This post contains adult situations and may not be suitable for children or prudes.
Up until September I was a good Mormon boy. I was “struggling with SGA,” not that I’d admit it, even to myself, but it was a struggle nonetheless. I had read everything the Church ever published on the subject, and desperately wanted to believe it.
Ultimately I think those materials harmed more than helped. They taught me to deny, suppress, and hate a major part of who I am, and it drove me into depression. They prevented me from coming to terms with my gayness in a healthy way, so I ended up having my first sexual experience before I was ready for it.
My testimony was all but gone by that point. I was unhappy in life, and didn't believe in much of anything. Somewhere in the back of my mind I was starting to think that maybe I had just a little bit of “SGA,” but I was doing everything I could to “deal with these feelings” and “put them in the background” like I’d been told. Because I’d ignored my feelings for so long I was unprepared to deal with them rationally when they boiled to the surface.
I've tried to figure out what made me decide to act on my inclinations in the first place. I really don’t know what I was thinking, because I wasn't thinking at the time. I’d had a long, stressful week at school and work, and then I worked a twelve hour shift that Friday night. After going home to sleep a couple hours I had to come back in to finish things up. When I got home I was too tired to make rational decisions, but too caffeinated to sleep. On pure impulse I answered an ad on craigslist.
I’m not impulsive by nature. I don’t buy anything unless I've thoroughly considered every option and whether or not I really need it. If you had asked me the day before it happened if I’d ever actually do anything with another guy I’d have said “hell no!” And yet, that evening, without thinking it through at all, I messed around with a guy for the first time.
In all fairness he was pretty nice. He just didn't appreciate what a big deal it is for an active returned missionary to do something like this. His general attitude was that he was rescuing me from my repressed upbringing. Things happened so fast, and it wasn't until it was over that I thought“holy shit, what am I doing?”
I wish I could say I took a step back at that point and examined where I was in life. Instead, I shut down my emotions completely because I couldn't face the implications of my actions. When I think back to that period it’s like I’m watching things from the side rather than through my own eyes.
I realize now that what I was really looking for was someone to talk to. Instead, I kept hooking up with guys from craigslist over the next month and a half. I’d been conditioned to believe that being gay is only about the sex, and it was the only way I knew how to address that part of myself. I tried to talk about it with some of the guys I met, but they weren't helpful at all.
In November I decided I was done messing around. It had turned into an addiction, and I was embarrassed by the things I was doing just to get another fix. That’s when I finally accepted that I’m gay, not “curious” or “getting it out of my system.”
From what I've read most guys come to terms with their sexuality before they ever act on it. I wish I had done it that way, but I never would have come to terms with it on my own. That “slut phase,” as embarrassing and awkward as it was, forced me to confront what I’d avoided for too long.
I’m still working through my resentment toward the Church for how it handles homosexuality. I don’t think the resources it provides, such as God Loveth His Children and mormonsandgays.org, were ever meant for gays. They exist to convince straight members that the Church knows what it’s doing so they don’t need to think about it for themselves. If you are gay and looking for answers the Church doesn't have much to offer. The best advice they can give is “don’t think about it, don’t talk about it, and especially don’t act on it.” Even if you are committed to a celibate lifestyle they best they can tell you is “pray and read your scriptures and you’ll be fixed when you die.”
I really wish there were a way for me to be happy as an active Church member. However, I agree with Nate. My misery didn't stem from being gay, but from the Church. I've spent my life relying on the Church for happiness, but it wasn't until I stopped looking there that I found it.