Saturday, January 22, 2011

Exodus via The Narrow Gate

“My world changed forever on Sunday, October 3, 2010.  That morning, I heard four sentences that wrecked my faith in orthodox Mormonism, shattered my marriage and destroyed a false persona that I had carefully maintained for most of my life.” 

These are the opening sentences of a guest post I have written entitled Exodus: A Gay Man’s Journey out of Marriage and Orthodox Mormonism.  To read the rest of it, you are invited to head over to The Narrow Gate.  Hope to see you there.  Cheers.


  1. There is so much about your post with which I identify. It's as if many of the words flowed from my heart to your pen.

    There is one fundamental difference, however, that will likely lead us in different directions. While you believe that the doctrine of the restoration "ultimately boils down to the union of a penis and a vagina," I believe the lynch pin of the gospel is Heavenly Father's desire for all his children to "ultimately" have joy (2 Nephi 2:25).

    Recognizing that we are all different, "joy" in an eternal sense means different things to each of us. Heavenly Father, who knows and loves us individually, has acknowledged that. Of all his children he has said, "they shall return again to their own place, to enjoy that which they are willing to receive (D&C 88:32)."

    For many, the opportunity to unite with a woman in love to create worlds and enjoy eternal increase will bring that bliss that eternity affords.

    For those of us who were created by God to love a person of our same gender, our joy will be found in different paths.

    And that to me is the beauty of the restoration. It is a recognition that although we are all God's children, God ultimately recognizes our differences and through his love, still desires for us joy.

    While because of my nature and my choices I may not desire exaltation (just as I neither desire great wealth nor national prominence), I have testimony built on faith that when I stand before Christ and account for my stewardship, I will feel his arms around me and receive a fullness of joy intended only for me through his infinite love and universal grace.

    That to me is the fundamental truth of the restoration. It is the knowledge that in the end, all will be well and I will be at peace.

  2. Clive - I should have written, "... a religion whose ultimate goal boils down ..." Granted, this was a somewhat crass way of making a point, but let's face it": the ultimate goal within Mormonism is to be exalted, which requires the eternal union of a man and a woman. That is the point.

    I understand the points you make, and I respect and appreciate them. I would say that I do not, in a way, disagree with them. In fact, I very much concur, but I would probably frame my thoughts in a slightly different way than you have. Ultimately, however, I think we would arrive at a similar place.

    One of the points I was trying to make is that the ultimate goal of Mormonism shapes and shades EVERYTHING within the Church, from family home evening to Proposition 8. And I can no longer accept this paradigm. Salvation is ultimately an individual matter, and I personally think that the "family paradigm" has the affect of lessening the value of each individual and their unique gifts, what they bring to the table of mortality and, ultimately, immortality ...

  3. I just lost everything I wrote ... ARGH!

    Let me then see if I can remember what I said:

    The church, not God, is based on marriage between men and women. Without this, the church would become extinct. Think back to the early days of the church, in order to "populate" the church group they allowed polygamy. Ok, passons ... without members there isn't a church. To ensure a church then it is necessary to make sure that members will engage in commitments that will never threaten the church: a formula like so:
    1. marriage in the temple
    2. maintain temple recommend: in order to do so one must
    - pay tithing
    - never go against or say anything that would go against the Prophet. Of course one is told that one can but if one does, as a women says in the "Mormon Proposition", that person would be judged unworthy and a threat to the community, unworthy and unable to receive "blessings" and full community support unless that person "merits" their way back by showing that they are deserving.
    3. Have many children and raise them in the church
    - ensuring that the church is populated with new members who learn from an early age to never question the church

    If people question the prophet: they're outcasts. If the prophet changes points of view: this negates previous prophets and thus the credibility of their authority. Thus: the leaders of the church are right, never the individual. It is said that individuals are important and that they have their own free will; however, they are only important in that the sum of these parts create the strength and power of a reigning few. Furthermore, free will is only justified when one "chooses" to go with what is said by others is right and if you don't feel it's right, then something is wrong with you and you had better get the testimony or else ...

    I was amazed, sickened by what I saw in the movie "The Mormon Proposition". I left the church years ago because of what I felt like a loss of my individuality, my uniqueness and the way in which the church made me "judge" others as wrong and the church being right. And the money issue bothered me. Where did all that money really go? 10% of every member's salary? ... Hinkley has an "estate" in Hawaii? .... It just seems totally fishy to me.

    Finally, God is NOT mutually exclusive to the mormon church. He is everywhere. Call him God, Life, Buddha ... etc. Books and sacred books around the world contain the light of Life. God is diversity and not conformity and generic generalities. As I think about this, I am reminded of a friend's facebook post on MLK Jr. Day: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” –, Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail.

    God is not injustice. Light is not equivalent to injustice.

  4. @ Libellule, I agree with everything you say 100%, except one thing. For Buddhists, the Buddha is not synonymous with God. Theravada Buddism is, technically, an atheist religion; it rejects the existence of God. Rather, the Buddha is seen by most Buddhists more the way many atheists see Jesus: as an ethical and moral mentor. For those of us raised in the west, with Judeo Christian concepts as the unseen background of our thinking, it's hard to grasp the fact that religion doesn't necessarily equal belief in God--and visa versa.

    Many people are religious, in the sense of following a certain set of moral and ethical guidelines, but they don't believe in God. Likewise, many people believe in God, but reject organized religion. I, personally, am sick of people treating God, and Jesus, like their special imaginary friends. They say and do whatever we want them to say and do, because--these comforting "best buddy" versions, anyway--are in our heads. Ultra Christian types never seem to consider the possibility that God might disagree with them.

  5. Yes, you are right C.J.. Buddha is more, for a Westerner, an incarnation of God who attained a high level of thinking, spiritual transcendence, etc.

    What I am getting at, is that people love to hide behind their "religions" the world over to justify their acts, hang-ups, wars, violence .... when really Life, I much prefer this term, is for all.

    I don't know exactly how to define my beliefs in "God", personally. I also don't think I ever do want to define it... I like to say I believe in Life, Love and values of diversity, respect and tolerance. I don't see "God" as a person for some reason. I guess that I gave up trying to put him/her in a body form of some sort and just live my life based on what I found to be goodness, and goodness in my experience has not been found in religions but in literature, the arts, nature, humans ... and DOGS (now they rule! :)

  6. I re-read your post this morning and am struck by a few things that I wanted to point out:

    1. While it seems that you have sought spiritual richness, which is an admirable quest: seeking to grasp onto a promise of a "temptation-free" life, an eternal life according to the Mormon paradigm, this "movement" of grasping onto a role ABANDONED the essence of who you are: "holding onto" a role meant "letting go of" who you are.

    2. The rigidity and condemnation of who you truly ARE revolted you to the point of recognizing the abandonment that you chose in return for the "mormon promise". I find it beautiful that you have gone back to recollect your SELF, the one who was abandoned many years ago.

    3. This clash and resulting "coming out" has enabled you to step outside the Mormon paradigm and see:
    - the need and DESIRE to nurture your self in all of its essential, individual truths
    - the incapability with BECOMING who you are and the "Mormon promise and all that follows".

    you question and discover your own truths.

    4. I am struck by your daughter's question to you and your response: ok Dad, but do you still believe that the church is true? Why is this most important above all else? I do not mean to come across as being disrespectful to your daughter, but this answer illustrates for me the paradigm that is so dangerous in society, and that is so hurtful (one that I have experienced myself personally): if one doesn't believe the church is true, then one no longer is important. Putting this ultimate ideal above the individual human value goes against all teachings of Light. How can it be right to NEED to constantly reiterate one's TRUTH and to condemn others who are not like them?

    5. Your answer: I believe that the "brethren" ..... why is it that there are only MEN who are "inspired" voices of God in the Mormon church? Why are they all white? Why are they American? ... Granted that I no longer am a member and do not follow the church so they may have a few minorities in there now... excuse me if my facts are wrong.

    My question is: Does a church of such exclusivity and eliteness reflect the diversity of a life-giving source?

    I applaud your decision to think for yourself and to no longer see the world through the blinders designed and cut by such a limiting and manipulative scheme.

    Yes, you have found something much more rich: you are now seeing, discovering and experiencing the richness of Life with the senses that only you were born to experience: feelings, thoughts and sensations that go beyond the straight and narrow path of Mormonism but that plunge into the infinite depths of infinite Life.