Wednesday, October 04, 2006

In Quiet Desperation, 1

In truth, these chapters are much more about the gospel through the eyes of one individual who experiences same-gender attraction than they are about same-gender attraction itself. To be certain, these chapters are about "change," and they are about "overcoming" but not in the same way usually referred to in discussion on homosexuality.... These chapters are about a "change" of heart (Helaman 15:7) and of "overcoming" the world (John 16:33) through faith in Jesus Christ....
Ty Mansfield in In Quiet Desperation

My counselor several months ago was recommending books to me and suggested In Quiet Desperation wasn't the best one and that I would be best served by trying some others. I don't remember what our conversation was about exactly, but his suggestion may have been because at that point I was looking for more clinical and scientific information about homosexuality and reparative therapy.

Now that I've started In Quiet Desperation, I think I should fire him. I really like it a lot. I was further prepared to hate the book because of some critical comments circulating around the blogs several months ago, many by really smart folks I respect a ton. So, imagine my surprise when I finally got my hands on a copy and love it so far! It fits with my observation about most things in life--set your expectations low and you'll usually be pleasantly surprised. ;-)

The quote above is my favorite so far because it jives with something Elder Wickman said that has been weighing heavy in the back of my mind:

Ultimately, the wisest course for anybody who’s afflicted with same-gender attraction is to strive to extend one’s horizon beyond just one’s sexual orientation, one’s gender orientation, and to try to see the whole person. If I’m one that’s afflicted with same-gender attraction, I should strive to see myself in a much broader context… seeing myself as a child of God with whatever my talents may be, whether intellect, or music, or athletics, or somebody that has a compassion to help people, to see myself in a larger setting and thus to see my life in that setting.

The more a person can look beyond gender orientation, the happier and more fulfilling life is likely to be. The worst possible thing for any of us — no matter what our temptations, no matter what our mortal inclinations may be — is to become fixated with them, to dwell on them. When we do that, not only do we deny the other things that comprise us, but experience teaches that there will be an increased likelihood that eventually we will simply succumb to the inclination.

So, I think I'll be focusing more on the gospel as I go along. I do see myself in the larger context--this is only one part of my life. But I must admit that my mind goes to this blog much more frequently than it does, say, the scriptures. Ty is wise, and Wickman is inspired. I'll be adopting Ty's approach I think. It feels so right considering my recent frantic grasping for some strength and solidity in meeting my challenges. And then at General Conference the message over and over was that whatever your challenges may be, you need to rely on the Savior for mercy and comfort.

I feel much better.

Index of Matis/Mansfield posts
In Quiet Desperation, 1
Terribly difficult
Mutually exclusive yearnings
Family and friends
Fat and sassy
Goldilocks and the three queers
Celebrity deathmatch: Mansfield vs. Byrd
In Quiet Desperation, 2


Master Fob said...

I enjoyed In Quiet Desperation. Ty's part, at least. The Matises' part made me angry. Ty seems to be a good, intelligent person, and I respect his honesty and candor. The only thing I found frustrating about his part of the book was that it seemed to be a lot of other peoples' ideas strung together in quotes, when Ty could have offered so much more of his own perspective. Both from a philosophical perspective and a literary one, I'm bothered by so much use of a text being quotation.

While I'm not sure I agree with his premise that humankind should not be concerned with our own happiness, I find it fascinating.

On the issue of putting too much focus on sexuality, I know I've been guilty of that. I just have a hard time finding anything else quite so interesting. :)

AttemptingthePath said...

I'm glad you've liked it so far.

fob said, "While I'm not sure I agree with his premise that humankind should not be concerned with our own happiness," I believe his premise was coming to Christ--and for me that's where I've found my happiness. So, maybe you shouldn't say "humankind" but perhaps, "fobkind"

Also fob, I'm sorry the Matises' part made you angry, I'm very grateful that they wrote part of the book. They are two of the most loving, understanding and caring people I've ever met. I've only met them a handful of times but they helped me feel safe, and that I'm not alone.

anywho, have a good one -L-, youre amazing

Unusual Dude said...

Excellent viewpoints today. I think I've been guilty of putting to much of a focus on sexuality as well. Sometimes it's tiring and I'd rather just think about something else - so I do. I should just do that more often.

I haven't read "In Quiet Desperation," but the idea that we shouldn't be so concerned with our own happiness doesn't seem so far-fetched to me. I've found through life that the less concerned I am about my own happiness, the happier I end up being. If only I could actually practice that more often.

Loyalist (with defects) said...

"So, I think I'll be focusing more on the gospel as I go along. I do see myself in the larger context--this is only one part of my life. But I must admit that my mind goes to this blog much more frequently than it does, say, the scriptures."

I must admit as well that blogging my issue, though may have some therapeutic help, has kept my SSA issue more on my shirtsleve that what I prefer.

Granted, stuffing the issue into a proverbial box at the back of deep closet padlocked and nailed shut, is not where I want my issue to reside either - festering is not good either nor is it healthy.

I accept that I am gay but I also accept that there is a God and I am one of His children. As such I must, out of love, duty and loyality, follow those bounds set by the Lord in all things. Including my orientation.

Tolkien Boy said...

I was going to post something brilliant, and then realized that what I had to say was logically unsound.

So. Um, never mind.

iovan said...

That is also the message that I got from conference. I think if we focus on the gospel, whatever we need to come unto Christ will present itself at some time or another, thus making sure we can learn all we need to learn. Focus on one specific thing, and we'll miss out on everything else.

It seems like the larger setting you're talking about will help us balance our lives. It'll be easier to handle challenges in one aspect of your life if other aspects of your life are ok. If you're just concerned about one thing, there's nothing you can use to put things in perspective when things are rough.

Lately I have felt like I can't really move on in life until I figure out what I'm going to do with my attractions to men. That's why it feels right to make this a bigger part of my life right now. I have to say I've been a little apprehensive about blogging because I'm afraid it would suck me into the subject deeper than I can handle (so far it's been all right though....). Thanks for the reminder that it's all part of something bigger.

John said...

This book was an iron rod for me during my darkest week. 8 weeks later, I still find myself refering to it often. My only criticisms were the same cited here by others: 1.I wanted more of HIS story, and 2. He is young and therefore his experience lacking. Maybe both of them together actually make a strength... perhaps he kept out his own experience realizing how limited it was. So he stuck to the FACTS: The glorious GOSPEL.

johngalt said...

sorry, that was me :-)