Lolly and I

Did you see this post at The Weed — coming out as a gay man in a happy heterosexual marriage (his wife makes some comments in the post too) … well, you can read the whole (rather longish) post and drop your comments here.

Lolly and I are sitting by a pool in the blazing sun, tanning our Seattle-white skin. We are having the time of our lives. Our kids are being watched by their Aunt Kati and Uncle Blake while we relax, celebrating ten incredible years of marriage.
And, side by side, we are finishing the final details of this post which we have written together over the course of the last month.
This is a different post than what you’re used to seeing here on The Weed. If you are here to laugh and read something light-hearted and fun, you probably want to skip this one. It’s long. And it’s serious. And I won’t be offended by anyone who decides to wait until things get light-hearted again.
This is the post where I tell you that I, Josh Weed, am homosexual….
I need to clarify that this post is written from the standpoint of a devout, believing Mormon and addresses topics seen within the Mormon and broader Christian community. Please forgive us if our focus feels unfamiliar, or feels totally incongruent with the rest of the posts on this blog.
I guess the premise of this post is to share that not only am I homosexual, but I’m also a devout and believing Mormon. And that I’m very happily married to a woman, and have been for ten years now.
And for the first time, we’re talking about it publicly….
7. Why do you not choose to be “true to yourself” and live the gay lifestyle?

First of all, I understand that when people refer to a “gay lifestyle” they are talking about a lifestyle that includes gay romantic and sexual relationships. But I want to point out that because I am gay, any lifestyle I choose is technically a “gay lifestyle.” Mine just looks different than other gay peoples’. My hope is that other gay people will be as accepting of my choices as they hope others would be of their choices.
But that doesn’t really answer the question. And it is an important question.
One of the sad truths about being homosexual is that no matter what you decide for your future, you have to sacrifice something. It’s very sad, but it is true. I think this is true of life in general as well. If you decide to be a doctor, you give up any of the myriad of other things you could have chosen. But with homosexuality, the choices seem to be a little bit more mutually exclusive.  If you are Mormon and you choose to live your religion, you are sacrificing the ability to have a romantic relationship with a same-sex partner. If you choose a same-sex partner, you are sacrificing the ability to have a biological family with the one you love.  And so on. No matter what path you choose, if you are gay you are giving up something basic, and sometimes various things that are very basic. I chose not to “live the gay lifestyle,” as it were, because I found that what I would have to give up to do so wasn’t worth the sacrifice for me.  The things I wasn’t willing to part with were the following:
1. I believe the doctrine of the Mormon Church is true. One of the key doctrines of the church is that “marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.” Another is that “children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.” These are things I personally believe. I also believe, and my experience has shown me time and time again, that when I follow the teachings that I know to be true my life is blessed and I find immense joy and peace. I feel that this joy and peace is a direct result of my connection to God’s spirit as a result of living in a way He approves of.
Deciding not to give this up–these profound spiritual beliefs that I feel in the deepest parts of my soul to be true–in favor of my sexual orientation required a great deal of faith, but I can honestly say that, for me, it has been completely worth it. I have not regretted the decision one day of my life. My life is filled with so much genuine, real, vibrant joy that I would be remiss if I didn’t thank God for blessing me for my obedience and adherence to His guidelines as I understand them. I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ as well as the Mormon Church, which I consider to be His restored organizational unit. I did not want to give that up.
2. I am a traditionalist at heart. I wanted a wife. I wanted to raise children that were biologically the product of me and the one I love. Thankfully, Lolly was willing to marry me, and we found ourselves able to conceive children. I have three incredible daughters. Every moment with them is true joy. Sometimes as I wrestle in the living room with them, or watch them eat cookies with chocolatey mouths and lots of giggles, or read them stories before tucking them into their beds, I’m filled with a sense of such joy that I almost feel bad to have such an incredibly fulfilling life. I often find myself in awe at how amazing my life is, and how lucky I am. And in my opinion, it was more than luck. I believe my joy stems from living the Gospel of Jesus Christ and trusting God and his plan for me even when it was really hard and scary.
3. I love Lolly Shea. (In my mind, she will always be Lolly Shea, the girl that I’ve known since I was three years old.) I want to be with her for the rest of my life. I want to grow old by her side. I wouldn’t trade her for any human on earth, male or female. She is my best friend, my lover, and my greatest gift. I love her with a love that is undeniable, and anyone that knows us can attest to the fact that our love is real, vibrant and very apparent. Besides my relationship with God himself, she is my everything and nothing that I ever do or receive in my life will ever compare to her and her love for me.
I find that when I think of what alternative lifestyles could offer me, they pale in comparison to the full, joyous, bounteous life I live. Thus, I believe that to live my life this way is being true to myself, and to go down any other path would be egregiously inauthentic and self-deceptive.
About two years ago, I saw a psychologist to get medication for my ADHD-I.  She was a lesbian, and when I told her that I was a gay man in a heterosexual marriage, she spent an entire session hammering me with questions about my situation in a genuine effort to make sure I was happy. I didn’t love that she did this, but as a clinician myself, I understood where she was coming from.
During our conversation, she told me about her life with her partner. She spoke of a girl, whom she considered her daughter, who is the biological child of her ex-lover, with whom she lived for only three years. She told me of how much she loved her daughter, but how infrequently she got to see her. And eventually, when talking about my sex life, she said “well, that’s good you enjoy sex with your wife, but I think it’s sad that you have to settle for something that is counterfeit.”
I was a little taken aback by this idea—I don’t consider my sex-life to be counterfeit. In response, I jokingly said “and I’m sorry that you have to settle for a counterfeit family.” She immediately saw my point and apologized for that comment. Obviously, I don’t actually think a family with non-biological members is counterfeit in any way. I also don’t feel that my sex-life is counterfeit. They are both examples of something that is different than the ideal. I made that joke to illustrate a point. If you are gay, you will have to choose to fill in the gaps somewhere. She chose to have a family in a way that is different than the ideal. I choose to enjoy sex in a way that is different than the ideal for a gay man. It all comes down to what you choose and why, and knowing what you want for yourself and why you want it. That’s basically what life is all about.
About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than fifty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • Tom Howard

    An extraordinary post. . . Life and faith are indeed made up of choices. . . well said, Josh Weed.

  • Adam

    I found this quote in the original article. I completely agree that people need a lesson in this.

    “Here is the basic reality that I actually think many people could use a lesson in: sex is about more than just visual attraction and lust and it is about more than just passion and infatuation. I won’t get into the boring details of the research here, but basically when sex is done right, at its deepest level it is about intimacy. It is about one human being connecting with another human being they love. It is a beautiful physical manifestation of two people being connected in a truly vulnerable, intimate manner because they love each other profoundly. It is bodies connecting and souls connecting. It is beautiful and rich and fulfilling and spiritual and amazing.”

  • Holly

    That’s my favorite quote too, Adam.

    I love Josh and Lolly. Wondered when you’d mention them, Scot.

    What a beautiful story they live – ten years in and still very happy and with three beautiful children too.

    Thing is, they’ve received an awful backlash from the gay community. Wonder why that is – why they feel so threatened? Why not support freedom and choice?

  • http://kalebnyquist.wordpress.com Kaleb

    That is quite the post with some really good reflections on sexuality and authenticity. The important question is if this was exceptional or if more voices likes the Weeds exist out there. If so, and if somehow those voices can become connected, there could be a significant new force in a rather polarized debate.

  • A Medrano

    It’s a great article I share with many people. It shows that there is a difference between orientation and practice. Although he has a gay orientation, he finds joy in a heterosexual marriage.

  • Kevin

    I thought it was a very interesting and well written post. Especially interesting is him being a Mormon. I also find this post sad on two levels though, one that people identify with a less than ideal physical attraction (being gay) and two people identify with a less than ideal Spiritual attraction (being a true follower of Jesus).

  • Patrick

    I gotta say, that is one of the most profound posts I’ve seen. I imagine his choices aren’t as easy for all gay believers though.

    Good on this gentleman and his wife and kids.

  • Larry

    Speaking as a member of the gay community, I have not noticed any “awful backlash” against this article.

    I have noticed a lot of the sinking feeling that religious conservatives will latch onto this in the belief that if Josh and Lolly Weed can do it, every gay person can — and therefore any gay person who does not do this is a failure. Ergo, every same-sex relationship is a failure, no matter how loving, blessing, and Christlike it may be.

  • Jaeger

    Scot posted my similar story a few years ago. Such stories also remind me of the limited utility of terms such as “gay” and “straight.”

  • http://restoringsoul.blogspot.com Ann F-R

    That’s a courageous and amazing story of faithfulness by both husband and wife. What a gift they are to each other, and to their children. Seeing the world primarily through the lens of sexual preferences is bound to deceive us, because so many factors – genetic and experiential – contribute to those inclinations. Josh Weed spoke gracefully & aptly of the choices we make to live the lives we envision, and the costs we bear within every choice. We cannot “have it all”, despite the lies our cultural paradigm insists on telling. “Counterfeit” is such a false belief when situated next to Josh’s words. The only word choice which he used which doesn’t sit well is “ideal”; perhaps “naturally preferred” would have been more to the point. He does believe his faith informs what is “true”, so the usage of “ideal” in the last few sentences quoted above jarred.

    Jaeger, #9, I agree: Such stories also remind me of the limited utility of terms such as “gay” and “straight.”

  • Holly

    I guess you’d have to read his comment section, Larry, or google his name . I did both of those (Google because I couldn’t remember his blog address) – and wow. Try the Gawker interview – ouch.

    You know, Josh is very careful to be loving and encouraging everyone to be loving. He doesn’t try to tell everyone how to live their lives – he’s just saying this is an option and this works for him and his wife. I know that some people will say this is a possibility for everyone, and I’d imagine that is hard to hear. I’m sorry for that. I also know that some people will say this is an impossibility for anyone – and I also think that is unfair. It obviously does work for some. This is the same choice made by the leader of Exodus.

    Peace….


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