The upright

(No, this isn't a post about a vacuum cleaner.)

The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them. -Proverbs 11:3
I remember back in my high school seminary class my teacher was explaining to us what the word "upright" meant.  He said that if in 10 years when we ran into him and were able to look him in the eye as we were shaking hands with him, that would be a good indication that we were "upright".  Then, he told a story about an old friend he had that he hadn't seen in a while.  His friend had started doing things that the church taught were wrong (maybe drugs or alcohol or something, I really don't remember) and when he ran into him his friend was unable to look at him--he just stared at the ground and was very ashamed.  So, I promised myself right then that I would remain an "upright" man for the rest of my life.

The reason I tell this story is because since I have come out and my homosexuality has become common knowledge, there have been people who have been unable to look me in the eye, but I have never once felt uncomfortable looking anyone else in the eye.  I have seen my (former) bishop, all of the other people I associated with at church, and many other old friends.  I have seen nearly all of my family.  There has not been one single person that I couldn't look right in the eye, with confidence.  However, I have noticed that there have been several people who were unable to look me in the eye.  So, I wonder what the reason for this would be.  What would cause someone to feel so uncomfortable around me that they can't even look at me when they talk to me?

In attempting to answer that question, I have come up with the following possibilities.  (Again, I welcome any suggestions that any of my readers might have concerning this question.)  First, I wonder if perhaps the person who is unable to look at me is actually the one feeling guilt or shame.  However, this seems rather unlikely since (at least consciously) they believe that I am the one who is sinning (by being gay) and they have done nothing wrong.  So, instead of thinking of this as a conscious guilt or shame, I wonder if it is subconscious.  The next possibility I've considered is that they're unable to look at someone that they're judging (at least, so harshly) perhaps because either they don't want to associate with someone so "evil".

I've wondered if perhaps it was out of pity or sorrow--perhaps they hope that I'll repent and come back to the "right path".  But, the thing that makes me think that isn't the case is that it doesn't seem like a good reason to be uncomfortable looking at someone.  If I want to help someone out--if I believe they're making a mistake and I feel that for some reason I need to correct them, I feel completely comfortable looking straight at them.  I only feel uncomfortable looking at someone when I've done something wrong to them for which I need to apologize, or I owe them money or something of that nature.

Another thing that's related to this topic is that of justification.  I have been told by several people now that they feel like my book and my recent blog posts are nothing more than an attempt to justify my own sins.  I can't quite put my finger on what precisely has been interpreted that way, and no one has informed me of anything specific that they have interpreted as such either.  So, I am left at a complete loss for why someone would come to that conclusion.  First of all, I do not feel that I have sinned, therefore I would not feel any need to justify the sin since there is no sin to justify.  But the fact that so many people have felt that way about what I have said intrigues me and makes me wonder why they would think that.

I believe that this two phenomena are actually closely related.  I wonder if perhaps one reason why someone would think that I am attempting to justify my own sins is because that is the easiest way for them to keep believing that they are right and I am wrong.  I have asserted that homosexual behavior is not sin and they believe that it is.  If they admit that I am right, then that means that they are wrong.  They don't want to admit that they are wrong (in fact, most of them say that they "know" that they are right), so they come to the conclusion that I am merely deceiving myself--that I also "know" that homosexual behavior is sin and therefore I am simply trying to convince myself that it is not in order to relieve my guilty conscience.  What's astonishing to me is the apparent inability to simply let me believe what I wish to believe, even though it is contradiction with their beliefs, and remain comfortable in their own beliefs.  I do not delude myself to think that everyone will always agree with me in every matter.  I am perfectly comfortable in my own belief that homosexual behavior is moral and am not upset by someone believing otherwise.

I have related my feelings, thoughts, opinions, and beliefs as honestly as I know how ever since the day I first announced my sexual orientation--both in my book and here on my blog.  As can be seen by reading through the archives on my blog, my views have changed significantly, but at each point in time I was sincere in what I said.  I have made no pretense, I have established no fa├žade, and I have made no attempt to deceive.  I have presented myself as fully and accurately as I know how.  If the things I have said have been interpreted as anything more or less than what I said, I apologize for any of the miscommunication for which I can reasonably be held responsible.  However, I have intended no hidden meaning, I have meant to leave as little room as possible to read between the lines, and I can agree with no interpretation other than the ones that I have spelled out in my writings.

In all of the posts that I have made that have been defensive of myself (my beliefs and my verbology), I made such posts not so much to defend myself as to clarify to those who really wish to know my meaning, so that I am not misunderstood or misconstrued.  Those who willfully misinterpret what I say, I can dismiss easily, as it is apparent nothing I say will ever affect them.  However, those who wish to truly understand me and know what is in my heart, I offer all of the information I can give.  I will happily answer any question or reply to any challenge given me, which is what I have done.

And so, in conclusion, I merely wish to say that I am confident in my belief that I am an upright man, that I have a clean conscience void of guilt toward man and toward any god that sees fit to judge me.  If I were to meet God today, I would look Him in the eye just as confidently as I can look anyone else in the eye.