Much Ado About Nothing + a video of Tessa + a FAQ answer

I had one of those “duh!” moments yesterday about the whole forum vs. Facebook thing.

I was really into it–reading thoroughly everybody’s input about why a forum would be better than Facebook or vice versa (which by the way, thanks so much for that, I wouldn’t have been able to think it through clearly without your guys’ input), and I was feeling very stressed and like “Oh, guys, we’re in trouble here. Don’t people know that I have ADD so bad that it’s kind of a miracle that I even have a blog?”

And then in a moment of insight where angels sang the Hallelujah chorus in 27 part harmony and clouds parted and all of trees and nature sighed a collective sigh of relief, I realized the solution:

Keep everything the same.

Why am I fighting so hard to move this conversation? This conversation originated right here, and the conversation is spontaneously happening right here. Why am I so dead-set on moving it? Sure, now my posts have spin-off conversations so long that, if printed out, they might span the distance between North America and Europe. But that’s a good sign. That’s a sign that things are working and that people feel comfortable talking. That we feel safe in this space, and we feel like we can say hard things and still like each other. And I’m really, really glad about that.

Plus, the conversation remaining here resolves most of the (very legitimate) concerns people voiced about the other alternatives. Anonymity? Check. Not letting the conversation run with itself so that it takes on a life of its own and becomes something different than what it started out to be? Check. Ensuring that I don’t get too distracted to remain a part of the conversation? Check. Keeping moderation needs to a minimum? Check.

And not only that, but it struck me as really funny when I took a step back. Here I was, reading a huge, awesome conversation with tons of brilliant responses to a question I asked here on the blog. It was like “Wow, reading this very vibrant, self-managing conversation about where to have vibrant, self-managing conversations has been really enlightening. I wonder where the right place to have vibrant self-sustaining conversations will end up being??? *thinky face*

Yeah. Sometimes I’m a little slow.

So, at least for now, here we will remain. Right here on our humble little Weed blog. Talking about issues and getting to know each other and talking about deep, real things in a respectful, honest way that will increase understanding and promote civility and help us see things in new ways.

(Have I mentioned? Thank you all for being so incredible and open and real and for wanting to talk about this stuff.)

I still have ideas for both a forum and a Facebook group, but they are concepts that are different than the current conversation, and thus can wait a while to be unveiled.

Also: Disqus? Discuss.

In other news, Tessa, my youngest does the cutest thing on earth now. Okay, probably it’s just cute to her parents, but you’re about to see it anyway. When you ask her, “How are you doing, Tessa?” instead of saying “good” she says, “geeee” (pronounced like the beginning of the word “geese”.) And she does it every time without fail.

In this video she’s “jumping off the ottoman” by which I mean to say she’s using it as a trampoline because she can’t figure out how to jump off the ottoman.

Yeah, this might be kinda interesting to Tessa’s grandparents and approximately nobody else. Oh well, I’m posting it anyway.

One day our little Tessa will learn how to jump off of ottomans really “geeee”.

Aaand, last but not least, a question:

When you are having sex with your wife, are you fantasizing about men?

This is a totally understandable question, and I can definitely see why people are asking it. Obviously this is really personal, but I’ll try to answer. I realize that some people will choose not to believe what I’m saying. That’s their prerogative. All I can do is tell my truth.

I think this question comes up a lot because people assume that the only way that I could function sexually as a homosexual man having sex with a woman would be to have my mind be somewhere else. This is false. Sex is about a lot more than that.

For me, fantasizing about anybody during intimacy doesn’t feel right. I do not fantasize about anything when I am intimate with Lolly. I am there, with her, in that moment. When she and I are together, it’s important to me that she know that I am being intimate with her. The experience is ours. It is simultaneous and mutual and filled with love. Being present with her is important to me. Anything else feels disrespectful and doesn’t honor the love I have for her.

Now, the answer to how that works is probably also a valid question, but one that might deserve its own post some day.

All right, peace out. I’m about to take my wife out on a date. And when I say “about to” what I mean is that I’m literally in the parking lot at Panera Bread using their wifi with Lolly looking at me like “are we ever going to go inside and eat, or were you planning on just being on a date with the Internet tonight…?”

Happy Friday everyone!


    1. About Disqus:

      "As with other embedded web widgets such as like buttons, the Disqus widget acts as a web bug which tracks a users activities, even when not they are not logged in, across different sites that use the Disqus commenting system. Information tracked by, which may be disclosed to 3rd parties, includes pseudonymous analytics data such as a users IP address, their web-browser's version and installed add-ons, and their referring pages and exit links. Although this data is referred to by Disqus as 'Non-Personally Identifiable Information', such data, when aggregated, has been show to be usable for de-anonymizing users.

      "Disqus has also been criticized for publishing its registered users' entire commenting histories, along with a list of connected blogs and services, on the publicly-viewable user profile pages."

    2. Also, about Disqus, do a Web search for

      creep app stalking women wake-up

      It's about FaceBook, not Disqus, but it looks to me like Disqus has the same potential for abuse as FaceBook. I know, the same might be true of Google and every other provider, including our ISP's.

      There are lots of ways for determined burglars to break into my house, but I don't see it as a reason to leave my front door wide open, with a neon sign advertising it.

    3. The reality is that *on the Internet* there really is no such thing as anonymity. There really is no such thing as total privacy either.

      You can do various things to cover up your actions and usage (like privacy settings on sites you belong to, or sophisticatedly hiding your info like hackers, but even *they* can potenially be tracked down).

      Even here on Blogger, just selecting "Anonymous" to post a comment doesn't really and truly mean your identity can never ever be revealed to someone somewhere, whether that's Google or your Provider. Everywhere you go, you leave a little "footprint".

      So essentially on something like Disqus you can (to my knowledge) just get a login using an email address just for your anonymous usage on there and be as "anonymous" as you are here or a forum or FB (or wherever on the Internet pretty much). And have a different Disqus login with a different email address for when you don't want to be anon. But, yes, that means logging in and out or having 2 browsers open. If any of that makes sense… blah blah blah… ;D

  1. awesome.
    i was seriously scared to read that response and i braved it.

    its tragically been a side effect of reading your blog, for me to compare my husband to you and wish that i married a gay man. is that not totally odd? sometimes you make your marriage sound so magical, that i figure marrying a gay man would have solved all my problems. then i kick myself for not marrying a person i once dated who was gay. i finally (as in two weeks ago) came to the realization that every marriage has problems and imperfections and difficulties (and goodness, for that matter) and that even though you are posting about the things that DO work for you and Lolly (which is seriously great) and how very happy the two of you are overall, that you do still face adversity. and that you already told the world in your coming out entry that when you get married you accept the good AND bad of that person… the whole shebang. so i am going to forge forward, grateful for the man i did choose to marry and recognize that i can learn from your good humor and prayerful attitude and just enjoy the ride. i am glad that your blog led me to this realization and helped me grow up.

    did you care about that? most likely not, but i felt compelled to say it.
    happy date night! now… on to mine πŸ™‚

    1. I care about it. I like it *very* much. I don't see why Josh and Lolly wouldn't care about it, too. Isn't it about love?

      Nothing odd about wishing you'd married a gay man, either. I'll bet you're far, far from being alone in that.

      I hope the message is not being missed though, what a tragedy it could be for a lot of people, to try to imitate this example, and how grievously it *will* be abused for political interests.

    2. But most likely if you were married to a gay man, he wouldn't want to have sex with you. And he'd probably fool around and bring home all kinds of STDS. That would not be fun.

    3. I don't think Josh's sexuality has much to do with the healthy qualities he brings to his marriage. I think you are idealizing "gayness" for some reason, as if that is what makes Josh's marriage work. I do think that is a little odd and encourage you, as you have mentioned, to focus on your own marriage without idealizing your assumptions of what goes on in others' private lives. The bible says not to cover your neighbor's wife (this also includes husband). I think this really speaks to not coveting another person's home life, primarily because we really have no idea what goes on behind closed doors and trying to figure this out distracts us from working on our own relationships.

  2. I was hoping for a forum just for the reality of how much easier the comment section would be for us (the commenters) to use, but I think this is a good choice.

    I also want to say this: I have been putting together a book and I think that this blog and the comments to follow have been a huge blessing and answer to my prayers and hopes. Anyways, the book is of short essays of real people with real experiences in different relationships and faiths.

    Often times society tells us that we have two choices: to be gay or to be faithful but I think a lot of folks here know that there are so many more choices than that. Josh has made one of those many choices but there is also the choice of loving God and being in a homosexual relationship, celebacy and so many others. And in those choices there are the stories behind them of how and why each person made that choice and there are so many faiths (jews, christain-the many sects, islam, etc).

    If anybody on here is interested in being a part of this project. I can make no guarantees regarding outcome (it has to be pitched to publishers after it is finished), or monetary gain. Please let me know. You can remain anonymous or as yourself. I am posting as anonymous because I don't want to be flooded in an inbox or anywhere with spam, but if you are truly interested reply and I can get you the info. If you want to share your story to help someone out there who might be in your same place, who might need to know its ok. That there is hope. that being gay doesn't have to be seperate from being faithful, and that there are so many choices.

    Spouses included by the way, Lolly for example if you want to write for this book that would be great or if another spouse wants to write for this I would LOVE IT. I really want this to go from a dream to a reality and I think is was the answer to all my prayers to anyone that wants to let me know. πŸ™‚

    1. I love it. I love the idea of illustrating a variety of possibilities for gays. I've wished so much for that to happen. My own story might not fit, because I've never thought of myself, or been thought of, as anything but straight, but I might be able to help you find other stories. One place you can find some is at Click on "Journeys."

      As far as a forum is concerned, I'd like to try to find an existing forum, or maybe more than one, where people posting here can more easily do part of what we're doing here. I'm very glad that Josh decided not to move the whole discussion into a new forum, but I do think that some of it can and should be moved elsewhere. I just don't think it has to be a *new* forum, and in fact I think it would be better *not* to create a new one.

    2. I'm interested, but sure you understand that I will be merciless in my attempts to establish what is your true character and motives before I give you my unequivocal trust and support, don't you?

    3. I hope you wouldn't find this my answer too harsh on you, but let's turn tables and say, please, you e-mail me first, telling me about yourself. That's the part of my test. And yes, you need to figure out my e-mail. πŸ˜‰

    4. FG Mormon: I understand needing to trust someone who you are telling your story to, so I will be emailing you, please look for an email from the previously stated email.

      Jim: There aren't any that I know of, most of the forums I know of are not religion based and my project is about faith and homosexuality, although I am in the process of looking into some options at the moment, Josh's blog just came at the exact right time. If you want to email me (or have me email you) about any that you know about to continue this discussion in an easier format please feel free.

    5. Actually Google groups is the one I have been the most likely to start. Since most people already have google, I'm just trying to sort out the ability for folks to remain anonymous if they want, and the reality of my moderating a group like that with the other things I have in my life (full time job, family, etc)

      Do you know of people who you would bring to such a forum?

      Also, are there any other folks on here who would be interested in joining up in such a forum and participating in this project?

      (I would like to point out I am only posting as anon because the options here are awkward I have many google accounts for work, and personal as well as this project and I don't want the wrong account aka work to get tied to this blog. But for anyone that wants to be a part of this project and wants to know more about me, please let me know)

    6. I hope you are also looking at denominations that don't think homosexuality is a sin – i.e. the United Church in Canada, the Quakers. Also religions that don't consider homosexuality a sin – i.e. the Unitarian Church.
      Also I hope you look at the tremendous rejection some gay people have faced from their religions – excommunicated, etc and the effects on them and the fact that many gay people wouldn't set foot inside a church/temple etc. because of the tremendous damage inflicted upon them in the name of God.

    7. Anon 12:35 PM, thinking about it, I don't know what else I could contribute, besides pointing out the Journeys page at "Bridges Across the Divide." You could also try the Gay/Lesbian Baha'i Story Project. I just did a search, and the "I Am Gay" pages at the Experience Project looks promising, for stories, and maybe for a forum you could use.

      I don't personally know any gays that I could ask. I have a few friends who have demonstrated a friendly interest in gays. I could write to them about your project.

    8. Anon @ 4:44 My studies have delved deeply into all faiths, all sects of Christianity, but also religions other than Christianity (jewish, islam, etc I can't possibly name them all here). This of course includes religions that are open and welcoming and even ones that have gay or lesbian pastors. It includes folks that have been kicked out or choose to still participate in protest. Faith is incredibly far reaching. Although I don't know every sect ever, because there are just so many I am always grateful when somebody mentions one I haven't heard of, though I had heard of those :-). But feel free to mention others.

      Jim H, Thank you for your input up to this point, I will look into those forums to see what I can see :-).

    9. Anon, have you looked at the many stories and folks connected to the Gay Christian Network? They support gay christians in a diverse array of relationship choices.


    10. Anniba, thank you!

      FG, the Gay Christian Network looks like a very good place to ask for stories.

      I registered, but I have to wait a few days for approval. That might be one of the places I try to use to move some of my discussions away from here.

  3. Tessa is so cute! Looks like she's enjoying the use of the loaner furniture πŸ™‚

    I think keeping the conversation here isn't a bad idea. The only thing that I would wish is that those using the "anonymous" name would make up fake names and preface their comments with it. I don't know about anyone else, but I find it confusing when multiple "anonymouses" are posting in the same thread.

  4. What is it, exactly, that makes you identify as homosexual? I'm sorry if I've missed it somewhere (there's a lot of information to 'weed' through. ha!). From what I've read, you're married to a woman, you enjoy having sex with her, and you're happy. And you don't fantasize about men nor, apparently, want to have sex with men. So how are you gay?

    1. Because he has a physical attraction to men. His body reacts to men like most men's bodies reacts to women. He's turned on by men, not women. But, as he's said, relationships are more than a physical attraction.

  5. I am torn between wanting to respect the fact that I know as a Mormon the whole sex thing is super private, and really being confused and wanting to understand. So I will ask this question in hopes of getting an answer but understanding if it doesn't:
    So you are gay (into dudes, not into chicks). That's legit. And you are married to a woman, also legit (besides Lolly seems like sooo cool, kind of like DARN I wish she had been gay and into me!!! I hope thats not offensive to say sorry if it was it was a joke though)
    And since you are a loving husband you only want to be focused on Lolly but….how can that be? I mean you said the how will be addressed but maybe sooner than later because how can you get aroused by her? I mean, sure you're excited by the love you feel, but i mean there needs to be more, because after 10 years it starts to fade.
    so….? I guess I just don't get it still. I mean I get WHY you want to be focused only on her I just don't understand how that is possible.
    Care to explain Josh?

    1. I'm a gay Mormon married to an exceptional woman (having three kids), and for me, she is a separate category. She is "neither male or female", she is my wife and the only person I dare to think about sex.

      And that not because I wouldn't dare to think about sex with males, but because for whatever reason I decided to turn my head in that direction and never look back.

      It is all about making a choice to be faithful to one person, and then vigorously hammering out other options throughout one's life. In that regard, my situation is not much different than for a heterosexual guy who decides to be faithful to his wife, but still has attraction to other women, except for the fact that my way of hamering out options is slightly (read: immensely) different.

      There is much more to say about it, but let's leave it there for now.

    2. And believe me, I have never ever had a problem to be turned on on my wife. Maybe I would have a hard time to be turned on on your wife, but that may be considered a blessing in disguise. πŸ™‚

    3. Love doesn't fade after 10 years, sexual infatuation does. If a couple gets married based solely or mostly on sex, then their relationship can suffer after a time. But Josh and Lolly's marriage was based solely on love, and the same goes for their love-making, as he explained in his Unicorn post.

      Aside from that, I too am curious about how he can be aroused by her and enjoy it so much if he's not sexually attracted to her. And Lolly mentioned on their interview with Gil Gross that she feels like he's sexually attracted to her even though he says he isn't. It's so mind-boggling to me! That's really the only thing about their story that I have a hard time understanding.

      So, Josh, I agree with Anonymous that we need "the how" sooner rather than later. I haven't been able to stop wondering about that since I first read your Unicorn post!

    4. @FG Mormon: That makes a lot of sense. Thanks for sharing! I guess I could compare it to me seeing a man other than my husband naked and not getting turned on by him, but when it comes to my husband, the man I love and the only one I think about sexually…yeah. I guess that's a good comparison. It's hard to tell not having walked in your shoes.

      Still looking forward to Josh's thoughts, of course!

    5. I don't think Josh ever said he was not sexually attracted to his wife. Am I correct Josh? I think he is just not sexually attracted to other women.

    6. FG, I meant the physical arousal part.

      I've been thinking about people's questions here about Josh and Lolly's sexual relationship, and about speculations I've seen here and there that it's somehow not 100% as authentic, fulfilling and/or healthy, for *both* partners, as a sexual relationship could or should be.

      ?! What are we comparing to here? Certainly not 99.9% or more of real relationships in the real world!

      Is it really hard for anyone here to imagine that, considering both partners, it might be at least as authentic, fulfilling and healthy as most other sexual relationships in the world today?

      Maybe the issue is, a feeling that the marriage they've chosen deprives one or both of them of their best possibilities in life. Again, even if that were true, how many marriages don't do that?

      The more I think about the skepticism I've seen here and there, it all reduces to claims that their marriage and sexual relationship aren't, or can't be, perfect for both of them. And? The point is?

      Maybe I'm getting off track, at least for some of the questions. I see some people just trying to get their head around the idea of a sexual relationship between a gay man and a straight woman being as authentic, fulfilling and healthy as any of the the relationships that they normally think of as authentic, fulfilling and healthy.

      The question is reinforced by the fact that, as some of us understand it, he claims not to be attracted to any women, including her, and she claims to feel attractive to him.

      * Authentic:
      I guess the question here is whether she can arouse him sexually, or whether it requires something apart from her, like fantasizing about men. I don't know how he's going to explain that, but it can be easily achieved by classical conditioning.

    7. (continued)

      * Fulfilling:
      The question here might be, is he missing something that he could have with a man? Well, I would say yes. I can't speak from experience, but I'm quite sure that sex with a man is qualitatively different from sex with a woman. From that point of view though, all of us who have only one sex partner are missing something. Those of us with a woman partner are missing what we could have with a man partner, and those of us with a man partner are missing what we could have with a woman partner, and that's no small thing for any of us. It's more than sex too. How many "straight" men would much rather live with a man than with a woman? How many "straight" women would much rather live with a woman? Aren't we all missing a lot, and I mean a *lot*, by only living with one or the other?

      We could say the same thing about having children. I think that people who don't raise children are missing a *lot* in life. I mean, really, *really* a lot. Maybe everyone doesn't agree with that but wouldn't everyone agree that even if it's true, that doesn't mean that it's wrong for anyone not to raise children. Some people might say that people who raise children are missing a lot, and I imagine that's true. So people who raise children are missing a lot, and people who don't are missing a lot. That doesn't our choices wrong. That doesn't make our lives fraudulent or unhealthy.

      An objection might be, but he's missing the experience of sex with someone who arouses him the way men do. Wow. I wonder how many people realize how much, how many "straight" women are aroused by other women. I imagine 90% or more of women in monogamous relationships with men are deprived of the experience of sex with someone who arouses them the way women do.

      So, is the problem that Josh is deprived, not only of sex with someone who arouses him the way men do, but also of sex with someone who arouses him the way women arouse some other men? First of all, how would Josh or anyone else even know if Lolly arouses him the way women arouse some other men? Then, even if it were true, so what?

      * Healthy

      I'm running down. I might come back to this later, or maybe someone else can take it from here.

    8. I keep coming back to the idea that sometimes men loose sexual interest in their own wives too….I work with labor and delivery, and the amount of emotional and physical change that takes place is huge (obviously) and it often happens that one or the other spouse, loses sexual interest in the other because of this. Does that mean that they can no longer be fulfilled by the other, or that the man then has to imagine a woman who no longer looks like she has had children? I would hope not.

      Same goes for the age thing….we get older, and less "beautiful". Sexual attraction then begins to turn to younger men/women. Does that mean we should leave our spouses to be more fulfilled or even imagine a younger version of our spouse? I think most people would say no.

      At some point, I think most people have to learn to be sexually attracted again to their spouse. I would hope we could do that without fantasizing about being with another person. I do think that it is something that is hard to do sometimes.

      What I feel like this story does in a way, is show people that there is/could be more to a sexual relationship than our primal urges. The question is, what is it and how do we find it? And how does our love for someone play a part?

      I also think Josh's acceptance and his families acceptance of who he is plays a huge role in his ability to be at peace with himself.

    9. Rachel, good points. This really highlights the possible value of this story for everyone, and not only gays and people who see themselves as homosexual.

      I agree that a key to the success of this family is that Josh was never ashamed of his homosexuality, and that there was never any thought in anyone's mind of trying to "cure" or "change" him, although I'll admit that I suspect him of retouching that part of the portrait a little bit.

    10. * Healthy

      One health issue I can think of that some people might be thinking about, apart from authenticity and fulfillment, is repression, the idea that it's unhealthy for a gay man to go through life without sex with a man, and that it's unhealthy for a woman to go through life without sex with a man who is sexually aroused by her. It's still an open question to me whether Josh is sexually aroused by Lolly, and if so how, and I don't know if we'll ever know. I don't know how much farther they'll let the whole world into their privacy. Let's assume the worst, that she doesn't arouse him sexually, and he gets aroused some other way. How different would that be from a lot of healthy sexual relationships, anyway?

      The widespread appeal of the idea that restraining sexual urges is necessarily unhealthy, might come from some people's observation and experience, mine included, of the harmfulness of some kinds of repression, and disregard of feelings, urges and intuitions. I do see a lot of harm from people disregarding, repressing and denying feelings, urges, and intuitions; their own and those of others. One thing to consider is that what makes repression unhealthy is not what restrictions a person puts on his actions, but how and why.

      Maybe everyone agrees with that. Maybe some people's objections come from suppositions about the how and why in this case, that are not dispelled by what Josh and Lolly have said about them. In all honesty I myself have wondered if this story has been embellished here and there, for pedagogical purposes, and please forgive me, possibly even for professional purposes. However that may be, I don't see anything impossible in it.

      Another thing about healthfulness: I used to think that all people are really pansexual, and that people who claim to be exclusively gay or straight are denying or repressing any sexual responses that don't fit their stereotypes. I eventually revised that view, after considering the phenomenon of imprinting, in relation to orientation.

    11. Comparing the idea of a straight man not cheating on his wife to a gay man not fantasizing about men while with his wife is not a fair comparison and here is why.
      First of all, a straight man is sexually attracted to his wife so he isn't giving anything up by not cheating. By cheating he would get to sleep with someone he is aroused by, but by staying faithful he gets to sleep with someone he is both aroused by and in love with, staying faithful is clearly the better choice.
      If a gay man (and I'm being generic) sees a man he is aroused by and attracted to but must walk away to remain faithful to his wife he is giving up something much larger than what the straight person is giving up. Being with that man could prove he was wrong about his life, and that being with a man is better. Being with that man could prove more fulfilling than being with his wife since he would for sure be more turned on by the man than his wife. But the gay man chooses to walk away to go be with someone that doesn't turn him on. For reasons of love and fidelity and god in some cases.

      But the scenarios are different, the experiences are different, the sacrifices are different, and the fears are different. And honestly the likelihood of being forgiven for your transgression is lower if you cheat on your wife with a man than with a woman.

      But to the point, I'm not sure how it worked on his wedding night, but if with lolly was the only way he ever experienced intimacy, then maybe when they are intimate he gets excited because he knows what it will feel like and it doesn't have anything to compare it against to say "eh, its mediocre compared to what it COULD be like"

      I don't know, I really don't know how it would work, it terms of the actual function. I get the love and soul mate etc part. I'm talking function, every gay guy I know said he struggled when he tried to be with women because of the functionality.

    12. The question of function is totally legit, but somehow it is never an issue in mixed oriented marriages. Even the most disastrous stories about such marriages rarely if ever mention functionality as a cause of a unhappiness.

      It is always that a gay partner haven't figured out and sorted out things related to soul mating with his or her heterosexual spouse.

    13. That hurt my heart…reading that Lolly thinks Josh is attracted to her in a sexual way and Josh saying he isn't.
      All relationships require a certain level of, let's say, wishful thinking but being thought of as sexually desirable by your mate is such a deep and real desire.
      It's good they have intimacy, I wish they had the whole sexual relationship that can exist between partners of the same sexual orientation.

    14. Fresh, I think you're taking that statement secondhand and out of context. If you listen to the interview with Gil, Josh said he isn't attracted to women, but he never specifically said that he doesn't find Lolly attractive. That may seem like I'm splitting hairs, but reread point #4 in Josh's original Unicorn post. He specifically says that he enjoys sex with his wife, and adds that great sex "is about more than just visual attraction." It's about the intimate relationship you share, not who you would find attractive as you walk down the street.

    15. I say, instead of debating what enables Josh to get it up and keep it up, people should go find some gay people and apologize without reservation for the abuses the Mormon Church (yes and other religions) have put on them in the name of God. Just an idea.

    16. Anon 4:47 PM,

      Well, yeah … but really what I think is needed, more than an apology, is prayerful, systematic and sustained efforts to help counteract and prevent the abuse. I some potential here for promoting that.

    17. I meant to say, I *see* some potential here for promoting that, maybe. I haven't gone there yet, actually. I've had my mind on the awakening, education, and cross-divide fellowship that's going on here. Those are indispensable parts of the process. This may or may not be a good time and place to get into potentially divisive action issues. Not to say I don't welcome your suggestion. I'm just not sure how far I'm ready to go with that, myself.

    18. I am ready to say sorry for some abuses that have happened that may have been as a result from people that hold my believes. Or that our believes may have caused them to think they had a right to be cruel and hurting. I do feel bad that people have been hurt. But I also still hold my believes.

      Could Mormons claim some of the same abuses, possibly, though I feel it is politically incorrect to say so. Mormons have been harmed and belittled in this process. They have lost jobs, and been threatened, not to mentioned the implications that we are brainwashed and unintelligent and hateful.

      How do you think it makes a Mormon child feel to stand alone in a classroom as a symbol of idiocy(as recently happened in a school near me) and have their very religious identity thrown at them as ridiculousness. I had someone in jr high ask me where my horns are, because I was going to hell too. Because I was Mormon. A man that lives by me and is a good friend is being fired from his job because he is Mormon.

      Trust me, many Mormons know what it is like to be told they are going to hell too. It is told to us by many others also, for different reasons.

      I think a difference may be, though, is that gays cannot necessarily choose their sexuality. It seems to be apart of them. Mormons can choose their faith. (though it still is very much a part of them).

    19. Rachel… I agree with you. People often forget that others get persecuted too. Growing up as Mormon I used to get the taunts about polygamy all the time and the "Joe Smith" thing is rediculous. lol I never cared really because I am one that could care less what people thought of me. But to others it hurt them. I also use to get people shying away from me once they found out I was mormon. Another theme I found was that people ALWAYS had an opinion about me being mormon (mostly negative). Living in the western portion of the US has been different when it comes to these type of prejudices a lot because of the high population of LDS folks in all the western states in general (Cali-%10 mormon, Wash. -12% mormon, Idaho -80% mormon, Utah – 60% mormon, Arizona – 20 % mormon, Colorado – 15% mormon, Even Nevada has a large mormon crowd).

      So persecution goes both ways… I wish people would see that.

    20. Rachel, Anon 5:19 PM,

      Some people are being persecuted, and murdered, just because they're gay. Do you see how "You aren't the only ones," and "You aren't being fair because you aren't recognizing our suffering, too," are not adequate God-centered responses to that?

      Let's imagine that persecution against Mormons is just as bad, or even worse, than against gays, that part of that persecution is coming from gays, and that none of them will ever admit that, or ever recognize and be grateful for anything you do to help them.

      Now, with that matter settled, can you find it in your hearts to be anxiously concerned about what's happening to them anyway, forget about yourselves, and discuss what you and I can do to help prevent the abuse and counteract its effects?

    21. JIm-I appreciate your kindness in your responses. With this particular one, I feel like I could turn the question back on you. I don't think we need to say we've been hurt more or you've been hurt more. I never said this to show that our hurt is more than your hurt. That really wasn't my intention. What I'm pointing out is that people have been hurt, people all over have been hurt. One person's hurt is not more than another's and we should be anxiously concerned about what's happening to all people, gays and Mormons. My view is that Mormon's should be anxiously concerned about what is happening to gays and gays should be anxiously concerned about what is happening to Mormons. I would like to ask you the same questions….can you find it in your heart to be anxiously concerned about a group of people who have been abused also, whom you probably don't know much about either? And can we both take those concerns and find a way to heal us both.

    22. Sorry for the tone of reproach there.

      Rachel, I see you doing exactly what I'm suggesting, in the marriage thread, discussing how to remove the unfairness there, without simply transferring it elsewhere. What a can of worms!

      Even so, there might be much better answers to the question, what can you and I do, to help reduce the abuse against gays, and counteract its effects?

    23. My point exactly… it goes both ways Jim. That was my WHOLE point. I am sick of the blah blah about being persecuted. It's getting rather old. Persecution happens to everyone in one way or another. A lot of what is persecution is "perceived" persecution anyways. What I might find persecutive might not be what others find persecutive. Just because people don't agree with a lifestyle does not mean it's persecution. I am sorry, there is a difference. So it is ok for one party to stand up for what they feel is rights but not another? Does that make sense at all. The gay community can stand up but so can the people who are against it. Along as both sides are non violent of course. I think most people forget that this world is a wicked world now a days. It doesnt matter what race, orientation, religion you are, people will aways be taking the right approach to them and people will take the wrong approach. It is a generalization that gay people are persecuted and murdered, because of non gay are too because of wickedness. Not that I am lessing the effects of this on the gay community, because obvious the gay community feels the effects of it. but still.. just makes me roll my eyes a little I will admit.

    24. I would love to help reduce abuse against all people. I think talking about it is a great start. I think trying to understand the "other" side is a huge part of it. I love that people are talking about it here. I would also request that people who are mad at Mormons also take a look at who they are rather than reducing us to ignorant infant mentality or mindlessly led my cultish leaders. Just as there is much more behind being gay, there is much more behind being Mormon and why we believe what we believe.

      I do have to say, that speaking openly about this has been a long time coming in the Mormon community. As you can see, though, people have been thinking about it. I feel like some of it has been that Mormons have felt like they have been unable to talk about it without being bashed as gay haters or homophobics, or put down as completely ignorant. I love being able to talk about this without that fear.

      I also think think that as this happens more and more people will become less afraid when their children announce that they are gay. They can accept that this is a part of them. We are able to do this with lots of things that we disagree with. Why being gay has not been a part of this, I don't know. I think parents or families can disagree with a child's life choices without making them feel like they are less than nothing. Quite honestly, I can see the church coming up with something to help families deal with this issue.

      Where I see the real harm being done is not necessarily in people disagreeing in a life choice(meaning children choosing to act on their gay inclinations, but in people/families making their children feel like they are not worthy of their's or God's love. That's what we need to be working on.

    25. Rachel, Anon 7:33 PM

      Actually, the most urgent need I see, in relation to cruelty and violence, is to stop the murderous worldwide campaign of plundering and pillaging that's being carried on in the name of growth economics. I would love to discuss that with anyone who's interested. I would also love to discuss with anyone who's interested, what *you and I* can do about prejudice and discrimination against Mormons, short people, old people, children, and everyone else.

      We need to consider the problems and possible solutions both generally and specifically, both globally and locally.

      Part of that discussion will be about sectarian animosities and hostilities in general, and against Mormons in particular. I would love to discuss with you what *you and I* can do about that. Tell me when and where. If you really think here and now is the best place and time for it, okay, let's go for it. I'm ready.

      If, at the same time, you have any interest in discussing what you and I can do to help reduce hostilities against gays, let me know, so we can agree on a time and place for that.

      I'm thinking now that this might be the time and place for either one. This is the time and place for fellowship.

      Patty and I have been watching Episodes of Robin Hood that I'm downloading from the Internet Archive. We love it!

    26. Wow, what a blunder! I meant to say, I'm thinking that this might *not* be the time and place for discussing what to do about hostilities against gays, or against Mormons, either one. It might be a time and place for fellowship.

    27. Rachel, thinking about it some more, what I've been so happy to see here is the awakening, the education, and the cross-divide fellowship. I think I've seen you rejoicing in that too.

      All the gays who come here will not be ready to be awakened, and educated about Mormons. All the Mormons who come here will not be ready to be awakened, and educated about gays. Everyone who comes here will not be here for fellowship.

      Here, I would like to focus more on fellowship. I really would like to discuss with you what to do about hostilities against Mormons, if that interests you, but I would rather do it somewhere else.

      I would rather discuss what to do about hostilities against gays somewhere else, too, but my fellowship with gays here will inevitably include some discussion of what they're up against. It doesn't have to include any discussion of what Mormons are doing wrong, though. I'll try to be careful about that.

    28. I don't know that I really feel the need to hash out hostilities against Mormons per say. Unless someone else feels the need. I do like the idea of talking to each other though, from both sides.:)

    29. Rachel, I thought some more about the kind of fellowship I want to practice, and now I'd like to get off my high horse, if I can, and walk around in here with you for a while to see what I can learn from you, and what we might be able to do in here together.

    30. I have to say you guys are awesome, for carrying on this conversation and for not getting ugly with it at the same time. Go you!
      I wanted to add my two cents, if I can. Because I don't like the word persecution being thrown around. It is used so so often to describe any sort of rude action towards someone that we forget what is it actually like to be persecuted.
      Religious people and LGBT people (and others, but those groups are the focus here) are both discriminated against CONSTANTLY every single day. It is nerve racking for a child to stand up in a classroom in America and say "I am Mormon" or "I am Gay" That is the first problem. We NEED to teach kids that there is nothing wrong with being anything, ever. Everybody makes their own decisions with their own hearts and as long as they are not hurting anyone, they are perfect the way they are. It starts there.

      But persecution. That's so much bigger. I have had many an argument about being christian. About my pro-life stance, belief in God, and being Catholic I hear all the stuff from people about Mary and what not. But NEVER, not ONCE have I experienced the utter pain in the discrimination from being christian that I have from being gay.

      For being gay I was raped. He wanted to prove I could enjoy being with a man. For being gay I've been shouted at, told I would burn in eternal damnation, told that my relationships are fake, that my feelings are not real, that I don't deserve a marriage, I have been denied access to the love of my life on more than one account, I have been ostracized from my faith community, I have been physically pushed around, kicked, beaten, had my life threatened, I have had people come to my home and pound on the doors trying to get in to "save" my girlfriend while we locked ourselves in a room with no windows and called the cops, I have had to listen to my dad talk about how terrible gay people are, and my mom talk about how gays have hijacked the rainbow.

      So yes, both sides need to learn to not discriminate. Both sides need help. Being a christian shouldn't be scary, shouldn't get you bullied and it should be a badge of honor as should any other form of identity a person carries in their soul.

      But I will stand up and defend a gay kid first, because I'm sure they have been through way more. At least the christian as a family to go home to.

    31. Still learning more:) JIm-I appreciate your conversation quite a bit. I am coming from the stand point of having just a few aquaintances who are gay and we don't really talk religion or politics:) So this is refreshing form me. I also come from a pretty loving, religious, intellectual, half Mormon, half non-Mormon family. While I have been taught that the gay life style was not appropriate, never once did I feel like my parents would condone me if I happened to be gay. I know they would still love me and accept me. Thus,even hearing of Mormon people who have treated others this way, is sad.

      Anon- thanks for sharing that intensely personal story. I feel like those people who did those things to you, are not truly Christian. I think I would stand up for a kid in your situation for whatever reason. These things happen to kids for lots of different reasons, gay being one of them. It seems like being gay seemed to give bad people an acceptable reason to hurt and use people. Again, very foreign idea to me.

    32. The answer to the question on persecution and abuse of any group is not entirely difficult to grasp, it is just difficult to become comfortable with. There are certain hard facts that we need to face, but once that is done, a path is plowed. Here is how I see them.

      1) This is a fallen world with fallen people, so until the Second Coming of Christ (for those who believe it) or never (for those who don't), there will ALWAYS BE injustice and persecution and abuse in all their varieties towards both gays and Mormons (and, for that matter, everybody else). If anyone thinks that there is a one-size-fits-all solution to that problem is deluding themselves. Instead of looking for such a solution, one should instead realize that the struggle for peace & love & understanding it is an eternal and never ending quest & struggle which always begins (and perhaps even ends) with a person you think of when you say "myself".

      2) So, as one realizes that there is no solution that would completely eradicate injustice & persecution & abuse, the next thing one should try to figure out the best FRAMEWORK within which those awful practices can be minimized to the greatest possible extent. And I argue that that framework is FREEDOM. In an environment of freedom, what you actually have is individuals spontaneously rearranging themselves so that they find effective refuge against injustice & persecution & abuse away from individuals that hate and towards individuals that love. That wouldn't stop narrow-minded Mormon parents of a gay child to give her son or daughter an excruciatingly bad time, but would at least give the child an exit, an outlet, an escape. And vice versa.


      On the other hand, I strongly believe that those who are looking for one-size-fits-all solution for injustice & persecution & abuse are actually the ones who are perpetuating it by working towards creating a FRAMEWORK through which their (imagined) solution would be imposed on the rest of the society by force. Those individuals are particularly eager to influence government towards bringing their solution into reality, as government by definition, when boiled down to the core, is nothing more and nothing less than the monopoly of brute force.

    33. Jim, you do it every single day, I reckon. Other than that, you for example join the Ron Paul movement. πŸ™‚ But of course, I'm not here in a business of promoting any kind of politics, so, enough said.

    34. FG, I see what you mean, maybe. I really *want* everyone to be free, free to think for themselves, to practice and promote their own ideas, and to pursue their own interests. That wish permeates a lot of my initiatives, and my efforts to improve myself.

  6. Hmm, I thought I'd posted, but my comment seems to have disappeared. In any case, I don't think it's a bad idea to keep the conversation here. The only thing I wish is that people posting anonymously would make up a fake name and preface their comments with it. Different people posting under it in the same thread is kind of confusing.

    As to Tessa, she seems to be having a lot of fun on the "loaner" furniture. Whatever will she do when it's back to the normal floral stuff?

    1. For people who post anonymously and without a pen name, I'm going to address them by copying the whole id line, with the date and time, like this:

      Anonymous June 29, 2012 10:05 PM

  7. I'm thinking, can it get any better, it can't, how can one surpass anything with something that has a title "Much ado about nothing + video of Tessa + a FAQ answer" and with ONLY 14 comments?

    And then one has a lady who wishes to have a gay husband, an individual who is writing a book, two additional extremely intelligent & respectful questions about the core issue, and of course, another top edition of Josh's authenticity.

    OK, let's see how THIS can be surpassed.

  8. OK my fake name is TODOS SANTOS.

    This is such a fast-moving blog, and I would like to refine my comments, but I will just imitate my role models and press Publish.

    Josh, you have the funniest habit of changing the subject in the middle of a post! Does that go with ADD? Your 27-part harmony experience is a wonderful sign that God is guiding you! Cute toddler video. And then you take up the question of whether you fantasize about men during sex with your wife. Your answer is very good. I want to comment on how it works.

    My comment: Of course it works. God designed the male sex organ to work really well with the female sex organ. You just need to be there and do that. In Mormon (or Christian) marriage, you get to be a whole person as well, with the person you love.

    I am not even sure if talking about my own experience is helpful, but here is why I am posting under "anonymous – fake name": I have experienced same-sex attraction as long as I can remember (my memory goes back to when I was molested as a small child — not the story I am telling just now), and I have been married more than half my life to a woman who gave me sons of whom I am very proud.

    My story is different from yours, Josh, in several ways. I never worried about my "identity," I was interested in sex wherever I could get it, and I became a Christian only after my wife and I were married. It slowly dawned on me I needed to modify my behavior and make choices. I chose fidelity half a lifetime ago.

    My theory — since I read your story! — is there is a difference between imagination and experience. Same sex attraction is in the imagination, and sex with my wife is experience. I know from years ago that the actual experience of sex with men was disappointing (see explanation above). I was surprised how often the other guy expressed disappointment, ranging from wistful to annoyed. This happened often enough I decided something was really off. It's no mystery really.

    Profound concluding paragraph: (can't think of any) Thanks for starting the vibrant conversation!

    1. Here's the thing. Sex when had casually with someone you don't have loving feelings for is less rewarding than sex with someone who you love deeply.
      Whether that is sex between two people of the same gender or different genders, it will always be the most rewarding when the two people care deeply for each other.
      Attraction (same sex or opposite sex) is not in the imagination, its in the soul, the heart and the mind. (its also in the chemical reactions,but I will leave that to the scientists to debate).

      So Josh can have sex with his wife since he feels a deep love for her. Or rather Josh can be intimate with his wife since he feels a deep love for her. But there is a scientific issue at stake here, a man gets "excited" when he is attracted to someone, that aids in the sex part. If he is attracted to men and not women, how is he getting excited and aroused by his wife?

    2. I sometimes wonder if I was actually Josh's alternative internet identity through which he actually answer some of the questions that he for any number of reasons cannot or doesn't want to answer under his real one. πŸ™‚

      This my idea will likely sound preposterous and incredibly arrogant to some (many?), particularly to those who find my contribution here highly suspicious in terms of genuineness and authenticity, but hey, I don't care to add more upon my head. Yes, that was a joke, and yes, I'm nuts, and I like it, and it feels safe to be that way here under Josh' wing, so let's proceed.

      (But before I do proceed, let me say that I'm on the verge of attempting to start a discussion through a separate comment in which I would challenge those who suspect that I'm a pathological liar to bring it on, but not just yet.)


      For a gay person to establish a sound heterosexual relationship, including fulfilling intimacy, it is so much different than anything out there. It may not necessarily be harder or easier than otherwise, but it is so different that that sheer fact makes it extremely difficult. One simply doesn't have a reference. One simply has to figure it ALL by oneself. By trial and error. And the danger to partake of "eternal damnation" in the process is so great that many simply get stuck at whatever situation they are, without much of a hope or a vigor to proceed.

      Lasting (as opposed to casual) heterosexual relationship and intimacy is definitely supposed to involve just as much soul mating as it involves body mating. That's why all of us, no matter whether homosexual or heterosexual, go out and seek our soul mate before anything else.

      Now, for a heterosexual person it is clear. He or she finds it not just entirely possible, but highly desirable and hopefully probable to find his or her soul mate among the members of the opposite sex.

      On the other hand, for a homosexual person, that isn't necessarily clear. He or she doesn't find it entirely possible, has doubts if it is desirable, and is concerned that it is highly improbable.

      At the same time, a homosexual person finds a strong urge to find his or her soul mate among members of the same sex. He or she initially doesn't care about body mating, it is just a side line to the main plot. And that even more so than to a heterosexual person, because heterosexuals do not bother too much to restrain themselves from thinking about body mating as their favorite flavor of the activity is broadly acceptable & accepted in the society.

      (Continues in the next comment.)

    3. (Previous comment continues here.)

      It seems that to a homosexual person it does not often occur that soul mating is not necessarily about sex in terms of males & females. Even a staunch heterosexual may have a soul mate of the same sex.

      I would argue that the initial reaction to each and every homosexual person when his or her sexuality sets in is: "No. This isn't possible! Is this really?" They may come to terms with their feelings in whatever direction (gay, straight, celibate) later on, but I doubt that there is a person with same-sex attraction who would, upon feeling it for the first time, tell to myself: "Oh. Okay. I see. Let's go on."

      Maybe some day, there will be some young folks who would react to their feelings that way, and that might be considered a progress, but lets proceed with a discussion as if they do not exist simply because that would be the most effective way to help the vast majority of gay people to get out of the struggle as unscratched as possible. Until we obtain a witness from an "Oh. Okay. I see." individual published here at Josh Weed blog (which would not surprise me at all if it happens).

      So, a homosexual person has this additional incentive to figure out what soul mating is all about and why it is so important, because he or she gets something at the very beginning of their sexual journey that is totally unexpected.

      Some of the homosexual folks have a chance to find a soul mate among members of the same sex. Good for them. Some of the homosexual folks do not, in spite of making great strides. Some realize that it would be too much against their inner moral compass (as they define it) to even set a foot on that path, yet, they feel immense importance for their overall mental & spiritual health to find a soul mate with whom they will live for the rest of their lives. Here is where Josh's story blends in.

      His question "Am I worth it to you?" is actually a question "Did you find in me enough of your soul mate as you would like it to be?" I'm sure that Josh had asked himself that same question about Lolly, but he early on received the answer to it, so he didn't bother about it any much longer.

      It would be interesting to hear from Josh if he has ever seriously contemplated to look for his soul mate from the pool of the same sex folks. What reverted him from that path? Was it just his upbringing and religion? How did he feel about it and why? How does he feel about it now?

      I personally did, and I'm not ashamed to say it. It was a part of the process to where I am.

    4. My son says he's been attracted to boys as far back as he can remember. Of course, he was also raised in a family and religious community that view homosexuality as being just as normal, valid and natural as heterosexuality.

    5. Todos Santos replying: I am pleased my virgin post on Josh Weed's blog generated comments. A young friend of mine, who came back from college picturing himself as a homosexual, told me about his "soul mate." Anonymous says attraction is not in the imagination, but in the soul, and FG Mormon talks a lot about finding one's soul mate. Apparently it is a widely-circulated concept.

      I actually don't agree. We males and females (we human beings) are not neuter souls in indifferent bodies, but we are embodied souls. Our masculinity or femininity expresses itself in everything we do. The term "same-sex attraction" masks the very great difference between male homosexuality and female homosexuality. Male homosexuality is an expression of male sexuality (regardless of what the guys in the locker room think about it). I have no interest in female homosexuality, and no empathy for it, no mystery why.

      My statement that same-sex attraction is imaginary is based on years of experience. The difference between what the attraction promised and what the experience offered could not be explained away.

    6. Anon 10:16 PM (who, if I understand it correctly, is Todos Santos), I also firmly believe that males and females have undivided characteristics of masculinity or femininity in both the body and the soul (or spirit).

      However, I cannot deny that same-sex attraction exists, as I personally experienced it. And whoever says that the same-sex attraction is imaginary is actually saying that my reality is imaginary, and that's fine as long as you are not in a position to enforce that statement upon me.

    7. Todos, I don't understand what you mean when you say homosexuality is imaginary. Surely you are not taking your personal experience of disappointed and painting all same sex relationships with that brush?

    8. FG and Fresh, when I said I agreed with Todos, I might have misunderstood him. I had an epiphany when I read what he said.

      Calling it "same-sex" attraction divides people into two classes, "same-sex attracted" and "other-sex attracted," or else arranges them on a scale from one extreme to the other. It puts gays and lesbians in one class, and straight people in another, or puts gays and lesbians at one end of the scale and straight people at the other.

      Reading Todos's post it occurred to me for the first time that another way to look at it is to put "male-attracted" at one end of the scale, and "female-attracted" at the other.

      That's very significant to me. The significance might not be obvious to people who see themselves as exclusively gay or straight. I haven't found a good way to explain the significance. Maybe I'll try again later.

    9. from Todos Santos: Thanks all of you for your comments. But no, it was the other guys who expressed disappointment! Over and over again. I was amazed.
      Also I do not classify people as to their sexuality, except as male and female. Far from painting gays with a brush, I don't even call them gay.
      I learned very young not to pay much attention to what people thought of me. The people who ran a state institution where I lived when I was seven told the employees I was a homosexual. I didn't even know what it was! But they thought they were onto something, and they were very solemn about it.

    10. from Todos Santos : Thank all of you for your comments. But no, it was the other guys who expressed disappointment, over and over again. I was amazed.

      I do not classify people as to their sexuality, except as male and female. Far from painting gays with a brush, I do not even call them gay.

      I learned very young not to pay much attention to what people thought of me. The people who ran a state institution where I lived when I was eight told the employees I was a homosexual. I didn't even know what it was! But they thought they were onto something, and they were very solemn about it.

  9. Aaaaaand now I want Panera. Dang it.

    Also your daughter is ADORABLE.

    Also this is definitely a great place for conversation and it's impressively positive and kind-spirited, so CONGRATULATIONS for fostering such a great discussion on the internet of all places!

  10. So I've been "chewing' on what I think about your life for a couple of weeks and these are the three general paths of thoughts I land upon nearly every time: (1) why does it even matter what I think about a (very funny, charming) blogger's life or how he lives it – it's not my life to judge! (2) I totally understand EVERYTHING you've said about being able to love your wife physically and emotionally yet still be attracted primarily to your own gender, it's just not something I'd ever thought about before, but after thinking about it – it makes sense, I mean I'm in a heterosexual marriage, but if you asked me to describe what I love about my husband and why I think we're perfect for each other I'm not sure that our genders would be a part of the discussion – it's about so much more than our genitalia and our hormones. And finally, (3): I always find myself wondering where your life would be without your religious influence, should you 'blame' the mormon church for your situation.
    So then what normally happens next is I give myself a little pat on the back for being SO accepting of each part of your life except for your religion, and THEN I think – well shit, is this what so many religious people think about any sort of queer life style? Who am I to toute all kinds of marriage equality, but judge a person for being religious (I was raised Presbyterian but presently identify as atheist), after all – what I think would be best is for everyone to live their lives unrestricted of everyone else's comfort zones.
    Anyway, what all this leads to is me saying a very heart felt "thank you." You've made me realize that as an historically accepting person I still have more acceptance to give. Overall, I think what matters most is that you have amazing amounts of love and support in your life which you very clearly recognize and that you're passing that on to your daughters and your community. Gay, straight, unicorn, narwhal, mormon, atheist, we can all contribute positively to society if every once in awhile we look beyond the paramaters we've set for ourselves and who we have traditionally accepted, and we all have a little (or a lot) more acceptance to give.

    1. I loved this reply and feel like this whole idea is so important to the discussion. I glad this blog provides a safe place to express thoughts kindly to each other. It is so needed. Even if we disagree.

    2. Sarah S. I took a lot of the same path you did with this blog starting with anger though, I don't know if you started there. But yeah at the end I realized some of the same things.
      I also realized that I'm *afraid* of accepting the religious crowd only because of the repercussions that could have on equality and then I feel like a horrible person for feeling that way.
      So yeah, I still have a ways to go, but hopefully as the religious crowd becomes more accepted so to will the LGBT crowd and then equality for ALL πŸ™‚

    3. Sarah, I've encountered a lot of that as I've discussed the initial Unicorn Club blog post with my supposed "tolerant" friends, the ones who are normally so accepting of a wide range of lifestyles, the ones who stick up for minority groups that don't have as strong a voice as they need… and I've been honestly disappointed with myself and my friends and how negative we are when it comes to religion and religious groups. It does take a lot of growing up and learning to let go of those biases and accept other people's stories positively and without judgment. I'm getting there :).

  11. Josh and Lolly,
    I have been debating posting since june 9th when a family member of mine posted your blog with some ignorant claims to why you are so deluding yourself into…..well first let me say I am the 28 yr old daughter of a gay mormon man who has been married to my mom for 29+ yrs. My dad is not open yet, and is the greatest man I know ( apart from my husband). My mom is one of the strongest and most unselfish people I know and our family is still in the stages of "who should we tell and when" and even some of my sibling dont know yet. I live near you and Lolly. So back to my story, I feel so drawn toward speaking my side of this as a grown daughter who KNOWS my dad and his struggle and his spirit and his acceptance and his compassion and some hoplessness and despair coupled by love and immense humility. I appreciate what you have done here. I cried joyful tears for the freedom it has brought me to read your wonderfully insightful posts. My dad did not grow up LDS and has struggled with this his whole life. He and my mom have been through more then anyone I know and they, now more then ever, love and respect and LOVE and have such a deep and rewarding relationship it gives me hope for all marriage (hetero or homosexual as I support gay marriage under civil law). I am also LDS and Josh I would love to actually get into contact with you and your wife. My dad has told me he thinks it would be great for me since you guys are the only other people I know with this special circumstance, all though, my mom and dad know many many more, anonymity has kept them from my view. I understand if it is not possible at this time, and I see how your "gaymous" now and are super busy. Know you are amazing,and you are helping so many including me and my dad and mom who follow this post with amazment and a serious spiritual burning!

    1. @Anonymous June 30, 2012 2:00 AM
      I am a 33 year old LDS wife of the most amazing man whom I deeply love. We were married 13 years ago in an LDS temple and have four children together. Three years ago, I found out he struggles with SSA. I year ago I found out that he has been repeatedly unfaithful. Six months ago I found out that he is in love with a man. Two weeks ago I remembered that sometimes I am a bad mom.

      What's a girl to do? I am working on being a better mom everyday. I am so grateful to have my free agency. I am free to act for myself and accountable for those actions. I am grateful for the Atonement in which I am able to be forgiven of my sins. Today I am made whole and will try again to be a better mother to my four precious children.

      One might claim that I am living in misery and even perhaps obsessed with my husband to still be in this relationship. This is not the case at all. I am happy! I live in a free country, I have food to eat and shelter overhead, I have my health and a beautiful family, I have a moral compass to do good, I have confidence and respect in myself, I have a hard-working, tender-hearted husband. I have HOPE for him. I am beyond blessed. I have a Savior who paid the price for my sins, my cup runneth over!

      And YES, I pray for my husband everyday that he too will come to know the joys of following in God's ways. His childhood was different than mine, his life's experiences more challenging, he does not feel whole. If one is to look at Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs pyramid, my husband is in the love/belonging level. He is looking for sexual intimacy and love and acceptance from a male role model right now. It is my prayer that he can see past that need. I look forward to the day when he can put his needs aside and reach self-actualization, when he can be an honorable man to take care of his wife and children as he covenanted with God that he would do.

      But should he not and decide to leave our family to fulfill this need, it is his God given free agency. I must worry about my own salvation, my own mistakes, my own shortcomings. And I must pray that God grants him mercy, as I need God's mercy in my life too.

      Remember: Charity never Faileth

  12. I love your blog. I'm subscribed via email and always enjoy reading it.

    I haven't read a lot of the comments, so it's very likely someone else could have explained it this way, but in case not, I thought I'd add some of my amazing thoughts (they aren't really that amazing).

    I don't know what it's like to be gay, but I do know it's normal for heterosexuals to be attracted to people they are not married to. Some of those people choose to have affairs and follow those desires. Or…some people choose to stick with their spouse and their love evolves into something different, and deeper, more real, than it was before.

    This is where I see Josh & Lolly (I feel so odd "judging" you guys since it's your lives…). I see that their relationship seems based on a relationship beyond the initial hormonal attraction and is based on a true love, respect, and affection for each other. I really believe that marriages that make it long-term end up in the same situation. But they've seemed to have started out that way.

    Gay men can still love women, even if they aren't physically attracted to them the same why a heterosexual man would be. You can love people in a non-sexual way, and very deeply. Again, I believe this happens in many long-term relationships. The affection changes to something much deeper.

    I also think it makes sense that he doesn't fantasize about men. He's married to his wife and controls his thoughts. I think it would be similar to a man being married and finding another woman attractive but deciding to never fantasize about anyone else. He's loyal to his wife, even in his mind.

    Who your body responds physically to is not really up to you. But who you allow your mind and heart to respond to physically, is. And, I think Josh does an amazing job at being loyal to his wife & family. I know it's not for everyone who is gay, but it really gives the rest of us a view of what actually makes a marriage work and be happy. It's not based off of following whoever you're attracted to (this doesn't work for any relationship). It's based off of something much deeper.

    Maybe I'm way off, but that's how I view it. Josh and Lolly are focused on what everyone should be, if they want to make their marriage work. Each other, and solely each other & their children & their beliefs.

  13. Maybe someone already mentioned this…but I think it would be extremely helpful if you numbered the comments. So many people comment anonymously, and then when people try to respond to a certain comment, they don't have an exact name to reference to. It would help to be able to reply to a specific numbered comment. I'm glad you're continuing the discussion though. (I haven't made any comments at all yet, but I like reading other people comments.) Good luck!

  14. Josh, I'm still trying to figure out why you thought it was necessary to claim gay status……especially when you love your wife, enjoy intimacy with your wife, don't think about other men when with your wife, and want to remain married and raise a family. If you have worked this out in your heart and mind, then why not just live life? Why put yourself in the position to explain this to your daughters, your family and your friends? I understand the desire to help people, but each person has to figure it out for themselves…..and eventually they do… way or the other. Some personal revelations are best kept personal.

    1. I suspect for Josh he felt that by revealing it that he could now be his, as he puts it, his 'authentic' self.
      He seems a nice fellow.
      To me though, having read through the comments on here the last few days, I note that people seem to fall into four camps:
      1. They are genuinely thrilled and relieved that there is a different alternative to 'acting out' one's gayness since they perceive it to be a sin. These seem to be kind, albeit extremely naive, people. The 'non-Mormon' or non-Catholic, etc. reality is something they haven't been exposed to or have rejected. Such is their worldview. They feel their anti-gay views can be compatible with people who don't agree if we all just respected each other. They often comment that people can do whatever they want, but for them, homosexuality is a sin. This naivete, while interesting, is not in line with the hard line the Mormon church takes on homosexuality nor does it help protect gay people against discrimination or abuse. "But I have many gay friends!" may also be said. There seems to be little if no knowledge of the history, up until now, of the profound abuse and discrimination gay people have faced and will continue to face.
      2. People who have quite had it with the so-called ''gay agenda' and are perhaps as naive but more angry about the whole thing. There are fewer of those people on here but they do pop up, saying such things as, (paraphrasing), they are happy to be sheltered, they don't have to believe what the world says, etc. This creates quite the 'us' vs. 'them' scenario. others may feel this way too but hide it better in comments. This also seems to bring out comments about biology and AIDS and etc. And it includes the idea that all sex outside of marriage is sin not just homosexuality so see we aren't picking on gay people.
      3. People who seem absolutely starved for attention and are quite thrilled that someone is now listening (well, reading) them. The cryptic comment like 'you'll have to figure out my e-mail address if you really want to hear from me'' is an example. I wouldn't go so far as some posters have on here that anyone is a pathological liar – rather, I'd stick with pleased with the attention and with finding a group of people (the #1s above)who will listen to what I would see as wacky theories. I can imagine that most people haven't ever listened so this forum is a great treat for some.
      4. People like, well, me. The smallest group on here it seems. People who don't feel that being gay is a sin and i can only of course speak for myself, who find the kind of mind bending that has to go on to maintain that homosexuality is sin is interesting and mindblowing but to me, ultimately disturbing.
      That's what I think anyway. I really wish that some gay-in-the-lifestyle folks would comment on here (I am straight, if it matters) but very few are and I get that. This blog and its comments would seem irrevelant and naive at best and destructive at worst to most gay in the lifestyle folks I imagine.

    2. @ Anonymous June 30, 2012 12:26 PM,

      Thank you for speaking up. I appreciate your efforts to keep it friendly. I hope you will stay with us. You might get some unfriendly responses. If so, please don't lose courage.

    3. I am "gay-in-the-lifestyle" as you put it πŸ™‚ that way makes me giggle BTW. I like to read on here and comment from time to time being anonymous but of course would never say who I am because
      1) I am not out to ALL of my extended family and whoa this would be a CRAZY way for them to find out if somehow they stumbled upon this, though I doubt they would, but I have to be protective.
      2) I have no interest in allowing the more closed minded and attention seeking folks to be able to contact me without my permission, and the internet is not very trustworthy πŸ™‚

      that being said as a not so straight and actually living happily a life with a person of the same gender as myself, I wish people would realize there is one additional struggle nobody ever mentions, and its the one I face daily. I can no more deny my faith than i can my sexuality. So I am living the life I was meant to live with the love of my life and we go to church every Sunday, yet we are ostracized by what was our faith community when we were just "best friends" because we are in love. CRAZY and not fair. But I tried to leave my faith and that felt just as wrong to me as dating a man….so basically I'm screwed.

    4. @ Anonymous June 30, 2012 12:26 PM,

      You wrote "I really wish that some gay-in-the-lifestyle folks would comment on here."

      I'm not in any same-sex sexual relationship, and never have been, and can't speak for anyone who is. The best I can do is express my own feelings about the value of the parts of people's personalities that are sometimes called "gay" or "homosexual." My view goes far beyond not treating homosexuality as a disease or defect. I see it as something to cherish in individuals, and as a potential healing force in society.

    5. @ Anonymous June 30, 2012 12:26 PM,

      I share your concerns, and maybe the concerns of some others, about a possible lack of awareness of the nightmarish practices and consequences of the healing/change industry, and of people depreciating their homosexuality. Even Josh, although he doesn't show any signs of being ashamed of it, doesn't seem to see any value in it.

      I'm not sure what to do about that. I think it would do more harm than good to spoil the party here, by dwelling on the abuses of the healing/change industry, but I don't see any harm in affirming the value of homosexuality. I would like to see more of that.

    6. @ Anonymous June 30, 2012 12:26 PM,

      Another thing that might not be getting enough attention here, is that a same-sex relationship that includes sexual intimacy can be just as moral and healthy as Josh and Lolly's. I see them skirting around that, too. I'm not sure what to do about that either. I see so much good happening here, that will benefit everyone, including gays, and I think it would do a lot more harm than good to everyone, including gays, to get into those debates here.

    7. @Jim Habegger, I hear what you are saying. I do think that people should know the history not only of the healing/change industry but also of the profound discrimination and abuse that gay people encounter. I live in Vancouver, Canada, which is quite open, certainly compared to middle America. But just a decade ago a man was beaten to death for being gay and a couple of years ago a man was left with permanent brain damage after he was struck in the head by a straight man, even though they were in a gay bar. What leads to that kind of violence? Not all people are violent of course, some are very loving and kind. But when a society or part of a society, says outright or implies that homosexuality is wrong, then there becomes rooom for this kind of violence. An example of this in a different context is all of the violent rhetoric in the States – for example, Sarah Palin having on her FB site targets in crosshairs. She wasn't alone in this type of thinking/talking, etc, not by a long shot. And eventually, a mad man shot and killed people and permanenty wounded Gabrielle Gifford. Was he crazy? Sure. But the violent rhetoric helped to focus, as it were, his insanity.
      And the same kind of thing happens with gay issues – 'being gay is a sin but we love you' can and does quickly lead to the type of violence I described earlier. AND NO I AM NOT SAYING THAT ANYONE ON THIS FORUM IS VIOLENT OR THAT JOSH CONDONES VIOLENCE. That is reductionist and not what I'm saying in any way.
      I have to say honestly that I'm not so concerned about benefitting people who have gone along with the Mormon view of homosexuality and tolerated the discrimination in the name of the Mormon god. You are right, Jim, that no one on here will hear this. But at the same time, I don't know that that should be kept silent so as not to upset people. You are right, it's like I'm trying to shake people awake (you didn't say that directly) and it may not be working. But my hope, my honest hope, is that if one person, just one person can kinda have an ah ha moment, whether they ever comment on here or not, it will be worth it. The history of the Mormon (yes and other religions but this is primarily a Mormon blog) Church's stance and actions against homosexuals is not pretty and I don't think that that should be covered up.
      But, come to think of it, you might be right in the sense that even allowing people to admit they are gay, is a huge sea change for Mormons and I need to keep reminding myself of that. And maybe that will be enough to finally stop the abuse – and again, I'm nost just speaking of the healing/change industry – that has and is occurring. I think I just have to get over how stunned I am by the worldview and naivete of some (er most) of the commenters but that is not something I should put on anyone else.
      As I said, I find the naivete on here shocking and disturbing

    8. Anon 5:06 PM,

      I agree that depreciation of homosexuality helps perpetuates the violence. I have my own ideas of what to do about that. I don't want to discourage anyone from saying anything they feel impelled to say. In fact, I encourage you to continue, always with the utmost attention to keeping it friendly, as I see you doing.

    9. At anon 12:26… It sounds to me you separate yourself from the rest of thr crowd (#4) thinking yoar way is the only and right way. The post seem to condone everyone else views that don't align with your own view I don't agree with the way you posted. I mean read over your post and tell me you are judgement free.

    10. I can look you straight in the eyes, Anon 12.26, and tell you that homosexual relationship is sin and is wrong, and you can look me straight in the eyes and say that homosexual relationship is a virtue and is right, and we can still be friends.

      And we can together, as friends, unreservedly condone another who is violent and beats up another person because he or she is different, including of course (and especially) those who are in homosexual relationship.

      Because, ultimately, my enemy is not someone who disagrees with me on the issue of sin, but my enemy is someone who tries to impose his or her own will or value system on me BY BRUTE FORCE. Today, the man beats up a homosexual, tomorrow it will beat up a Mormon.

    11. Fg Mormon… That last statement has happened already…. and do you remember what happened to some of the temples and churches down in Cali after the whole prop 8 thing happened? Vandalism!!! Not to mention all the harassment of lds people during that time . It was amazing to see how intolerant the gay movement supporters were after that election.

    12. oh no, it wasn't meant to be judgement free, not at all. I definitely judge the Mormon Church for teaching its followers what they do about homosexuality to such an extent that it has led to such things as supporting Prop 8. And I bet gay movement supporters were angry at Mormons – you were supporting a prop. that would deny them equal rights. I'd be mad too. If I were Mormon and someone was supporting a Prop. to ban Mormonism, I would not be happy with anyone who supported that ban.
      I haven't heard of 'Mormon bashing' (as in Mormons being killed because they are Mormon, or being denied jobs, or being spit upon, etc etc,) but there does seem to be gay bashing. Yes,I know about the persecution in history of Mormons and Mormons having to head to Utah, etc. But it doesn't compare to the daily discrimination and homophobia that gay people face. it's more, today the man beats up a homosexual, tomorrow the man shoots to death two lesbian teenagers in Texas, etc. Historically, Mormons have oppressed homosexuals. It's super nice that that is slowly changing but the fact remains, it is still there. They themselves may not be the ones to do the actual physical bashing but supporting Prop 8 is bashing. as is claiming homosexuality is a sin, that's bashing too.
      Sugar coating it and playing nice does not change the facts, it just doesn't. I think I get what you are tryiing to do here Jim but I, personally, can't hide what I really think in order to hopefully coax folks along. Even the idea of comparing the long and brutalized history of homosexuality to Mormons being upset that gay people weren't happy with them after Mormons fought hard for a Prop. that would not allow gay people to be equal is enough to show me quite quickly what is right under the surface.
      So, in conclusion, I am judgmental and will continue to be so until I actually see the Mormon cnurch changing its stan

    13. Anon– how can you be taken at face value if you are intolerant yourself. Wanting people to accept your views also requires you to be accepting of others. It doesn't only work one day. As much as you have your opinions about the mormon church and should be respected for your opinion don't you think Gould should live by your own words? Just saying…

    14. Anon 12:26, you are free and welcome to be judgmental on the stance of the Mormon church on gay marriages, and if you followed my comments here on this blog, you could realize that I am also judgmental on the stance of the Mormon church on gay marriages. There is nothing wrong to be judgmental.

      However, there is everything wrong with picking and choosing whose violence is more justified and whose is less. Violence is not justified. Period.

      Claiming that homosexuality is sin is not violence, just as it is not violence claiming that homosexuality is virtue. It is the first amendment issue. If you don't get that, you are not worthy to be an American citizen.

    15. "Claiming that homosexuality is sin is not violence, just as it is not violence claiming that homosexuality is virtue. It is the first amendment issue. If you don't get that, you are not worthy to be an American citizen."

      THANK YOU!

      And to the original anon… Continue being judgemental. We all have to judge to some extent. If you choose to have hard feelings against a church that is discriminating against certain acts because God has stated they are sinful, then so be it. Like I've said before on here, there are lots of options and people can shop around for a God that fits their views, and any number of churches are willing to accept anyone and everyone in order to avoid offending someone. Although, in my belief, they then offend God. If you read the scriptures, there are plenty of actions that were accepted by society that were not accepted by God, thus showing that God, while offering everyone unconditional love, has never offered unconditional acceptance.

      I think some of the conversations on here are getting into dangerous territories. We really don't need to be discussing what is wrong with the Church's stance, or what the church needs to change for society to be more accepting of our beliefs. The church isn't really concerned with what society in general deems acceptable. What we really need to accomplish (and in a lot of cases and with a lot of people this will be impossible, which is why this conversation is so helpful) is to say "This is the church's/my stance on this side. This is your stance on this other side. This is where we are. And we disagree immensely. And we can be civil and loving about it." It benefits NO ONE to say "I'd be willing to accept the church if they changed their stance" or to say "I'm a faithful member that doesn't accept the church's stance." All these things are doing is driving a wedge that will not be removed and will canker bigger and bigger. The one is offering conditional acceptance based on compromising beliefs, and the other is compromising one's own beliefs to gain acceptance.

      The church believes and teaches principles taught by God. I'm positive that if this wasn't a principle from God, the church would easily yield and say homosexuality is acceptable. This issue is heated, politicized, and has caused tremendous pain to many great and wonderful people. The easiest course would be to change the stance and remove the ammunition for persecution on both sides. However, being the easiest course doesn't mean it's the right one.

      All this being said, I'm extremely grateful for this blog and the place to talk openly. I am fully guilty of not loving fully as I should, and being sheltered on this particular issue. It's been such a closed off subject, and painful subject, and the only exposure I've had to it have been heated arguments from opinionated, sheltered people on both sides. My stance has not changed, but my feelings have, if that makes any sense at all. So thank you for that, Josh and Lolly!

    16. Actually, I'm not an American citizen and at times like this, I am relieved by that. Also, there is such a thing as hate speech, which is what publicly (from the pulpit, in written word on paper or on the internet, etc) calling homosexuality a sin, is.
      Violence stems from beliefs, which is the point I have repeatedly tried to make in many different ways.
      When I read "Today, the man beats up a homosexual, tomorrow it will beat up a Mormon.' that should have, once and for all, stopped me cold .To have someone even suggest that the abuse and discrimination against gay people could in any way be considered equal to what has happened to Mormons when, in fact, the Mormon church has in many ways been part of the abuse and discrimination against gay people.
      but once again, I allowed myself to get dragged in.
      To allow myself to try to explain that I cannot and will not be tolerant of intolerance, which is what is being asked of me or suggested here.
      The 'let's just agree to disagree' that keeps popping up is akin to saying 'We know you don't agree but we have the right as American citizens to continue our hate speech because we don't see it as hate speech." It's absurd.
      Also and finally, I never asked to be respected for my opinions on the Mormon church. Gosh, no. I'd expect it to be upsetting to Mormons. I mean ouch.

    17. Anon @10:55 AM, thank you for your insightful comment.

      I slightly disagree with you when you say that the conversation is getting into dangerous territories when we discuss what is wrong with a particular Church's stance. There is nothing dangerous about it, except for the feeble in faith.

      This forum is open for Mormons and non-Mormons alike, so one cannot and should not expect that the discussion is Mormon-nice and Mormon-polite. And the people around us have legitimate questions about our stance, so we need to have enough courage, enough knowledge and enough respect towards others to properly address them.

    18. Anon 12:26 (who is also Anon 11:08), I'm glad that you are not an American citizen. I am also unhappy that there are too many people like you who are.

      By writing my comments, I do not think and haven't thought about the violence brought upon Mormons in the course of history. It is not part of my experience, and for this discourse is irrelevant. It is you who bring it to everyone's attention while undermining it and belittling it, and that's okay, I don't care.

      My stance on violence is not historical, it is universal. Besides being a faithful Mormon, I'm also a staunch libertarian, and I strongly believe in non-agression principle. I believe that hate speech is not violence. I admire Americans for internalizing that concept, although they are even themselves in the process of loosing it, which is terrifying.

      I live in a country where hate speech legislation went berserk, which effectively caused freedom of speech to become endangered species.

      Yes, violence stems from beliefs. But beliefs cannot be regulated out of existence with the hate speech legislation. They are instead concealed or morphed into something which are even more sinister.

      If there is a freedom of (hate) speech, it is much simpler to determine who is your friend and who is your enemy. You simply listen and judge. But wherever hate speech is a crime, you can be sure that those haters somewhere, someplace talk it out in private, but in public, they are the nicest, cleanest orators you can find.

    19. Anon 10:55 AM, you wrote "My stance has not changed, but my feelings have, if that makes any sense at all."

      It makes very good sense to me, and pleases me very much.

    20. Anon 9:20, I think you do have some sense of what I'm trying to do, but it might not be entirely clear. It isn't entirely clear, even to me.

      I don't see any problem with being frank about the abuse and its consequences, and about the role of depreciating homosexuality in its perpetuation. I was just afraid you might get drawn into an exchange of personal insults and recriminations. I haven't seen you do that yet. This is just a helpful reminder.

  15. Reading through this conversation has been so insightful and amazing for me!! I am a straight LDS woman. Before this month I have listened to the current events and issues surrounding homosexuality and felt my lack of understanding!! I have never been hateful toward or knowingly excluded any one for being gay. I have know people who came out, but only from a distance. Yet, I have ached to understand this issue!!
    Thank you Lolly, Josh and every one of you who have commented, especially the regulars (ie Fresh Hell, FG Mornom, Jim Habegger, Kaitlin Bergfield, Inkstain, Lisa and many others) For sharing your thoughts and fears and hearts!
    I have seen ugliness and misunderstanding from all sides-blanket statements, over generalizations and frustration-but most of all LOVE and effort and desire to understand!!!
    Thank you all for giving me a place to observe and understand a little bit better the humanity of us all!!!
    My faith has been strengthened! I feel less afraid and less threatened and more capable of showing love to my fellow human beings whatever their choices!!!

  16. Best move ever. keeping the conversation here feels right. In so many ways. ….Not that you ever in any way needed my validation, but apparently I'm very interested in giving it.

  17. I find so much of the discussion on HOW can one be sexually excited… bla bla bla to be debatable. I am attracted to the opposite sex. But after being married for 30+ years and being a full-time-grandma (mom) to two grandkids for the past 8 1/2 years, which is extremely time consuming and hasn't allowed me to focus on my husband they way I normally would, for that or any other reason, I don't feel the "chemistry" and am not sure that it was important to me… ever. I AM in love with my husband, the person that he is, and the father of my children (and grandpa to my grandkids) and have never fantasized about someone else while we have sex – I don't believe in that. I do understand how the human body responds to physiological, sexual stimulation. Put that together with love, and knowledge that I need to connect intimately to stay in a good and healthy relationship, I trust and feel I understand what Josh is taking about when he answers questions about his connection with his wife.

    I love this blog, so happy to read it here, will have my daughter (my beautiful "rainbow" girl) read the posts when I think she will have interest. AND your daughter is ADORABLE! Even though I have the FOUR cutest grandkids in the world, her "Geeeeeee" is just the CUTEST thing ever!

  18. Hey, guys, why don't we solve this sin issue once for all by saying that the definition of sin is a matter of competition.

    So, let's the Mormon church define the sin whatever she wants to define it, and then let's other churches with a different definition outcompete her out of existence.

    But let's not allow the sheer monopoly of force (ie government) to cheer for one side or the other with it's triggered gun pointed at our heads.

    1. It seems to me that an issue whether homosexual activity is a sin or not is very important to many on the both side of the debate. And both sides seems to be trying not just to influence the debate not only by persuasion but also by force. And they do that by influencing what is written in governmental policies and procedures. I just want to stress that when boiled down to the core, government is nothing else but the monopoly of power, so winning a discussion by obtaining help from the government is actually compensating the power of persuasion with the power of the barrel of a gun.

    2. That's actually my point. Marriage, gay or straight, should never be defined by the state. It should be defined by churches and civil (meaning private) entities & organizations, and the business of the state is only to protect what is agreed between consenting adults.

      To put it more clearly, the state should just as vigorously defend a position of the Mormon church that same-sex marriage isn't valid as it should defend a position of Unitarian Universalist church that the same-sex marriage is valid.

    3. No. The state should not be promoting any religious agenda. My churches stance on marriage is outside civil law, as it should be.

      Civil rights are to protect everyone, regardless of their personal religious beliefs. Heterosexuals are allowed to civilly marry, so should homosexuals. And each religious community is now, and should forever be, free to take its own stand on any issue, including marriage.

    4. Heterosexuals should NOT be allowed to marry in a way that is today called "civil". Neither homosexuals.

      The state should NOT have any business with marriage.

      If two persons don't like to be married in a church, they should be able to form & organize a marrying society or whatever else in which they would then exchange marital vows as they define it.

      THEN the state protects that.

    5. I agree with you FG Mormon, but then we run into the problem of certain privileges being bestowed through marriage…it's really kind of a mess, and I don't think the government should have ever gotten themselves involved in rights and marriage in the first place, but because they have, we are in a hard spot. The question is how to bestow those privileges without involving marriage at all. Hence the need for civil contracts when pastors/churches/religions/personal believes don't think gays should be married. Otherwise you have to force those religions to marry people against their will so that those people can then have those same rights. IN either case, because rights are given via marriage, somone's rights are being taken away. Either the rights of marriage or the right to practice your religion.

      Right now, we need to find another way to detach those rights from marriage to allow both rights to be obtained. Or really, those rights should just be taken away from marriage entirely. Thus the need for civil unions to show that two people have agreed to care for each other so that they may obtain hospital rights, insurance rights and a host of other rights that typically comes with marriage.

    6. Civil marriage in no way forces religious institutions to participate in marriages they disapprove of.
      Civil unions are simply another exercise in separate-but-equal, something our country already has a shameful history of.
      Until the gov. gets out of the marriage business (read: never), gay marriage should be legal.

    7. fresh hell, texas… but what will happen if the government legalizes gay marriage? Will they force all churches to marry then regardless of religious freedoms? Do we just disregard the freedom of religion and to worship how one pleases based on governmental involvement? This is where it gets tricky. Each side of the issue has "freedoms" needing to be upheld. One side is no less valuable then the other in peoples eyes. Each side is correct in their own eyes. There is persecution on both sides of the issue. (regardless of what people think, especially with what I have read with some of the comments). Wouldn't it be great if God came down today and just told us exactly what the right way is? lol Just some food for thought…

    8. Civil marriages may not be enforced on religious institutions for now, but the stage is set.

      If I see a gay organization vigorously opposing government's involvement in the marriage business, I'll be wholeheartedly supporting them.

      And oh, yes, the government WILL get out of the marriage business sooner or later if you believe in the Second Coming of Christ.

    9. Anon, the gov does not force churches to marry anyone. I'm straight but as a non-Mormon, I cannot be married in the Mormon faith. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, different when homosexuals are allowed to participate I'm civil marriage.
      For example, in Massachusetts, religious institutions are not compelled to marry homosexuals, even though marriage is open to any two, consenting, non-related adults.
      The whole "churches will be forced to marry the gays!" is nothing but an unfair scare tactic. I hope that here, of all places, we can stick with the facts on gay rights.

    10. There have been some instances of religious people being forced to do certain things involving gay marriages. There was a great NPR article a little while back that addressed these issues. I wish I could find it. There was even an instance where a photographer was sued and lost because she refused to photograph a gay marriage. I personally would have no problem photographing a gay marriage, or in my case helping a woman give birth who is in a lesbian relationship, but people should be able to refuse this without fear of the government penalizing them.

      I do agree that we need to get government out of marriage period. I'm not sure heterosexual people would agree with that either. They would have to give up the automatic rights that come with marriage too:) I would support a gay movement doing that too.

    11. Let's put it a different spin on this. Why did government get into the marriage business in the first place? Historically, marriage hasn't been a governmental business until fairly recently. Marriage used to be an institution sanctioned by the church. If one didn't like it, he or she could have fled to a different ecclesiastical jurisdiction.

      The state actually took over when it grew into a (secular) religion of itself. These days people do not believe in God. They believe in Government. And this contemporary breed of idolatry is posed for a rude awakening.

    12. I would be interested in the historical aspects of the governments involvement in marriage. I do agree with you FG Mormon, but I also wonder about the government's duty to create order in society, which I see marriages doing. (Or is this not really a duty of government). Just some thoughts.

      Also while this isn't the NPR article I noted above(I wish I could find it…I posted it on fb somewhere:)), here's a talk given by a church leader on religious rights. Take it for what it's worth, but it does add to the debate. I know some people will just view this as church propaganda, or brainwashing, but I do think it adds to the debate.

    13. Rachel, as for true order in society, you must be familiar with the one about teaching correct principles and then letting them to govern themselves…

    14. FG Mormon, yes very aware:) And I'm also coming around to more of that line of thought too:) One thing that these debates spur are lots of changes on my part:)

    15. In Virginia V. Loving the Supreme Court declared there is a constitutional right to
      Marriage. The gov is not getting out of the civil marriage business.
      Rachel, commerce and religioun are subject to different laws. A public business must provide services to all (I.e. it's illegal to refuse service to, say, Mormons if you otherwise serve the public). Religions are protected from that.

    16. as for the govt. forcing churches to marry people, not so. I live in Canada where gay marriage is legal. No churches are forced to marry people. Also, the sky didn't fall in when gay marriage was made legal here but yeah, it might still.
      but again, as for legalities, no church is forced to marry anyone.

    17. Thank you for chiming in, Anon from Canada. It is, of course, the same here in states where gay marriage is legal. No religious organization is forced to bless or perform gay marriages. Or straight marriages, for that matter. For example, as a former Catholic, I am no longer allowed to be married in the Catholic Church.

      One of the most beautiful things about the U.S. constitution is that it provides the answer to the very question of "which religion should get its way" on any issue. And the answer is, none of them! Instead we have the Amendment XIV, Section 1.

      "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

      We don't decide things by polling religions (that would make us a theocracy) or even the population at large when it comes to the rights of individuals under the law. We instead provide "equal protection of the laws."

      Lastly, it may interest some of you to know that liberal religions want the state to stay out their business as well. There are two issues here; civil rights and religious rights. I don't know of any gay marriage activists who want to infringe on religious rights, although many conservative religions seem almost obsessed with the idea that they do. The fight for gay marriage is a fight for civil rights.

    18. Well put. And prop 8 was about civil rights, yes? if so, i'm not really understanding why any religion would be against it.

    19. To put it as simply as possible: for government to truly get out of the marriage business it would have to stop recognizing the spousal relationship as having special legal standing. This is because to recognize that relationship as having specific legal significances it would need a definition of β€œmarriage” that could be held up to legal scrutiny (to, for example, stop people from arbitrarily claiming whatever privileges might exist for married couples). Such a stand would have to exist whether the government issued the licenses or not. Once the law has to define β€œmarriage” then government is, by definition, in the β€œmarriage business.”

      To summarize the summary: the only way to truly get government out of the marriage business would be to reduce marriage to the same status of friendship, i.e., a social relationship utterly defined by private interactions and that lacks legal significance.

    20. AnonymousJuly 1, 2012 8:25 PM

      I am beginning to think that that is what we need to do though. Because marriage means different things to different people anyways, even between married people. I don't know how realistic that is, but that's my thoughts. As to reducing it to friendship status, well… I think for some it will be more of a friendship status, and for others it will mean more. For those who view it religiously, it is much more than friendship status, no matter what legal standing comes with it.

    21. huh, Rachel? Marriage would have no legal standing then. Are you wanting (and I honestly am asking) the government out of marriage so that gay people will never be able to marry? By that way of thinking, no one will be able to marry. This is not a theocracy so churches won't get to act as government and give legal standing to marriage. Although I will say that at times the govt. has behaved like it is a theocracy particularly in certain states.

    22. " the government out of marriage so that gay people will never be able to marry? " My intention was not to find some avenue to take away gays rights. In actuality, I am just trying to hash things out in my head. In a way to allow all parties the rights they feel they deserve.

      No, I want the government out of marriage so that gays can have the rights they want…ie those rights will not be bestowed through marriage. Then those who want to define marriage as something else may. And no, I don't think churches should be able to give legal status also…I don't feel like marriage should confer a legal status at all.

      Many people seem to feel as if the purpose of marriage is to confer rights on people. Other people feel it is a unit of society to form families in. Some feel it is just a way to say you are committed to someone.

      Keep in mind this is just me thinking of ways to work around people's ideas. Not necessarily trying to justify taking away another person's rights. I think a lot of this debate comes down to what we see the purpose of marriage being. Sorry if that doesn't make sense:) And I'm still wrapping my brain around this whole issue.

    23. Anon @8.25 PM, I don't believe that "the only way to truly get government out of the marriage business would be to reduce marriage to the same status of friendship, i.e., a social relationship utterly defined by private interactions and that lacks legal significance".

      First, I would turn the table and would say instead that the only way to truly get government out of the marriage business is to reduce it to it's proper role, and that is for enforcing private contracts. And that doesn't mean "reducing it to friendship".

      Second, I believe that that is the most effective way for a church, any church, including the Mormon church, to actually keep the prerogative of defining marriage as she sees fit. No, it is not the most effective, it is actually THE ONLY way.

      Why? Because, under current circumstances, there is no chance in the world that the Mormon church would ultimately not be forced by the government to marry gay couples in temple. We are still years if not decades away from that moment, but it will come. Rest assured.

    24. FG mormon… I can rest assured that the church will NOT change it's stance on marry gay couples in the temple. I don't agree with you at all on that. Everythign else I do

    25. Sticking to what could and couldn't be done legally, no,the government could not force churches to marry anyone. Fresh Hell points to the constitution on that. So no matter what one might feel, unless the Constitution is changed (didn't Bush try to change the constitution?) that won't happen even decades from now.
      I agree with Fresh Hell that certain religions seem almost obsessed with the idea that government is going to force churches to perform gay marriages. And further agreeing that no gay rights activists are demanding the right to be married in the church. In fact, since so many gay people have been forced to leave certain conservative religions because they were not only not welcomed but told to leave if they chose to live the gay lifestyle, the church is the last place that they would ever want to be.
      Again, as Jim says, this is about civil marriage rights, not the rights to marry in a church, no matter how much one may feel it is not. As such, it is completely irrelevant whether or not one thinks being in the gay lifestyle is a sin, this is about civil marriage rights. If you believe that the U.S. Constitution will be changed to somehow force churches to marry gay people, then that would make some sense.
      The idea of getting government out of the rights of citizens is quite common amongst certain conservative religions who may not understand that in the U.S. church and state are separate and again, barring a change to the US Constitution will remain that way. Churches can and do decide who can marry in their church but don't get to have that right over everyone in the country.

    26. "Many people seem to feel as if the purpose of marriage is to confer rights on people."

      That's what civil marriage is; a set of clearly defined rights and responsibilities. It cannot mean different things to different people because the government clearly states what it is (& what it is not.)

      People can also have a religious marriage. Couples who do not wish to participate in the civil aspects of marriage can chose to have a purely religious marriage ceremony.

      It's already a clear cut, and elegant, solution.

      The idea that the government is going to overturn our country's entire cannon of law regarding religious rights because gay people can participate in a civil ceremony might be good for church attendance and fundraising but it's not based in anything factual.

    27. Fresh Hell.. and others… I think it is entirely possible for the government to force a religion to marry people against the churchs will. As soon as a whole bunch of people sue the churches to marry them you will have a rouge judge grant it. It's only a matter of time before the liberities of worship will be masked by "civil rights"… If you don't think that will happen eventually you are crazy. The government has already become so engrained with everything else it would not surprise me one bit.

    28. Anon 10:58 AM, you took the words right out of my mouth. πŸ™‚

      The process is going to be very slow and it would probably take decades, but we'll get there eventually. πŸ™‚

    29. The persecution complex is extremely common in cults. So common that I'm genuinely shocked that it took this long to show up on the comments here although certainly the idea that 'we are being persecuted as much as gay people are and we don't get as much attention for it and it's not fair!" started turning up earlier.

    30. I strongly disagree that the gov is going to be forcing religious institutions to perform marriages of non-members.
      In any case, fears of what might happen in the future is not a valid reason to deny a class of people their civil rights.

    31. Anon1:18 I will agree with you somewhat on what you said. If you look up in the dictionary cults are described as a group of people bounded together by a similar focus, which I assume includes the gay movement along with even the simple teenage chat groups.

      Persecution is real, although is can preceived as different. What I find persecutive may not be someone's else definition of what is.

      I think alot of people are persecuted as much as the gay community, not just the mormon church. In fact now a days it is being gay is more widely accepted then it is to be lets say a, "polygamist", or a "catholic" or even a "Mormon". Maybe its just me because I live in a extremely liberal state where being gay is no big deal. I know so many outed gay people its not funny, and most people do not blink an eye anymore about it, including myself.

    32. No. Catholic and Mormon teens are not three times more likely to commit suicide, as gay and lesbian teens are compared to their straight peers. Parents of Christian kids do not send their children out in the U.S. with a fear of their child being the victim of a hate crime. No one is running for president of a platform of promising to enshrine discrimination of Catholics in the constitution.
      Part of things getting better is being honest about the scope of the problem. No one should be persecuted. But the depth and breadth of what groups endure is different.

  19. I have not read all the comments so this may be a repeat, but frankly, I don't see why so many are having a hard time understanding how Josh can be turned on by Lolly. Our bodies are designed to respond to physical stimuli. If someone is touching you in all the right places, your body is going to respond regardless of the gender or sexual orientation of the person touching you. That's just basic human physiology. Add to that the elements of trust and genuine affection and it becomes easy to understand how Josh is aroused by Lolly and visa versa.

    1. Jim πŸ™‚
      And I guess I would like to add that beyond this explanation, it is awfully presumptuous and probably disrespectful towards both Josh and Lolly to expect them to go into any more detail than has already been given. Just because they opened this conversation publicly does not mean that we have any right to forget tact and common courtesy and ask them to display the nitty-gritty details of their sex life on the internet.

    2. I just had to delete three comments for the same basic reasons outlined at the bottom of this post (though with highly different intentions in one case):

      To the first anonymous who posted two consecutive comments: I actually really loved your posts and I totally see the absolute integrity of your intentions. I think what you were adding to the discussion is extremely valuable, but as demonstrated by the follow up comment which was vile and inappropriate, I cannot open the door to explicit sexual discussion here. This blog is family friendly and I choose not to allow material that would warrant an "are you 18" gateway, even with intentions that are totally benign. But I'd be interested in hearing your ideas about how to have discussions like the one you were starting elsewhere. Email me at joshua dot weed at gmail dot com. (Seriously, thank you for your frankness. It was really, really good. We just need to find a new place for it, and I really would like to hear from you.)

      As for the third anonymous, please read the comments of the last few posts to get a feel for the type of conversation we're trying to have here before giving it another go. We'd all greatly appreciate it. I certainly want to encourage you to add your voice and story to the discussion in productive ways, though. Your perspective is important.

      In sum: many viewpoints? Allowed. Diverging opinions? Allowed. Productive criticism? Allowed. Sexually explicit material? Not allowed.

      Thanks guys.

    3. I think the root problem with the understanding is that we are all conditioned our whole lives by society through media, entertainment, people, friends, etc etc, that sexual "attraction" equates sexual "arousal". (at least in America & other modernized cultures)

      And perhaps we are conditioned to accept that sexual "attraction" puts everyone on the direct path to *their* sexual "satisfaction". (???) I don't know…?

      But, I do know that our culture and environment does put far far far too much emphasis on the role of sex in successful relationships and as an essential source of personal happiness in life.

      It's hard for so many to accept Josh & Lolly's existence because we, in general, naturally put people into labelled boxes.

      According to our society: Josh is gay, therefore he goes into the "gay box".
      That means he is only attracted to men, can only be with another man to achieve true happiness in life, can only be aroused by another man, and can only achieve true sexual satisfaction with another man. And he has to stay inside the gay box for the rest of his life because it's what we/society currently understands and accepts as the absolute. And because he chose to marry a woman he will not get in the gay box and stay in the gay box, so now we have to put him in a different box that makes sense to us, the he-is-living-a-lie box (which means we should feel angry at him and/or sorry for him).

      At least that's how I'm seeing it.

    4. Josh, I wasn't checking in often enough to see what those deleted comments were, but whatever they were, I'm glad you removed them. I really wish everyone could remember their humanity and their own threshold for personal vulnerability and realize that some things ARE JUST NOT OK TO TALK ABOUT ON THE INTERNET! Seriously, people, let Josh protect his wife's dignity and privacy and don't expect him to sacrifice her on the altar of the public's curiosity.

      Josh and Lolly, much love and respect to both of you!

      Lisa, very astute! Those with clear eyes are able to see beyond boxes.

    5. Sue, I believe it is more than "just" about Josh's and Lolly's humanity, dignity & privacy.

      It is about the integrity of the discourse that is developing here. It is about learning how to discuss a delicate subject without being graphic. And to have a discussion like that, one needs to make an effort. So, it is also about making an effort in a discourse.

      Strangely enough, Josh doesn't rule out a possibility that a graphic discussion is developed elsewhere. He has a proven record of allowing himself to be comfortably crushed into the deepest alleys of vulnerability. I cannot help but to continue to be at awe.

    6. You make a wonderful point that it takes a great deal of careful thought to talk about sensitive subjects without being crass or offensive, but still give an honest and complete answer. That's one of the things I appreciate about Josh- he takes his time and articulates well. He doesn't dodge hard questions, but he is very clear about what his boundaries are.

  20. I think having a forum is tough.

    The best one I know has many volunteer moderators and good community standards that don't allow swearing. Nor is flaming, debating, name calling allowed… and it's a lot of work (I'm a mod there)

    Those posts that do rude things get pulled and the members contacted. If the behavior continues, the member is banned.

    I've gone to other sites and been shocked how rude people are too each other if there aren't certain standards that are enforced.

    You seem like the kind of person who would not want others name calling and being rude to each other, thus you'd need a lot of help on a forum.

  21. Josh, you saved yourself so many countless headaches and *headdesks* by just keeping it the same!

    You have chosen… wisely. πŸ˜€

    And the ADD-ness of your posts adds so much to the fun:

    You: Hey guys, this is what I decided about the blog! Llook at this adorable video of my daughter! It's so cute!!! Let's talk about what I fantasize about during sex with Lolly!…

    LOL!!! ;D

  22. re: comment on fantasizing during sex. DUH. Not everyone fantasizes during sex. It's not a requirement. Being in the moment is more real. Your whole situation makes sense to me.

    I am impressed that you have made such a statement. I assume you are getting flack from so many sides.

    I am not a person who believes in any system of faith, but I do believe that a person can be attracted to a same sex, but be in a very positive and healthy relationship with opposite sex. Love and attraction is not always definable to a single definition.

    Keep the conversation going.

  23. This is kind of at the bottom of the comments here, but I'm hoping enough people see this:) I feel like I have gained a lot from these comments, and I understand a little bit more about those who are gay and what they are going through. I appreciate the difficulties and struggles that many have to go through much better now. I do have a few questions, though. I have seen comments from some who are gay that concern me because they seem to have no desire to set bounds on sexual appetites at all. That whatever you feel sexually should be your identity and if it's not, than they are not being "true" to themselves somehow.

    In the LDS church, we are taught that there should be bounds or parameters set on sexual desires. While I am beginning to understand more and more how complex being gay must be, I am concerned that those parameters are being set aside, and I think this will have consequences on society.

    I feel that there are some sexual appetites that can and should be controlled. Sometimes it seems that being true to oneself becomes more important than setting boundaries on sexual appetites…

    Here's my question…should there be boundaries and where are they set? Should someone be allowed to follow their sexual appetites where ever they want? If someone desires younger women versus older women…is it morally okay to divorce their wife on that alone? If someone desires children, are they forever doomed to not being fulfilled(because I think we would all agree that kids should not be in this kind of situation)?

    This particular thought came after reading which made me sick.

    So how far does this self identity with sexuality go? Where do you draw the line between what is appropriate and should be identified with and what should be bound or given parameters.

    I am not afraid of someone having alternative sexuality, but more concerned of sexual appetites becoming unbound, thus leading to a host of other problems.

    1. I personally believe that a yardstick by which anyone's opinion is to be measured is whether a certain action is geared toward building & developing a lifetime relationship rather than a temporary, casual one.

      If one is in favor of a temporary, casual relationship with a member of either the opposite sex or the same sex, I don't find such a person a part of the debate, because we are here trying to address an issue of people who are yearning to become better selves, no matter on which side of the sexual attraction they are in.

    2. I think that's where I'm starting to draw the line too….if their life style choices are based on wanting to become a better person. I figure if people are working towards that goal, rather than complete self-indulgence, then all will be worked out in the end. I don't envy the church leaders today, though, that have to make doctrinal decisions on this. Not a job I would go for:) I like being able to have my own speculations without incurring the wrath of everyone:)

    3. I have also been concerned when I have been seeing posts saying "my boyfriends wife has no clue what is going on with me and my lover" WTH? lol. I know this can be an open forum for anonymous people but when I read that a guy is cheating on his wife in general it makes me mad especially when it is self admitted as not destructive. Ok all you people out there, Cheating even when you think the man/women you are cheating with is not following his/her sexual heart is inappropriate. …. anyways just had to get that out because it bothered me to see some people saying stuff like that on some of Josh's posts (I think it was on his original, sent out this morning).

    4. Rachel, I love what I see you doing in this post.

      "I understand a little bit more about those who are gay and what they are going through. I appreciate the difficulties and struggles that many have to go through much better now."

      "I am beginning to understand more and more how complex being gay must be …"

      Tears of joy again.

      These questions about boundaries might be a red herring across your path, in discussions with gays, and might lead to frustration. I hope you won't be discouraged.

      I share your concerns about the implications of some of the ideology we hear from gays.

      I might be able to help you with this, but it will take some time for me to sort out my thoughts and feelings.

      Meanwhile, some random thoughts, possibly unconnected, which may or may not be relevant:

      – I do see an assault on the moral and spiritual foundations of society, in gay politics, but no more there than everywhere else, including religious politics.

      – Sometime when I'm under duress, I say things I don't really think, and/or things that poorly represent what I think. Don't you? I don't think gays are any different. The only difference is that they're under more duress, more of the time.

      – Haven't you seen a lot of harm done by people repressing some of their ideas and interests, and parts of their personalities, and by turning their backs on their intuitions and the promptings of their hearts? Haven't you ever regretted letting your mind overrule your heart? Those experiences and observations sometimes lead people to overgeneralize about the harmfulness of not acting on the promptings of our hearts.

      – Gays did not invent the idea that being in love confers not only a right, but a moral and health imperative, to include sexual intimacy in a relationship. They have only taken it to one of its logical conclusions.

      – What was so wrong about the family-arranged marriages of the past? Maybe you don't think they *were* wrong, but I imagine you have some understanding of why some people think they were. If you consider that question deeply, then you might get a better understanding of why gays sometimes scorn the idea of accepting their feelings without accepting their relationships.

      – The idea that it's always wrong and unhealthy not to follow the promptings of our hearts and conscience, is not unique to gays, and as I see it, its current popularity among gays does not say anything about gays. It's a result of their circumstances. I understand the temptation to bring up counter-examples to the theory, but I hope it won't take too much time and suffering for you to see the counterproductiveness of that, in discussions with gays.

    5. Jim-I'm going to have to think about this too. I still think that it is dangerous not to draw any lines at all. Here's my couple of initial thoughts:

      -It is dangerous to repress feelings, I have seen this, but that doesn't mean there shouldn't be lines drawn. We need to come up with a healthier way of dealing with repressed feelings, not take away boundaries.

      -I have always believed that following your heart is best. But I'm really talking about following your physical desires. I separate those two. And it seems like some people I've seen in other forums feel like following your physical desires is more important than setting boundaries. Or really rising above our human instincts to become something better. I've seen people who compare us to animals in those instincts as if it's something good, and I'm sorry, but human society is much more complex and we are much more capable of doing good than animals. (I'm including all people in this statement…it is not unique to gay people).

      Really, though, this concept of disintegrating boundaries is not unique to gays also. It's just more talked about in that area right now. I am just as concerned about this involving heterosexual marriages too.

    6. Rachel, I'm not sure if you're still looking for answers to this question. It looks like you might have already answered it yourself:

      "I think that's where I'm starting to draw the line too….if their life style choices are based on wanting to become a better person. I figure if people are working towards that goal, rather than complete self-indulgence, then all will be worked out in the end."

      "Really, though, this concept of disintegrating boundaries is not unique to gays also. It's just more talked about in that area right now. I am just as concerned about this involving heterosexual marriages too."

      Would you like to discuss what you and I can do about disintegrating boundaries?

      "I have always believed that following your heart is best. But I'm really talking about following your physical desires."

      It strikes me that distinguishing between the two might not be so obvious. In any case I imagine that a lot of gays would say that following their heart is exactly what they're doing.

  24. When she and I are together, it's important to me that she know that I am being intimate with her. The experience is ours. It is simultaneous and mutual and filled with love. Being present with her is important to me. Anything else feels disrespectful and doesn't honor the love I have for her.
    Oh, Weed. You have hit it perfectly. No pun intended. *blushey face*
    But seriously, this is the notion that our world no longer equates with the act of sex. And by 'world', I mean young teenagers. Although it seems to have been going on long enough to reach people in their 30's now.
    GREAT post.

  25. I do think that the lds church is worried about religious rights being taken away. I know you don't seem to think that this is a legitimate concern, but that appears to be their line of thought. I think that is a valid line of thought, which may or may not come to happen. We won't know until this whole thing plays out, but I don't think it should really be discounted given the way some things have played out in this country concerning religious/political matters.

    As for civil rights, I do think that can be solved in a different way. As I said, I am leaning more and more towards taking government out of marriage completely. Where the rights are not even given through the institution of marriage.

    1. In Virginia V. Loving the Supreme Court found that "Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival…" In otherwords, marriage is a constitutional right under both the due process clause and 14th Amendment. Further, there is no national uprising of people eager to giver up their civil marriage rights. I'm certainly not.

      There are two kinds of marriage available to couples in the United States. There is civil marriage, which is a clearly laid out set of rights and responsibilities. Then there is religious marriage, which is defined as each religious community sees fit. Couples can participate in one or both.

      We already have the solution you are seeking in keeping those two kinds of marriage seperate. The government is the sole authority on one and has no authority in the other.

    2. Fresh, so you are saying that if the state does not uphold it, then you won't have a civil marriage right?

      That's what I call belief in Government, and not in God.

      Rights are inherent to the nature of the human being (ie. given by the Creator), and not given by the state or the government. The state or the government is created only to protect natural rights, and they typically do a lousy job in doing it.

    3. "I do think that the lds church is worried about religious rights being taken away."

      I understand that but that's not a valid reason to continue to deny a class a people their civil rights. Are you arguing that it is?

  26. Jim-I am willing to talk about violence against any group and even gays in particular. I am interested in your ideas, but you need to understand that I am much more interested in talking about what I can do in my own community because these are where I feel I can do the most good.:) But as the whole connects to the small, I am will to discuss what ever any one feels may help.

    My main agenda right now, is in another arena…women's birthing rights. But I'm willing to carry on a discussion and help out where I can.

    1. Wonderful, Rachel, can we do that, talk about your work in your own community? And birthing rights too, if you want to. Would that be off topic here, do you think? πŸ™‚

      I really am uncertain about whether it would be misusing Josh's blog, to off on tangents like that. It's another boundaries question! What boundaries do you think we should put on wandering off like this?

    2. I don't know what boundaries people want to set. I'm sure most want to stay on topic:) I just think it's useful to start to see the "other" as someone that we may have something in common with. And since gays and Mormons or other religions seem to see each other as the "other", I think it helps just to carry on the conversations going on here.

      I'm not sure people want to open up the birthing rights here:) I will go forever with that one. My kids are well versed in that, they hear my discussions so much:) But if others want to chime in and share what they feel is appropriate that might be a good place to start.

    3. Rachel, you aren't "other" to me at all, and never have been, so it might be cheating for me to spend time with you, but I really want to.

      (sigh) To do my duty though, I guess I need to try to find some "others" in here and look for something in common. I do remember a post or two that felt "other" to me.

  27. I have posted here before but I'm afraid it got lost in the other thousands of comments and that's okay. But just to catch you up to speed in case you can answer my question—-I'm gay and have also been married for a wonderful 10 years to my loving and amazing husband. I still struggle at times dealing with my attraction to women but I am also unmoving in my choice to live my life with my husband and three children. So my question to you is, do you ever feel the stab of jealousy when you see a gay couple living happily together? Or for me just seeing the act of two women kissing makes me feel jealous that they can experience that w/o feeling guilty. Being a faithful member of the church and believing the doctrine to be true I know I could never engage in such an act and not feel horrible afterwards. Even if I was single and free to do as I wanted I don't think I could ever make that choice b/c I don't want to leave the church. I am making large strides and am contemplating telling all of my extended family about my personal struggle. My husband knows and had known before we got married and is such a support. Although I do wonder if it is easier being married to a gay woman vs. a woman being married to a gay man. I"m just kind of spitting out whatever comes to my brain after midnight. Most of the time it just gibberish. But back to my original question…it would be great if I could have some input. Thanks.

    1. Anon @12:33 AM, stabs of jealousy are universal. No one is spared, no matter the sexual orientation.

      If you need to feel jealous (which you shouldn't, I'm just saying), you should better be jealous to make the relationship with your husband as good or even better than what you perceive those two girls are having, rather than being jealous of them having experience without being guilty.

      As for whether it is easier being married to a gay woman vs. a woman being married to a gay man, it is neither easier or harder. It is unique and incomparable to anything that exist. Like any other marriage, totally gay or totally straight, for that matter.

    2. Thanks for your response. I guess I still have regret for not sowing my wild oats when I had the chance. Sometimes the only thing that keeps me from seeking a relationship with a woman is the fact that I'm married. I would never be unfaithful to my husband. I have my good days and bad days but I am happy with my life. I just get frustrated like anyone else. Of course I feel more tempted when I am more stressed with life but that is not new. I'm human and I expect to be tempted. My husband is so understanding. I'm grateful for this blog as an outlet for me to be completely honest. It's amazing how many struggle with this challenge in there life. I hope that I can one day be as brave as Josh and come out to those around me. i completely understand when he says he is ready to be his "authentic" self. I envy that but I am sure that the people in my life are not quite ready for my story.

    3. I believe that Josh's capability to come out in full force squarely lies on the shoulders on his wife and on the fact that his relationship with her is so strong and immovable. In his previous post, he actually explains that it was her who actually opened the door for his coming out.

      So, if you want to pursue the same course, the best way to do that is to make your relationship with your husband ever so strong.

    4. Anon 7:49. Maybe instead of "regreting not sowing my wild oats when I had the chance" maybe you should focus on what you have. Just reading what you said makes me upset because you are still daydreaming of sexual choices instead of daydreaming about the family you have here and now. THEY are what matters most not some fantasy.

      Maybe if you stop focussing on what you missed you would find even more joy in what you have. I think you still thinking about it doesnt allow you to fully invest into your own marriage (like what you say with the only reason you are not going after a women is because you are married). Make the choice… if you made the choice to get married to a man, be happy and don't look back. You husband might be understanding but it still hurts him regardless. I know it would hurt me if you where not "fully" committed to me and could cheat under stressful situation. You have to decide what is more important to you really is the bottoms line.

    5. Anon 10:49 AM, I believe that the best way for Anon 7:49 to overcome doubts is to verbalize them as she did, and our "job" is to make her inspired to do the right thing. In your comment there is a judgmental streak ("makes me upset") which is not entirely helpful.

      Instead, what I would argue is that you, Anon 7:49, clearly lay down all your alternatives and then evaluate them in terms of your value system, and then try to gather as much of the information from experiences of others, including Josh's.

      I used to force myself into deciding, but now I rather spend my effort in building my value system, and then proper choices come naturally and effortlessly.

      By the way, it seems that you have rather cool husband. Why don't you take full advantage of that, just as Josh did with his Lolly?

    6. Anon 12:33 AM,

      I'm wondering if you're asking the question you really want to ask, but if you aren't, I'm having trouble guessing what the real question might be. Or maybe it isn't really even a question? Just getting something off your chest?

      I've been trying to think of examples of things I wish I could do, that I've never done and never will. I asked my wife the same question, and she said "ride a motorcycle." She sometimes envies people when she sees them riding a motorcycle.

      When I tried to think of something I envy other people for doing, that I could never do, the first thought that popped into my head was "punch somebody in the face"! That's funny, because I can't remember ever wanting to punch somebody in the face. It would be more like shaking them or pounding them into the ground.

      One thing I really wish I could do, that I have no hope of ever doing, is making up good stories. Another is play a musical instrument. I'm tempted to say another is learning Chinese, but I do have some hope of doing that, even though I've only learned about 30 words in four years.

    7. I share your feelings. My hope is that what Josh has started will grow and gain strength, becoming universally accepted. Can you imagine a world where you could be accepted as who you are, where your preference did not define you? I'm not holding my breath, but it is something to work for.

    8. FG Mormon.. This is anon 11:49. I understand what you say but my answer is… maybe a big wake up call to that poster is what is needed. I might have fantasies about women too here and there but I don't pine over that fact and say, "I wish I sowed my oats", and the only thing that keeps me from doing it is being married. Well to me thats NOT good enough. Yes this is a forum that allows for free speech but STILL….. When you make choices, you stick with them and embrace it.

    9. I'm straight and single, so take this as is…but something about what you're describing feels familiar to me. Life is full of what if's. And I've been experiencing a number of them myself. I think that's often what happens when we see someone that has something we always kinda wanted. They're like walking, living "What if's." For me, at this moment, that means marriage, sexual intimacy, and children. I never wanted them before as much as I want them now. So sometimes when I see a couple who got it "easy" or have held a young child there's that moment of desire and what if's pop in my head. I say that to point out my next piece of advice is as much for me as you. Don't look back. And if you do, remember each choice has its consequence. What would you have to give up to have had those wild oats sowed. What would have changed. Your husband? Your Children? Where you are? Various spiritual experiences? etc.

      When I have my moments of looking back, I also remember where I was in the past compared to now. I'm stronger, better, and more stable than ever before. I can see how the Lord has shaped me into a better person than i could ever have been. I realize that though I would like certain things NOW, this is exactly where I need to be and that it is fulfilling. Who I am is satisfying and could not be without a hundred little good decisions and experiences over time. Remember what good has come in your own life and hold to that, knowing the Lord has more to teach you. And remember that another person's life will always have things we want….but it's a package deal. They also have many things we'd never desire.

      Hope this was helpful

    10. I think Tasha hit the nail on the head with her point. Of course you COULD have sowed your wild oats as it were. I mean, I am gay or I guess "lesbian" as they say but for some reason that word really bothers me so I always just say gay. And when I see a straight couple sometimes I get jealous because of how easy they have it, no judgey people, they can choose any religion they want, they can get married any which way they want etc etc.
      So, really no matter what we choose in life we are not choosing something else. You can't have it all. I mean, you could always cheat on your husband with a woman…but ugh imagine all the bad that would come from that one moment of curiosity. So really, like I said you can't have it all.
      But it's not just you, none of us do. We all have to choose, but we choose to count the awesome things in life, not the things we missed out on. It make it easier.
      And honestly, in my opinion, and I don't mean to be too out of line to say this, so disregard this comment if it is, but if you really feel SO much jealousy that you can't dedicate yourself to your husband…maybe you should be with a woman instead. I know many couples who are better friends and their kids are better for it, because they are divorced and in relationships that are right for each of them. Like I said, just my opinion, I don't know you or your religion, so feel free to disregard that.

  28. Jim-Life has caught up with me, so my posts will be more infrequent:) But here some thoughts on following your heart. Your right sometimes following your heart is sometimes hard to distinguish between following you physical needs. In the LDS church, we also have a whole other process of what we call following the spirit. We believe that the Holy Ghost can teach us the truth of all things. That means we can pray and receive answers to anything. Those answers can sometimes be hard to distinguish fro the host of other emotions.

    So in terms of knowing what is the right and wrong thing to do in a any sort of situation there is a host of feelings, sensations, thoughts, believes etc to wade through to then make a decision.

    What is difficult on top of that is that sometimes following our hearts or our physical desires, is not what is the most helpful for society or our own happiness, yet we believe that the spirit will never guide you wrong in either case.

    So, back to boundaries…yes, I think I've decided that I will align myself with those who are truly trying to be better people and doing so in a civil way. I have found their are those among the gay community and online here. But I cannot align myself with those that are just trying to justify their own physical appetites with no regard to the effects of what they are doing. I also have a hard time aligning myself with those that feel their physical appetites are what should define us and want to enforce that on others.

    I'll post more about why I think boundaries are important, but I've got five kids to attend to and an online school to teach:) So maybe others can chime in on this too.

    1. I'm with you on the Holy Spirit. Abdu'l-Baha says "How shall we attain the reality of knowledge? By the breaths and promptings of the Holy Spirit which is light and knowledge Itself." He says that all the human standards of knowledge — sense perception, reason, tradition and inspiration — are faulty and unreliable.

      When I first read that, I wondered, how do we know which of our ideas and impulses are coming from the Holy Spirit, and which are coming from faulty and unreliable sources, and if we can't know that, then what good is it? Now I think it means that if we continually immerse ourselves in the light, and practice, more and more of our ideas and impulses *will* be coming from the Holy Spirit, even if we don't know which ones they are!

      "I think I've decided that I will align myself with those who are truly trying to be better people and doing so in a civil way. I have found their are those among the gay community and online here. But I cannot align myself with those that are just trying to justify their own physical appetites with no regard to the effects of what they are doing."

      Looks okay to me.

      One of the hardest things for me was to imagine how sexual intimacy in a relationship between two women or two men could fit into my understanding of perfect chastity. In my understanding, the partners in the marriage prescribed by God can only be a woman and a man, and perfect chastity excludes all sexual intimacy outside of marriage (not to mention a lot of what goes on inside of a lot of marriages).

      My answer to that is that no one's thoughts, impulses and behavior, including my own, fit entirely into my understanding of perfect chastity, and that it's quite possible that two women or two men who include sexual intimacy in their relationship could be practicing chastity at least as well as I am, or even better.

  29. What I find a little disturbing is the attempting to show that the agenda of anyone who is worried about religious rights are just plain wrong and shouldn't worry about it…or that the reason they are bringing it up in the first place is to force the rights from gay people.

    Maybe I'm reading to much into it, but the way things have been worded shows me that some people are looking at this issue as if their is some diabolical hate group trying to try anything to take away someones rights. Thus, their own concerns are of no consequence. Some of my feelings about this come from other forums also. But I can assure you that most LDS people I know, are thinking deeply and thoughtfully about this. They are not blind puppets to a religion and that they do care about how other people think or feel. But that they do have some concerns regarding this issue, that quite frankly, get brushed over.

    1. Rachel, I think in discussions about what some categories of people are up against, some categories can be fruitfully discussed in the same place at the same time, and others can't, generally speaking. Ten years of experience and observation have convinced me that discussion of hostilities against gays, and discussion of hostilities against people who trust their scriptures, can not be fruitfully combined. Don't think I haven't tried!

  30. @Jim. I wish you luck on here, I really do. Seems most of the other folks who were trying to get through to people on here have given up and rightfully so. Once I started reading some people writing that they were sick of hearing about the persecution of gay people and how really, Mormons have suffered equally, I knew it was time to give up. And then reading the persecution complex (which is extremely common in and is in fact a feature of cults) that the US Constitution will one day be changed and the Mormon Church will be forced to perform gay marriages, just added to the whole thing.
    But what honestly disturbs me most is the fact that some folks feel that they are actually learning anything from FG Mormon. He does seem to have an awful lot of time to post on here despite having a pregnant wife in hospital and two other children. I find his arrogance and ignorance astounding. There was a British comedy sketch show called, Little Britain. one of the sketches was of this pied piper fellow who just uttered absolute nonsense but people followed him. It was done humoressly of course. but everytime I read FG Mormon on here that is what I think of. Also big fish extremely small pond comes to mind.
    It scares me, it really does.
    But again, I genuinely wish you luck. But for me, I've come to realize that it is all sadly a huge waste of time.
    As for the gay woman commenter a few comments up. life is short, super short and the eternity your church is offering is not so much guaranteed no matter how many times you've been told it is.

    1. Anon @1:38 PM, don't be scared. We love you. If you don't want us to agree that we disagree, can we simply wish best for you and genuinely mean it?

    2. Rachel, you can worry about anything you choose to but your fears are not a valid reason to deny others their civil rights. That is the bottom line. What else do you want? For gays to be continued to be excluded from a civil right to assuage your fears about a future that the U.S. Constitution already protects you from?

  31. I'm not necessarily "worried" that the government will take over my rights. I've just played with the idea a little and have posted them here with all their imperfections. I tend to think and write out loud. I also had no intention of playing the victim card. Like I've said before, I think the hate crimes that have happened are something we should be concerned about as well as being concerned about hate crimes against anyone. In fact, it makes sense to me that someone who is worried about their own culture/group being victimized that they would then fight tooth and nails to help another. And again, I'm thinking out loud. Gays should be concerned for religious rights and religious groups should be concerned about gays rights.

  32. I can understand why you want to keep the conversation here (and it's a great conversation). I still would have liked a forum, I feel like a few commenters of a very debate-y sort dominate, and I was really hoping to get in contact with the few people who have commented to say they're in your situation (as i am, I'm female married to a gay man). Maybe a new commenting platform would help foster an easier discussion for commenters, but I worry that the 5-6 dominant commenters will eventually keep everyone else away.


  33. Part of the problem here, is that some people(and may I emphasize some) in the lds/christian church feel that living the gay lifestyle is morally wrong. I would equate it to some's belief that people shouldn't have sex outside of marriage. And let me point out here that I am understanding more that gays have had to deal with a lot more hate crimes than I knew about and I think that's horrible. I would do what I could to stop that.

    Some people also have a different idea about what marriage entails and what the purpose is, hence the disagreements. That's fine…I think people are learning from these. I am. But you may never change someones mind that gay people should be allowed to marry because marriage itself is not seen as a right. My personal thoughts is that marriage is for creating and rearing families, not for personal gain or even to show someone how committed you are to them. It's to create the most stable environment (and may I also say here that this is based off the ideal family). It is the most stable environment for a child to be reared with two parents they are biologically related to.

    So let me shock some people even more…I would support a loving gay couple adopting a child over a hateful family of two straight people. But if we want to support a societal structure that is the most stable for a child…it is two loving adults that the child is biologically related to.

    I would like to take out the liberties associated with marriage so that gays could have those liberties they now don't enjoy(because I do think they should be able to), not furthur restrict them. I just happen to beleive that marriage is something different/more than a way to gain something from.

    1. Rachel, in my understanding, the partners in the marriage prescribed by God can only be a woman and a man, and perfect chastity excludes all sexual intimacy outside of marriage. I'm a member of a religious community that refers to "homosexuality" and "homosexual relationships" as "spiritually condemned," "abnormality," "affliction," "abhorrent to our spiritual selves," "burden," "symptom of a profound malaise," "disability," "imperfection," "offence against the law of God," "against nature," "handicap" and "shameful sexual aberration" "subject to treatment."

      Some gay and gay-affirming people hold all that against me. Some don't.

      At the same time, I cherish the love that people are calling "gay" and "homosexual," and I boldly affirm its value, for individuals and for society. I don't judge the morality or healthfulness of any feelings or behavior by the genders of the people involved. I'm opposed to all discrimination against gays, including the discrimination I see in civil marriage laws.

      A few members of my community might hold that against me. As far as I know, most of them don't.

    2. All of the rights and privileges of marriage are in most states conferred on same sex civil unions and should be if they are not. And separate, but equal doesn't apply because a same sex union is not the same by definition.

  34. Anniba- I agree with that. I do think those who are on here that need a place to discuss their individual situations may get lost in the debates. And really those debates will go on a long time, because they are heated:) I'm not sure how to remedy that though.

  35. Jim-that made me laugh:) I wonder the same thing:) I see it as a bunch of special interests group vying to get their special interests funded.

  36. Replying to another reply I posted earlier. In my post I mentioned working for an idea or dream I have of a world where you are not defined by your preference. Where It would not be thought strange for a "gay" man to be married to a "straight" woman. (Funny, I'm writing about not being identified by your preference but I couldn't not use the term "gay". Is that a bad sign?). I was also thinking about some pride marches I read about in an article today and the idea came to me "What about promoting the concept of the Unicorn Club?" Not sure about the details…

    I guess what is fueling these ideas is that I don't know where I fit in. What do you call a gay guy married to a straight woman? Sounds like the start of a joke! So am I gay, straight, or bi?

    Do I have to be any of them? Maybe I'm just a person…

  37. Sorry, no matter how you self-identify, if you can get it up for your wife without fantasizing you are bisexual. Calling yourself a "unicorn" does not obviate this.

  38. "According to our society: Josh is gay, therefore he goes into the "gay box".
    That means he is only attracted to men"

    Yes. That is the definition of gay. People whose attractions are more fluid are not gay. There is a word for that fluidity: bisexual. This isn't a value judgment; words have meanings. I trust you'd object or at least be quite confused if I went around telling everybody I was a "Mormon" based on my own private, special definition of the word. These definitions are important. If you blur them, you are denying the existence and the lived experience of people who are, indeed, ONLY attracted to one sex.

    1. "I have my good days and bad days but I am happy with my life. I just get frustrated like anyone else. Of course I feel more tempted when I am more stressed with life but that is not new. I'm human and I expect to be tempted"

      To the gay woman who posted this: I came out as lesbian 20 years ago and am here to tell you that suppressing your sexuality does NOT compare with the temptations and frustrations experienced by "everyone else." It is NOT like losing out on riding a motorcycle or running away with the circus. I have plenty of frustrations in life, but they are NOTHING compared with the burden of being in the closet. People do not commit suicide or lapse into intractable depression because they cannot ride motorcycles. Don't kid yourself. However — good for you if you are happy with life! One thing that I found helpful was to ask myself if I would want my children — or anyone I truly loved — to be living the life I was living married to a man. The very idea of it made me cry, as I would never have wished it on anyone, much less my own children. I hope your situation is very very different, and that the happiness you profess is truly yours.

    2. Is it possible for someone to learn to be one way or another? Prior to marrying my wife I was only sexually attracted to men. I had similar goals and aspirations to Josh and followed a similar course in life, choosing to forfeit one lifestyle for another. I am aroused by my wife, but it is different than the attraction I feel towards men. The male attraction is muh more base and simple. The attraction I have for my wife is complex and all-encompassing. It is not purely hormonal but a desire to be completely intimate with someone in a way that is unique and special. This has grown over time and continues to increase. Fantasizing about other women doesn't do a thing for me. Thoughts?

    3. anon 9:00 pm – did you have experiences with men before you got married. Because how do you really know if it is really "base" per say unless you have had that experience. You could have the fantasy of being sexually attracted to men but then not really be when you try it.

      I personally had that experience… I would fantasize about being with women since I could remember, but as soon as I did something about it, I was like YUCK!!! it just didnt feel right to me. I felt completely dirty and just turn completely off by women after that. The fantasy was completely not a "real" comparison to the real thing.

      Sexually experience is always chemical in nature on top of be all encompassing if you love right. So to me in order for you to have that imtimacy with your wife you would have to be turned on and attracted to her. Although it is true men can get turn on by anything that moves (wink). πŸ™‚

    4. Anon 9:00 PM,

      I imagine it would be very hard, if not impossible, to get rid of attractions to men or to women. In any case I think it's very harmful to try. Actually, the harmfulness is the social environment that leads people to want to get rid of them.

      I imagine that learning to be attracted to women, or to men, or to any other category of people is quite easy, for anyone who can get past their prejudices against it. Getting past the prejudices is the hard part. Not that I see any reason for anyone to try to become attracted to women, or to men, in general.

      You only need to learn to be attracted to one person. More than enough has already been said about that, for anyone who has ears to hear.

  39. Jim-I haven't been offended by most things on here. I have actually been enjoying the conversation of all. I just don't like being put in a box:) As in, if you think or believe this, than this is who you are…who really likes that.

    But the civil conversation that has kept that to a minimum has been very very good for me. Besides the fact that it is allowing me to think and evolve, but still affirm my believes.

  40. Oh, goodness, I have so much to say, but no idea how to say it. I'll start here; I support you and your wife's decision to be married. I support you. But this is most definitely not the answer for everybody.

    And I am absolutely positive that God would love you even if you were in a homosexual relationship, because God loves everyone. And he knows how much you struggle. I think the most important thing you need to share is the certainty that GOD LOVES EVERYONE. Not just straight people, not just homosexual people who abstain from sex, not just Mormons, not just Christians. Everyone. Those who sin, those who lie, those who gamble, ect. He does not pick and choose, and that's the message that needs to be heard.

    So while I appreciate what you are trying to do, and while I respect your choices, I need you to acknowledge that everyone, even the gay man living with another man, will get into heaven at the end of the day. Not just the gay man who represses his desires in order to live a traditional life.

    That's my biggest roadblock when trying to process your story. But thank you for your courage in sharing your story with the world. I wish you the best of luck in the future.

    1. Megan–
      I absolutely agree with you that God loves everyone, no matter what they do. But I also believe that God still cares about what we do. It seems to me that just like any loving parent, He wants us to engage in certain behaviors (be kind to your neighbor) and refrain from others (don't kill people). Just because we do something that He does not want us to do doesn't mean He doesn't love us; but that doesn't mean He wants us to continue doing it either.

      When you say everyone will get into heaven at the end of the day, to me it is as if you're saying our actions in this life do not matter. But if that is true, then there is no such thing as right and wrong. There's no such thing as good and evil. Murderers and child abusers will be given the same rewards as loving, honest and hardworking members of society.

      I do not think that any of us has the authority to judge another person as worthy or unworthy of heaven because we will never walk in that person's shoes. But if there is a God, certainly He has the authority to judge us. And if God cares at all what we do with our lives, then He also certainly has the authority to define what sin is, forbid it, and prescribe the consequences if we commit sin.

      It saddens me that so many people view the Mormon Church's (and other churches') teachings about sin–whether the sin be having sex outside of marriage or any other proscribed behavior–as hate speech. I think this view stems from a severe and unfortunate misunderstanding about the Church's purpose for preaching about sin in the first place. This may sound paradoxical, but I believe the Church preaches about sins out of love, not hate. We honestly believe that God cares about what we do during this life, that He wants us to do certain things and refrain from doing other things, and that one day He will judge us for how we lived our lives. Since we know He wants us all to be successful because He loves us, and since we are trying to love others as He loves us, we encourage ourselves and those around us to live in a way that will produce the best possible judgment.

      I could never say that any particular person will or won't get into heaven because of his or her choices. But because I believe that certain behaviors are right and certain behaviors are wrong and that God cares about the choices we make, I think it's problematic to expect that every person on earth, no matter what they do, will get into heaven.

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