Is a Spiritual Lesbian an Oxymoron, an Oxymormon?
by Chela from South Jordan
Affinity, October 1998, pp. 2, 6.
For this discussion I'd like to describe spirituality as persons relation with deity. Someone described as a very spiritual person could also be called "close to God," by my definition. While I am definitely a lesbian, I only aspire to be a spiritual lesbian.
I was born into a fourth generation Mormon family. My mother's grandfather, that would be my great grandfather, Jesse Nathanial Smith, was Joseph Smith's first cousin. My great grandparents on both sides of my pedigree chart came across the plains with the Mormon pioneers. So you could say that I came from pioneer stock, "a dyed-in-the-wool Mormon." Growing up I never doubted my spirituality nor my purpose in life. At age 14, I followed my cousin ancestor's example and went into the woods to pray. Clutching a copy of the Book of Mormon, I asked God if the Church was true. I received an unforgettable witness that it was. For 40 years I believed what I had been taught in my family and at church and didn't question it until I started to question my sexuality, then everything was open for scrutiny. At that time I discovered that somewhere in my decades of Sunday School, Primary, MIA (that's what we use to call it), seminary, institute, relief society, sacrament meetings, firesides, conferences, I had interrupted some basic LDS teachings differently. In living my life as an active Mormon, "the only true church" had become "the only church with any truth." "Avoid the appearance of evil" had become "appear good at all costs." "Wickedness never was happiness" had become, "if you're unhappy you must be wicked." "Come follow me" had become "conformity." There are many other discoveries, but I'll spare you all my entire coming out story. In short, I was unhappy. I realized my relationship with God was based on pretense. I had lived most of my life pretending to be someone I wasn't in order to please God, church and family. I didn't know what I thought I knew.
After finally figuring out who really I was, I needed to find out what I really believed about God, about religion, spirituality. I wasn't content to believe what I had been taught all my life. I felt very strongly that there was much more to be learned and it was not to be found in LDS doctrine and in fact I found whole worlds, even universes full of truth for me.
After about six months of study, experimentation, prayer, and contemplation I came up with what I call my own "Articles of Faith." Sort of like the Wentworth Letter. It started as an answer to a friends email. I had several cyber-penpals when I first came out and we had some serious discussions over the internet about religion and faith as we shared our coming out stories. "Your were raised Mormon but you're a lesbian, what do you believe now?" was one of the questions. Here in part is my answer. But first a disclaimer. Now I sound like a lawyer. No offense Michelle, where ever you are. Like all personal creeds, it's validity is in my actions, how I live my beliefs day-to-day. I hope you will respect these articles of faith as my personal beliefs, not intended for anyone else to live or belief. Okay. Here we go, "Chela's Articles of Faith" (excerpted):
There are more articles in my "articles of faith", of course, but I don't want to exceed my time limit because I know that Collie and Del have some good remarks. But, I would recommend this exercise to anyone who doubts his or her spirituality. If you don't think you have a relationship with deity, or if you wonder how close you really are to God, find a quiet moment and a quiet place and try writing down what you and you alone believe. If there were no scriptures, no prophets, no religions in the world what would you , deep in your soul , believe? On what would you base your beliefs? The answer to that question, my friends, is your spirituality. Thank you.
- I believe my purpose in life is to live it fully as I am, "be all that I can be without pre-tense."
- I believe that truth is the ultimate healer, i.e. honesty is the best policy.
- I believe that I have a spark of the divine, a spirit within me that can give me all the wisdom that I need to fulfill my purpose in life. See number one, i.e. I will follow my con science.
- I believe all of nature is divine and can help teach me how to live more fully. See number one.
- I believe religion is personal and does not need to be shared with others. Everyone can
worship how, where and whom they chose. No one needs to worship like me or with me.
- I believe that hate, prejudice, greed , jealousy, violence, unkindness and dishonesty prevent fulfilling my purpose, see number one.
In case you missed number one: I believe my purpose in life is to live it fully as I am, "be all that I can be without pretense."
- I believe that love, compassion, kindness, forgiveness, gentleness, respect and truth help fulfill my purpose. See number one.
- I believe that I, the essence that is me will always exist.