I have been thinking about the subject of this post for some time, and Thanksgiving seemed an appropriate time to commit my (current state of) thoughts to paper in the form of words and images. (By the way, in case you’re wondering about the above picture, it is meant to be part of the Thanksgiving theme, evoking the image of Squanto, friend of the Pilgrims … What? You don’t believe that? Okay ... Okay ... So I liked the picture and couldn’t resist using it. Satisfied?)
I was going to title this post “Grateful to be Gay?,” then had second thoughts, realizing that there are indications that there are many guys in the Church who experience same-sex attraction (SSA) but do not consider themselves “gay” or “homosexual” (or queer … “peculiar”, maybe, but not any of the foregoing). I therefore chose to use the term SSA, in part out of consideration of these brothers, but also because this is a term that all of us have been subjected or exposed to. But then, I had third thoughts, and changed the title back to “Grateful to be Gay?” (partly because of the alliteration).
When I first read that, my initial response was: How in the world could anyone, particularly an active Mormon serving in a bishopric, thank God for SSA? And beyond that, how could anyone possibly think of it as a gift?!
I have pondered these sentences for weeks now. And I am still at a loss. Therefore, I have decided to throw the following questions out to anyone who reads this blog, and I would really, truly, genuinely, (desperately) appreciate your comments.
Questions for discussion:
1. Warren’s first statement presupposes that God “makes” some of his sons and daughters attracted to people of the same gender as they. To paraphrase an infamous question recently posed in General Conference, “Why would Heavenly Father do that?”
2. Warren’s second statement goes further, and presupposes that, not only does God “make” certain of his children gay, but that gayness is a “gift,” implying, as Warren so states, that SSA is not a curse, but rather a gift. How does one come to make such a statement?
3. If one accepts the fact, which I do, that one is born gay, how does one (particularly he who is steeped in the Mormon faith and culture) come to celebrate his gayness rather than to feel shamed and cursed by it? Specific instructions would be appreciated.
4. Moving beyond question #3, how does one come to view it as a gift from God?
5. I am perplexed by Warren’s statements because he is an active member of the Church who currently serves in a bishopric. (My intention is not to “pick” on Warren, but simply to use him and his statements as a basis of discussion.) He “honors” his priesthood and lives his life as a heterosexual priesthood holder living “the plan of happiness.”
Therefore, if gayness truly is something to be grateful for and a gift from God, how does he/one reconcile the dichotomy between living what one truly believes one to be by divine grace [Oxford: “the unmerited favor of God”] versus living the “priesthood path” (straight, married, father, church service, etc., etc.) as taught by the Church?
I’m going to be honest. I know I was born hard-wired to be gay. But I don’t know why God would do that, when most of his children are apparently hard-wired to be straight.
I would like to be able to view my homosexuality as something that can be celebrated, but I frankly find that difficult to do, particularly living as I do in a mixed-orientation marriage.
I would love to be able to view my gayness as a gift from God. But I’m not there yet.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I hope yours is spent with those you love, and in between the traveling and the turkey and the movies and the football games, I'd really appreciate your comments about the questions I have posed in this post as we think about what we are grateful for.