Friday, December 14, 2007

Celibacy Question

Celibate: One who abstains from sexual intercourse, especially by reason of religious vows.

On my last blog in the comments, someone asked what I meant by celibate.

I consider myself a liberal conservative. That being said, I don't think there's anything wrong with male-to-male forms of affection. I'm not talking about sex here, I'm talking about affection. Things like cuddling, hugging, arm around the shoulder, etc. I do this with my guy friends. I don't hold hands with friends in public, nor would I ever consider kissing one in public. Except perhaps if it was a foreign country and I was with a really hot rich guy. Just teasing!

Anyway, that being said...

Here's a scenario: Two men, active in the church, abstain from sexual relations (thus allowing them to be following church guidelines--no sex outside of marriage and no marriage between two men) who are living together to provide companionship and support with them AS members of the church. There is no outward sign of homosexuality. (No pecks on the cheek in priesthood or holding hands during sacrament meeting. LOL. Imagining that right now and its a funny mental image.) However, neither date women due to lack of interest in marriage. And both are committed to their covenants. AND, I might add, both have temple recommends.

1) Would you have a problem seeing this occurring in your ward?

2) Do you think this might be an alternative for Moho guys who want to be in the church but also desire some form of male companionship?

The reason I ask this is that I have had numerous friends tell me in the past that they have no alternative in the church but to be alone. Some Mohos find a wife and are content, or become content through trial and error and basically learning to cope with life and marriage. However, for the majority, I know that many are not interested in marriage.

To me, marriage is a passing parade float. Interesting to look at from afar but I am not mesmerized by the thoughts of it for long. Just floats on by and I don't think I missed too much.

I want to be in the church more than anything. I don't want to be married. (I considered it at one point with my ex-girlfriend but it was disastrous and she was the only woman I'd ever see myself marrying, despite no physical attraction to her.)

But I don't want to be alone either.

I know LOTS of guys out there feel the same way. I hate being alone for too long. An empty home is not a home to me. It needs life.

The appearance of sin, if that is the issue here, would also deny a Moho from living with a female roommate. So, is it one of those "darned" if you do "darned" if you don't ideas?

I don't want to end up like one of those sad, pathetic old anti-mormon gays after a mid-life crisis. And I don't want to kill myself either. Believe me, in a former self than I am now I considered it.

If if is one of those situations where you're screwed either way---not being able to have a male Moho roommate (even though following church rules) OR having a female roommate, then honestly... and I'm not saying I'm leaving the church since I've already stated I will remain... Well, then I honestly can SEE WHY people would flock to leave the church when they realize they're gay\SSA\MOHO. (Many more leave the church than stay in general---as activity levels amongst all members is rather low... but add to it the whole sexuality thing and it seems like activity levels plummet.)

So trying to think about alternatives and ALSO to make people think a bit. Open discussion! Let me know what you think!


Abelard Enigma said...

1) Would you have a problem seeing this occurring in your ward?

No, I wouldn't have a problem with it at all; in fact, I would find it quite endearing.

2) Do you think this might be an alternative for Moho guys who want to be in the church but also desire some form of male companionship?

Absolutely. As you aptly pointed out - what other choice do you have?

Of course, I'm not sure how much weight my opinions have on this topic - I'm just another homo.

It would be interesting to post those questions somewhere in the blogernacle to see what kinds of reactions you would get.

Something else to consider, does it really matter what some ward members think? You are describing a scenario where, by all outward appearances, the two men are just roommates - who also happen to be good buddies. If your bishop is OK with it enough to give you temple recommends then what does it matter what some ward members might think?

One thing you did not mention in your scenario is age and if you are in a singles ward or a family ward. Personally, I think you would have better acceptance in a family ward then you might in a singles ward. In the latter, the fact that neither of you date would be glaringly obvious. In the former, most people wouldn't even notice as they are too busy chasing around their two year olds.

As far as having a female roommate - I doubt you would be allowed to have a temple recommend if you were living with a woman to whom you were not related (either by blood or marriage).

There is another possibility to consider - become a foster parent, perhaps even adopt a child. Aside from any fulfillment you would get, if there is a child in the home then the 'not dating' thing becomes a moot point as most people would assume you were either a widower or divorced.

alea said...

Thanks for the clarification on what you're terming celibacy, but I'm still a little confused about your gedank experiment here. Are these two guys attracted to each other? Or they genuinely roommates and just friends. Or are they amorously, if chastely, involved. Because, there's obviously nothing wrong with having good friends/roommates who will help you live up to your covenants and all that jazz. And you can certainly be affectionate with said friends.

But if the two guys are piecing together some sort of romantic but non-sexual relationship, I don't think it's an appearance of sin issue, but a temptation issue. I can't imagine something more frustrating than living in close quarters with someone you love deeply (as I assume you would), you are attracted to you and who shares these feelings. Do you really think it's possible to never, even once, slip up?

I'm probably projecting my oversexualized nature onto you, but that would be a major concern for me. I do think there needs to be a better solution for the loneliness you're talking about than telling gays to either marry or just suck it up. Your possibility is an intriguing one, but it's also one that I know, personally, I could not hack and therefore I doubt that others could.

Abelard Enigma said...

There is no question that a romantic non-sexual relationship between two men would produce temptations, particularly if they are living together.

But, realistically, aren't you faced with temptations to act on your attractions anyway? If you're going to 'slip up', wouldn't it be better to do so with someone you love rather than some guy you met up with on craigs list?

I think there are some things two guys could do to help deal with the temptation issue. For example, if they live together then they probably should not sleep in the same bed - they should each have their own separate bedrooms - and separate bathrooms where they can take cold showers :)

I don't mean to sound flippant; but, if they do slip up - isn't that why we have the repentance process?

It also depends upon the nature of the slip-up. I don't mean to be crude; but, in my mind, there is a huge difference between inappropriate touching while fully clothed resulting in a climax - and sodomy.

In a bishopric training meeting earlier this year, one of the agenda topics was same gender attraction. The council our stake president gave to the bishops in our stake was: When dealing with people who have same gender attraction, there are other factors, besides just making bad choices, that may be affecting their behavior that need to be taken into consideration.

Two men living together in a romantic non-sexual relationship is not ideal; but, in my very most humble of opinions :) it is preferable to life of loneliness for someone who is committed to remaining in good standing in the church.

MoHoHawaii said...

Try it out and see if it works.

I'm kind of serious. At least half serious.

There are lots of constraints (the thou-shalt-nots) but not many solutions to problems like loneliness and the lack of avenues for appropriate sexual expression. If you can pioneer something that works, go for it.


I don't want to end up like one of those sad, pathetic old anti-mormon gays after a mid-life crisis.

Ouch! :-) Whew! I'm glad I had my mid-life crisis when I was still in my 20s.

Potentate said...

I know there's at least one apartment
(or house, or town home, or whatever you wanna call it) in Provo who's tenants are all gay. I want their perspectives.

The numbers make it a different scenario form the one described, but they're still similar.

Post-It Boy said...


... I love the word endearing. I do not know why. I love that you used it to describe this particularly situation. haha.

I've thought about whether I'd like to attend a singles or family ward upon graduation. I've been doing the whole singles wards in school and find them annoying to say it nicely. I tend to feel more comfortable in family wards.

In student wards, I'm surrounded by people dating... In family wards, I'm surrounded by kids. (And I adore children... Only reason why I find SSA to be troublesome is the not-having kids thing.)

Post-It Boy said...

Alea, can't love transcend sexual attractions? Couldn't you love someone enough that you wouldn't want THEM to mess up? So the sexual temptation might be eliminated or greatly reduced.

And I'm not just using a hypothetical thought there---since I have loved male friends enough that it removes temptation for me. Its weird but true.

Post-It Boy said...

Potentate, I currently live with another Moho--we're not tempted by each other and we've had a lot of fun living together. I'm aware of several apartments where Moho's living together has occurred in provo. Its my second time living with one.

If I didn't have "Cool Roommate" I'd die. See previous blogs to hear about some of the Adventures with the Straighties.

alea said...

For sure love can transcend sexual feelings, but if that's the case and you're really just best friends in the philos zone, where would the problem be? But, if it's eros, surely the temptation will stick around. I guess I'm still confused if you want a chaste lover or a best friend.

And, having been in a situation where my deep love for the other party and the pain I felt on seeing her guilt didn't help me move beyond overstepping lines of conduct makes me question

abelard- While I can see your points about some things not being as serious and it'd be better to mess up with a guy you love, etc, I don't think that makes it ok or justifies it. It might minimize the damage/cost, but it also smacks a bit of a mockery of the idea of the atonement. Like preemptive repentance. Plus, you're going to face temptations, but temptations in your house? All the time? There's a big difference between seeing a cute guy at work and living with a guy with whom you share mutual attraction.