30 April 2008

Moho Book Recommendation

I've known of a couple of guys who have recently started coming to terms with their homosexuality and are looking for resources to help. A few of my friends and acquaintances recommend the "Jason Park" books, but I just have to pipe up and mention that I'm not so sure a Jason Park book is the best for a guy who's just realizing his SGA. But it probably depends on the person. I, personally, would recommend 'In Quiet Desperation' as a first read. It was good for me for a few reasons, including the following:

1) I really identified with Ty's thought processes.
2) Stuart's story served as a bit of a cautionary tale and was strangely hopeful in the way his parents dealt with the aftermath.
3) Ty tends to stick to what is generally known about SGA and admits where there is, as of yet, no real consensus; he's (in my opinion) more careful to not lead people into a certain, specific mode of thought regarding SGA than most authors on the subject.
4) It often brings the reader back to the scriptures in a meaningful and atonement-centered way. It's far less clinical and mechanical than the Evergreen-sponsored books I've looked at. It seems to me to be more emotional and spiritual in nature, an approach which I think then makes the more mechanical efforts more meaningful.

I will admit openly that I have only read part of Jason Park's book, Resolving Homosexual Problems, and it looks like it has a lot of good advice to offer. My beef with it is exemplified in the title: it seems inordinately fraught with the implication that all things SGA are 'problems', trials, meant to be eschewed. It just seems harsh to me for someone who is still tender about the issue. The author constantly encourages the reader that change is possible without clarifying well that the statistical evidence indicates that changing from SSA to OSA may, in fact, NOT be possible for some or many people. If the reader is one of the statistics of inability to change, where do they find encouragement?

It's a book about change. And forgive me for my apparant faithlessness, but I just really believe that with an issue like this, a person needs to feel whole, loved, and welcome in the gospel even as they are to then more meaningfully approach change from a healthy viewpoint.

There very well may be people out there who would not benefit from In Quiet Desperation the way I did. I just take issue with the notion that 'Jason Park' books are "always good to start with." I think there are probably better ways for most people to begin learning about homosexuality in a gospel context without feeding into a probably already existing feeling that they can only be truly happy and at peace once they have "changed". I realize not everyone sees it the way I do, so I will just shrug and respect their opinion and insistence that Resolving Homosexual Problems is a great first read, but I simply have to speak up and share my opinion, too. I mean no disrespect or slander towards Jason Park. I think his writings do have a place. I just prefer other writings first.


iovan said...

I bought In Quiet Desperation about a year ago and have still not read all of it. How weird is that! When I bought it I was sure I would not be able to put it down. When you look for it, there is quite a bit of material to read though, hard to choose something and stick with it.

There should be a list of good books to read, including the viewpoints of the writer. Or a 'Gay Mormons for Dummies' or something...

Chase said...

Ex-gay doesnt exist. It is funny how many ex-gay leaders are now ex-ex-gay. Loving who you are is key. Thinking who you are is going to change is a dangerous ideology to undertake. That will leave you always unsatisfied with who you are. Queers arent broken, we are simply queers.

Original Mohomie said...

Iovan, it's not weird you haven't gotten through it. I loved the book, and I did read the whole thing, but it can be dry and drags in parts. No worries, Ty loves me even though I say that. *smirk*

Chase, I think you're right about learning to love yourself as you are, whether or not you think certain things can or should change.

As far as I can tell, "ex-gay" is a term mostly used by the media and gay activists who want to paint those people in extreme tones, misrepresenting what they're really about. I think most so-called "ex-gays" will admit they weren't converted from exclusively homosexual to exclusively heterosexual. I think most "ex-gays" simply have learned to manage their thoughts and behaviors to such an extent that they feel motivated and able to pursue a relationship with someone of the opposite sex. Who am I to tell them they're lying or deceiving themselves just because it's outside of my experience, or because some organization's statistics claim such people are rare?

Forget the preachers who get caught doing drugs and sleeping with male prostitutes who claim to have been "cured" in a matter of weeks. I believe miracles are possible, and I won't claim to know they're full of it, but I think they're full of it.

People are simply too different to say ex-gays don't exist just because there are many ex-ex-gays. There are also many ex-ex-ex-gays and ex-ex-ex-ex-gays.

I mean, most of the people living their lives in mixed-orientation marriages are doing so their whole lives without proclaiming it to the world, just quietly living, maybe even with many difficulties, but I have known such people who still say they wouldn't trade the path they those for anything in the world.

You will also find many who say they have felt happy only since leaving their marriages or since dating members of the same sex, etc.

I have to decide what I really believe, and what I really want (based on what I believe to be true), and go from there.

And I have a nasty habit of flipping off the people who tell me, "Most people's experience is this, so yours will be too." *smirk again*

Chase said...

I am far to often this person "Most people's experience is this, so yours will be too." I figure people are fairly similar... so my experiences must be fairly common. But i found that i didnt disagree with a thing in your comment. I would say it is a more realistic approach to my bitter tainted view. Hope all is well.

Original Mohomie said...

Ha, well we all have our bitter, tainted views. Sometimes, I start writing something a bit more extreme and colorful, but then I start debating with myself and tempering it all into something far more moderate and much less inflammatory, controversial, or provocative. Then I shrug and post my boring, censored version. But catch me in a rant, and watch out! *wink*

Did I really say "the path they those..."? I meant, of course, "the path they chose". I hate that I can't go back and publish 5,000 revisions to my comments like I do with my posts. :-)