…last June something came over me that I haven't been able to shake -a vision of myself in the future, eternally married as a Mormon with two children. It was the most incredible, wonderful feeling I have ever experienced. In the vision, my world was completely different - nothing was about myself anymore, and instead, everything was about my wife, children, and God. Our children were so beautiful - we would have done anything for them. I was still gay (and we all knew it), but that didn't matter. Just as I had sacrificed certain career aspirations, my time, money, and the planned direction of my life, I had sacrificed being with men. It wasn't something that I questioned because I had evidence of the blessings in front of me at all times.
So, he hooked up with the missionaries and started taking the discussions. I don’t know where he is or isn’t in the process of investigating the church right now, but at one point they were teaching him about the fruits of the spirit and he e-mailed to ask me about the “fruits” of my choices.
I’m pretty stupid about most things, but particularly about my own life and happiness. I have huge mood swings, moments of manic happiness, frenzied stress, bitter frustration… you know, the spectrum of life. Does that make the “fruit” something worth setting out there as an example?
There have also been occasional comments and e-mails from people who, in one way or another, suggest that I’m trying to persuade people to do things like I’ve done it… or to convert them somehow to my way of thinking. I can’t deny trying to be persuasive on some topic when I think I’m right and some other point of view is stupid (notice: no instances offered), but overall I really thought I had made it abundantly clear that this is a journey for me, I don’t pretend to know where it will end or what all the answers are.
I can speak to the happiness I have in my life right now, and it’s genuine. But I can also speak to the difficulties we’ve had (and still have), as well as the many examples of couples that haven’t succeeded in making their marriages a perpetual bliss.
As far as comparing my situation to those who have taken a different path, things get muddy fast. And super subjective. I can only look at the choices people make, and the way I perceive their happiness and the quality of their lives. I don’t necessarily go by whether people say they’re happy, because I’ve seen some pretty nasty, bitter people snarl out how great their life is and that if anyone disputes their happiness they’ll snap their neck like a !@#$ matchstick!!!
It turns out my subjective conclusions don’t really support the “fruit” theory at all. I see the full spectrum ranging all the way from wonderful, exemplary people to cranky jerks both inside the church and out. Of course, the traits that qualify the wonderful, exemplary people as such are qualities consistent with following LDS church teachings, whether they’ve been achieved by trying to follow Christ’s teachings deliberately or not. And vice versa.
I think Galatians isn’t really talking about knowing anything by its fruits (although it’s a great analogy), but specifically the gifts of the spirit. But if I’m making decisions about what to believe and do based on who I want to exemplify and become, I feel pretty good about things anyway.