Saturday, August 25, 2007


As a resident, I'm supervised by an attending. He's gay. He knows I'm Mormon (although I have no idea how), and I think when he first introduced his partner he was wondering how I would respond. I think the fact that I took it all completely in stride is why he now feels comfortable talking about the church and/or gay topics without caution, and I'm glad.

On the other hand, my closest neighbors are gay too. I don't know them as well and I think they may wonder whether I've "put things together". I wonder whether they've put it together that I'm Mormon as I cart my little family to church every Sunday. The problem is, if these things never come up in the across-the-fence chats we have, how will they ever realize that I'm not what they may think I am?

I had a neighbor not long ago whose front door was inches from our own, and he had calendar boys over to spend the night all the time (frankly, I don't know how he reeled them in!), but we never did get around to making it clear that we're fine with him living his life the way he wants, so I think he just assumed we were bigoted Mormons. We lived near him long enough (and parked near enough) that there's no way he could have missed the LDS trappings over time.

There are several other gay guys in the office besides my attending who I haven't had the chance to get to know personally. I don't want to miss out on good friendships with neighbors or coworkers because of a misunderstanding of what I might believe about gay people, but I also don't know how to say, "So... you're gay, I'm Mormon, and I'm totally fine with that. Any questions?"

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Doing yourself violence

An interesting comment from a therapist who works with families shattered with domestic violence has got me pensive. Apparently, my blog and the comments therein contain all the familiar verbiage. I'm not sure what this means, but I've noted the assessment is not a favorable one.

Came across your blog recently. Not LDS here. I'm a therapist that works with families affected by domestic violence, (broadly defined to include not only physical but psychological and emotional abuse.) I found myself drawn in recognizing posting after posting echoed the voices I hear daily in my practice. The voices of the abused trying to make sense of abusive relationships. Why do we stay in relationships that love us back so poorly? Beliefs. About self, about relationships, about God and the nature of Divine Love. Eerily, I have heard echoes of the comments I find in your blog coming from the victims with swollen lips and eyes nearly blinded by the abuser. "I know he loves me, I just need to be a better person." Yikes!! I could parallel any number of these comments similarly to the sad, sad mental contortions people make to live in abusive relationships. What is it but abuse to call someone an abomination?

And, as you may know, if you know me at all, I'm prone to apologetics when I'm not given a favorable assessment. ;-)

Truth is, I've had my share of swollen lips and eyes nearly blinded by an abuser. But the abuser has never been my faith or my family. The abuser has been pornography. Why do I go back, I wonder? Happily, I haven't gone back for quite some time. Maybe those 12 steps are paying off. Maybe my new found accountability system is working. Maybe I've parted ways with my abuser after all this time of dependence and humiliation.

As for the comments on this blog, many of them reflect places I've been on my journey. I see their views as views to defend as my own. I don't agree with them, necessarily, but I sympathize with the value of struggling through the issues; I know the importance of fighting the good fight, keeping the faith.

On the other hand, larger parts of my fight seem to be winding down, and it's odd to me that the commenter seems not to see it. I've felt more and more like blogging is a chore. It's not that I don't have anything to say; I still get ideas all the time for interesting ways to discuss relevant topics. But it has become so progressively less of an issue in my life that it feels at times distracting to revisit it. That's not to say that I've passed some wondrous benchmark of progress, because I cycle through these issues all the time, and it's too early to say how the long-term prospects look. But it is to say that I can understand how many people who have "overcome" SSA don't spend a lot of time debating the issue... because more than ever before I can believe that I may soon be one of them.

However, now that I've said that I feel dramatic and manipulative. It's not that I'm trying to get lots of comments telling me that I'm important and have important things to say. I believe there ought to be folks speaking up whose lives defy conventional wisdom, and I'm fairly certain I'll be trying to be one of them for a good while yet. And in so doing, I'll try to comfort those who stand in need of comfort, those who have been done violence by evils in the world (whether sophistry, pornography, intolerance, actual abuse, or whatever), and defend the source of truth and peace from being mischaracterized as an abuser.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Don't let me distract you

A while back I felt some comfort believing that a lot of people came to my blog and were interested in what I had to say. Then... life got busy. Well, it turns out that now that I've posted once in the last month, I still have the same number of daily visitors as before. Do I think that 178 people visited this blog yesterday to re-read my Step 6 post? No. You're here for the sidebar feed and probably always have been. I see how it is. Well, don't let me slow you down with my rambling here. Go on. Go read the goodies from around the queerosphere!

Regardless, just for FOB, I'm going to keep posting here anyway.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Step 6: Change of Heart

KEY PRINCIPLE: Become entirely ready to have God remove all your character weaknesses.

During a recent priesthood lesson on integrity, I opened a can of worms into the discussion by bringing up online file sharing and piracy. I'm guessing that mohos who blog fit well into the category of those who would be tempted to do some online file sharing. They're techno-savvy, often musically inclined, etc.

I had a technology industry job once where my coworkers were extremely capable at... well, hacking. They had a good time breaking into the county courthouse's network to find out which of our coworkers and superiors had been arrested and why. Ok, that's a little off-topic, but the memories... Anyway, we also had a large library of illegally copied software, music, and movies going around. I've always gone through cycles with such things--indulging and then deleting it all in a fit of remorse... only to start doing it again later.

Enter: step 6.

It's not just about pornography anymore. [That's happily in part because I haven't been nearly as tempted with it lately. But, I'm sure there will be times of extreme temptation down the road at some point, so I continue with the steps.] Having a changed heart extends its influence past that issue to every issue of my life. Do I want what God wants? I need to desire not just to avoid copied music and pornography and... whatever the case may be... but I need to actually lose the desire to return to them.

How does one lose the desire for sin? Especially if that desire has become seemingly hard wired in my nervous system? Oh yeah, I guess that's the whole meaning of an addiction and the whole challenge of defeating it.

The Lord wants to bless you with a change of disposition that will unite you with Him in mind and heart, just as He is united with the Father. He wants to give you rest from your isolation from God the Father, the isolation that caused the fears which contributed to your addiction. He wants to make the Atonement effective in your life, here and now.

As you yield to the promptings of the Spirit and look to the Savior for salvation, not only from addiction but from character weaknesses, you can be assured that a new disposition or character will grow out of your willing heart. A growing desire to be sanctified by God will make you ready for a change in your very nature.

The manual points out the propensity people feel to take their struggles head on, by themselves. And it points out that that approach is precisely why people fail to overcome their addictions time and time again. I know I need "a higher power" involved in the mix, but when it comes down to the time to submit to God, I'd rather go amuse myself elsewhere. I'd rather stay home from church, read blogs, watch TV, or pretty much anything rather than study the scriptures and pray with real intent.

“No matter what the source of difficulty and no matter how you begin to obtain relief—through a qualified professional therapist, doctor, priesthood leader, friend, concerned parent, or loved one— no matter how you begin, those solutions will never provide a complete answer. The final healing comes through faith in Jesus Christ and His teachings, with a broken heart and a contrite spirit and obedience to His commandments” (Richard G. Scott, in Conference Report, Apr. 1994, 9; or Ensign, May 1994, 9).

Although there are many possible roads to addiction recovery, I think for me the only one that will work is one that involves--REALLY involves--Christ.