Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Individual paths

I try to keep my posts on the short side. I think it's because I anticipate that everyone has an attention span about the same length as mine. But it's impossible to really put all the background information necessary into some of the discussions I want to have. Short of teaching the entire missionary discussions on my blog, I don't see how to change that.

But, I want people to understand something about my confidence in God and the Mormon church. I mean no disrespect to others when I say I believe that God speaks through individuals He has chosen, and that anyone else who tries to figure out what God is thinking by some other method is at a serious disadvantage. I end up following the church and the men who lead it because through various means I've come to understand the truth of what they say bit by bit. I'm not constrained to believe, I'm not forced to follow, and I'm not uncritical as I know I have yet to learn many things. Experience and an indescribable intuition sometimes called the still small voice lead me to become more and more certain that these guys (leaders of the LDS church) know what they're talking about.

That's not to say they know everything, or that they can't be wrong, or that they don't make mistakes. But it is to say they're the ones I need to be paying attention to for the, umm, "straight dope".

There are those who believe not only that the prophets and apostles are not, in fact, prophets and apostles, but that they know they aren't, and that their whole lives are an exercise in deception and fraud. These men spend every ounce of energy testifying of Jesus and the truths He taught. They plead for people to be more honest, for people to love one another. They waste and wear out their lives in service to follow the example of their ostensible leader the Savior... and this is all a crafty cover up of their secretly venomous and dishonest natures and for their diabolical scheme to... what, exactly?

You may have noticed in my sarcasm that I have a pretty firm opinion of those who maintain this line of thinking. They are stupid.

A more compelling argument is that these men honestly believe they are following God and receiving His revelation, but that they are in fact working from their own prejudices combined with various indistinct warm fuzzies. The people who believe this are smarter (and kinder) but I think they are still wrong.

Perhaps the most perplexing group are those that believe they are indeed prophets (or that the church is true) but that they're wrong not only on little things where one could imagine God left it to their own judgment, but on things big enough to warrant statements from the First Presidency, proclamations, and explicit positions on civic matters. I've had my difficulties reconciling my views on some of the issues, but one that seems particularly unequivocal is that gay sex is wrong. I can acutely appreciate misgivings about the best form of governance on this matter, but I can't see how the morality of gay sex is up in the air for anyone who has any confidence in the church whatsoever. And since romantic affection with the same gender leads to gay sex, it is also not such a good thing (as opposed to affirming platonic friendships). As I've said before, it's not that they're bad, it's that they're not good enough for the ultimate end God wants for us.

And that leaves someone like me in an unpleasant and lonely predicament. One that I've, after many years, miraculously been relieved of. But my solution (marriage) is not the same miracle God has for everyone similarly situated. In fact, I firmly agree with church leaders that marriage should never be a form of therapy to try to change a guy straight, and I attribute the high divorce rate of mixed orientation marriages to wedding out of desperation rather than full love and carefully measured honest heart and soul searching. The absence of easy answers leaves a lot of people in an uncomfortable limbo. I was there for a long time, and I realize the waiting is the hardest part. But waiting, changing, and searching can be worth it.


Anonymous said...

I don't have a blog or a web-page to use as a sign in, perhaps later on I'll get one.

I just wanted to give you a pat on the back (so to speak) for being courageous enough to live according to your own path of truth as you recieve it from God.

There will always be nay-sayers, but I honestly believe that with your foundation in honesty and openness, and having a sincere interest in finding real truth, not as humans see it, but rather as God himself see's it, that you and your wife have as good a chance as any marriage on the planet to be fulfilling and successful.

On the gay theme, I have several theories of my own in regards to overcoming it that are far beyond the scope of my post, so let me just say that I find it to be a symptomatic condition that get's reenforced physically and chemically as we grow into maturity, but that can be undone, carefully and patiently if we consistenly choose to undo it. Being of a symptomatic nature, it's not neccessary to focus the repairs on homosexuality itself, but rather to find the root emotional, spiritual and physical variables that contribute to it.

"Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocre minds. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence and fulfills the duty to express the results of his thoughts in clear form." ~ Albert Einstein

This has never been more true than it is today. Your position seems clear to me.

Critical thinking and humbly seeking the Lord's guidance will reveal the way we should go in life when our way is not along the beaten path.

Good luck and God bless.

Joe C.

c.galen said...

sorry, but i don't see anything immoral about a monogamous gay relationship. i could make some mean comment about joseph smith and teenagers but will resist except to note that of all peoples, mormons should be careful about making judgements on unorthodox relationships. if two men love each other, are faithful to each other, help each other grow and learn in ways that would not be possible if they were friends living apart, then i accept their decision to be physically intimate. promiscuity is the biggest temptation and threat to a gay person; why must society encourage gay promiscuity by its attacks on stable gay relationships, which it does by calling them immoral and depriving them of legal and social rights?

-L- said...

Galen, your reasoning is persuasive to me from a secular point of view, but as the post details, I can't quite swallow it in the context of the church. Governance is another matter, of course, but in terms of morality I think God sets the ultimate standard. I opined on it more here and I'd be interested in your reaction.

Chris (hurricane) said...

So then it's God who encourages gay promiscuity...