Saturday, October 22

LDS Temple Marriages

Mormon weddings are amazing. The wedding party is small - usually just close family and a few friends - and the ceremony itself is only a few minutes long. And in those few minutes, a boy and girl go from best friends to eternal companions.

Sealing ceremonies, for me, have always been a bit bittersweet. They're incredibly happy, but for a long time I wasn't. I thought that I was. At the reception, I smiled, helped, and gave my own personal congratulations, but inside it was all I could do to keep from crying. And on the drive or flight home, I usually did.

I realize now that the root of my pain was fear. Fear that happiness would never really find me, fear of the unknown future, fear that I had done something to deny me of blessings eternally. But all the fears surrounded one - fear that God wouldn't fulfill His promise to me, and to all His children, to grant me every blessing if I am faithful.

I knew the gospel, and I could recite the promises by heart. And, to the outside world, I lived by its every teaching. But I didn't believe it. I hadn't been willing to trade my fear for faith... and because of that, the gospel didn't work for me. It didn't bring me happiness.

Weddings are still bittersweet. They still highlight the greatest blessings of the gospel, and by so doing, highlight the fact that I'm not married... and that I'm not even attracted to girls in the first place. But instead of making me believe it will never happen, or that happiness is conditional upon fulfillment of my own desires, temple weddings now highlight the miracles that God does in everyone's lives. In every story of husband and wife, there are miracles - proof that God is in details. He's promised that if I'm faithful (and do absolutely everything in my power), those same miracles will happen in my life.

So now I smile, give my congratulations, and then go home and give thanks. I'm just waiting for my turn.

17 comments:

  1. Would you ever consider marrying a girl that loves you and is attracted to you, whom you care deeply about, but you consider more of a best friend/companion and are not physically attracted to? And would you start a family with her? There was an AMA on reddit a while back of a gay guy who did this. He didn't seem particularly religious. Just wondering what your plans/goals are.

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  2. Anonymous:

    The short answer is no. I've fallen in love before, with guys, and to be sealed to a woman, that love needs to be at least as strong as anything I've felt before. The reason? Part is a desire for her - every woman deserves a man who worships the ground she walks on, who would, and does, drop everything in life to make her happy. Part of it is for me - because I need someone to love completely, someone that I can give everything to without reserve. And part (perhaps the greatest) is because that's the direction that I've felt from God - both in my personal life and through the counsel of the prophets.

    That's the short answer. You can read more in the post The Place of Attraction.

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  3. I love your blog. I'm mormon, but nowhere near perfect. It gives me hope! (:

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  4. Fear and faith really can't reside together in the same heart. While I think your situation has to be one of the most difficult examples of this, I know that I, too, have had to trade fear for faith in trying circumstancs. Well said, as usual.

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  5. (Gay) Mormon Guy,
    Thank you for this post. I am LDS, straight and single but sometimes I feel very similarly to what you've described. On my bad nights I fear that I will never find the love of my life and that no man could ever love me enough to accept my flaws for eternity. Thank you for reminding me of the importance of thanking Heavenly Father for what I *do* have and for the promises of what is to come. Thank you for sharing your testimony--it always seems to strengthen mine

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  6. Mormon Guy
    If you are sincere in what you write please reconsider your comment. Every woman does not desire to be worshipped in the errotic-love type way. In fact there are some women out there (perhaps a lot) for whom that aspect of their marriage is perhaps important but trumped entirely by the ideal of having a best friend who knows them intimately (emotionally) and will treat them accordingly. It may very well be that some can find their soulmates on this perhaps even higher level of companionship.

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  7. Anonymous:

    I think we're talking about two sides of the same coin. I agree that the strength of the spiritual and emotional connection is more important to marriage than the strength of the physical connection. It will be the glue that holds everything together when times get rough, and will ultimately be the binding force between spouses. I don't have any problem making a spiritual and emotional connection with people - that's the only thing I can count on in the dating world. But I've already seen how intensely painful it is for a girl to realize that, while I may appreciate her mind and spirit, I'm repulsed by her body - and that's the current alternative. It's not just a nonchalant non-interest.

    Most people don't realize that attraction is on a sliding scale - from repulsion to attraction, for both men and women... and that the scale is different for different people. People who don't live with same-sex attraction usually have significant attraction to the opposite sex, with variance depending on the person. But even at the extreme, they are still more attracted to the opposite sex than their own. In my current world, it doesn't work that way. If I were even slightly warmer than neutral in my physical emotions towards women, then what you are suggesting might be an option - but in that case I wouldn't be me - it would be the exact same thing as a heterosexual guy who marries a girl even though he's "not attracted to her." I'm not just "not attracted to women," I don't want them touching me in any romantic way. Ever. I do exactly that in the dating world - I date, spend time with girls, develop emotional and spiritual connections, and touch only when required. Dating a girl and never touching her is one thing. Being married and only touching because you have to, or feel obligated to, would be torture on both sides.

    I think the important part of the above comment is this: would I be willing to marry someone who loves me if I can't love her back completely? If I have to hold back part of who I am in the relationship and divide part of who I am from her? No. My patriarchal blessing, the prophets, the scriptures, everything in the spiritual world commands men to love their wives above all else, and if they can't, to make a better choice. The world is getting worse and worse, and raising a family will be harder tomorrow than it is today. And, to do that successfully, both I and my future wife need a relationship where we can give everything - and hold nothing back.

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  8. God is in the details... thank you for keeping your faith strong.

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  9. As ever, I truly enjoy reading your posts. I liked your comment about God being a God of miracles, and your acknowledgment that sometimes miracles are required even in traditional man-woman relationships. I feel I was blessed with a miracle when I met and married my husband.

    In another note, I recently had an epiphany moment. I miscarried this summer, and suddenly those platitudes often given to comfort seemed far less comforting...you'll get to raise that child in the next life etc. I realized I had to actively choose to believe that promise, even though the reality of the situation HURTS. I feel you, I really do. Obviously not with exactness, but in concept.

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  10. I so wish that I could like what you have said in the comments to the Mormon Guy. I am new to your site but already am hooked! You are amazing!! :)

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  11. Hi - I'm not Mormon but I am trying to understand this issue better. Your blog is very helpful - it's nice to see the perspective of someone who is both SSA (look at me picking up the lingo) and pro-church.

    I'm wondering (ok, let's be honest, I'm lazy) if you could point me to a post where you discuss why your 'waiting for my turn' (or, as you posted in August - 'looking forward to a day') is about falling in love with a girl & being sealed, as opposed to a day where the church accepts SSS (same sex sealing? anyone with me?).

    Thanks!
    - Chris

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  12. Thank you for the perspective. I think it is amazingly brave of you to put yourself out there like this.

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  13. Agree with Blythe, well said. (:

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  14. Hi - I'm Chris, from a couple of posts above.

    You got me all excited by publishing my comment. But now I'm like the woman in the old school Macy's (Walmart? Kmart?) commercial, standing at the door saying 'open, open, open').

    Except more like 'waiting, waiting, waiting'.

    :)

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  15. Chris:

    I see two themes in your question, and I don't have a single post that sums up both concisely. For a conversation on my feelings about waiting for God to change doctrine you can start with "changing the church vs changing the world" and then read the comment thread under the "5th day of Christmas" post (I think - it talks about an ethical quandary and a powerful personal experience learning about God and His Plan).

    The second theme is about my personal life - and "The Lord will fulfill His promises" - which talks about my patriarchal blessing - is one of many posts that talks about marriage. All of the above posts are searchable on the site index, and there's also another list about marriage in the frequently asked questions section. Hopefully that clears at least a bit up.

    And don't take the delay personally. Life stressful in my real world.

    Thanks for commenting, and welcome.

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  16. Chris back.

    I'll be honest...this is just toooooo...sad, and foreign, and sad. People should be able to love who they are and be in communities who love them. Gay, straight, bi, geek, bald, asian, tone-deaf, whatever.

    You've clearly got a lot of love to give, and based on what I know (which isn't much), the love (of this kind) you refer to is that for another man. You don't 'have SSA'. You _are_ SSA. Semantics but that sort of verbage is very hard for me to get through, that one word is so meaningful.

    I'm not accusing, or telling (ok, it sounds like that above, but really, I'm not trying to tell you or anyone else anything because it is soooooo not my place). I've been trying to learn a lot about this issue because my extended family is now Mormon, and while I can understand the rule against coffee I cannot wrap my hands or heart around punishing people like I've seen happen in your church wrt to being gay.

    Man, I just wish your organization would accept who you are for what you are. You know, just change the flipping rules. Like with black people. The church just changed the rules, right? And at some point, they will. Until then, you'll suffer. Or at least you won't have the option of having it all.

    Religion is so powerful but it can be so silly. Mormonism has more power over the day to day lives of its members than most religions powerful which for the most part equates to being very wonderful. But you, as a human being, deserve better than it gives you. In my humble opinion which is not really all that relevant.

    No need to reply. You struggle enough with this than to waste your time on a heathen (sarcasm, but true). I know you struggle and I just think it sucks. It'd be one thing if being GAY was something people can choose to be or not be.

    But it's not. It is what it is. And I wish the church would just change the stupid rules so that you could live your life as you see fit.

    Arrggggh. Shakes fist, moves on, wishes life was fair.

    (PS - I struggled with/against suicide and your post on that was quite meaningful. It's nice to have a rule to abide by, and I agree with that one!)

    Chris from above (on the comments)

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  17. Chris: I'll respond to your concerns starting at the bottom. But before I do, I want to say thank you for being candid, honest, and sincere... and trying to not be detrimental to the faith that I care so much about.

    1. Life is unfair. But it's unfair in my favor. The Lord created life, and everything in it, to be the perfect mixture to help me to grow and return to Him someday. If I didn't have the trials that I've faced in life, I wouldn't have had the opportunity to become the person I am today. Yes, there are some days that my life feels awful. But you know what? When God is at my side, and I am on the right path, on the good days... I am on top of the world, and nothing can stop me from being happy in my life.

    2. The only things I have ever gotten from my religion are peace, hope, faith, happiness, and love. My religion doesn't punish or persecute people who have SSA... there are people all over the world that don't understand it, but the religion itself only brings positive impact through meaning. The only reason that I struggle with things in life... is because I still lack the perspective that I need to understand it, and because life was designed to push me to my limits - to make me rely on God because I can't do it all alone.

    3. The Church will never change the rules. It can't - because the rules weren't created by the Church. They were created by God. If you look at the history of the world, sometimes God gives commandments that are unique to certain people, times, and places (like the Law of Moses, wherein only certain Jews could hold the Priesthood, which principle was then officially changed when Peter had a vision after the Ascension of Christ). But the commandment with respect to same-sex attraction is not one of them. I wondered once if God would ever change this commandment. And I got my answer - explained clearly by prophets and confirmed by God to me - marriage and the family are eternal principles, and marriage is always between husband and wife. It will never change.

    4. I'm glad that the Church cannot and will not change just to make the rules "more fair"... because the goal of the Church is to help its members, and the entire human race, return to God and find everlasting joy and happiness. Because of that, the Church only teaches principles that lead to everlasting joy. It doesn't embrace anything that leads to anything less than the best outcomes... and I know, from my own conversations with God, that true and lasting happiness comes from the principles that the Church teaches. To dilute or change those really doesn't fit what I need in a religion... which is a way to tap into the power of God and find peace and joy in the midst of the turmoil of life.

    5. I agree that people should be in communities that love them... and that people should love who they are. But who I am is not the sum of the circumstances given to me in life. My eye color, skin color, IQ, my talents and abilities from birth, my height, my predisposition to my favorite food, my blood type, my allergies, my weaknesses, my muscle type, and anything else that I can't completely control, including same-sex attraction, don't make me who I am. I am made by my choices, and by who I am eternally. Same-sex attraction didn't exist before this life. It's not a part of my eternal identity - and so, like skin color or eye color, it is a real and authentic part of my mortal experience, but it doesn't define who I am or give me license to claim that God's commandments don't apply.

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