Straight Or Gay, Love Is Real

He stumbles in at midnight, having been gone since 7 that morning.  He hugs me and I squeeze him back.

“I need you,” he says.

“Babe, I need you more than anything in this world,” I tell him back.

We lay back, content in each other’s arms.  Our love is full.  Our hearts are one.

*****

The dark, cold Alaskan sky further illuminated him as he bent on one knee in the snow.

“Will you marry me?”  he softly breathed, gazing into my surprised eyes.

I am only sixteen.  My parents, leaders, and other adults have told me that I don’t know what love is. But my heart and mind tell me this is the right choice.  That he is the man I love and I wouldn’t want to spend my life with any other person.

“Yes!” I said.  Internally defying the surrounding forces and letting them know that forced to live and act like an adult, I became one.

*****

The church leaders and doctrine explicitly state acting on homosexual tendencies is a sin.  I thought I agreed, remember I was a believing member who did, said, and acted according to what I had been taught.

But all my observations told me the church was wrong. It cannot be a sin to love.  Given the vehemence with which people reacted when they discovered I was engaged, at 16, to the man I loved, who was not a return missionary and did not want to serve a mission, I have seen this idea first-hand.  At that time, despite all the fibers in my being telling me otherwise, I caved to my naturally obeying self and encouraged Ben to serve a mission.  He, also an obedient and people-pleasing person, agreed.

Everything I felt, my answers to prayers, were ignored because it went against the natural order of my church.

*****

This week, I listened to Stacey’s story of  owning her lesbian self. I cried as she shared her desire to be normal, of marrying her husband and trying so hard to love him–of thinking his love could somehow become hers too.  Until she had the answer, in the temple, telling her she needs to accept how God has made her.  Her husband, a supportive and amazing man, agrees.  They divorce.  She finally feels whole in the arms of another woman.  Her spirit is no longer broken as she accepts love in the way that God intended.

How could I deny her the chance for intimacy?  How could I let my experience as a 16-year-old be repeated again in hundreds-nay, thousands-of people’s lives by telling them their love is a sin?

*****

It is 3.5 years later.  I meet him at the airport, praying that his feelings haven’t changed.  After a whirl-wind 5 days, he proposes.  We marry 22 days later.  In a year, we welcome our first.  14 months later, our second.  And our love?  That love that was so sinful when I was 16? Is celebrated.  Because we went with “the script.”

*****

I watch documentaries as gay couples tell their stories.  The love they have for each other is palpable.  I wonder, is their love any different from the love I have?  Can it really be a sin?

What is immorality anyway? Is it to love someone, or is it to fully express your love outside of marriage?  If I don’t let these gay couples get married, denying that they actually love each other, aren’t I forcing them to break the law of chastity?

These questions won’t stop.  I can’t sleep at night because me, the supposed Christian, is spreading hate instead of love.

I take a deep breath.  I ponder.  My heart tells me everything I have believed is wrong.  My mind thinks about the science, the genetics, and I wonder if God could really make mistakes.  And if he doesn’t, would He really sanction anti-family sentiments?

*****

As I look at the bigger picture, I realize that love fuels this world.  To deny this would be to take away the good in humanity.  I can’t consciously do this, so I am going with my heart.  I have a feeling, and the experience, that my heart is not wrong on this.  I am 24, strong, and can no longer be pressured into accepting what I disagree with.

I gaze into my husband’s eyes, the eyes I have treasured since I was 16, and I know I cannot deny love.  I cannot allow hurt and pain to accompany this world’s bleak existence.  Family is important and there are various ways to build one.  Whether it is as a mature 18-year-old, or between couples of the same gender.  Family does hold this society together and I will fight to keep it that way.

Simple BPM

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14 Comments

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14 responses to “Straight Or Gay, Love Is Real

  1. I couldn't agree more. Love is everything. It bonds families and communities and strengthens us all.

  2. I LOVE this post. Many of the reasons that have pushed me out of the faith have to do with me asking these questions.

  3. ShannonL

    Wow, SO well said, Amber. I love this post. Bravo! xo

  4. Tay

    I have these same questions. However, it hasn't shaken my testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The leaders are fallible. They are human. It's not about the title they hold, but what they do with their life and calling. And everything is individual – what we believe, what we know, what we feel. Just as we are all different in appearance and personality, so is our faith different – and needs to be different.

    In addition, just as we learn and understand things of eternal nature one small step up at a time, it is the same with the organization of the LDS Church. There is a solid foundation of basic truth that we are building up with as we discover and are ready for more truth. And, as individuals, we are ready for them at different times.

    I love that you question and explore and are honest about what you're feeling. I hope that you find YOUR answers.

    Right now I wish that we knew all the answers to what gays and lesbians are supposed to do. Just as I cannot help being attracted to the opposite gender, they cannot help their affinity for their same gender. And why should they? That's who they are. I think it will all be sorted out and I wish I didn't have to have faith for that. Especially seeing the pain and sadness my very dear friend is going through. I do not say that he shouldn't pursue what would give him happiness. I do say that he should act on what he feels and knows is best for him, whatever that may be. Either way, I'm there for him and ever-hoping for his happiness and success. I just love him and it kills me to see him unhappy.

    • Tay, your comments always make me think. Thank you. Before I forget, you might like this interview Mitch (the gay Mormon guy who has been all over the news): http://www.modernmormonmen.com/2011/09/interview-….

      I suppose most of my feelings really come from figuring out whether I believe in God and my new reconfiguration of religion. I suppose most of what I say sounds anti-Mormon, but it comes from the only experience I know, which is Mormon. I can't and won't shed that part of myself, it has shaped who I am today and I don't regret that.

      The faith you talk about when it comes to our homosexual brothers and sisters is a pertinent point. For some, they are okay with things working out in the end. I am very uncomfortable with that thought process. Not that I criticize you or anyone else, but that, for me, I cannot reconcile teachings and everything else I have heard with what I believe in my heart. I know that is vague and perhaps I will go into this topic at some future point.

      I feel for your friend. Those with homosexual tendencies do not have an easy life, mostly because we have made things so difficult for them. I also hope that he can find a path that brings him happiness, what ever that path is!

  5. Can I just say — Thank you for being willing to open your heart about this and be so candid about your thoughts. It can be a scary subject for people to bring up, and I applaud that not only did you do so, you articulated yourself honestly. This is a subject I grapple with myself, often. I find strength in the promise that God loves each of us and desires that we draw near to Him; that is my prayer for the people of this world, regardless of the differences between them and I. In the meantime, I continue praying and seeking His wisdom on the things I'm unsure of, the scary subjects I haven't found my own personal solid ground on. I know He'll be faithful.

  6. In my practice as a life coach I have had clients who have struggled with their sexual identity. People who feel they have to make a choice between God and their sexuality are essentially at war within themselves. It is a bitter battle. No one comes out of that one without DEEP soul searching.

    When people try to treat this topic like it is black or white and offer simple answers I am baffled. Thank you for your Love-filled articulation. Your willingness to say "I don't know," will allow people to keep their belief without having to sacrifice themselves.

  7. I'm a firm believer that love in whatever form is to be celebrated. Whether man and woman, man and man or woman and woman. If there were more love in the world perhaps we eliminate the hate. Wonderful post today, and so very honest.

  8. Well said Amber. And courageous. Love. It is that simple.

  9. This is a very beautiful post, most especially because you share your thought process with us and bare your heart. It's very brave of you too, to come out and say what you feel on a topic about which people often have very strong and very polarized views. So brava to you for your courage.

    I've seen some people say they can't decide what's right or wrong. If it is indeed too difficult to reconcile with their faith, I wonder if they mightn't just allow room for ambiguity. Love their fellow humans and leave the judgment to God.

  10. Elastamom

    Love is love. You've said it perfectly.

  11. I love this post. It is so, so brave and so, so right. Love fuels life. Fuels family. Fuels God, even. !!!

  12. jrwahlund

    I do believe that people may be born with disordered inclinations (same-sex attraction, a tendency to alcoholism, etc.). We live in a fallen world, made that way as a result of Original Sin (not by God's design).

    I know your heart is in the right place, but when you start questioning "Can love ever be wrong?" then you have to also address cases like this one — two consenting adults who are biologically related but are in love. If homosexual inclinations are not wrong, then can you say their love is wrong? What about the man who loves four women? What about the older man who is attracted to teenagers? And so on. The issue of "consent" always comes up but that doesn't address the core issue — are those inclinations wrong or disordered? Can our biology tell if someone is or is not under the age of consent, given that the age of consent is completely man-made and arbitrary (in the U.S. alone it differs from state to state, and over the course of world history it has vacillated wildly)? If not, how can you call that love "wrong"?

    You might want to read the stories of Catholics with same-sex attraction who are living chastely, according to the Church's teachings, and finding much fulfillment and happiness. Steve Gershom is a good example. Marie is another.

    • Megan

      At the same time, we should consider some circumstances which have been though immoral in the past and are now almost entirely accepted. Inter-racial marriage was once shunned, but most Americans now would agree that an inter-racial marriage is not a real moral issue. People choose to modernize religious beliefs by ignoring vast amounts of racist, sexist, contradictory, and socially outdated verses. The majority of the public accept these modernized versions of Christianity without pause. So why cling to homophobia?