So, this week. Keeping Mormons after dropping Mormonism.
I have a couple of friends in SLC who are Mormon and who believe in the church, but also strongly support gay rights. One of them even volunteers with the Trevor project. They've each hosted me in their homes and supported my plans for love, family, and atheism; it's pretty much a no-brainer that their Mormonism doesn't bother me. They're good friends, and easy to love because they love me, and I can feel it.
But then, if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye?
I have a few friends in Utah and Arizona, including my roommates from the Cozy House, who are more traditionally Mormon. They voted for Prop 8 and similar and think the recent SCOTUS decisions were the result of activist judges. They "don't agree with homosexuality."
These people are much more difficult to love. Conversation often gets strangled as I try not to bring up the guy I have a crush on or how happy I was when Prop 8 fell and so on. Sometimes one or the other of us will not be circumspect enough and prick the other with a needle about their delusions or my immorality. Keeping a relationship with these people often hurts.
Yet, they've also shared their homes with me. These people have listened when I needed to be heard and held me up during scary-dark times. They're generally good, smart people, focused on their families. I have memories with them, and connections, and in most cases I don't want to let them go.
Keeping up our relationships is a bit of a dilemma. Talking with these Mormons is usually as uncomfortable as it is enlightening, as infuriating as it is good to reminisce. I find myself weighing each one: Is this worth keeping up? Do I want to still know these people?
Mostly the answer has been yes. In large part, this is because I want to be a man who has a wide filter bubble. Partly it's because I don't want one's opinion about homosexuality or religion to be a dealbreaker, and partly it's because I don't want everything to always come back to me and people like me. I don't want other people's narrowness to make me narrow.
Sometimes, it's a dilemma. Egg* and I, for example, were homeschooled and then early college students together. She's essentially my sister from another mister, in that we had our phases of hate and love and we spent far, far too much time together. Egg is very Mormon (the kind that Doesn't Agree With Homosexuality), and it was difficult for her when I came out over the phone while at BYU, but it also made a lot of sense, and she's adapted well. Although she, like my sister, feels the need to remind me that she Doesn't Agree every time we talk about boys, we do talk about boys.
However. While I was in Japan she got married to a Mormon man who also Doesn't Agree With Homosexuality--so much that he literally will not stay in the same room as me. I was at his house visiting with Egg; he said hello, moved to another room, and put in headphones. I took a chair next to him at a recent event; he sat stonily for five minutes and then moved to the other side of the yard, where he remained until I left, an hour or so later. Egg confirms that he is creeped out because I'm gay, and I have to say, that makes me livid. The bridges I've tried to build to him (because he's Egg's husband) are on fire.
. . . but then, if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye?
The bridges may survive, scorched, because he's Egg's husband. There's a point where it's just not worth it, even if it means giving up Egg. There's a point where I'm going to start throwing gas instead of sand.
But we're not there yet.
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