Monday, March 26, 2007

The video I embedded in my first posting on this blog has been removed from YouTube, but this is the same video, as originally uploaded.

"we're so SCENE that we kiss other boys!"

Well, life has not been boring.

First, I must tell you some back history. In January 2006 I sent an anonymous letter to the Watchtower Society's Brooklyn offices. The Watchtower Society is a coordinating office for the work of Jehovah's Witnesses (it is not, though, as is sometimes reported, the 'official name' of Jehovah's Witnesses: the Witnesses are a religious body, and the Watchtower Society is a legal entity used by the religion).

My letter opened with a discussion of my loss of faith, which was not then by any means as complete as it is now. I then went on to talk about the way that sometimes we believe things we want to believe, and I worried, in the letter, that my loss of faith was due to my belated realisation of my homosexuality. I know that I'm inteligent; I know also that my judgment can be clouded.

I never got a reply to the letter: it was anonymous. What I wanted from it I do not know. Perhaps just the relief of getting my feelings down on paper. The one thing I asked for was an article in The Watchtower or Awake! outlining how hypocrytical people can sometimes be on this issue. 1 Corinthians 5:12 shows that those outside the congregation are not to be judged by the standards applied to those within. I've written about this before on this blog:

The hypocrasy of these people who dress up their personal distaste for homosexuals in the cloak of a high-minded religious and moral objection began to disgust me.

The one thing I asked for, I didn't get. As I said in the letter,

If, say, a Witness’s non-Witness niece is having a sexual relationship with her boyfriend she will be treated quite differently than her brother having a sexual relationship with his boyfriend. And yet both are equally breaking God’s Law and neither are his servants. It is not our place to decide which of God’s laws are more important.

This rampant hypocritical homophobia was disturbing me.


So, earlier this year, I sent the letter again, this time with an address on the bottom. The text of the letter explained why I had not contacted the local elders: I was uncertain about how well they'd keep confidentiality, and I really couldn't think what they'd do to help me. Also, at the time the letter was first written, I was uncomfortable identifying as homosexual even to myself, so telling other people who knew me in real life was all but out of the question. In the interim, over the course of the year, I'd become more comfortable with an internal gay identity, and less firm in my faith. I did not redraft the letter, so these changes in attitude were not recorded. They're both rather nebulous, anyway.

Two more short quotes from the letter:

Technically, I could be openly gay and yet one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Am I right? I could say, as I am doing to you, I am homosexual and a virgin, because I’m not interested in having sex with women and God’s Law says that for a man to have sex with another man is wrong. I could, technically, be perfectly open about that. But it’s not actually feasible, is it? You know it isn’t, so don’t pretend anything else.The attitude to homosexuality prevalent among Jehovah’s Witnesses is not one fitting to servants of a loving God. It is actually un‑Christian.

I do not 'suffer from some homosexual feelings' -- I am homosexual. Entirely. That’s what I am. Live with it -- I have to.

That last perhaps deserves some clarification. I think I detect a faint note of bitterness creaping in, and I don't like that. Don't become bitter. I also detect an acceptance there that I am who I am, and that my homosexuality is a permanant part of my make-up, not some temporary aberation. One way or another, I shall have to live with it.


Episode Next

The Society, in defiance of my express wishes, sent the letter back to the local branch office here in Ireland, who showed it to one of the elders in my congregation. I ought to be annoyed about this, and I shall have to work out why I'm not.

The line You've been in communication with Brooklyn did come as rather a shock, but I rallied nicely, and in the end I had a reasonable, friendly, and fairly open conversation with the two elders I was talking to. I've had two chats now, and am in line for a third. I have not yet told them of the extent to which my faith has been eroded, but shall have to do so shortly. It would be dishonest to continue.

I gave a five-minute talk the other week, on the detrimetal effect of grumbling on the spirit of the congregation. One of the elders I'd been talking to said it was the best talk he'd ever heard me give.


In other news, I recently bought Letter to a Christian Nation, by Sam Harris. Thought-provoking and challenging. I recommend it.