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One of my favorite bloggers Invictus Pilgrim recently posted a question from one of his readers.  I tried to comment on his blog but I think my comment was too long so I decided to answer here.  First, the original letter and then what my response would be:

The Question:

Sincere question for you here.

You have a teenage daughter, so I’m guessing you have to be at least mid-40s correct? Average life expectancy of the American male is 76 years. So, assuming you’re 45, and will live to be 76, you’re approximately 60% of the way through your life. Up to this point, you’ve been a faithful member of the Church, paid your tithing, etc. So, you’ve only got 40% of life to go and if you can just keep on the path for that last stretch, you’ll very likely receive exaltation and be together with your family, as the LDS Church teaches.

On the other hand, if you choose to live a homosexual lifestyle, you’ve got, on average, 31 years (assuming you’re 45) left. Keeping in mind that after 65 you’re pretty much “old” (no offense intended) which brings the “wild oats” years down to roughly 20. Are those 20 years worth it?

I’m not your bishop so I don’t think what you do directly affects me very much, but I’m just curious about your thoughts on whether those 20 years are worth what you’re giving up.

My Answer:

There’s so much wrong with the question that I don’t even know where to begin, but I’ll try to respond sincerely and respectfully.

First, the question implies that there is a “decision” and that that decision is all ours.  Not only did I never “choose” to be a homosexual, I did not choose to leave my wife and children.  What I did choose was to be honest about it. Are you going to argue against that?

There was never unfaithfulness, but my ex-wife with the encouragement of the church chose to divorce.  So, the question in my particular case is why did the church and my ex-wife not see that last 20 years of our lives to be a worthy investment for their brand of eternity?

As much as it hurt and felt wrong at the time, in the end I believe it was the right thing to do. Since there are two in a marriage, shouldn’t our wives have equal say and equal opportunity to find an eternal companion with whom THEY want to spend that last 20 years? The easy assumption is that is was all our doing, but it’s not always the case.

Second, what you describe is essentially a philosophical concept called “Pascal’s Wager”.  You are basically saying, “why not bet on eternity since there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain?”  But the problem is that there is a lot to lose when you look at the opportunity costs of sticking with a life path that is so dramatically wrong. I would be giving up the chance to find and spend eternity with someone I truly loved, a man. The second problem with Pascal’s Wager is that it sets up a false dichotomy. I know Invictus Pilgrim still believes in the LDS faith, but I don’t.  The truth is that there are more than two choices here between a righteous, straight LDS Married life and a decadent “lifestyle choice” with a man. Those aren’t life’s only two options for us and sticking with the straight LDS married life automatically eliminates a wide array of positive, life affirming choices for me and my family that in the long run are BETTER (both now and in eternity).

Lastly, do you really think it’s about “wild oats?” Wrap your brain around this…I’ve been divorced for 5 years.  While I didn’t choose it, I’m grateful for it and I now think it was the right thing to do for both me and my ex-wife.  If I never have sex with a man, find a lover or participate in what you think is “wild oat sowing”, I still say the divorce was worth it and the better choice for everyone involved.

I spend more time with my children now than ANY priesthood holder I know and I am able to teach them the morals and values that they are not getting with their Mom and her LDS faith.  My ex is free to find her “eternal companion” and as for me, there is a high level of peace that comes from living on the outside in a manner that is consistent with how you feel on the inside that does make it worth it.  Yes.  Even if I never encounter one wild oat in the next 20 years it will have been worth it.