Monday, October 29, 2007

The Parental Debate

Four years ago I came out to my parents. They already suspected that I was gay, but it was still a bombshell for them. What hurt them the most, however, was the fact that I had confided in my friends and sought their advice and even the advice of some of their parents before I had trusted my parents with my dilemma. They were absolutely heartbroken and I still think my mom gets upset about it, even though it was so long ago.

After I joined the church I stopped talking with my parents about being gay and they didn’t bother to bring up the issue- not until my mom asked me about it a year ago when I got home from the mission. I snapped at her and told her I never wanted to talk about it again; she cried and I left the room. I’m sure that my parents still wonder about me. And now that I’m coming out again- even if I’m only peeking out of the closet- I wonder if I should go to them for advice and comfort. Even though they were disappointed when I came out in high school, they were so compassionate! They both wasted no time in telling me that they loved me just the same and only wanted to see me happy. I love them so much!! Oh man, I’m crying as I’m typing. Well, I could go on forever about how wonderful they are, but I’ll cut to the chase. I don’t know whether it would be wise for me to talk to them again. Have I already made the same mistake I made in high school- talking to my friends before I seek guidance from my parents- cutting my comfort off? But since my parents (and none of my extended family) are members of the church, I don’t want my homosexuality to somehow get in the way of the possibility of them joining the church in the future. I mean, they already have a hard enough time dealing with me being the black sheep Mormon of the family- my mom cries every time I talk about the temple or getting married because she can’t come. I definitely need to keep praying for guidance, but maybe one of you can be an inspired messenger- any suggestions?


Abelard Enigma said...

I don't know that I have any inspired suggestions. But, being the only member of my family, I can certainly relate. There is so many experiences I've had since joining the church that I just don't feel comfortable talking to my family about - yet I'll talk about them with my LDS friends.

Getting married in the temple was difficult for my family. We softened the blow by having a ring exchange with our families. It might have been a little easier since both my wife and I are converts; so, neither of our families were able to attend. So, I guess, one suggestion would be to find yourself a girl with non member parents :)

A young couple in our stake, who was in a similar situation, held a very formal ring exchange ceremony that was almost like a wedding ceremony, only without the "do you take this man ..." stuff. Our stake president lead the ceremony and, I think, did a very good job at helping her family feel like they were able to be at their daughter's wedding, even thought they knew that the actual marriage took place earlier in the day at the temple.

Anyway, as a parent, I am really appreciative when my children confide in me - even if they are doing things I don't necessarily agree with. So, my vote is to talk to your parents.

biggins said...

That is definitely a tough one. I also don't have any inspired insight, or even any particularly relevant experiences, but the fact that your mom asked you about it seems to signal that she is at least trying to understand a bit better. If you can reciprocate the love they expressed towards you even when they were disappointed at your coming out, I would think it would be a step in the right direction to talk to them about it. Good luck with whatever you decide to try, my prayers are with you!

Kengo Biddles said...

As I'm not sure how you told them the first time, you may want to approach them carefully, reassuring them of your love for them, and further explaining that the reason you talked to your friends first was mostly to make sure you didn't hurt your parents, because you do care and love them so much.

montchan (MJ Bliss) said...

talk to them. You know you have wonderful parents that love you no matter what. That is very special and not every gay LDS is as lucky as you. They need you to talk to them as much as you need them to talk to you. Did it make sense?

GeckoMan said...

First, let me speak from my own experience. I joined the church at 18, left home to go to BYU, went on a mission about a year later, and never really returned home. I always had a hard time talking with my parents about my religious or intimately personal experiences. We didn't really get below the surface, which would have been meaningful for me. I wish I had broken the communication barrier, trusting in our innate goodness to love and support. I always knew I was attracted more to guys than girls. But I wanted to be a model Mormon, so I held back on all topics relating to my struggles in my personal life.

Like yours, my parent's greatest desire was that I be happy. You have already discussed your orientation issues to some degree, but you were younger and less mature. Your SSA will always be a concern for them, because they want you to be happy and well adjusted.

Now for a little advice. As a parent, I would want my son to give me hope that he desired to live true to the basic faith and principles I taught. I would want to be included. So, talk to them. Your soliciting advice from others is helping you respond to their basic concern, but doesn't need to be brought up.

Draco, you have some genuinely unanswered lifestyle questions ahead of you. If you go to your parents, make sure you are open to hear what they say and don't react impulsively like you did earlier. Eternity is a long time for us all; your family is most important in that timeframe. I wouldn't worry about family not joining the church because of your example--that will always be their decision--you just need to be genuine, open, honest, loving with them. There is no better example than this. Whether or not you eventually choose to live single, celibate, partnered, married, active LDS or not, your parents will love you, and your life will be richer if you include them in your rationale for living.

Do you love the Lord? I sense that you do. Your decisions will always include Him and your family. Have you shared your love, your testimony, deep down from your heart with your parents? Live by your faith and thank them for the values they have instilled in you. Share with them your dilemmas. In so doing, you will live closer to the Spirit of truth in your life, and all of you will be enriched.


I think that you just have to choose the right way to tell your parents.
Be sure that no one is more able than them to support you & to stand by you in case of need ; )

draco said...

Thank you all for your advice; I think that I will talk to them, but I'd like to do it in person- especially since I am almost sure that my mother is going to cry a lot and will need some serious hugging. I won't see them until Thanksgiving or Christmas, so that also gives me some time to plan out a tactful discussion.

Therapevo Ydata said...

I suggest that you talk to them. You have to show them that you trust them again to talk to them. They only want what's best for you and if they accidentally hurt you by the words that they say, I would tell them straight up so that they can get a better understanding of the issue (I did this with my parents and it seemed to work really well).

Also, I think that it would probably be better for them to join the church if you were talking to them about things that deeply affect you that do not relate to the church. It then makes it so much easier to talk about the things in the church that deeply affect you and how they have blessed your life.

I don't know if this helps at all, because I am just a youngin' and I do not think that I know very much. I still have a lot more to learn than I have.

Brady said...

I think openness and honesty can only serve to strengthen relationships. Even if it is sometimes difficult, it always makes things better in the end. Your parents love you and care about you, and I'm sure they're deeply interested in you and the things you feel and experience everyday. Not being open only serves to make communication and closeness difficult. So I guess I think talking could only have positive ramifications in the end, even if it might be hard for a little bit at first.

Don't feel like you have to put on a show or be someone you're not to get your parents to join the church either. Perhaps they will be more impressed with the church knowing how it has helped you shoulder incredible burdens and how strongly you still feel about it despite your attractions.