Monday, January 27, 2014

Girl trouble, part 2

Well, it’s done.  I had the dreaded DTR with…let’s call her Lucrezia.

I’ve come out to about five people so far, but each time I pretty much knew that they would take it well.  This was the first time I had no idea what the outcome would be.

It sucked.

Ok, to be fair, it wasn’t that bad.  She didn’t cry, although I may or may not have.  In fact, she was remarkably sensitive and understanding.

The evening started out on the couch as usual.  She sat right next to me, leaning against my side.  Her left hand lay against my thigh, but I kept my right hand safe in the middle of my lap.  I don’t know if she could tell, but my entire body was tense.

I kept hoping an opportune moment would present itself, but we just chatted about work and roommates while my insides gyrated.  I was hoping the movie would provide the perfect setup, but apparently whoever wrote Footloose didn’t have this kind of situation in mind.

 “So, Lucrezia, there’s something I need to talk to you about.”

Oh, shit.  Is this happening?  Rewind!  Ctrl-Z!

….Well, uh, um, I’m…*voice cracks like a 14-year-old*… gay.”


Awkward silence.

“So, we aren’t ever going to be more than friends.”


“I didn’t start coming to terms with this until right around the time we started going out.  I really hoped you would prove me wrong, but it doesn’t work that way.”


The expression on her face was killing me.  I might as well have told her I ran over her dog.  I tried to explain things as best I could, but I just ended up rambling.  In the end she told me that we’re still friends, and we can still watch movies sometimes, but I should do what I feel is best for me.  She said I should do what makes me happy.

So why don’t I feel happy about it?

Because for the first time in a while I felt broken.  For the first time in a while I felt like there was something wrong with me.  It was the first time in a while that I wished I could change.  I had forgotten how revolting it feels to hate yourself for who you are.

I hate that I had to hurt her.  Had there been any other way I would have done it, but I’m tired of being ashamed of this.  Before I told her I promised myself I wouldn't apologize for who I am.  I did apologize for leading her on, and that things didn't work out the way she wanted, but when it comes to being gay, there is nothing to apologize for.

Yes, it was hard.  Yes, I still feel sick about it.  It was the right thing to do, though, and now there’s one less thing holding me back from finding happiness in this life.

Now that this is out of the way the next step is to tell my parents.  Fuck.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Girl trouble

I was hoping that coming to terms with being gay would eliminate girl trouble.  Someday, it will be exciting to deal with boy trouble instead of girl trouble.  There’s a giant hurdle to jump through first.

I've been dating a girl from work since September.  The term “dating” is debatable since nothing is official, but we have gone on one or two dates a week since then.  That should be an obvious rainbow flag right there—straight Mormon guys usually don’t go four months without proposing, let alone defining the relationship.

I was hesitant to go out with her in the beginning, since our first date was a week after my first *experience* with a guy.  At first I thought she just wanted to be hiking buddies, but she told some of our coworkers that she had a crush on me and the next thing I knew everyone at work was asking me when we were going out again.

In all fairness I have enjoyed spending time with her.  It’s nice to have someone to go to restaurants with, and watch movies with.  Our personalities click pretty well even though she’s younger than me by a substantial margin.  For a while I even hoped that she’d prove me wrong, that I really was capable of forming a normal, healthy relationship with a girl.  As things progressed, though, my feelings reached the close friend stage and stopped. 

It’s starting to get…complicated.  She’s been dropping hints that she wants to define the relationship.  The worst was a couple days ago.  She invited me over to watch a movie, and sat right next to me on the couch.  There was full sidal contact.  Then she started rubbing the back of her hand against mine.  The next thing I knew our fingers were firmly interdigitated, and her head was leaned against my shoulder.

I felt sick.  She was making her attraction to me obvious, and there I was allowing her to think I felt the same way.  At that point I was completely, inexcusably, leading her on.

I am not looking forward to the talk.  I’m definitely not looking forward to seeing her at work afterward.  I’m ashamed to admit that I've thought about making it official as a cover.  I've thought about just marring her out of sheer awkwardness. 

But then, maybe it won’t be that bad.  I mean, how often do you get to say “it’s not you, it’s me,” and really mean it?  Maybe we can “still be friends,” since there won’t be any awkward tension, at least not on my end.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Option Two: live a celibate life in the church

I've started this post over and over again, but somehow I just can’t manage to put all my thoughts on celibacy together.  In short, I don’t like it.  I don’t want to be a Mormon monk.

For a while I tried to convince myself I could do it.  It’s no different from what the church expects of single straight members, is it?  Well, no, not really.

In Sacrament Meeting yesterday I hopped off the fence.  That doesn't mean I’m going to take my name off the records and move to San Francisco.  In fact, I’ll probably keep going to church for a while.  It does mean, however, that I will date guys and stop feeling bad about it.

Ironically, it was a talk about the Law of Chastity that convinced me.  It’s not that I disagree with the doctrine on the Law of Chastity; I believe it is divinely inspired, and in general a good idea.  However, as the speaker mentioned in her talk, the Law of Chastity doesn't exist because sex is dirty and evil; it exists to ensure that sex occurs under the proper circumstances.

As a gay Mormon, though, there never will be a proper circumstance for me, at least according to the church.  I don’t buy it. 

The speaker compared the Law of Chastity to the parable of the talents.  According to her our bodies are like the talents in the parable; they are given to us with the expectation that we marry and have kids.  Violating the Law of Chastity is like burying your talent—instead of expanding and developing it you fail to live up to your divine potential.

I sympathize with the servant who only received one talent.  Just like him, I have been handed a different set of circumstances in life.  I have been blessed with the ability to love and form relationships with men.  I could deny that part of myself and bury it, but what happens in the end when I’m called to account for my life?

I buried this part of me for most of my life, and it made me miserable.  I’m done with that.  I’m ready to dust off my talent and take it to the exchangers.

The closing hymn was “Oh My Father,” one of my all-time favorites.  I was struck by the line “for a wise and glorious purpose Thou hast placed me here on earth.”  I don’t know why I’m gay, and I don’t really care, either.  I trust that God has a wise and glorious purpose for making me this way, and at length, when I've completed all He sent me forth to do, with his approbation He will let me come and dwell with Him.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

I didn't always know

Most of the coming out stories I've read talk about how they “always knew, but…”  I’m kind of jealous.  I didn't know until a few months ago.  Granted, I should have known a long time ago.  In fact, looking back, it should have been painfully obvious that I’m gay.

Here’s a sampling of the evidence:
  • I suck at sports.  I don’t watch them, and I sure as hell don’t play them (running doesn’t count).  I don’t even know the difference between a linebacker and a shortstop (I’m not entirely sure which sport each one comes from).
  •  I enjoy Katy Perry, Ke$ha, Rihanna, and Lady Gaga.
  •  I spent months looking at dresses, flowers, and other stuff with my roommate’s fiancee.
  •  I love the movie Mean Girls.  I can quote almost the entire thing.
  •  I sucked at dating.  In fact, I've never kissed a girl.

None of these is particularly damning, but when taken all together they make a convincing case.  Oh, and there’s the BIG ONE: I looked at gay porn for years.  I could go over a list of all the rationalizations I came up with for why that didn't mean I was gay, but I’m pretty sure every MoHo is very well versed in them.

Why didn't anyone tell me?  Oh, wait, they did.  I hated young men’s activities in church because, not being as manly as the other guys, they constantly teased me and called me a homo.  I saw how much everyone hated anything “gay,” and knew I didn't want to be that.  A well-meaning young men’s leader (who later became the bishop who sent me on my mission) told me I should have more enthusiasm for scouting because people might think I was gay otherwise.

I followed church counsel to the letter.  I prayed, read my scriptures, went to church, and did my best to “let virtue garnish my thoughts unceasingly.”  Unfortunately, just like a sprig of parsley on a pot roast, virtue did little to cover up my thoughts about guys.  I had read that even though we may not choose the attractions we feel, it is still a choice whether or not to identify yourself as gay.  I chose not to be gay, and convinced myself that if I served a mission God would remove these feelings as a reward.

My mission was great, and it has formed the foundation for my life ever since.  Don’t get me wrong—it was the toughest two years of my life, and sometimes I wished I had a medical condition so I could come home early without the stigma.  I never felt attracted to my companions or any other missionary (which, looking back, was quite the accomplishment).  That was probably due more to “missionary goggles” than anything else, but at the time I took it as a sign that God was “fixing” me.

That lasted for about four days after I got home, then I was back into old habits.  I told myself it was a temporary setback, and that once I got into dating it would go away again.  That “temporary setback” lasted four years.

Dating girls never worked for me.  It’s obvious now, but at the time I was confused why first dates rarely turned to second dates, and third dates were even rarer.  I thought maybe it was because I’m solitary by nature, or maybe I was creepy or something.  I could go on about dating, but it’s just sad.

Back in February I had the worst dating experience of my life.  I really liked her, and just when I thought she might like me too she said “I’m way out of your league.  Why would someone like me ever want to go out with someone like you?”  Ok, she didn't say those words exactly, but that’s the general idea.  Oh, and she made jokes about me being gay—not something you want to hear when you’re packed to the brim with internalized homophobia.

After that I didn't even try to date.  No more obligatory one date a week, or month, or quarter.  I didn't even keep an eye out for potential crushes.  I tried to define happiness on my own terms, not according to what the church expected of me, but it wasn't working.  That’s when the depression, which was always a minor issue in the past, really set in.

Then, in September, everything changed.  I’ll save the sordid details for another post, but let’s just say that for the first time I had to confront the possibility that maybe I’m not “curious,” or “SGA,” or “confused,” but actually gay.

It took until the beginning of November before I could look in the mirror and say “holy crap, that’s a gay guy looking back at me.”  I broke down.  The room was spinning.  It felt like I was falling.  I couldn't breathe.  Curled in the fetal position on my bedroom floor I whispered, for the first time in months, “Padre Celestial…”*

I started by telling Him I’m gay, and how disgusting it made me feel.  I ended up realizing I was pissed at Heavenly Father.  After raging against God for about 45 minutes I felt numb.  I was ready to give up and die at that point.  Isn't that what’s supposed to happen when you curse God?

Instead, as I dried the tears, I felt…loved.  I was surprised.  It was like all the stereotypical stuff you read in Ensign articles—waves of warmth, joy, bosom burning, all of it.  Heavenly Father loves me.  It doesn’t matter that I’m gay, or that I’ve “acted on these feelings,” I’m still His child.  I didn’t hear a voice, but I could feel the impression “of course you’re gay.  I’m sorry you made yourself so miserable trying to deny it for so long.”  He still loves me and wants me to be happy, no matter how gay I am. 

I’m happier now than I've been in years.  It’s still a tough situation, and there are a lot of questions to which I desperately need answers, but now there’s hope.

*I prayed in Spanish my entire mission (ooh, look, a clue about Praenomen’s secret identity!) and the habit stuck, probably because I haven’t prayed super regularly since coming home.  Plus, I don’t like praying in English—all the thee and thou and thine stuff feels unnatural.  In Spanish you pray using informal pronouns like you’re talking to a family member or close friend, which feels like how it should be.  Now I go back and forth between Spanish and English, but I leave out the archaic pronouns.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

I didn't choose this

The church teaches that homosexual tendencies, or “Same-Gender Attraction,” are not a choice.  Why is it, then, that so many faithful members still insist that we chose this?

I sure as hell didn’t choose to be this way.  Why would I?  I’ve lived a very Mormon life, which included an incredibly difficult (and rewarding), full-time mission.  I would love to marry and have kids, but that’s not a possibility for me in this life.

I do not know why Heavenly Father made me gay.  I don’t know if He specifically assigned it to me, or allowed it to occur as the result of living in a fallen, mortal world.  I do know that as a result of being gay, He expects different things from me than from others.  Does that mean celibacy?  Maybe.  I don’t know.  When I pray about that option I feel uneasy about it, which is usually God’s way of saying “ponder it out and tell me what you think about it.”

My ability to feel genuine affection and love isn’t impaired by being gay.  I feel that this ability comes from Heavenly Father, and He wants me to develop and expand it so that I can someday love as He does.  However, He’s made it clear he doesn’t expect me to develop and expand it with a wife.

If celibacy is seen as contrary to the plan of salvation for straight people, why is it expected of gay people?  I refuse to believe that a loving Heavenly Father would make these expectations, then incapacitate me from living up to them.  

Friday, January 10, 2014

Arwen's Choice

I am a Lord of the Rings superfan.  My sainted mother read the books to me when I was ten years old, back before the movies came out.  Since then I've lost count of how many times I've read the books and seen the movies.  To this day the Lord of the Rings is the gold standard against which I judge every other book, and it forms the basis for what I do and don't enjoy reading.

If you haven't read the books or watched the movies that's ok, I love you anyway and won't judge : ).  I'll define the following terms just in case you've never experienced the joys of the Lord of the Rings.

Elves: sort of like humans, but fancier.  They are immortal, so they live thousands of years without aging beyond their early twenties.  When they get tired of living in Middle Earth they set sail for Valinor.

Valinor: the elvish afterlife.  The elves live happily ever after in Valinor with their gods, so it's pretty much like the Mormon view of heaven.

Middle Earth: earth.  This is where elves and humans are born, live, and die (if you're human.  If you're an elf you have to be killed in order to die, but you wake up in Valinor anyway).

Humans: sort of like elves, but cruddier.  They are dirty, shortsighted, and mortal.  They will eventually die of old age if something like disease or war doesn't kill them first.  No one really knows what sort of afterlife is available to them.

So, Arwen is the smokin' hot daughter of Elrond, a pretty important elf in Middle Earth (he's kind of like a king).  She's been alive for about 2700 years, and in that time never got around to getting married.  You'd think that somewhere during that time she could have found a suitable husband.  I mean, there's no shortage of hunky elvish princes (Legolas, anyone?).  Then, after 2700 years Aragorn shows up in Rivendell and she falls head over heals for him.  Elrond, however, isn't too thrilled with the idea of his lovely princess marrying a mortal man.  He wants her to be with him in Valinor, like any good father would.  The books don't mention this, but I imagine he tried to send her to therapy to get over her "OSA," or "opposite-species attraction."

What's an elf princess to do?  If she marries Aragorn she forfeits her place in Valinor and won't be with her family for eternity.  If she spurns his affections she gives up any chance of finding love.  Maybe Elrond tries to convince her that in Valinor the gods will "fix" her, and she'll then be attracted to an elf and marry him.  However, she sincerely wonders if she'd still be herself if that part of her were magically changed.

*SPOILER ALERT*  Arwen chooses Aragorn and it's super romantic and mushy and heartwarming.  Elrond begrudgingly accepts her choice when he realizes that all he wants is for his daughter to be happy.  After a long and happy life with Aragorn and the kids she eventually wanders off to die, satisfied that she made the right choice.

So, did she make the right choice?  The author wants the reader to think so, and it looks like Arwen thought so.  But how does this apply to me?

I'm stuck in a situation where I don't want to marry a woman, elvish or human (although I could possible make an exception for Liv Tyler or Cate Blanchet).  I'd rather be with Aragorn (I mean, Viggo Mortensen, come on!).  However, if I follow the desires of my heart I'll forfeit my place in the Celestial Kingdom with my family.  But then again, how happy would I really be in the Celestial Kingdom having given up the opportunity for love in this life?  How could I not resent my family and God for the misery I felt in life just to be there with them?  Is it blasphemous even to think that?

Like Arwen, I have serious doubts that I will change in the next life and suddenly like women.  It's a part of what it means to be me, and I worry about what else would change if Heavenly Father could magic the gay out of me.

*Side note 1*  Legolas and Gimli both remain single for the rest of their lives, even though they hold very prominent positions within their communities.  Then they set sail for Valinor together.  Is there such a thing as SSA/OSA?

*Side note 2*  Less than a third of the dwarvish population is female, and not all dwarf females choose to marry.  What about all those single dwarf males who have no hope of getting married?  You know where I'm going with this.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Things I Hate

I've started writing my thoughts about option two (a celibate life in the church) but I'm having a hard time doing it.  As a biology student most of the writing I've done has been technical, and it turns out I suck at emotional writing.  The topic of celibacy is especially touchy for me, and it might take a while for me to organize my thoughts about it.  In the mean time, here's what I'm feeling right now:

I hate myself for being gay.

I hate myself for wishing I were straight.

I hate God for making me this way.

I hate God for ignoring me when I prayed to be straight.

I hate the church for not making a place for me.

I hate the church for saying “we don’t know” and acting like that’s enough.

I hate that I hate myself.  I hate that I hate God.  I hate that I hate the church.

I hate that I still haven’t found a path I can take where I don’t hate these things.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Option One: Heterosexual Lifestyle in the Church.

There’s an amazing blog post I read when I was first coming to terms with things.  He very eloquently outlined every option available to gay Mormons, something that I had started thinking about, but definitely not in the level of detail he presented.

I’ve spent the last several months obsessing over each option, and why I do or don’t agree with it.  In this post I will examine option one: live a heterosexual lifestyle within the church.

The church is obsessed with marriage and families, and if you’re single you’d better be trying to find a spouse.  In fact, I’ve been told that I am not honoring my priesthood if I’m not going on at least one date per week.  Even in the early stages when I was doing things I’m not proud of I fully expected to “get it out of my system” and eventually get married.

There are lots of guys in this situation who marry women.  I try really hard not to judge any of them, and I sincerely hope that things work out for them.  These are my thoughts on the subject, not what I think anyone should or shouldn’t do.

After the mission I didn’t go out as much as most of my straight friends, but I still went on my fair share of dates.  The longest I ever dated anyone was almost three months, but it was never official—I never even held her hand.  I told myself that my discomfort with dating was due to a combination of girls being stupid and my innate social awkwardness.  Part of me is sort of impressed that I managed to fool myself for over four years.

When I finally accepted my gayness I had to reevaluate every vision of the future I’d ever had.  It suddenly became a real possibility that I would never have stickers of my wife and kids on my minivan.  I’d read Josh Weed’s blog (who hasn’t?) and tried to convince myself that if I had enough faith I could live that dream.

Out of desperation I asked Heavenly Father “should I get married?  Is that a goal that I should have in my life?”  I fully expected Him to tell me of course, that’s a worthy goal and I should go for it.  Instead I felt uneasy.  As I thought about it over the next couple of days the question “why do you want to get married” kept popping into my mind.  Why wouldn’t I want to get married?  All my life I’ve been told the greatest joy I will ever experience comes from marriage and family.  I saw how happy my sister and her husband were, and how happy my married friends were, and felt so jealous of them. 

The difference, though, is that my sister and her husband love each other completely.  My married friends love their spouses completely, and that’s the only reason to get married.  For me, I’d be getting married to please my family, the church, and society.  I’d be getting married just to have a church-approved sexual outlet.  I couldn’t imagine that God would want me to marry one of his daughters unless I really, truly loved her and wanted to make our relationship last for eternity.  When I took that conclusion to Him in prayer His answer was clear this time: “no, DON’T get married!  It’s not in My plans for you.”

It was surprising, and a little humiliating.  I’d never pictured Heavenly Father sitting on the front porch with a shotgun yelling “don’t be a-touchin’ my daughters!”  I thought maybe I was misinterpreting things; maybe He meant I shouldn’t be trying to get married now, but once I worked through things I should try again.

I don’t think that’s the case.  In my limited dating experience, with the few occasions where the girl actually liked me, my feelings toward her would progress to a certain point, then hit a wall.  Try as hard as I might, I couldn’t make myself think of her as more than a really good friend.  I used to tell myself that it meant I just hadn’t found the right one.  I’m certain now that I’m just incapable of feeling that way about a girl.  I’ve had plenty of crushes, and enjoyed dates with girls, but any relationship between me and a girl will inevitably stagnate.

I’ve never found any stats on mixed-orientation marriages, but from what I can tell they rarely end well.  Even when both partners are straight more than 50% of marriages end in divorce.  If two straight people have a hard time making it work how could I ever hope to stay married to a woman when I’d rather be with a man?

Ironically, I’ve been dating a girl for the last several months.  We went out the first time right when I first started coming to terms with things.  I thought of her as my last hope, the last chance I had to prove that I’m not gay.  She really is a great girl.  I enjoy spending time with her, and I really wanted it to work out.  However, when we go on dates I flirt out of duty, not because I want to win her over.  We cuddle on the couch because we’re supposed to, not because I truly enjoy that closeness.  I held her hand at the movie theater once, not because I wanted that intimate touch, but because she was sending “the signal.” 

I’ve thought about what to do about her.  I do like her, even if I don’t like her, and I don’t want to lie to her or be a total jackass and just stop calling her.  It’s really going to suck, though, when I tell her exactly why we’ll never be more than friends.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

What is the conscience?

What is the conscience?  Is it an angel that sits on your shoulder?  Is it the Holy Ghost?  Is it the Light of Christ?  Different people will give you different answers, but in general it is some vague presence that tells us the difference between right and wrong.

As Mormons we tend to view the conscience as something that comes directly from Christ, universal in presence and interpretation among all humans.  While I agree that the Light of Christ is an important component of the conscience it is just that, a component.

Take a look at the eleventh article of faith: “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.”  Does that mean that the conscience can dictate to someone that they worship a different god, in a different way, and in a different place from what the “true church” worships?  I think so, and from the wording of the eleventh article of faith it looks like Joseph Smith thought so as well.

So then, what exactly is the conscience?  I view it as the collective influences in our lives that determine our sense of morality.  It consists of the following:

Our innate humanity.  This is what Mormons call “the Light of Christ.”  Whatever the original source, I believe that there is a universal sense of goodness common to all humanity.  Some of us are better at ignoring it than others.

What we learned at home.  This is why the church places so much emphasis on the family.  Most of what we believe about wrong and right is based on what our parents taught and reinforced at home.  In my house watching the Simpsons was just fine (except on Sundays), but at my friend’s house it was forbidden.  He still doesn’t watch it because it feels wrong to him.

What we learned at church.  Now, there are plenty of people who don’t have a religious background and still have a well-developed sense of morality.  I don’t believe religion is absolutely necessary to a moral lifestyle, but for those of us who did grow up going to church it provides the framework for why we do or don’t do certain things.  That’s why most non-Mormons don’t feel bad about drinking tea, coffee, or alcohol, but many of my Mormon friends won’t touch a smoothie with green tea extract in it.

What we learn from society.  This is based on what is legal or illegal.  In some places bribes are customary, and someone from such a place may not feel it is wrong to pay a bribe to get out of trouble.  For someone where bribery is highly illegal and aggressively prosecuted, it is morally reprehensible to try to pay your way out of accepting the consequences of your behavior.

What we learn from our culture.  On my mission I was shocked to see that in Latin culture people are blunt, almost brutal sometimes.  If they think your accent is bad, or that you’re fat, they will tell you so without blinking an eye.  Where I come from you would never, ever tell someone you think they’re fat.

Our individual personalities.  Each person takes the above factors and determines which parts are more important than others.  That’s why some people rebel against their upbringing and do the opposite of everything they were ever taught, and others maintain it. 

There probably are other influences on the conscience, but these are the main ones I have noticed.  I don’t care what background someone comes from, but every human being needs a well-defined conscience.  With over seven billion people on earth that means there are more than seven billion definitions of conscience, and that is fine.  The entire purpose of us coming to earth was to live according to our agency, and even if I have a different sense of right and wrong it would be inappropriate of me to expect anyone else to conform to mine.

What about laws and legally defining right and wrong?  That’s a discussion for another time.  I suck at politics (which is why I’m studying biology) and am woefully underequipped to discuss that topic.  If someone more enlightened than I wants to take a shot at it go ahead; I’d like to see what you have to say.

I first started thinking about conscience when one of my brothers dropped out of the church.  He used to be painfully Mormon, to the point where he drove the rest of us crazy with how self-righteous he was.  It was surprising and confusing to see him change directions so radically, but my other brother made an interesting point: “I’d rather see him outside the church and true to who he really is than making himself miserable trying to be something he’s not.”  Could it be possible that the dictates of his conscience compelled him to leave the church?  I believe so, and I wouldn’t have him do anything else.

That explains the title of my blog.  I’m listening to my conscience, and sometimes it tells me I should do the “wrong” thing.  I have to decide now whether to follow the church just because that’s what good Mormons do, or to do what my conscience says.  

Monday, January 6, 2014

What would I tell myself five years ago?

I came out to my best friend a week ago.  He comes from a Mormon cultural background, but didn’t grow up in the church.  He’s lived in Utah most of his life and married a very Mormon girl, so he understood my frustrations about not wanting to leave the church but wanting to be happy.  
After talking about how I should have realized things a lot sooner he asked “knowing what you know now, what would you tell yourself five years ago?”  I wasn’t sure how to answer that.

Five years ago I was finishing up my mission.  I was very much in denial about my sexuality, and took the lack of attraction I felt toward any of my companions as a sign that God had rewarded me for serving a mission and was finally making me straight.  I wouldn’t want to interrupt my mission with news like that.

Would I tell the 21-year-old, freshly returned missionary me?  Probably still no.  I learned a lot of things during the time between coming home and accepting that I’m gay.  I now have years of evidence to support that I will never be able to form a successful relationship, let alone marriage, with a woman.  A lot of the things I experienced were painful during that time, but I think I learned a lot of important life lessons from them.

Would I ever travel back in time and give myself a heads up?  I think I would.  I would wait until March 2013, right after the most painful dating disaster of my life.  That marked the turning point in my life that led to me coming to terms with things, and I really could have used some advice from future me.  Here’s what I would say to myself ten months ago:
 You’re right, life sucks right now, and it’s only going to get worse.  Dating girls just isn’t working out, and probably won’t ever work out.  It’s not because you have a major personality defect or some sort of social disorder.  It’s because you’re gay.   
   Remember how you’ve been burying those feelings since you were 12?  It turns out your worst fear is coming true.  And you know what?  It’s not the end of the world.  Yes, there are some very tough decisions you will have to make, but you don’t have to decide anything right away. 
 Pray about it.  Tell Heavenly Father that you’re gay and ask Him if He still loves you anyway.  Call up [one of your district leaders from the mission] and talk to him about it.  He’ll help you with this more than you could ever imagine, and you’ll be surprised at how well he understands what you’re going through.  
 Don’t jump into things right away.  Think about it first and then decide what you want to do and with whom.  You can avoid a lot of awkward and sketchy situations that way.  When you’re ready go on dates with guys.  You’ll be surprised at how natural it feels.   
 Yes, it’s clich├ęd, but it does get better.  It will be difficult, and you will want to just give up on life at times, but you get to make your own life according to the dictates of your conscience.  It’s a unique gift, so make of it what you can.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Another one?

Does the world really need another gay Mormon blog?  Probably not, but here's mine anyway.  I've been thinking inside a bubble for too long, and it gets lonely in here.

When I was first coming to terms with my sexuality I binged on every blog I could find about being Mormon and gay.  I still do sometimes.  I doubt I'll have a lot to say that hasn't already been said a thousand times, but reading blogs doesn't replace actual interaction with other people who understand this situation.

Anyway, here's my blog, in which I'll talk about living my life according to the dictates of my gay conscience.