not in Primary anymore

punish me too!

gold-handcuffs

The LDS Church has recently come out with an addition to the Bishop’s Handbook that states that one of the definitions of apostasy is being married to or cohabitating with a person of the same gender. Apostasy, of course, being grounds for excommunication. Why is this? Well, as best I can tell it comes down to our theology.

We have a Heavenly Father and a Heavenly Mother (or Mothers, depending on who you ask or which century you ask it in). And just as they were once like us and became perfected beings, so do we also. This starts with a temple marriage, and then bearing and raising children. Eventually, at some point after death and the final resurrection, we can receive exaltation and create our own spirit children to to Heavenly Parents to. This is why being married to a person of the opposite sex is so important, see; there might be adoptions and in-vitro fertilization on earth, but in the eternities an all-powerful couple, even if they are God, has no way of creating spirit children except in the usual way. A committed same-sex couple, even if they are faithful Mormons in every other way, is knowingly sinning against God and throwing away their chances of Godhood.

There is one other alternative: that God made us the way we are and that there is nothing wrong with being gay, or straight, or trans, or anything else; as long as we are living our best lives we will have our reward in heaven. Joseph Smith, receiving revelation through his earthly perspective as a straight man (in a time long before in-vitro existed) just did not see the whole picture.

But let’s put that aside for now. Let’s say that there really is only one way to achieve exaltation, and that is to get married in the temple to a person of the opposite sex. What about me then? I am asexual and aromantic. I do not plan on ever getting married, in this life or the next. Wouldn’t I fall under the same definition of apostasy? And yet, radio silence.

Not that I want to be considered an apostate. But I went through years of denial and trying to be straight before realize I cannot change my sexual orientation; I just can’t. And so I feel like I have a small insight into what LGB members of the church go through. And yet there is nothing being done to punish me and others like me on the A side of things. Yes, there is a barrage of marriage and family preached from the pulpit, but no one is saying it’s a sin to not get married, especially if you are keeping the law of chastity. The worst we’ll get is usually a look of pity and a “there, there, you’ll find someone in the next life” from a sweet matron who doesn’t know the difference between single and asexual.

Why punish them and not me? At the very least, I am doing the same thing that a same sex couple would do – not getting married in the temple to an opposite sex partner. I am doing it knowingly and consciously, not just from lack of finding the right person. Those in a committed same-sex relationship may not be a male and a female, but at least they are together as two partners. Even worse, I am disobeying the commandment given to Adam and Eve to multiply and replenish the earth, something couples with children are obeying no matter what their orientation may be.

So again I am asking, why not me? Why is it so urgent that those in a same-sex relationship be required to go through church discipline and possible excommunication, and I’m still sitting here with a temple recommend? And if anyone says it’s not the attraction that the problem but the acting on it, I AM acting on my lack of attraction every day I remain single, that’s how my orientation works. Shouldn’t it be just as urgent to discipline me?

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4 Responses to “punish me too!”

  1. CC

    “And yet there is nothing being done to punish me and others like me on the A side of things. ” I hope this will continue for you. My situation was that I had an abusive temple marriage and couldn’t bring myself to remarry after my divorce–I found that the older I got as a single, childless woman in the Church (and it also depended on the ward where I lived), I faced a great deal of criticism from women in the Church. For example, 3 days after the Relief Society President came to my home to welcome me to the ward–when we talked about a trip I was planning–the RS president gave a lesson on being a virtuous woman. She looked at me and said “God didn’t send us here to take trips….He sent us here to raise families.” I hope you’ll never face this type of experience.

    Reply
  2. Kim Baccellila

    I grew up in a part member family. Mom was Mormon and Dad was agnostic. They also weren’t married. So basically they were living in sin. As a matter of fact Dad was still technically married to his first wife for a while. All us kids still were baptized and given names. The thing that this announcement though is it’s bringing back the painful memories others in the church back then directed our way to the point that none of my siblings want anything to do with the church right now. I grew up confused on what was right and wrong. It didn’t help that some in the church would love to point in my direction how it was my job to get my father to join the church and then the rest would fall in place. So yeah, this has been really hard for me.

    Reply
  3. Anonymous

    This is a very interesting way to look at the situation and it definitely rings logical. However, growing up, I remember hearing that if you had the chance to marry in this life and didn’t take it, or if you could have gotten married but refused, you don’t get that same level of exaltation. It wouldn’t be a punishment here but if the eternities. I used to be afraid that I’d have to accept someone creepy if he wanted to marry me because otherwise, I’d be on the naughty heaven list. Such a dangerous way to think. I’m not sure if it’s doctrine, but I was taught it nonetheless.

    Reply
  4. Coriander

    I don’t see that there have to be only the two alternatives you give. But I do see how Mormon folk doctrines promote that kind of thinking. In reference to Anonymous, I perceive among Mormon spinsters a belief that all the hot single guys who got killed in all the wars of earth’s history will be waiting on the other side to court the women who died single . . .

    I digress. What if gender – archetypal gender – really is an eternal and essential part of our souls? What if the real purpose of marriage between opposites is to enact a metaphor of confrontation and reconciliation of the opposite genders that in some measure make up each individual psyche – as well as the opposing principles in the collective unconscious? Genital relations cease to be of such importance then – and though they are the natural biological means of reproduction in mortality, I can’t accept the idea of exalted women giving birth to little ghostie babies.

    In sticking so stubbornly to a Victorian isolation of a nuclear family as the ideal way to raise children (which it isn’t), the Church has missed out on helping people find and make more loving and successful living arrangements. Each one of us living owes a debt to someone who made sacrifices for us – whether our biological parents or not. Part of life is paying that forward, but that doesn’t have to entail producing children with your own body. There could be ways for so many more people to take part in caring for children and raising them in loving environments: not just heterosexual couples, not just homosexual couples, not just couples, not just nuclear households!

    And in imagining, investigating and building such arrangements, genital relations between people would fade in importance. That would be a good thing.

    Reply

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