The Sacrifice of Being Gay & Mormon

A dozen years ago I interviewed a gay man who was married — to a lesbian woman.

They are still married, as far as I know.

I wrote the piece for an evangelical magazine, to speak to the issue of how radically Jesus can transform someone’s life — rescuing them from their gayness, as it were.

If you have read Where’s Your Jesus Now? then you know I no longer think gay people need rescuing, any more than I think I do.

Or you do.

I was intrigued, however, when a friend passed along a blog post written by a Mormon fellow. Joshua Weed, author of The Weed blog, is a family therapist who lives in the Seattle area. He is ADHD and he’s gay.

That’s right.

He’s Mormon. Gay. Married. And a father.

Or as the adage goes — It’s complicated.

Josh, who only recently revealed to his blog audience his gayness, explained it in part this way:

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.

 

His wife knew before they married that she was marrying a gay man. For a more thorough explanation check out this post on Josh’s blog:  Coming out of the Closet on Our 10 year Anniversary.

Does it trouble you that Josh has to make a choice between his faith and his sexuality?

Or do you believe that all gay people ought to sacrifice their sexual identity for righteousness sake?

 

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About Karen Spears Zacharias

Author. Speaker. Journalism Instructor. Four kids. Three dogs. One grandson.

  • Ramona

    Oh, Karen, you have opened a can of worms for me. I was married, unknowingly, to a gay man for 18 years. We have two beautiful children that I believe were the reason for the marriage. The bottom line is that he tried to live the life that was expected. What he discovered is that in doing so he was being very unfair to the wife that he couldn’t love with all the intent of the covenant. It took great courage for him to come out and to end the sham. Does he sacrifice? Yes, daily. Is it right? That’s not for me to decide. I do believe that we need to embrace difference. Our churches, our communities, our government all need to wake up and smell the coffee. To be one’s authentic self is, I believe, the greatest testament to the perfection of our Maker’s design.

    • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

      So Ramona, would you have married him if you knew he was gay?

      • Ramona

        Good question and one to which I don’t have an answer. Thank goodness I didn’t have to weigh that knowledge in the balance! The me of today would not. I love the father of my children, no doubt. He loves me, no doubt. The sticky part is that the love that we share doesn’t allow for the richness of the covenant of marriage. In all fairness, I want more. He wanted more. God promises more. Do I doubt that we chose the right path at the time? No. Do I trust that each of us has a divine guidance that helps us make the decisions that are right for us? Yes. So, for the couple that chooses to marry in spite of, I trust that they have the same divine guidance. Hopefully, in the near future humans will not have to make those kinds of decisions. When we learn to accept and coexist with love, gays won’t have to make so many sacrifices…

        • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

          You said: “When we learn to accept with love, gays won’t have to make so many sacrifices…”

          I say Amen.

  • Mark Buzard

    I’m gay – not Mormon, but a guy trying to be a Christian. Thanks for sharing the link to Josh’s blog post. He really nailed it. I wish I could get to the point I could marry

    • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

      Mark: Thanks for stopping by and sharing a bit of your own story. I thought Josh handled the issue thoughtfully. I wonder why you wish you could marry. Is it because of the desire for what appears like “normal”? Or is it because of the expectations of others? Does living as a gay man mean not living as a Christian to you?

      • Mark Buzard

        Karen, no matter how people spin Scriptures, I still 100% believe sex outside of two married people of opposite genders is wrong and sinful. I wish it were not so, but God says enough about homosexuality for me to risk doing otherwise on people’s opnions. One point I have made, is God also condemned sex with animals, incest, and even sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman. He has not reversed his decision on those, and the only reason so many Christians have on homosexuality, is because society ok’s it and says it is normal. We cannot let society dictate what is right and wrong.

        There have been – and still are – societies that ok sex between kids and adults. Does that make it ok? Does that mean the Bible is wrong about that? No. The day may come when bestiality is accepted and/or incest. Will that make it ok and normal and not sinful? Of course not. And likewise with homosexuality. Television has helped normalize certain behaviors such as homosexuality, sex outside of marriage, adultery, and others until even too many Christians accept it and just ignore what the Bible says about it. I’ve heard the arguments and they don’t hold up to what the Bible says.

        I said all that to say, that living as a gay man for me, in light of what God says, means not living as a Christian. I do believe a person can be a Christian and BE gay – having the desires and attractions to the same sex, as long as he or she remains celibate. That is hard, but the Christian walk is not supposed to be easy. It may sound odd, but I look at homosexuality as my cross. I even blogged about it once. “My gay cross.” That does not mean I have stayed on top of it, but have strayed far too many times and wish I could have the relationship with God that others have. I struggle with believing God loves me – a common issue with people struggling with homosexuality.

        But I digress. I know married people can experience times of loneliness, but that is one reason I’d like to marry. I am 43 and there aren’t many heterosexual guys that age that are single to hang out with and be friends with. I have guys who are married that are my friends, but they have their lives and are busy and I get that. I really have no one for just me. The normalcy of marriage attracts me, yes, but I wish I could have someone to love and come home to, someone to love me. And I love kids. I don’t know what kind of father I’d make, but I always wanted to be one. I am told that I am a great uncle, and am more involved in my nieces’ and nephews’ lives than I would be if I had kids of my own. Its rough being single at my age and I wish I could change that.

        I did not write the letter I am going to link to, but I could have. It echoes what I have felt all my life, and is worth reading for anyone who wants to understand the struggle we face who are gay and attempting to serve God. It has nothing graphic in it. It is a letter to the church from a man struggling with homosexuality:
        http://pfox.org/The_need_for_male-mentors.html

  • J Johnson89

    I totally support Josh and his wife in their choices. They seem very happy.

    For me, the best paragraph was:

    “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. Many people never get to this point in their sex lives because it requires incredible communication, trust, vulnerability, and connection. And Lolly and I have had that from day one, mostly because we weren’t distracted by the powerful chemicals of infatuation and obsession that usually bring a couple together (which dwindle dramatically after the first few years of marriage anyway). So, in a weird way, the circumstances of our marriage allowed us to build a sexual relationship that is based on everything partners should want in their sex-life: intimacy, communication, genuine love and affection. This has resulted in us having a better sex life than most people I personally know. Most of whom are straight. Go fig.”

    That part is brilliant.

    Also – regarding sacrifice and does faith (in this case, being Mormon or Christian) rightfully require it in the areas of sexual identity….

    Well, straight Christian men who want to be good husbands have to sacrifice, too. They are not free to roam, to sleep with many women as their biological drive tells them too. Every truly successful person sacrifices something they want for a greater good.

    I think their post has gone viral because they are saying something neither side wants to hear. The conservative side doesn’t want to hear that people might really be gay. The more liberal side doesn’t want to hear that people can actually choose to submit their passions – and that they can be “true to themselves,” still, and also find great joy and satisfaction.

    I’m not untouched by this topic. My sister was married to a gay man (she did not know for a long time) before he left her. I know it’s a tough topic that needs to be handled with tenderness. I think Josh and Lolly did a wonderful job – and opened the door of possibility for many people. I pray for them, because I think they are going to get battered for the audacity to say what they said in the days to come.

  • A65roger

    Karen, the last three words of your post, “for righteousness’ sake”…

    I have no righteousness but the righteousness of Christ. And all sin, however we slice it, comes down to one: idolatry, having put something else, anything else, in the place of God. The gay pastors in committed relationships that I know and love as colleagues, are doing some of the most phenomal work of being the hands and feet of Christ in places others have refused to go: among homeless and mentally ill folks. But their Christian ministry is not what makes them righteous even as my 41+ years of marriage without cheating on my wife and my own non-salaried ministry among homeless does not make me righteous either.

    Basic questions for us to ask and answer every day: what is/are my idolatries, and who is my righteousness? If Internet porn had existed from the time of Leviticus through the time of Apostle Paul, I think something else would have taken center stage in the writings we call Scripture. Talk about an idolatry…

    • http://www.jennyraearmstrong.com/2012/06/12/rape-drugs-roadside-stands-and-human-trafficking-there-are-no-innocent-bystanders/ Tim

      “I have no righteousness but the righteousness of Christ.”

      Precisely.

      • A65roger

        Right, Tim. How quickly and easily we substitute “I try to live a good life” for the righteousness of Christ. That’s like exchanging a gum wrapper for the Rocky Mountains or the Himalayas. But we do it.

        In the comment above, there’s a better way to state my penultimate sentence. Because if there is one thing that occupies center stage in Scripture, other than the endless involvement of God with God’s people, it is this: care and concern for the poor among us, for loving loving our neighbors as ourselves–whcih implies relationship building.

        So the point of my sentence might have been better stated thusly:
        “If Internet porn had existed from the time of Leviticus through Apostle Paul, I think something else might occupy center stage in our focus on the parts of sex and sexuality that separate us from God.”

        Many things we do separate us from God, not just sex. As Karen has actively been voicing, the horrible rate of emotional, physical and sexual abuse of children in our society should cause us to choke on our words if we call ouselves a moral, Christian nation, a civilized or just society. These little ones are our neighbors, too. And as a homeless woman asks every week in the prayer time, “jobs with justice” (for people, families and the creation itself) would be another way for us to think about who our neighbors are. When there are people whose hourly pay rate is a digit followed by four to six zeroes and who would starve but for the food planted and harvested by people whose hourly pay rate is a digit with no zeroes following, well…

        How could we do anything but pray for jobs with justice? Thy kingdom come, thy will be done… Come quickly. Please! Amen.

        • http://www.jennyraearmstrong.com/2012/06/12/rape-drugs-roadside-stands-and-human-trafficking-there-are-no-innocent-bystanders/ Tim

          Jenny Rae Armstrong did a 3 day series this week on human trafficking (sex and labor trafficking) that touches on the same issues you raise here, Roger. I’ve linked the first one through my name above. It might be worth your time to look them over.

          Tim

          P.S. I love this phrasing: “the horrible rate of emotional, physical and sexual abuse of children in our society should cause us to choke on our words if we call ouselves a moral, Christian nation”

  • cc

    Wow…eye-opening, challenging, encouraging, confusing. I’m so glad they chose to share.

    This touched a very personal, delicate spot for me. I’m a Christian, and I realized some time ago that I’m sexually attracted to men but romantically attracted to women. That is–if, as he says, everyone took off their clothes, I’d be turned on by the guys (in fact, I think the girls would kind of gross me out–honestly, I know the thought of sex with a woman does), BUT when I imagine the person I want to spend my life with, raise children with, and grow old together with, I think exclusively of a woman.

    Growing up, I was taught the traditional position on homosexuality, and for a long time I held to that. It never even occurred to me that another position might exist. Over time, I became less firmly convinced on the issue, and in the last year, I’ve heard some really good arguments for the other side.

    Now I have no idea what I believe.

    So needless to say, it’s completely revolutionary for me to hear that someone who’s “not attracted to women” could be married to a woman AND have a great sex life. I’ll have to process this a while…

  • Robie

    at the end of the day….Jesus says to love one another(I have yet to read anything Jesus said directly about sexuality)……I identify as a christian because I believe in Jesus and aim to allow the love in my heart (fueled by his love for me) to guide me….some days I do better than others…the whole judgement thing gets in the way those days…
    ….we people folk make everything complicated………..


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