Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Celebrity Guest Post #4

*I know many of my non-christian friends might be very confused by how Christians view homosexuality. I wrote this post to a primarily mormon audience and did not defend or address the "why" of our opposition to homosexual marriage or intimacy. If you have any questions, facebook me or email me at ianbaen@gmail.com.*

A few months ago, I told my father that every Friday night I attended a support group for Latter-day saints who experience same gender attraction (SGA). Now, I do attend the group, but I don't experience SGA. I just wanted to see what he would say (and in case your curious, he did handle it very well).

I met Spencer on the last night of our missionary service in Ontario, and have kept in touch since. In August, Spencer told me about his SGA  and, in September, he asked if I would become an advisor to the group I referred to above. These meetings quickly became the most educational and enlightening part of my week.

The group is not affiliated with the church, but the group is founded upon church teachings. It is a place for LDS with SGA who want to live church standards to come and support one another. The role of an advisor is to make sure that the content of the meeting is inline with church doctrine and that inappropriate relationships do not form within group membership. Meetings start with a hymn, prayer, and a lesson. The final hour to hour and a half is reserved for sharing time. Sharing time is time allotted for members of the group to share whatever they want to share. I have heard experiences about everything from pornography addiction, familial abuse, suicide, depression, and intense feelings of lack of self-worth to stories of healing, self-acceptance, deep familial love, and incredible spiritual experiences.

I will share only three of the lessons and stories that highlighted my experience at the group. I choose to share only a small portion of what I could because I can't imagine anyone has a great attention span for the quality of writing a computer science major produces. Oh, and also I told Spencer that I would have this done in February.

No Greater Struggle.
I'm not sure I personally know of a greater struggle than to be a lifelong active mormon and be gay. A short story told by a member of the group illustrated that to me. Gavin (obviously not his real name) told us of the moment when he felt his mother came to understand some of his struggle. One day, he and his mother were in the kitchen talking. His mother mentioned that she never understood how people could call living the gospel a "sacrifice", because every time that a person does something good they are blessed. Gavin then broke into tears and said, "Mom, because of my belief in this gospel, I am going to have to be alone for the rest of my life." I wish I could adequately communicate that moment.

I am not going to try to expand further why this is such an immense trial, but instead challenge you to take a second and ask yourself, "What would that life be like?"

To The Core.
Many of difficulties discussed in the group are far from unique to gay Latter-day Saints. Many in the group fight an extreme lack of self-confidence and lack of self-worth. Your immediate thought to that statement was probably, "That is because their entire lives they have been told that homosexuality is weird, strange, or wrong. They, therefore, deep down think that they are weird, strange, or wrong." I think there is a lot more to it than that; I unfortunately just don't know what.

I wish I could give everyone in that group (and everyone else for that matter) a deep sense of their value. I love the members of that group so much. I wish they could see their own strength, humility, and how amazing they are. They motivate me to be better and to really find happiness in life (the church pounds into our heads that marriage is the source of ultimate mortal happiness, as I think it is. But having to contemplate with them a life without marriage, I have asked myself regularly "Who would I have to be to find deep long-term happiness without marriage?" When I consider that question with a sense of reality, I don't know if I have a good answer). The group has taught me that I can't be really happy until I love myself.

If anyone ever tells you that God doesn't love homosexuals, politely tell them they are absolutely wrong (I had a harsher rebuke, involving words such as "inbred", but my proof reader/dad recommended I not be so mean).

I have only guesses to why such powerful homosexual feelings exist, and yet acting on them is considered sinful. I do not know why God picked certain spirits for certain bodies and trials.

But this I do know, God loves them so much. I have heard their spiritual experiences and have profoundly felt the spirit as they have shared their struggles. In their struggles, God has far from abandoned them.

Knowest thou the condescension of God?
I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.


  1. I LOVE IAN! Ian, you rock. Spencer, you rock. I miss all of you!!! Love you all!

  2. I whole-heartedly agree, good for you :) And Spencer, I am constantly amazed by you. I cannot really think of a better way to say it, so "Rock On!"


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