19 August 2008

Don't Feed Me Lines

Another beef: when I hear some people (especially of the Evergreen, JIM, Exodus, etc variety) claiming that they don't think everyone can or should "change" or get married, I really question it. What I often hear is, "No, not everyone can or should because many of them don't want it enough or aren't willing to do what it takes. Not everyone should get married because they don't want to get married, and it would be a disaster if they did so just because they're supposed to." The subtext is, "But IF someone wants it badly enough and does it for the right reasons and is willing to put the time and energy into the process, yes, they can and should diminish their homosexuality, magnify their heterosexuality, and marry and have children, thereby filling the measure of their creation."

Similar to seeing through the "tolerance" speech of gay activists, in which "tolerance" often means embracing and affirming and cheering, many also see through the tolerant rhetoric of opponents of homosexual living. There seem to be few (though I believe there ARE a few) who fully mean what they're saying and can defend it when questioned or examined.

I mean, whether you stay single or find a same-sex partner, your eternal destiny as a sealed husband and father and your covenant right to the highest order of the Celestial Kingdom are forfeit for this life, at least. You've been defeated, at least for now, by this condition which has perverted your natural affection for members of the opposite gender. When you get very technical about it, that's the doctrinally logical conclusion, isn't it?

Or is the gospel a little more nuanced and liberal than that? Can it be? Is there room for grey? And if so, how many people truly see it that way and are fully honest when they say they don't think you have to change as long as you live the gospel principles the best you can? Or how many are giving the politically correct speech to appease the masses? How many are saying it ignoring the doctrinal framework that requires the union of man and woman for greatest progress and glory, let alone the nuances that may allow for some exceptions?

Maybe it doesn't matter. But it still bugs.

So don't feed me lines to appease.


Felicity said...

I just wonder what you do want people to say then. It seems that no matter what your stand is, someone's going to disagree. Perhaps you just don't want anyone to express their opinion?

Original Mohomie said...

What I want is exactly that: for people to state their opinions, not to try to seduce me into thinking they're more "moderate" than they actually are, which I see a lot.

I've sugar-coated my opinions depending on my audience a lot. I think we all do, and I don't think it's always wrong. I definitely think it's natural. It's safe and builds understanding in its own right. It focuses on common ground and avoids rocking the boat.

But in excess, it can also become something duplicitous, designed to save face or preserve one's reputation or credibility at the expense of being forthright.

Yes, there will always be people who disagree, so disagree! Don't pretend you don't. What kind of progress can we make without real dialog?

This post was also a rant, which is a reflection of sensitivities and annoyances, one of which was the seeming ambiguity and shadowy lack of forthrightness among many gay mormons I know, and it wears on me after a while, and when I wrote that, I suppose that was one of those times.

I think a main point I wanted to make: many of us in the more conservative church culture already see hidden agendas and underlying messages in the gay political activism arena. But what a lot of members of the church may not realize is that often, when someone tells us, "It's OK if you're gay, and as long as you're living the gospel, it doesn't matter whether you get married or stay single," many of us are well aware that there's also often (not always) an underlying concern, whether spoken or not, that we are "allowing" ourselves to be defeated simply by not expending our energy in working towards marriage. Marriage and procreation are the ultimate goal in the gospel, so anything less is a failure to really exercise faith.

I realize that's just my perception, and I may read that into people's statements more than it's there, but I would guess I'm not the only one with that sensitivity, and I'd guess there are others much more sensitive about it than I am, so I thought it was worth sharing.

Samantha said...

Yeah--I don't sugar coat anything. Probably why I'm always in some sort of trouble. I'll either say what I think, or say nothing--but I'm not going to try to make us both feel good--not into that "feelings" crap.

However, I do think some people resort to the sort of rhetoric you're talking about because they, themselves, haven't decided what they think--or they're not yet comfortable with it. So to discuss it in that condition brings out the need to satisfy everyone involved in the conversation.

And I suppose (sigh), that occasionally there's some sort of need for tact and consideration of feelings.

Stupid feelings. They just should not be!

Anonymous said...

The lines people feed us are merely to make themselves feel better about their choices and circumstances.

It’s a sad truth that you point out about the cultural “black & white” syndrome vs. the “all grey” persuasion. In our LDS culture we’re almost required to see in black & white. –Doctrinally, anyway. It’s disappointing because the atonement is not a “black or white” concept at all. –That’s the Law of Justice, as we understand it. A true Christian realizes that we are all fallen; gay or straight, married or single, happy or unhappy, secure or insecure. All we are expected to do our best with what we have been given- the rest will be made up for us. Who judges if we have done our best? Thankfully it’s not me.-Nor the Bishop, nor the Pope, not even our mothers who would give us “good marks for trying”. I’m grateful for the faith that allows me to trust that my judgment will be as “unfair” and merciful as possible based on my individual circumstance.

I know that I did not choose my condition (whatever you wish to call it) any more than a blind man chose to be without his sight. Will I be/should I be disadvantaged in the hereafter due to my disadvantage here? I don’t believe it works that way. My heart tells me otherwise.

I’m glad to see you’re back to posting. It’s been a long summer without your thoughts. (a shy “thanks”)

The Impossible K said...

I realize this response is a bit belated, but I just want to add an "Amen" to esquire's comment.
I'm shamefully far from having a full understanding of the atonement, but what I do know is that it is infinite in its depth and breadth- so even with a basic understanding of this, how can one try to limit its power to mortality? True, marriage plays a fundamental role in the gospel plan, but I think we take it too far when we pass judgments on others that undermine the infinite power of the atonement. Every "single" one of us is defeated in a sense- but that's a condition we're all forced to face in mortality, and it's a humbling factor that should bring us to rely on the atonement.