Monthly Archives: January 2013

Ask Mormon Girl: I’m an out gay Mormon serving a mission, and I need help.

Just over a year ago, I stood at the back of the first-ever Mormon temple in Kirtland, Ohio, and witnessed a choir of gay Mormons sing “How Firm a Foundation” with a grace and power that would make the Mormon tears roll down your face.  And next to me stood a young gay Mormon man, nineteen and red-headed and freckle-faced, who’d travelled across the ocean from Europe, just to be in the company of other gay Mormons.  Just to be understood.  And as tears rolled down his freckled face (of course), he asked me: “If they could see us”—they being, I don’t know who, perhaps Church leaders?—“don’t you think they’d change their minds about us?”

I didn’t have a good answer for that.  But I fell in love with him (of course) the way forty year-old Mormon feminists can’t help but fall in love with nineteen year-old gay Mormon men who are preparing to serve their missions.  And I’ve been writing to him from time to time, as his friend and sister Mormon.  Which is what we do for one another.

This week he sent something of an SOS:

I’m not doing so well. I’m struggling to get along with my companions, who I have so little in common with.  And the “no hug” rule really hurts, since I tend to connect readily with women, and a hug comes naturally to me.

Not to sound like a spoilt child, but I need wisdom.  Bigotry exists, and people have formulated ideas that are hurtful, and I’m desperately trying to be graceful, but I am what I am and I won’t be made into something I’m not.  A lot of positive changes have come through service so far—forgiveness, trust, reliance of myself, strength for the underdog—I just need wisdom on how to make it through.

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Ask Mormon Girl: The Mormon men in my life have porn issues. Help?

Have mercy.  Dear, sweet AMG readers sent two—yes, two—queries this week about a most sensitive subject: pornography.

Here’s query one:

I’m a young single female adult in the church and in my dating, I have come across what seems like an astonishing number of young men in the church that have struggled with pornography. (Maybe astonishing isn’t the right word, as I’m well aware of the far-reaching impact of pornography addiction.) I have heard horror story after horror story about families being torn apart from pornography and it’s left me feeling a little, well, hopeless. Are there any positive stories about people overcoming pornography addiction? I’m sure there are, but frankly, it seems like those stories don’t really get told in General Conference all that often. Is it wiser to write off any boys that have/had problems with porn? I hate to do that because 1, I believe in the healing power of the Atonement and 2, that would reduce my already tiny dating pool into something of a dating puddle. And what’s the best way to broach the topic with any potential spouses?

Here’s query two:

I am writing with a touchy subject. I have been married to my husband for 2 and a half years. We have had a happy marriage thus far; we both have similar goals and perspectives—including our political and religious beliefs. We love being around each other. However, about a year ago, I learned that my husband has had a pornography addiction since he was a teenager. He had never told anyone about this, and it has been difficult for me to learn how to handle. Right when I learned about this, he and I discussed it at length. We also visited with our branch president who offered excellent advice and counsel. For the first few months following this advice, my husband would let me know when he ‘slipped up’ and we would talk about what the situation was when he sought out pornography. As time has passed, we haven’t talked much about how he is doing. In the last few months, I have found out that he is still looking at pornography. Once, recently, I found out about it while he was next to me by the computer (he’s usually so good at covering his ‘tracks’). We didn’t talk in depth at the time, but it really saddens me that he isn’t open about this, as I am trying so hard to be non-judgmental and kind about the reality that he and I are in. But when it comes down to it, I feel like my trust has been betrayed and I find myself becoming paranoid—I don’t want to stalk him or make him feel like he is constantly being harassed as I ‘check in’ on how he’s doing, but I do believe that this is something that I can’t simply live with indefinitely.

My question is this: As a progressive Mormon, I feel a bit prudish being offended and negatively impacted by my husband’s pornography addiction. I know that pornography is widely accepted throughout the progressive world that I enjoy associating with, but I still can’t ignore how hurt I am. I don’t want to make my husband feel guilty over this habit, but I’m not sure how to express my concern to him without making him feel that he is an immoral person. How can I work through this with him, and furthermore, how can I restore the trust that I feel is gone when it comes to this addiction?

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Ask Mormon Girl: I’m in a missionary love quandary. Help?

 

Two letters this week, both about love and missionaries.  What a topic.  It’s true–I once promised myself to a soon-to-be missionary after a tram ride to the top of Bridal Veil Falls in Provo Canyon.  (All Mormon girls do at one time or another.)  And it’s true, I failed miserably, miserably, to wait for that missionary.  You can read the whole saga in The Book of Mormon Girl.  Every painful detail.

This week’s two questions come to us from young women who are also thinking about “their” missionaries. And, yes, well, there are some painful details here too.

Letter the first:

I’m not a Mormon, and I’ve met a Mormon guy on mission that I’m interested in.  From what little I’ve read it seems Mormons on mission aren’t allowed to have any kind of dating interaction with females.  So I get that, but are they allowed to be friends?  If so, how do I go about letting him know I’d like to be friends without seeming like I’m coming on to him?  I don’t want to be inappropriate or offend him or get him into trouble.

And here’s the super-easy answer.  No, I’m really sorry, but you can’t be friends with the missionary.  Make him a lasagna, drop it off at a neutral third party location, and then say sayonara.  Really.  It’s the most merciful thing you can do.  He’s supposed to be 100% focused on finding people to teach and serving the community.  He’s supposed to be 100% celibate.  Like a eunuch.  He can’t do that with you as his friend.  Because you’re cute.  You smell like Bath and Body Works. When you laugh, the way your head tilts–it’s irresistible. And he’s 20.  Big boundaries.  No “friendship.” End of story. Sorry.

Letter the second:

For the past 7 years, I have been best friends with an amazing guy. We were both LDS. He’s always had a huge crush on me and I’ve known that, and he continues to feel that way while on his mission currently. The problem is that since he has left, I am a completely different person. No longer go to church, have a boyfriend that I live with, etc. 

The man I am with is amazing. I do love him and enjoy everything about him. The problem is that my friend is coming home in August and suddenly I am having these thoughts for him and the church and I’m freaking out because for so long I thought that I didn’t believe in the church, but I miss it and I miss the people and now I am torn between two worlds. 

I’m afraid…afraid of changing my mind about what I’m doing. The man I’m with does in no way believe in any religion. I don’t know how to go forward or how to make a decision. I love him. And thinking about leaving him for (pretty much) another guy/lifestyle feels like I’m betraying him and that hurts. 

If you were me, what would you do? 

You know what worries me about this letter, love?  You tell me all about these two “amazing” guys in your life.  You ponder the possible betrayal of their feelings. But I hear nothing about you.  As if you are a pile of iron filings that can be magnetically drawn this way and that by the influence of the men who love you.  But what about you?  If both your missionary and your lover (*poof*) magically disappeared from the face of the earth tomorrow, what kind of a conversation would you have with God? If all men–every last sweet handsome one of them–(*POOF*) magically disappeared from the face of the earth tomorrow–all the grandfathers, fathers, priesthood leaders, bishops, brothers, husbands, boyfriends, used-to-be-boyfriends, friends–what would you do with yourself?  Or, in the words of the great poet Mary Oliver:

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Notice that she does not ask what you think someone else would like you to do with your one wild and precious life.  It’s yours, honey–all yours.  It’s sacred.  And it’s scary.   And in that power to choose, that is where you meet God.

Send your query to askmormongirl@gmail.com, or follow @askmormongirl on Twitter.

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