Thursday, January 21, 2010

Do All Gays Go To Heaven?

In some of my self-examination, I've been thinking over the last week or two what the role of gays are in our theology. I've read a lot of people's personal views on the interpretation of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah and how the original Hebrew does not necessarily support the idea that it was destroyed for homosexuality. Instead, the destruction occurred because the people lacked hospitality.
I have no background to add to that discussion. However, there is no clear instruction from any scripture on the matter. Jesus did not address same sex relations. Joseph Smith did not either. In fact, according to some, the issue was not raised within the Church to any degree of specificity until Spencer W. Kimball became the prophet.
I do not claim to be an expert on how the Church's position has changed concerning homosexuality. Trusting that others have done the research, I've been wondering then where gays fit into the eternal scheme of things if I accept the proposition that God may not condemn gays as the Church leaders have said. Certainly a gay man can abide by many of the same commandments as anyone else. He can serve in the church, attend priesthood, go on a mission, etc., so long as he is celibate. I recognize that path. However, now a gay man can get married in certain states and in some other countries. He can refrain from sexual relations until he marries his love, just as a straight couple can. If he does so and engages in sexual relations only within the bonds of matrimony, has he lost his worthiness in God's eyes? I know that church leaders now would disapprove and not allow his participation at church.
If he is still worthy in God's view because he is only sexually active in a marriage relationship, should he then be allowed to serve in the Church, perform priesthood ordinances, and go to the temple?
As a missionary, I read Third Nephi, chapter 11 almost daily with investigators. In that chapter, Jesus to me seems very clear that the path to salvation is through the 4 basic principles of the gospel--faith, repentance, baptism, and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. In fact, He teaches that whoever teaches more or less than this doctrine is of the devil.
The reason I point out this section of scripture is that our Church as a much more complicated path laid out for salvation that culminates in seeking a spouse and being sealed in the temple. Only then, as Joseph taught, can one enter the highest degree of the celestial kingdom. Should we as gay brothers in the Church hope for a day when gay men and women can go to the temple and be sealed? Do we want to encourage acceptance so that a gay, sexually active man, can be a bishop, stake president, or apostle? Or is there another path? Will gays be like the blacks prior to 1978 who can attend church but not obtain temple blessings?
There are two other degrees of glory within the celestial kingdom. We don't know anything about them other than the people there will be with God and be his angels. That doesn't sound so bad. Is one of those degrees reserved for God's gay children who are also true Christians? If so, then not having perfect attendance at church meetings, going to the temple, or doing some of the many other things that we relate to Mormon culture but is not really relevant to the basic doctrine of salvation will not matter to God so much.
Joseph taught that that we will retain our identities, desires, and characteristics into the next life. Being that I think more people are accepting that one's sexuality is inherent in one's identity and not a choice, that idea implies to me that one's sexual identity is part of one's soul. If a guy has no attractions to women, that will not change in the next life and he will likely then not want to be in the highest degree of glory if that's for married heterosexual couples only. The other two degrees may be just right.
What about me? I'm married to a great woman. I love her and continue to hope and pray that our relationship will continue for a long time. If I continue to remain faithful to her, then we're promised that highest degree of glory. We can only go there through accepting and receiving the benefits of the atonement. As Alma taught, the atonement is very broad. It includes not only washing away our sins, but taking away the pains, sicknesses, and sufferings of this life. Isn't being denied a male partner a suffering? Maybe through the atonement, we will be blessed with great male partners in heaven. I've heard in Church before that righteous men will be given more wives in the celestial kingdom because polygamy is an eternal principle. If that's true, then maybe I'll ask God for both male and female spouses.
These are just some thoughts. What do you think about being gay in the eternal perspective?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Little Insight Into My Journey

It's time to address the themes proposed by Abelard about when did I know and where I am on my journey. They are really just different aspects of the story of my life.

When Did I Know?

I do not recall a specific instance where I said to myself, "holy crap, I'm gay!" That realization slowly dawned on me about 6 or 7 years ago. In some ways, it's still dawning on me. To start I should say that I'm the oldest of 2 kids. I have a younger sister. My dad worked a lot, so I was mostly just close to my mom growing up. There were few boys my age in my neighborhood. Most were younger or older by a year or two. I had no cousins, male or female, my age. I didn't have a lot of male influence or close relationships with men or boys growing up.

When I was a kid, I remember being a little interested in my friends and other guys, but not very much. As a very young kid, I remember being a little interested in smooth chested guys. I also remember trying to sneak a look at my uncle while we were changing after my baptism. Other than that, I really don't remember any sexual feelings while young. At the same time, I had my crushes on girls. I was engaged in kindergarten, and we had fun kissing! Then I didn't like her in first grade. Girls became icky then. I remember another crush I had in 5th grade.

In middle school, I wasn't particularly amorous. I remember feeling insecure in the locker room. I was a nerd. I was small and skinny without any skill at any sport. To avoid that, I spent most of those three years in gym class at the pool. We had to take at least 2 weeks of swimming, but I would spend most of the year in the pool. I kind of wished that I had continued and pushed myself into joining the high school swim team, but I never gave it serious thought because I didn't believe I had any physical prowess and I wasn't brave at trying new things. I had never been on a competitive team, except very young with soccer for a couple of years. Anyway, I remember looking at my friends in the swimming locker room and paying attention to certain physical developments. I also remember having a hard time not getting an erection when changing. I didn't connect those two things. Now that I know sexual attraction and release, I don't think that was what I was feeling at the time. It was mostly just curiosity and insecurity. At the same time, there a few girls who I thought were cute, but way above me. In addition, all through out these younger years, I made friends much easier with girls than boys.

Then came high school. Like most people, I grew up a lot physically and emotionally during those years. I gained in height but not in size. I was skinny when I graduated high school at about 135 lbs, while being 5'11". Anyway, my insecurities continued and I still looked at guys some to see how they were developing. But mostly, I paid attention to one friend. I would try to think of situations where I could see him shirtless. I would just enjoy spending time with him talking and being alone with him. He was my friend, but I could tell he didn't think about me to the same degree of intensity. It would drive me crazy that he could go forever without seeing me or calling me if I didn't try to reach out to him first. At the time, he was really my only male friend. Now I know I had a crush on him, but didn't recognize that. I never thought in terms that I had homosexual attractions. I had a few other male acquaintances, but they were in their cliques. I didn't hang out with them. At the same time, I had some great female friends. We're still friends, and I even married one of them! I also had crushes on some girls. I enjoyed dating, but it like hanging with really good friends. I never thought about making out with them. I enjoyed my dates, looking at the girls, but always thought a romantic relationship would come later in my life. So I rarely went out with a girl more than twice.

Then I attended college for a year. I can't think of anything that happened to me during that year to affect my sexuality. I did become really good friends with a certain girl from high school.

Then there was the MTC. Wow, 9 weeks of hanging out with guys, studying the scriptures, and learning to be a missionary. I liked the side single shower where I knew I wouldn't be looked at much. I still had issues with my body image. At the same time I could look over into the tree showers. I know I did that, but those curious feelings about the other guys were pretty minor. Mostly what I remember about the MTC was the camaraderie and the spiritual growth. I felt accepted by a bunch of guys for the first time. It was nice. The mission was a lot of hard work, and I just didn't think about sex or other guys much. There were a few good looking missionaries that I glanced at a couple of times.

I came home and dated that girl. A year later, we were married. One sign I should have noticed before I got married was that I didn't enjoy the kissing as much as I though I would. And then when we were married, sex was awkward at first. I had some strange feelings for the first day or two that I can only describe as feeling like I shouldn't be seeing my wife in her underwear or naked. That only lasted for a day or two. We figured things out and had great sex for a few years. Even today, I don't like talking about it. It's something we do and it makes us closer, but we don't discuss it much.

A few years into our marriage, we moved out of state for graduate school. Soon after that, my wife became pregnant. I was dealing with the stress of school, I didn't have any guy friends, and our romantic relations diminished quite a bit. I found myself in free time browsing the Internet. At first I just looked for shirtless guys, then naked guys, then naked aroused guys, and then full on sex between guys. Around this time, I masturbated for the first time. It took a year or two of this behavior to realize that I was gay. I had so many rationalizations in my head for what I was doing that I didn't even realize I was rationalizing. It took awhile, but I rid myself of the lies I was telling myself and finally admitted that I liked guys sexually.

Where Am I Now?

I am reevaluating myself some. I purposefully put in my story my crushes on girls. I've spent some time dwelling on them lately and my relationship with my wife. Those feelings were real. I am attracted to women. I love their curves and their kindness. I love the idea of growing old with my wife and being grandparents together. I also love sex with my wife. As a consequence, I think I'm bi. I definitely lust after guys more. Not ever having pursued a physical relationship with a guy, that lust may be a function of thinking about the unknown or thinking the pasture is greener on the other side more than an accurate indicator of the strength of my attractions to other guys.

I am actively trying to cultivate healthy relationships with other guys. I have some good friends now. They are not all in the same state, but I appreciate and love them. I am trying to remember the Savior's words that we should be like the little children. They do not care what you look like. I have 4 wonderful kids, and they don't care about the things I see in myself--ungainly, pale, and too hairy guy. They just see dad. When I look at other guys, I should look at their hearts and not how much muscle definition they have in deciding whether to reach out and open my heart to them.

I still struggle with these issues though. I haven't opened up to anyone except through this blog about these issues. I'm too chicken, or too protective of my wife to bring this up to her. I haven't been able to completely walk away from the porn. Also, I haven't found acceptance with myself in that I don't know what place these feelings for other guys have in my life. I don't see myself as a bad person for having them, but I can't really see how they fit into my life. That causes me some distress because I recognize now that I will always have these feelings.

I recognize that my natural tendency to just deal with everything internally isn't always the best policy. My first step is to be more open in this blog and consider how in my real life I can be more open and begin to contemplate how I can integrate all aspects of my life together and be more at peace with myself.

Friday, January 8, 2010

A random bit of meaningless gay time

In the spirit of trying to be more open and sharing my inner gay thoughts, I'll share what some random, not very important thoughts I had today.

I went to a new store in a mall that attracts many of the well-to-do and fashionable people here in southern California. Oh and even though it's January, the mall was packed. Anyway, as I sat eating lunch before going over the store I wanted to, I sat watching guys. I have to admit that I was trying to figure out which guys with big muscles in tight t-shirts were gay. I was just wondering if I have a functioning "gaydar." In any event, I went to this store that I heard about because I heard it carries clothes for guys with slim physiques, like me. I'm a professional and wear dress shirts a lot. My problem is that to get the right arm length and neck size, I feel like I swim in all the material in chest and body of the shirt. Anyway, I went into this store and found some nice dress shirts that are reasonably priced. I tried one on and wow did it fit nice. There were a lot of fun and fashionable clothes there too. I didn't end up getting anything else. I do have the credit card to pay off from Christmas.

Today's adventure made me realize that I probably am watching for other guys more than I admit to myself, and that I'm more excited about a shirt than most guys probably are!

This was hardly an insightful post, but it was fun to take a break from work today for a long lunch and do something for myself.

Monday, January 4, 2010


I realize that I haven't been using this blog experience as much as could be helpful to me. I'm been emotionally flat and withdrawn for awhile. I don't feel like me so much anymore. Mostly, it's dawned on me that I really don't know or have any connection with the other bloggers I follow. Beck has been blogging for a long time and I love his posts. His thoughts are so poignant and insightful. Abelard is great at encouraging communication with his blog themes and by keeping up a blog roll. He's always upbeat. Forester is about my age, is married, and has not told his wife, like me. Alan lives in the same city I do and works in the same field as I do. Scott went to the same high school as I did. However, I really don't know these people. I should. Being attracted to men and married is lonely. I could use more friends. I follow many other blogs, but these are examples of how easy it would be for me reach out. I have common ground with other bloggers.

So my goals for the new year include using this blog as way to grow and reach out to others. I hope to gain strength from doing so. I also need to be more open and affectionate with my wife. Then I can worry about those other things, like money worries, improving my career, home improvement projects, etc., that while important, are not the most important things in this life.