|Artwork by Christy Grandjean|
Monsters dwell in liminal spaces. They crouch in the shadows of ideologies, sliding between the dissonance created from warring factions of humanity. Normally they are safely distanced as the Other, a menace that cannot cross the palisades of our worldview. But when we pass through liminal space (or in my case, set up residency there) we must face monsters of our own making.
Both Mormon and Queer ideologies have ways of slaying monsters. If you are Mormon, the queer monster can be caged, repressed, and finally slayed through death and resurrection. If you are Queer, you can be rescued from the mormon monster’s layer, free from its oppressive sway. But what of Queer Mormons? These grappling ideologies can synthesize into a paradigm of fecund beauty, or the worst parts can amalgamate into a chimeric demon.
This demon stalks me.
What if homosexual action truly were a sin? What if its indulgence ensured that God will cast the soul far from his presence, and the warm connections of family will give way to the cold reality of eternal isolation? And what if homosexual desires were also incurable, even by Christ’s Atonement? What if the deepest longing for human connection, to find one’s mate and helpmeet, were forever corrupted, so that the one joy we seek in life were forever denied, even after death? And yet we are compelled to fulfill that need for mate and love, so that most if not all of us succumb to forbidden paths and are lost to the light. We are doomed to failure.
Some seek to slay this monster. They train their sword on the Mormon half, insisting that homosexuality cannot be a sin. But if they are wrong, they will lead a life of guilt, devoid of joy, and suffer eternal consequences. Others attack the Queer half, insisting that the World seeks to deceive them. But if they are wrong, they will lead a life of deprivation, devoid of joy, and miss out on life’s greatest blessings. Both groups avoid the truth: both halves are inseparable and immortal. We will always be Mormon, and always be Queer. And we realize that we were never looking at a monster, only a mirror with our own reflection.
Are we then the servants of Satan of which Elder Nelson warned? Are we destined to perversion, to pull the Saints into the muck of sin and false teachings? Are we to be an illustration of God’s wrath to warn and instruct the faithful in obedience? Do we then fulfill our existence when we at last sink into Hell?
I hear the whispers in the darkness of my mind. Demon, they call me. Aberration. Inhuman Abomination. It is my own voice.
How long can we humans dwell in liminal space before monsters and madness devour us? How long before we become monsters ourselves?