- Therapy may have potential benefits in certain situations. But therapy doesn't usually fix spiritual problems.
- I am not just going through a phase.
- I am absolutely and totally terrified while I talk to you. Not of you, but of how telling you, or miscommunicating, could jeopardize our relationship and how you think of me.
- My struggle with same-sex attraction is not going to go away just because I reach a certain level of righteousness. It might change over time. Or I may live with it, faithfully, for the rest of my life.
- I need you to listen to me, affirm me for the good I do in the world, and simply love me.
- Don't give me advice unless the Spirit compels you to do so or I ask point-blank.
- Pray before we begin, and always keep the Spirit.
- Ask me searching questions. Be specific. Look me in the eyes. Help me know that you love me, and make me answer difficult questions. If I am coming to you as the first person, I probably need to confess my sins and repent of them.
- Let me talk.
- Focus on helping me repent of my sins and helping me see the love of God in my life.
- I am trusting you more than I could ever explain; you must never, ever, ever tell another soul.
- I am not deficient in the gospel just because I life with SSA. I can still serve with the young men, and probably will have a greater ability to understand their trials. And I want to serve - to do anything I can to help others rise from their pain.
- Bear testimony about your own life. Let the Spirit witness to me which parts apply to mine.
- Don't ever bring this topic up, mention it, make reference to it, have me speak on it, or anything else. If I want to talk about it, I will. Just listen to me and support me in choosing the right.
When peers (in church, specifically) make tact-less remarks about gay or SSA sterotypes, how do you handle it? How do you find the balance between maintaining a tactful discussion and keeping your own privacy? Do you ever fear that you are showing too much of yourself?
As far as speaking out, usually people are more teachable in smaller settings and when they are listening, not when they are the center of attention after a tactless remark that makes half the group laugh. From that perspective, it doesn't make sense to immediately object to gay jokes or speak out when I know that it will distance me from the other person instead of enabling me to make a bigger impact. Instead, I make a note and, later on, when I can see he is listening, voice a compelling comment on the importance of loving everyone, no matter who they are and what they choose. Will it immediately lessen the amount of tactless remarks? Maybe not. Will they still be painful? Yes. But simply helping others by teaching good principles (as the Church does) helps them to think more, to develop the right traits, and slowly the number of tactless comments will lessen on their own. If the Spirit directs, then I'll give direct feedback. If not, I try to teach correct principles and be a good example. That's the only effective long-term solution at my disposal.
Do you think/know if your co-works, peers, casual relationships know/can sense your same gender attraction? Do you think the girls you date have any idea? Either way--is this hard for you?
Lastly, how do you feel about the sterotypical "gay" men--fashion and styles specifically. I know you do not equate gay with SSA (which I like!), but do you feel the need to wax your eye brows and use the clinique mens facial line? (I'm doubting it.) How do gay sterotypes affect how you connect with others?
As far as my feelings on the matter, I don't think there's anything wrong with fashion, style, or buying specific brands. It's like being up to date on the latest pop music or the most recent news - totally acceptable as long as it doesn't hinder your ability to keep the commandments or distract you from the more important things in life. In my case, though, I would rather write my own story than read, hear about, or buy clothes that tell someone else's.