Friday, October 20, 2006

In Quiet Desperation, 2

Since Stuart's death, we have learned about and met many devoted Latter-day Saints who have the same challenge as Stuart's and who are faithfully serving in the Church. Because of the homophobia that prevails in society, they have lived secretive lives of quiet desperation.
Marilyn Matis in In Quiet Desperation

Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught: "No wonder Apostles and prophets have told us not to be moved away from the hope of the gospel.... The very way in which... illuminated individuals 'take up [the] cross daily' is a sermon in itself. They lead lives not of quiet desperation but of quiet inspiration, constituting what Paul would call their 'defence and confirmation of the gospel.'"

I believe that those who truly understand and have internalized the eternal vision of the plan of salvation and its essential doctrines would never view submission to Christ and their eternal potential as "suppression." And I do not believe that those who understand the glory and majesty of the love of Christ and His infinite atonement would feel "desperate" in their discipleship. As Elder Maxwell pointed out, their hope in Christ transforms their feelings of desperation to inspiration and suppression to submission. In their faith and understanding of the gospel, they maintain a "perfect brightness of hope" for a "better world" (2 Nephi 31:20; Ether 12:4).
Ty Mansfield in In Quiet Desperation

Before ever reading the book itself, I thought the title was brilliant. It alludes to Emerson and captures precisely the mental anguish to which same-gender attracted folks in the church are so vulnerable. But I find myself so thoroughly encouraged by the book that in many ways it seems inappropriate now. I wonder if the title was imposed on the authors by the marketing department! It's apt for Stuart's suicide, but not to describe the lives of faithful Saints who learn and deal. In the quote above, Ty underlines Maxwell's concept of being released from desperation through Christ.

There were lots of other quotes from the book I thought about discussing--the discussion of holding fast vs. clinging to the iron rod, a discussion of mixed-orientation marriages, missionary work, etc.--but I think I've already gone on long enough for this title. My favorite quote from the book I never used and I'll save it for some other rainy day.

But for now I recommend... no, I vehemently insist--that you read this book! And my inter-library loan copy should be available for you to check out in a few days if you live near BYU-Idaho's library. ;-)

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


Anonymous said...

This is ONE book (probably the only) that I actually read before you did. After I came out to my wife nearly two years ago, she heard about the book and suggested I get it. I wasn't about to go into DB and pick it up - so she did it for me. Funny, but I find that silly now. I've since bought one for a friend! My copy is underlined and circled and highlighted.

I don't agree with everything Ty said, particularly about his hesitancy to marry (or the views on those of us who have chosen to marry), but I'm glad Deseret Book chose to publish it. As much as I detest church books (for the most part many are nothing but 'priestcraft'), this one is proudly in my library.

Thanks for the discussion and dialog.


Master Fob said...

The librarian in me is proud of you for using ILL, but the penniless writer in me aches for the author who may very well read your cavalier declaration of your refusal to contribute to his livelihood by buying his book, and even encouraging others to follow your example.

Meh. Truthfully, if it were me, I'd be happy you were reading it, regardless of my financial gain. The librarian wins. Down with capitalism.

Master Fob said...

Have you noticed that I rarely comment on the actual content of your posts? After all, one can only say "Well said," or even "Dude, I totally identify," so many times.

-L- said...

I'm more likely to buy this book than most. I want my wife to read it but it's past due (many apologies to the librarian in you), so we may have good cause to pony up some of our hard earned cash.

I encourage everyone to read a lot and if their budget is anything like mine, libraries are the only way to go.

Someday when my salary to debt ratio nudges away from zero, perhaps I'll donate something to Ty's charitable endeavor for LDS same-gender attracted folks, which I'm sure he'll have started by then. ;-)

Kengo Biddles said...

You're at zero? I wish I was....

-L- said...

Zero, meaning the denominator eclipses the numerator... not actually at zero. ;-) I'm WAY in debt. And make peanuts.

Samantha said...

Actually, Ty really is in the process of starting a non-profit group to help SSA men and women. You should ask him about it. I'll admit to being on the bandwagon, but knowing me as you do, that should come as no surprise. I'm a sucker for underdogs and hopeless causes--which often turn out to be not so hopeless after all.