and other men who have attempted this type of therapy.

I'm glad suppression (celibate misery detailed on some blogs) and acting gay are not the only options. There are many gay men who don't feel unmet homoemotional needs are at the root of their being gay, and that's fine. But, luckily, I do believe it contributes to mine (and many others whose blogs I've read) and that gives me a rational goal to pursue. At worst, in attempting to fulfill my homoemotional needs I will be a happier but still a wholly gay man. At best, I will be able to "resolve" my homosexual issues.

Index of Jason Parks posts:
Jason Parks, 1
Revelation on homosexuality
Subtly arrogant
AIDS and suicide
Inborn and unchangeable?
Jason Parks, 2


Chris (hurricane) said...

I'm glad suppression (celibate misery detailed on some blogs) and acting gay are not the only options.

I'm glad you are searching for a third way. In my experience, it is search that can be incredibly rewarding.

Beck said...

There's got to be another option! You seem to be on the road to the "third way". When you find it, let me know.

Meanwhile, I will try to pick up the book you suggest.

Thanks for being out there!

-L- said...

Thanks, hurricane, for sharing your story on your blog. I never did comment because I had nothing significant to say, but I'll thank you here. It was nice to hear from your sweet best friend too.

Jason Park said...

Glad you're finding the books helpful. It's been an amazing journey for me--not easy, but certainly worth the effort!

Jason Park said...

By the way, if you want to learn more about diminishing same-sex attraction and overcoming homosexual behavior, and meet people who are doing so, you may want to attend Evergreen International's annual conference. It's coming up September 15-16, 2006. For more information, see