Saturday, February 9, 2008

Unfortunate metaphorical rodents of unusual size


I have for some time really deliberated on whether or not I am going to post the most recent letter from my mom. It is very personal, but honestly after some consideration (about 2 weeks worth) I have decided that it may be important for people in this community to see this letter. I would say having your family disown you is the bottom line of coming out and telling your family you don't want to be celibate therefore in the church anymore. This is by far not the bottom line, but I think it's worth reading. This is my mom's letter to me:


Clark,

You have asked me if I can do something. This is what you have said to me:

“I need you to ask yourself.. what does Clark want. What are
Clark’s hopes and fears.. How can I be an ally to Clark on his journey.
This is how I want to be treated by you. Will you do it?”

I have been pondering and thinking, reading and questioning. I have been influenced a great deal by a book I am reading called, The Death of the Grown-up, How America’s Arrested Development is Bringing Down Western Civilization. It is not a church book, and it is not written by a church member, but it is illuminating. Very.

As I have been reading and as I have been deliberating about my feelings about Christmas this year, I have come to some realizations for myself, about my life, what I want, and what I feel, and what I can no longer stand to live with. I actually feel like I have two choices, I can leave this planet, or I can stay and create the kind of life I want for myself and my home.

You may not know this but I have made huge personal concessions to be able to accommodate the people that some of my children have become. I have tried to stay fully invested though, and I have always found that the rewards for my relationship with you have been plentiful. You have always been kind, supportive, caring, respectful, grateful, dependable, independent, and your life has provided us with some very fun and enjoyable experiences. But even with you and me there has been a shift. I don’t think it was intentional. I don’t think I am the cause of it though. I feel that I have remained the same and that you are the one that has changed. Maybe you feel good about that change. Maybe it was the “YOU” that has been waiting so long to come out.

I see that you have chosen a path for yourself. That is perfectly viable. You are so free to do that without any conditions on my part. You are, as you say, 31, well almost.
You call this your “Peaceful Path.” I hope that it is peaceful for you. And I understand that anyone that is creating a peaceful path for themselves will do everything that they can to protect that “peacefulness.” Of course. But in your effort to protect that peacefulness, I have been given some very clear messages from you. Last September on the way to the airport, you told me clearly that I was not to be your God, or your conscience. Now you tell me that I am not to be your confidant, as you will be taking your problems to your peer group, who I guess understand you better and who I am sure will totally support your ideas. That will continue to maintain your peace. So what is left for me in my relationship to you. Oh yes, MOM. But wait, MOM is a parent, and parents have responsibilities, even to their adult children. When I think of the ideal parent I think of our Heavenly Father and I know that He is not only perfect in his parenting, but also that He loves us unconditionally. I think we understand unconditional love differently. He loves us unconditionally, but He will let “no unclean thing into his presence.” What kind of love is that? He loves us unconditionally, but He is the one who caused the flood that completely cleansed the earth from all wickedness. He will be the one that burns the wicked with fire when it consumes the whole earth.. Wow, what kind of unconditional love is that?

I think your kind of unconditional love means not saying what I think because it will hurt you, not being who I am and standing up for what I absolutely and unshakably know is correct, and not allowing those who are as you say you are “in apostasy” to tell me what to say or when to say it. I am under a personal command from my Heavenly Father to “Be courageous. Be ready and willing always to accept the challenges in membership in thy Father’s kingdom in testimony and thy reward shall be joy and exaltation in thy Father’s kingdom.” Never in all my imaginings about my own family did I think that I would ever need that courage with my own children. Life is interesting.

If you don’t like what I have to say, if you wince when you see an email from me, if you are afraid of the truth because it causes you to tremble under the consciousness of your own guilt, I cannot help that. We can either have a true relationship or a very shallow one, and I feel us moving quickly in that direction, but I refuse to give anyone permission to tell me what I can say and when.

I love you Clark, but I have to tell you that so many people have commented to me about how dark your countenance was this Christmas. They have told me that you have lost the light in your face, the sparkle in your eyes. They say that you are still the same sweet, kind person but that magnetism, that charm, those gifts that you held as long as you were trying to live the gospel are gone. It makes me want to weep. But I have learned an interesting thing from it, if a person is trying to live the gospel and failing pretty badly, the Spirit stays with me and continues to bless them. The Lord is very merciful with our weakness and our failings. It is not until one turns oneself over completely to the adversary and begin to work in behalf of his kingdom, tell many that this is not the Savior’s church, and you don’t have to live it, that the Spirit finally departs.. Oh how Satan must be rejoicing over you. Stripped of your best spiritual gifts and the ability to bring people to the Savior, you are now an enemy to the Savior’s church. You are now an unmissioanry, telling your gay friends, “Don’t feel bad if you leave the church, it’s not the Lord’s church anyway.”

This is the Savior’s church, His ONLY church on earth. Take one member away from it and you have moved from the right side to the wrong side and there is only one leader of the wrong side. Only one.

Now I have said what I want to say. I will continue to say it as often as I want. I will continue to be who I am, namely about the best MOM on the planet earth because I am willing to hurt with truth one of the dearest, sweetest, smartest, and most valiant lost spirits that I have ever known in my ENTIRE life.

I think I know your hopes and fears. I would love to be an ally on your journey, but I cannot support false ideas, lies, and open rebellion to the Lord’s church. That would not be an ally as I see it. I would be the worst friend you ever had. Some day I hope you will be able to thank me for standing steadfast and immovable when it was one the hardest, most wrenching choices I’ve ever had to make. That is true love. That is the greatest love of all."

Well that's the letter folks. I don't really know what to say after 2 weeks with this letter. At this point I feel as if there is really nothing left to say to my mom on this matter. We are speaking at our normal frequency (about once a week) but we are not talking about this issue currently. I have just decided to shelf this for the time being and move forward with our relationship in ways that does not involve this topic. She has likewise not moved to reintroduce the topic. I think the most difficult thing for me to stomach about this letter is that my mom thinks that my feeling bad when I get this kind of letter from her has to do with my "guilty conscience"! I wish I could explain to her in a way that she could understand that my conscience is 100% at peace-- I just feel bad because I feel like on a really basic level my own mother is rejecting my authentic journey on this earth, and is thereby rejecting a piece of me. ONE of the other things that bothers me is that I TRULY feel like if I had just gone on the way I was for the past 5-6 years before I got a boyfriend: which was me going to church every sunday and trying as hard as I could to be chaste but having a random encounter with some guy every 2-3 months and then suicidally agonizing over my failure to "measure up", I TRULY feel like as far as everyone was concerned I would still have that "light" about me and would not be "darkened" as so many people in the ward apparently noticed. I wonder if them noticing this darkness has anything to do with the fact that they all know I have a boyfriend lol. The force is strong within you young one. Self-fulfilling prophesy much? Anyway, I am not trying to be nasty. I'm just venting now.

The point of me posting this letter is manifold. First of all, I think this is a common response from LDS parents. My mom particularly appeared to be very accepting of my homosexuality as long as I stayed in the church. The cost of staying in the church to me emotionally and I STRESS spiritually did not seem to matter much to her. I know I am probably sounding like a broken record, but I am sick of being used as a lab rat on the gospel proving ground-- a hamster on a wheel. I feel as if my mom wanted me to stay in the church and be a perfect gay mormon so that she could have validation for the veracity of the gospel and the LDS church. IE if clark is willing to go against who he is sexually, emotionally, and yes even spiritually for the faith that I have instilled in him, then not only is the church proven to be true-- I also also proven to be a faithful administrator of this truth-- AKA a good mother. This gay thing is so powerful, everyone agrees on that. If we can get these gay people to put themselves on the altar, and also get young women who are willing to marry them to do the same, then we will have solved this pesky "gay problem" that most religious faiths are currently facing. The mormon church will officially corner the market on corporate truth. Who can argue? You changed gay people!! YOU MUST BE THE TRUE CHRUCH. Where do I sign up for this miracle??

I am back to what I have always believed. Truth needs no buttress. Truth is truth. It stands regardless of who stands for or against it. We don't need lab rats to prove the gospel works or doesn't work. We don't need hamsters running on their wheel for their entire lives to validate our goodness as parents or children. If the gospel works for you-- I TRULY CELEBRATE YOU! I truly celebrate your journey. If the gospel has proven to be true in your life and brings you all the joy you could ask for and the promise of joy to come, then GO FOR IT! Who am I to say you are wrong. Truth is truth and only YOU can interpret truth within your own microcosm. But before I close the topic, I have to make a shameless plug for "Satan's team" here. I want you to think twice about what you accomplish for your eternal soul, or the eternal soul of the woman you marry by placing yourself or allowing her to unknowingly place herself on this truth proving altar. Is God really asking us to do this? Does He need us to do it? Who does it benefit? Is it about eternal truth, or is this just collateral damage for a religion in transition? As for my mother's truth and its potential intersection with mine, only time will tell whether those truths will create acute or obtuse angles, or none at all.

40 comments:

Jonathon said...

Clark,

My heart sunk when I read this letter from your mother. I am amazed at how you seem to be logically processing all of this. I am sure this goes without saying; but I hope you are giving yourself time to grieve. Though, based on your story, your tears might have already run dry.

You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Jonathon

cl2 said...

I'm so very sorry and, at the same time, THANK YOU!

Your paragraph about using the women as lab rats--as I was one . . .

Read my other posts.

Your mother is WRONG.

My ex isn't even my son. It took me about 20 years. Give her time. She may not come around. She may.

I didn't have children to CONTROL THEM, FORCE THEM to deny who they are. (Although, believe it or not, I'm struggling with my daughter being active mormon--though I went to general conference with her, helped pay her tithing, buy her church clothes, trying to allow her to make her own journey). I allowed my son to dye his hair every color in the book, dress goth, and even marry a girl when I knew it might eat him alive (and they are getting divorced after 9 months).

I think the most difficult lesson we learn in life is to allow people to live their own truth.

I applaud you and your journey. I applaud what you have found and continue to find. I applaud you that you have spared some poor unsuspecting female the chance at an authentic relationship.

I didn't have my children (or marry my husband) to hold them hostage or to CHAIN THEIR SOULS.

I was AS MORMON AS THEY COME--ask anyone who knows me.

I'll adopt you as my son . . . I'd be proud to call you my son.

cl2 said...

After listening to your videos, reading your blogs and some of the other blogs--I find myself caught back up in the "drama." I've been able to put a lot of it behind me--not that he isn't a part of my daily life!! I just am able to FORGET the pain now--I choose to forget a lot of it or I wouldn't survive.

BUT thinking about your mother's letter. As we were taught--I believe what I see (but only you know her) is she is using the "tough love" approach the church taught her to "snap you out of it"--to make you see the "error of your ways." I did it, too--to my ex. It has only been in the last four or five years that I have made peace with what happened to my life because of him. It has only been three years since I quit believing in mormonism--or finally was forced to question my beliefs by my nonmember boyfriend (he couldn't believe I wasn't active mormon when he came back into my life).

I can imagine your mother's CONFUSION--just as you, as a gay man, have had to search for understanding of yourself. She is still "programmed" by her belief system. It took me YEARS to undo that programming. I had to go inactive and step away from my LDS life to get perspective.

I realized in the middle of the night tonight that I finally came to terms with it for SELFISH reasons. I had to. I had struggled with all of it for over 20 years and I HAD TO LET GO. Once I let go of my hate, anger, mormon beliefs, all the confusion ended. To me--the answers are CLEAR. Gay IS. There is no right or wrong about it--no you will be d*mned or saved or whatever.

It really is quite simple once we let go of "man's" interpretation--religion's interpretation.

I actually believe your mother is FIGHTING for her belief system. In order to accept you as you are and come to terms with it--she will have to lose that and I do believe her letter shows her fear. She is going to hang on as tightly as she can--it is all she has ever known. I hope someday she can find peace. I could not have survived had I not found peace.

Now I need to find it with my daughter--somehow convey to her WHY I'm where I am and yet allow her to make her own journey, too.

Clark said...

Jonathon and cl2.. thank you so much for your heartfelt responses. I must say it was honestly very cathartic for me to post this letter and blog my feelings about it. I didn't expect it to have such a healing effect on me! Thank you Jon for your prayers.. I know I will receive their benefit!

Cl2-- its so amazing to hear what you have to say-- especially because you are a mother. I feel the same way, I see her trying to snap me out of it as she effectively done in the past. I remember a few years ago I was on the verge of taking my name off the records of the church, and my mom "snapped me out of it" by sending me this really moving talk by an LDS speaker. It was all about how the Savior always comes in the 4th watch of the night-- the hours between 3am-6am. He waits until the storm is nigh to destruction before he comes. I felt like I was being destroyed by my involvement in the church as a gay man, but thinking that maybe the savior was just on the verge of coming really appealed to me in that moment. I thought to myself, can I go on for one more day? Of course YES I could. I knew I couldn't do it forever, but if I could hang on then maybe I'd find some relief. Now, looking back I really think that the relief I may have been seeking and hoping for was probably just death. That was sort of the only way out of my predicament because I couldn't be happy as a celibate man in the church, and I couldn't in good conscience marry a woman. So death. I think realizing that DEATH was my best option was really the wake up call that has made it futile for my mom to snap me out of it again like she has many times. This one is different and she knows it-- thus the "agent of Satan" vernacular. Its desperation and its obvious she is pulling out all the stops. She is just one step away from disowning me, which she would never do. Anyway, its been an interesting journey-- I have to say, I'm happy I chose life over death.

Abelard Enigma said...

30 years ago, I came home from college one weekend and told my family I had decided to be baptized into the Mormon church. My parents were livid! My father told me I was joining a church inspired by the devil and that Joseph Smith was a charlatan. Two years later, as I was preparing to leave on a mission, they refused to even come to my mission farewell - vowing they would never step foot in a Mormon church.

I love my family; but, we just don't talk about anything Mormon related - even now, 30 years later. They talk freely about their church, which doesn't seem quite fair; but, that's just the way it is.

My point is: Don't let this become a wedge between you and your family. They may never accept this part of you. But, if you truly believe that the path you are on is the right path for you then it shouldn't matter what they think. Being gay is only part of who you are - the rest of you can still have a loving relationship with your family.

No, it's not ideal. Although I'm sure it's not your intent - they may be feeling that you're shoving this 'gay thing' down their throats. You just need to take it easy and, over time, find a compromise - something you can both live with. For example, they may never accept you bringing home a boyfriend. But, one day, they may accept you bringing home a friend, who happens to be a boy, and you sleep in separate rooms.

Note: I've never told my parents or siblings that I'm gay - and have no plans to ever do so. Gay & Mormon - that might just be more than they could handle :)

cl2 said...

I just got back on here to post what I had sent to someone from exmormon--about how your mother must feel.

This has been quite difficult for me--to go back and re-live some of my darkest hours. It is very difficult to read other gays' blogs and see their struggle. AND this is what I see it comes down to:

The difficult thing for this mother is--being gay and with Clark being
gay--you both have had to make this type of decision for your own
survival--either deny who you are or deny mormonism. There isn't any
in between--as I see it. (Do you?)

Since she isn't gay--she can't know what her son feels. It took me a
LONG, LONG time to realize what my ex REALLY FELT.

I could go on and on and on about it.

What she senses and IS FACT is that she must choose her son or her
belief system. There really isn't a middle ground.

The thing is--is that once you see it--it is really so very simple.

It seemed beyond comprehension at one time. It no longer does. It
frustrates me A LOT when I read these letters, these blogs, knowing
they are struggling with the same questions I did--and all I had to do
was LET GO of mormonism (and when you step outside it, you see how
foolish it really is).

I can see that Clark has made the journey from his video.

I guess the point is: Are we really so blind to the fact that

GOD LOVES GAYS, too? Just as they are? (not hate the sin, love the sinner)

Could I love my son less if he were gay? No.

WOULD I WANT IT ANY DIFFERENT? No.
_____________________

Letting go of mormonism, isn't letting go of God.

cl2 said...

I have to point out a few things:

I went inactive at least 10 years before I examined if I believed or not. I had DISTANCE and then was able to process that I didn't believe. It was too traumatic to lose my marriage and my belief system all at once.

AND what we straights DON'T GET is that IT ISN'T ABOUT THE SEX. Everyone looks at it and says (and it doesn't matter how much talking you do--they still see it as a SIN) "he's having sex with another men, ick, yuck, oh my g*d." I used to tuck gay sex away in the "gay sex" area of my brain. The whole idea was destroying me--as I was a very naive good little mormon girl--and I chose to quit thinking about it. It no longer bothers me.

BUT my ex used to say, "It is more about feeling--mentally, emotionally, physically, sexually." I always had an argument, like "well, all my needs aren't being met either and nobodies ever are . . . "

So--before my boyfriend came back in my life--as good as our sex life was (as it was--my ex's and mine--and he will tell it wasn't bad compared to other gay/straight marriages)--Anyway, before my boyfriend came back into my life, I had made peace with my ex, BUT now that I've been with a straight IN EVERY WAY--NOW I get it. I, too, was missing out on something profound, something VERY BASIC. I cried. I felt human for the first time in years. As stupid as it sounds, yes, he does complete me. My soul is at peace when I am with him. Just a peck on the lips can rock my world, just his touch.

NOW, I get it. All you want is what your mother and your father (I assume) have together--and WE STRAIGHTS DON'T GET THAT. We want to deny you that.

AND the church asked me to DENY THAT FOR MYSELF.

Sorry so long--but all this has opened up so many things I choose to bury and tomorrow, I may choose to bury them yet again . . .

cl2 said...

And one more thing and then I'll GO DO MY WORK.

A "Lamanite" gay posted on exmormon one day and said, "The church asked me to deny, hate two parts of me--parts that make me who I am."

WHEW! That one blew me away.

For me to ask my ex to not be gay would make him NOT THE PERSON I LOVE--he would CEASE TO EXIST.

What they are asking is no small thing!! Would your mother want you to NOT BE YOU? That is what she is asking as by changing from gay to straight, YOU CEASE TO EXIST.

MoHoHawaii said...

Clark,

I felt like I was being punched in the gut as I read your mother's letter, especially when she says "you are now an enemy to the Savior’s church." There's a huge amount of alienation behind this kind of labeling.

I hope you can keep your relations with your mom on an even keel and ride this one out. I think your strategy of not talking about these topics is probably a sound one. (The tone of her letter seems pretty angry; maybe this will burn itself out in time.)

I wish I knew what kind of encouragement to give you. All I can say is that I know where you are coming from and that I admire what you are trying to do with your life.

MHH

Parallel Mormon said...

Clark,

Your mother is a true heroine, a faithful daughter of Zion. Hooray for faithful and faith-promoting motherhood!

She loves you, you suffers for you, she suffers with you. She has chosen to follow the Lord, and so she stands by you as a loving, supportive mother.

She cannot accept your path of "authenticity" because she knows it is authentic only in its rejection of the will of the Lord for His children. She remembers the bright and beaming Clark who brought souls unto the Lord, and sees now the same soul absent the Spirit, leading souls away from the Lord.

Hopefully you can help her see the good that you do do, helping guys not take their lives, and hopefully she can encourage you to stay near, if not in the Truth, then as near as you're willing, and then a pinch nearer.

Don't feel bad, bud, you're mom is super! You could not ask for a greater mother.

To Clarky's mom--Sister, you rock!

cl2: Sister, you have is all wrong. As we once said in the 80's, you have it "bass ackwards." Clark's mother is wonderful, spirited, and I can see that Clark gets so much talent from her. It is Clark who must grow and accept the truth, his mom is already there.

MoHoHawaii: Truth packs quite a punch to the gut,doesn't it? The good thing is that you even now are not beyond feeling, because you feel the weight of truth. You seem to have a real knack for being a caring friend, I must say. Stay near too, and don't drift too far in your rebellion.

MoHoHawaii said...

PM--

When I said that I felt an emotional response to Clark's mom's letter, it was because I was witnessing a mother choose religious creed over her own flesh and blood. This is a wrenching, heartbreaking situation, and I feel for both of the people involved.

I will also tell you that the advice you direct to me personally is unwelcome.

With respect,

MHH

Vanson said...

Clark,

First off, I would like to say that your write very effectively, and I agree with what you have to say for the most part.

It does sadden me that your mother isn't as supportive as you would like. However, I think her reasoning is clear and understandable.

I think, in a way you have to accept that. Just like she has to accept your lifestyle choices. You can tell this is difficult for both of you, but you both need to retain that love for each other.

It's hard for me to give advice on the subject. I am still trying to come to terms with my standing. I am still trying to figure out if I want to live with the "eternal perspective" in mind, or live a mortal life of happiness. My parents are not aware of my struggles either, and if I do choose to kind of separate from the Church, I am afraid I will get a similar response from them... a letter, telling them of their "unconditional love," but how they are not willing to support me in my choices.

I hope your feelings for the Church are not too negative right now. I think that is something we as "mohos," should all retain. The Church is designed with good intentions... but somethings, like SGA, are not fully understood. I believe we all need to retain that sense of charity, happiness, cleanliness, and even the importance of families.

-Vanson

Clark said...

Vanson: I love your point of view and I, like you, am committed to continuing to live in a way that is authentic and hopeful without allowing bitterness or anger to become my daily companions. I appreciate you saying that-- it is extremely important to me to extend the kind of love and patience I hope to see from others wherever they may stand on this issue. It really is true--- kindness begins with me.

Parallel: I'm happy that you can rejoice over my mom's choices. I think what she is doing is actually not helping anyone or anything, but maybe it is helping her feel strong so I guess that's worth something. I don't think it's helping God in the least, and I don' think its helping the gospel. As I said.. the gospel doesn't need a single defender to be true. As the standard of truth says (if you believe it) no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing. In response to what you said to MHH, I wish I could help you (and my mom for that matter) to understand that all negative feelings are not derivatives of guilt just because we have left the church. There is this unilateral generalization that people who choose to stay in the church tend to use with people who leave the church.. that if we cry or have a moment of sadness or heaven forbid a moment of compassion for the suffering of another person for something in their life it is because we left the church and the Spirit no longer strives with us. However, if you or my mom cries its because you are being subjected to a righteous challenge. If you and my mom are going to stay in the church, which you both seem committed to doing, I would like to see you both move into a place where you can understand that we are all human and maybe we don't feel guilty at all about leaving the church at all-- but not surprisingly we still feel sad and lonely some days just like you. My mom disappoints me when she minimizes my feelings which are painful for many complex reasons to simple guilt because I am being "bad". What suddenly I'm not past feeling?? Parallel, you need to be humble enough to allow a brother like MHH say he felt compassion and empathy for my situation without using it as a way to reduce his emotion into "oh well you obviously feel guilty because you left the church". MH doesn't feel guilty-- he feels charity. There is a world of difference. I want to see you and my mom both express more humility and love and less generalized judgement. Kindness begins with you too. We can't get so caught up in the grown up emotions to forget the basics. We need to be loving and respectful and allow all men the same privilege let them worship how where and what they may.

Vanson said...

Clark, I was thinking this while going to lunch after posting my last message.

I remember learning in a sunday school lesson the "level of importance" of our relationships and goals. I don't remember the order exactly, but I do remember first was God, and then 2nd was family... followed by friends, education, etc.

And then the Biblical account of Abraham and Isaac comes to mind, which is a concept I really do have trouble with... maybe because I am not that faithful or something. Abraham was told to sacrifice his son. He did this willingly because that is how much he loved the Lord.

I'm not saying I agree with your Mom or the lifestyle you have chosen... I just feel like that may be how she is viewing things. I do feel like some of the comments she made were inappropriate (like "losing the light in your eyes"), but I really do believe she feels like she has to go the path she is going because that is simply what she has to do in gospel terms.

Parallel Mormon said...

Clark,

I can appreciate the ability to show compassion, so I thank you for the point.

I read enormous compassion in your mother's words. She is not choosing creed over her own flesh and blood (a self-serving and mendacious mischaracterization), she is choosing both. I read her love for the Gospel, for the Lord, and for you. She does not countenance your choices, though, and I wonder whether you have decided for yourself that love=countenancing choices.

She disagrees with what you have done (leave the Church, disregard the sacred laws of chastity, encourage others to do the same), but she loves you and is committed to being close to you.

I read your earlier posts and you are clearly always welcome in her home. Surely this should be good enough proof that you're always in her bosom. That you would press her to allow your current partner in and to at least implicitly sanction gay coitus under her roof is understandable, I suppose, but if she does not allow it that does not constitute a rejection of you, however disappointing it may be not to have your partner at your side.

I appreciate your thoughts, Clark, but I must say that I find your mother's feelings to be bang on, both just and loving.

Jonathon said...

Greetings all.

I need to respond to Parallel Mormon.

You said the following:

"She is not choosing creed over her own flesh and blood (a self-serving and mendacious mischaracterization), she is choosing both. I read her love for the Gospel, for the Lord, and for you."

Though I have no doubt Clark's mother loves him deeply, I must disagree that she is demonstrating a love for the gospel and for the Lord when she states the following:

"It is not until one turns oneself over completely to the adversary and begin to work in behalf of his kingdom, tell many that this is not the Savior’s church, and you don’t have to live it, that the Spirit finally departs.. Oh how Satan must be rejoicing over you. Stripped of your best spiritual gifts and the ability to bring people to the Savior, you are now an enemy to the Savior’s church. You are now an unmissioanry, telling your gay friends, 'Don’t feel bad if you leave the church, it’s not the Lord’s church anyway.' "

It is the Lord who said the following on His sermon on the mount in Luke:

"Bless those who curse you."

"Pray for those who spitefully use you."

Though Clark is by no means cursing or spitefully using his mother or the LDS Church, the principles apply. If there is someone that believes and acts differently than you, do not bring them guilt-filled messages about Satan's victory over their souls. How does that profit someone?

Isn't it the Lord that said in Romans 8:1 -

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus...

Clark has not denied the Lord Jesus Christ. He is simply being honest. I believe this is a mark of true godliness, and true manhood. He is not hiding behind a veil of deception.

Humility is a character trait that I have heard General Authorities speak on in great detail. Clark is demonstrating incredible humility as he has spoken and written frankly about his innermost thoughts, conflicts, and desires. I am confident this has been a most harrowing journey for him.

My prayer for his mother is that her great love for him (and I am certain she loves him immensely), is no longer filtered through condemnation, guilt, and self-righteousness, but that the Savior's love would be spoken into his tender soul.

I know the Lord loves Clark with an incredible love that we humans are sometimes so inadequate at expressing.

Jonathon

cl2 said...

Parallel mormon--when you have been where I have--walked in my shoes, then you can judge. I love my husband beyond your capability to understand--because you see I didn't love him and lie to him EVER--like you did your wife.

When you can be authentic, then you can talk to me. He isn't even my son--and I chose him because I know God loves him as it has been revealed to me over and over and over again. I know MANY people just like me. I hope you never leave your wife. I hope you never cheat on her. I hope you can be true and faithful, BUT when you fall (as you most likely will as I've read your other posts), then you will come crawling to people like me.

I chose love over hate and judgment, bigotry. I have watched my husband suffer. Did I need to walk away from him? Could I have? Yes. Just like most ex-wives of gays do. They grow in bitterness and hate--in judgment and misunderstanding.

I love that man. I've heard it from the best--so don't think you are any kind of new voice. I've heard it all. I didn't blow in just yesterday . . .

I've watched my husband go from a tortured soul to an eagle . . . as has my soul. I was tortured for years over my love for this man and I have had beyond spiritual experiences. I have had experiences I'm sure you couldn't even begin to come close to . . . and I know God loves me and he loves my husband just as he is.

I have no fears. I have no regrets. I never lied to anyone as you have.

P.S. When you knelt across the alter, did your wife know you were gay? I did.

You're full of sh*t and one day you'll figure it out . . .

I, who am not the mother of a gay, could have walked away and never looked back. I could have forsaken him . . .

Good luck. AND when you need those of us who GET IT--of course, we'll be here for you--not like the members of the church.

My motto these days is (AND I was as mormon as they come--every one who knows me will tell you that one--it was no small thing for me to lose my testimony)--

"I have not gone where I intended to go, but I have ended up where I needed to be."

Being female--I married a gay--I CHOSE TO MARRY A GAY because I loved him beyond your ability to understand. I laid my life on the line. I was willing to sacrifice my very life.

I then had MADE LOVE with a straight man who I have loved since I was 20 years old (and I am 50). I KNOW THE DIFFERENCE. You, sir, do not.

cl2 said...

My marrying my gay husband was selfless. You marrying your wife and lying to was, what would the word be?

Oh, that would be SELFISH.

cl2 said...

parallel mormon--a few questions

I may be back to read them, I may not. It is very disheartening for me to see this struggle as I have worked beyond it and am at peace until I come and read the judgment of a mother on her son or read the tortured posts on other blogs . . . Like I said, I could have chosen to turn my back on my husband, to hate him. I have made a journey you have no clue about. I had every right to hate him for how he treated me when he left--destitute, raising two kids alone. He abandoned all of us--not just me. My kids love him and have a good relationship with him and why would that be? BECAUSE OF ME. You can ask my kids. I chose love.

So, parallel mormon:

Have you ever had sex with a man?

If not--well I've heard all the twisted ways of saying it. My husband told me he had never had a lover when he first told me he was gay--but that meant he had never lived with a man. He has had sex with men since he was about age 5 and I FORGAVE ALL THAT.

So--have you had any intimacy at all with a man? Could you have gotten pregnant if you were a woman? I don't know how explicit I can get here. Have you kissed a man? French kissed a man? Felt love for a man--as in romantic love?

Since you married, have you had romantic feelings for a man? Have you met with gay men behind your wife's back? Do you talk to gay men behind her back? Does she know you respond to blogs on here and what you way? Do you allow her to read them?

Have you cheated on your wife--that would mean (according to church doctrine) have you had thoughts of having sex with a man (as if you have, you have already sinned in your heart)? Have you looked at gay porn ever--now or before you were married? Have you masturbated? Have you had a BJ or given one to another man?

I, myself, never french kissed a man until THE BISHOP assigned my gay boyfriend to french kiss me without me knowing (after all, we had to save a gay at my expense). My boyfriend/husband had the decency to tell me beforehand as he knew what type of girl I was. I was as clean as the driven snow and the bishop assigned us to do anything and everything EXCEPT sexual intercourse--and he would give us a temple recommend to get married as he JUST KNEW (with help from info from BKPacker--and I even wrote to Packer and MOnson and I'm sure you wouldn't have liked what I heard back)--anyway, they all just knew that if my boyfriend just got turned on by a woman, he would change POOF overnight and we could all live happily ever after. I CHOSE not to follow his advice as I didn't feel that two wrongs made a right.

I've been places you have no idea about all out of love for my husband.

In fact, we were 27 when we married--and the bishop found me extremetly attractive and told me so. My husband's gay friends couldn't figure out how he GOT ME. I was one hot babe. I chose waiting for an RM over all the nonmembers who wanted to marry me. The RMs didn't like me because I'm too independent--which is why I survived after my husband left us. I kept the house we purchased together and paid most of it off myself--he LIVES HERE NOW and pays me rent--how's that? I raised two wonderful children who he agrees he is d*mn lucky to have who love him and spend time with him regularly.

I have performed a miracle with the help of God. I haven't been struck down . . . I could tell you of all my accomplishments and blessings since leaving the church including being told that my soul mate was coming back into my life for years before he did-and even my ex and my TBM brother-in-law agree that he is my soul mate and they always knew he'd be back.

So--take me on, buddy.

When you are 50 and still married and your wife doesn't hate and despise you and you haven't abandoned your children and you have been COMPLETELY HONEST WITH YOUR WIFE IN ALL YOUR DOINGS--come talk to me about righteousness and love and blah, blah, blah

Believe me, I've communicated with the best over the gay issue . . . I chose love and life . . .

Parallel Mormon said...

Clark,

Out of deference to your site, not knowing whether you favor seeing your site turned into an arena of forceful tirades. Thus far you've seemed open to respectful exchanges, so I'll honor your example and be respectful, and brief.

Jonathon:

I'm happy for Clark that he has found an ally in you. I did peruse your site enough to know that you drew near to the Spirit then seized up in some soul conflict and embraced Orthodox Christianity. Herewith a bit of truth: any belief or practice, whether it be right or wrong, given enough time becomes a tradition. Any grouping of traditions bound together by a common theme and endowed with authority by common consent becomes orthodox.

Also, anyone can cite a scripture and stipulate its meanings, but there is nothing in the verse that obligates anyone to accept the stipulation, and most stipulations are random attempts at bending scriptures to make them accord with tradition. When Orthodoxy comes into coflict with the Gospel truths (very high frequency, it is the norm), the plain truth is always secondary to the Orthodox view.

cl2: I will refer you to my blogs. Your questions (which you clearly thought were powerful enough to bring me down), are worth only chuckles. On my blog you'll find all the answers to your questions, most explicitly, the rest implicitly, but sufficiently plain enough.

Again, redirect your discourse because in your hysterically hyper tirade there was precious little love shown for your children. Which do you value more, your pain or them? I believe that in your heart of hearts you value them more, but you're so rivited on what you suffered (which I am sure was hard to bear) that you are inordinately fixated on that aspect of your experience.

BTW: My wife cut & pasted your response to me...imagine that? How ever did she know where to find such comments?

Clarky, thank you for your peaceful intersection of views. Wish you all peace. PM

Potentate said...

cl2: It really bugs me that you put asterisks in you swear words. Kinda pointless. Half-*ssed, you might say.

Also, you come off as a little crazed and unreliable when you use ABUSE THE CAPS LOCK BUTTON. Fyi.

And finally, I'd like to highlight these gems:

"When you can be authentic, then you can talk to me."

"BUT when you fall . . . you will come crawling to people like me. I chose love over hate and judgment, bigotry."


Clark: I got a similar letter from my mom today, only lighter on the condemnation, heavier on the love, and not nearly as combative. I haven't left the church, and maybe if I had, the letters would be even more similar.

If they do truly believe lds doctrines of families and eternity, what choice do they have? Or, more importantly, what choices do they perceive? Maybe you can help her see an option that doesn't peg you a private in Satan's army.

Unless, of course, you are . . .

;)

Clark said...

Well first I want to say that the dialogue we are having is very important. I am glad that PM and cl2 are sharing their strong feelings on this matter, but I have to intercede here and just ask that everyone share their views in a way that is respectful to those that have expressed opposing views. Cl2, I know that PM can come on very strong at first (I know this from experience) but the truth is he is a really great guy and has a lot of love in his heart. PM, its clear that Cl2 has been through a literal hell which I think we are some of the few people who might be able to grasp the smallest part of what her life was like. She deserves support as she is reaching out after some time not discussing these things, and beyond that she is obviously a wonderful mother-- all reasons why respect should be shown toward us all. We have to accept that within the mormon world there are still many opposing views about the "right" way to handle "the problem of homosexuality". "more quotes please" "we can't get enough of the quoting" lol sorry. But its true. We are all passionate about what we feel and what we have experienced, and its only natural to want to do everything to convince at any price. But its not worth making an argument if we have to hit below the waist in order to make our points. We are all here for the right reasons..to raise consciousness, to heighten awareness, and to attempt a more authentic earth life! Lets focus on that as we move forward, and lets use each of our experiences with respect and admiration so we all feel safe to be who we are. Thanks!

Clark said...

Potentate-- I think you are very right.. what choices do they perceive? That really is the question. I think that at least with my mom, my being a gay man and now stepping outside of the safety net of gospel obedience presents her a challenge to her testimony. I feel like the real reason that my mom don't perceive any choice but the one she is currently pursuing is because she has chosen to believe what the church has said about homosexuality instead of what I have said about it. The problem I see with the church's advice and doctrine on homosexuality is this: which source are you going to follow? Statements from the past or the new statements that contradict those from the past? When we believe that every word out of a prophets mouth is scripture it must be confusing to her to make sense of it all. At the core, I think the big issue is that if she decides to believe me-- that being gay is part of my very being-- that truly this is my genuine experience of myself with no editing-- if she were to internalize what this means, I think it would present her with a big challenge of her faith. On a certain level, the only way she can keep her faith as it currently exists is by denying that my homosexuality is real. Once last year I suggested that maybe this was a challenge to her testimony and she really freaked out on me. She was like-- how dare you suggest that MY testimony could be challenged. It was a little intense because it was just like so easy to see what a fearful response that was. It reminds me of this story I read on someone's blog about how once a general authority came to the author's mission and one elder asked the GA, how did you get your testimony? Apparently the GA got sort of offended and said something like, My gaining my testimony is far too sacred to share here and how dare you ask me. This author then pointed out that Joseph Smith didn't deem it too sacred to say he saw God and Jesus face to face. Anyway, I have absolutely no desire to shake my mom's faith. She sees the gospel and the church as her life. She makes no separation. I think for now I just have to let her work this out on her own.. and just pray that she can someday work it out.

cl2 said...

I'm actually not going to read any of the posts--I don't even know who has posted since I did. It is very, very difficult for me to read this stuff (and not because I've decided to be a sinner--it is because I feel that loss of hope I felt while still mormon--loss of hope of a valid answer for YOU GUYS--for my husband, for my marriage, for my life. They stole hope from me--I have hope again. So--I'm going to post what I sent my boyfriend today about my active mormon daughter . . . )

I said to him:

With _____ being active. I KNOW what she is searching for--that guarantee.
She is examining the evidence. She even tells me things that disturb
her. She doesn't realize that I was her. I see her trying to twist
things around to make them make sense. Reason will eventually help her
see--but it may take years like it did me.

Some things are so evident and you refuse to see them--as the guarantee
of the perfect life is so enticing. YOU WANT IT SO D*MN BAD.

AND this is one of the reasons I married a gay--because they want it
too. They HOPE that despite their orientation--that if they do it like
the leaders tell them--do it RIGHT--that they'll have the guarantee,
too. They want it more than I did--a lot of them. THEY WANT A NORMAL
LIFE--they want a guarantee . . .

It is really amazing how CLEAR things become when you step away from
it.

cl2 said...

I did read some. I put asterisks as a habit because I have friends and family who e-mail me from work. If I curse in my e-mails, the e-mails don't go through. It is out of habit--nothing else.

I have very, very strong feelings about all of this, but I have worked through my issues. When I read this stuff, it brings it all back. Actually, my highly-intellectual boyfriend likes how I express myself in e-mails, etc.--given he has an IQ of 154--I guess that says something about my posts. I guess you guys can't handle emotion?

So--anyway, I had a nice little trip down memory lane and now I will go back to my peaceful life--with my gay ex husband as my dear friend who lives here with me, my mormon daughter who I support on her journey, my agnostic son--who both think I'm the strongest person they know, and my dear soul mate. I doubt there are many people who stay in love for 30 years and find their way back . . .

I'm done reading this stuff. Actually, all the gays who are my husbands boyfriends and friends adore me. For those of you who condemn me. Go read wearewildflowers web site and see how most ex-wives of gay mormons feel . . . I'm the only one who has come to terms with their ex's lives. Most of them don't even talk to their ex's, the ex's never see the children--some haven't even seen their own grandchildren.

The fallout from these marriages is NO SMALL THING. Good luck on your journeys.

Colleen

cl2 said...

For your wife--can't think of your board name, PM?

When she needs support, refer her to wearewildflowers.

My ex and I were very open and honest with each other as I knew when I married him. I have amazing letters--LOVE LETTERS that he sent me AFTER HE LEFT ME (and before). He adores me. He actually can't live without me.

In the end, who does he live with? I'm the ONE in hundreds.

I'm 50--and how old are you? My kids are 22. How old is your's?

I had so much hope the day I married him in the temple. Go read my story on wearewildflowers.com

I loved him more than life itself. Ask my kids if I dwell on my pain and anger. Some pain will always be there--how can it not? I still look at him and love him with all my heart, but I respect him as a person--as a gay man. I respect his right to be HIM. It was not an easy journey.

As I said--read other stories on wildflowers. Have your wife sign in on the message boards (you have to have permission). I choose to not talk to them anymore as they are all about condemning their ex's and about citing the atonement for them being good mormon and for their sins. I couldn't condone that.

This opened up old wounds. I listened to Clark's videos because a gay from exmormon.org asked me to. As a matter of fact, the gays on exmormon have thanked me for my candor, for my acceptance of them. I e-mail one whose wife divorced him for being gay and losing his testimony. He had never cheated--he didn't even realize he was gay until the last few years and he is about 40. She has just gotten permission from the courts to move his kids out of state--away from him and his job. So--kids gone, he supports his wife completley financially and she doesn't have to work--so he has to keep his job or go under. He was suicidal last week--and who did he turn to . . .

I have had many tell them that I have helped them in their darkest hours.

Let's talk about judgment here. It wasn't so long ago that I hated gays--I told my ex that I hoped someday he would only be a blip on my radar screen--that I could pretend gays didn't exist. My exmo therapist tells me most people don't come to this point of peace in their lives.

I listened and read as a favor to a gay on exmormon--and only for that reason. He wanted my take on things. It opened up old wounds, especially reading Clark's mother's letter. It disturbs me that I WAS HER.

And for all the people I hurt when I had that attitude--especially my ex--I apologize. I adore the gays in my life. Many of them have told me if they were straight--they would certainly have married me.

So, PM, when your wife needs support--as I won't be surprised if she does--there is her support system. I was like her once . . . I had so much hope as the wife of a gay mormon.

I now have hope again--

Instead of be supportive of the gays who ask me for favors from now on--like venturing back into the disturbed world of mormon gays, I will defer and go about my life.

P.S. My e-mail is on wildflowers for when . . . someone you know and love needs my support. I have helped many women through this--MANY. I choose to do so at my expense emotionally.

cl2 said...

And you'll all be glad to know that I WON'T BE BACK.

I can and had put all this behind me--until I did a favor for a gay man. Far be it from me to do another one.

MAnderson said...

Well Clarky....i DO declare...you have stirred up a large batch of something or other here!

I think what ALL this boils down to is THIS: we can safely assume, from the letter your mom sent you, that the 2 of you will NOT be competing in season two of CROWNED on the CW? IS or is that NOT safe to say?

It makes me sad to think that you won't be....but I love you if you compete or not. Just remember THAT, sir.

And....I guess that's all for now.
Cheers.....m@

Clark said...

Token mormon team.. please de-sash the token black team

jaap said...

Clark,

I just read your mother's letter, and I will respond to this honestly and bluntly rather than gently but dishonestly: any religion that somehow manages to take intelligent and loving people—not sociopaths with an underdeveloped conscience but regular people like your mother—and gets them to value abstract doctrines more than their real actual flesh-and-blood children scares the living shit out of me. It really does.

That's it for bluntness. The rest is praise. It's great that you stay in touch with your mother even though she doesn't accept you for who you are. You are continuing to give her a chance and that is an act of great charity, but also of prudence: people do change, and you giving her the best possible opportunity to change her mind. It's unlikely that you'll do so by rational argument—but by showing that her rejection is entirely one-sided and you continue to appreciate her, you take the psychological (and, IMHO, moral) high ground.

I wish you best of luck and all the patience you need.

lanabanana said...

Clark,

I am a mother of four. My youngest son is 18, and gay. We have spent the last two years collecting as many stories from gay LDS as we've been able to find. We have met some wonderful people and our lives have been enriched. We have listened to these people's stories with the intention of hearing, without the idea of right and wrong, but just wanting to hear each person's truth. We are better for it.

I've loved your videos. I would love to have a conversation with you. Please feel free to e-mail me.

Alanna in Vermont

honkapuu said...

Communication is a very difficult thing to do at least I have found out so. What I formulate in my head ,no matter how carefully, the receiver usually understands it differently and same goes for me when I try to understand someone who is trying to explain to me something.
I appreciated you comment on my post a while back. I remember reading one of your earlier posts where you mentioned you were helping your mom to be assertive to say what she thinks and stand up for herself. If one has not done that and begins to be that way, they may not find the right words and at first they will come out harsh as in your mom's letter she did. I also got a picture/feeling they were not necessarily her words. She may have been talking ( obviously talking with a friend etc) and to me those words were someone elses.
I had a similar experience with my mom but on a different life changing thing. It took place when I joined the LDS church. She actually threw me out of the house few times. When I got home from work ( after I graduated gymnasium, I worked for few months before I began traveling)and my bags were waiting me at the door, she let me back home each time I left. After a few years when she studied in secret so to speak ( did not want to get pressured to join and has not joined. My family is Lutheran), she began changing her opinion. She realized I was still her daughter even I went to different church and I did not change that much life style wise. I never used alcohol or smoked ( I was an athlete). The only thing I had to give up was my daily cup of tea which I replaced with herbal kind. Anyway, long story short, your mom will come around. She needs to find her words and real feelings. This is something new to her that she needs to learn about at her pace and she will come around.At least I hope so. The very thing I love about the Church is our free agency and we all have it. We are to choose the road we take and not judge others who take a different one. In my opinion we can only keep ourselves in check but we can help others to realize their worth and choices. The choices are theirs, yours and mine to keep.
If my daughter happened to be SGA like her father is. I will not stop loving her. She will still be my little child that is trying to find her way.
I hope I have not pushed anyone's buttons but I feel maybe your mom is just learning to communicate and sadly she chose quite hard words but people who are learning to be assertive tend to go a bit overboard. Don't give up on her yet. I did not bring up my membership in the Church a long time wiht my family, we just naturally eased into it. Now my mom accepts and actually takes my side if someone has something negative to say about my choice. I feel one day your mom will too. She loves you. I did not understand the love mother's have until I had my daughter.
If you want to know more, you are welcome to e-mail me and I can tell you more details. I have taken quite abit space here already. Just click my blog and you get the e-mail address from there.

Matthew said...

Thank you for your beautiful words Clark.
Don sent me the link to you video blog. I'm at work and wasn't able to watch, but I can't wait.
I understand your mother's focused perspective and conflict, but I more hurt for HER spiritual alienation from you.
You are right, Truth is truth, love is love.
You are at peace and your mom should be rejoicing that.

I think you are wonderful just the way you are.

You are not an enemy to the Savior.

You are one of his most special children, now and forever. I have always believed that.

I haven't seen you recently, but I can't imagine your "light" could ever die.

See you next week!

Chris said...

Clark, just read this. Much love to you for your courage and grace.

Your profile says you live in New York now. Yes?

Clark said...

Yes I currently live in Queens!

Nathan said...

Clark

Hello. Nathan Wright here. Whats up?

So, I don't know what to say...just got too many emotions and responses in me right now after reading this letter from your mom and all the responses to it...I am very sorry for this.

You are brave.

I've had people tell me that the light in me has faded since I've chosen to openly pursue relationships with men, and I've arrived at pretty much the same conclusions as you have.

My family, fortunately, has been remarkably supportive and understanding concerning my gayness and rarely if ever approached the subject with any condemnation.

I did, however, just return from a 2 month stay in Russia, where I served my mission. I stayed with a wonderful family who I knew on my mission. It was GREAT but so painful and difficult in many ways. I was open with them about my life and my relationships. It was hard for them and I did feel condemned, but loved, in much the same way I see your mother relating to you...

I do think people most often feel compelled to "call others to repentance" out of a sense of their own guilt. I hope this doesn't come off as vindictive, but,I mean their own sense of guilt that in order for them to be right with God, they must make sure they've done everything to make everyone around them right with God, and of course, LOVE does play into this--the people you love most are the ones that you're going to want to be right with God the most. Make sense? Trouble is, when people "call others to repentance" they rarely realize that what they are doing is about them and not the person they are "calling to repentance". It's about them being right with God...this is my opinion---and I thought I didn't know what to say---

At any rate, I recognize something in you (from this cyber distance--although, we have met, long ago) that is really GREAT. I might even call it "the light". "The light" for me is indeed the "light of Christ" which, in my opinion, is given to all men when they chose to do good. When they chose to reach for anything good, for the better part, to love others, to make the world a better place...I have no doubt that you do all these things and do them WELL!

It is my belief that God gives as much light as often as he can to as many people as he can...all they have to do is do is want that light. He may end up burning the world and all its wickedness (though I have my doubts) but for now, I feel certain, that he answers those who ask, he turns to those who turn to him...he is always there, we just have to ask...EVEN IF YOU'RE GAY.

So--I think you've got the light, Clark. Sometimes people are just a little blinded because its shining so brightly from somewhere they didn't expect.

(that last sentence was meant to be a beautifully lucid and triumphant ending to my ramblings...but instead it came off as awkward and trite--but you got my drift)

Anyway--all this talkin' aside--I'd like to see you sometime. You're in New York, right? Wanna hang?

Chris said...

Clark,

Jed and I would love to hang out sometime... You can e-mail me at cjwms71 at yahoo dot com.

[kɹeɪ̯g̊] said...

Wow. I'd just like to say that I know what it is like to have those types of conversations/communications with a parent. My mum is much the same in the way she views me and my life "choices". It is really painful for me to read what your mum wrote to you because I know how much it hurts to have a parent be so blinded by their "truth" and their religion that they will not listen to what you have to say.

I don't expect anyone to think the same way I do, not even my own parents. However, I don't think it is too much to ask for everyone and anyone to treat me with respect and not be constantly calling me to repentance - i.e. constantly telling me how wrong I am and how right they are.

When I read what your mum wrote, If you don’t like what I have to say, if you wince when you see an email from me, if you are afraid of the truth because it causes you to tremble under the consciousness of your own guilt, I cannot help that. it really struck me. My mum thinks the same thing. What I have tried to tell her is that I wince when I see I have an e-mail or phone call from her because I am sick and tired of defending my life and who I am to her. I am sick of her expecting me to live up to some impossible standard that I don't believe in or believe even exists as far as God is concerned. It pains me that those who are important to me think of me as this horrible sinning person. They cannot comprehend that I (and you, and many, many others) are happier, more authentic, and better people living the way we were meant to live. That doesn't fit with their worldview, and so rather than amend it when they come into contact with new data, they invariably decide that anything that contradicts their beliefs is wrong.

Every part of me tells me that sort of mindset is dangerous and ill-advised. To be so invariably certain that even with overwhelming evidence you won't consider for a second you are wrong is, when seen from the outside to ludicrous a position to be laughable if it weren't so tragic and hurtful.

There is a quote I really love from Voltaire: "Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is a ridiculous one."

The LdS concept of this life fits into that statement. This idea of KNOWING the right answer all the time and never having to think for oneself or have conflict and uncertainty is totally at odds with the basic doctrine - and yet so many mormons feel justified in being certain about a few things to the exclusion of so many other truths and experiences. It just makes me sad.

The frustration in having to deal with people who will not acknowledge something I "know" (that I really am gay, that its ok, that God doesn't expect me to live a lonely celibate life, that leaving the church is the right thing for me to do, etc.) is some days too much to deal with. No matter how many times I reiterate that I am not trying to make them follow my path, but that I'm saying that your path just doesn't work for me, nothing sinks in. They just don't hear me.

I apologise that my thoughts are so scattered. What I really want to say is that I identify strongly with what you have written, and have experienced many similar things myself. Thanks for sharing.

C. L. Hanson said...

He loves us unconditionally, but He will let “no unclean thing into his presence.” What kind of love is that? He loves us unconditionally, but He is the one who caused the flood that completely cleansed the earth from all wickedness. He will be the one that burns the wicked with fire when it consumes the whole earth.. Wow, what kind of unconditional love is that?

Wow, what kind of unconditional love? Clearly it is not any kind of unconditional love at all. Your mother must understand it on some level, right? Otherwise why ask this question...

VincentPhil said...

I like very much your idea that truth stands on its own. I'll keep it in my heart as a reminder that justifying yourself is not necessary, proving you are what you are is useless.

I hope you get to live through this hardship without too much bittering. Bad times make you stronger in the end, but when they come from the ones you love, they may make you bitter. Just remember that you mum is not fighting against you, she is fighting against herself, against her set values and vues, and she is losing this battle. This is not about you, so don't take it too personnal. She's who she is. The way she can't change you, you can't change her. Accepting someone else's mistake is part of being a good person. And the one thing I learned in my life is that being this, besides being its own reward, always comes back to you. Accept and understand the ones around you even if they don't do it for you, you'll be happier.

I guess you mother has a right to believe and be what she wants to be as much as anyone else, as long as it hurts no one. But doesn't it hurt you? Maybe that's what she needs to know. She has met non-mormon, ant-mormon people in her life, hasn't she? Does she tell them they work for the devil? Then why you? Why be harder on the ones you love?

For my part, people can give the way they want to the way I find my path. Call me demon, than demon I am. "truth stands on its own" I think the problem is that most don't consider they could be wrong. I guess you can call that faith, but so many have faith in so diverse things, faith can't be enough to prove someone true. So, to me, the ability to doubt is part of being right. Just in case. So at least you do not crucify th one who was actually right.

After all this babble, if you read on mister Clark, I'd like to ask you one question: do you still believe in the teachings of the book of Mormon, of Joseph Smith, and that it is just the Mormon church that has gone a bit astray, or did you leave that behind? How do you place yourself toward this.

Good luck finding a truce with yours, finding a strong esteem of yourself, and finding a bf!

(ps:and thanks for doing what you do, it is for sure a blessing to many)