Agreeing to Disagree

I'm growing tired of having to defend my beliefs in talking with friends. Friend, I mean-- in talking with friend. The same thing happened back in May. I heard statements like, "For some people, the gospel isn't the right answer; other paths in life are better for them," or, "It's better to gain experience through sinning than to remain in innocence," coming from some of my closest friends. And I had to defend the beliefs that I thought were pretty standard among Mormons. Maybe I attract more liberal types, but it just seems like Mohos are more liberal than they need to be.

I had a break for a few months, but now I'm back to the endless defending. I find it exhausting to have to defend my belief that, for example, gay dating is against the standards of the Church or that it's okay to control how we're influenced by choosing friends wisely. I mean, I can take small doses of liberal viewpoints about the Church and its doctrine through blogs. But it's sad when the people I trust and am around most just seem to be on the other team so much.

That's not to say I don't flip-flop in my views fairly often. In the course of a day, depending on my experiences, I may go from thinking that a certain amount of physical intimacy with a guy is okay to being certain that I can go the remaining 60 years of my life without anyone else.

One of the reasons I don't want to deal with it is that I sometimes am actually influenced by the other side. That's not something I want happening right now. When I find something to criticize about the Church, it only makes me unhappier in the end.

So I face several decisions about how to handle the friend situation. I have to act carefully because my course of action in May led to a good friend going on a rampage of hate, turning several others against me. I'd like to think that this time I can find a happy middle ground-- some sort of relationship where we're simply friends with differences in doctrinal belief. Yeah, I know, people create such friendships every day. But I have little experience in them. And it's disheartening to think that perhaps all of my Moho friendships have to just be safely distant friendships.

I know, at least, that the answer is not to remove myself from the Moho world. It's nonsense to think I could go back into the closet (the partial amount I've come out of it) and be perfectly happy. I need to figure out how to be my complete self in the place that I am, and to be fine with it; and perhaps how to let other people be themselves, and to be fine with that too.

...And Britney's new album, which leaked tonight, is bound to do well!


drex said...

It's interesting how people who tout independent thinking tend to only believe in alternative thinking - and when someone tries to believe what's normally accepted, they blast you for not being open-minded. Being open-minded is about more than accepting what the minority has to say. It's about listening to the options, and still choosing the one that makes the most sense to you. Don't get down on other people's closed-proclaimed-open-mindedness.

PS, we have to do something sometime, if we can ever find the time. We finally got couches!

Excelsior said...

I don't know you but I've been you. When I was at byu, I went through the exact same thing. In fact I went through two separate groups of friends and the exact same thing happened. I don't know what the solution for you is, but for me I ended up just dropping them as friends because it was weakening me spiritually and emotionally. I started to doubt some fundamental truths I'd always known. There will always be more mormon ssa guys to get to know and a lot of them are going to reenforce your core beliefs and values. Seek them out. Don't spend your time with people that are draining you emotionally. Find people that will build you up.

isakson said...

I've never met you either which is a miracle considering we both are students at the Y and how many people I've met up to this point. I know exactly how you feel and am often debating over and over in my mind what is the right thing to do in the situation you've described. All I can say is there is something inside you that is telling you something is amiss and needs to be changed. Whether that is about changing friends or some other solution is only for you to decide. I know for me I have a hard time tolerating any belittling of the Church's doctrines and getting too close to the edge. Like you, I have sometimes felt like I am being more drawn to it though and that scares me. I remember driving to see a session of general conference with John. We were talking about our more liberal friends and the roads they were taking and all sorts of related issues. I just remember feeling worn out and sick of it. After we had watched General Conference I remember feeling so peaceful and happy about life. The contrast just goes to show me that I need to stick with the church. There are so many more important things than gayness.

iwonder said...

Well I think that both sides are often to blame.

I am what you would deem a more "liberal" moho, and while I have my beliefs and thoughts, I do try to make sure that it is clear that I totally respect and defend anyone else's belief. Whatever works for you in your life, be it celibacy or a relationship, is immaterial to me. I simply defend your, my, and every one else's right to have it as they would.

There are many "conservatives" who refuse to listen or accept that a more "liberal" idea might be more correct or work better in a certain situation for a certain person, and at the same time, the reverse is true. Open-mindedness has nothing to do with political or religious ideology. It is independent of such things.

And I think that to say that the sole or even most important issue here is "gayness" is at the very least a gross oversimplificaton.

Furthermore, I think there is a big difference between being intolerant of someone belittling the church and it's doctrines, and someone simply voicing their opinion as different and perhaps even unorthodox. You may not agree, but I don't see the need to get defensive unless your belief is being actively attacked.

RealNeal said...

If your friends are dragging you down, then are they really your friends? Once you pass 14 years of age, your friends have more influence on you than anyone else in your entire life - parents, siblings, leaders - anyone. Because of that influence, they can make or break you.

I think this scripture gives some good advice:

Moroni 7:16-17

" 16 ...I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.
17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil;"

Next to this yard stick, how do your friends measure up? Hope that helps.


isakson said...

Let me clarify my "gross oversimplification" so that there is no misunderstanding. All I meant was that so many seem to make this the central issue in their life (including me at times)that it begins to be overwhelming. Whether it is, so and so is getting a boyfriend, this person is leaving the church, the GA's don't understand us, and about a million other things including the non-whiny but still constant focus on this issue - it just begins to become too much. The arguments, contentions, unwillingness to accept other people with what they choose(or perhaps not knowing how to accept them and reconcile differences), the attacks from both sides, the fear, and about a million other things are what I summed up into the word gayness. I was just trying to say that amidst all of that and the confusion that it at times makes me feel there was a sudden peace after that session of General Conference that really touched me. All of a sudden I realized there were so many other things that were by far more important than this issue. Sure, this issue has a place in our lives but I sometimes I feel that place is or should be a lot smaller than we make it. iwonder is correct when he says that sometimes both sides are wrong. Often both are too blind to see the other view. But I've also noticed that often unless each sides view is accepted 100% then they feel they are misunderstand and discriminated against or that the other person is ignorant and narrow minded or whatever. You can definitely have your friends that deal with this issue but if you are in constant turmoil because of another side then is it worth it? Could you get along just fine or better without them? Do they build you up? Are they true friends? Once again, only you can answer that.

Romulus said...

Yeah, I definitely agree with you. I think that in our rationalization of our feelings, we want to believe that the gospel is moldable, and in some ways, it kind of is, but not really. But we need to take it for what it is. We accept or reject it. We can't change it.

draco said...

Yeah, I hate arguing too- it just makes you tired. so in friendly response to some of the above comments: the reason why sometimes we focus so much on gayness is because it affects our future concerning the highest and most sacred gospel covenant- marriage. especially here at byu, most everyone my age is focused on relationships and getting married. this all works out fine because it's part of the gospel and people can make dating a spiritual experience, putting Heavenly Father first as they seek out an eternal companion. but for mohos, this is not true. pursuing our feelings is contrary to the gospel, which makes it difficult to concentrate on relationships and on our gospel progression at the same time. the alternative, of course, is to not pursue any gay relationships, but that doesn't take the focus away from gayness. marriage is the most important decision that one can make in this life, so deciding whether or not to get married because of ssa still gives gayness a prominent place on the stage. i think that we just need to show the same mercy and patience that Heavenly Father shows in our interactions with those struggling with their testimony because of ssa. what we do about gayness might have eternal consequences (i guess that "might" just gave me away as one of the struggling ones), so i think we can be justified in talking out our feelings and weighing both sides. this can be tiring, and yes- there is more to life than your sexuality- but sweeping things under the rug doesn't make things better. still, it's a shame when insightful discussion turns into arguing.

finally, i apologize if i've ever been argumentative. i ask questions and challenge doctrines because i'm finding out that i don't know all that i thought i knew.

and amen to what drex says :)

Abinadi said...

Surround yourself by the MoHos who have the same standards as you do. Then you will not have fight with them so much. If you have some really good friends that you disagree with, you should probably make some rules with them to not talk about certain things. That might help things out so it's not so rocky.

I agree with Drex on being open minded and choosing what's best for you. It might, however, still be better not to talk about certain things just to preserve the relationship.

Thanks RealNeal for the scripture also! We should all use that for our guide.

Sorry that this is getting kind of long, but the scripture reminded me of "The For Strength Of Youth" pamphlet. It tells us to, "Choose your friends carefully. They will greatly influence how you think and act, and even help determine the person you will become. Choose friends who share your values so you can strengthen and encourage each other in living high standards. A true friend will encourage you to be your best self." This is straight from the 1st Presidency so we all should follow the council within it.

October Rising said...

drex said it well!

October Rising said...

drex said it well!

Anonymous said...


Do you guys watch movies in theater or on internet? I use to rent DVD movies from [b][/b]. Recently I discovered that we can watch all new movies on internet on day, they are released. So why should I spend money on renting movies??? So, can you guys please tell me where I can [url=]watch latest movie The Dark Fields 2010[/url] for free?? I have searched [url=][/url], [url=][/url], [url=][/url] but, Could not find a good working link. If you know any working link please share it with me.