The Long, Slow Death of My Homophobia
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20-05-2017, 07:17 AM
The Long, Slow Death of My Homophobia
I posted this as part of My Deconversion Story but, considering my past posts in this forum several years ago, I'd like to make it a bit more prominent. So, thanks to every person in the past who interacted with me here. Mea culpa.

Mormon Stories is a podcast hosted by former Mormon John Dehlin. The podcast evolved over the years as he evolved and as his views increasingly separated from Mormon orthodoxy. For his openness, he was excommunicated from the LDS Church. Yet Dehlin has continued the podcast, focusing recently on Mormons who are leaving the church, and in order to help others who are also deconverting feel less isolated, share their own intimate stories of Mormon experience and leaving Mormonism.

Dehlin recently interviewed Lance and Nicki Miles, a couple who describe their faith transition out of Mormonism. Lance’s story of rejecting his father, who came out as gay after decades of trying to morm the gay away, is both tragic and important. It is tremendously moving and compelling. I now feel like every moment used against love between people is wasted.

So, borrowing courage from Lance and Nicki Miles, I'd like to share my own story about leaving homophobia.

I started out from the homophobic double whammy perspective as a Mormon in the Bible Belt. I noticed from a young age that homophobia existed because my middle name is associated with homosexuality. The laughs and smirks during roll call at school clearly indicated this to me.

So I thought about the gay stigma and slowly peeled away the prevalent assumptions about gays. I threw away presumptions attaching homosexuality to pedophilia, to AIDS, and to promiscuity.

Despite this, as a conservative Republican, it was clear that gay marriage could represent a major turning point and revolution of the way society defines marriage. I became a committed opponent of same-sex marriage, and logged hundreds of internet hours researching and debating, many of them with gay, lesbian, bi, and transgender people. I listened, sometimes I listened better than other times. Yet, after several years, I deeply wanted same-sex couples to be able to have legal protections.

When SCOTUS finally ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, I was genuinely happy for those benefitting from the legalization of same-sex marriage.

After getting to know and to love many people who are not straight, I still cannot completely relate to a same-sex relationship, but I’ve also realized that this doesn’t change anything. Do we have to understand each other completely to be decent and kind? I hope not. Do I get it? Not totally, but so what. I want you to be able to live your life, to love, and to freely commit to another person if you want to.

This is where I was before I left the church. At that point as a believing Mormon, I would empathize with the Brethren. I assumed that they, the protectors and stewards of the precious flock of humanity here on earth, had agonized over this issue. I hoped that they were even more aware than I of the suffering, heartache, and struggle felt by those in the church who are not straight. I assumed that the First Presidency had gone to the Lord and pled with the Lord for these children and asked for guidance and that they had received a “No” from the Lord.

From the compassionate believing-Mormon perspective, I believed that we are were stuck with the Lord’s ban on acting out on homosexuality. I believed that this ban was a burden separating us, generating pain and hostility, and that we as disciples of Christ were charged to love through that gap, to bridge the separation.

From within that bubble, I started to really believe that there might be some higher purpose in this dilemma, that maybe Mormons, when they learned to love gays despite God's ban on their desires, would lead the way for all devotees around the world. I believed we would show Muslims, Baptists, and other Mormons how to love those separated from us and how to bridge the distance.

My belief in the church didn't break over these issues, but my belief broke.

From outside the Mormon bubble, the dilemma Mormons suffer over homosexuality is so much clearer, and is absolutely tragic. It's so useless, this suffering. There's no reason consistent with love and hope to believe God is banning homosexuality.

As an ex-Mormon, I keenly feel the pain of being untethered from the comfort of dogma and religious certainty. It is frightening. It is unstable. It is dark sometimes. Yet, it’s only dark, unstable, and frightening if I leave the thinking to Mormonism. Every day requires me to do the mental exercise of building my own game plan and values. It takes work to undo the Mormonism programming and rebuild my own thinking.

But there is an interesting thing that happens almost every day once I do this deliberate mental exercise: life gets so exciting, everything is more valuable. Time and opportunities are more precious and meaningful. I just have to remind myself to do it. And one of the very best things about being an ex-Mormon is being absolutely free of the cognitive and heart-dissonance of homophobia.

If you’re not straight, I’m sorry for the hurt I have contributed to your life. To everyone, I’m sorry for the hurt I have contributed to the world by carrying the water for homophobia.

It’s a new day. Time to live bigger and better.

-BeccaBoo
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20-05-2017, 07:29 AM
RE: The Long, Slow Death of My Homophobia
I'm glad you have left that old world and way of thinking behind. It is amazing how much brainwashing and damage religious beliefs can do-it takes over all aspects of how you view the world and your life. For religions that claim love is the answer, they sure do a great job of spreading hate. I know my old religion did, which was a big impetus for my getting out of that whole establishment.

While I'm straight, I could not understand how a "loving" God could hate or punish those who were in same sex rships, especially since people I know are extremely kind, sweet, loving, amazing people, who regularly give back to the world. I just could not make sense of this as a religious person. And really, there is no making sense of it.

Kudos to you for living your life on your own terms and thinking for yourself. In terms of coming up with your own values, go with your heart. I know it sounds woo-ey Wink but it's true.
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20-05-2017, 07:54 AM
RE: The Long, Slow Death of My Homophobia
Interesting story. Thanks for sharing. I never was homophobic in any dogmatic sense. But growing up, homosexuality was good for a joke at their expense. Good for a laugh. Even more so, since these were the 70ies, and the papers were full of prostitutes advertising their services. Prostitution never was illegal where I live. Among them a number of rent boys too. Which we found especially funny.

I went over the I don't care stage to learning that my then best friend was actually gay. That changed everything and I started to talk to him about what it meant to be gay and to his gay friends. That's when I learned to view them as people and not as jokes. There's never any turning back when you learn that what you despise or deride are actually people. Unless you're completely free of empathy.

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20-05-2017, 08:48 AM
RE: The Long, Slow Death of My Homophobia
That is brilliant, I really respect your personal growth here Smile

I have a website here which discusses the issues and terminology surrounding religion and atheism. It's hopefully user friendly to all.
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21-05-2017, 07:29 PM
RE: The Long, Slow Death of My Homophobia
Listening to the constant, demonizing sermons about homosexuality is one of the main things that led me to non-belief. We had some closeted homosexuals in our congregation (not an assumption, I know for a fact now there were because some have left and come out themselves) and I'm pretty sure our leadership knew it and pretty much ordered the preacher to constantly do sermons about it. And these were not the "Christian love" type sermons, they were mocking and ridiculing of the homosexual "lifestyle".

Honestly homosexuality never really bothered me, even at the height of my believing years. I basically was against it because I was "supposed to", but the more the ridiculing happened, the more angry I became. Finally I realized that no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't make myself get offended by it. And I never understood why people where so against same sex marriage, like why do you give a fuck what they do?

And then of course learning about the science behind it and how no, it's not a goddamn choice you fucking morons, only made me run away faster from the church.
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21-05-2017, 08:19 PM
The Long, Slow Death of My Homophobia
I used to be anti gay. I was raised Christian so being gay was bad.

Now that I am an Atheist and have met several gay people, I don't know what all the fuss was about. It seems stupid to hate or even dislike someone because of their sexual preference.

I judge them on how they act, just like I do everyone else.
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21-05-2017, 09:43 PM
RE: The Long, Slow Death of My Homophobia
(20-05-2017 07:17 AM)BeccaBoo Wrote:  I now feel like every moment used against love between people is wasted.


-BeccaBoo

You can't say it better.

But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.

~ Umberto Eco
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21-05-2017, 10:34 PM
RE: The Long, Slow Death of My Homophobia
In my area issue of homosexuality is known only through news and social media and sometimes in movies,documentaries etc.People don't face it in everyday life so it is an issue that doesn't concern them.I don't think that they will look at it favourably if faced in real life.
Quote:Despite this, as a conservative Republican, it was clear that gay marriage could represent a major turning point and revolution of the way society defines marriage.
In society marriage between man and woman is recognised and celebrated.The concept of marriage is inseparable from human ability to procreate, child nurturing etc.
As a conservative and traditionalist I don't think same-sex marriage would fit into social dynamics,social traditions etc. unless some changes occur.There's thousands of years of human history and traditions shaping our society.Same-sex marriage flies in the face of the foundation of social traditions.
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21-05-2017, 11:06 PM
RE: The Long, Slow Death of My Homophobia
I can't tell if you're saying you have an actual problem with gay marriage, or if you're just saying the area you live in is not ready for it yet. Where do you live?

All human rights progress flies in the face of tradition.

I have a website here which discusses the issues and terminology surrounding religion and atheism. It's hopefully user friendly to all.
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21-05-2017, 11:48 PM
RE: The Long, Slow Death of My Homophobia
(21-05-2017 10:34 PM)sea_tiger Wrote:  ...
There's thousands of years of human history and traditions shaping our society.Same-sex marriage flies in the face of the foundation of social traditions.

I'm a traditionalist too.

I long for the days before the puritans.

Imagine how life would be like if we returned to traditional Ancient Greek values.

Big Grin

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