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, May 14, 2012

Parental Love

Last weekend, my mother came to visit. January of 2011 was when I told my parents about my addiction and the fact that I am gay. Since that time my father has sent regular emails to me about the love of God and tools for fighting the Adversary. My mother has called frequently to ask about my spiritual, emotional, and physical health. I've appreciated those interactions. Yet, I still kept much of the discussion about me being gay from them. Rather I focused on overcoming addiction and repenting, and refraining from talking about the larger pain and struggle in my soul about how I might continue in the Church.

My parents are completely devoted to the gospel, my father has been either an branch president or bishop for nearly 40 years. All my life, he has been either one. I have not really known him not as such. While they are rigid in morality, they remain surprisingly accepting, thoughtful and loving.

Yet, despite that, I continued to fear them. Fear of the pain I would cause them with a departure from the Church, fear of the sadness that would ensue as I would feel alienated from the family. Yet, something deep inside of me continued to nag at my soul - my parents have the keys (through my father's priesthood) over me, for all eternity. It is his right as the patriarch of the family. He is the priesthood leader that I am most concerned about.

I characterized my mother's visit as portending. Within three hours of collecting her from the airport we were in a five hour discussion about me being gay, her and my father's thoughts, and ultimately their counsel to me.

She started by asking if I was still seeing the therapist. I responded yes. I wanted to correct any assumption she had about therapy, so I added that the therapy is not to change me. She acknowledged that and also tacitly remarked that how I feel is not my fault, nor is it the fault of her or my father. I was astounded by this admission. Years ago, when my sister came out, my parents and siblings were aghast. They continued to berate her and tell her it was a choice and that she was sick. Yet, despite that, my parents continued to be accommodating to her and her partners, reluctantly carving out a place for them at family functions. Today they embrace her partner, not quite as one of the family, but they embrace her because she is important to my sister.

As I we continued this conversation, my mother then explained that during the last year and a half since I told them what was going on, she and my father had prayed and fasted for understanding and guidance. As we drove, she then said to me, "I think the Lord is telling us that we need to keep the family intact. If you choose to leave the church, we understand." She then went on and explained that it was not good for man to be alone, "If you find someone, your father and I will do our best to make him a part of our family." I was speechless. "The Lord is asking us to love our children, we taught you, now our only task is love you." She then went on and said "If you leave the church, find something that will spiritually ground you. You need a spiritual and moral compass to guide you."

I was disoriented by this. I did not know how to respond. Over the past week, I've not dealt with it very well. I've acted out as way to cope with this. I don't know how to respond.

My therapist explained to me that my mother doing what she did, released me from any expectation I may have had they had of me, and further they released me from the shame of being a gay Mormon and their gay son. I am not sure what to do. The best way to describe how I feel is disoriented.

The weak reasoning for remaining in the church has left - that of my parents. Now what is left is a clear choice on my part, it is only me. I would like to again participate fully in the blessings the church has to offer, but I simply don't know where to find that faith to climb what is a seemingly endless mount, an insurmountable task!

Though I did, for the first time in nine months attend all three hours of church this past Sunday.


  1. Several months ago, maybe a year, my parents and I had a similar conversation. After I was free to do what I want I discovered I have a testimony that is seperate from my parents expectations of me. From what you have written, I believe you have a testimony also and it is seperate from your parents.

    When I think about how my parents have grown to better understand me I wonder how much more our Heavenly Father understands us as individuals.

  2. That is so great to see how much your parents love and accept you. It's proof of how the spirit can work within us if we let it.
    I think all too often many gay Mormons think that if they marry another gay guy (or woman if you are lesbian) then you have to leave the church. Now as far as membership in the church that's a different story, but you can continue to attend church, because we need that spiritual nurishment. Yes someone might say something hurtful most of the time unknowingly, I think it is just a perfect opertunities to become more Christlike. While bad situations do arise at church there are so many learning opertunities and spiritual nurishment that can be attained.
    In the end whatever you choose should be between you and God with no consideration to the opinions of others.