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.


Chedner said...

I would dare say that most of the initial prayers of the gay Mormon aren't "Let me be with [someone of the same sex]," "Let me be with [someone of the same sex]," "Let me be with [someone of the same sex]," with a "No," "No," "Fine" queue of answers.

I mean, does a gay Mormon really start out with a "Let me be with [someone of the same sex]" type prayer?

Almost every moho I've talked to have said their prayers were always, "Make me straight," "Make me straight," "Make me straight," and it's not until a hundred "Nos" before the prayer changes to, "Fine, what do I do? I don't want to be alone; if you're not going to make me straight, then... well... can I be with [someone of the same sex]? ...please..." (or, "You say I'm supposed to be straight... you refuse to make me straight, even though I've done everything required of me... I hate you and want nothing to do with you anymore.")

Sarah said...

That definitely is a lot of questions.

Original Mohomie said...

Sarah, um...yes. :-)

Chedner, the question HAS been asked by and spoken of by church leadership. The existing counsel regarding same-sex romance is, as far as I can tell, "No." You may dispute whether that counsel is culturally biased, or whether there's any condemnation attached to defying it as long as chastity is maintained, but that's what the church's stance appears to be, unless I'm completely misinformed and have misread official statements.

So to ask if I can go into a same-sex partnership would, as I see it, be in ignorance or defiance of already-given counsel, even if I've never personally felt a "witness" of the truthfulness of that counsel, as Martin Harris seems to have done--remember it was Joseph who did the asking and relayed the answer to Martin, not Martin directly. I know it's not a perfect example, but I think it works here.

As for whether people start with "Let me be with [someone of the same sex]" I actually do think most wish that or secretly "pray" it in their hearts, yes. "Please, if it were just OK somehow to have what I want or to want what I'm allowed..." I do think people do that, subconsciously at the very least, long before they get their manifestation that they are, indeed, given the green light by God.

Chedner said...

Ah, I mis-interpreted the question somewhat, me-thinks.

Anyway, the analogy of "the lost manuscript" is a little too faulty in my book for the following reasons:

Martin didn't have any authority over the manuscript in any way.

An individual has the most authority in his/her life in every way.

Joseph was the custodian of the manuscript.

The leaders of the Church are not custodians of but counselors to our lives.

From what I can remember, Martin didn't come to Joseph and say, "I've been praying and fasting and studying about this quite fervently, and I feel strongly that the Lord would have my wife see the manuscript."

The majority of sincere gay Mormons who disobey the counsels of the Church (as far as I've heard, anyway) re: gay marriage say, "I've been praying and fasting and studying about this quite fervently, and I feel strongly that the Lord would have me marry someone of the same sex."

Original Mohomie said...

I gotta be honest: I don't much care whether it serves as a direct analogy. To me, the questions remain valid regardless of the chosen example, which I believe is appropriate to my purposes, so we'll call it an agreement to disagree on what I consider a moot point (the example wasn't meant to be proof of precedent or direct analogy, so I changed the wording to more accurately reflect that).

As for gay Mormons who have felt strongly they are to pursue a same-sex relationship: some, like you, I believe to have been mindful and prayerful and deliberate. Others, I suspect, have not been so. Yup, I just made some enemies, but hey, I've observed as much as the next guy and have just as much right to make deductions. I think some people are hellbent on either declaring their misery their whole lives from the rooftops or getting their way: a gay relationship. Openness to other forms of happiness isn't in the picture. That's not everyone. But it is some.

But again, I'm not talking about an exact analogy. I'm not accusing or pointing fingers.

I'm talking about the mere possibility that, for whatever reason, even after study and prayer and fasting, there may be some people who, despite their best efforts just don't "see" the hope and glory of the "full" truth as it is given for whatever reason--incomplete understanding, pride, or church leadership's imperfection or shortcoming to date in expressing those truths. And in those cases where such people are ready to abandon their faith, or succumb to depression, or whatever else, is it possible that special permission is granted to them? Maybe at least until they are able to see more of the big picture or understand truth differently than they previously did? Something like giving the lesser law until prepared for the higher law, but in just one aspect, since they probably are already living the higher law in most other aspects of their lives? I know that seems at least somewhat demeaning or dismissive, particularly if you are, in fact, convinced that homosexual/homoromantic relationships are part of eternal truth. I've had to swallow my OWN pride to even suggest it, but the reason I ask it is to keep my own perspective in check, to recognize that maybe, just maybe, it's a possibility.

Now, that was just one part. I asked a lot of other questions many people would surely like to chime in on and explain why they don't apply or why they're wrong to ask. But remember, folks, that these are questions, not assertions. Asserting truth or painting people with broad strokes is not what this post is about, so I'll respect your desire to defend your position if you feel like it's threatened by these questions or the questions are the wrong ones to be asking, but I won't debate...much. :-)

Chedner said...

(Such is why I qualified the group of gay mormons with the word, "sincere.")

Anyway, I would say that the answer to each of your questions is "Yes, it is possible."

We Own The Sky said...

hmmmmm great post!