31 May 2007

Why You Need to Die

inspired by “Give Me Something to Sing About”

"For if Men are to be precluded from offering their Sentiments on a matter, which may involve the most serious and alarming consequences, that can invite the consideration of Mankind, reason is of no use to us; the freedom of Speech may be taken away, and, dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep, to the Slaughter." -George Washington

Speaking of the slaughter, I was wondering about three recent posts about suicide.

Over at Northern Lights, Tito posted parts of an interview with J. R. Holland dealing with homosexuality and the church. In it the apostle says he understands that homosexuals have a harder time in the church,

"…for anyone in whatever gay or lesbian inclination may exist, … the marriage I have and the marriage I've seen my children have and I pray for my grandchildren to have, they say, "For me it's an experience I'll never have." And true to the Holland tradition, I burst into tears, and I say, "Hope on, and wait and let me walk with you, and we'll be faithful, be clean, and we'll get to the end of this."

It’s interesting to see how much the church has changed over the years. We aren't selfish reprobates* condemned to hell anymore. We are, in fact, beloved sons and daughters of God and condemned to life. If we somehow desire to be happy we just need only await "the end of this."

I've heard there's a difference between setting out some tinder and sparking at it with a steel and flint and dousing a pile of logs with gasoline and throwing a grenade at it. It's good advice.

Yet, I can't think of another way to express my disdain for the idea that we don't get to be happy here. If we can't be happy then why are we here? What's our purpose?

We have nothing to fight for. We have no Meaning of Life. No cause to endure to the end for. None has been given us and none seems forthcoming.

But I’m not so sure death is the answer. So I’ll stick around and encourage the rest of you to do likewise. We’ll figure it out because we have to. We’re the one’s this matters most for.

*but don't hold you breath waiting to be called to lead the Boy Scouts.

+++

good tune
http://djpretzel.web.aplus.net/songs/Castlevania_Grim_Reaper_OC_ReMix.mp3

35 comments:

iwonder said...

I don't know what I'm fighting for either.

By the way, I'm writing this whilst I'm chatting with you. How nerdy is that?

Brady said...

We have nothing to fight for. We have no Meaning of Life. No cause to endure to the end for.

I think the meaning and purpose you are looking for is still there, you just don't get it right now. We're fighting and enduring for the opportunity to live again with our loving Heavenly Father. To be like him and enjoy the rest of eternity in the happiest state we can imagine. The very thought of that reward should be enough to make us happy now. Our purpose has much less to do with our happiness during this brief moment in our existence and much more to do with our condition during the whole of eternity.

See, all you need is the proper perspective.

MoHoHawaii said...

The problem is that the Church's SSA position is in transition. We're no longer reprobates for our same-sex orientation, but the Church has nothing to offer us but a life of loneliness.

As a result the Church is now in the uncomfortable position of expressing compassion for a problem that it causes by forbidding committed same-sex relationships. Weird.

There is also a small practical problem. True lifelong celibacy can realistically be achieved by a relatively small minority of folks. Most people eventually feel compelled to experience the physical and emotional closeness of a sexual or romantic relationship. This is just biology at work. We're wired for sex and love. Celibacy just isn't practical for the majority of people with SSA. Something's got to give.

(I'm sorry if I'm not always faith promoting. I certainly don't mean to say that my views are the only reasonable ones!)

playasinmar said...

Brady,

"We're fighting and enduring for the opportunity to live again with our loving Heavenly Father."

But what do we do while we are here?

"To be like him and enjoy the rest of eternity in the happiest state we can imagine. The very thought of that reward should be enough to make us happy now."

Okay, so what are we waiting for? Why stick around now?

"Our purpose has much less to do with our happiness during this brief moment in our existence and much more to do with our condition during the whole of eternity."

I understood that the purpose of our life here was to experience joy. Not hold out for it.

gentlefriend said...

I served as a scoutmaster for many years. Of course you may be more open with your SSA than I. I agree that, unfortunately, being open about it would preclude many Church callings. Unfortunately, currently any man cannot serve alone in the primary.

You don't have to wait until the next life to be happy.

I read a poem once that said, "I prayed to God to give me happiness. God said, 'I give you blessings. Happiness is up to you.'"

I agree that SSA is seen as a serious handicap in the Church. I see many people with various handicaps or people because of accidents who are forced to be celebate the rest of their lives. I know some of these people intimately and they descirbe themselves as "happy".

-L- said...

I'm quite happy, but it's a relatively new development. Maybe "the end of this" isn't as far off as you seem to believe it implies.

playasinmar said...

I'm not marrying a women, L.

And for the record: I am not handicapped. Neither am I a gelding.

Abelard Enigma said...

I'm not marrying a women

Can't you, at least, leave yourself open to the idea? I mean, women are sort of like men, only different. They're more soft and squishy :)

Abelard Enigma said...

BTW, I don't think anyone was suggesting you are handicapped. I think they were simply saying that there are other people for whom marriage is an unlikely option, such as certain handicapped people.

But, I do think there is a difference. For someone with a handicap that makes marriage unlikely, they don't have a choice.

You, on the other hand, do have a choice. You could get married to a girl. You choose not to because you believe that doing so would only result in you, and her, being miserable and unfulfilled. (please correct me if I'm wrong, I don't want to put words into your mouth.) You could also choose to remain celibate. Or you could choose to seek a relationship with a man. IMOHO, the fact that we have these choices makes it all the more difficult. Especially since all of these choices have consequences.

MoHoHawaii said...

Not everyone can pull off a mixed-orientation marriage, just as not everyone can manage lifelong celibacy. There's a practical reality that seems to get lost in the debate.

What bothers me about this is hearing the pain and frustration that this issue causes.

Why do we need to stamp out happiness everywhere we find it? Smooching on the couch with a special guy is one of life's great pleasures. I'm frustrated because I just don't see what harm it causes. I do see the happiness and comfort it provides.

I find myself again apologizing for offering a contrarian view. I really don't mean to upset the apple cart, and maybe I'll retreat at some point and keep my mouth shut. But, you know, the problem for me is that I like playasinmar. I want him to have a good life. It bothers me when I hear such a level of frustration. It's just not right that he should be so stymied. I just want to scream, "Go get a boyfriend, for Pete's sake!" (You didn't hear that, P.)

Sorry for the rant. (Brady's post about why it doesn't matter if the Church is true has me all worked up. I'll calm down soon.) Just to be clear: I completely respect your religious beliefs, even if they drive me nuts sometimes. :-)

I'm off now for a weekend camping in the mountains with my BF. We're going to grill steaks, go for a hike, talk and giggle and all in all have a wonderful time (and, yes, there's only one tent). I could alternately spend the weekend home alone figuring out ways to keep my pants zipped for eternity. Hmmm... tough choice. I just don't see how our camping trip is going to destroy anyone's family and bring down Western civilization. Maybe I'm just slow.

Have a nice weekend, guys. I really do care about you, even if I am a raving crank.

Brady said...

But what do we do while we are here?

Live! Enjoy life! Do you really think that you can't find happiness and joy in life without sex or a relationship? Do you honestly think no single person enjoys life? I've been very happy and fulfilled in my life for 23 years without any sort of serious relationship or sex.


I understood that the purpose of our life here was to experience joy. Not hold out for it.

That's exactly my point. We're not just holding out for it! There are plenty of ways to find and experience joy in life, even for people in our situation. This is just one of the few pains we get to experience so we can prove ourselves worthy and capable of living with and becoming like God. A small price to pay, I think.

Brady said...

Mohohawaii-

I'm a firm believer in your right to privacy, and I don't think you kissing or having sex with your BF will have any negative effects on me or society at large. That being said, I do subscribe to the church's position that said relationship will have negative effects on you and your eternal salvation. The church doesn't tell us to avoid same-sex relationships because it hates us, or because they will somehow benefit from it, they do it because they are conveying a message from God that it won't ever make us truly happy. They tell us that for our benefit. Wickedness never was happiness. Not in the long-run anyway.

BTW, my post wasn't meant to convey that it doesn't matter if the church is true. It does matter! I was just saying that it doesn't matter if it seems unlikely that the church is true, because it still has the best answers to life's greatest questions.

MoHoHawaii said...

Brady-- I promise you that the leaders of the Church do not know what will make me truly happy, in the short run or the long run. This is just not their area of expertise.

Good luck to you. Life is long, and you have years ahead to figure this stuff out. I wish you the best.

Switch said...

-----
"This is just biology at work. We're wired for sex and love. Celibacy just isn't practical for the majority of people with SSA. Something's got to give."

Finally.

I'm right there with you Mr. Hawaii.

It irks me to bits when I see comments like "You just have to stop feeling this way! Permanently!!"

Because well.. we can't. As evidenced completely in this blog ring. It's a tide of hormones like nothing I've seen before.

-----
"Smooching on the couch with a special guy is one of life's great pleasures."

.. and sleeping with his heartbeat at your back. And having someone demand you call when you travel to make sure you arrived safely.. and.. and.. and..

-----
"Live! Enjoy life! Do you really think that you can't find happiness and joy in life without sex or a relationship? Do you honestly think no single person enjoys life? I've been very happy and fulfilled in my life for 23 years without any sort of serious relationship or sex."

I'm happier with my boyfriend.

A lot happier.

-----
"I was just saying that it doesn't matter if it seems unlikely that the church is true, because it still has the best answers to life's greatest questions."

Um.. you can't be serious. Care to re-read that?

You gonna trust those magic answers if you think "it seems unlikely" that the source is good?

I'll think up some new "answers" for you if "answers" is all it takes.

-----
"I find myself again apologizing for offering a contrarian view. I really don't mean to upset the apple cart, and maybe I'll retreat at some point and keep my mouth shut."

Me too. Though I'm feeling more boggled than apologetic.

:x

playasinmar said...

Abelard,
"Can't you, at least, leave yourself open to the idea?"

I could, I suppose, but only in the way you could dedicate your life to being a deadly ninja assassin. It's certainly a possibility but it's not me.

"I don't think anyone was suggesting you are handicapped."

Yes, they were. There are people who mentally and/or physically aren't able to marry. We share the fate. Not the causality. I'm not part of that group.

And you're right, I choose not to pursue straight marriage because I believe that doing so would only result in the two of us being miserable and unfulfilled.

+++

Brady,
“Do you honestly think no single person enjoys life?”

Of course not. That’s silly. I do believe that single life is so pathetic, pitiable, and contrary to happiness the church invented Single’s Wards to combat it.

+++

Hey, Switch!

Funny thing, meeting you here. I recently found your blog and have been reading it from the beginning.

Brady said...

Switch-

I'm happier with my boyfriend.

I can totally understand this. The few experiences I've had with gay romance have been amazing. I was happy and fulfilled unlike anything I've ever experienced before. I'm not discounting love and the ways in which it can make you happy. I was merely explaining that there's plenty of happiness available in life even without that one. Playa's post is about the purpose of life, and I was showing that there is plenty of happiness available to SSA Mormons, even without gay love. Can we not agree on that?


You gonna trust those magic answers if you think "it seems unlikely" that the source is good?

It's not the source I question, but the organization which utilizes the source.

I'll think up some new "answers" for you if "answers" is all it takes.

Can you email those to stubyu@gmail.com? Please address the ones I asked on my most recent post, 'Wanting to Believe.'

Stephen said...

*blink* *blink* *blink* *blink*

Wow. Some of those posts have a lot of spite in them.
You were right, Playa.

Abelard Enigma said...

Do you really think I could become a deadly ninja assassin??? I've been considering a career change ... but I hadn't considered that one. I'm just not so sure black is my color [sigh].

-L- said...

Why do we need to stamp out happiness everywhere we find it?

Why is my happiness minimized here and dismissed as inapplicable because I happen to be married to a woman?

Really, happiness is available to all of us, but perhaps not on our own terms (whatever those may be).

And mohohawaii, I could promise you that the general authorities do know far better than you what will make you happy both in the short and the long term, but where would such a sour condescension lead the discussion? Perhaps you could consider such a thing before insulting the leaders I love so much.

playasinmar said...

We have quite the moho kill squad now! Abelard the Ninja and Kengo the Hasidic Samurai.

+++

Your happiness isn't being minimalized, L.

Rather, it's being proselyted, pushed, and promised as a catch-all for homosexual saints.

A) It works for you.
B) It won't work for me.

Can't both things be true?

iwonder said...

Wait, why is Kengo a Chasiddim
(חסידיים)? Ani lo mevin!

-L- said...

Rather, it's being proselyted, pushed, and promised as a catch-all for homosexual saints.

I never made the connection between my happiness and my marriage here, my friend, you did. That sort of dismissiveness irks me, especially when it's attached to a criticism of "pushing" the idea on everyone else, something I've been careful never to do.

The thing that will bring happiness, in my opinion, is exactly what the scriptures say. You can be obedient and righteous without marriage.

As for what works for you, perhaps your being unhappy is some evidence toward the idea that you don't really know what works for you.

MoHoHawaii said...

I appreciate the exchange of ideas here and have great respect for the our differences as well as our shared experiences.

-L-, I tried options A (celibacy) and B (mixed-orientation marriage) as honestly as I could and for as long as I could. I was amazingly (almost suicidally) miserable under option A, and there were two miserable people under option B.

Then I tried option C (the "lifestyle") and things improved dramatically.

All I'm saying is that this is how it played out for me. If I'm vehement about the fact that options A and B led me to misery while option C made me thrive it's perhaps an understandable human quirk. I had no intention of giving offense.

-L-, I really respect the fact that you've found happiness and fulfillment within the Church's guidelines. Go for it! I wish you only the best.

I tried following the Church's guidelines, and I was profoundly unappy for more than a decade. So I made a change and things improved. I'm not asking that any readers adopt my point of view. I'm definitely not saying that views other than mine are not perfectly, 100% valid. I'm just saying what happened to me. Maybe my story is a cautionary tale, the bleached skull by the poisoned spring. I don't know. But it happened.

playasinmar said...

L,
If you never made the connection between your happiness and your marriage then, please, let me. I think you are happy. You've made the best of an odd situation and I hope you can be patterned after by other homosexual saints.

I've never thought you "pushed" the idea of such a marriage. But I assume it's safe to say that it worked for you and you think it can work for others.

Even I think it can work... for others. It's not for me.

I know I'm not the only one for whom straight marriage won't work. What are we to do? We, each and every one of us, has this critical need for closeness and companionship. We aren't handicapped or otherwise incapable of love. Rather, we've been hamstrung.

That's fine. If that's God's will it's something I can live with. But why am I here?

Brady said...

That's fine. If that's God's will it's something I can live with. But why am I here?

I don't even know why I'm bothering to comment back on this. It seems ridiculous that you would ask this in light of the conversation on this comment board thus far. There are a host of reasons for your existence, and a multitude of ways to be happy and fulfill your eternal purpose in a way God intended, even as a *gasp* celibate person.

The Ugly Swan said...

I think it's awesome how people discuss things on your blog. No one ever discusses things on my blog. I must not invite it.

It appears that you have a rare gift: that of being able to articulate the things you see. Not many people do. It will help you, I promise, even if it means you see things that make you frustrated and upset.

Ironically, the word verification is "joyuk." If you're planning a trip to England any time soon, can I come too?

Switch said...

"That's fine. If that's God's will it's something I can live with. But why am I here?"

To provide evidence to the religious community as a whole that same-sex couples can indeed flourish in a committed, monogamous, and uplifting manner?

Just a thought. Not indicative of my own personal motives in any way whatsoever. ;)

Seriously, compared to a lot of churches in the world, the LDS grow more and adapt based on scientific inquiry. Who's to say that future leaders (who never felt the shell-shock of allowing blacks to gain full membership privileges) won't learn from new facts and change your policy? It's happened before.

Switch said...

"Funny thing, meeting you here. I recently found your blog and have been reading it from the beginning."

*cringe*

haha

And, hello. :)

iwonder said...

Brady,

It seems ridiculous that you would ask this in light of the conversation on this comment board thus far.

Did you really just say that? That sounds incredibly insulting and condecending to me.

There are a host of reasons for your existence, and a multitude of ways to be happy and fulfill your eternal purpose in a way God intended, even as a *gasp* celibate person.

I think that it is wonderful that that sort of life works for you and that you find it fulfilling and wonderful. But please do not be condecending to those for whom it doesn't work, to those who are trying their hardest (even if you don't believe it) but are not satisfied and happy with what you think they should be happy and satisfied with.

Please don't try to force your understanding of God, the Church, and the Gospel on anyone else. We all have our own perceptions and ways of understanding. Just because something works for you (and many others) doesn't mean that everyone else feels that it will work for them.

My point is please respect other's opinions and feelings as valid, even if you think that they don't jive with what you think and feel. You're not that person, and they are not you, so things are just going to be different, and maybe even more different than you think or are willing to accept. It seems ridiculous to me that you think you have all the answers to everyone elses problems and that you feel you have all the proper perspective, as if we haven't thought just as long and hard about all of this as you have, and haven't agonised over our feelings and options just as much if not more than you. Honestly you seem really naïve and self-righteous to me.

Yeah, I'm kind of offended. I hate it when someone feels the need to preach at me, or at a friend, and disregard their feelings and ignore the significance of what they are saying, in favour of some dogmatic, but in some cases, comfortless position.

Have a little compassion and understanding!

That's the end of my rant/beratement.

iwonder said...

I realise that that was quite harsh, and I meant it. Brady, if you feel I am misunderstanding your meaning, then I apologise, but it really seemed that you were really being condecending to playasimmar's thoughts and feelings, and all that on HIS blog!

playasinmar said...

I heard it said once, "The Lord has a plan for each of us, not a plan for all of us."

Does that apply to this situation? I think it does.

The gospel is important for everyone but it's no the same for everyone. When can you date? Can you get tattooed? What separates the role of men and women in the church?

It all leads to the same place but the details vary depending on where you are and who you are.

No, I don't think straight marriage is an option for some and I don't appreciate the suggestion that I had better fall in line because that's what God wants from me.

Brady said...

Iwonder, Playasinmar, anyone else that might in any way be offended by and of my comments-

I'm sorry. I truly did not intend to sound condescending, self-righteous, arrogant, prideful, "holier-than-thou", merciless, mean, antagonistic, spiteful, or angry. But I can totally understand how it came across that way.

I do not have all the answers. Yes, I completely understand the church's position and try to defend it - but that doesn't mean I even believe it or subscribe to it or intend to follow it for my life. So I'm in no position to tell you what you should do in your life. That was never my intent. I actually posted on my lack of qualification to offer advice a little while ago.

My only point. And I do mean my only point, was that Playasinmar was asking a question that had already been answered through the course of the comments. Maybe it wasn't a very good answer, maybe it wasn't what he wanted to hear, maybe it wasn't right. But it was still answered. I was just confused as to what he was looking for, because it seems that the only real answer that the church perspective can provide was given. If that's not satisfactory, then just say so (and I think he already has). But there's not much more that the church perspective can offer. Yeah, it bugs me too.

Playasinmar - I hope you were not offended. You told me this is exactly what you wanted for the discussion on your comment page, so the thought didn't even cross my mind. I hope that through all of our long discussions and IM's that you know I never intend to offend you or be rude. If you ever feel that way, just let me know. I think you know that I definitely don't have as many answers as I would like to have (a point I freely admit), and I never fault you for having an opposing viewpoint. Quite the opposite actually - I thoroughly enjoy your reasonings, questions, and logic - which is why I love to talk to you and have these friendly arguments =).

iwonder said...

Well, now I feel I should post an apology of mine own.

You'd think I'd have learned by now not to post/comment when I'm angry at someone, especially someone who is concrete!

I actually think that I was "berating" some of the people I've talked to lately, and not actually you. Obviously, I've got some pent up resentment, and it sort of exploded!

So, sorry Brady!

We all need, I think, to be somewhat more careful about how we say things, and also more (dare I say) liberal about how we interpret other's comments. I hope I didn't hurt your feelings Brady!

Everyone else, feel free to write me hate mail and post insulting comments on my blog as penance. (Though it would make me feel even better if you didn't!)

Playasinmar,

I greatly enjoyed our conversation today. I look forward to several such similar. ;)

Brady said...

Iwonder-

Don't worry about it. I think I should have been more careful in my comments. It was kind of harsh to use the word "ridiculous" and to add the "*gasp*" for dramatic effect. I should have learned by now not to try and use sarcasm in writing, it never seems to come across right.

playasinmar said...

I hereby apologize to any and all peoples everywhere for all reasons, raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens, brown paper packages tied up with strings.

It's all good here folks. This is a free speech zone. That means disagreements as much as agreements.

I also congratulate everyone who participates in these discussions rather than shy away, close their eyes, and sing "The Day Dawn is Breaking."

The day dawn will break, folks. No harm in talking things out in the until then.