There are just some things we wish we didn’t read going into the weekend. Josh Weed’s op-ed post on Gawker, “I’m a Gay Mormon Who’s Been Happily Married for 10 Years” is one of them.
On Thursday Weed, a family therapist in Auburn, WA, revealed in a 6,000-word post on his own blog that he has carried “same-sex attraction” his whole life and has never been sexually attracted to women, even he’s married to his wife, Lolly, for a decade and claims to have a robust and fulfilling sex life with her.
Perplexed as us—though perhaps less incensed—Gawker gave Weed a chance to ‘splain himself.
What do you mean when you say you’re “gay”?
When I say I am gay or homosexual or same-sex attracted (and I use these terms interchangeably, which is a personal decision) I refer specifically to sexual orientation. I am sexually attracted to men. I am not sexually attracted to women. It is very simple. I have many, many years of experience which confirm this to be true, but it’s really as simple as what a girl asked me in junior high—and I’m sorry if this is a little blunt, but I’ve never found a question that cuts to the heart of the matter more effectively—”so, if everyone in this room took off their clothes, would you be turned on by the girls or the guys?” My answer, which I didn’t say out loud, was unquestionably the guys. And it was unquestionably not the girls. And that still is my answer. It’s really not very complicated. Most people just don’t think about their sexual orientation because they don’t have any reason to.
On this we agree: Whether or not Weed ever acted on his impulses, he’s still gay. But we have a bit of a meltdown when he explains why he’s going public with his sexuality:
We have several reasons for opening up about this part of our lives. First and foremost, my clinical work as a therapist is taking me in the direction of helping clients who struggle to reconcile their sexual orientation with their religious beliefs. I have decided to be open with these clients about my own homosexuality, and in doing so have opened the door to people finding out about this in ways I can’t control.I am gay. I am Mormon. I am married to a woman. I am happy every single day.
The second reason is that the issue of homosexuality is not very well understood. We wanted to add our voice and experience to the dialogue taking place about this very sensitive issue.
Thirdly, I feel the desire to be more open regarding this part of my identity. I have found that sharing this part of me allows my relationships with others to be more authentic. It has deepened my friendships and enhanced my interactions, and it has also helped me to feel more accepted by others as it allows others the opportunity to choose to accept me for who I really am.
So he’s just sharing to share? No agenda or urge to tell other gay Mormons to suck it up and marry a member of the opposite sex? Funny how his job happens to be counseling clients hoping to “reconcile their sexual orientation with their religious beliefs.” But Weed is adamant that he’s not telling others what to do:
Should all gay people who are LDS or Christian choose to marry people of the opposite gender?
I want to make it very clear that while I have found a path that brings me profound joy and that is the right path for me, I don’t endorse this as the only path for somebody who is gay and religious. I will never, ever judge somebody else’s path as being “incorrect” and I know many people who have chosen different paths than myself.
If you know and love somebody who is gay and LDS (or Christian), your job is to love and nothing more. Let go of your impulse to correct them or control them or propel them down the path you think is right for them. Do what you need to do to move past that impulse. Do not condemn the choices your loved one makes. Love. Only love. Show your love in word and deed. Embrace them, both literally and figuratively. I promise they need it—and they need to feel like they can figure out this part of themselves in a safe way without ridicule and judgment. It’s what Christ would do. It’s what your loved one needs. Accept them. Love them. Genuinely and totally. This is a moment where whatever your feelings on the subject may be, you are reading the words of a real live person who is telling the truth.
I am not lying to you right now. I have no reason whatsoever to share this with you besides to add a voice to the global discussion so that someone who might feel hopeless and lonely and devoid of role models or voices to trust can find all the information about their options available.But the reason I do this is because I love you, whoever you are, and I want to share my situation so that you can know further truth: I am gay. I am Mormon. I am married to a woman. I am happy every single day. My life is filled with joy. I have a wonderful sex life. And I’ve been married for ten years, and plan to be married for decades more to come to the woman of my dreams.All of these things are true, whether your mind is allowing you to believe them or not.
We’re not sure if Josh is lying to us, lying to himself or just plain dumb, because obviously he has numerous reasons to make this claim beyond just adding “a voice to the global discussion”:
* He’s a therapist that makes money telling gay people how to reconcile their sexuality and homophobic religion. What better endorsement of his abilities to help you, if not “pray away the gay,” then put it in a little drawer and lock it away, than using himself as the poster child?
Take a look at Weed’s professional profile:
“I specialize in helping individuals and couples combat addiction (both chemical and sexual/pornographic), LGBT issues, ADHD/ADD, depression, OCD, anxiety, and post traumatic stress disorder resulting from abusive situations.
I also help couples who feel as though they no longer ‘connect’ or who don’t feel as close as they once felt. I believe you have the strength to reach your goals, and live a joyful life.
Sexual and pornographic addiction can be a daunting challenge. If this is something you struggle with, we will work together to correct thought-patterns and behaviors that have made you feel trapped. I have seen many people achieve their goals, and would be honored to help you do the same.
I am an LDS therapist who is happy to work from a Christian-based perspective. However, I also see many clients from a variety of belief-backgrounds, including atheism and agnosticism.”
Somehow we think “sexual addiction” might be LDS-speak for homosexuality.
* He needs to affirm his life choices. We’re sure even Weed would admit to a moment or two of doubt in these past ten years, where he wondered if marrying a woman and having children with her was was the right thing to do. He might be telling the world he is “happy every single day,” but he’s also telling himself. We’re not sure if “fake it till you make it” is in the Book of Mormon, but we wouldn’t be surprised.
* He’s got a book out! In a follow-up post on his site, Weed mentions his essay “Vomit: A Story of Romance” is included in a book called Voices of Hope: Latter-day Saint Perspectives on Same-Gender Attraction. (There’s even a convenient link to Amazon!) We know the publishing world enough to know he’s not making fat bank on this essay, but we’re sure Weed would like it to sell well, if only to get his message out.
Look, if this is how Weed wants to live his life, that’s his business. But he’s making it our business by broadcasting how incredibly amazing and happy his life is with his wife, and by counseling gays and lesbians in similar straits.
You want to be a gay man in a straight marriage? Bully for you—but if you tell the world you “have a wonderful sex life” and are “happy every day,” you better be ready to explain honestly how you make that work. Because we don’t think most people reading your words understand the compromises, struggle, sacrifice and disharmony that is a regular part of your life. (Maybe its not coincidental that Weed’s post is in the form of a Q&A where he both asks and answers the questions. Otherwise it might get too real.)
“The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose,” Shakespeare wrote in The Merchant of Venice. “An evil soul producing holy witness is like a villain with a smiling cheek.” We don’t want to call Weed “an evil soul”—he’s more foolish and sad than evil—but his testimony is just as tainted.
Below, Josh and Lolly discuss the reactions to Josh’s online confession.