For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.

- Mosiah 3:19

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Recently, I've been thinking much about why there is so much friction in my soul about my place in the church. I realized that friction is the result of the eternal fact that my identity at its most fundamental spiritual level is heterosexual (for all intents and purposes) and that my most fundamental mortal identity is homosexual. Thus, these two truths about myself conflict, thus causing anguish in my soul.

The fact that my sex drive is toward the same sex therefore causes much shame and therefore even more despair about my place in the church. John Bradshaw writes, "Our sexual energy (libido) is our own unique incarnation of the life force itself. To have our sex drive shamed is to be shamed at the core."

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Abandoning myself to God

So not long ago, I took my first step in the 12-step program. The first step is:
"We admit that we are powerless over sexual addiction - and that our lives had become unmanageable." It took me years to come to this realization, but I have; and I am now gratefully powerless. I read my story in front of 50 men - it was liberating. It shined the light on all the deepest and darkest secrets of my life.

Furthermore, it helped me to see that being gay and Mormon are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Delving into my past, despite how difficult it was, enabled me to engage for the first time the fact that I am gay and that I am Mormon. It was that process that brought me to humbly ask God for His help. Yet, in that asking, I exerted every effort to simultaneously deny and accept the Christ. I know. I accepted the fact that Christ was real, but insisted on denying His healing powers.

While I choose not to blame my recent relapse on my lack of faith in Christ, I am nonetheless grateful for the relapse, as it pushed me toward step two.

Step two is: "Came to believe a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity."

I took step two yesterday. Yesterday, I could not concentrate on my work. I tried to finish making the edits on my dissertation prospectus, but could not concentrate. My mind went back to Saturday night. Yet, that memory and its root desire wrestled with a single truth in the back of my mind - Sunday (as noted before was Stake conference broadcast from Salt Lake City), Sister Elaine Dalton gave a powerful sermon on the sanctity of the body, she noted that all of the Adversary's attempts to drive us from God are centered on the body. With these dueling ideas, one centered on eternal fulfillment and the other on mortal fulfillment, I gave in and went in search of something to fill the God-size hole in my soul. I turned to the online personals. Parenthetically, as I was doing so, I realized that pornography is now boring to me - I have no real desire to use it anymore.

I arranged to meet this guy. Yet in the moments up to that impending meeting, I was deeply troubled. I did not want to do what my body (and now I realize what Darkness) wanted me to do. The missionaries came over and I almost lost my composure in their presence, I held back the pain filled tears and simply asked for a blessing that I might have more light and truth in my life. With their innocent and child-like faith they blessed me. They left my apartment at 8:00, the guy was supposed to come over at 8:30. I pondered on what I wanted out of my life. I realized I wanted faith, I wanted comfort. I wanted Christ in my life. Yet, I was resistant to that desire. I wanted to continue to insist on my previous simultaneous recognition and denial.

I read the "For the Strength of the Youth" pamphlet then read a talk by Elder Holland, in that talk he noted that God wanted my "soul to be as pure as it was meant to be." I soon found myself on my knees, pleading with God to not let me do what I desperately wanted to do. I begged God with every desire for good and life I had. I begged for my life. At that moment, I asked for the Atoning power and mercy of Jesus Christ. This was the first time I asked in sincerity for His mercy and love. I literally begged and pleaded to not let me go through what I had planned, I begged to be saved from myself. I realized I prayed for nearly half an hour, pleading with all my might to be saved from myself.

I then checked my email, I saw an email from the guy who noted his car would not start and was not able to come over. There is a part of me that wants to rationally explain this as simple coincidence or call him flaky. But, I can't discount the power of prayer and the love of my Heavenly Father. I was saved from myself. I abandoned myself to God. He restored me to a degree of sanity last night.

Repentance is hard. But I'm coming to sense it's worth it.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Gay Best Friend...Auggggh!

So this weekend, in addition to my Bishop, I realized the girl I had been quasi-dating for the last year or so, once I disclosed what was going on (a while back) now sees me as her gay best friend. I started to get a sense of this on one of our "dates." A week or so back she couldn't wait to have dinner with me, I was excited, perhaps by the probable impossibility of where the relationship might go, despite the disclosure. I got to her house and knocked on her door, she answered and then she ran back to her room and quickly came back with an armful of clothes and started modeling dresses and showing me the new clothes she bought and then started talking about the crush she had on a guy. I realized that I had descended into being the "gay best friend." A role I refuse to play.

Needless to say, my disclosure has turned yet another girl into thinking I want to be her "gay best friend." I stopped taking the phone calls of one girl I dated a BYU, she kept wanting to talk to me about her guy crushes, fashion, and so forth. I refused to play that role, so I've spoken to her only periodically over the past several years, avoiding any semblance of her treating me like the gay friend.

Let me say this clearly if one of the girls I dated or may date happens on this: I don't know anything about fashion (really I don't - I'm color blind!), I don't like Lady Gaga or Musicals (I think I swallow a bit of my own vomit when I hear them!), I don't want to hear about your man troubles (I'm trying to be celibate, so talking about relationships does not help me!), and I will not prance around or pretend to be excited by girly things (I like guys, that's not to be mistaken with liking girly things!).

OK. I'm done for today.

A New Creature?

This weekend I lost my sobriety, and the reality of the situation, not matter which angle I looked at it, pointed to the following paradox: I want to be a faithful member of the church, but also want to be in a relationship with a man. While this simple paradox is not new or novel in any way, I think way too many church leaders, like my Bishop, for example, fail to grasp the depth of that tension.

My Bishop, often simply provides a rote script when I confess or when I meet with him about my challenges. I hear the following refrains: “your problem is not different from other people,” “a lot of members don’t know what their place will be in the church in the future,” “just apply the atonement,” and so on.

As I talked to my Bishop about the anonymous encounter I had, each one of these came out in varying combinations. It’s getting a little old, and becoming increasingly unhelpful. I know my Bishop had a crisis of faith and was inactive for some time, yet, the counsel he gives comes from a placed disconnected from that experience. It’s like when I was a missionary. I had memorized all six lessons and all the associated scriptures. My companion and I were “teaching” one woman; as I was reciting from memory the lesson – she put her hand up and said, “Stop. Talk to me!” I was taken aback. From that moment I recognized the value of leading with one’s weakness – that is sharing what one knows, being present with that person, not relying a formal or informal script.
I want my Bishop to stop and talk to me from his experience. Yet, he continues to distance himself from it and simply repeats what General Authorities say. I can get that from the General Conference Edition of the Ensign.

Elder Holland in a stake conference address to 63 stakes in Washington and Alaska stated, “The gospel of Jesus Christ offers all the answers to life’s questions.” While I believe that, I’m coming to believe that the answers often don’t come the way we expect. For example, my Bishop, I think feels that if I simply read the scriptures, pray, attend church, and cease my behavior that all the questions the complicate my desires to remain in the church will cease. This is apparently the model, there are necessary inputs which enters the black box of the atonement (black box in the sense that we don’t know what happens), but then it pops out a new person.

Yet, the empirical reality, at least for me, suggests that while appealing, it’s so much more difficult. I’m not sure what I’m writing today. But the point is I’m trying to just accept the fact that my Bishop doesn’t get it and will simply exert my every strength to see the keys he holds.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Future Tripping

At least twice a week, the reality of the commitment I'm trying to make to my Heavenly Father weighs me down with an intense sadness and mourning of a life I will never have.

Monday night I had a dream that I was in a relationship with a man (I did not know who he was). The dream was not erotic in any way, but was filled with all the things my soul yearns for - intimacy, love, vulnerability, trust, inter-dependency, and healthy touch. This man in my dreams (I suppose now the man of my dreams) never said a word, but simply leaned into me for safety, warmth, and love. I woke from that dream excited with the prospect of finding a partner. But that "dream life" was quickly dashed as I sat up and saw my scriptures at my bedside - the reality of my life is singlehood, perhaps sometime in the future I will see it as a blessing...perhaps.

If I did not know God was real and if I did not have this emerging trust and dependence on Jesus Christ, it would make sense for me to leave. The other night I was talking with a couple of friends from the gay support group I attend, one simply said how courageous they thought I was to try to remain in the church; the other said I was crazy to try to live a life of celibacy, but conveyed his love and said, "If that's what you want, I'll support you."

This took me by surprise. First, because I realized I had gay friends. And two, these gay friends who've been very vocal in their opposition to any institution that inflicts "spiritual violence," once they got to know me and the deep respect I have for God and the church, were willing to support me in my "silly" experiment.

I'm thankful to God for such friends. They enable my willingness to put one foot in front of the other on my way to Moriah.

I still have no word on my Disciplinary Council. My Bishop says it won't happen until I'm ready. I leave it to him to decide when I'm ready, as I'm beginning to see and trust the priesthood keys he holds - that's been hard given what he's said to me about my circumstances. Perhaps simply another test from God - why does God always want to test me? I suppose it's good, because I'm slowly learning that God is in charge and can be seen even a midst the imperfection of his servants. I suppose this is what God was trying to teach me.

I'm a slow learner. But I eventually catch on.

So today, I take another step toward Moriah.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


This past week I went back home to visit my parents. Overall it was a good trip, salubrious even. I felt present with my parents for the first time, feeling like I had to hide nothing from them. Though, I could sense they wanted to talk with me, but did not know how to start the conversation. I, too, wanted to talk with them. Though we've been open on the phone, there is something a bit different about being face-to-face. Nonetheless, it was a pleasant experience for them and for me.

As I was saying goodbye and headed out the door, my father called me to his room. He was changing into his suit (he's the Bishop and was headed to the church to conduct a baptism), and said in a very firm, loving, and somewhat chastising tone, to be careful...that living alone would only make things harder before they get easier. What struck me most was the tone my father used, it reminded me of the scripture in D&C 121:43 "reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy.” My father at that moment was the personification of this scripture. His tone was filled with firmness, reprovement, sharpness, love, concern, and sadness. Afterwards he hugged me and told me to be careful.

I was shaken by his words (however brief). I came to sense for a moment the sadness my Heavenly Father must feel for me, not because I'm gay, but because I have violated moral covenants, because I violated my own integrity.

Last night I shared my first step with a GLBTQI addiction support group. As I read my first step and afterwards received kind and loving comments and support from fellow addicts, I realized that the only person I wanted to be around was my father. I wanted him near me. While I was physically present, I was detached, lost in my emotions about my father. All those loving words could not equal the love my father showed me in a brief 30-second conversation. I realized I missed him deeply.

I did not realize the depths of my emotions for, and the level of intimacy I had with my father. I do not have the same relationship with my mother. I've tried, but something is missing. I'm grateful to have him in my life, and grateful to be the recipient of his prayers and love.