Thursday, January 15, 2015

Preliminary thoughts on My Husband's Not Gay

I watched TLC’s “My Husband’s Not Gay” last Sunday.  The show promised a lot of clueless Mormon wives denying their reality of their husband’s sexualities. It also promised to show Gay Mormon men denying a fundamental truth about who they are in order to live the Gospel®.
The show offered all of the Mormon-speak faithful and former Mormon viewers would expect, and it offered enough eye candy to appeal to the straight women and gay men who probably make up The Learning Channel’s Target Audience. However, the show failed to do one thing that every show must do in some way. It must entertain the viewer.

Mormon denial may be appropriate for North Pine meetings, but an outside viewer can see the men trying to deny who they are.  Each wife, however, is holding onto their husband in order to live up to what the church expects of them. Church doctrine requires marriage in one of the organization’s temples for an individual to get into the highest degree of Heaven.  Children, however, are not required.

Official doctrine allows male members to have more than one wife in the Celestial Kingdom, in fact, the Doctrine and Covenants still says that it is a requirement for achieving exaltation.  As long as the men do not receive a divorce for eternity, they have completed the requirement. Even if the women dissolve the marriages in a civil court, they still remain married to their husbands for eternity in the church’s eyes. If they find another husband, they cannot have another temple wedding.  (In fact, they remain married to their first husbands. Men can marry more than one woman for eternity, but this rule does not apply to women.)

Even people not inclined to criticize the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints describe its structure as patriarchal. The husbands of this show, much like the husbands in every Mormon marriage, retain their power. The women often stick with their spouses for the sake of their family or because they do not think they can find another husband.

Same-sex attracted people, as the church once called gays and lesbians, are not cured by marriage. Materials provided by Church even state this.  North Pine, the organization that took the place of Evergreen International, continues its reparative therapy techniques, but it does not get the official support of the leadership in Salt Lake. Despite the lack of official support, many branch presidents, bishops and stake presidents support the organization and its goals.

Despite TLC’s denial that the show supports reparative therapy, it is exactly what it does. The first episode also shows something even more dangerous. It shows children who are in danger of watching their parents’ divorce as they get older.  Taking camping trips with other men who say they suffer from same-sex attraction probably does not help the men identify with their gender. It is more likely that the same-sex attracted men, as they call themselves, use these trips to conduct certain activities away from their prying eyes of their wives.  (Note: As someone who has never been on one of this group’s camping trips, I do not really know what goes on.)

TLC’s “My Husband’s Not Gay” proves only one thing. People are good at lying to themselves when it suits their needs. Sadly, church leaders probably encourage these couples to stay together. 


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