The following is a guest post from GayMoBro.

Margaret Mead said you should get married three times even if it’s to the same person: marry first for sex, then for children, and finally, marry for companionship. I doubt many Church members would take issue with this thinking as long as all three marriages are to the same person (though President Kimball might encourage you to hurry along from marriage one to marriage two).

I once wrote a blog post where I confessed that I had never really been in love. [1] That’s not to say I don’t love my wife; I do, deeply. My wife is an amazing woman, full of talent and love and compassion. [2] No, as a gay man in a mixed orientation marriage, I think what I was trying to express was, “I never got to marry for sex.” I married first for companionship and second for children, but never for sex.

Now I know marrying for sex isn’t a necessity, but to all my straight, unmarried friends, “Would you be willing to never have sex?” (Yeah, I didn’t think so.) And no arguing, “The law of chastity is the same for spinsters who never marry as for an LGBT member who must remain a virgin.” As several people pointed out in the comments of this great post, it is fundamentally different to tell someone they can never have sex than to say they can have sex after they marry. For example, say I take my children to an Easter egg hunt. My daughter I allow to hunt for Easter eggs; my son comes with me to watch, but I forbid him from hunting eggs. Note that even if my daughter ends up without eggs, either by bad luck or by choice, her experience is fundamentally different than (and I would argue more rewarding than) my son’s. [3] The law of chastity may be universal, but the effects of its application are not.

The Church thankfully has abandoned encouraging mixed orientation marriage as a means for curing homosexuality. I came of age right as President Hinckley made this policy change public. The trouble is, at the time, members didn’t believe it. I actually think few members today believe it. A lot of people still seems to think, “Just marry a girl and, once you experience how awesome sex is, you’ll straighten right up.” [4] Now the Church’s stance is, “Being gay is ok; acting gay, not so much”. In other words, celibacy, that evil practiced by Catholic priests, is the only sexual sacrament suitable for queer saints.

The trouble is, celibacy precludes our LGBT brothers and sisters not just from sex, but also children and companionship. To be fair, children and companionship can be had outside marriage, (though the Church is pretty adamant that children belong in a family with one father and, since the Manifesto, one mother). Don’t get me wrong; you can live a meaningful, deeply fulfilling, celibate life. But I think it’s different than the life you get from marriage. The level of companionship one gets from marriage is vastly different than what one gets from mere friendship. If my wife and I had not married, but simply stayed close friends, she and I might hang out together for a few hours now and again; we might text occasionally (maybe even daily) and sometimes catch a movie or play, but at the end of each night I would still go home to my empty apartment. (Clearly I wouldn’t have roommates because, you know, temptation. Maybe if he were some ugly bloke and we had little in common…)

I came to a crossroad and chose a mixed orientation marriage. I am generally content. But I admit I occasionally find myself playing what if, longing and wondering. What would my life have been like if I had not married my wife? Would I have found a partner? Would we still be in love? Would I be playing “What if I had married a woman?” Then I wonder if I’m going to become a pillar of salt for looking back.

A few weeks back, I had a hallway discussion with a member of our ward who asked about some of my Facebook posts supporting same-sex marriage. The tone and tenor of our discussion don’t matter much. (The conversation was both non-combative and non-productive.) What struck me, however, was my friend’s inability to bring himself to use the word “gay” or “homosexual”. He spoke in circles, alluding to the word then paused until I completed his sentence. It was as if speaking the word might infect him somehow or give homosexuals more power over him. (“Voldemort, Voldemort, Voldemort.”)

This conversation highlighted one reason a 1978-like, LGBT revelation is likely not in the offing: I’m not sure the majority of members are ready for such a revelation. When 1978 doctrinal revision came it’s likely there were some hold-outs who thought lifting the black ban was wrong [5] but discomfort with the racist nature of the ban was rising among the general membership. Regarding LGBT issues, I don’t see the same groundswell of support from everyday members. Sure, the Church has a relatively small contingent of progressives. The bloggernacle/Twitterstake give me hope, but then I go to church or get on Facebook where I see many, many faithful members “defending the family”. And I am disheartened.

There are of course other differences between the current struggle and 1978 priesthood/temple ban. For example, like blacks denied the Priesthood in earlier generations, LGBT members practicing celibacy today have been promised all blessings in eternity. But unlike LGBT members who must remain celibate in this life, a black man without the priesthood could still marry (for sex and kids and companionship). They could still experience the sweetness of marriage in this life. I’m not black, so I can’t imagine the pain of being denied priesthood blessings, but I often find myself wondering which doctrine of delayed blessings would be the harder cross to bear–the priesthood/temple ban or LGBT celibacy. I don’t know the answer to that one.

Another difference, in the run up to 1978, General Authorities loosened enforcement of the ban. If there was any doubt about someone’s ancestry, they often allowed the ordination. [6] With the November 5th policy leak and its subsequent doubling down (“It was revelation!”) by President Nelson, I’m not seeing a softening stance towards LGBT members. [7]

Perhaps the biggest difference between the priesthood/temple ban and LGBT celibacy policy however, is, well… me. With the announcement lifting the priesthood/temple ban it was like a light switch flipped: one day black men couldn’t have the Priesthood and blacks couldn’t attend the temple; the next day they could. Now try to imagine a similar revelation that gay members can marry a partner (even if for time only), be active in the Church, and eventually go to the Celestial Kingdom. After rejoicing at the doctrinal shift, I would probably wonder, “Where does this leave me?” Imagine the pillars of salt such a revelation would inspire! Alas, comparing 1978 and our current LGBT situation I fear the differences are too great to give me hope for even slight change anytime soon.

I actually think the 1978 revelation is more closely aligned to the struggle to ordain women than to the the struggle for LGBT acceptance. I think that a revelation allowing female ordination would be met with less resistance among the general membership than accepting same-sex marriage. Plus, there has been recent progress towards parity between the sexes. There has been an increased role of women in the Church: women now pray in Conference, sit on General Councils (albeit not enough women, but it’s a start), and now they can even wear pants at the Church Office Building. (Welcome to the 1980s!) But most of all, ordaining women would be like a light switch: one day they don’t have the priesthood; the next day they do. No collateral damage; no pillars of salt!

I am not implying this will be an easy light switch to flip on. Indeed a few conferences back Elder Oaks seemed to shut the door to ordaining women. I’m also not saying the two situations, the priesthood/temple ban and withholding the priesthood from women, are exactly analogous. Before blacks received the priesthood, they were always told that they would eventually have the priesthood if only in the next life; for women, with regard to priesthood promises in the next life, things are murky at best. Women are promised that if they’re faithful, they’ll be one of the wives of some heavenly hunk, but even I, an obtuse man, realize polygamy isn’t a great selling point for the hereafter. [8]

The fight for women to hold the priesthood may not be easy. I actually think that giving women the priesthood could be a huge boon for the struggle towards more LGBT acceptance. What better way to help church leaders have more compassion for the plight of our LGBT saints than letting their mothers be church leaders at the highest levels?

[1] I have a much neglected blog but it seems I have deleted that post. Probably for the best.

[2] And the sense of humor of a twelve year old boy.

[3] I’m not arguing whether or not it’s right or wrong to tell LGBT saints to remain celibate. I’m merely explaining that members need to stop arguing “the law of chastity is the same for all members” in such a way as to imply that what the law of chastity asks of our LGBT brothers and sisters is the same as it is for straight members.

[4] In case anyone wonders, I bear solemn testimony with every fiber of my being, that this just doesn’t work. Not that I married to become straight, though I admit I had hope. No, I married because God had prepared my wife for me and it’s what I feel He wanted for me.

[5] I dare say there are probably still a few holdouts. I really want to put a Trump joke in right here, but look at me exercising restraint.

[6] For example, My great grandfather said he had prayed for years that this change would come. For a great analysis of the 1978 lifting of the priesthood/temple ban, check out a href=””> I feel inspired every time I read it.

[7] MormonLeaks published alleged notes from a training meeting where Stake Presidents were encouraged to use a man’s support of the Nov. policy as a litmus test when selecting Bishops. (So, hey, I’m never again going to be in a leadership role.)

[8] My wife and I are hoping that polyandry is a thing in the next life. Surely there’s some beautiful, nerdy man who’ll fancy both me and my wife.