Those Mormons are at it again. But, I don’t want this to sound like I’m against religion in general and Mormons in particular. I’m not. Each to their own, I say. But surely there must be something in the water in Utah to give rise to so much random out thereness that I feel like giving all of them a good shake and saying enough is enough.
This latest escapade, is being driven by, what I would describe, as that well known suppository for mindless entertainment that masquerades as The Learning Channel. TLC, is about to screen yet another documentary blockbuster called My Husband’s Not Gay. It focuses on three Mormon couples and their ‘unconventional’ marriages. By unconventional I mean, the couples are supposedly happily married but the husbands all profess to having homosexual feelings and desires.
At one point in the documentary, we see two of the couples, on a double date, sitting in a French restaurant and enjoying animated conversation. The mood lightens considerably when a male waiter approaches the table. It’s the husbands and not the wives who start to flirt with him suggestively, joking that he must have milked the goat by hand to make the cheese for their salads. Please.
We see one of the husband’s gushing on camera, he’s such a good looking guy to which one of the wives jokingly suggests are we going home together or what? The only thing we don’t see is maybe one of the husband’s asking for the waiter’s phone number. But of course nothing of the kind happens.On camera.
The Learning Channel, as you might expect, has been the recipient of a significant backlash from gay rights groups who say the documentary “ promotes the false and dangerous idea that gay people can and choose to be straight in order to be part of the faith of the Mormon church.”
In other words, the program reflects Mormonism’s deeply rooted homophobia.
More than 73 thousand people have signed a petition calling for the documentary to be cancelled.
Let’s have a go at deconstructing this.
The husbands readily admit to being sexually attracted to men yet deny they have ever acted on their impulses. And in their own curious fashion, they term this aspect of their personalities as ‘same sex attraction’ or SSA rather than being gay or bisexual. Don’t forgot you can only be called that, according to them, if you act on your impulses and they haven’t, you’ll be pleased to know, if you choose to believe them. They claim their wives stand by them 100 percent and that their marriages have not only produced children but plenty of action in the bedroom. Too much information if you ask me. They say their marriages are stronger because they acknowledge the issue rather than sweep it under the carpet.
They also insist that their arrangement follows the beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints which, of course, proclaims that the ‘only acceptable expression of sexuality and romantic feelings is within a marriage between a man and woman.” According to church gospel, only heterosexual unions should lead to the birth of children.
As one of the couples, points out in the documentary, the church of the Latter Day Saints teaches that behaviour is choice. Choosing to act on these feelings is wrong within marriage but having those feelings? Not so much. As one sage like observer pointed out, as long as men in the Mormon church don’t actively seek out relationships with other guys and cheat on their wives then Jesus is cool with it.
The couples say the main foundations of their relationship is they have no secrets.
As one of the husbands said: “Other people might look at us from the outside and say: ‘That’s unusual’. But to us, it’s not a big deal and just part of the way we live our lives. My wife and I love each other and our son very much, and that’s what counts.”
One of the other couples featured in the documentary claims the husband, finally had the courage to reveal his SSA, 15 years into their 20-year marriage, but the revelation has only brought them closer.
“When he first told me, it was very upsetting and confusing, the wife said. She describes their relationship as a journey. “And I didn’t know who to talk to at the time “But because I love him so much, I never once considered divorce. I knew there was a way for us to work through it. And we did. Now I think my husband and I have a better sex life than any of our straight friends that we know.”
“I love and trust him completely,” she said although she admitted to now knowing her husband did have relationships with other men before coming clean about his sexuality. “And, depending on their ages, our kids [ages nine through 16] know about the SSA to varying degrees. They love and support their dad, and realise that people don’t have to be perfect to be loved by God.”
Many outside the Mormon SSA community might wonder how such marriages can possibly survive. Me included. But New York psychologist Dr Gilda Carle believes they can survive as long as both sides understand each other and observe certain boundaries. “It’s the year 2015 and there is no one size fits all,” says Carle, the author of 15 relationship books. “We learn to live with each other’s idiosyncrasies when we love another person. Love and marriage are not just about a penis and a vagina. It’s about a connection of souls, faith, family and children. And these couples appear to share an extraordinary trust and openness. Every study shows those are the keys to lasting human relationships.”
She does warn, however, that it’s only strong women, secure in their own identity, who can deal with the implications of a husband with SSA.
“Any wife who is wishy-washy about her own sexuality, or ability to understand a guy with these urges, does not belong in one of these relationships,” Carle says.
On the show, one couple turns out to be the most forthcoming about their sex life, revealing: “There have been periods in our marriage where I knew that the attraction wasn’t there. But thankfully, we’ve moved beyond that.”
The wife admits that after they wed and when their relationship finally became physical, she was the most concerned about intimacy issues.
“The first thing that went through my mind was, ‘Will he be attracted to me?
“At the same time, though, it was, ‘Well, at least he doesn’t have anybody else to compare me to!’” During their nine-year marriage and with the help of counselling, she says she has become increasingly secure in herself and the lifestyle they lead as a couple. “I feel frustrated when people don’t understand ….and when they question whether he is living up to his identity. “I know that he has made the choice that is most true to himself.” Yeah right.
Sorry but I don’t believe a single word of it. There is only one way this is going to end. Everybody in tears.You can live in denial but it is not a river in Egypt and I wouldn’t recommend it. I just wish people could accept that love is love irrespective of gender, race or creed. What a pity I won’t have the chance to sign that petition.