My thoughts have been turned to a famous LDS blogger.
Josh Weed is his name.
He had come out with a post about four years ago declaring without reservation that he
is a gay man married to his wife, and has a great marriage and life. He was a beacon of hope in some ways to those who would like to remain active in the LDS Church who struggle with same gender attraction (because, let's be real, it can be a struggle).
He has recently posted that him and his wife have decided mutually to divorce so that they can have a hope of a "romantic connection" in the future, in order to avoid the suicidal ideation that he has been having over the years. They will build a "homestead" in order to continue raising their four daughters together.
I think the part about raising their daughters together is noble. I respect and honor their freedom to choose. But I believe that in their desire to have that perceived missing piece, they are giving up a whole lot more of what could be.
In his post he stated, "something is very, very wrong" about God's plan of salvation as taught by the LDS church based upon the many things he has been told by church leaders and members over the years concerning his gay status.
Even through depression, I have learned exactly how important it is to not believe my own thoughts or feelings sometimes. It is something I had to train myself to do in order to survive...and it is something many of us need to struggle with in order to get practice in "putting off the natural man."
Think of anything from OCD to LDD to GD. We don't need to pay attention to all that our biological brains are telling us...many things can lead to true bondage and hell in the long run, including depression. I cannot begin to express the many places my mind went daily when depressed. The thing about our brains is that they are elastic, they are capable of physically changing with our thoughts. Refer to this book. When we allow to something to play on repeat which is not true to our divine heritage and nature, it becomes deeply engrained, and makes us a prisoner over time. However, when we allow real, solid, eternal truths to
dominate our minds, our ability to act and choose increases, and we
become more free over time to think and act as we choose.
Here is my response to Josh Weed:
1.There is nothing wrong about the Plan of Salvation as taught by our Church. Everyone does not say or understand things the way they could be best said or understood.
But there is so much that none of us truly understand, and that we might not ever in this life. We all "see through a glass darkly".
Through personal revelation and through staying close to the Lord we can get a better understanding than we currently have, and we can learn and relearn things. But it is so important for us, as members of the Church, to be very careful in what voices we choose to listen to. Because of specific covenants we have made, we are held to a high standard.
2. There are a whole lot of cardboard butterflies out there (counterfeits to reality that sometimes look bigger, brighter and more appealing than the real deal` when in the end, there is no promise of anything real or lasting). I think this idea of "romantic connection" as portrayed in movies, is one of them. Romantic connection comes and goes in any marriage, and sometimes isn't there at all for one or both partners for MANY years at a time. In arranged marriage, in abusive marriages, in marriages where one spouse is severely disabled or severely depressed, there is often no such thing. Can we learn to work with it regardless, and to feel the deepest sort of joy in such a marriage? YES. I believe that those that stick it out gain so much by way of personal development and refining. Some of the greatest women I know stuck with the most harrowing circumstances. They are spiritual giants in every way, powerful in presence, meek and brilliant; all the sort of traits that a real
woman should have.
3. Core, eternal truths about the fact that everything temporal will eventually disappear and die, leaves little room for ending a marriage in pursuit of a romantic connection. What you had and still have is the real deal...as real as it gets.
I love and am in love with my husband, we show each other we care in many ways. I love and want him in my life. We have fun together. We are very affectionate.
I did not fall "in love" with him until seven years into our marriage...and it took longer than that to begin really enjoying our sex life. I do not know if I have ever felt a "romantic connection" to him...it seems like such a small and silly thing compared to what I do feel toward him which is pure, unfiltered LOVE. I would die for him. I would do anything to ensure his well-being. I respect him. I love to serve him. I LOVE HIM like you love Lolly.
THIS WORLD WILL END>while our love (which is greater than a physical love)
will only become more rich, and eventually, perfect. All that is lost will be found...and we will be whole. I hope for all things, just as the thirteenth article of faith states. And I know in whom I trust.
4. I HATE how the Devil has emphasizes sexuality as a way to define ourselves, as an all consuming thing, and one of the most important things in life. IT IS NOT. It is a really small part of being a human being, and certainly not in the way pornography or movies depicts (look! another cardboard butterfly!)
I AM NOT a sexual orientation.
I AM NOT depression.
I AM NOT my weaknesses.
I AM NOT dumb or ugly.
I AM ME.
I am a unique individual.
I am a daughter of a loving God.
I am a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-Saints who has made specific covenants.
I AM a Mother and Wife.
I AM an artist and crochet fanatic.
I AM a lifelong student in pursuit of unfiltered truth.
I AM a great friend, sister, daughter.
I AM what I choose to be, and I do not choose to be someone who places a whole lot of emphasis on what turns me on.
Because it is stupid. And because of this scripture.
I live by this. I'm not perfect at it. But I try hard, and I do my part so that the Lord has room to work in me for my own salvation.
I know that all of who I am can also help those around me grow to be who they are meant to be. I trust God as the master conductor. He is orchestrating every part of my life for mine and my family's benefit.
EVERY difficult thing I have experienced has made me a far better individual through applying this and other eternal truths.
Your wife mentions the story of Stellaluna, a bat who lands in a bird's nest and has to do everything as a bird does because her adopted bird mama says so. She mentions to her daughter how her Daddy is like Stellaluna (?) This made no sense to me.
You are not a different species...you are the same species who would like trying out a romantic relationship with the same gender of the same species to see if that will complete that missing piece, or to have that option open as a way to keep hope alive.
The truth is, we all yearn for connection on every level.
When we cannot feel that with someone, what we are taught in our church is to turn back to our Savior and Father in Heaven, and they will fill that void. THAT IS WHY WE ARE GIVEN WEAKNESSES and CHALLENGES. There are plenty of people who will NEVER in this life experience a romantic connection. And that is okay.
There are plenty of people in the world who will never know a love as you've known with your wife. We all have a path or a few to choose from.
President Russell M. Nelson states that: "His joy is constant, assuring us that our “afflictions shall be but a small moment”13 and be consecrated to our gain.14" That lack of romantic connection is NOTHING compared to what the Lord has in store for you if you are willing to walk through it with your focus corrected.
5. From what I can tell, your life has been pretty wonderful in every way. There's just that one thing. I'm afraid that those things that would draw you closer to Christ are not where you are looking. We all have that one, two or three things that are simply difficult to deal with as individuals and within marriage. For many, it is most things in daily life that are a huge challenge. They still try hard to live what life they can, and most cannot just drop those things...or walk away from them. Did you really ASK if this was God's will? There is a counterfeit to the feelings the spirit brings too. If, when you think of divorcing your wife, do you have a desire to attend the temple more, be closer to Jesus in every way? If your decision draws you to Christ, then you know where it is coming from.
I have struggled, been broken time after time in my married life. The world told me I had every reason to leave my marriage because of the circumstance and because of the way I was FEELING.
I have felt a great desire to end my life many times as a result of self-hate, combined with circumstance. I even felt what felt like physical hands on me at one point, trying to force me to just get it over with to end my suffering. The adversary knew I had an important mission. He was determined to stop me from getting this and other important messages out. But I had to go through it all in order to understand these eternal principles as deeply as I do, in order to come to KNOW that Jesus is the Christ, that His promises are REAL.
My wonderful Father in Heaven and His angels looked out for me each time, and my Dad's wise words entered my mind during crucial moments of being powerfully tempted "Rach, no matter how hard things get, you always have a choice".
I tried walking away from my marriage, hoping to find the life of happiness I yearned for.
When I asked permission from God, whom I still trust more than anyone else, my answer was not one of peace. And I had to fight the hardest battle up to that point in my life of either choosing my own will or His.
I had to choose to have faith that no matter how much I felt broken, HE COULD HEAL ME.
After fifteen years of working hard to improve myself and change my mindset (through many counselors, temple attendance, loved ones' prayers, energy work, depression/anxiety medication and re-writing set neuropathways) and behaviors, I now have the marriage and life I've always desired.
I have EVERYTHING I've ever wanted. I can finally die happy. And yet, I've JUST STARTED LIVING.
TOO MANY PEOPLE think that if they can just change their circumstance and surroundings, THEN things will be better, when really, the answers are always remembered through connection to our Maker~
We have to be willing to listen and do what is asked of us in order to become connected to our true potential as children of God.
My life is full of the deepest kind of joy and gratitude each day that I get to live now with my husband and children. And I do not regret sticking it out. I do not regret the fact that my children had to go through it with me. They get to watch me put my faith in action as I continue to face what few demons I have left. They know that my faith in Jesus Christ has allowed me to overcome. They know that the most impossible becomes possible with faith and the right focus. Through my example, they will understand how to perceive their most difficult challenges that life WILL inevitably hand to them. They have witnessed my transformation, my miracle.
These things are given to us (weaknesses, temptation, etc.) to help us come to know Jesus Christ, so that we can learn to apply His Atonement and in essence overcome them, so they don't become a huge deal. The reason that my self-hate became a huge deal is because I gave it WAY too much attention. We have to learn to work with the pain, discomfort, heartache, illness, or whatever it is that is in direct opposition to our spiritual survival. We have to learn to live with some darkness.
essentially, our FOCUS becomes the most powerful force in our lives.
There are voices that say to drop the cross we carry. There are voices that say we should trust ourselves the most, in essence, setting ourselves up as THE god in our lives.
I really do not think the grass is gonna be greener.
The moment you begin indulging in certain thoughts that are not wholly true about yourself (I AM my sexual orientation, etc.), the more chance you have of going down a path that will ultimately lead to more misery, more emptiness than you can imagine.
My life was nothing less than a living hell for too many years because of the voices I chose to listen to (prompted by junior high boys saying dumb things), and give power to, that were lying. Every area of my marriage could not grow because I was holding on fiercely to LIES. My way of processing my relationship with my husband was so screwed up that I created a living hell for myself.
Lolly mentions weight gain as a result of her not feeling sexy or beautiful in her husband's eyes. That is an issue within herself that she can change. I have had the opposite problem. My husband told me I was beautiful every day for years. I did not have the capacity to believe him and only felt loathing and sadness when he would say it. Until I rooted out those things that were at the time a strong part of my identity,
nothing could have changed my mind.
My children have seen me at my worst, and my husband at his worst as we were forced to face the issues we had avoided individually and as a couple. We both had to get help. We both had to completely change our perceptions in order to survive. We had to hand over what we thought we understood about each other and knew for something greater, even the pure love of Christ.
That is what it comes down to...we always have a choice, and we can choose to focus on real LOVE. What you and your wife have is REAL LOVE. A romantic connection, no matter how you play it, is not going to measure up in the least.
Cardboard butterflies will wear out quickly, and promise nothing in the long run, while God's plan for His children promises everything, if we are willing to "believe all things, hope all things...endure all things."
What you are doing is not noble.
It is not courageous.
It is selfish.
We can overcome all things through Christ. And sometimes overcoming is simply learning to live with ` while focusing on joy because MEN ARE THAT THEY MIGHT HAVE JOY, not romance, not to be comfortable, not to inflate our ego or "self-esteem" by doing what makes us "happy".
Focus on joy and your joy will grow.
Focus on the world's voices, and they will gain more power in your life, until you have forgotten who you truly are.
You are more than your sexual orientation, or your lack of romantic connection...so SO much more.
You are a SON of GOD FIRST. You are a husband and father, a therapist, a writer, a leader who is respected by masses.
What are you going to choose as your focus? Can you see the consequences of your choices five or ten years from now? On your daughters especially?