#13 In a twilight zone, impossible things seem possible, including surviving a perfectly successful suicide

twilight-wiresI think I know why people in Mormondom with same-sex attraction attempt suicide. I believe they are possessed by a particular spirit, not necessarily evil, although certainly ignorant, highly unpleasant and rather dangerous.

Let me first clarify that I do not write this in order to give advice to those who consider committing suicide. That would be too assuming of me. It would be very inconsiderate to be as blunt with them as I am planning to be in this post. Besides, I’m not a professional therapist.

I write these words in order to try to explain suicides among gay Mormons to their straight, faithful family members & friends. To quite a degree, the possessing spirit I mentioned earlier originates from them.

Before I proceed, let me also say that at one point in my life, for a fairly brief period, I also seriously considered killing myself. I was 16 and had a terrible crush on a male schoolmate. (For the sake of full disclosure, let me say that I wasn’t a member of the LDS or any other church at the time.) My main reason for considering suicide was my refusal to acknowledge my same-sex attraction. I was not in denial. I was in refusal, and that because I couldn’t fathom that my feelings were possible. It felt as if I was in a twilight zone. And in a twilight zone many impossible things seem possible, including surviving a perfectly successful suicide.

Straight, faithful, middle-aged sister

If you read my post on the Northern Lights blog, you could realize that I’m a fan of Josh Weed. So, I’m going to use one of his blog posts as a text. In his post “Not talking about hard things: the real danger to the youth of the church” he mentions something that is pertinent to my  exposition today.

Josh Weed gives an account of a message that he received from an obviously straight, faithful, middle-aged LDS woman. She comes across as rather resentful at Josh because he came out to the world about his same-sex attraction. She commends him for having lived his life in harmony with the Gospel teachings, but then she expresses “mixed feelings” about his decision to go public, because going public about such hard issues “is giving those with the same struggles an open door to live that life as if being ‘gay’ is okay.”

She also points out that she is “concerned about how many church members are struggling with the same tendencies that now think it is okay”. She concludes that the outcome of Josh Weed’s outing “may have a positive effect on people’s lives … but remember”, she warns, “there are negative consequences as well. We are entitled to our agency … but we have to be ready for the consequences involved. I’m afraid for some youth that now will think it’s okay as long as they don’t act upon it.”

Two types of acceptance

Josh in his post masterfully replies to the woman, and I’m not here to make a vain attempt to outperform him. I would instead simply use quotes from this faithful sister to make the case for my notion that the spirit in which she thinks about same-sex attraction is not foreign to the spirit that influences gay Mormons to attempt suicides.

We keep hearing that the key issue with the suicides is acceptance. We hear that “If we as people could only accept gays more readily, there would be no reason for them to consider killing themselves…” Sure, but a distinction needs to be made. There are two separate types of acceptance. One is acceptance of same-sex attraction. The other is acceptance of homosexual behavior. I personally believe that the lack of the former is a true cause of suicides among gay Mormons. And it seems that many of our fellow straight brothers & sisters bundle those two acceptances together into one indiscernible lump and label them as a sin, as wrong or unacceptable. That’s bad. It is ignorant, very unpleasant and dangerous.

Apostle Jeffrey R. Holland teaches that “same-gender attraction is not a sin, but acting on those feelings is”. He also explains that “it takes courage to talk about it” and he obviously believes that such sharing of feelings is commendable.

Prepackaged notions

Although members of the church have made great strides to overcome the ignorant spirit that I describe here, we still have a ways to go. This leads me to another story that I encountered some time ago. There is a guy named Dan who is a single father, an ex-Mormon living in Utah, who writes a blog named “Single Dad Laughing.” About a year ago, he published a post titled “I’m Christian, unless you’re gay”, which went viral. In the post, he offers an insight into the type of spirit that I’m attempting to describe here. I do not necessarily agree with everything he says, but that’s not important. The important thing is that a couple of months later, he published a follow-up post in which he shared an e-mail he received from a woman who had made a confession to him. She essentially admits that she was possessed by a spirit of ignorance that was very unpleasant to others and potentially dangerous, and then she gives an insightful account of how she got rid of that spirit.

It is obvious that she had never faced a need to think through issues of homosexuality. Instead, she lumped them into one category, labeled them as “sin” and filed them away for future reference. Until one day her 15-year-old son came out to her as someone with same-sex attraction. She was then forced to speedily unwrap her already prepackaged notion and analyze it bit by bit. It was a rather difficult thing to do.

I don’t know how her story is going to end. I have no clue if her son is going to choose a gay lifestyle or will rather choose celibacy or mixed-orientation marriage. But one thing is pretty sure. The mother will consider the experience as a life-changing event and a huge opportunity to grow and become a better person. Personally, I firmly believe that’s what homosexuality or gayness or same-sex attraction – call it whatever you like – is truly all about.

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tammy
    Dec 04, 2012 @ 04:13:17

    Hi FG (isn’t it like…the middle of the night where you are?),

    I have a question on this part:

    “Personally, I firmly believe that’s what homosexuality or gayness or same-sex attraction – call it whatever you like – is truly all about.”

    Are you saying that “…..life-changing event and a huge opportunity to grow and become a better person. ” is is what the above is all about?

    If so, you could say the same for heterosexuality. But, I don’t see it as the “orientation” that is the opportunity but rather dealing with adversity that comes with it. I have yet to meet anyone or hear stories of people who considered committing suicide because they were straight. Rather it is from some adversity / hardship / heartache, etc.

    Reply

    • faithfulgaymormon
      Dec 04, 2012 @ 09:08:47

      Yes, Tammy, we live eight time zones apart. Quite a bit. 😉

      I believe that homosexuality or gayness or same-sex attraction – call it whatever you like – has a deep, non-sexual purpose among general population. And that is – teaching and learning acceptance & kindness & love on a deep, spiritual level.

      I can think of homosexual behavior as a grave sin whatever I like, and I do, but on a deep, spiritual level I have to be loving, accepting and kind no matter what. That’s what I think Josh’s message also teaches.

      Reply

      • Tammy
        Dec 05, 2012 @ 02:45:55

        I really like this: ” has a deep, non-sexual purpose among general population.” and I apply this approach to so many things in life that are “other”. I think the melting pot of so many people, skills, handicaps, cultures, beliefs, etc can always be viewed as an opportunity for each individual to be better, to judge less, to try to understand more, and to love more innocently and unconditionally.

        I would have to say that the negative responses towards me being a lesbian has helped me to become more accepting. I’m not perfect yet, but I would like my automatic response to situations different than my own to be acceptance and non-judgement. I’m working on it, and as you’ve been subjected to, I have a ways to go.

        I feel very passionately on this issue and the exposure to your situation with Mrs FGM is helping to expand my paradigm…so…I’ll probably be stalking you for a while. 😉

  2. Arlo
    Dec 04, 2012 @ 20:10:05

    Thank you, Jan, for your post! I am on a bit of a tear about suicide because it recently happened in my backyard, almost. So thank you so much for adding your voice.

    On a technical note, the email to Dad Laughing from the woman with a 15 year old son is highly suspect. It’s too prepackaged and scripted. Life is messier and less unambiguous than that. I’ve seen that story, and I’ve also seen the posts of others who say it’s most likely fabricated, and I tend to agree with the proponents of the fabrication theory.

    Reply

    • faithfulgaymormon
      Dec 04, 2012 @ 22:22:06

      Thanks, Arlo. What’s your take on the Dan Pearce story about 15-years old boy? Has it been fabricated by Dan Pearce or has he been duped into believing it or has he had good reasons to believe the story had been fabricated but used it anyway? I’m asking because I have some suspicions that the guy is not as sincere as he wants me to believe.

      Reply

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