Monday, April 4


So one of my more recent posts wasn't understood by a number of readers. So I've rewritten it here with the hope that it is better communicated. As much as (Gay) Mormon Guy is about my life, the only reason I write is to inspire others... so I'm more than willing to accommodate.

I have a number of close friends who have recently become pretty renowned in their fields for singular accomplishments. We met in varied circumstances - playing football, at concerts, at professional conventions, randomly on the street.

Today my past acquaintances and current friends are the target of academics and professionals, who rave about their unique contributions to the world. They've been listed for awards and gained a following in their own right. But most of the people who follow them know little about their personal lives, the trials they face.. and are quick to make positive or negative judgments about their choices without context.

Some of them are "model citizens" when you look at the outside. They graduated from college, attended graduate school, served missions, are married with children, hold prestigious professional positions, and currently serve in influential Church positions. Many are still moving through life, though, and are unmarried, didn't serve missions, dropped out of college, and don't seem to have a visible substantial influence on others. 

People are defined much more by the trying times in their lives - the individual things they face and the invisible burdens they carry. Which means that,  to an outsider who knows, the non-ideal portions of their lives tell much more of a hidden story about who they are than the number of awards they received at a recent convention.

Through the prophet, the Lord has given us commandments. He commanded all worthy, able young men to serve for two years as full-time missionaries. All men are commanded to get find a wife and get married. We are told to get an education and make a difference in the world. That's the expectation. But many of us live non-ideal lives in that aspect, which opens up the discussion to the universality of principles... and the difficulty in judging actions, applying them to life, and not judging people as a whole.

Whether it's people on the outside looking at a successful guy who isn't married and can't seem to hold a girlfriend, a person who seemingly has it all put together and isn't planning to serve a mission, or a capable couple who has vocally made the decision to not have children, it's easy to find pepper who differ from the norm all around us. Sometimes we don't know about their choices, or don't care. And sometimes, as has happened with some of my friends, their personal decisions have been catapulted to the public realm by virtue or vice of their newly won notoriety. 

When there are strong public opinions on behalf of the actions of those we don't know personally, there are usually two, and sometimes three strongly felt sides. 

The first has already idolized the person and believes nothing he does is wrong. Hero worship. Outside the Church this equates to looking the other way when our heroes do something we don't agree with. Inside the Church it can sometimes lead to email chains from people claiming to have overheard their cousin mention that the prophet had told so-and-so such-and-such.

The other side believes that the teachings of the prophet apply universally and without exception. If he says that young men should get married, he is speaking to all men and overriding any other option. And they sometimes have big issues with the fact that anyone in the public eye wouldn't take the time to follow the Lord.

The third group feels that we shouldn't talk about the topic - again, just look the other way and change the topic when it comes to the personal lives of others.

Either way, we end up having a decision. If we make the decision to judge their actions without context, we quickly find there aren't many options. We can ignore the actions of others, condone and support them, or reject them. But if I judge others unrighteously though, I align myself with one of the above camps - either claiming that God's commandments are not absolute, but relative, optional, and/or dependent on circumstances, or disregarding personal circumstances altogether.

Neither camp is ideal. Here at (Gay) Mormon Guy I get responses from both sides, usually passionate, trying to project themselves on my life. Some people think I should get married immediately to follow the counsel of the prophet. Others think I should do whatever I want. And others think it's wrong for me to even bring up such a personal topic in a public forum. Sometimes people and their judgments are accurate, and sometimes they're not.

But there is another option... one that holds much more power to love and understand others. And it comes when I don't judge people when I don't need to.

The Lord has counseled us to judge righteously - and to "judge not unrighteously... for with what measure ye mete shall also be meted unto you." In most of the cases of my friends, the people on the outside don't have enough information to make a judgment either way... and so supporting them or condemning them are both poor choices. I have one friend who is not married, and doesn't date... but who really, really needs and wants others to help him with that. He needs people who won't give him slack. Without being close, you'd never know that. Another friend didn't serve a mission, but now regrets his choice and wants people to give him the benefit of the doubt. And again, you'd never know from a distance.

So when there are people who I meet who haven't made all the "ideal" decisions, what am I supposed to think? Should I accept their choices? Condemn them? Or just ignore that they even mentioned it?

If I withhold judgment, and learn more about the situation, then I don't have to do any of the three. My friends' choices are integral to the story of who they are - and understanding them also means understanding why they made the choices they did... and who they are now. And if it's at a distance, then I put the thoughts on hold until it's really relevant or applies to my life.

And in my personal life, I stick with God and follow His commandments as taught by His prophets. I take everything they say to heart, and ask the Lord to help me apply it in my life. I may not have an ideal life right now, but the Lord has commanded me and all men to be perfect. Which means that we should all be striving for the ideal... and that we will get there someday.


  1. Brilliant post, as always. Thank you for this.

    I just read the comments on your Jimmer post, and some of them made my blood boil. It's probably best to keep my mouth shut about it, though, so let me just say that I support you in everything you've posted on here. I appreciate the time you take to write these blogs for all of us to learn from. I know how time-consuming blog writing can be (when I write one, it sometimes takes hours), and I think it's admirable that you're willing to sacrifice your time in this way to help others. Your blog has been a blessing in my life. Thank you!

  2. A very wise friend of mine once said "People only judge when they don't understand the situation or the person well enough to understand." -I have found that this thought has blessed me in times when I start to judge someone/thing I have no ideas about. Thank you for your wonderful post.

  3. Thank you...from one of "the misundersting!" :)


Comment Rules:

(G)MG is how I write to you. Commenting is one way to write to me.

If you want your comment published: No swearing, graphic content, name-calling of any kind, or outbound links to anything but official Church sites.

In addition, comments must be 100% relevant, funny, uplifting, helpful, friendly... well-written, concise, and true. Disparaging comments often don't meet those standards. Comments on (G)MG are personal notes to me, not part of a comment war. You are not entitled to have your ideas hosted on my personal blog. There are a zillion places for that, and only one (G)MG.

And I'd suggest writing your comment in Word and pasting it. That way Blogger won't eat it if it's over the word limit.