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Choosing sex over God

March 27, 2016

Nick Galieti, a guest-poster at Millennial Star, wrote a post responding to the recent post at The Atlantic entitled “Choosing Love or the Mormon Church.” In his response, he reframed this choice more starkly: really, LGBT (or SSA) Mormons are choosing between sex and God.

This post is mostly a summary or encapsulation of a lot of LDS thoughts regarding the SSA experience from the past few weeks (e.g., one should challenge dominant narratives as to LGBT being a core identity vs. one’s agency and choice being core, and one should challenge dominant narratives of a permissive and unbounded love vs. a narrower definition of love), so I won’t go into detail there…although I will say, if you can manage, that the comments also had a few additional points and arguments.

I wrote the following comment (edited lightly so that it makes sense off the site), as an ambassador from the other side, Team Sex:

A part of me really appreciates what the LDS church is trying to do here. I mean, even as this post lays it out pretty starkly, I understand. Mormonism is intensely heteronormative — realistically, with the accumulation of theology being as it’s been, there’s not really a way to get around the idea, as Meg has pointed out, that Mormonism is a religion celebrating a procreative heaven, and so far, God has not deigned to be creative enough to define procreation in any terms outside of our earthly biological concepts. (Not that I can speak — how dare a mere mortal claim to be above God?!) Mormonism as a religion has set very strict standards, and it wouldn’t dare to compromise on those standards even if it could elevate some more folks lives by demanding a rigorous monogamy (against their supposed nature) instead of an absolute celibacy (against their supposed nature).

It seems to me though, even as someone raised in the church, that I didn’t and don’t have a lot riding on the identity of being a “child of God”. It didn’t mean much positive to me, and instead was implicated in a lot of anxiety, depression, and negative affect — and that was when it triggered any response at all. I understand that for other people, things are different. Other people hear the word “God” and to them, that’s an actual being with which they can (or even do) have a relationship. But for me, the word God was how I exemplified the LDS concept of the “stupor of thought”.

To people [at Millennial Star], I chose sex over God. I perceived there would be more benefits to me and more room for growth to me to go with something tangible like that than something intangible like God. I accept my fate, whatever it may be.

But I agree that for me, for my personality type, it would probably be easier to be celibate. I often think that if this relationship doesn’t work out, then I might do just that. And here’s a few reasons why:

If I were celibate and not in a relationship, as the Law of Chastity demands, then I wouldn’t have to worry about dealing with a person whose personality is so different from mine…whose desires are very different from mine, and whose way of thinking about things is so very different from mine.

If I were celibate and not in a relationship, as the Law of Chastity demands, then I wouldn’t have to worry about trying to serve someone who seems to frustrate even my best attempts because my instinctual response to serve are in ways that *I* would appreciate, not ways that *he* would appreciate.

If I were celibate and not in a relationship, as the Law of Chastity demands, then I wouldn’t have to be humbled by the fact that although he experiences this same mismatch, he certainly works much harder at trying to figure me out and meet me on my level than I do at trying to figure him out and meet him on his level.

If I were celibate and not in a relationship, as the Law of Chastity demands, then I wouldn’t have such a personal and tangible evidence of a non-family member (because familiarity can often breed contempt…or at least make you take things for granted) loving me first and loving me even when I didn’t consider myself all that lovable. If I were celibate and not in a relationship, as the Law of Chastity demands, then I wouldn’t be struck with the poignant message that this love is a gift, but even as a gift it demands a response, and that response is one that I must freely choose to give, and one that I actually have to work at.

I understand that for many, companionship is so highly desired, and solitude is anathema. For me, solitude is cherished. It would easier for me to be alone, and maybe that’s the gift God gave me to deal with my “challenge” of SSA.

But I can’t help but feel that for me to take that easy way out would also be missing something important that I am being given the opportunity to learn while in a relationship that I would never have to the same extent, degree, or magnitude elsewhere.


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  1. Daniel Peterson permalink

    I would personally rather go without sex than without God. I kinda hold to Matthew 19:29 that whosoever loses father mother son or daughter or wife for sake of God will receive an hundredfold and Eternal Life.

    • I think that’s nice. However, mormonism stresses, at least for straight folks, that the optional situation is to go with both. Hence there is immense pressure for single people to marry as soon as possible. Mormonism simply doesn’t have a lot to provide for single people of any orientation.

  2. Daniel Peterson permalink

    Maybe mormonism doesn’t have all the answers. Maybe nobody has all the answers right now. I personally believe we are in the time spoken of in Amos 8:11 of the famine in all the land not of bread or water but of hearing the word of God. I still hold to the scriptures, regardless. They are my foundation, not my bishop, not my prophet. The scriptures for me. Personally, I believe we are in the time spoken of by Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2 where the devil will actually place himself at the head of God’s church. That’s fine with me, though. I have no problem with that. I have no problem with Joseph Smith or the seer stones or the polygamy of his day or the massacres, or the issues discussed recently of the priesthood in his day. Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. The Book of Mormon is true. But of course, love is gone. The hearts of man have waxed cold. This is probably the frame of reference you may be coming from in expressing a need for people of any orientation. In that regard, I wish you best of luck. I’m not a judge in Israel nor a prophet nor a friend, really. Just another voice amongst many. You have probably had a lot of bad experiences. Mormonism seems to have a place in your heart for how you bring up the topic in your article. I don’t want to answer for Mormonism or the people. I personally have written my resignation letter three separate times and have been physically assaulted twice in the LDS church building itself. I don’t have a lot of positive to say about the church other than that its roots are still good. The fruit right now, isn’t. You don’t have to take my word for it. I, for one, cling to the Bible and am grateful as ever for it.

    • If mormonism doesn’t have all the answers, then it would be a bit irresponsible for the church to act as if it does. I think that applies to all religions, so it applies to general Christianity and the Bible as well as to mormonism specifically.

      • Daniel Peterson permalink

        I don’t think that is irresponsible on the part Mormonism. The recycling of temple names for ordinances performed for the dead, I don’t think is irresponsible. The holding back of information about the church’s history that has not been general knowledge of a long time, I don’t think is irresponsible. In fact, I do not blame Christianity or the Bible, either. To do so would pit me against God himself, and I would rather not do that. I mention in my About page the fight that I had with God when I swore that if he were real, I would kill him–I overcame that. I don’t feel that way, anymore. I leave it on my About page just because those sentiments were very real, as was my transition to art. I do not believe it is irresponsible of Mormonism in any way what has happened or been done. The irresponsibility has been on the members themselves for not doing sufficient missionary work or family history. That is the irresponsibility I see. Malachi 4 will be fulfilled. I think many should dread the fulfilling of those prophecies more than they do. They falling away has been well-spoken, as much in the New Testament as well as the old. To claim that the Apostasy itself shows a lack in Mormonism or Christianity or the Bible for that matter is simply false. This Apostasy has been well-predicted with thousands of years in advance. You’re not going to get very far with your argument against people who know the Bible, myself included. Go ahead and try, though. Be my guest.

        • I don’t think that critiquing organizations pits someone against God. The organizations claim to speak for and act on behalf of God, but that has not been established.

          Technically, on this blog, by definition, you’re my guest, though.

          • Daniel Peterson permalink

            In that case, good-bye. I have nothing more to say.

  3. I hated that Millenial Star post. I remain convinced that few can understand the excruciating decision between sex and God that some people have to face. (Single/divorced? Gay? Sexless marriage? Apparently thoughts of God should be enough).

    I chose sex also (as an older single). Jesus was supposed to make it better, but never did. And why wait to die? So sex it was, consequences be damned.

    But I think you make a good point about the difficulty of relationships. It’s not just about sex; it’s about the pros and cons of trying to make a long term relationship work.

    I, for one, think no one should have to choose between sex and God. The fact that it continues to be a big issue in the Mormon faith drives me crazy.

    • JH,

      The thing is…from reading about some people’s experiences and testimonies and whatnot, I accept that for some, “thoughts of God” are enough. I mean, these are people with what they regard as foundational, core experiences. I wouldn’t begrudge them their own story…but I know so many other stories. So many other experiences with the divine, with relationships, with sexuality, that it just doesn’t seem like one size fits all to me.

  4. It’s funny. Church leaders so often speak about how men must marry women because only the differences between male and female can teach us the valuable lessons God wants us to learn. This my be right. My wife definitely sees things differently than I do, but is that because she’s a woman or because she’s not me? (I think it’s probably a combination of both, but mostly because she’s not me.)

    That said, I think your experience shows that living in any committed relationship can teach us lessons in love, service, self-sacrifice.

  5. mike smith,

    Those are my thoughts exactly! When it comes to opposite-sex relationships, the church emphasizes all the time that there are inherent differences between male and female and such are necessarily for growth through relationships…but I totally agree — to the extent that any other person is *not me*, there are going to be differences, and often big differences!

    On the M* discussion, there was another commenter that questioned: “Why would you stay in that relationship if you two are so different?” and the commenter suggested that maybe I was codependent, or on the autism spectrum, or maybe my boyfriend was manipulative. I mean, there certainly couldn’t be any other reasons, right?

    • Wow! Just wow!

      Perhaps they should have asked that same question to Elder Bednar. In his now infamous “no homosexuals” answer said of his wife, “She does not think like I think. She does not see what I see, and I learn a lot from the things that she thinks and sees that are different from me. Sometimes men and women get frustrated with each other because they don’t see things the same way. They’re not supposed to see things the same way.”

      I mean, if they are so different why would he stay with her?

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