Sunday, December 18

I Fell in Love. With a Guy.

I fell in love.

With a guy.

Yeah. I know. I wasn't ever expecting it to happen either.

But falling in love is crazy.

Looking back I've probably started to fall for a few guys in the past. Maybe almost fallen for 2 or 3, and crushed on a dozen more.

Before you get ideas, the relationship is already over, and it didn't ever go anywhere. I never dated the guy, never wanted to, and the friendship has been dissolved completely. He didn't want anything to do with people who were Mormon or gay, and I'm most definitely both.

But it was an experience that helped me understand the world.

I had never really been in love before. I don't find many guys attractive enough for falling in love to be an option. And if I feel attracted to a guy, I usually avoid him. This time, though, a wave of physical and emotional attraction washed over me and turned into love a whole lot faster than I was expecting. And suddenly every love song made a whole lot more sense than they did before.

In the weeks since I've read that being in love is like being on drugs. Just thinking about love when you're in love floods the brain with chemicals - hence the stereotypical weak knees, fuzzy mind, inability to speak, and general euphoria about life. Being in love can make anything else doable. And that was totally true in my case - just thinking about the guy I loved made life that much brighter, and when I could see him and talk with him, it felt close to a perfect day.

Did he make my world spin? Yeah. My mind was definitely high on dopamine and doses of every other feel-good chemical. I can understand the desire that other gay men have shared with me - to wake up next to a guy I love, to walk down the street hand-in-hand, to watch the sunset and care for each other and grow old together. To come home and have someone who understands and loves me completely back. To go out and together change the world, knowing someone is there at my side.


Because I want that as well.

I mean, I've been in love. And anyone who has truly felt love... has felt its mind-numbing effects and realizes how sublime a feeling it really is.

From that perspective, it seems understandable of why the world is so adamant that love should prevail over everything else. And perhaps in a world where physicality and sex were wholly separate, everyone would be able to easily follow the gospel and also find people they love. But in my world where all touch has been sexualized, same-sex sexual activity has gone from illegal and taboo to legal to acceptable to embraced and even expected. I can see why "love vs hate" is an issue. Why every gay guy I meet asks me about my feelings about love, and why so many people oppose any seeming attack on the ability to love and spend life with someone, anyone else.

Love is real.

And it can bring real and honest happiness - enough so that many have chosen love over God. Not because they want to sell their souls to sex... but because, at the core of my human existence, I want to feel connected. I want to love and feel loved.

I believe in love. I've seen it, felt it, been carried away by it.

And yet I choose to trust God. 

Not because I reject love, or fight against it to choose the more noble route of faith. No. My choice is not a sacrificial one. I choose to trust God because I'm not willing to give up love *or* faith. I know that God is real, and I will not deny the feelings of hope and peace and joy that the Gospel has brought my life. I know that love is real, and as uncomfortable as it may make me or others, I won't deny the fact that love, even when I fall in love, is amazing. And I know that, by myself, I could navigate life to follow only one...

...and yet both call deeply to my soul.

No. I choose to believe that, by following God, and His commandments, and only by following Him, I will attain the impossible. To have the best of both worlds... something far more sublime than anything brought by either one alone.

Wednesday, December 14

Four Options Survey

A friend asked me to pass this survey along. It takes about an hour to complete, and is being coordinated by a collaborative group with multiple perspectives... which is to say that some of the researchers are pro-religion and pro-celibacy, and some are deeply against.

I want to ask you, if you have ever experienced same-sex attraction, to take the time to fill out this survey. Traditionally, these types of surveys have had far more openly gay (and anti-religious) respondents than those who are quieter about their lives and faith.

One thing I noticed from the very beginning was the definition the survey uses for celibacy: 

"Celibate means committed to not acting sexually with another person."

By focusing on commitment, the survey looks at the internal, forward-facing, values-based direction of a person, and not their actions. This is a huge distinction, and hopefully one that plays out in the results.

Usually surveys look only at actions, and not at, to use the terminology I love, which way the respondents face. I can sin and then turn back to God, just as easily as I can follow the letter of the law and still be facing away from Him.

By using an internal goals-based definition, this survey makes two interesting distinctions:

1. Someone who intends to eventually be sexually active with the same gender is not celibate, even if he has never been sexually active before.  - This separates those who choose celibacy as a personal commitment, versus those who use it only as a temporary means because of circumstance.

2. Someone who has been sexually active with the same gender and has now made and holds the commitment to not be sexually active again is celibate. - This separates those who have been sexually active and now are committed to celibacy from those who have decided to remain sexually active.

I usually don't forward surveys like this. Could you take the time to fill it out?