Sunday, December 6, 2015

Invictus Pilgrim Memoir: Premises and Purposes

This is another Invictus Pilgrim Memoir post.* The following comes from a post I published on my Invictus Pilgrim blog on 12/4/10.


"There is an understandable tendency for persons who have been raised or otherwise steeped in the Mormon religion and culture, when coming to terms with their homosexuality, to operate based on certain premises and frameworks that are an intrinsic part of such persons’ worldview and mode of thinking. They are often not recognized until a detached observer reveals them for what they are. 

"There are many of such premises that could be discussed; I will mention only two. One of the most fundamental of these premises was referred to by commenter in response to my question of why God would “make” some people gay. He wrote that most Mormons have 'a relentless habit of ascribing everything in life, no matter how small or detailed, to divine intent, design or intervention.'  

"Such a framework, in the context of the origins of homosexuality, can lead to (among other things) an exhaustive and ultimately fruitless quest, once a Mormon has accepted that he is gay, to find some divine purpose in, and/or reason for, his homosexuality. This could be instructively compared to parents praying and agonizing over why a child with Down Syndrome was born to them; or to a person born with hemophilia, or diabetes, or any other genetic disease, seeking to understand the divine intent in “making” them born that way. I think I have learned that it is much healthier for me to simply accept the fact that I am gay and not assume that there is some grand purpose to this, or that God even made a conscious decision that I would be born gay. 

"Another premise that is woven into the very fabric of everything Mormon was pointed out by another commenter who illustrated his point with the story of how the ubiquitous Mormon CTR ['Chose the Right'] ring was adopted and how there was some discussion on the General Primary Board of using the phrase 'Choose Right' instead of 'Choose the Right.' Eventually, the word 'the' was kept because, in the words of a Board member, 'choosing right could mean many things, but choosing the right meant there was only one way.'

"This ‘only one way’ belief, which is one of the pillars of Mormon culture and theology, breeds smugness, narrow-mindedness and intolerance throughout the membership of the church, even (or especially) in the minds of people who have 'good hearts' but who are largely ignorant of just how smug, narrow-minded and intolerant they are. In the context of coming to terms with one’s homosexuality, one fights against this 'one way' mentality that is woven into, through and around us from the time of our infancy, and it often requires an enormous effort to recognize and reject this premise."

* I began the process of coming out in October 2010. I'm working on writing a memoir about the year following that coming out, and in order to help me stay on task, I've decided to publish this ongoing series of posts based on the blog - entitled "Invictus Pilgrim" - that I kept during that year.

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