5.17.2009

Second--and Third and Fourth--Thoughts

Today I received my Patriarchal Blessing. It was truly a beautiful blessing, and I felt that the Patriarch was inspired...So why am I so confused? The blessing talked about a full-time mission and a Temple marriage to a woman, both things I have been unsure of lately.

I have been unsure of a mission because, in the first place, I thought it would be unfair for some innocent Mormon mother in Orem to know that her son will be spending most of his time with a gay companion. I also thought it might be hypocritical to proselyte others to the Church until my own future in it is more secure.

As far as marriage to a woman goes, I just thought it would be unfair to put an innocent daughter of God through such an unsure situation, even with full openness and understanding of my sexuality. Although I in no way mean to demean those of you in MOMs (you have my utmost respect), it seemed to me that I just couldn't, in good conscience, do that to a woman--especially since I have heard that, for many people, SGA intensifies in a Mixed Orientation Marriage ('MOM'). Not to mention children...as one who's childhood includes two divorces, I thought it would be unfair to rear a child in a marriage with such unstable circumstances. It seemed so reckless to me, but God is commanding me to do it?

So, I have doubts...I have fears, frustrations, and confusions, as we all do.

Even if I had perfect faith in the Patriarch and the Blessing and the Church, I am certainly doubting myself, at least. Have I "misdiagnosed" (for lack of a better term, because gay-ness is, of course, no disease) homosexuality? Perhaps I am actually bisexual (or even straight?) after all. I have caught myself sort of staring at a beautiful girl a couple of times in the last little while. Could this be the hint of an attraction, the likes of which could sustain a marriage, with some cultivation and prayer? I don't know--having read and researched the Kinsey Scale, I don't think I've ever thought I'm 100% gay (this isn't the first time I've blogged about being unsure of my sexual identity), and maybe the few who are completely gay are the only ones exempt from the Gospel's general expectation of marriage.

Moreover, after my early-morning appointment with the Patriach, my lesson in Priests' Qrm. was about dating! Is this a sign, or just a spiteful irony? "You have to find an Eternal Companion in this life," they taught. Obviously there are exceptions to this, but it would be a pretty amazing coincidence, and I am already skeptical of coincidences' existence to begin with.

At the same time, I'm currently reading the chapter in Carol Lynn Pearson's No More Goodbyes about MOMs, and it absolutely breaks my heart. So many think that theirs is the one that will be different--the one that will defy the expectation and conquer the challenges--and find only heartbreak and disappointment. On the other hand, some of you prove that MOMs can be not just possible but successful, rewarding, and glorious, albeit difficult and taxing at times.

Looking at all possibilities, what if I'm nothing but a confused but straight teenager just trying to make sense of his 'over-programmed' hormones? In that scenario, maybe Heavenly Father blessed me with some temporary sexual confusion so that I can develop compassion and understanding for His gay children. I don't know.

I asked for Heavenly Father's guidance, and here it is, right? Personalized scripture, specific enough to invalidate any interpretation that would include gay marriage or a purely post-mortal mission. Pretty direct, in fact, though of course I won't get into the exact details.

I prayed and fasted that this Blessing would give me some clarity, and now I have a clear answer, the direction I lacked and sought. Yet I am now only more confused than I was yesterday, before the Blessing. Whereas then I could have used the wiggle room that exceptions to Gospel principles provide to reconcile my faith and my nature, now they are at complete odds--no room for negotiation, because there can be no exception to an individualized Blessing!

The two choices are starkly before me, now absolutely mutually exclusive. I have lost the luxury of any gray area. The Blessing has painted a clearer picture of what one path would look like, what God intends my path to look like. How can I take the other now, though that is what at least a part of me deeply desires?

Worse still, I despise myself for my lack of faith and gratitude for even thinking these things.

1 comment:

Alan said...

Take a deep breath, step back, and listen. Because I'm going to give you a dose of very grown-up reality here.

It is normal at your age to think in these black & white either or terms. You want clarity, you want assurance, you want steadiness to steer by. The Church constantly emphasizes knowing and conviction and certainty and that's what you feel you have an obligation to achieve, right?

Guess what, bro. It ain't necessarily so. Even with a PB. You want it to be a personalized talisman, customized revelation just for you, the chart for your life. I know, I remember, that's exactly what I thought too. What I didn't comprehend or think about was that the patriarch is just as fallible a human as I am, sees through the same "glass, darkly" to try to grasp inspiration as best he can. His is an inherently and completely subjective medium.

My own PB contains things that are remarkably prescient and meaningful AND things I'm sure are impossible. TBMs would say "with God nothing is impossible" and I should have more faith. Okay, fair enough. Let's say that at this point I don't see any possibility that these things could ever happen. My grandfather who died years ago was promised in his PB that he would help build a temple in Missouri. Obviously didn't happen either.

I reconcile that by saying the patriarch did his best to discern inspiration for me and my grandpa, and he was also a person with his own thoughts and feelings and predilections and those will unavoidably have some effect on blessings he gives too.

So I've stopped thinking of the PB as an infallible life map. I look to it for inspiration like the scriptures, but don't take any of what it says as inevitable or a guarantee. My free agency is still my own, and so is yours. If the patriarch had known about your orientation do you think he still would have said what he did about a mission and marriage? He might have, because he might personally believe certain things about orientation that aren't actually true. Or he might not have, if he recognized any of what you've written above. PBs are as individual as the patriarchs and persons involved. IMHO, figuring them out is a lifelong process.

So I hope that hasn't thrown any cold water on you. But I think it is a more realistic approach that could save you a lot of what I think would be unnecessary and misdirected struggling.

If you want more insights, check out this thread:

http://bycommonconsent.com/2008/04/25/neo-and-patriarchal-blessings/

Read it all, ponder and pray a while, then let us know your thoughts again.