31 March 2009

Would I Take The Change Shot? A Response

David's question on Youtube: if I could get a single injection of some magical thing that would transform me into a 100% heterosexual, would I do it?

I choose to respond in writing because I can organize my thoughts better and present them more coherently. And you can't re-read a video.

Setting aside the fact that the question is pure fantasy, of course, because all reputable evidence shows that no reparative therapy has ever worked, here's my answer.

I have a different and more experienced perspective on this than most, because I have been married and my marriage was at times very happy and fulfilling. So when I contemplate the proposed vaccination, I already know what its results would feel like.

And at this point in my life, I wouldn't do it. I would remain as I am. Yes, knowing all of the even if's. Why would I do that, knowing all of the social opprobrium, the judgment, the potential consequences?

Probably for the same reason that I dislike tattoos. Others will differ about tattoos, and that's fine. But I see tattoos as disfiguring, artificially changing and damaging the pinnacle of God's earthly creations, the human body. To me, nothing is more beautiful or sacred than that, in its original and ideal state. In my eyes, no tattoo could ever do anything but detract. Its insufficiency as art or a statement is made all the more stark in contrast to that which it purports to decorate. No tattoo could ever hope to approach the beauty or magnificence or mystery of the body. Tattoos seem to me like a 10 year old spraying crude graffiti onto the Sistine Chapel ceiling because he thinks his own personal touch can improve Michaelangelo's creation.

I did the heterosexual thing for long enough to know that, while I was capable of it, it wasn't ultimately what I really wanted or where I felt the most fulfilled and complete. As I've said repeatedly on my blog, I have never been as happy or as content or filled with joie de vivre as I have since coming out. I'm no longer at war with myself, pretending to be someone I'm not. I am finally a fully integrated person of integrity, content and confident in everything about who I am. And I absolutely believe that this is how God created me. The Savior told us to judge everything by its fruits, and I've done that for myself. I could never accept that such happiness and fulfillment could come from following a path that is wrong. To try to change that by artificial means like a magic vaccination or reparative therapy or anything else would be like tagging the Sistine Ceiling with fluorescent orange spray paint, disfiguring my own creation by the hand of someone infinitely wiser and more loving than I can be for myself. How dare I presume to correct His work, especially when having finally recognized it for myself, it has brought me so much happiness?

To try to change that just because I feared someone else's judgment would be to abandon control over my own life, my own spiritual growth, my own connection to God, my own knowledge of who and what I am and what I have the capacity to be. It would be to live my life in fear. I've done that. I will NEVER go back.

Would it make a difference if this magic vaccination allowed me to feel the same way about being exclusively heterosexual? Well, apart from the fact that that is all purely theoretical anyway, it kind of begs the question. It doesn't change the fact that this would still be an artificial intervention, a human attempt to change what God created in order to conform the soul and spirit of a child of God to what other fallible, flawed, darkly-seeing humans believed was "better." More presumption. I am the way I am. I actually have lived the other way because I was told that's what I should do and want, but it never felt as right as the honesty and confidence of acknowledging who and what I really am, the way I am convinced God made me.

The question itself is judgmental. It implies a pre-conceived conclusion that being gay is inherently second-class, less preferable. While LDS theology as currently understood may lead some to believe that, it is also true that the LDS scriptural canon is open and the 9th Article of Faith affirms an expectation of learning many "great and important things" that as yet we have no idea about. It is presumptuous in the extreme to conclude that Section 132 is the summum bonum roadmap for all eternity for every one of God's billions of children who have ever lived, among whom, proportionally speaking, there are likely to have been and be more than a hundred million of His sons and daughters who were, are and will be gay. To think that the LDS Church knows everything there is to be known about their eternal destinies and possibilities because of a handful of verses in one section of roughly 140 chapters of one of four canonical books is at best presumptuous. Laughable is more like it.

Alma 29:45 says that God grants "unto men according to their desire, whether it be unto death or unto life . . . according to their wills, whether they be unto salvation or unto destruction. Yea . . . he that knoweth good and evil, to him it is given according to his desires." I can speak only for myself here, knowing that God sees everything in my heart already. He knows that all the desires there are good, as I've said on this blog before. I have never been and will never be promiscuous. I can live an honorable, moral life and still be gay. I want only what is good, virtuous, lovely, of good report, and praiseworthy. AND I want it with a partner of my own gender, both in this life and the next. In all good faith I see nothing wrong with that. I recognize that the LDS Church would not at present sanction a committed same-sex relationship, even one that otherwise followed exactly the same standard of chastity and fidelity expected of heterosexual couples. But that doesn't change the fact that all the desires of my heart are good and godly ones. I'm glad I don't have to rely on the institutional Church as the final arbiter of my eternal possibilities.

During a recent visit to Salt Lake, I walked through Temple Square on a Saturday morning, always a busy time with temple weddings. There were lots of happy couples all over the place. As I strolled past, I saw the smiles on their faces, and I was genuinely happy for them. And I had no desire to trade places either. I can't explain all the reasons, but the end-of-the-day fact is that, having once been as they are myself, I have no desire to be there again. And I think that's how I know my answer to David's question. The daughters of God are wonderful and beautiful; I have a little daughter myself and she is priceless, one of the joys of my life. She deserves every blessing imaginable. And for whatever reason known only to God the Father of us all, her dad has no desire to be an eternal companion with any of God's other daughters, but only with one of His sons.

David, I won't tell you what to believe or what to decide, or try to influence you one way or the other. I will only tell you not to forget the inspiration you told me about that you've received so far.

Now, I do try to practice what I preach. Just as the Church's current knowledge on this is demonstrably incomplete, so too I concede is my own. I am not infallible or perfect. I too hope for greater light and knowledge. Can I say my current beliefs will never change? No. Could I be wrong? Sure. But the best I can do right now is marshal every bit of experience and wisdom I've accumulated from all sources, examine my own heart rigorously and honestly, and draw the best conclusions I can, seeking whatever inspiration God chooses to give. Having done all that, these are my conclusions. And I'm content.

1 comment:

Scott said...

How many straight people would be willing to take a magical shot that would turn them gay?

I'm guessing not many... So why should I be any more excited about changing who I am than they are about changing who they are?