Sunday, October 24, 2010

My Wife and President Packer

Mister Curie, in a comment to this post, asked me if I have informed my wife and my children about my same-sex attraction.  This is a question that has a very complicated answer, one that I intend to address more fully in future posts.  However, I’ll start by saying that I have not told my children, nor do I intend to for the foreseeable future.  I am, however, considering “coming out” to my two sisters. 

As to my wife, I told her before we got married that I had struggled with an attraction to men.  The subject never came up between us again until about 10 years later, when she asked me one day if I had ever looked at pornography on the internet.  I replied that I had – and that it was gay pornography (a topic for yet another post).  This resulted in a difficult period in our marriage, but we came through it, after I had sworn off repeating that mistake.

The past couple of years had been an extremely difficult period in our marriage for reasons having nothing to do with my same-sex attraction.  It was in this environment that we headed into General Conference weekend – you know, the one with the BKP talk.  In the ensuing days, I followed with intense interest the articles in the local newspaper and postings on various blogs like By Common Consent. I have already written in my inaugural post about my (internal) reaction to President Packer’s remarks. 

My wife didn’t say much about the matter until after the big demonstration around Temple Square.  To her, the protest seemed to be directed against Elder Packer’s comments about gay marriage, and she couldn’t understand why gays couldn’t just respect the Church’s position on this. 


I remember standing in the kitchen talking with her about it one evening a few days later.  I said that I thought that it went beyond this; that what people had found so hurtful were BKP’s comments about the orientation itself being unnatural and evil.  Suddenly, she set down the pot she had been holding and looked at me.  The expression on her face was one of sudden insight and compassion.  I wish I could remember her exact words to me at that point, but there were something like this:  “Is this painful for you, because of your attraction to men?” 

It was like a log jam burst inside of me.  I walked over to her, wrapped my arms around her and proceeded to cry like a baby.  “Yes,” I replied through tears.  “I am tired of feeling ashamed and dirty and useless because of this.  I didn’t choose this!  And President Packer was wrong!  His words did not echo the Church’s position.  But beyond all that, I have decided that I am accepting this about myself and not going to beat myself over the head about it anymore.”  “But,” I added, “I want you to know that I have made my choice, and I chose you.”

I meant what I said, both about accepting myself and about having made my choice.  I love my wife and recognize how incredibly blessed I am to be married to her.  This blog, however, is a big part of me accepting myself, which I view as a process that will take some time.  After all, I’ve been in the closet all my life, repressing, squelching, barely breathing at times.  Now, I am taking some big gulps of air, and boy does it feel good!

4 comments:

  1. Thank you so very much for sharing this.

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  2. [W]e were a lot more open, a lot less “churchy,” and a lot more willing to look and live “outside the box” of conventional orthodox Mormonism.

    I can't tell you how often I've heard this from couples in your situation. I've come to the conclusion that inflexible, by-the-book Mormonism is *not* a success factor for mixed-orientation marriages. There has to be at least some flexibility for you to create the kinds of accommodations that defuse the inherent tension of the situation and keep everybody sane. This is not a one-size-fits-all kind of situation. BTW, your wife sounds like a wonderful, compassionate person.

    Also, like Quiet Song, thanks for sharing this.

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  3. Very nice. Makes me emotional just thinking about it. You're so blessed to have a wife, and even more so to have one that wonderful.

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  4. Thanks for your comments, guys. I appreciate them.

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