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

Monday, November 28, 2011

13.1 miles of bliss

I ran my third half marathon yesterday. It was cold, wet, windy, painful, and absolutely satisfying and amazing! I started off at a decent pace, but eventually came to some hills, then more hills and then more. During the race, I had plenty of time to try to draw connection between the race, my preparation for it and life. Alas, I could not find anything. The only thing that I took from that, was that I can do hard things, that somewhere inside of me is the courage to endure. I can muster it when called upon. Thing is I usually don't. Why? I'm not sure.

I had an interaction with my Bishop this past week. It was both petrifying and disconcerting. I received an email from him, he wanted to say he was sorry for anything he said that may have been hurtful. Certainly I appreciated the sentiment of that email, but at the same time I was filled with a sense of guilt and shame and fear. I talked with my Therapist about what I should do.

As I talked with my therapist I recounted to him what was most painful to me, it was not the simple mechanistic approach, nor was it lack of understanding about same-sex attraction and in-experienced advice on the matter, while that is frustrating it does not pain or hurt me. I told my therapist that what pained me the most was the association my Bishop has with homosexuality - that be implicitly linked homosexuality with beastiality and called me perverted (both in our conversations and while He gave me blessing). Above all else this is what stings and hurts the most, this is what causes me to fear for own emotional well-being. As I recounted this to my therapist the pain came back, it still hurts. I trusted the Bishop with my emotional, spiritual and intellectual well-being, and part of me felt violated.

My therapist explained that Bishops are not trained in these matters, to which I agree and have never expected perfection from any Bishop, simply compassion and understanding, however imperfect those expressions maybe, they should make me feel safe, not unsafe. But my therapist did stop short of saying that I should simply not be offended, but that I should speak the truth to help the Bishop also own the consequences of his actions (however, misguided they were). My therapist wondered out loud if those accusations or associations would have been made with a "straight" brother. I wonder the same thing, but for my own sanity and well-being my therapist asked me to simply state how I feel and ask for more space and time away. And I did.

My Bishop is a good man. He is. Certainly there is much for me to learn from him, as there is much for all of us to learn from each other. I hope that one day I can stand on solid ground and not fear for my emotional well-being when I enter a Priesthood leaders office. I hope one day to be able to stand before God with a pure heart and clean hands. While that may be simple for many people, the reality is it's more complicated than that.

I talked a dear friend (my roommate from undergraduate days) and his wife over lunch today. They asked about my struggle and we explored at some length the problematical issues of homosexuality and the church, their relation to covenant making and keeping, and the ultimate plan of God. It was a nice reprieve and edifying discussion. I was hoping to ask him for a blessing, but it was a little difficult given our location. Perhaps when I see him next.

Friday, November 18, 2011


The past few days have been good. Recently, I've been feeling like there is a connection to the Savior; this is new for me. Being a very prideful man, I have refused to fully allow my will to be swallowed up, I may have thought it was a good idea, but have never really tried to let it happen.

While I still don't know what it means for me to be gay and in the household of God, I'm willing to let go. Before I acknowledged the uncertainty and attempted to convince myself I was OK with not knowing. Recently, however, I've simply stopped fighting - mentally, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. Doing so has provided me a fleeting glimpse of "things as they really are."

I used to think that once I got to a point of seeing "things as they really are" it would mean all would make sense, that I would see my sexual attractions as an aberation, or consequence of the Fall and would find great peaceful answers or I would think when I saw "things as they really are," I would recognize the Church would change its ontologic position.

This addiction has kicked my ass, it has beaten me into submission, and beaten me into seeing with new eyes (at least momentarily). I'm coming to sense that seeing things as they really are is simply about seeing uncertainty and moving forward in faith and placing my hope in the Savior to provide me the strength to endure all things. That enabling strength is the healing. The outcome of that enabling strength is not my focus; the process is the end. That is coming to see things as they really are - becoming present and accepting reality.

I'm a son of God and I'm gay. I don't know how these two coexist, nor do I understand the depths of what either mean. What I do know is they shape my understanding of each other. The doctrine of the church will not change, I accept that as a given. Any intelligent person can see the ontological differences between blacks and the priesthood and homosexuality. While the resources of support may not exist, it does not mean that God does not want me to endure (even that I'm not sure what it means).

All of this to say that seeing things as they really are is about me seeing myself for the first time in a true and intimate relationship with the Savior. I'm coming to (and hope to continue) walking with Him.

Yet that does not mean that I do not search the deep things for answers to these things that plague us, nor does it mean that I give up on creating a forum to instruct others what is most good for them. I don't know what I have to give, but I'm coming to sense that I really have nothing to give without God. And that is not scary or threatening anymore.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


One of my favorite theologians writes about dialogue:

“The dialogical-dialogue is not a simple conversation, not a mere mutual enrichment by the supplementary information that is contributed; it is not exclusively a corrective of misunderstandings … It is the joint search for the shared and the different. It is the mutual fecundation of what each one contributes …It is the implicit and explicit recognition that we are not self-sufficient … God is the one who makes it possible for dialogue to be more than the mere sterile crossing of two monologues."

This is a good idea, especially given that a conference or symposium on homosexuality and the church is being planned for the Pacific Northwest.

I've been asked to help, and so I will. Perhaps this will help me explore more fully the questions that linger in my mind and in my soul.

Today is a good day. I look up and feel a sense of hope!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The logic of truth

This morning as reflected on my life, I came to realize that I've not seen things as they really are. In other words, I'm not in a place where I can anticipate and appraise the effects of my actions. I act compulsively, and as a result, I'm not able to discern the effects of my actions on me and others. This is part of the addiction, and that addiction has certainly agitated my faith.

I realize I'm coming to view my faith in God and the gospel through a lens that insists on me being in control. That is, I want God to justify to me why I should be obedient, I want God to justify to me what I should do what He asks. This insistence on God justifying to me is an element of control that I'm having a hard time letting go.

Recently, I've hit a bottom (not in terms of acting out) but spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. I'm coming to realize that I've got no where else to turn, I've got no where else to look, but up. Looking up is hard: it hurts my neck and it hurts my eyes (as there is light when one looks up). But that pain of adjusting to the light is necessary, it means I must slowly put off the things that pull me down, the things that insist I can find light in the darkness.

I don't know what my future holds. I certainly want a fulfilling relationship, but at what cost? I'm not sure. This morning as I was journaling, I pondered and wrote about my spiritual experiences. When I was 10 I received a strong spiritual communication that the Book of Mormon was true, it has take me nearly 23 years to figure out what that means - it means not only that Joseph Smith was a prophet, but that the contents of that book are true, that the stories therein actually happened. That through Jesus Christ I can find my seat in the Kingdom of God.

Why has it taken so long for that to settle in my heart?

Friday, November 4, 2011


So I'm suffering from ennui or perhaps I've hit some bottom of some sort. It's been a while that I've "acted out," being an addict sucks. I've discovered some things that have given me some perspective on life and on how to manage this addiction.

1) The last time I acted out with a guy, I got to know him a bit - it turned into a weird sort of relationship. I think for the first time there was a hint of real intimacy, a hint of real emotion, and dare I say "feelings?" As we sat and talked I felt these feelings I never really felt before - a real connection. This happened over the course of time and continued. The night we went to the bedroom, was a very different night for me. We had talked and there was just something different - it wasn't this rush of lust that usually accompanied my previous exploits. It was tender, really.

After it was over, I still felt a rush of regret and a degree of pain for what I had done. Yet, I discovered that sex can be extremely powerful and an agent that binds people together. Truly one the ultimate expressions of love. I'm coming to understand this, albeit slowly. It took this weird relationship to get me there. I'm no longer in contact with this guy - and I'm OK with that. The past week or so I've thought about acting out, but as I contemplated it, it seemed to simply be an empty experience, void of any expressions of love and humanity - something that was merely animalistic in both its desires and consequences. I hope this clarity lasts. I hope that I can come to respect and reverence the power of sex again.

The second insight came as a result of my daily habit of listening to General Conference talks. The other day, I was listening to a talk by Elder Kristofferson on covenant keeping. This reminded me that if I keep the commandments, then I will never have healthy relationship with another man. This leads to intense loneliness and pain, and so I search out some company to medicate the pain. After this realization, I decided, with the help of my Therapist, to stop doing to those aspects of the church that remind me of a potential life of loneliness. So I've stopped listening to conference, reading contemporary church literature, and visiting with my Bishop and other priesthood leaders. Not having those aspects in my life reminding me incessantly that I'll be alone has helped me feel so much better about myself and given me a confidence to move forward. I still do read out of the Book of Mormon every day - the Book of Mormon does not bring me the unnecessary guilt and shame a lot of those other aspects of the church do.

Overall, I'm feeling pretty good and feel a degree of happiness. However, I must continue to be vigilant.