Saturday, December 18

I Asked God to Kill Me Today

A priesthood leader told me this morning that I was a creep and that he essentially never wanted to talk to me again. I usually try to delevop relationships of trust with my leaders because I've been in their shoes... and sustaining means more to me than just doing my home teaching and fulfilling my caling in the ward. But I really hadn't done anything different here than with anyone else - I talked to him when I saw him in and outside of church, let him know about activities and social events so he could pass it on to quorum members, and accepted his invitations to serve, attend the temple, play sports, go to another institute class...

So when he told me this morning that I was a creep, it hurt way more than I ever could have guessed. I'll be honest. I am in constant need of friends, and I am constantly somehow pushing them all away. Everything I do seems to backfire and turn all my efforts into dust... and I'm left totally alone, friendless, and depressed. I cried for hours this morning, talking with God and trying to figure out what I am doing so terribly wrong. And I don't know. I don't know at all. And I haven't known since I was 12 years old and realized that my "friends" all had better friends... but I never did. I don't have the best relationship with my family members, because we have a really hard time understanding one another. The few times I've tried to talk to them about anything they've been kind enough to listen... but they can't empathize and the suggestions they make belie a complete misunderstanding of what it is I face.

I felt so incredibly frustrated this morning. What a hypocrite, to preach about the importance of unity and then discard someone who has asked for your help. Part of me wanted to shout - to show him how much pain his words were causing to a guy who lives with depression, feels like he has no friends, and turns to Church leaders as His one source of friends... because they have the obligation to love and accept others unconditionally. And part of me broke into tears that lasted long after I'm sure he forgot about his words. Maybe he was right. Maybe I am a creep, and he and everyone else that tells me I'm socially inept are right. And the others, and I, are all wrong. I can't judge people. I don't know his circumstances or who he really is. The only thing I know is that he felt uncomfortable around me, creeped out, and didn't want me to talk to him again.

I've been trying to do everything right in life. I do everything I can to keep the commandments, be a good example, overcome my temptations in life... So where am I going wrong? While I was sobbing a woman came up to me (I have to get out of my house when I'm depressed or life is really bad) touched my shoulder, and said, "I hope life gets better for you." Total and complete strangers understand and love me. But the people I love and care about find ways to distance themselves from whatever emotional leprosy I carry.

The Lord told me not to worry... and to just move on with life. To not judge others for anything they do or don't do... and to simply love them. At least He doesn't think I'm a creep. And He reminded me that I should be relying on Him - not on others - to fill my needs. Only He truly understands my pain, because He has felt it, and overcome it so that I can be happy and have peace. Obviously my request to die was denied. He asked, instead, that I give up my pain, my sorrow, my grief, my anger... and let Him give me peace. I realized that I had asked for peace but wasn't willing to give up my pain without understanding it. Dear Lord, give me the faith and courage to believe and trust, even when I don't understand and everything seems to be going wrong. And, in moments, my tears dried and I felt peace.

I still don't know what to do, or what I am doing wrong that pushes people away from me. But I still have a testimony of the Gospel. I'll still be active in the Church even if I can't confide in... and have trouble admiring or trusting... my priesthood leaders... because my relationship with God is my own, and no one can take that away from me. Someday I'll understand. In the meantime, I'll have faith, and accept the peace that comes from Christ.


  1. Thanks for sharing such a deeply personal experience! I just sang with a group, The Garden by Michael McLean! What a great allegorical musical story! There are several characters in the story that struggle with various trials and The Savior helps them overcome them! The song, Man with Many names summarizes well the whole story. I suggest downloading it on iTunes!

  2. I'm sure you aren't a creep. So sorry for your experience. I want to strive to follow the advise President Eyring shared:

    "When I was a young man, I served as counselor to a wise district president in the Church. He tried to teach me. One of the things I remember wondering about was this advice he gave: 'When you meet someone, treat them as if they were in serious trouble, and you will be right more than half the time.'"

    It seems like everytime I judge unfairly I learn later that there is a trial someone has gone through which makes my judgment unfair. Glad we have repentance, and glad we have the Savior.

  3. I'm so, so, so sorry. I can't imagine how you're feeling. But you are constantly in my thoughts, and in my prayers. I won't say it will get better, because I don't know if it will. But if I could, I would call you up, invite you to my house for lunch, let you cry at my table, and give you a hug. It may not mean much, or anything at all, but no one in our house would ever even think to call you a creep.

    I admire your strength and your steadfast faith. Hang in there.

  4. That's horrible. Unfortunately there are a lot of members that are still working on accepting people for who they are. They judge people for showing up to church smelling like smoke, or not dressing correctly.... It's one of my major pet peeves about the members of the church. Don't judge people by their struggles. Their struggles make them strong, in the end.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is don't give up on everyone. There are those of us out there that aren't as judgmental.

  5. I think that turning to people outside of Church leadership for friendship is always a good idea. Your bishop may have simply snapped (in a non-crazy way). It's tough to be perfect and when people look to you as a perfectly loving person simply because of your mantle it must be frustrating. Joseph Smith was once put into Church Court for getting mad and throwing a bugle hard at the back of someone's head because he was disrupting a meeting. Joseph Smith was proven to be correct in the bugle throwing but it shows how very very human our leaders are.
    The economy is horrible right now, tithing is lower and reliance on tithing for support is higher than ever. Pornography addiction, divorce, adultery, and every other immoral activity is higher than ever. People in the wards who everyone thinks is perfecet is involved in illegal business deals.... And there are a ton of depressed and gay people in the wards too. Bishops have a very heavy load.
    Go to your bishop and be a friend to HIM! Ask how his family is doing. Ask him when you meet to keep it short to 15 min so he can spend more time with his family. Ask him what you can do o make His load lighter!
    Sustaining our leaders is not necessarily doing what they say, in many many situations it's doing what they would do to lighten their load. I think it was Moses who would hold his hands up and Israel would prevail. On one occasion he had two people physically Stan by his side and hol his hands high because Moses was exhausted. That is the epitome of sustaining our leaders, the epitome of the oath and covenant of the priesthood. We must perform all the work to ensure that the keys of authority are upheld and that they work. We can never overstep our authority, but we must perform the work.
    Apologize to your bishop, and approach your relationship not as a friendship because that is inappropriate. Approach it as truly a relationship where you can do all you can to make his load lighter, to support his keys of authority and to build the Kingdom.

  6. Carlie: That's what the Lord reminded me of this morning. I really don't know this guy. I don't know what struggles he faces in life... so who am I to judge him, no matter what has happened? Treat everyone you meet as if they were struggling with a serious problem. I wanted to be his friend, but I guess that won't work out. He may not want me to talk to him again, but that doesn't mean I won't support and sustain him just the same... Only that I'll have put our friendship on hold until he and I overcome whatever it is that makes him think I'm a creep.

  7. I really wanted to say that this guy probably should take a lesson from Elder Eyring as well and not judge you. But, I'm just mad, and you are more charitable and applying the lesson to yourself :)

  8. God is the best person to go to...because He understands us perfectly. He also loves and understand those who hurt us.

    "When we do not retaliate—when we turn the other
    cheek and resist feelings of anger—we too stand withthe Savior. We show forth His love, which is the only power that can subdue the adversary and answer our accusers without accusing them in return. That is not weakness. That is Christian courage."Robert D Hales

    As a missionary, we get a lot of people who say mean things...not just against the Lord, but targeted against us personally.

    I blogged about
    When it comes down to it...He asks us to love and pray for our enemies, and those who hatefully use and persecute us.

    Keep up the good work. I love you!

  9. Conservativeme:

    If it were my bishop, I'd be concerned for very different reasons. This isn't my bishop - it's someone I admired and thought that we could be friends... and it seemed like we really were, albeit slowly. But I agree - we should try to help others. I don't ask to meet my leaders to counsel with them... I try to lighten their load.

  10. The best advice I've ever recieved was this: "It's silly to take offense when offense isn't intended, and it's silly to take offense when it is." I am sorry that someone said that to you. For certain it was rude and hurtful. But don't spend to much time wounded by the words, you're response from the Lord was true and honest. Good luck!

  11. Is there any possibility that he was semi-serious and semi-joking around with you? It would have been careless kidding on his behalf if it were true, but it would also let you know that he didn't intend to wound you, just mess with your mind a bit.

    When you wrote, "And part of me broke into tears that lasted long after I'm sure he forgot about his words." I wondered if he would so easily forget his words, then he maybe wasn't all that serious about them in the first place.

    What to do? We'll you've already received advice, but here's a possible route to go. When you see him tomorrow, tell him "Hey President, or Brother or whatever you call him, I just wanted to let you know that I forgive you for what you said yesterday."

    It would give him an opportunity to be kind, or to be a creep himself, or maybe to be absolutely clueless about what he said. It might even end in an apology from him and a hug for both of you. :) Just one of many ideas. Another thing you can do is not only pray for yourself, but pray for him. Pray for both of you to continue to grow.

    Also check out Andy Foree's excellent blog. Today's installment is one you may relate to. Andy's url is:

    Let me know what you think. And good luck. You are in my prayers and in the prayers of many others, I have no doubt about that.

  12. Here's my go-to "crappy day" quote. It helps me everytime I have painful life experiences: "Bad days come to an end, faith always triumphs, and heavenly promises are always kept." -Jeffrey R. Holland from "Lessons from Liberty Jail," Ensign, September 2009. (This is a great article!) Hang in there! Think of all your blogger friends. We love you!

  13. Hey guy mormon guy. I appreciate your blog though I'm non-gay, married guy who is active the church. I'd like to say that any PH holder who behaves this way is not following what he professes to believe. I hope he comes to know that someday. The church is also full of imperfect people and it becomes evident strongly at times, which is why, I suppose, those in the know say you can't have your testimony rely on other people. I say try to brush it off, be the bigger person, strenthen your reliance on the Lord and pray for the grace to not let it affect you (though it naturally will). My reference scripture for this kind of thing is D&C 50:8.

  14. Autumn: it's not the words that hurt. And this has nothing to do with being offended... And everything to do with feeling isolated, inadequate, worthless... I have no idea what to change, and this has happened at least once before. Friends suddenly cut off everything and I'm left feeling like there must be something horribly wrong with me... Something I can't see, that perpetuates itself in who I am? And part of me is afraid that it's something I can't change - that I'm doomed to mediocre relationships for the same reason I'm not attracted to girls. I've spent my life trying to be a better person and a better friend, and yet I still fail miserably when I need friends most.

  15. I feel for you. I wish I could give you advice or counsel that would mean something, but what could I say that hasn't been said or that you don't already know?

    I struggle similarly. I struggle forming, making, and keeping relationships. It's probably one of my biggest trials in life. I want to form relationships with people, I want to have true friendships. I just don't know how. Or maybe I'm just too afraid to do it. I don't know. I'm almost too tired of trying to find out the reasons for it.

    The best experience of my life was my mission, for many reasons. One of them was the relationships that I was able to form. My mission stands out in stark contrast to the rest of my life: I was truly able to form what I believe to be meaningful, enduring relationships with people. One of the blessings was having companions. It was probably the hardest transition for me when I started! Being put into a situation where you have to be within sight and sound of somebody 24/7 for two years was extremely difficult for me at first. But a lot of that changed throughout the two years: by the end I realized (to my surprise) how much I liked having somebody there with me all the time -- despite all of the difficulties associated with it. I really became friends with almost all of my companions, and learned so much from the experience. It turned a lot of my perceptions about the world, people, and myself around in a healthy way.

    There's so many unique things about a companionship. I'm sure that you would agree that it's hard to describe to anybody who's never served a mission: I assume that marriage is the closest thing to it, but that can't even be perfectly accurate. I think what I liked about it, and something that I feel is missing from what I have now, was reality. On a mission you see each other at your very worst, and get put through the fires of affliction.

    I hate superficiality -- mostly the kind that comes from myself. I hate small talk. I'm terrible at it. I don't know what to say. I try to go to, say, ward activities to make friends but I usually leave feeling depressed. Not because I dislike the people; I respect them, and would love to get to know them better. Another thing that my mission taught me was that there's something I can find to like about nearly every person out there. But once again, I don't know how to get to know them. Even in a small way. Obviously, there's so much that goes into every one of us that it's probably arrogant to assume that we really "know" anyone -- even ourselves. Jesus Christ is really the only one who can say that. But to get to know them at SOME level. But I want to get past that superficial level. And I don't know how. With a companion it was kind of forced in a way, since you were always together. And with people you met on your mission, you were always a "missionary" with a calling. Therefore, you automatically had a free pass to skip most of the superficiality and get down to the things that matter most. I'm not suggesting that should always be the case, or that small talk is bad. But I just don't know how to do it. I know it's what happens first in our culture before we can form real relationships with people, but...I don't know how to talk to people. I don't know how to start a friendship, let alone keep one.

    I'm sorry, this has been an utter ramble. I hope it wasn't too incoherent. Basically, I just wrote down the thoughts as they came to my head. I don't know what purpose I was trying to achieve here. But I've also been overwhelmed by my inabilities lately, and by my lack of ability to form real friendships. I don't blame others for it, but I beat myself up about my inadequacies.

    But...I know the Savior is there for me and you. I know the Lord answers prayers. I know that things will turn out all right, no matter what happens. Hang in there, brother!

  16. I'm always so impressed with your insight. Trials DO make us better people. I've had a lot of years (not enough, but many) to learn a few things. One thing I've learned through time and experience is that I like myself. The Lord loves me for who I am. If I want to be friends with people, I need to be myself. Not everyone likes me, and that's okay. I may be too open, or too talkative for some, and that's okay too. I spent years being insecure and always reviewing in my head the way I spoke to people, things I said, and had anxiety that something I had said would make people think I wasn't good enough. It was self torture. I remember planning to bare my testimony, and praying the day before, literally praying for help to not say anything that I would be anxious about later. That was a bit of a wake up call to me. Was there something so wrong with me, that I should have to worry about it later? Did I care so much what people thought of me? And honestly, were they ever thinking about me afterwards? Probably not. I became more confident in who I am. I started telling myself the things that I was good at, and accepting the things that I was struggling with. I began to realize how screwed up we all are, and yea for us that we get to be stronger people for the challenges we face. You sound like a great guy. Someone I want to be friends with. I know it's hard in this LDS culture to feel "different". I went through years of abuse that made me feel that I wasn't as good as everyone else. I had a hard time making friends because I knew there was this HUGE part of my life that I couldn't share with anyone, the thing that was preoccupying my every thought. Somehow (with a lot of therapy, and support from family), I was able to get through that, and while doing so, build my testimony.

    I'm sorry you don't have the support of your family, I deeply deeply am sorry. But listen to all your readers when we tell you that YOU ARE AMAZING! You have come here to earth with an incredible challenge that you are meeting head on. You are working and working and doing what you can to fight the demon you face. And because of that, you are a better person than you would be if you didn't have to face it. I got to a point in my life that I realized I wouldn't be who I am today without going through all the abuse and all the healing, so I wouldn't trade a terrifying moment of it. Not one moment. I wouldn't wish it on anyone else, but I as my children get older, I cherish their trials as I do my best to support them. They will be better people. They will progress in our Father's Kingdom by gaining the strength that only trials bring. I don't want them to suffer. It's miserable having to watch, but I remind myself that I want them to be fabulous inside, and the only way to get there is through really dark waters.

    I admire you, Gay Mormon Guy, and I believe you deserve my admiration. Let us all tell you that you are worthwhile, that you are lovable, that YOU ARE A VERY STRONG MAN, and pat yourself on the back. You're doing it! You're forging ahead. YEA YOU!! Keep writing. Keep pouring your heart out in your blog, and know that while you are nameless and faceless to all of us, we are your friends.

  17. So I just happened to come across your blog, and while I am certainly in different situations, I also am severely depressed with panic attacks and anxiety and have suffered with it most of my life. It caused me to leave the church for several years and even though I'm back now, it's a constant struggle, and it sucks cause it's difficult for people to understand it unless they've gone through it. I so want to say I admire you, and though I don't know you, I love you and I hope someday things get better.

  18. I feel for you, and you're getting a lot of good counsel here so far. If I had read this even two years ago I would have been all over that guy for saying such things to you. And there is no question he made a poor, poor choice of words. But something to consider is this: Often, when we're trying to compensate for something we feel is potentially off-putting to others, we go so far to the opposite extreme that it becomes even more off-putting. I run a non-profit foundation, and my co-director and I figured out early on that I am a TERRIBLE choice for approaching potential sponsors or donors. My natural personality is direct, outspoken, and bossy. And because I know this about myself I try really hard to be the opposite. What I end up with is "indirect", "mealy-mouthed", and "apologetic" - all of which is bad for the fund raising business! It just makes more sense for my partner to make the initial contact, and for me to take over when folks are committed and can't run away!

    I guess what I'm saying is, it's possible your efforts to keep people from being uncomfortable by trying to appear to be like "everyone else" (and seriously, talk about an exercise in futility - for all of us!) are actually putting people off in the opposite direction. I've said it before: I think you need to take some people into your confidence, find a way to be more honest about who you are, and relax a little. I think you would be genuinely surprised at how well some people would take it, how UN-surprised many would be at your revelation, and how much more accepting many would be just because they finally knew what they were dealing with when they met you.

    Secrets find a way of showing themselves, even if we can't figure out what it is about someone that makes us uncomfortable. Perhaps if you share your secret with a few people, you may actually find the intimacy and empathetic companionship you're looking for.

  19. .
    I know how you feel, both in recently being attacked by someone you considered a friend and in not having "real" friends. Your statement: "realized that my 'friends' all had better friends..." really rings true to me, as I have never had any friends that I felt truly cared about me, and I have often felt very leprous and very confused as to why I creeped people out so much.

    I still don't know what I am going to do with the guy who said such horrible things to (and about) me, the Lord is helping me with that, and the hurt, anger, and insecurity I feel is slowly leaving.

    But I have, for the first time in my life, recently found two actual friends. Oddly enough, we all come from similar experiences having difficulty finding or connecting with friends, so at first it was scary to trust that we were actually becoming as close as we are. Though this may sound like a small thing, I believe you understand how painfull a simple thing like loneliness can actually be, and therefore how monumental it is to find sincere love in people. Maybe it is because I have recently stopped apologizing for who I am with my behavior (see Elder Ballard: "Sharing the Gospel with Confidence" Ensign, Oct. 2010) but I think it is also because of many prayers and a promise referred to in Hymn # 108:

    "In the midst of affliction my table is spread, with blessings unmeasured my cup runneth o'er"

    God has promised us that He would always be there, and that eventually all the pain of this life will be made up and we will recieve a *fullness* of joy. Even in my darkest hours, when I have desparingly felt that I would be alone forever, God has found other ways to fill my life with happiness and blessings. He doesn't take away the trial, but He helps us through the "enduring" part (the hardest part).

    I commend you for your endurance and faithfulness. You are struggling with far more than I, and meeting it with much more fortitude than I meet my small trials. It may not be much solace, but know that there are those of us who sympathize, and empathize with you, and that wish you every happiness.

  20. Wow, that is really awful of that "leader" to say something like that. I know that people aren't perfect, but that's just it. He should be able to realize that people need help and support, we aren't here to be automatically perfect, otherwise life would be really boring. I hope that this week gets better for you. Merry Christmas!!

  21. "And everything to do with feeling isolated, inadequate, worthless... I have no idea what to change, and this has happened at least once before. "

    just wanted to say you are not alone in these feelings. i've had this happen so many times...that feeling of 'what is so wrong with me that so many people would turn the other way?'

    sometimes i think i need people too much. need that reinforcement. but i think you hit the nail on the head -- that only God can really fill those needs we have that run so deep. and He knows your heart. your line "at least He doesn't think i'm a creep" really resonated with me. knowing of His love can make such a difference.

    still, i hope you'll be able to find some of those true friends that you just know will stick by you and can be vehicles of that love, too.

  22. Anonymous: Exactly. Some days I feel worthless and others I feel like I'm finally on top of the world. I'm gathering the courage to actually ask people, outright, to be friends. It seems to me that if I'm completely transparent from the beginning - I need some good friends and I'd like to be your friend - then maybe people won't be as scared when the confidence and everything else they see begins to shift.
    Thanks for your comment.

  23. Your faith is very admirable! Thank you for sharing these experiences with us on your blog. This post in particular touched me deeply.


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