31 May 2011

New Blog

No, I'm not doing a new blog. But I just ran across one that's worth your attention. There's one out there which went viral during October 2010 LDS General Conference after Boyd Packer's infamous homophobic speech about The Gay which he was subsequently required to edit for publication.

Its author, who refuses to identify himself, revels in the angst and torment of "struggling" to be a faithful Mormon while also being gay. He loves the adulation of hundreds of followers who laud his every post for his bright shining example of devotion to God, the prophet, and every word that proceedeth forth from The Church Office Building.

While constantly proclaiming his own humility and propensity to fall short of perfection, he holds himself out as a beacon of faithfulness and obedience and a savior of the lives of other strugglers. For example: "I've had the daily opportunity to touch people's lives and help them find the faith to avert suicide, fix broken marriages, and pursue lifelong dreams." Yes, that's actually a quote from his blog.

Hmmm. I seem to remember the Savior saying "when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what they right hand doeth; That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly."

Mr. Perfect Sufferer follows the same basic script for each post. It's the same model for inspiring introspective sermonettes used each Sunday morning by Lloyd Newell for the "Music & The Spoken Word" broadcast of the Tabernacle Choir. One need only read a few of his posts in succession to discern the pattern.

He also censors and filters every comment that comes in response to his posts. And he rejects any which disagree with his agenda. The result, of course, is an echo chamber into which none is admitted or allowed to speak except those who already see things exactly as he does--and who see him as a bright shining exemplar. It's no surprise that the overwhelming majority of his blog followers are straight women.

Fortunately this is not characteristic of the entire Internet. And somebody (not me, I had nothing to do with this) has now had the creativity to start a blog which answers Mr. Perfect Sufferer and actually allows the freedom to discuss and debate his Highly Processed Inspiration Packets which he himself does not permit. If there's any justice or fairness in the world, this one will catch on just as fast as his did after Packer's speech. In any event, it will certainly be a better tool for learning and discovering truth, since Mr. Perfect Sufferer seems to have forgotten the insight of the founding prophet he no doubt claims to revere: "by proving contraries is truth made manifest."

To see not only Mr. Perfect Sufferer's thoughts but also engage in actual free discussion of them, click here.

16 comments:

Ryan said...

I think it is extremely sad that just because someone has made a different choice you would think it alright to criticize and ridicule him. It kind of calls into question everything you've said about respect and understanding for other points of view. It's pretty easy to be open minded when it benefits you, but where is your tolerant attitude for a fellow sufferer who is trying his best to do what he believes is right? I think your post is shameful.

Rob said...

@Ryan:

First. Note that I have the guts to post your critical and dissenting point of view, unedited. (Gay) Mormon Guy does not.

Second. De-cloak please so everyone can see who you are and we can talk about whether I've been unfair. Don't hide behind an otherwise anonymous profile. If you have the courage to do that, I'll be happy to discuss the merits of what I've said with you. And if you can persuade me that I'm wrong, I'll say so and will issue a public apology.

Third. If you will read more carefully, you'll see that I haven't said a word about the substance of the path he's chosen. I have taken issue only with what appears to be his hypocrisy in claiming to be humble while obviously reveling in his status as an opinion leader and apologist. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I respect his freedom to choose his own path and to do what he believes is right for himself. I do not respect his insinuations that his is the only way God approves of, or his superficial analyses, or his deliberate censoring of dissenting points of view. If he has the truth, it should be able to withstand the most vigorous debate. As you should be.

Ryan said...

First, my name is Ryan. That is all the information necessary to discuss your post.

Second, you don't respect his freedom. That's why you label him with insulting names like "Mr. Perfect Sufferer," which isn't even all that creative.

Third, he doesn't have to allow derogatory, hateful or bigoted comments from people who disagree with his choices. I will never believe that you have allowed every single comment to be shown on your blog. But even if you did, this guy has the right to censor his comments to keep bigoted hatespeech where it belongs.

You're open minded regarding ideas that you agree with. When someone makes a different choice, you very narrow-mindedly insult and dismiss him. I think you owe this guy a sincere apology. But, whether you apologize or not, your post has quite honestly betrayed your close-mindedness on this issue.

Rob said...
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Rob said...

Ryan you are rapidly losing credibility here.

You're afraid to identify yourself further, so nobody has any idea of whether you speak from experience, or research, or any kind of background that would give your words believability.

Second, you don't read very carefully. I call him Mr. Perfect Sufferer NOT because of his personal choices for life and faith but because he has set himself up as an example to other people of exemplary obedience and he revels in the attention he's getting from it. This is exactly the opposite of what Jesus said he should be doing. Ergo, he's a hypocrite who already has his reward.

Third, though you may not believe it, I have indeed posted every single comment I've ever gotten on my blog except for the Chinese spam. The fact that you are insinuating I'm guilty of bigoted hate speech but your criticism is posted immediately should tell you that I'm not afraid to post dissenting opinions here.

Fourth, your analysis is superficial and wrong. RE-READ my post. NOWHERE have I criticized his personal choices for his own life. ONLY his hypocrisy in how he spins the stories on his blog and, unlike me, shuts down dissenting voices.

Trev said...

Yeah, I see where you're coming from with your comments. I agree that it is unfortunate that he filters his comments, and have always found it strange that all his followers are indeed straight women (it's kind of amusing, actually).

Anyway, although sometimes I don't like to read his blog because it does seem unreal to me, I don't think he's hypocritical, nor that he necessarily "revels" in being an opinion leader or whatever else. I think he's just doing the best he can the way he knows how; there's nothing wrong with that. I do note that, as you say, you don't criticize his choices or way of life in your post, but to me it does indeed sound overly harsh.

Cinder said...

I have read a few of his blogs and find it very disheartening. Life is meant to be enjoyed. I wonder what he will think when he gets to heaven after struggling for his whole life and he sees to men holding hands. Will he think how nice heaven is with all these gay guys here or will he think damn I wish I had dated more men on earth so I wouldn't be stuck with my nagging wife. Just wondering

Rob said...

@Trev:

The Book of Mormon defines "priestcraft" as someone "preach[ing] and set[ting] themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world." That's exactly what Gay Mormon Guy is doing. He claims to the contrary, but his actions, and the consistency of his themes and how he presents them, say otherwise.

Thanks for correctly noting that I don't object to his freedom to choose his own personal path. But priestcraft and the manipulation of innocent peoples' trust has always been a huge hot button with me. Beyond the priestcraft of setting himself up as a light and reveling in the resulting praise, Gay Mormon Guy's refusal to permit any dissenting views may be within his rights but it ends up deceiving his blog followers, who trust him and conclude from his posts that his is the only right and true and divinely approved path. Most of them appear to be credulous straight women who are probably relatively ignorant of this topic, but they take what Gay Mormon Guy gives them as accurate and representative. It is neither.

So while I don't object to his own freedom to choose for himself, I DO object to his priestcraft and his deceiving others. And frankly, I think such behavior deserves every bit of harsh criticism I and others dish out.

Pablo said...

(Gay) Mormon Guy has every right to choose a path that works for him. If that involves adherence to orthodox LDS beliefs and culture as well as the pursuit of therapy that promises to change his sexual orientation, the so be it.

The straw breaks the proverbial camel's back when (Gay) Mormon Guy advances himself as a hero-martyr in the public blogging environment, allowing his more than 700 followers to fawn over his personal choice, which choice is what LDS leadership would impose upon all Gay Mormons. It would be easy for (Gay) Mormon Guy to turn down the volume and say "this is what works for ME" but acknowledge that others have chosen different paths that are just as legitimate and wonderful for them.

But if (Gay) Mormon Guy did that, he wouldn't have the following he does. I assert that most of the followers of that blog are not there merely to support (Gay) Mormon Guy. They are also there to find confirmation to their bias that there is no other legitimate way for a gay person to live life other than to struggle against homosexuality, follow LDS church leaders who have little or no training in sound psychology or counseling, and pursue at all costs a quest for a "cure" to being gay.

You see, heros and martyrs need villains and assassins. Any person offering a critique, whether strident or mild, of someone set on the hero-martyr pillar will be branded a villain-assassin. However, the reality is that criticism is not evil.

Rob's critique is of the strident quality. But it is not shameful. (Gay) Mormon Guy chooses to approve only those comments that further his self-aggrandizing agenda that seeking out a "cure," no matter the cost, is the best and only truly legitimate option for gay people. By doing this, he insults and ridicules the millions of gay people who live good, meaningful, healthy, productive and exemplary lives while following paths entirely different from the ivory tower existence of (Gay) Mormon Guy.

As a gay person, I am not looking for tolerance. I am also not necessarily looking for acceptance. I have that from my closest friends and some of my family already. I am looking for acknowledgment, be it grudging or freely given, of my right to live a life of meaning according to the dictates of my own conscience rather than the demands of an echo chamber of counterfeit piety.

Trev said...

Thanks for the reply to my comment, it helps me understand better where you're coming from. I understand and agree that he is being "set up as a light" and his seeking to be a light and that he "seeks" that. From an external perspective, it does look like priestcraft.

However, I am near enough in time to my own breakthrough of self-acceptance (and am indeed still going through it) to feel like I can see where he's coming from. I see no reason not to give him the benefit of the doubt as far as the genuineness of his humility. He is doing the best he can, and he gets a positive response, and of course that's going to encourage him, but the pain and struggle he feels constantly is very apparent, and I feel it disingenuous to criticize his approach as prideful just because he gets and enjoys that positive feedback, especially from a vantage point of professing to have moved past such constraints and false ideas (being that homosexuality is bad, orthodox Church response is correct, etc.). Like you say, if the truth speaks for itself, then it should be speaking to him, too, and he is paying for his approach, in a way that I would say would make the fruits of "pride" to be too little to keep him going.

Trev said...
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Trev said...

Sorry, I think I think I double-posted. Anyway, continuing...

Pablo, that is an eloquent and moving description of what you of what you fundamentally desire as a gay human being and why you are dissatisfied with (Gay) Mormon Guy's blog. Maybe I'm hopelessly optimistic or naive, but I really think he'll come around with that eventually. If he's really doing his best, then he'll have to see that. I will continue to give him the benefit of the doubt. He won't be at BYU forever. Something will have to give. Mind you, I'm not saying he will (necessarily) change his personal course, but I'm sure he'll open up to other possibilities for others.

Are these just sickness-induced ramblings? I don't mean to minimize your guys' complaints with his blog; I find it really dissatisfying sometimes, too. Still, it's hard for me to judge someone's intentions just by a blog like this.

Trev said...

Oh, sorry, I wanted to talk about the "manipulation of innocent people's trust." I think GMG is mostly innocent of this, though I admit he surely has that effect, in a frustratingly big way. He is as much as a product of his culture as are his followers. If he weren't blogging, they would find their confirmation somewhere else.

Also, sorry to beat a dead horse, but I feel like I have to clarify, I think that this "idolatry" does indeed have the same effect as if GMG were seeking after it, but I don't think you can judge just based on the effect; there has to be intent. Sure they keep him going, but if he really doesn't have a prideful intent, then he will necessarily eventually "come around" as I mention above, it will just take him longer.

Oh, and Cinder, I liked your comment, too. :)

jen said...

I followed his blog for a while, but grew weary of the things he wrote... So now, I don't.

He was too close to the way I have always felt about myself: suffering = goodness. Guilt = spiritual. Endless self-sacrifice = Christlike.

All of that made ME crazy... Maybe it makes him happy, I don't know.

There are things he has said that I would LOVE to discuss. To understand more. And since he won't even post questions - that's not possible.

Gay LDS Actor said...

I find Gay Mormon Guy's blog annoying on several levels. I think my biggest problem with his blog is how sugar-coated it always seems, and I think much of that is due to the fact that he only prints comments that are in line with his beliefs and agenda.

I remember when I was first introduced to his blog, I found it almost unbelievable how optimistic and "perfect" it all seemed. Like many, I even doubted it was real.

In recent months, I have seen Gay Mormon Guy share some of his struggles and disappointments in a way that has seemed more genuine to me. It was actually kind of nice not see him so "up" all the time. It actually made me believe he is, indeed, a real person. I like blogs that dare to share the bad days as well as the good. (Likewise, I also like blogs that are willing to include dissenting opinions or challenging viewpoints, which Gay Mormon Guy's does not, which is probably why I find it so bland.)

But another reason I find Gay Mormon Guy's blog so annoying is that I ultimately think it is causing more harm than good. I suppose it's nice for people who believe homosexual behavior is sinful and should be overcome to have a blog that encourages them to stick to that line of thinking and which encourages "strugglers" that they can and should overcome those feelings, but I've seen far more pain and hardship in the lives of those who fight their feelings than those who come to realize there is nothing wrong with them.

Since the majority of Gay Mormon Guy's followers seem to be straight women (and by the way, how the heck does he get such a huge following for such a lackluster blog?), I worry that it will give many of them either the ammunition they need to continue in their ignorance of what it actually means to be gay or worse, that it will encourage them that that gay boy they are dating really can overcome his homosexual feelings, which I fear would lead to a lot of problems if they were to get married.

All that being said, I do feel Rob is being a bit hard on the guy. First of all, I don't think Gay Mormon Guy has any obligation to identify himself if he doesn't want to. Secondly, I've never really gotten the impression that Gay Mormon Guy is particularly prideful or that he is feeding off the adulation of his readers. I just think he's doing what he honestly believes is right and is trying to live the best life he knows how. It is true I find him very naive, and I ache for him because I think he's got some disappointments ahead. I also wish he would post comments that challenge his beliefs. He doesn't have to agree with them, but by censoring any opposing views, it gives his blog a very one-sided view of the struggles a gay LDS man has, and it makes his blog seem very shallow.

That being said, it's his blog, and he has every right to run it however he sees fit, I suppose. But it seems he's not doing himself or his readers any great favors by censoring other lines of thought.

I actually think his comment that he's "had the daily opportunity to touch people's lives and help them find the faith to avert suicide, fix broken marriages, and pursue lifelong dreams" is probably genuine. I don't see it as boasting. I think he really thinks he's doing some good and is proud of it.

I don't necessarily find him a hypocrite. I just find him ridiculously optimistic and quite naive. I try (and often fail) not to judge him and his motives. He's definitely chosen a different path than I have, and I think that in the long run it will cause him and others more heartache than good, but who am I to fault him for trying to live life in a way that he believes will bring him the greatest happiness? I think he's wrong, but it's his life and his choices to make. And who knows? Maybe he will find happiness in his current path. I'm not him, after all.

Gay LDS Actor said...

(post continued)

I do think the label "Mr. Perfect Sufferer" is condescending and somewhat childish, and I think you're better than that, Rob. Gay Mormon Guy is in a different stage of life than you or me or many other bloggers out there. Like Trev, I kind of believe he's just a guy who's trying to do his best based on what he currently knows and understands. I don't really get that he's coming from a prideful place. The bottom line is, only he and and God know his true heart and intents, and it might be good of us to remember that (and I fully include myself in that "us").

Like you, Rob, I do have major issues with his blog, but I am also trying to give him the benefit of the doubt.

I hope I haven't offended you. I just don't like to see another blogger derided, even if I'm not a fan of his blog or methods.