A Husband, A Father, A Mormon... And Gay?
Josh Weed is a husband, a father, a member of the Mormon Church -- and he's gay. Earlier this month, he and his wife coauthored a post on his blog, The Weed, in which Josh came out and elaborated on how they have made their marriage work these past ten years. Josh writes:
When I say I am gay or homosexual or same-sex attracted (and I use these terms interchangeably, which is a personal decision) I refer specifically to sexual orientation. I am sexually attracted to men. I am not sexually attracted to women. It is very simple. I have many, many years of experience which confirm this to be true, but it's really as simple as what a girl asked me in junior high -- and I'm sorry if this is a little blunt, but I've never found a question that cuts to the heart of the matter more effectively -- "so, if everyone in this room took off their clothes, would you be turned on by the girls or the guys?" My answer, which I didn't say out loud, was unquestionably the guys. And it was unquestionably not the girls. And that still is my answer.
By the time puberty had set in, Josh knew he was gay. When he turned 13, he told his father, a leader in the Mormon Church. His parents were loving and accepting, but even so Josh chose not to disclose his sexual orientation to many other people. The one person he did tell was Lolly, the childhood friend who would one day become his wife. Lolly writes:
We talked at length that night about the reality of being gay in the Mormon Church. He told me that he believed in the doctrine of the Church and that he wanted to do what God wanted him to do. During the course of that conversation, my mind became overwhelmed by the complexities of the issue he was facing. And how alone he felt in facing them.
I was determined to be an ally and friend to him in regards to this issue. [...] The possibility of us becoming more than friends would come up every now and then, but I would dismiss it quickly. My parents did an amazing job in teaching their children about the proper role of sexuality. In our home, sex was viewed as sacred, enjoyable, and something to look forward to in marriage. I saw the important role that intimacy played in successful marriages and that was one aspect of marriage that I was greatly anticipating. Therefore, in my mind, marrying someone gay was completely out of the question.
In college, Josh got a girlfriend and Lolly began to feel jealous. She realized that -- "except for the huge fact he was gay" -- Josh was everything she wanted in a husband: he was dedicated to God, he was honest, kind, and fun, and Lolly connected with him in ways she hadn't connected with anyone else. They decided to date and, eventually, Lolly decided that the relationship they had could weather any trials and circumstances. Including the fact that Josh was gay.
For Josh, who saw the gay lifestyle as being incompatible with his faith, marriage to a woman was the only option he could imagine pursuing. His understanding of his faith also made the notion of having a family and being gay mutually exclusive -- "children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows and complete fidelity." Choosing to embrace his sexual orientation, for Josh, meant forfeiting his faith and his ideal of a family. He chose to deprioritize his desire, keep his faith and have a family.
Photo by Lee J. Haywood. (Flickr)
So Josh and Lolly got married. Today, they have three children and have worked to ensure their sex life is satisfying for the both of them. "When sex is done right, at its deepest level it is about intimacy," Josh writes. "It is beautiful and rich and fulfilling and spiritual and amazing. Many people never get to this point in their sex lives because it requires incredible communication, trust, vulnerability, and connection. And Lolly and I have had that from day one, mostly because we weren't distracted by the powerful chemicals of infatuation and obsession that usually bring a couple together (which dwindle dramatically after the first few years of marriage anyway)."