18 November 2009

Latest Letter From Dad

Sigh. Dad has responded to my letter below. Last time I saw him, I left on his desk and told him about a CD full of materials from Family Fellowship and other really good resources that I thought would help him understand this subject better. But it doesn't appear that he's read any of that. I asked if he had, but he hasn't responded yet. If he hasn't, then I'll wait to reply to his latest letter till after he's done so because I think that material could give him some new perspectives. But if he has read it and still replied as he did, then I'm going to be seriously depressed. That will be some of the result I always feared. He will continue to show love and concern but he will also live the rest of his life believing that I have chosen to not just drift from but to bolt away from The One True Path at the cost of his family's eternal integrity and my own & my children's eternal blessings.

(P.S. He forgot all about the CD so obviously hasn't read any of it. Whew! I reminded him about it so I'm sure he'll read it now. And that will be a very interesting conversation after he's read so much new scientific information and statements from multiple church members that directly contradict his perspectives!)

I don't blame him, in a sense. He had a very rough childhood and is a convert to the church. Everything stable, hopeful, loving, secure, trustworthy, and beneficial in his life has come from that conversion. It literally saved his life. So he is simply not going to consider the church in any other light.

Here are salient points from his letter. I welcome any and all thoughts on how to respond. No matter what, I want to keep this dialogue going. Mind, though, I will delete any comments that gratuitously diss my Dad.

I have read your letter of the 9th with a deep sense of sadness, disappointment and wonder. I appreciate your efforts to help me understand the decisions you have made about your life-style as you go forward, and your sensitivity to the importance of propriety regarding the family. I sincerely appreciate your concerns and love you for them.

So you will clearly understand where I am on this choice you have made, please know that I do not accept homosexual behavior as a normal social or sexual behavior nor do I accept the life-style as one that promotes a stable, emotionally and spiritually healthy society. A man can have a long-term emotionally close and healthy friendship with all of the characteristics that you describe with other men and not live in a homosexual relationship. It is also a choice and not something you were born with. Lest you believe everything you have been told; there is not one scientifically valid longitudinal study that has been done that connects your DNA with homosexuality. A lot of self-serving homosexual professionals have tried, but to date they have not been successful.

I do not have any difficulty with men who have a close personal friendship like David and Jonathan, a brotherhood of sorts. There is nothing to imply in the scriptures that they had a homosexual relationship. Lots of “gay” leaders have tried to make those connections with other notable people, even Abraham Lincoln in the past, without success. That kind of brotherly relationship can be found by any two men. It is that kind of thing that has led to all kinds of men’s groups being formed about the world for hundreds of years. But the thought of my wonderfully talented and loving son having sex with another man I find morally repugnant. It is as Paul said, “without natural affection.” That is what homosexuality eventually leads to and I am sure you can understand my concerns. I might add; that it is difficult for me to believe that you believe that the Savior would tell you that he finds the behavior you have chosen to be acceptable and within “the bounds the Lord has set.” particularly after your work in the temple.

Be that as it may; what is, is what is, and we both need to move forward, even though we believe different things. The answer to this dilemma may be found in the future. In the meantime and I have some questions of concern. What are you doing to deal with the issue of your personal exaltation as explained in the covenants you made during your endowment? What will tell your children about their eternal relationship to you and their mother? What do you see in your future regarding the sealing to our family? Are you giving up all those future blessing as a result of this choice? What are you going to do if it turns out you have been and are wrong?

My final concern: “Me thinketh thou protestest too loudly.” Homosexual marriage is an abnormal social contract and a moral issue. A normal marriage contract is between a man and a woman, not two men or two women. You know that. The long-term social impact on our culture could be devastating and that is why the Church must take the position it has taken. Your temple experience must have told you that. The Lord is not going to change that and it surprises me that you would expect that to happen. My concern is that you find yourself “kicking against the pricks” as you move forward and find yourself totally alienated from your family and your Church. I sense the anger and intolerance in your choice of words when you describe the position of the Church.

To my knowledge there is not a civil right that “gay” members of our culture do not have that any married couple has. If there are I am not aware of them.


Anonymous said...

With all due respect, why do people think we "choose" to be gay? No thinking person would EVER choose to be gay. And, choose to be gay while being a member of the LDS Church or believing its tenents, having a living testimony of the restoration of the Gospel?? No SANE person would EVER choose that.

We are who we have always been.

We did not choose this.

Anonymous said...

Will you be posting your father's letter in its entirety?

Ned said...

Your experience with your dad reminds me of my experience with my parents-in-law. Long ago I asked them to read some literature thinking it would help them understand. Instead they chose to re-read The Miracle of Forgiveness.

They have never been unkind, just increasingly distant. Although I hear from my children that they love me, I rarely hear a word of encouragement directly from them. I guess I should be grateful for this. Things certainly could be worse.

Meanwhile sometimes I wonder how our lives would have been different had I not chosen to try to deny my homosexuality and attempt a "normal life" with their daughter as my wife.

On one hand, I might well be dead from AIDS. Alternatively my wife might have had a much better marriage with someone who could love her more completely than I have.

And what of our children? They certainly wouldn't be who they are without their mix of genes from their earthly mother and father and the unique household which they still call home.

So much for woulda, coulda, shoulda thinking. It's not very productive, but sometimes I do need to acknowledge not only my blessings but also the elephant in the room.

I don't know that this is very helpful to you, Alan, but the fact that you are corresponding with your father and you feel his love for you are positives I hope you will treasure.

Pomoprophet said...

I'm sorry he responded the way he did. For the pain it causes and that things are not yet how they should be.

Grace to you.

TGD said...

Simply put, your dad is never going to able to understand what it's like to be homosexual because he isn't one. The rest of what he believes about it is from decades of church and religious culture teachings.

I've had conversations like this with some family. For me it was easy. I finally got honest with myself about my personal salvation and the convents I made in the temple in that they meant nothing to me. But because all of that stuff means everything to them, I suggested to them that we would not be connected as a family in eternity and I was OK with that. Keeping in mind that they may never speak to me again in order make it easier for them to deal with. i.e. Why claim to have a son/brother in this life if he will just be dead to us in the next life? I'm not saying that you jump out and take that route but keep in mind that is a direction that may just happen on its own.

Consider letting your dad believe what the needs to believe right now and being OK with it. This is going to be hard as he wants you to justify yourself. But unless he seriously wants to understand homosexuality you're not going to be able to do it. Keep in mind you did make a choice. The choice to live as you are not as he thinks you should live. I've at least had to concede on that point. Ultimately my choice was live as I am or not live at all.

He used a few particular phrases such as "without natural affection" that basically justifies his inability to understand. That's a big red flag for me that I would stop trying to win his approval on this issue. He just doesn't understand in the context of how he loves his wife. Only in the context of what is written about it in a bible.

He doesn't trust the scientific community. How could he? They contradict his beliefs and he made no attempt to hide his distain. There is no use trying to prove to him anything. His mind is made up. Of course you know your dad better than anyone here who has read these letters.

But here is the kicker, he predicted something very profound when he said:
My concern is that you find yourself "kicking against the pricks" as you move forward and find yourself totally alienated from your family and your Church.

I would consider this; the harder you work trying to fight his beliefs and his misunderstandings the more his concern comes true. At the risk of giving bad advice, I would try and let your dad mourn the loss of his son within the framework of his beliefs. You may have to let go of your dad for a time as he struggles through that. The best you can do is at least try and clarify the assumptions he has made about you all these years. There are many of them stated in this letter you posted. But barring that, live your life to the fullest without trying to prove anything to anyone. And by that example alone might he see that what he believes is in err. And if he doesn't by all means let it be OK. Kicking against the pricks is just going to embitter you more than it does him.

Evan said...

Alan, I'm sorry. I have siblings who have a similar stance, and I understand that it can be hard. I may not be able to give any good advice, but if you just want someone to talk to, you have my number.

Frank Lee Scarlet said...

Wow--this is strikingly similar to what is going on between my dad and I right now.
I understand...and I'm sorry.

Gay LDS Actor said...

I think your dad needs time. He may never accept your homosexuality, but his heart may soften and he may come to a better understanding as time continues.

One thing I respect about your father's letter, while I don't agree with much of it, is that he at least seems to be coming from a place of intelligence and his letter is well-spoken. He is simply coming from this issue from his own experiences and beliefs.

You know, just as it takes time for a gay person to come out and accept himself, it takes time for others as well. There were times in my own life when I thought I was morally repugnant and when I hated my sexuality. Eventually, through my own personal experiences I came to an acceptance and love for who I am.

We have to give our loved-ones the same leeway to take their own journeys and trust that God will help them find the peace with our choices and conditions that we have found ourselves.

When I think of my own family and where they were a few years ago to where they are now, it's amazing to me. My friend's father, who your father reminds me of, has had a harder time, but in his own way he's coming around in small areas.

We can't expect those we care about to necessarily be on the timetable we expect them to be on. They have their own path to follow.

What I would suggest to you is that just as you expect your father to respect your decisions and life, you must do the same for him, even if that means there are issues you are very much in disagreement on. In your desire to defend yourself, you may find yourself inadvertently attacking things that are precious to him. I would just give him time; continue to be the wonderful, loving, talented son he already knows you are; and keep loving him for who he is rather than who you expect him to be. After all, I imagine that is what you want from him.

I hope my words come across in the spirit I intend them. I do not mean any offense.

Beck said...

Amen to Gay LDS Actor.

There is hope in the healing that comes with time, and as you continuing to be you, demonstrating that you are the same person they have loved, they will continue to love you. At least that is my hope for you.

Sean said...

Double sigh. I suppose with such a reaction all one can do is pray for the softening of hearts. The usual points are there even the fascination and disgust with same genders having sex.

I have yet to meet the member who could stop and think from another point of view... What if the church isn't true, or isn't right on this, that, or the other issue?

It's a sad thing the hardheartedness and closed mindedness of otherwise good people.

BB said...

Alan, That is sad to hear that he probably didn't read the materials you provided. My journey with my father was much better, but he had already confronted a gay child and his own religion so he was open. My mom, a convert, definitely treated similar but as a mother she began to turn around. I was lucky like that... hope that you are lucky too even if it is down the road!

darkdrearywilderness said...

I read your post, kept thinking about it, and had to come back and leave a comment. Probably one of the biggest things about the church that I don't agree with or completely understand, is why would a God that loves us so much, and puts so much focus on our families through His church, split us up in the afterlife as a punishment? Why would God punish your children for your actions, and not let them be with you ever again? It makes no sense to me, and doesn't fit with my concept of God.