I love this article from Jan 2015 on Religionandpolitics.org: http://religionandpolitics.org/2015/02/04/my-husbands-not-gay-homosexuality-and-the-lds-church/
After all of the hubbub and screeching harpies decrying the validity of SSA men marrying women and having the audacity to lead happy, productive lives, this blog post came as a very refreshing and balanced look at the subject.
In meeting Tanya Bennion, I was struck by her strong stance in stating that her husband is in fact, NOT gay. I wonder what the term “gay” means to her. I have a huge amount of respect and fondness for the Bennions as they are very open, loving and humble in their desires to bring healing and light to everyone they possibly can influence. I wonder what I can learn from them about being NOT Gay. Because as much as Dear Husband is NOT being intimate with a man, he most definitely IS gay. There’s no way around it.
As Dear Husband has come to understand and apply the Atonement of our Savior in his life though, his attractions have become more defined. There is a clarity to his attractions to men and his attraction to me. It is almost as though he is beginning to see through the eyes of his infinite spirit as well as through his mortal eyes, and they see different things.
He spoke in church today about “thy will be done.” He said something to the effect of: I always wondered what would happen to “me” if I turned myself over to the Lord, as I’ve been counseled to do in scripture. What if I like “me”? I don’t want to lose that guy and become like a carbon copy of some other white middle aged religious guy. But I realized that I will still be “me”, but SO MUCH BETTER. The spirit amplifies and brightens and enhances, so I will be a brighter, amplified, enhanced version of whatever it is I come up with. Which is amazing.
And it is. As Mikeal has turned his life bit by bit to the Lord, his version of “me” has become brighter, more fearless, happier, more attracted to his wife (!) more ambitious and more knowledgable. Among other things.
So about that attraction.
Part of giving up “me” is giving up the little bits of satisfying the homosexual urges. As long as I have known, him, he has held firmly to the belief that he could never let go of the gay. That it is such a defining part of who he is that he would shrivel up and cease to exist in any meaningful way if that part of him were to be surrendered to the Lord.
But guess what: He was completely and totally wrong. (But we all knew that.)
As he has surrendered it bit by bit he looks at us differently. When reflecting on his past gay relationships, as thrilling and complete and whole and satisfied as he felt, they don’t measure up to the WHOLEness that he feels as a part of us. But it took that leap of faith- that surrendering the identity he cherished with no guarantee of a return other than what his faith taught him- to finally experience that truth.
So maybe that’s what Tanya Benin means when she says her husband isn’t gay. Maybe he has totally surrendered his homosexual identity and placed it on the Lord’s proverbial altar and the Lord has in turn filled that space with Him.
And to think we are on that path too.
It just isn’t something that can be conveyed on a NYT article nor on a Facebook post, nor on an hour long pilot of a tv show on a cable network. It has to be experienced. One on one with the spirit as we take those tentative steps into the unknown.
Here’s what religion and politics has to say about the “gay” title:
“As the show’s title hints, what does it means to be “gay” in 2015? This question strikes deeply at the identity politics of gay and straight categories. Many liberal thinkers have been caught off-guard at the ways in which these politically and religiously conservative Mormons in Utah—these “not gay” men and their wives—increasingly appropriate the language of queer and postmodern gender theory to justify their conventional heterosexual marriages. Refusing the label “gay” for many is not about denying their attractions or desires, but about refusing the various presuppositions about that term, just as bisexual, trans and queer folk frustrate the categories of a stable homosexual identity.”
And for those who call it irresponsible:
“Perhaps unwittingly, the Mormons who participate in these mixed-orientation relationships increasingly appeal to ideas of sexuality that are similar to postmodern theories of sexual fluidity, as well as classical liberal notions of sexual agency. While critics of My Husband’s Not Gay may see these couples as deluded, some of those critics are also operating on a strict homosexual/heterosexual binary. Mixed-orientation couples acknowledge that while they may not choose their orientation or desires, they can choose with whom to have a relationship. As such, they emphasize their agency, choice, and sexual honesty in response to accusations that they are constrained by their religion.”
So- gay or not gay- I am married to a man who is first and foremost a Son of God, a disciple of Christ, a devoted father and an adoring and hard working husband. That’s all the label he needs.