24 January 2010

A Visit From Mr. Bigelow #2

Chapter Two in the series. Again, first will be Mr. Bigelow's original statement. Second will be my questions to him in response. Third will be his latest reply. Mr. Bigelow's words will be italics.

2. Same-sex attraction and its difficult dilemmas are real, but they're not the world’s hardest challenge or even harder than some challenges within straight marriages, though some make it sound like mixed-orientation marriages are "absolutely unreasonable and undoable."

Please explain which challenges within straight marriages are more difficult to deal with than the homosexuality of one spouse, and on what evidence you base your claim.

Well, I don't believe in the 100% homosexuality of one spouse, or they wouldn't have or shouldn't have gotten married in the first place. But a spouse who feels some percentage of gay attraction, even if a majority of attraction at times, is the trial I'm thinking of. Compared to that, I think a wife's lack of any sexuality at all is just as hard or harder, and well as a husband's abuse (of course, husbands can be frigid and wives abusive). A couple losing a child or children may face a harder struggle than a couple dealing with one spouse's same-sex attraction. I think a couple with their own serious long-term health or financial struggles might have a worse time than a couple with a husband who has to resist gay attraction but is still also able to behave heterosexually.


Frank Lee Scarlet said...

"Well, I don't believe in the 100% homosexuality of one spouse or they wouldn't have or shouldn't have gotten married in the first place."
Indeed they shouldn't have, but it does happen (I've spoken with 100% gay men in mixed orientation marriages) and *that* is the issue at hand--gay/straight marriage. A bisexual/straight marriage is a whole different ball game.

Madame Curie said...

Wow. Does he even know what he's talking about?

I'm guessing not.

Scott said...

Is Mr. Bigelow reading these comments? If so:

Mr. Bigelow: I am a 100% gay man. I am not attracted to women. At all. I am married. I am not physically/sexually attracted to my wife. At all.

I agree with you on one point: We "shouldn't" have gotten married. But fourteen years ago I couldn't even admit that I was attracted to guys (because my church taught that that was disgusting and evil), and marrying a woman was the "right" thing to do, so I married my best friend.

Here's the problem with your list... All of the "challenges" you mention that you "think" might be more difficult to deal with (and you do use the word "think" a lot--you don't seem very certain) are challenges that any married couple (including a mixed-orientation couple) could face.

For example: My wife and I have struggled with financial issues on and off over our fourteen years. My wife has had emotional health issues, with anxiety disorder and occasional panic attacks, that have been challenging to deal with. These are both things that you say might give a couple "a worse time" than the challenges of sexual incompatibility.

But a mixed-orientation married couple has to deal with all of the issues that a straight couple faces in addition to the challenges of sexual incompatibility, which are hardly insignificant. My wife has to struggle with the knowledge that I'm not attracted to her, and that I don't find her sexually desirable. I have to keep a tight rein on my thoughts, and seek acceptable ways to fulfill my desire for male companionship while still keeping my marital commitments. We both have to constantly wonder what the future holds for us.

Madame Curie is right. You don't know what you're talking about. And you would do well to avoid speaking authoritatively on subjects that you know little about.

Pomoprophet said...


Did you see this movie playing at Sundance?

Bubby said...

I am currently a married man with 2 young children battling to understand my sexuality.
I can not express or totally understand why I did not pursue this earlier, it might have been society, parents, my fears and so many more reasons that seem to keep people in the closet.

The problem is denying and lying to myself became to much to bare, and now I have entered a journey that I have no idea where it will lead, but for the first time in a long time I feel awake.

I have successfully repressed this part of myself for so long that I still struggle to not see myself as a straight man.


Christopher Bigelow said...

I take my authority from what I understand of Mormon belief and theology. If we don't have common ground on that, then there's really no conversation possible, because the Mormon viewpoint is absurd from a worldly/secular viewpoint.

And I am a believer in the Kinsey scale of 0-6 and that people's position on this scale can change over time, based on their behavior, thoughts, circumstances, fantasies, etc.

I do not believe that anyone is 100% gay 100% of the time throughout a lifetime, and choices and efforts can affect one's orientation.


Scott said...

I do not believe that anyone is 100% gay 100% of the time throughout a lifetime, and choices and efforts can affect one's orientation.

Okay... So what different "choices" and and additional "efforts" can I have made that would have had a different affect on my orientation?

Until a year and a half ago (I was 34 at the time) I refused to believe I was gay. I did not entertain homosexual thoughts--I immediately banished them from my mind if they happened to catch me unawares. I never looked at gay pornography. I never fed my feelings and attractions in any way. There's no way that anyone could accuse me of not making every possible "effort" to be "straight".

As far as "choices" go... I dated girls in high school (not as frequently as some of my friends, but I was a shy kid). I married my "high school sweetheart" a few months after I returned from my mission. We had regular sex, more frequently earlier in our marriage than later, but it never stopped entirely. I chose to be "straight" in every way.

... And yet I was miserable, because no matter how hard I tried, and no matter how much I denied it, and no matter how hard I pleaded with the Lord to make them go away, I still frequently and regularly had flashes of attraction or desire for men that I would need to banish. And not once in all this time did I ever experience any sort of longing or desire for another woman, or anything that I would call "sexual attraction" for my wife (who, to be clear, I love deeply--she's my best friend and the mother of my children and the person I love most in this world).

And so I maintain that I am and have been "100% gay" for my entire life, despite making every "effort" and "choice" (for many years) that the Evergreen types insist can "change" my orientation. The evidence of my own life (and the vast majority of the evidence in general) does not support the idea that orientation can be consciously altered.

Some people may experience minor fluctuations in attraction over the course of their lives (independent of any conscious efforts), perhaps, but from all I've read even these "changes" are typically not significant enough to reflect a switch from homo- to hetero-, and are more typically fluctuations within the range of bi-.

I take my authority from what I understand of Mormon belief and theology.

This is the problem... Not only is Mormon belief and theology incomplete (President Hinckley admitted to not understanding homosexuality, and there have been enough changes in church policy over the years that it is evident that to at least some extent said policy is man-made), but it's also clear that your understanding of "Mormon belief and theology" is in some cases incomplete, outdated, or mistaken. The church does not promote the concept of "change" anymore, for example (allowing that people are welcome to try it if they want, but maintaining that they do not endorse it).

As others have noted, your words--as well-meaning as they may be--can have serious repercussions in the minds and emotions of young men and women struggling to reconcile their orientation and their religion. No matter how fervently you believe that gay sex is sinful, I hope that you can agree that suicide is worse, and understand that a more moderate, understanding, Christlike approach (that can and will save lives) is the better one to take.

Mister Curie said...

Thank you Mr. Bigelow for being such an unwavering beacon for what the church stands for! Your light helps us to more distinctly see the church for what it is.