30 July 2007

"Any Homosexual Behavior"

The Church has, as most of you assuredly know by now, recently released a pamphlet entitled God Loveth His Mohos...wait... no, God Loveth His Children regarding homosexuality among church members.

I think it addresses homosexuality more openly and completely than past publications by the church. I liked a lot of what the pamphlet has to say. I like the focus on free agency and making the most of your situation in life, even without or before understanding it. While the pamphlet was no earth-shattering revelation to little old me, for a lot of church members just beginning to explore this issue and (as I imagine is not uncommon) reluctant to listen to anyone other than general authorities about it, it's a good step.

I do have some questions or reservation, though, particularly with one line: “There is a distinction between immoral thoughts and feelings and participating in either immoral heterosexual or any homosexual behavior.” Any homosexual behavior? It seems to imply a ban on all expression of homosexuality in vague terms. You may be thinking, "Well...yeah. Of course." But bear with me: it feels, to someone like me who wearied myself trying to hide and sweep under the rug anything even remotely homo in myself, like a call for unhealthy suppression.

Does it preclude me from sharing gestures of affection among my moho friends which many (though not all) opposite-gender-attracted people would consider unusual between men but which do not lead me into a frenzy of lust and licentiousness? Could a bishop be justified in withholding a temple recommend for any cuddling with other mohos of the same gender, even if nothing decidedly romantic took place?

Or is my reaction just a twisted version of the same semantic-based gut-reaction most people have with the word "homosexual"? When I hear them say "homosexual" expression, I apply my paradigm of judgemental and overreacting bigots or people who are simply ignorant who immediately think "homosexual expression" means any contact of any kind between two people of the same sex who are homosexual. But in reality, "homosexual expression", taken quite literally, would mean explicitly sexual expression between members of the same sex. I suppose that would include "making out" or things which might not be inherently wrong for normal straight folk (e.g. kissing?) but which may be inherently problematic (from a church perspective) when applied to same-sex relationships.

In my mind, a lot depends on circumstance and with whom it takes place, etc. So do the church leaders really intend for us mohos to live completely devoid of the tender affections of our brothers and sisters sharing the difficulty of this issue? I could live without it, but I really don't see any transgression in certain expressions of affection, even cuddling (yes, cuddling is not always sexual or romantic, people) with a good friend for whom I feel real affection and connection, free of any codependence, sexual charge, or romantic attachment. Maybe that is not what's intended by the remarks in the pamphlet and I am raising a moot argument. But have the bishops who are going to read this pamphlet thought of this? How will the general membership of the church interpret it? That's what I don't know.

Anyway, forgive me if I seem flippant, but I don't think it's my bishop's business whether I have cuddled a moho friend this week and for how long, if nothing overtly homosexual took place. I say that frankly and without any anger or edge. It's simply what I think. So while I acknowledge I could improve my conversation towards edification and focus less on my homoness at times, non-passionate moho affection will remain outside the realm of bishop's office conversation until I am called to repentance by the Spirit.

1 comment:

isakson said...

I say focus on the Temple Recommend questions and be honest with yourself. That should lead you right. I think you'll know deep down if you're in the wrong. However I would say be careful with the cuddling thing. In most of my friends experiences it has led almost immediately to more regrettable actions. I'm one of the weird ones who thinks it should almost be avoided altogether.