Monday, July 02, 2012

Benji versus Josh

If you're a fan of the television show So You Think You Can Dance, you may or may not have heard about or seen Benji Schwimmer's Mormon Stories interview a while back. It was recommended to me by a friend, so I watched it. It's lengthy but not at all boring. Not being a fan, I could have skipped all of the trivia about the dance show, but it was interesting to hear his story, and to listen to him explain his motives. I found it fascinating, even if I could not have done what he did. But I understand why he did it, and I think he did the right thing for himself. Listening to him made me want to be a better disciple of Jesus Christ. He did everything right. He studied the scriptures, spent lots of time in prayer, served an honorable mission, had righteous desires to marry a girl and have a family, plus he’s kind and he's honest about his feelings, and in the end, he got his answer. Of course I think my answer is different. But it didn’t make him any less of a good example to me.

And then, because my Heavenly Father knows me and knows the desires of my heart, it was not at all coincidental that I somehow stumbled across a blog post on Facebook that you've probably seen going around, written by Josh Weed and his wife on their blog The Weed. I loved it. I love this quote:

“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.”

I’m fascinated by this, and yet I don’t know that I can do it. People who know about me are either not currently members of the church, don’t live anywhere near me, or are my family. Is it really necessary to divulge such information to your neighborhood and ward friends?

Another thing that I’ve always wondered about, which Josh's post reminded me of, is if I did marry a man, could I make the physical thing work? I am attracted to some guys. If I married a guy, I would hope that I would be attracted to him physically. Josh gave me some hope when he wrote: “Here is the basic reality that I actually think many people could use a lesson in: sex is about more than just visual attraction and lust and it is about more than just passion and infatuation. I won’t get into the boring details of the research here, but basically when sex is done right, at its deepest level it is about intimacy.”

And I crave intimacy. If I can manage it with a guy, and trust him enough to allow myself to go there, we could be happy. I believe that the atonement helps in situations like these, because this guy is not attracted to women, yet he married a woman and they are happy together. And his blog seems honest and genuine—not like he’s trying to convince his readers that they’re happy, but like he’s trying to share the secrets of being able to be happy. “You can’t fake this kind of happy.” And there are others that have somehow made it work. I think the Lord helps them.

It totally gives me hope that I don’t have to let go of the gospel to experience love and intimacy in the way the Lord wants me to. I can keep all of those things I want in the most profound depths of my heart: my membership in the church, my privilege of attending the temple, a temple marriage and sealing, but most importantly, happiness and peace, not guilt and justification.


  1. I felt the same way about the Benji interview. That really had a powerful impact on me.

  2. Benji's interview stirred all kind of emotions in me. I was impressed with his dedication; I was pained at his struggles; I wondered (perhaps for the 400th time) why some of God's children are required to go through such a challenging journey- though of course, none of us get an "easy ride"- and I was deeply saddened by his interpretation of the scripture. I can't help but wonder what kind of freedom/ escape he might have experienced had he kept his covenants. Perhaps another Josh? I don't doubt it.
    Many things about the interview were interesting to me. I don't believe his obsession about his own worthiness was directed by the Spirit. He didn't seem to think so either. When I doubted my own worthiness, a Bishop told me once, "I am the judge in Israel, not you. You need to trust me and let this go." I think he was absolutely right. Sometimes we are not the best judges of where we are at- we're too hard on ourselves or too easy on ourselves. That's why we have access to help. That portion of the story was a tragedy to me- he wouldn't let it go and he wouldn't listen to his inspired Bishop. He pushed his own agenda of getting a counsel and disciplinary action. How different would his life have been if he had let it go when his Bishop told him to and at that point focused on serving others the way he had on his mission and the way he is trying to do now….?

  3. Stay true to the hope that you don't have to leave the gospel to find the happiness that you seek. Remember that the gospel of Jesus Christ IS the Plan of Happiness, that anything else will take you away from that.

    You can find me at

  4. Stay true to the hope that you don't have to leave the gospel to find the happiness that you seek. Remember that the gospel of Jesus Christ IS the Plan of Happiness, that anything else will take you away from that.

    You can find me at


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