Yesterday, I sat in a stake priesthood leadership meeting in a chapel full of men in their white shirts, suits and ties. I had never felt more "different" from everyone in that room. I wondered if any of these brethren had any idea what was going on inside me, or if any of them felt the same way. There had to be 150 men in the room - you'd think I wouldn't be the only one, (and even at 2% there statistically should be at least another) but I sure felt like it.
The meeting concentrated on socializing the youth and building them up with positive experiences and encouraging interaction. But, it also concentrated heavily on how to teach morality to the youth and to demand more of them, and to keep ourselves morally clean, including avoiding the evils of heterosexual infidelity and heterosexual pornography. Jokes were made about youths not even being permitted to watch DVDs at home - as that leads to cuddling and closeness that can lead to immorality. But, we were encouraged to watch DVDs at home with our wives to encourage us to cuddle and have closeness with them, and to focus our attention on them.
I know I'm a slow learner, but at that point I realized just how out of the picture I was from this meeting. I felt like I really wasn't there - like this was some surreal existence or world that I was visiting and it didn't apply to me and my situation at all. I mean, here were a room full of men, 99% of them married, and we were talking about the difficulty it is to live in this sex-charged world, for us as leaders, and particularly for our youth, and how things will be better when our youth are married or when we focus on our marriage. And yet, they don't have a clue on how that translates to a homosexual equivalent. Since homosexuals can't get married (in the eyes of God) we are still living in this sex-charged world, and can't even date or socialize at all with others of our kind, as heterosexual youths are encouraged to do, to appropriately handle the sexually-charged energy of this life, and there is no alternative but complete isolation and celibacy. I began to feel very saddened and reflected on my single gay members of the family in this church...
After setting the ground rules, the Stake President felt inspired to call us to repentance saying that with the prevalence of heterosexual infidelity and heterosexual pornography in the Church, he is convinced "some of us" have this issue right now, and as such, we shouldn't even be in this chapel, and that we should excuse ourselves and go take care of things with our Bishop right now!
There was silence in the room... At first, I wanted to stand up and leave - feeling unworthy because of my thoughts, and some of my recent actions, tame as they may be, always toying with crossing the line, but, you know what? I didn't feel guilty! I wanted to feel guilty but I couldn't. Instead, I wanted to stand up (in the spirit of Scott) and say: "Yeah, but what about us gay guys? How do we fit in this scenario?" I mean, am I allowed in any way, shape or form, any interaction of any kind as a gay married man toward those I'm attracted to? Is it okay to see gray in the spectrum of cuddling?, friendships?, tame images that might titillate? Or, is anything to do with this subject that does not center on my wife mean that it is wrong and inappropriate - on the verge of infidelity and unworthiness - in other words: black and white? And what about my gay single brothers who have no source for comfort at all? At least we MOM guys have our wives to turn to - but what about them?
Are there really just two choices for me?: 1) complete fidelity in thoughts and deeds, or 2) complete infidelity by having thoughts and deeds - innocuous as they may be? In one am I the hero and shining knight, and in the other a scoundrel and demon? Is there any other choice?
As I stated in a previous comment in the last post: "It isn't so cut and dry. I'm trying to find some happy medium where I can cling to that which I know and love without going crazy in the meanwhile. How do I find that middle ground, that gray area?"
I know this isn't breaking new ground with anyone reading this, but I wonder if my state of mind was finally opened to see the irony of the situation and to realize that I wasn't seeing anything that applied to me in this meeting. It was like I was so different from them, that I was no longer a part of them, and that there was no "them" left in me. There was no "us". I finally felt a complete outsider. And not feeling guilty in one of those to-the-point meetings is a step for me. Whether in the right direction or not I guess depends on your point of view of my situation. But, all of a sudden, I'm feeling very gray, very neutral, very non-guilt charged. I'm seeing gray in a lot that is being said and taught and mandated as "black and white" - and I guess I should excuse myself from future leadership meetings - as I'm finding myself now not seeing "black and white" in any other topic being discussed - and as such I must be walking into apostasy and should turn in my "membership worthiness" card, and be considered a dangerous brother to watch out for.
Or, I guess my other choice is to keep looking "straight"ahead and keep my mouth shut and keep saying nothing...