For most of my life I honestly believed that no one in the world understood me. When we talked about temptations that people have in Sunday School, being attracted to guys was definitely not one of them. And while there are stories in the scriptures of men who repented of adultery, murder, and tons of other sins, the scriptures never share that type of story about men like me. At the same time, the population of anti/ex-Mormon gay voices is becoming more predominant... and the message they share is usually very clear: the Church was not a hospitable place for us.
Together, those circumstances made me think I couldn't exist... or at least that my ideal self - being happy, fulfilled, and faithful - would be impossible. That living an active life in the Church would incur huge amounts of pain - or at the least, would require me to "deny who I was" and "live without love" for the rest of mortality.
But I was wrong.
One of my key flaws was thinking I was alone in the fight - like President Monson in his story about boot camp in the Navy, I thought that I would have to stand alone - me against the world and every statistic that claims happiness isn't possible. But, like in the story shared in General Conference, as I made my stand I realized that there were men right behind me who felt the same. Men who knew who I was, and who had walked in similar paths.
Today I look around and see the shroud of hidden darkness beginning to disappear. Film studies about men who are faithful and LDS. Books written and published by Deseret Book. Useful and relevant topical research guides on homosexuality at LDS.org. And a commmunication network that unites us all in brotherhood.
The truth is, there has always been Someone who understood me - God Himself. And when I wondered if life was even worth trying to live, He knew what it was like. Christ suffered all things - including my struggles, like feeling alone with SSA in the Church... and because of that, He is always at our side. He understands us and wants us to grow, keep the commandments, and find happiness and peace in doing what is right - becoming like Him. He will never abandon us. And because of that, we are never alone.