31 October 2010

RANT: "love the sinner, hate the sin" Part II

Perhaps you've heard enough on this subject, if so- feel free to skip this post. A friend emailed me a response to this argument that reminded me of a whole other issue that relates to this phrase. Let me post it here:
"Still this does bring up a difficult question. The question of how do we love and respect others without compromising our own values and morals? In other words, at what point do we stop showing appropriate love to the sinner and start condoning the sin?"..."I cannot condone that course of action as righteous or just as I know it is wrong and spiritually harmful. Because I maintain this stance and express genuine concern for those who have chosen a path other than the Gospel path I have been accused of not respecting others' choices and of propagating hatred."
Okay. I've heard this argument a lot.  "Well, where do we draw the line between loving them and condoning their actions?" I believe that the point is, it isn't our place to even think about whether our love will be interpreted by the other person as condoning their actions. It is like the argument, "Well, if I give the bum money, I am just supporting his alcohol and drug addictions." By saying, or thinking this, we judge what the other person will do with the gift we give! You are not going to be held accountable for what the receiver of the gift does with his gift. You will be judged on whether or not you gave what you could to this person and from where your heart was. The reciever will be held accountable for what he did with it. Remember the parable of the talents?  Saying that you are not giving love or whatever gift it is you wish to give because you don't want to condone the person's actions is an excuse to free yourself from showing love and giving service.

Christ said to love. He didn't say love as long as the person you are loving doesn't think your love is supporting his sinful ways. There is no conditions put on the love we are supposed to have for others. So I would argue we stop putting conditions on our love. We don't get to draw the line in the sand where love should stop.

I came upon another blogger who has addressed this issue and I think he brings out some important points: Young Stranger

PE: My Story Part 2: Pre-Mission

By the time I was in 7th and 8th grade, I knew the secret I was keeping. But I tried the best I could to never let that out of the deepest darkest corners of myself. I remember playing along with the other kids making fun of gays. I guess I figured if I could make fun of gays, I could learn to hate them... and then I would be cured. It was stupid logic. It only made me hate myself all the more. It wasn't that I was making fun of any kids, we just talked about the idea of being gay as such a negative thing.

I soon found myself staying as far away from anything "gay" as I could. I didn't want to have any ties whatsoever to the word. I developed a real phobia of being touched in any way, and kept boys in general at a safe distance. I didn't want any of my interactions with them to be mistaken as flirtatious or otherwise gay. Little did I realize that by keeping my distance from guys and my continued friendships with girls probably made me more likely to seem gay.

I enjoyed High School for the most part. I was in AP classes and did well in school and had a really good group of friends (primarily girls). I wasn't interested in dating at all. It wasn't until junior year when the first prom was around the corner that I felt I had to even go on a date. Everyone knows that Prom is an essential part of the high school experience, and I didn't want to regret not going. So I asked a friend of mine to prom. A year later she came out as a lesbian. No, I didn't turn her gay... rude. At the time we were both trying to fit into social norms even though it was so against our natures. We just didn't know that the other person was going through the same inner battle.

Senior prom came and I took another good friend of mine. When you have trained yourself to hate touch, events like prom don't go so well. She was a pretty girl, and sporty. We were really good friends, and since I had never really felt what a crush was like, I mistook feelings of friendship for a crush. I wanted to have a crush so bad. I wanted to prove to myself and others that I was a normal, heterosexual guy. Well, needless to say, that flopped.

In the meantime, my feelings of shame and the need I felt to put out a facade began to isolate me. I found other ways to feed the part of me that was so evil. Ways that the world wouldn't be able to detect. In high school, I began looking at porn. I was not at all interested in looking at girls. Instead I discovered images of guys... which led to gay porn.

I would try my best to stop. It wasn't that it was taking over my life, but I knew it was bad and that I needed to stop. But when it is your only outlet as a closeted gay kid (who still wouldn't accept that he was gay), it becomes very difficult. Soon though, I had a mission to prepare for and I knew I had to clean my act up. So I did the best I could to do that during my first year at a local college as I read scriptures, prayed, and really sought out religion in my life. Soon, the day came where my mission call arrived in the mail.

30 October 2010

RANT: Sexuality is not Based on Action

This post was sparked by a comment by a reader. Before I go into this however, I want to make it clear that I am not attacking this person in any way. I simply want to explain why this argument doesn't make sense in my head. Obviously, I could be wrong, but here is how I think about it:

I reject the idea that action is what defines sexuality. This is a common argument. Gay people are often painted as purely sexual people. In the comment, the logic (and at first glance, it seems appropriate) was that the simple desire to cheat doesn't make you a cheater. The need you feel to lie, doesn't make you a liar. It isn't until you act on those feelings/desires that you become a "liar"/"cheater." The argument is then put forth that the desire to be homosexual doesn't make you homosexual.

Let's first look at the definitions of "cheater," "liar," and "homosexual."

Cheater: To deceive by trickery; swindle. To act dishonestly; practice fraud. One who cheats.
Liar: a person who has lied or lies repeatedly.

So far the argument holds true. Indeed, to be a liar or cheater, your actions must define it.

Homosexual: a person who is sexually attracted to members of the same sex.

Okay, so here is where the argument falls apart. A homosexual is not defined by his/her actions. Furthermore, sexuality is WAY different from adjectives like "cheater" and "liar." Sexuality is a core element of our humanity. It is a very important element of our being.

Ok, now for some logic. In order for sexuality to be determined by action, the following must also be true. All people are simply asexual until they act on their attraction. That means that, in the church, kids are asexual until they are 16 when they can finally date. It isn't until they hold a girls hand, kiss them, and start displaying their sexuality, that they become defined as a heterosexual. However, I am almost certain that if you asked these kids if they were asexual at age 15, they would, in large part, say NO- I am VERY heterosexual.

The term "homosexual" and "heterosexual" are also a bit confusing because sex is implied in the word. This is often used to show that gay people are purely lustful creatures looking for sex. But is sex what makes you heterosexual? Do you marry someone simply for sex? If so, I would argue that you are probably marrying for the wrong reason (and I think the brethern would agree with me). Instead, being a heterosexual means that you long for and are intrigued by the companionship of a person of the opposite gender. There is an emotional need for that partnership to feel complete as a human being. Much of this is based on sexual attraction, but just as heterosexuality isn't all about sex, homosexuality is much more than that. If it was only about sex, why do gays want to marry? There are much easier, no-strings-attached methods to satisfy lust.

Before coming to terms with my sexuality and being honest with myself, I dated girls. I'd take them out, hold their hands, cuddle, even kissed a couple. Based on my actions, I would be heterosexual. Yet underneath those actions was inner hell. It was so hard for me. It felt so unnatural and I couldn't understand why people kissed, why they held hands. It felt forced. And worst of all I would be in emotional agony whenever it came time to act heterosexual. It wasn't that I was dating boys. My actions were not homosexual ones. Yet I was and am gay. Once I became okay with that idea, I quickly found out why people held hands, why they kissed, etc. I couldn't understand it until my actions were in line with my emotional and sexual needs which are both parts of my sexuality (or perhaps, less confusing, orientation). When my actions became honest with my soul, I finally found out what being in love felt like. That was this year, age 25. Well after my peers have felt heartbreak and experienced love. Better late than never =)

28 October 2010

PE: Gay Group Dinner Date

A couple months ago I went to dinner with a friend and two others (which my friend new). This was not too long after coming to terms with my own sexuality. I am discrete and if I wasn't holding a boy's hand (which I wasn't at the time) very few would wonder about my sexuality.

For those of you who don't get the pleasure of experiencing what it is like to be gay (the sarcasm probably doesn't come through the screen), let me tell you that being in public where people might guess about you isn't fun, especially when you are just starting to meet and talk to other gay people.

Well not all of these guys were as discrete as I was. A person would have to be completely oblivious not to guess that at least two of us were gay. Well, we were just talking, enjoying conversation and food. I was completely rigid and conscious of everything going on around us. Here are the things I saw (and the others noticed also).

The couple sitting behind us simply got up and moved to a table at the other end of the restaurant. People at other tables would stare. The waiters and waitresses gathered at one point at the end of the row of tables and whispered to each other, looked at us, and laughed, for a good 2 minutes. To top it all off, our waiter was gay. It wasn't long before he realized we were too, so he acted just like his normal self (instead of the facade that he initially wore, which I'm sure was a survival technique when income depends on tips). It was just one big gay dinner party and everyone knew it. I was SO uncomfortable and hurt. Especially by the couple who couldn't stand the idea of eating next to a table of gay guys and moved.

I thought, "no wonder so many gay guys end up meeting in dark parking lots, empty houses, and otherwise remote places. Society won't let them enjoy a night out on the town like any heterosexual can without subjecting them to criticism, teasing, and rejection."

Since then, I have come to a place where I am completely comfortable with who I am and hold the hand of my significant other in public if I feel like holding his hand. I flirt with him on a date just like heterosexuals flirt on their dates. And though people stare and point and laugh and make rude remarks, and sometimes I wonder about my safety, if I want to enjoy our date and hold hands, thats what I do. I'm not obnoxious about it. I try to keep it as discrete as possible. It isn't like I hold our hands in the air and point to them with my other hand while shouting "Look! We are holding hands! And we are both boys!"And though in some cultures there is nothing wrong with two men holding hands, that small, discrete act creates havoc in the public places of my country. I refuse to hide and meet up only in dark, deserted places. I am not ashamed, and Christ's judgement is the only kind I care about.

27 October 2010

ARG: Nature vs. Nurture, So What?

Much time, energy, money, and other resources are spent to battle this one out. We can turn to science, reason, or religion, or a combination of all three for answers. We can spend billions of dollars researching genetic code and performing studies. Or, we can turn to our gay loved one and believe them when they answer the question "did you choose this?" Whatever source we go to, whatever conclusion we accept, does it really matter?

Lets say it was Nature. Then what? Well that would meant that it is natural, that it is instinctive and just as real as heterosexuality. It would mean that for some reason, God has allowed people to be gay. But coming to this conclusion doesn't end the internal conflict that gay people deal with in the face of a judgmental, prejudice, and often hateful society. It doesn't solve any problem. The problem is that our gay brothers and sisters are feeling isolated, alone, and unloved which often results in emotional, spiritual, and even sometimes physical death. The problem is that these people are silently suffering and living a life of self-loathing and fear.

Lets say it was nurture. Then what? We tell our gay loved ones that because A + B x 3 / .45y happened in their past, it turned them gay? What then? Can we simply erase their memory of those experiences and reprogram their brains to interpret a false history in a way that the majority deems acceptable? If it is possible, how much time, money, and human testing would need to be done before it is figured out? How much would it take to reorient you to feel the need for an intimate loving relationship with the same sex and not the opposite sex? Concluding that their environment turned them gay would do nothing to solve the problem. However it would still show that homosexuality is "natural" in that it is the natural result of a combination of certain environmental variables. But this still doesn't make these people feel loved and accepted and get them to embrace their individuality.

Ok, now that we have talked about how this argument really shouldn't make a difference, lets see what different people and organizations have said about the issue:

The LDS Church:

“Some people who seek help for homosexual problems may have concluded that experiences from their youth, such as perceived problems with a parent or some other older person, contributed to their inappropriate feelings. Some may believe that they have not consciously chosen to have such feelings in the first place. No general agreement exists about the causes of such problems."

           -Understanding and Helping Those Who Have Homosexual Problems – Suggestions for Ecclesiastical Leaders, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1992.

“If someone seeking your help says to you, ‘I am a homosexual,’ or, ‘I am lesbian,’ or, ‘I am gay,’ correct this miscasting… it is simply not true. To speak this way seeds a doubt and deceit about who we really are."

           -Bishop Keith McMullen (2010)

"I don't know. I'm not an expert on these things. I don't pretend to be an expert on these things."

            -Gordon B. Hinkley (2004)

"'God made me that way,' some say, as they rationalize and excuse themselves for their homosexual perversions. ‘I can’t help it,’ they add. This is blasphemy. Is man not made in the image of God, and does he think God to be ‘that way’?

            -Spencer W. Kimball (1980)

Conclusion: Apparently church leaders from all times have been uncertain and unclear and have often contradicted each other. So I guess the only official answer from inspired leaders that doesn't contradict what others have said is, we don't know.


There have been studies and tests supporting both sides of this issue. There are mormon professionals who have concluded it is nature (William S. Bradshaw, Ph.D) There are non-mormon (but usually religious) professionals that have concluded that it is environment. However, the majority of psychologists, biologists, and other professionals who have spent much of their lives devoted to the subject seem to agree that homosexuality, at the very least, is to some extent genetic... it is in the DNA to some extent. However, opinions differ as to how much it is dictated by DNA. 

Conclusion: We don't really know. We have theories and evidences, but no real provable calculation. DNA is a complex thing.


Ask yourself this: When did you choose to be heterosexual? When did you make the conscious decision that you were going to be attracted to the opposite sex? Could it be that homosexuals also did not make a conscious choice?

Think about what would possibly drive a teenager to choose to be gay when that teen grew up in a society that highly values heterosexuality, went to a church where heterosexuality was essential to his salvation, raised in a heterosexual family, grew up in a community that had nothing good to say about homosexuality, and where all the stories of happily-ever-after and the songs of love were all devoted to a heterosexual ideal. If it was environment, why did this very heterosexual environment produce such a very homosexual boy? Why would a teenager choose to be ridiculed and made fun of, hated and judged, at a time in his/her life when all they want is acceptance? Why do so many choose death? Why would they choose a path that would make them feel like their only option for happiness is suicide?

Lastly, look around you. Talk to your homosexual brothers and sisters. Ask them. 

Conclusion: Perhaps my logic is flawed... it very well could be. But it seems to me that logic would point to nature. Not that this argument even matters. Not that it does anything to relieve suffering. But take whatever value there is, and lets move on to address the real problems.

PE: My Story Part 1- The Early Years

I grew up in California in a typical Mormon home. I knew very well what was expected of me and that my life was pretty much planned out until I turned 21. I don't remember ever not wanting to go to church in my childhood. I never got into trouble. Everyone loved me. I was that kid who was an example to all the other boys.

I was also a perfectionist. So while all these adults were telling me how wonderful I was, and as I listened to them discuss what a bright future I'd have, what they thought was building me up was really just the beginning of the destruction of my soul. I know, dramatic right? In early elementary school I didn't know why I was different, so the struggle over homosexuality wasn't an issue. However, I did know that I wasn't was great as everyone seemed to think I was. But they loved me, and I needed that. So I'd try my hardest to please them, to meet their expectations which I never seemed to do because they would raise the bar higher and higher out of my reach. I was so afraid to fail.

In elementary school I don't really remember much honestly. I do remember that during recess you'd most-likely find me on the bars with the girls doing flips and hanging upside down and spinning around and around. I wasn't on the field with the boys. I didn't find this odd at the time, it was just what I liked to do. I didn't draw any connection that bars = a girl thing and sports = a boy thing.

Eventually though, well before the age of 12, I began to recognize my interest in boys. Even then, I remember being sexually attracted to the same sex (even though, at the time, I didn't know what those words meant or how to interpret my feelings). I had also made a habit of having female friends and stayed far away from most boys. I knew I was different from them. They sensed it. I was teased. I was chosen last for the team. I remember the fear and embarrassment that would come over me when I heard the teacher say "captains, choose your teams." The only thing that saved me was the annoying kid that no one liked. I was likable and kind enough. Just not ideal for sports.

By the time puberty began, I started to get a grasp on what these feelings meant for me. I knew that if I felt those things, there was something wrong with me. I also began to understand what "gay" meant and that it was never a good thing. Abomination, unnatural, like murder, disgusting, perverted. People hated gays. But people loved me. I was not one of "those." So I pushed it away. I convinced myself it was nothing and that it would just go away. I wanted to belong and be liked and I knew this wouldn't do. I didn't know then that I was locking a part of me away that was connected to my sense of worth, my self-confidence, my spirit, and my emotions. After the age of 12 (a year in which I cried a lot... almost nightly for several months) I could no longer cry. It didn't matter how much I wanted to. I physically could not manage it.

RANT: "love the sinner, hate the sin"

Oh how I hate this phrase. It is so full of hypocrisy and judgement. Let me explain:

By telling someone that you love them, but that you hate what they do, you are, in effect, passing judgement. You must necessarily put yourself in a position above them to be in a place where you can call out another individual's actions and label them as "sin." The fact is, we are all sinners. Just because someone sins differently than me, doesn't give me the right to make any judgement on their different way of sinning. I do not know the circumstances. I do not know the mind of God. Murdering is a sin, yet God himself commanded it multiple times. "Now Nephi, I love you, but I hate that you are disappointing God by killing another human being (Laban). That is a sin, and I hate it."

If everyone is a sinner (and therefore all men and women commit sin), let's not say "the sinner" and "the sin" as if the person speaking is in someway immune to these things. Why don't we instead adopt the phrase, "love everyone, love God." Sound familiar? These were the two great commandments that Christ taught. If we love God, our personal choices and actions will attest to that ("by their fruits ye shall know them"). Individually, we learn to love obedience to God and hate to disappoint him. But this in no way give us the right to judge and say to another "I love you, but hate that you disappoint God." Who are we to tell someone that God is disappointed with them?

Perhaps the initial use of this phrase was well-intentioned. If this phrase was solely applied to one's self, we are, in effect, saying, "I love myself as a valued son/daughter of God, I hate that sin so easily besets me. I hope to learn to detest sin, for I love God." But the minute we use this same phrase in reference to someone other than ourselves, we enter dangerous ground.

We should love people (all people) for who they are, not in spite of who they are. Christ commanded us to love one another. It is that simple. He didn't say "love your neighbor even though they sin and are disappointed me by their actions. Just be the better person my making sure they know they are sinning. Oh and tell them you love them too." I think it is time we all come down from our pedestals. God is no respecter of persons and we are tasked with working out our own salvation with fear and trembling, not with working out another's. That's Christ's job.

PE: Who Am I?

For many years, I did not know the answer to this question. I mean, I knew the primary answer. I was a son of God. But I didn't really know it. I just knew the right words. Most my life, I refused to accept a part of who I was, and could therefore never have a real picture of who this individual really was. Let me introduce myself.

I am a senior at BYU from California. I was raised Mormon and I would be your typical model of a mormon boy if you could watch the first 23 years of my life. I was that kid who all the mothers in the ward just loved to talk about. I advanced through the priesthood, served a mission, and came to BYU. I never got into any serious trouble. Right now I choose to stay anonymous for the sole reason that I do attend BYU. If I revealed myself now, I would be kicked out, excommunicated, never graduate, and have my academic records held from me, with only months to go. Stick with me a couple months, and we will be more formally introduced :)


I graduated BYU in December 2010. This blog, therefore, will no longer be anonymous.


I care about people a lot. The thing that hurts most it the thought that I may be hurting someone I love. I enjoy getting to know people and listening to their stories. I have always been good at school and love to think about abstract ideas and new concepts. I am completely comfortable with who I am (though this is a recent development). I know that God loves me. I trust myself enough to know when I need correction in my life. I am completely honest with myself and am also completely honest with others (with the exception of those that may seek to get me kicked out of school).

I am genuine. I stand up for my convictions. I want to use what talents and interests I have to the benefit of others. I recognize my limited understanding and am open to hear reasonable arguments whether they agree or disagree with my current opinions. I feel that it is important for me to review my beliefs and opinions every so often so that I can allow added experience and understanding to enlighten and educate me further. I seek Christ in my life and strive to be a better person as I reach out to others in need and try hard to withhold any judgment.

I am a brother, a nephew, a son, a friend, and a significant other. I am also gay.


Hello. If you are at all interested in how a gay LDS 20-something year-old has come to reconcile his faith and his sexuality while attending BYU, this may be for you. If not, well... chances are you are bored and surfing the internet and why not peer into the experience of such a contradiction as I am. A Gay Mormon.

In this blog I will attempt to share with anyone who cares to read, my personal experiences with this "struggle" or "challenge" or "disease" or "mental disorder" or "gift" or "blessing" or "trial" or whatever else it is that you or anyone might call my homosexuality. I will also occasionally rant about things that spark emotional reaction and may not be thought through or edited in a way that would be politically correct or infallible in its bases. I will also post very well thought-out arguments with references and support that will treat reason, religion, and science as it has to do with homosexuality.


As of December 2010 I am no longer a student at BYU as I have graduated. I will no longer blog anonymously as there is no fear of being "reported" or otherwise punished for admitting to being gay. My name is Jonathan and I am 25 years old.

I encourage comments and questions and will respond to any emails I receive.

Are you ready?