30 April 2009

Strap Me Down!

No, that's not an invitation to get frisky. It's a plea to help me preserve my virtue. I love how these moments come when I'm least expecting it. At a gym in Seattle. Or at BYU concerts. Or at local theater productions. ...I apparently have had it bad. I present the following evidence:

EXHIBIT A - Pretty-eyed gym boy

Working out at a gym on Broadway in Seattle (gay neighborhood) a few weeks back, I was rotating between a couple of machines. While returning to the chest press machine, I stopped upon finding it occupied by a good-looking guy with short brown hair. He pulled out his earphones and said, in an adorably gay but not-too-effeminate way, "Oh, I'm sorry, were you using this?" I smiled and nodded, saying, "Yeah, but I was thinking of using one with more freedom of motion anyway, and you've got it set up already, so don't worry about it." He apologized again, and I went to the machine I'd been thinking about using anyway. As I finished my set, he rounded the corner and, standing near my machine in front of me, waited for me to finish. I pulled out my headphones, and he said, "Hey, I changed it all back to how you had it because I kinda felt bad for taking it from you, so it's ready for you to use if you want to go back." As he said this, I looked into those gorgeously clear, blue eyes which seemed to attest to his sincerity, and I thought, "I think this is where I'm supposed to say you're sweet and you have beautiful eyes and would you like to have dinner sometime?" Instead, I thanked him kindly, and he smiled and sort of hesitated before walking away, possibly because it was obvious I was on the verge of saying something else but held back.

I sat there as he walked away, wondering if that's how it works for most people. I always thought it was weird that people just met each other in random places and asked each other out. I have guy friends who have seen girls on BYU's campus and eventually gotten the nerve to ask them out. Weird, I thought. I would prefer to meet someone through friends. But now I found myself wondering, "What harm would dinner be with someone you met someplace like the gym? At least you know you have one thing in common, to some extent. If it's terrible, you'll probably never see each other again, or even if you do, it's no big deal. It was just one date. And he really did seem like a nice guy. If I were at BYU, and he'd been a girl I was pretty sure was LDS, I would've had the green light from just about anyone. But he's probably not LDS, and those bosoms, though shapely, were definitely not attached to a woman, so many of my family and friends would be decidedly non-excited to here about the nice cutie I met at the gym. Oh well, they're not to blame for my lack of action. I'm a big boy, and I decided that on my own. It just would be nice to think the people I care about would be excited for me meeting potentials, but I understand it would be hard for them to be, and that's gotta be OK. I can't expect them to do all the understanding while I refuse to try to understand their perspective, especially since that's been my perspective, too, and could be again."

But moving on from those heavier aspects, I just smiled that I finally understood the inclination to ask someone out you don't have prior experience with, because their eyes seem sincere, and nice, and they are attractive, and they're obviously at least a little considerate, even if it is just with the hope of winning you over, and you'd like to find out if what you've seen is a facade or if there is someone interesting behind those initial impressions. I told myself, "First, you're just in town temporarily, so there's no point if you're not just looking for some fling or a hot makeout, which you're not, and second, you're not ready to ask out some guy at the gym with all the other stuff that's up in the air right now in your life. File it away, remember it, but don't act on it for now." I sighed and muttered a slightly longing farewell under my breath to the pretty-eyed boy who was now doing splits while stretching in the next room...which caused me to again quickly remind myself of all of my reasons for not pursuing it...while taking a couple of deep, calming breaths.

EXHIBIT B - The Cutie in B18

I went to see a couple of friends perform in a BYU Combined Choirs and Orchestra concert. An old friend from the college years who now lives here accompanied me, and she and I sat on the second row, right towards the middle. As we scooted in past people, I saw that our next-seat neighbor was a rather attractive-looking fellow, but the seat on the other side of him was available, so I figured his wife or girlfriend would be back at any moment. I sat down next to him and noticed he was reading a book. I thought about asking him about the book because it looked non-ridiculous. Then I thought, "No, you're here with a friend, and why strike up a conversation with some strange guy next to you when you haven't even gotten to catch up with her yet like you want to? Besides, would you be asking about the book if you didn't think he was attractive? No, you wouldn't. What are your motives, here?" "Ugh, why do you have to be so practical?" I grumbled to myself. And I turned and talked to my friend.

During the performance, my friend and I enjoyed picking out our favorites from among the men's choirs. Not incessantly. Not derisively. Just comparing notes and preferences. I liked the tall guy with sort of spiky hair near one of my friends and the other Peter Priesthoody one on the right. She liked the short-haired one up towards the back and the muscly one towards the middle. Good times. But more than that, the music was beautiful, and the performances were, as always, polished. Great show. "...maybe that guy next to me is watching his girlfriend or wife, and that's why no girl has come to sit next to him?" I thought. I checked his hand. No ring. "There's hope!" I thought. "No! Stop it. Wishful thinking, dude. He's watching his girlfriend. Stop trying to make every cute guy gay. Besides, look at those socks...he's not gay." Because I'm against stereotyping, right? *rolling eyes at myself*

After intermission, part of the show involved the choirs surrounding the audience. As I scanned my gaze from backwards over my right shoulder back to the stage, I briefly paused the scan on his face to get what glimpse I could more directly...and our eyes met. "OK, what was that? He was totally looking at me when I looked at him. Was that the 'I think you're family' look, or the 'I think you're hot too' look, or the 'stop looking at me, you disgusting homo' look?" I couldn't tell. It had been too brief, though I had to admit it seemed most like the "family-to-family" glance. I had a flashing image of kissing his kissable lips and tracing his jawline...ugh, why? No, bad me. It was a slightly strange experience, sitting there in the concert hall next to an old friend from pre-out days, watching a friend I used to be very attracted to on stage, sitting next to guy I wanted to ask out, with Elder Oaks of the Twelve just a few rows back waiting for a revelation from God that a nearby priesthood holder was lusting after the boy next to him and needed to be stopped by having Sister Susan W. Tanner, also a few rows back, come talk to him about the virtues and beauty of young women. OK, that was it. That was a mood-killer. Leave the BYU boy alone.

As we left, I noticed his white shirt had an embroidered design on it, floral if I remember right. I could still strike up a conversation. The glance, the lack of date, the shirt...no, on second inspection, I decided he was really young for me (not to mention I was probably too old for him to be interested even if he was into dating boys), and I wasn't looking to make new friends, and I certainly wasn't looking to find a date, so I let it go. Then he took out his cell phone and started talking. My friend and I looked at each other in the cattle-drive hallway exit, and we said, "Yup, that just got rid of any doubt." We laughed, and I sighed that the ordeal was finally over.

EXHIBIT C - Shirtless Wonder

I went to a play a friend is in in the Salt Lake area. Now, there were one or two fairly attractive cast members, but one in particular caught my eye. My friend who went to the play with me and I commented to each other that we were trying to decide if he was as attractive as he seemed. I was leaning towards "yes", but I just wasn't sure sometimes if I would think so without the make up and in person. Maybe a different hair cut? I wasn't sure. But one thing I did know: this kid made me wanna make out. A little bit. Then came the shirtless scene. I try not to be shallow. I like to think I'm not too swayed by a hot body. But I turned into a hormonally-crazed teenage boy at the sight of his rather lean, well-formed physique, so much that I held myself back from rushing the stage to get in on the action. I don't know who picked our seats, but I have a bone to pick with them. We were definitely on the wrong side of the stage. Mostly only his back! Why?! "Turn around, dangit! Face us! Up here! No! Writhing on the floor shirtless, all flexing and sweaty, and all I can see is your leg? I was robbed!" OK, it was at this moment of frustration when I realized I was pretty much being ridiculous. My friend ask if he should hose me down to cool me off. I insisted I'd control myself and laughed at myself, thinking, "This is why people tell you you just need to get some action."

After the show was over, I was talking with my friend who was in the show, and he just confirmed that the object of my admiration was actually a really nice guy. Dang it. That never helps. If you tell me he's a dirtbag, I'll just enjoy the eye candy and be done with it, but a nice guy? It's harder to just "get over" nice guys who are hot. But surely he's straight, so that always helps. Except...wait...after the show, there he was wearing...no...jeans that definitely not only showcased his physique rather well but looked decidedly non-hetero. Could we have a not-yet-out one here? I overheard a conversation among cast members about how difficult part of the scene had been when sexy-man was wrestling with this other guy and had pinned him down and... At this moment, the friend I'd gone to the play with leaned in towards me and said, "How're you doing? Doing alright there?" I turned beet red and started laughing at the comedy of what my face might have looked like while I was hearing this and probably subconsciously wishing I were the one getting pinned.

At one point thereafter, I was introduced to sexy-man and his friends, after hesitating but deciding, "What the H, why not say hello and possibly defuse this tension I'm feeling?" I was caught a bit off guard by his enthusiasm in shaking my hand. I tried to tell myself it was all self-flattery, but I could swear his eyes went directly to me, and he nearly knocked over his female friend to reach out for my hand. Friendly guy. Then he asked if he knew me from somewhere. I felt like saying, "Are you coming on to me?" or maybe, "Well, um, not unless you remember me from a couple of hours ago when you were hiding just offstage (above stage, to be exact), and I was looking up and fantasizing about you looking down and making flirtatious eye contact with me..." I know, I'm ridiculous. It was out of control. I wanted to find any sign to confirm he was gay and could be even slightly interested. We had a good, brief chat, and as I drove away from the theater, still cooling down from all that worked up energy, I realized meeting the shirtless wonder had, indeed, defused much of the tension. Thank goodness.


What's my point, you ask? I'm not sure. But combine these incidents with the random glances and attractive guys at the cafe, the gym, other theater productions, at friends' gatherings, or in our housing complex (well helloooo, cute neighbor who I could swear couldn't stop smiling slightly for no good reason while talking to me--no, stop, stop making everyone gay and interested), and I've decided: either my resolve is being tested as never before by satanic visions, or this is what happens when you're on your way to becoming a 30-year-old virgin (AKA sexual pressure-cooker), or it's early Spring and everyone's appetites are in full evolutionary swing, particularly mine. All of the above? Ah, hell...strap me down now, please.

19 April 2009

A Few Battles Past, the War Begins

Have You Ever Noticed...?

...that when a gay guy who is dating a girl takes pictures with his girlfriend, particularly when his gay friends are around, the pics usually show him turning or tilting his head ever-so-slightly away from her as she leans in?

09 April 2009

Should Faithful LDS Refer to Themselves as "Gay"?

In an online discussion group I'm in, I mentioned that within LDS circles where homosexuality is being discussed (in this case, an online discussion group), faithful LDS people are sometimes (not always, but sometimes) criticized for referring to themselves as "gay" because of the baggage the term "gay" carries and the risk one runs of identifying with a culture that is not supportive of church standards. "George" and "Sasha" responded with reasonable arguments for why throwing around the word "gay" can be problematic. I wrote this response but refrained from posting it because it's long and distracted from the main topic of discussion. My response:

I didn't want to go into this. I am, in fact, tired of going over this, as George pointed out (like the slap of a glove to the face, the punk), but now I feel like my judgment has been challenged by unfortunately intelligent people (*sigh* harder to dismiss) as the result of an incidental mention (can I just go back and use a different example? No? Dang). Admittedly an emotional reaction on my part. So I'm gonna get all defensive here and explain my perspective. I don't do it to convince anyone to use my terminology but to offer perspective on where _I_ am coming from, in the offchance anyone is interested in understanding it a little better. And I figure for every 5-6 times I "just let it go", I'm allowed to spout off. So spout I will.


I don't dispute the validity of the points George and Sasha made--they are, in fact, quite valid and important to consider and might go overlooked if I were the only person you talked to--even up to perceptions about the word "gay" not coming only from "provincial, conservative Utahns" (something I don't think I even implied and don't believe). George, I think you imply that if everyone were saying "gay this" "gay that", new members who hold very understandable prejudices towards the word would likely feel uncomfortable and leave unless someone took the time to explain to them that here, it doesn't mean "seeking same-sex partnership" or "defying church standards". I agree with that. It's much easier to not have to explain that to them, so we definitely have to be cautious of our wording to ensure that the tone of the community is appropriate to its mission and values. Sasha, I'll address some of your comments below as I go into the more personal aspects of my position.


I believe some things are the way they are primarily because nobody has had the energy or desire to change the way they are, to stand up, be counted, and challenge paradigms by one's own existence. I know many active, faithful LDS who have no problem referring to themselves as "gay", except sometimes for the perception others will likely have, which will only ever change if people step forward and redefine it with their own lives.


I just don't think that particular change is important to most people, so that's not a battle they choose to engage in with all the other more important efforts in their lives. So be it. I can respect that and let it be. So please lend me the same respect, and please don't tell me what I should or should not call myself. It pisses me off big time when I can't even mention it in passing without someone calling me on it and trying to prove their point, usually in a group setting where they want to make sure other impressionable people do not commit my same error. I fully understand the desire to be a voice of caution, and I also remind myself that this is simply the annoying risk I assume in choosing to refer to myself as "gay", so I generally try to get over my pissedoffness as quickly as possible, hope that one day things will be different, and move on.


In formal writing, especially institutional, it is NOT direct, interpersonal communication with an individual whom people know personally and say, "I know you, and you're not what I think of when I hear 'gay', so I'm beginning to see that word in a different light." No, it's an impersonal forum or audience. I believe that unless you want to take a page to explain your use of the word "gay", the term should generally be avoided to avoid misunderstanding. Until a loaded word ceases to be loaded or cultural understanding of its meaning changes to the point where clarification wouldn't be necessary, an organization such as Evergreen or North Star is wise to avoid using that term where possible to avoid controversy and maintain credibility with those whose support is essential. I think that's why "gay" doesn't turn up much if you search for it on North Star, for example, except in reference to external articles or links.


I mentioned that I know a few active, faithful LDS who refer to themselves as "gay" in casual conversation and in private heart-to-hearts (though they won't do so in a private conversation with someone they suspect will disapprove of their using the word "gay" to avoid the debate, myself included), and they have for some time. I've also known many guys who wouldn't call themselves "gay" who've secretly fooled around with men to an astonishing degree when not at church or who've had boyfriend after boyfriend but refused to call them boyfriends. Despite this, I agree--believe it or not--with Sasha's observation that those who retain the term "gay" often are on their way out of the church or are already out, and that those who remain faithful most often (not always) drop the term, at least for a time and often permanently. My experience over the last four years supports the correlation, but I don't believe it's a causation. I think most people, including SSA/gay people, don't look beyond the social stigmas of "gay" to see it as a simple adjective. BECAUSE they are just as steeped in loaded labels as the next person, IF they're calling themselves gay, it's BECAUSE they are beginning to identify with "gay culture", by which I mean nothing more than "those who are seeking or open to same-sex relationships". And IF someone drops the label because they're coming back to church, it's typically BECAUSE they don't care to risk people's judgement (yes, that's an accepted spelling and the one I prefer) or to expend energy or effort trying to redefine the term "gay" for every new acquaintance they make. They'd rather just leave "gay" to the people who fit the currently accepted perceptions and go on with their lives. And let's be honest, being the "gay" guy in the ward might dampen a guy's dating prospects if he hopes to fall in love with and marry a woman someday. So it's not worth it to many people. I think the choice of terminology is often an indicator of attitude but not an actual step in one direction or another.


I caution newbies (those recently facing or dealing with their homosexuality) about the ramifications of identifying as "gay" because of the company they're likely to attract or the identifications they may unintentionally make. Referring to myself as "gay" makes me feel no more connected with any particular "gay culture". It's an adjective, a simple descriptor, not a clan. BUT for people who are hungry for belonging, eager to have a group of people who really understand them (we all are to some extent, aren't we?), saying they are "gay" may, in fact, be a powerful alignment and identification with people who "get them". If that means their sense of belonging is found in a community that openly defies church standards, that's problematic for someone who wants to live by church standards. For someone to say they are lefthanded reminds them they are a part of a social minority who do things a little differently. To use more of a label beyond a simple adjective (I see "gay" as a simple adjective more than a cultural label, though I understand I'm probably in the minority), saying I am "LDS" reminds me I'm part of a large body of saints, a family of people who believe in or subscribe to similar doctrine and standards, and that reminder can make me accountable to act more "like a mormon" when I say I'm LDS to others. So I definitely see how the same could go for the word "gay" if the individual regards it as a cultural label.

But for someone with a strong sense of self and confidence in their own identity, and who disregards cultural associations of adjectives and is willing to let people judge them until they get to know them better (which took me a good three years or so to reach where the "gay" label was concerned), and to let those who never do learn better just go on misjudging to their own detriment, I think the situation is different. I support challenging perceptions in healthy or productive ways. To some, it IS worth it to initiate the change.


Maybe that's where we differ. I don't dispute whether "gay" is a loaded word carrying a lot of worldly baggage most people in the church would rather not have associated with them. But I am interested in changing perception, shifting paradigms bit by bit, by adding my face to the word. Maybe it just doesn't matter to most people if "gay" can include people who are happily married to someone of the opposite sex, or someone who is not open to a same-sex relationship. Maybe most are just happier letting "gay" be what most people think it is and use other terminology to refer to themselves. I totally get that. TOTALLY. I used to be there. Maybe one day, when I'm more faithful again, I'll re-adopt that attitude. It's possible. I don't have a sense of mission or crusade around insisting people call themselves "gay". I just love the fact that, among my friends, everyone knows they can use the word "gay" without it meaning I have sex with men. It's so nice that they don't have to walk on eggshells with me or carefully choose their words to avoid offending me or having me correct them. I believe it can be that way for more people.

Why do I even care about changing people's perceptions of the word "gay"? Is it convenience over saying "same-sex attracted"? Is it because I want to distance myself from the stigma around "SSA"? Is it because I don't want ANOTHER word to describe myself, like SSA, when there's already one I think is equal that more of society accepts and understands? Is it because I'm just plain stubborn? Probably all of the above.


Heh, that said, I do have a bit of a negative gut reaction about referring to myself as "SGA" or even "SSA" because to a lot of people who have been around other "SSA" folks in the past, that means a really conflicted, awkward guy who won't fully admit his attractions because he wants to save face and find an unsuspecting girl he can marry to fulfill his sense of acceptable gender roles and get his ticket to the celestial kingdom to the poor girl's detriment, but in the meantime is "slipping up" with guys left and right, making him more promiscuous than many "gay" people they know. Which is poppycock. While there are some out there who fit that description to some extent, "SSA" doesn't mean that at all. But I still have that association to deal with. So I understand having a gut reaction against certain labels and having logical or cultural reasons for those reactions.

As I said, I also agree with George and Sasha that certain assumptions are also made about the word "gay" that may not be accurate to many or most of us, such as "dates members of the same sex". And there are many other mostly negative characteristics that may be associated with "gay", like promiscuity, substance abuse, lack of standards or morals, shallowness, materialism, etc.

I also recognize that "SSA" isn't the only alternative to "gay" but am using it as an example because I think it's the most-used alternative in LDS circles.


I also remind myself that "SSA" (which you will not find in Merriam Webster's dictionary except in association with a shaky government agency) culturally implies someone who is attracted to people of their same sex but probably wishes not to pursue a relationship with such, and I try to get past the many cultural associations that come with it so maybe people will see that not all self-denying homos are neurotic messes like they inaccurately thought. I think to some people, SSA maybe even carries some nuance of a range of emotional and physical attractions subtly connected to the ideas of emotional needs unmet, etc, which play into theories of therapy for homosexuality, so perhaps SSA really is your more accurate choice if that's your perspective. To me, most of that nuance is fluff and isn't inherent or inextricably connected with the label, but to others, it's significant to their understanding and to framing things in a way that works for them in eschewing associations with certain behaviors or groups from which they need to distance themselves to focus on their goals.

"Gay", according to Merriam Webster, means: of, relating to, or characterized by a tendency to direct sexual desire toward another of the same sex. Pretty direct, even if it does use the word "sexual" as if it doesn't include other forms of desire or attraction. Culturally, it does traditionally imply one who is open to pursuing such feelings, but I shrug that off 'cause it's not the definition.

Though I generally choose "gay" in casual conversation, I don't correct people when they call me "SSA", though if they showed any hesitation in knowing how to refer to me, I'll sometimes say, "It's OK to use the word 'gay' with me." And I don't insist that those who prefer to call themselves "SSA" change to referring to themselves as "gay". I realize some do, but I do not.


Different people just see things differently, and sometimes it's not clearly right or wrong. Institutionally, I think "gay" carries too much baggage for an organization such as North Star or Evergreen to use the word. Individuals within the "LDS SSA" community, however, should use whatever term they feel most comfortable with to describe themselves and should respect other members' choices, which I think most already do. Those who do opt to refer to themselves as "gay" should be able to do so without being corrected or told that when they're more spiritually mature or more faithful, they'll stop using it. Those who refer to themselves as "SSA" should be able to do so without being called self-deceptive or homophobic or told that when they learn to really love themselves, they'll stop using it.

OK, you've heard far more than anyone would want from me by now. And let me be up front: I'm in a pretty questioning phase of life right now. If I were to end up leaving the church, that would confirm Sasha's observations with one more example. Keep that in mind. But I don't think it invalidates what I've said.

04 April 2009

Are Gay Relationships the Yes After Two Nos?

Is it possible that the story of Joseph Smith asking about allowing Martin Harris to show the first translated manuscript to his family relates to other questions and bigger issues, up to and including individuals' responses to homosexuality? The story, in a nutshell, is that Joseph's scribe at the time, Martin, asked to take the 116 translated pages to show family members as proof of what he was involved in, so Joseph prayed to God for permission and was denied. But after repeated pleading from Martin, permission was finally divinely granted under certain strict conditions. The pages were lost, but the question I'm posing isn't about that but about God-given rules or instruction apparently changing or being clarified.

Is it possible, with some who are particularly worn by their situations or who are in no condition to choose the "harder" road or who keep seeking counsel beyond--or in rejection of--that which has already been given, that God becomes weary of their requests and finally says, "OK fine, if you won't heed the counsel I've already given, you have my permission to make the decision," but with caveats and with the person possibly learning, the hard way, why the original counsel was given, even if that means learning far down the road or after death?

Is it possible those who are tired and weary in the journey are actually absolved of damning consequences, except, perhaps, discovering in the next life that their loving companionship is not eternal because it was not solemnified through covenant in a temple since it was not the requisite kind of relationship? Is it possible that there is no other inherent condemnation for choosing the "lesser" part, not a temple marriage with procreative purpose and the basic building blocks of an "ideal" home into which to bring souls into mortality for their probation, but another relationship, not eternally bonding but nonetheless pertinent to mortality, into which they might bring children who are already in even lesser situations, such as orphanages or temporary foster homes?

Is it possible that gay relationships are, in fact, not equal to male-female covenant sealings by the pattern set forth by revelation, not because the love is at all inferior or because the bond is any less real but because the relationship's form deviates from a clear pattern set forth by God through his prophets with eternal purposes which transcend affection, personal comfort, or companionship?

And if that is the case, is it possible some same-sex relationships are nonetheless "permitted" on a person-by-person basis by personal revelation for those who haven't the perspective or tools with which to go down the outlined path? Is it possible that, on occasion, God perhaps feels such tenderness and mercy for one of his world-weary sons or daughters that he adjusts the rules for them? Does he ever say, as I understand a small handful of my own friends and acquaintances to have felt, "Go, seek what your heart desires, and I will bless it, and all will be well"? Does mercy sometimes, or ever, actually transcend given commandments? Could it in this way?

Is it possible God does not make "exceptions" but may reduce accountability when his children are understandably unable to recognize or have faith in his ability to reach into their hearts and strengthen them for a difficult journey ahead and even, on occasion, change them, such as purifying their desires (whether or not that in any way means 'making them straight') to such an extent that a mixed-gender marriage actually becomes not only possible but ultimately fulfilling beyond anything they would have found in a same-sex partnership?

Or is it possible that gender is an eternal principle more complex and more nuanced than we've ever known and not as dependent on the physical--chromosomes and genitalia--as we are so fixated on? Is it possible that the church's leadership will, one day, see beyond the limited cultural constructs of gender in a way most of us can only just begin to grasp today, and the church membership will then understand that same-sex relationships actually fit into the plan in a way never before understood because the body of the church was never before ready to hear it? Is it possible that gay relationships are actually equal to any others in every way and that a healthy gay relationship is every bit as soul-building, magnifying, fit for child-rearing, and eternal as other healthy relationships?

Or is it possible that all of this is a copout and there are no exceptions? Is it possible there is no room in the doctrinal framework of the church for same-sex pairings of either a romantic or a sexual nature, and to pursue such is inherently condemnable? Is it possible that the personal revelations people feel in which they believe God has sanctioned their pursuit of same-sex romance can be immediately set down as false revelations because they defy the teachings of the prophets?

Or is there a difference between a personal revelation which is an exception to general counsel (general meaning generally, but not always, applicable) and personal revelation which actually says the prophet is teaching false doctrine? Does it matter?

Is it possible that homosexuality is, in fact, an exclusively mortal condition which will not exist in our perfected, resurrected souls? Is it possible that, even if some may not be condemned by God for choosing same-sex partnership any more than they would be for choosing to remain single, the blessings missed by not entering into an eternal, covenant marriage with someone of the complementary sex with whom they can reproduce after their own kind can only be fully recognized hereafter, when glimpsing eternity makes the purposes of the set-forth pattern starkly clear?

Of course, all of this questioning assumes the church is "the only true and living church". Is it possible that the church isn't exactly what it claims to be to begin with, and all of this questioning is on the wrong vein? Is it possible marriage is not even part of the eternal plan and nobody is married after death but exists as one big, loving family or body of worshippers? Is it possible God doesn't even exist in the way we understand in the church or at all? Is it possible this life is all there is, and though we leave a legacy, we do not continue living in another sphere after death?

Or...nope, I've had it. That's more than enough @#$% questions for one sitting, don't you think? :-)

Note: you may notice I don't discuss "what I want" or "what is certainly true". That's not the point for this post. I think I often get caught up in my desires and wishes or overconfident in what I already think is true, but sometimes, I think I have to step back and look at the options in a more impersonal way because I believe if there is such a thing as truth, it is not subjective like tastes and preferences, and it is probably bigger and more complex than my current understanding can fully grasp. So I think it's helpful and honest to sometimes look at people's ideas and question: is it possible? If it is, my own views become refined and tempered in response. If not, I can eliminate that possibility and look for others and/or adjust my decisions accordingly.