Joshua Johanson, married, one son. Lives in San Diego. Wrote “Gay Mormons? Latter-day Saint Experiences of Same-Gender Attraction.”
He discussed the difference between having homosexual desire and having SSA.
He was never attracted to girls until Alyssa, his wife.
He was married in the Oakland temple, currently has a sexually fulfilling relationship.
Compared the feminist movement to the gay rights movement – “the gay rights no more represents me than the feminist movement represents my wife.”
We make our own sexual choices – they are not predetermined by birth.
Just because somebody is gay does not mean they need a same-sex relationship. Study – most men with SSA – 60 percent – have never acted upon it. People who identify as gay have had gay sex. The silent majority do not identify as gay and have not had gay sex. This may be one reason why our church leaders warn us about identifying as gay. We may not choose our attractions, but we do choose our behaviors.
Pres. Kimball says homosexual behavior can be changed. Pres. Kimball says we can overcome this tendency, just as we can overcome the urge for fornication. Straight men overcome through the atonement of Jesus Christ, the same applies to people with SSA. There is a difference between having SSA and desiring gay sex. Our desires are up to us.
Joshua says: “My attraction is different than my desire. My attraction is SSA, my desire is to be faithful to my wife. I am here to act and not to be acted upon.”
He says he really likes apple pie. “If all I do is eat sweets, I don’t feel good. I have the attraction to sweets, but the desires to feel healthy.”
Why do people have the temptations they do? He does not take a position on this. We do not choose our attractions. The focus should be on living the law of chastity. If we submit ourselves to God, He can save us. It is not like straight people can be saved where they are at, why should gay people be saved where they are at.
Teaching the commandments of God is a very, very loving thing to do.
It is the desire to view pornography that needs to change, and it is the desire to have a SS relationship that needs to change.
There has not been a major change in doctrine in the last few decades.
In every ward of the church, LDS services estimates that there are 4 or 5 with SSA. But they marry in the temple and do not act on it. Joshua says: “Many people like to pit us against the Church. Faithful members of the Church with SSA are rarely ask to speak to the media. There are plenty of places I could go if I could give in to my lusts, but I want a church that helps me overcome my lusts. “
“We need help. We need people who understand our issues. We need people who are willing to bring us in, mourn with us and help us overcome the natural man. “
For some, marriage is not an option. Many of us are willing to sacrifice SS relationships so we can have the peace the Gospel brings. Many men with SSA are sexually attracted to their spouse. There are two types of attractions – the initial attraction and the one that develops over time.
2 million men with SSA married to women in the U.S. 29 percent have had gay sex in the last year. The majority are faithful. The minority gets the attention – being faithful to your wife rarely makes headlines. More men with SSA are committed to women than men with men. Men need women to be complete.
Not having gay sex is a great way to prevent suicide.
19 percent of men who have sex with men were infected with HIV. HIV seems to be increasing. Increased risk for other STDs. Programs focuses on safe sex – no government program helps people leave the gay lifestyle if they want to.
“I think it is more loving and more pro-gay to discuss these issues (gay STDS and gay celibacy).”
Joshua promotes several groups, such as Evergreen, Exodus and North Star.
SSA may never go away, but we can change behaviors, values and identity. “SSA may never go away, but we can still live the law of chastity.”
The gay rights movement refuses to support the option of celibacy. “The gay rights movement thinks my lifestyle is dangerous. What we want is no long discussed. Those who support us are painted as anti-gay. They worry that heterosexual marriage and celibacy are damaging to the gay movement. But they are trying to push their position on us.”
LDS leaders have spoken out against bullying, employment protection, AIDS prevention and housing protection. Individual members are not as supportive. He is disappointed with the lack of support from individual members. Members shy away from being loving and supportive of gay people. “We must love our gay brothers and sisters. To truly love people, we lift them up. We continue to love and support them even if they choose a different path. The Gospel is the most pro-gay and welcoming organization again because it teaches us what we must do to live with God again.”
He gave a great testimony of the truth of the Gospel. His greatest joy in life is his wife and son and the Church.