The Gay Man and the Christian Religion

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What made coming out so hard for most gay people? I don’t think it was exactly easy for most of us. There is the special case where someone comes out and the next week they bring their boyfriend or girlfriend over to their parents the next week. I’m kind of jealous of those people. Statistics have shown that family acceptance is the foremost important factor in the healthy psychological development of people that identify as LBGT.

I feel a lot of our fear of coming out might have a lot to do with our social acceptance, which is influenced by: culture, politics, and religion. America is known to be a protestant Christian nation so it really pervades our culture and politics in a big way. I personally think religion has a greater effect on our fear of accepting ourselves because it not only influences the other two, it claims dominion on us after we die.

I think that claim is bullshit but it’s still a real issue we have to deal with. It’s dangerous to try to ignore it or cut out everything we were raised with altogether because it creates an inward division inside us. I was homeschooled and my parents are orthodox Mormons so religion was really my whole life growing up. Accepting myself as gay at first was hard because I felt I had to reject my childhood and that led to a lot of stupid decisions, dissatisfaction with life, and a hatred for people who made my life miserable. My life was at a stalemate and I couldn’t progress. I really don’t think it’s possible to move on until we make peace with our past.

I received a letter from my mom this past week. This is a little of what she said. “I feel that I am in a tug-of-war with the devil over you. Please leave your homosexual addictions and come back. The more you become involved with it, the more I am afraid of losing you. It will only bring you sadness. It is an addiction. I have known this for years but was too afraid that I might turn you away if I said such. Now I see that I will lose you if I don’t say anything at all.”

My mom is a great person and really tries to do what she believes, but this honestly enraged me. I’ve tried to keep my opinions on spirituality unbiased and open to growth, but this sort of thing pushes me into a bias of anger against the religion I was brought up in who also claim to be “the one true religion.”

So how do we keep this from getting in the way of our good vibrations and throwing off our chi? I think it comes from the ability to see that their god is not really God but something man made. Every god is different in each sub-culture. As John Stuart Mill said,

“What is called Christian, but should rather be termed theological, morality was not the work of Christ or the Apostles, but is of much later origin, having been gradually built up by the Catholic Church of the first five centuries, and though not implicitly adopted by moderns and Protestants, has been much less modified by them than might have been expected. For the most part, indeed, they have contented themselves with cutting off the additions which had been made to it in the Middle Ages, each sect supplying the place by fresh additions, adapted to its own character and tendencies.”

The god we choose to acknowledge as God, is not God at all but a creation of our own devising. And the supposed morals we choose to live and demand that others live are not the morals that God might have emphasized as absolutely important and necessary. Mill goes on to say,

“The standard to which he does refer [his individual conduct] is the custom of his nation, his class, or his religious profession… Not one Christian in a thousand guides or tests his individual conduct by reference to the [maxims and precepts contained in the New Testament].”

What I feel is important is not the dogma that each religion holds in separate regard but what is universal between all religions. When a lawyer approached Jesus and asked him what the greatest commandment was, Jesus replied, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind… And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:35-40).

There is no separation or inherent enmity between God and us except what culture and our reaction to it has placed for us. I believe I was created the way I was for a reason and that the real God doesn’t care whether I like men or women. The greatest of all the attributes we can develop is Charity “for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail – but charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.” (Moroni 7:46,47).

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8 thoughts on “The Gay Man and the Christian Religion

  1. S David Nieves

    I completely relate to your situation. My family rejected me when I came out. I wasn’t allowed back home for months and even when I was allowed back it was very tense for many years. In the end, I have found that coming out has blessed my whole family. Even my parents look back at that time and comment we were all far too uptight and narrow minded.

    While it may not work for every one, I found the most positive response from standing my ground. If your family wants to enjoy the priviledge of having a relationship with you, then they need to understand that homophobia in any form will not be tolerated. It may take a while, but love always pulls families together. The same goes for them. If you want a relationship with them, you need to know what they can and can not handle. If they reject you or your significant other, then maybe it’s time to find parent figures that will support you, because they are EVERYWHERE!

    Best of luck to you and your mother, hopefully, your example can be a blessing to your family and hearts will change when they see how happy you are.

    • I hope so too. It’s been a while. I would’ve thought things would be different after a few years. But you know our family. My whole family is made up of a bunch of head-strong, thick skulled people.

  2. I had bad experiences with my family i.e. extremely religious mom (Southern Baptist). She controlled the house. Sometimes, I still get jealous of anyone who has a close family regardless of sexual ID.

    “… family acceptance is the foremost important factor in the healthy psychological development …” spot on! I’ll add that even a chosen family or solid friends can substitute here. Sometimes, that’s tough to find too.

    I learned the word -humanist- lately. I like what that means. I don’t practice any religion. However, I’ve learned great insight from many of them. They’re valid enough once you figure out what it means to people. Often, it’s just practiced wrong, but some get it right.

    • Some of the best people I know are religious. Some of the worse too. I think those that become great examples of their religion really don’t embody the ideals of just that religion but of what all religions share in common. Religious radicals I don’t believe ever really made a positive change in the world.

  3. As I think I said to you, I had no coming out or acceptance problems at all. So I read this again, just to get a feel for it … and it hurt me to read your mother’s words. You’re ever so accepting and understanding. Personally, I just couldn’t absorb that as easily or gracefully.

    Your inner strength must be remarkable. Mine … hmm … not so much. I’m a wimp. I hurt easily, though I don’t always express it. So, for you to hear that (or read it) and not be deeply hurt makes me want to marry you … seriously. Do you prefer Spring or Summer weddings? You’re almost too strong. I’d be crying for weeks … I cried for weeks when my elderly cat died while I was in Paris.

    Anyway, I’m confused by the theological tangle and the thread of religion running through your blog like a river of something I see but can’t smell or touch. On the other hand, I’ve never read a blog or article that so drew me toward the heart of the writer. In some fashion that I don’t understand, your heart speaks a language that my emotions apprehend (even if my intellect doesn’t).

    Bises,

    Mark

  4. That was rough to read…..the note from your mother.

    As part of my “journey” I went to Evergreen – the LDS sponsored “turn you straight through faith” program.

    I remember my first meeting, only my mother would attend. After countless talks with the bishop, family members, etc – Evergreen was the last resort for me – being SSA+ as they called it. (Same Sex Attraction).

    It was a lot like an intervention – similar to what you see on TV today with drug addicts, etc. But of course, LDS teachings will teach the congragations that being gay is akin to being an alcoholic….you may be born with a predisposition towards alcohol, but with enough faith, you can overcome it. It was the same for being gay.

    My mother stood up and said to me (in front of everyone) that “God loved me – would never give me any trial I couldn’t over come – and she had faith in ME – that I could overcome being gay with the help of Evergreen and “The Lord”.

    As the years passed – I realized the destruction that surrounded me…..in my case, the hatred that eventually spilled over into my own sense of self worth.

    I was taught a saying (I have a lot of sayings, if you haven’t noticed yet). This one goes “You have to lay down to be walked on”.

    For years I spent so much time worrying about my parents…the church….what people were saying about me behind me back…etc. Its destructive….and without a break, can be extremely damaging.

    One day I told myself….enough is enough. This is me – I am going to learn how to be happy…..and on my own terms.

    There is a certain amount of power that we give people over ourselves…..and it needs to be strictly managed. This includes our family. As much as we love them, its like a pendulum on a clock….they can damage just as much.

    The day that I told myself that I was no longer interested in the thoughts of others is the same day their attacks stopped. Each time I’d receive, read, hear anything negative from my family – I’d return the letter, hang up the phone, delete the e-mail, etc. Eventually it all stopped….and for once, I could look in the mirror and be proud that – with faith – I actually did overcome something……and that something was learning to love myself – unconditionally.

    It worked for me….maybe you as well?

    • Being gay and raised a Mormon is hard. I think even more so since families are stressed so much. You’re not good enough to get into the top part of heaven if you aren’t married in the temple to the opposite sex. It’s incredibly stressful.

      I’m so glad you were able to find your inner happiness. I never went to therapy; I refused. I’ve known people that have gone through that and I don’t think it helps them be any happier.

      It’s relieving to be able to say, “I am enough” and mean it.

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