Sunday, February 27, 2011

Believe it or not , MOMs typically fail...

Rant warning: This blog post is a rant. If I read one more well-meaning (read naive) Mormon gay boy claim that because he has faith, he’s going to marry the right woman and make it work, I’M GOING TO SCREAM!

This morning I awoke to read a blog post by (Gay) Mormon Guy as I often do. His irrepressible faith, optimism and naivety, though sometimes misguided, are a refreshing way to start the day. He is definitely a sweet boy.

His post today, however, was not sweet. It was DANGEROUS. And because he has so many people that read his blog and actually believe what he says, I felt duty bound to respond.

(I tried to respond on (Gay) Mormon Guy’s blog in a courteous, objective manner citing data and research to show the inherent flaws of his position. Because he refused to publish my response, I felt obligated to respond with this post.)

(Gay) Mormon Boy emphasized that, because the Brethren have said in an official statement that “Persons who have (1) cleansed themselves of any transgression and (2) who have shown their ability to deal with these feelings or inclinations and put them in the background, and (3) feel a great attraction for a daughter of God and therefore desire to enter marriage and have children and enjoy the blessings of eternity — that’s a situation when marriage would be appropriate.

Let me respond to this assumption with a question that I don’t mean to sound disrespectful, despite the fact that it in fact sounds that way.

Just because the brethren SAY, that it is appropriate for a gay man to marry if he has repented, learned to manage his inclinations, and is attracted to a woman, does that make it so?

Just because Boyd Packer said homosexuality is a choice, does that make it so? Just because David O. McKay said homosexuality was a disease that could be cured, does that make it so? Just because Spencer Kimball said masturbation can lead to homosexuality, does that make it so?

Just because a general authority says something is true, does that make it true?

Now let me rephrase my first question.

Just because a worthy gay man desires to marry a member of the opposite sex for religious, social or personal reasons, does that mean it is appropriate for him to do so?

Regardless of what the Brethren say, based on both narrative and empirical evidence of the facts, the appropriate answer is, in fact, DEFINITELY NOT.

While (Gay) Mormon Guy says that there are many gay Latter-day Saints in MOMs that are succeeding and building wonderful lives and families, the truth is that in over 20 years serving in a variety of Church leadership positions and extensive work with LDS and non-LDS mental health professionals, I have NEVER learned of one MOM besides my own that lasted beyond the third decade.

Supporting my experience, research suggests that successful long term MOMs, even in the Mormon community, are few and far between. While some MOMs last into their second and third decades, 90% end within 10 years of marriage.

Would you fly in a particular type of airplane if you knew that 90% of its flights crashed over a 10 year period? I doubt it.

LDS MOMs nearly always begin with young people not too different in faith and outlook from that of (Gay) Mormon Boy. These young people have every intention of making their marriages work, of building their lives on a foundation of faith, service, and obedience, of living worthy of their covenants.

The problem is that as the years grind on and the stress and burden of life wear heavy, that initial faith and optimism usually fade. They are all too often replaced by anger and resentment on the part of both members of the marriage because neither spouse is able to feel whole and fulfilled in the marriage relationship.

Because of this anger and resentment, these gay men who entered marriage with every intention of being faithful and devoted to their families and the Church, instead cruise gay bars and surf gay hook-up sites on the Internet to satisfy their loneliness and sense of worthlessness.

Research says that while nearly all LDS MOMs begin on a foundation of faith and optimism, these relationships more typically end with betrayal, heartache, disease, and regret.

When the cards are stacked so heavily against mixed orientation marriages, should a gay Latter-day Saint marry a straight woman?

No, they should not.

I believe that instead of encouraging what is an unnatural and ultimately painful union of a gay man with a straight women, the Brethren should be condemning MOMs for the evil and sorrow that seems to inevitably result from their creation.

The bottom line today is that sweet, but naïve people like (Gay) Mormon Guy should not be allowed to espouse blatant misrepresentation of truth without being directly and incessantly challenged for what they write and say.


  1. Well, a true rant, with all the exaggerations and intolerance that characterize rants.

    But, alas, also full of truth and insight. I have been married 30-some years and hardly a day goes by when I don't feel some regret. There is love in my marriage, friendship, fun, and respect. And lots of history which is a powerful glue. But no passion.

    Knowing what I know now, if I had to do it all over again, knowing that I would probably not have my children, professional success, and social stability? I really don't know, but the fact that I think about it tells all.

    Mr. (Gay) Mormon Guy is headed for a fall. That's his choice; but what a shame if he brings others down with him.

  2. I've said it before and I'd say it again. I'm not against MOM's as long as both parties have full disclosure of what they're getting into and at least when thing go sour there will not be the issue of "You took advantage of me and didn't tell me"--I can still hear my X saying those words.... Regular marriages are hard enough, the odds are highly stacked against it to make it even less complex. Having said that you and I know that there's still plenty of Moho's that have been where we have and will be where we are down the road and while in some tragic way is unfair, it seems to be the circle of life, Moho style.

  3. Well, this rant surely deserves a comment from the likes of me...yesterday my wife and I reached the 30 year mark on our 'Mixed Orientation Marriage.' Today we are happy, but celebrating with our eyes wide open, and much more aware of we have and don't have.

    We certainly began our lives' journey full of the faith and optimism you described. Although I told my wife to be that I had at times "same-sex attractions," it barely registered on our alarm sensors, because we both bought into the church's rhetoric that with faith, repentance and regular hetero sex, that such feelings would go away. After all, I surely wasn't gay and I had no intention to "choose" that perverted 'alternative lifestyle' which those kind of people lived.

    There is a family in our ward that has a gay son who is currently serving a mission. We've talked with them about our MOM. Last week the mother told us that we are her inspiration. This frightens me, because I don't want her to carry the hope that because we're still together and faithful, that her son can/should get married to a woman.

    I am thankful for my wife and our family which we've built together. But oh, there have been times of great sorrow and resentment, on both sides. This weekend we talked about if we were to do it all again, would we? We both have said, probably not. Maybe there were other paths we should have taken, but there wasn't the understanding or the options available 30 years ago that young adults have today.

    We choose to remain together, to care for and love one another. I want to honor her and my covenants. But this is the result of persistence and years of mutual family investment, and not from a natural bond. We have little certainty of our eternal future together, only that we both deeply know that our lives are watched over and will be recompensed by a wise and loving Father.

  4. Brethren, thank you for your insightful and sensitive comments. When we all married, the world was a different place and we didn't have the knowledge or the choices most young gay men have today. I admire all of you for the choices you've made.

    As my former wife told our bishop when he tried to comfort her by saying that he understood trials because he had lost a child, "I'd trade places with you in a heartbeat. You have no idea what real trial is unless you have walked in the shoes of my husband or me."

    Despite our mutual love and fidelity, our compatibility, our focus on the Gospel and on service, and our wonderful children, everyday required superhuman effort to keep our relationship and our family intact. Ultimately, it became too much of a burden to continue.

    For those of you who are able to muster on, God bless you.

  5. I am new to the church and I have never heard of MOMs before. Could someone please tell me what it is ?

    So Before I was a member of the church , I did alot of "things" and I have met alot of Gay men that are married and um... it is not good. They do not seem to care how bad they could hurt their families.
    I really feel that it is a bad idea for gay guys to marry Girls because from what I have heard and seen most of the time the gay guy "hooks" up with another Guy. I do know one LDS guy that is making it work and I hope he does but that is just not the norm

  6. You know even in this "enlighetened" world things are not so much better. When you think "my options are either to live a lone celibate life or get married to a woman and have a family"...which do you think most of us would like to choose?
    Having been brainwashed by Evergreen, I decided I'd give marriage a try.
    Mixed Orientation Marriage is very very hard. Recently, I'm really feeling the brunt of that. To have my wife worry she's 2nd best, to have to admit that we don't feel the same things for each other. There's a lot I could say about this, but let me boil it down to a simple phrase:
    Your wife deserves to be loved and respected, and a husband who is fully committed to her. When you don't feel (naturally) that attraction to your wife, it's a lot harder to do that (Maybe some of you have a better answer but for me, I'm not doing a very good job at it).
    Let me state my utter frustration (personally) with this counsel.
    I've been married 3 years now. 2 months now I've accepted I'm gay.
    I look back, and it's this very counsel that lead me to get married.
    1) Deal with these feeling.
    Um, tell me at what point can a person know for sure that they have "overcome" their same sex attraction? For me, that meant shoving it aside, ignoring it. I thought "Oh, I've overcome this now)the quote says "Deal with" but if that's in the way that Evergreen etc means, I'm gonna tell you it doesn't work in the long term.
    2) Attraction to a daughter of God.
    This one is more complicated. I mean I definitely feel something for my wife. But strong sexual and romantic attraction? I feel that for men.
    By the very counsel, these feelings aren't in the background, my "Attraction" to a daughter of God is weak at best. But having gone through the BYU mold, and gone through some evergreen where people "testified" that I could get married, there came a point when I thought I'd "dealt" with this, I went ahead and got married.
    And now things are frustrating. I mean, we're best friends. I'll be the first to tell you I love my wife, we have some really positive things in our relationship. Just because we don't hate each other though doesn't mean it was or is the right thing. Whenever we come up againt that obstacle, that lack of attraction on my part, it's hard.So much stress. So much hell to go through, for both of us. It's really not something I'd want anyone else to have to feel.
    I don't want to overgeneralize. Everyone's sort of at a different place in their MOM, and a bit different circumstances. I can only tell you where my marriage is at, and it isn't pretty.

  7. I would however like to qualify my comment a bit. I'm speaking from a lot of personal grief and frustration. But from a more rational point of view, I've recently (as in since I posted this) been reading When Husbands Come Out of the Closet, recommended by Mister Curie. Basically it talks about attitudes toward gay/straight marriage and says that people who divide people into being exclusively homosexual or exclusively heterosexual rather than on a continuum are "likely to take the stance that homosexuality, no matter what degree, is simply not compatible with heterosexual marriage" (Gochros 49). It's important to note this is both a religious community Group A (i.e. the lds church's stance) as well as Group B that only sees gay man as getting married to conform and fails to take account of the other reasons.
    The reality is more complicated. There are plenty of people with "same sex attraction" that can and do make their marriage work.
    It says, " A Group C perspective, however, is more apt to consider such marriages as potentially viable, depending on the reason for the marriage and the ability to lead an unconventional lifestyle. Group C writers find no evidence that when freed from stigmatization, such marriages are more 'neurotic' than any others or that the essential ingredients for a satisfying relationship are different from those of a heterosexual relationship" (50).
    There's a lot of sense in saying, "Some people can make it work, depending on their circumstances. Some people can't."

  8. Alex, thank you for your insightful comments. They are heart felt and deeply moving.

    I believe with the scriptures that men and women are that they might have joy. You and your wife deserve joy, not just in the eternities, but in this life as well. I pray you both will somehow come to the point where you might find it.

  9. I appreciate your perspective on this. I am in a open & honest MOM, now in our 3rd year. Things are better than they have ever been between my wife and I. And I'm not naive enough to believe that tomorrow I won't wake up hating the life I've chosen. But for now, I'm doing what I can to build a strong a marriage for my wife and myself.

    I've often asked myself if I could possibly recommend others to enter into a MOM. My response to that is: if the gay man is completely honest with the straight woman, they both demonstrate a level of growing attraction and physical intimacy, they both understand that the SSA will never go away and that marriage won't "fix" anything, and manage to build a spiritual relationship in Christ... then, yeah, I could see a MOM working in such a situation.

    Unfortunately, most MOMs in the 70s, 80s, and 90s were NOT started with the principles listed above. Most gay men deceived their straight wives, going off of what had been recommended to them by Church Leaders. They believed that marriage would cure them. The years of denial, and repression eventually erupt.

    Again, I appreciate and respect your perspective, but I don't think it's right or fair to refer to those who are "faithful," as being "naive."