Thank you for calling the Gay and LDS too hotline. Your call may be recorded for training or vindictive purposes. Please choose from the following options:I think pretty much everyone hates automated customer service lines. I've worked in customer service, so I recognize why they are a big help to the company's bottom line, but they annoy customers. They try to anticipate every possible customer need and solve all your problems by interacting with a numeric keypad.
- Press 1 if you choose to remain faithful LDS and stay celibate for the rest of your life
- Press 2 if you choose to be true to your gay feelings and abandon your LDS background
- Press 3 if you choose to have one foot in and one out of the LDS church while you flirt with gay love
- Press 4 if you choose to remain faithful LDS and plan to ruin your spouse's and children's lives by trying a mixed straight/gay marriage
- Press 5 if you choose to live a fully gay life and pretend that it is not inconsistent with your LDS faith
- Press 6 if you are foolish enough to believe that reparative therapy is worth a try--don't worry, you can come back to this menu when you fail
- Press 7 if you find none of these choice to be acceptable and you wish to commit suicide
- Press 8 to repeat this menu.
Maybe it's just me, but life seems too complicated to be boiled down to a nested series of numbered lists. I usually end up wading through the system for about 5 minutes until I've listened to 3 or 4 submenus and it finally gives me the option to speak to a person. I could have told them my situation was going to require a real human brain from the beginning, they just didn't give me the option!
Why do I constantly hear the options for a gay LDS man presented as tidy false dilemmas?
"I had to decide between being true to myself and living a life of misery."
"I could never be celibate for my entire life and that's what staying in the church would mean."
"I could never marry a woman--it would be unfair of me even to ask. And it wouldn't be fair to my kids."
"I tried reparative therapy and it didn't work. I tried hard. For approximately 30 seconds."
Being gay and Mormon can be played out a lot of ways. The very real conflict I face seems to be described with glib empathy issuing from gay-friendly folks all the time. There's no help and no workable solution coming from the church, they say. I once commented on a gay thread with my real identity (not out) in an online forum discussion. I was criticized as being unempathetic--I was told to imagine myself as a gay man and I would see why I never should have said such things.
Well, guess what? I do say such things. And I happen to be gay, thank you very much. I think a gay man can live a life inside the church happily, sexually active, and worthily. Sure, it took me 4 or 5 years of dating for me to finally come out to the woman who would soon afterward be my wife. Sure, it hasn't been a bed of roses. Sure, I'm not a perfect LDS member. But, I think all things considered, God has had good things in store for me, and they showed up in his good time. I'm happily married, true to the church, and no longer lonely and celibate. I think he intends the same for everyone. And by "the same" I mean wildly different but still ultimately good.