Last December I referenced the story of Steve Gershom, a gay and faithful Catholic. Steve (a pseudonym) chose the celibate life as his path and is “doing fine!”
Recently another compelling story was published by a gay, Mormon man. Joshua Weed’s path is different from Steve’s – he is happily married to a woman. Marriage (true marriage, to a person of the opposite sex) may not be the calling for most people burdened by same sex attraction, but it may be for some.
While there are serious theological differences between Catholicism and Mormonism, many of our moral values are very close. In Joshua’s story, I can see that he and his wife Lolly truly understand marriage and are very happy in theirs.
4. If you’re married to a woman, how can you really be gay?
This is a really good question and I can see how people can be confused about it. Some might assume that because I’m married to a woman, I must be bisexual. This would be true if sexual orientation was defined by sexual experience. Heck, if sexual orientation were defined by sexual experience, I would be as straight as the day is long even though I’ve never been turned on by a Victoria’s Secret commercial in my entire life. Sexual orientation is defined by attraction, not by experience. In my case, I am attracted sexually to men. Period. Yet my marriage is wonderful, and Lolly and I have an extremely healthy and robust sex life. How can this be?
The truth is, what people are really asking with the above question is “how can you be gay if your primary sex partner is a girl?” I didn’t fully understand the answer to this question until I was doing research on sexuality in grad school even though I had been happily married for almost five years at that point. I knew that I was gay, and I also knew that sex with my wife was enjoyable. But I didn’t understand how that was happening. Here is the basic reality that I actually think many people could use a lesson in: sex is about more than just visual attraction and lust and it is about more than just passion and infatuation. I won’t get into the boring details of the research here, but basically when sex is done right, at its deepest level it is about intimacy. It is about one human being connecting with another human being they love. It is a beautiful physical manifestation of two people being connected in a truly vulnerable, intimate manner because they love each other profoundly. It is bodies connecting and souls connecting. It is beautiful and rich and fulfilling and spiritual and amazing. Many people never get to this point in their sex lives because it requires incredible communication, trust, vulnerability, and connection. And Lolly and I have had that from day one, mostly because we weren’t distracted by the powerful chemicals of infatuation and obsession that usually bring a couple together (which dwindle dramatically after the first few years of marriage anyway). So, in a weird way, the circumstances of our marriage allowed us to build a sexual relationship that is based on everything partners should want in their sex-life: intimacy, communication, genuine love and affection. This has resulted in us having a better sex life than most people I personally know. Most of whom are straight. Go fig.
6. Why would your wife choose to marry someone who is gay?
[this part written by Joshua’s wife Lolly]
In a moment of honest reflection, I realized that Josh was everything that I wanted in a husband. (All except for the huge fact that he was gay.) He was dedicated to God above all else and he loved his Savior deeply. He was kind, funny, sincere, honest and so much fun. I connected with him in ways that I did not connect with anyone else. But he was gay. And I did not know if I could handle that in a marriage.
I ended up confessing my feelings to him on a random day on a whim. He admitted that he felt the same feelings for me. That I was everything he wanted in a wife. I had never been more excited or confused. We decided to try it out and to start dating. It was truly an amazing experience for both of us, falling in love with our best friend.
Before he left on his mission, I was still not sure if I could actually marry him. The intimacy factor was so important to me. During the course of dating, we held hands and kissed. It was promising, but I didn’t know if our chemistry would be enough.
One day, we were having a conversation about our relationship. He simply said, “Am I worth it to you?” I wasn’t quite sure what he meant by that question. We then talked about how no one is perfect and how everyone deals with his or her own set of imperfections. When you get married, you are accepting a person as a package deal – the good, the bad, the hard, the amazing and the imperfect. He wanted to know if I loved the rest of him enough that I could deal with the realities that his homosexuality would bring to our marriage. I honestly could not answer him then.
Months passed and I was having a conversation with a good friend of mine. I said to her, “I can find someone else like Josh, right? Someone else to love like I love him?” She said, “You could find someone else to love, sure. But you will never have what you and Josh have with someone else. Because no one else is Josh.” When she said that, and I thought of loving someone else, I knew the answer to his question “Am I worth it?”
I knew that I loved Josh. I loved All of him. I wanted to marry him. I wanted to marry Josh Weed because I loved the man that he was. I loved everything that made him him. I didn’t want anyone else. I knew that we had the kind of relationship that could work through hard trials and circumstances. I had faith in him and I had faith in our love. I did not choose to marry someone who is gay. I chose to marry Josh Weed, the man that I love, and to accept all of him. I have never regretted it.
The full story is very good, except perhaps for Joshua’s recommendations on how to relate to friends and family suffering with same sex attraction (his point #8, item 1). Whereas Joshua basically recommends unilateral acceptance, a more charitable approach would be to love fully but offer solid faith based guidance.
The story is fairly long. It was originally published on his humor blog for reasons that he explains in the piece. Read it there or at LifeSiteNews: I am a gay, devout Mormon, happily married to a woman, with three children.