Thursday, November 15

My name’s David. I’m the Author of (Gay) Mormon Guy



My name’s David Peterson. I’m 26, autistic, and a 2ndYear BYU MBA. I’m the author of (Gay) Mormon Guy. My life is awesome.

This post is a Q&A. Choose the questions you want to know, and read the answers.

Who Are You? Where Do You Live? Work? Go to School? 
This is a picture from last Christmas of me with my family.

I’m on the bottom row (obviously), middle right. Dad is next to me and Mom is on the top left. In age order after me (and spiraling middle-left-right-upward) there’s CJ, Matt, Jessie, Amanda, Emily, Alyssa, Zach, and Kyle.

I grew up in suburban Chicago, where my parents and four youngest siblings still live. Three of us (me, Matt, and Jessie) currently live together in a house in Orem, Utah. Amanda’s at BYU in the dorms. CJ has leukemia. He lives with me in Orem and was a BYU student when he was diagnosed, but is currently in Chicago recovering from round 4 of chemo.

I run/own a natural health company with my siblings. It's called Nature's Fusions. I started the company a few years ago when Jessie got cancer to be an honest, low-cost, extremely-high-quality supplier for essential oils for family and friends. It's grown since then. Today, our oils & blends are carried by a number of health food stores in Utah, including Good Earth, Beehive Health Essentials, and Bountiful Nutrition.

I’m in my 7th year at BYU – 4 for an undergrad in physics teaching, 1 working at the MTC as a training developer, and now 2 in the BYU MBA program. And I love BYU.


So… You’re Gay?
Yeah. Gay, homosexual, same-sex attraction/SSA, queer, and same-gender attraction/SGA are often used somewhat interchangeably, in differing circumstances. Depending on how you use them, they carry different embedded meanings. Some people can function in that type of ambiguity, but autism doesn’t give me that luxury. I use language super-literally. So when describing myself, I use the terms of having same-sex attraction or same-gender attraction because they are clearly associated with feelings, not actions, identity, or goals.
SGA/SSA comes in a number of forms. In my case it means that I’m attracted to some guys and completely un-attracted to all girls.


And You Have Autism?
Yeah. Specifically, my mental diagnoses are Asperger’sSyndrome and Type II Bipolar Disorder. Asperger’s is diagnosed as autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) in those with average or above IQ, but without a childhood language delay. I was diagnosed a little over a year ago, after breaking up with a girl I was dating. She was kind enough to stay friends with me even after the fact, and our conversations about the difficulties we had faced in the relationship started me on the journey to a formal diagnosis.

You can read about my ASD and its interactions more specifically here:  7Days Left: Autism & Bipolar. Autism is simply a different type of brain chemistry. Externally, it has a host of effects that are viewed as positive or negative based on societal norms.Positively, it appropriates a larger proportion of IQ to fluid intelligence,which means that those with autism are proportionally better at solving complex problems than those with a similar intelligence level. Those of us with savant skills or extreme passions (mine is missionary work/teaching) have another step up when the skills are useful. Negatively, it means that I don’t understand or appreciate sarcasm, use language literally, have to think about everything,can’t read social cues, and am naively awkward in any new or informal environment. And as a warning: having ASD sometimes means that people interpret my openness and candor as arrogance or brilliance (I’m neither).

Internally, it means that I spend most of my life really lonely. I struggle to get emotionally close to people, and even in a room of people who love me, I feel totally and completely isolated. That feeling, coupled with same-sex attraction and suicidal depression, was a triple-threat to my happiness in my teenage years. I thought I was cursed. Thankfully, when I hit rock bottom, I turned completely to God. I gave Him my life and asked simply what I needed to do to find peace. And the relationship that I’ve developed with Him has sustained me for the rest of my life.

My diagnosis with ASD and bipolar was a gift from Heaven. For a decade I had believed that my loneliness, depression, and lack of social grace had stemmed from same-gender attraction or just being not good enough. Now that I realize I’m facing triple demons, it’s a lot easier to put my life, my efforts, and my feelings into perspective.

And You’re Mormon?What Kind?
I attend a young single adult (YSA) ward in Orem. I’m the ward music chairman and teach Sunday School whenever the Sunday School President needs someone to fill in. I also work at the Provo Temple as an ordinance worker on Saturday mornings (when I can get myself up on time – 6am prayer meeting is rough). And I support the Brethren on and off the pulpit: that Church culture is constantly in need of improvement, and that Church doctrine really is divinely inspired and holds the answers to all of life’s important questions – not out of dogma or fear or brainwashing, but because I’ve seen the blessings in my own life.


Are You Authentically Happy? Or Deluded, Inauthentic, Repressed, and Afraid?
I’ll be honest. Autism, bipolar, and same-sex attraction mix together to make a perfect storm. And for some of my teenage years I was caught in that storm and had a hard time really being happy. Like many people, I wore a fa├žade on the outside to fool the world into thinking my life was good, when in reality I felt like I was drowning. 

But the answer to making life better wasn’t “finding myself” in homosexuality or “coming to terms with reality” on that measure. It was finding God, realizing how completely He loved me, and then surrendering my will to Him. Not assuming that He made me to be stagnant, or defining for myself what happiness would look like, but giving Him everything and being willing to suspend my own dreams, hopes, desires, fears, sins, and everything else in exchange for peace. It worked, and I’ve found happiness ever since. When my brother and sister fought cancer. When my cousins died of genetic disease or tragic accident. When I felt completely abandoned and forgotten by the world. God gave me the happiness and peace I needed. I’m truly and authentically happy with who I am because I embrace who I am – a son of God – and in following God’s path I find far greater happiness than I ever could find outside. True and lasting happiness isn’t something that comes from the outside, or even from optimism within. Happiness is a gift from God, cultivated in the furnace of affliction and bestowed upon those courageous enough to think it possible.


This Is Long. And I’m a Visual Learner. Do You Have a Short/Visual Version?
No. Sorry about that. But you can watch this YouTube video. It's my story set to Laura Story's Blessings.

  

What’s it Like to Be Gay, Autistic, and Mormon?
Perfect? Complicated? How much time do you have? I started writing here at (Gay) Mormon Guy over two years ago. There are almost 400 posts, and most of them talk about what it’s like to have same-sex attraction and be Mormon. I can’t talk for anyone else. But in my case homosexuality doesn’t really play a big part in my life. I’m a faithful Mormon guy and, except for being eligible and unmarried at 26, look completely normal from the outside. Except for the struggles with addiction and understanding epic moral quandaries, having same-sex attraction has been a mostly positive experience… and made me a more loving, caring, and authentic person as a whole.

Having same-gender attraction means that I’m physically attracted to guys (Kissing Guysis a good visceral post that conveys that reality) and need to connect emotionally with them more than most other guys (you can read about that in Homosexuality Isn't Just About Sexuality). That’s frustrating, because most guys don’t have the desire/need to engage at the emotional depth I need for a valuable relationship. But honestly autism impacts relationships much more than just that. It puts a massive divide between me and everyone else in the world, and I feel like I and everyone who wants to be my friend has to put in a huge amount of effort just to keep a relationship alive. Together, it’s like being thirsty enough to drink a lake and having to use a 5-foot straw. 

In addition, neither autism nor same-sex attraction are visible from the outside, which means that people assume that I’m normal and don’t have different needs. If I were in a wheelchair, then people would offer to open the door for me. But when you have different social needs, there aren’t many people who are able to see what you lack and help when you’re in distress. And even those who know may not understand what it means. 

It also complicates things that I look like I’m in control of my life. Enough so that many people don’t really believe or understand when I talk about the depth of the problems I face.

Being Mormon, though, has made all that worth it. Within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I have a community of people who love me. A place to serve and be a part of other people’s lives. A connection with God. Knowledge and inspiration from people in my community. The opportunity to lift others and bring them peace and happiness. Priesthood power to call down miracles from Heaven in behalf of the people I love. The ability to change and become better, cleaner, happier. And miracles that happen every single day in my own life… with promises of many, many more to come. The doctrines of the Church, when I finally understood them and how they apply to me, personally, gave me so much faith and hope and peace… something I was never able to find outside. More than anything, being Mormon makes me incredibly happy. It gives me a reason to wake up in the morning, and fills my heart with gratitude each night that God was willing to let me find the secret to eternal joy and also trusts me enough to let me share it with others.


Why a Blog in the First Place?
About three years ago, I realized that I wasn’t the only person in the Church with same-gender attraction. Up until that point, I had honestly thought that I was. 

I know. I’m socially clueless. Get over it. 

I had the impulse to reach out to help others and made a posting on Craigslist written to guys who wanted to be faithful members of the Church. I offered to be a friend to talk to.

Within hours, I had over 70 people who wanted to talk. Over the next few days I shared my story and listened as men and women told me theirs. Often they’d ask me similar questions, and I found myself writing down the answers, copy-pasting them into chat windows, and wanting to put the information someplace accessible. I had blogged already for a few years, so I started another one – (Gay) Mormon Guy. The blog has shifted dynamics and readers over the years, but the main focus had endured – to be the story and resource that I wished were available when I was going through my own formative years.


What Else Have You Written?
Until two years ago I wrote every week at www.romanmissionary.blogspot.com – it includes all the letters from my mission, plus a copy of the letters I sent to family and friends each week, every week after I got home from the mission.I’ve blogged a few other places; a poetry blog called www.peacemakerblog.blogspot.comthat hasn’t been updated in a long time, SEVEN – a now-defunct blogging group with some friends, and Northern Lights – a blog with Ty Mansfield, Josh Weed, and other faithful Mormons who write about homosexuality.

I’ve also written and published a couple of books. The first was my thesis: Quan’da’ry: The Story – Creating and Modifying Games for Use in Education. It had a total run of about 5 copies. The next was called Watching Cookies in the Oven and is about finding symbolism in everyday life. It was self-published, so if you want a copy, just email me and I’ll send a .pdf version. 10 Days Until Forever (excerpt in the link) is a children’s picture book that was real-published by Cedar Fort and carried by Deseret Book in March of2011. It follows a little boy whose family is preparing to go to the temple. Then there was (Gay) Mormon Guy, the Blog which was a rough compilation of the first 100 posts of (Gay) Mormon Guy and published as a free e-book.


Why is Your Blog Called (Gay) Mormon Guy? Why Choose That Label?
My blog’s name is (Gay) Mormon Guy because of search engines. When people are searching for answers to their questions about homosexuality and its intersection with the gospel, they don’t usually use the terms “same-gender attraction.” On the same line, people search for “Mormon” more than they do “Latter-day Saint.” For more info on my choice of words, see The Title (Gay) Mormon Guy.


Why Broadcast it to the World? And Why Now?
I never intended to share this part of my life with anyone. I’m temple-worthy, and it doesn’t influence my everyday life. Everyone has problems. Why should I shout this one to the world?

There are dozens of good reasons to openly share who I am, and dozens of good reasons not to. But, at the core, the reasons why I began blogging in the first place, why I told my parents, why I told Church leaders, and why I’m telling you today stem from one thing. I felt spiritually guided to do so. God has been actively involved in my life for as long as I can remember. I’ve learned over time that following the promptings I get from Him lead me to greater happiness and the ability to help more people find peace. A few weeks ago, I felt prompted to share this with the world, and so I’m sharing it now.


How Are You Different? How Do You Stay Faithful? Happy? And Why?
I’ve met a lot of people who don’t choose my path. Many tried to live according to their beliefs and spent years slowly degrading into turmoil. For some reason, they weren’t able to find lasting peace and happiness in the gospel, and ultimately many of them decided to subjugate their beliefs to their homosexual desires.
I don’t know what’s different about me. Maybe having autism and depression forced me to develop a relationship with God before same-sex attraction could present its moral paradox. Maybe having a family and community that thinks the world of me and tells me that I can do anything makes me believe it. Maybe I’m not that different at all. I don’t know.

Either way, I’ve learned something, with time, that has changed my life. All things come from God, and God only gives blessings.

God is omnipotent. All-powerful. All-knowing. Which means that everything that happens in the world is under His jurisdiction. Sometimes He acts Himself by putting the causes in motion, like stirring up the winds in the sky to bring down rain or answering personal prayers with feelings of peace. Sometimes He lets others do His will, like when a classmate at school stops, put his arm around me, and asks me about life. But everything that happens is under God’s jurisdiction. “Whether by my own voice or the voice of my servants, it is the same” (Doctrine & Covenants 1:38).

In God’s eyes, everything He gives is a blessing. An ingredient in the recipe He knows by heart. Sometimes, the recipe calls for sugar, and life seems sweet as I learn to use the gifts He’s given me to bless others. And sometimes it calls for salt, cups at a time, to change me into the person He sees in me. Tasted alone, salt is awful. But even sugar cookies need salt to taste right. And, in His eyes, sugar and salt are the same. Both are necessary. Both improve the whole. Both are simply ingredients in a recipe that will ultimately give me the best opportunity to become better, happier, and to return to Him someday.

With that understanding, life makes sense. Why do bad things happen to good people? They don’t. If you’re good, everything that happens in life is a blessing. Temporarily painful? Frustrating? Stressful and tiring and exhausting? Yes. But so are the best rafting trips, the best group meetings, the best relationships, and the best mountain hikes. Because each experience also brings the opportunity to make the stumbling block into a stepping stone… and to gain perspective, hope, happiness, and joy that last far beyond the time when the pain is gone.

Same-sex attraction, autism, depression, and everything else in my life are blessings. Not because they bring me instant joy/pain or gratitude/frustration, but because they enable me to become happier in ways that no other experience would allow.

In that design, my solution to finding the greatest joy in life is understanding God’s hand in all things, and seeing how my goals can be aligned with His. I can always find happiness and peace if I’m doing the right thing, for the right reason, in the right way. If the gospel, the recipe that God is following in my life, and the eternal Plan of Happiness aren’t working for me, it’s not a problem with the Plan. It’s a problem with me.


How is This Post Different From “Coming Out”?
Well… that’s sort of complicated. Most of the “Coming Out” stories I’ve read have been about a guy who has been living two different lives. Slowly, the tension gets worse and worse until it finally explodes. So he tells everyone he’s gay, leaves his faith completely, and expects the world to treat him differently because of his newly declared homosexuality.

My story doesn’t involve two different lives. Just two different aspects that have never met one another. And this – my merging worlds – is my effort to simply combine them into one. One reader put it well: I’m introducing people to connections and aspects of my life that they hadn’t seen before, on both sides, with the hope that both groups can learn and grow from having a more developed understanding.


So… You’re Still Planning to Get Married. How Does That Work?
I’ve written multiple posts on this. The most cogent is The Place of Attraction.

There are a lot of strong feelings about marriage in the world of same-sex attraction. Some people feel that pursuing the hope of getting married to a girl is delusional or repressed or (insert degrading moral epithet here) because the only “right” thing to do is follow your natural inclinations. Others, usually drawing from failed personal marriages, anecdotal evidence from people they know, or statistics drawn from skewed subjects, claim that marrying a girl is ethically wrong, as it will most likely not work, and probably result in (insert the epically worst thing you could imagine here).

I wholeheartedly disagree with both. God didn’t give me autism and depression with the hope that I would always feel depressed and alone… even though that’s exactly what they do naturally. Following my natural inclinations would have led me to suicide, not to happiness. And even though people without both autism and same-sex attraction may bristle at this metaphor, same-sex attraction is largely the same. SSA, autism, and bipolar are all simply variations in brain chemistry. All of them grant amazing, seemingly supernormal benefits – autism grants a higher fluid intelligence and an effective barrier to peer pressure, bipolar lends itself to extreme creativity and laser-focused goals, and SSA makes me into a far kinder and more loving person and often gives prowess in the arts & music. At the same time, each also predisposes me to dramatically non-normal effects. Autism distances me from society and changes the way I interact with others. Bipolar brings depressive episodes that can lead to suicide. And SSA deletes the physical, emotional, and intellectual attractions to women and supplants them with attractions to men.

From my own personal relationship with God, I know that true and lasting happiness comes from being good – from following the principles He has revealed and becoming the person He wants me to become, regardless of the situation in which I find myself. ASD, bipolar, and SSA included. I also know that He’ll fill in the parts of my life that I can’t do myself. And part of that plan, at least before eternity comes, is getting married to a woman.

That’s complicated. And this answer is getting long, so I’ll try to get to the point. I will only marry a girl if I’m completely and totally in love with her – the same level and type and depth of love that a heterosexual guy has for his wife. That has never happened to me, and in order for it to happen, there will have to be a miracle in my behalf. Until that miracle comes, and I and she fall totally in love, I’m not worried about marriage. Do I hope for it? Yeah. Pray for it? Yeah. Plan for it? Definitely. But I let God worry about it. He’s the only One who can make it happen anyway.


Were You Ever Attracted to Me?
If you’re a girl, then no. If you’re a guy, then maybe.


Doesn’t Blogging Make it Harder?
Yes, and no. Part of moving on from addictions is leaving behind the people, places, thoughts, and triggers that keep you connected. Writing about same-sex attraction sometimes makes my life harder, and there have been times when I’ve thought about just dropping (Gay) Mormon Guy altogether.

But in those moments, when I turn to God and tell Him I’m dropping out, He shows me the impact that I’m having. A guy sends me an email about how his life has been changed. A woman tells me that my blog somehow helped her marriage. A man shares his story about wanting to suicide and then finding (Gay) Mormon Guy. And in the depths of my heart I realize that writing here is part of my personal calling.

Writing also helps me work through my own difficulties. As I write, things become clearer, and I’m able to get feedback from people all over the world. Sometimes the feedback makes me laugh – like when people suggest I have more NCMO (non-committal make-out) sessions with girls to spark passion. But sometimes it’s exactly what I need. Writing about it may not be the best solution for everyone. But it’s been a blessing in my life and an opportunity to share my life with others.


Do You Have Any Other Pictures of Your Family?
Definitely! (I put this question in because this picture is awesome. We’re all doing yoga poses, and Zach looks like he’s about to box the photographer. And I wanted to reward people who have read this far.)

How Did You Tell Other People? How Did They Respond?
I told my parents about a year and a half ago in person. I describe what I told them in Dear Mom and Dad, and their response in I Told Them.

I told my close family by phone a few weeks ago. Their responses, and how I told them, are in Phase1: Family - Results.

Then I told other family and friends. I write a regular newsletter/email and included it there. Their responses were almost universally supportive.

I’ve had a number of experiences talking with Church leaders. My first, meeting with a friend and member of my stake presidency, is In Real Life. My second and third were less ideal, so I’ll leave them without links in the blog archives. My most recent, telling my current bishop, is under"Nothing Has Changed."


I Need Help Changing My Life. What Should I Do?
I could list dozens of strategies to overcome addiction, cope with depression, become more social, understand the gospel, or find happiness. And I probably will once I talk with my professor who has written world-famous books on influence. 

But the best way to find the solution to your own problems, no matter what they are, is to turn to God… and listen. “And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them” (Ether 12:27). Hopefully as you read here, you can feel inspired to turn to the scriptures, to the words of the prophets, to personal prayer… and to learn how to make your life better from God Himself.


What Else Do Mormons Believe? Can You Direct Me to More (Reputable) Information?
While I believe everything the Church teaches and try to make (Gay) Mormon Guy a place where people can receive inspiration, I’m not an official representative of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I gave that up with my black missionary name tag 6 years ago. But there are official representatives who’d love to answer any question you have, whether about homosexuality or any other topic, right now

You can click here to open a new chat window
It’s actually pretty cool. Inside the Mormon.org button on the sidebar of my blog, you click the Chat tab, enter in your name and email (You can be anonymous, but they’re missionaries. You can trust them), click Start Chat, and you’re talking with a missionary. 

Last week I tried it out to determine if it actually worked, and two guys – Josh and Ryan – responded within just a few seconds. I told them to expect questions on same-gender attraction, and asked them if the system had the capacity to handle lots of people. It does. So go ahead. Ask the missionaries.

You can also find official Church doctrine and information at www.lds.org and www.mormon.org


I Want to Read More of Your Blog. Where Should I Start?
Just click the Start Here button. Or, if you have a lot of time, try the Post Index.


Can I Contact You?
Yes.

My gmail address is afriendtotalk2 – feel free to email me about whatever.
Or you can friend me on Facebook at facebook.com/romanmissionary - send me a message so that I can put a name with the friend request.
Or add me on LinkedIn; my LinkedIn is http://www.linkedin.com/pub/david-peterson/23/675/a7a


Why Doesn't the Facebook "Like" Button Work? Or the Share Button? When Will it Work?
It got fixed! Facebook had banned gaymormonguy.blogspot.com as an "abusive or spammy" site, but enough emails to the developer team means that it's no longer banned. So the Like button on the sidebar works again, and you can write "gaymormonguy.blogspot.com" anywhere on Facebook - personal messages, status updates, anything.

What Can I Do to Help/Support You or People Around Me?
I have a really hard time asking for things in my life. I’ve always believed that I was self-sufficient… and that has alienated people from my life. And, in a twist of fate, developing solid relationships with people is the one thing that I can’t do for myself. If you know me just find ways to let me know you care. Realize that the mixture of autism and same-sex attraction makes me totally awkward. Push yourself into my life even when I push back. Give me a hug for no reason at all and then don’t let go. Stop me when you see me, and push me into being a part of your life. That’s how you can support me.

To help those around you, learn to love people unconditionally. Learning to love people and show that love will give you a greater ability to help them in their lives than studying the problems they face. Everyone knows someone who lives with difficult circumstances, whether same-gender attraction, autism, depression, or anything else. But very few know who they are. Most of us go through life without sharing our deepest needs with the world. No matter who you are or who you know, I invite you to share the message, invite others to come unto Christ, be willing to help them along the way, and then let them find their own way to happiness.

Share the truth with everyone, and someone – your own friend, or the friend of a friend of a friend – will find what they silently need.

I love you guys.
David (Mormon Guy)

54 comments:

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post. Nice to meet you! :)

Arlo said...

Dave, it's awesome that you've come out. Enjoy the light. You sound very much like my oldest son, except he's straight. He also faces challenges very similar to Asperger's. He was diagnosed with different things instead, but we're not so sure. He, too, is passionate about missionary work and writing, and had written stories on a fanfic site that generated more than 50,000 hits. He's currently a student at UVU, and plans to transfer to BYU Idaho soon.

I'm so sorry about CJ. That must be very painful for your family, to see him be sick and have to go through the challenges he is facing. May God be with him.

I look forward to getting to know you.

Jamie Dutson said...

Hi David. Nice to "meet" you. Thank you so much for your story and your vulnerability. It truly is so freeing to live an open life where there aren't secrets. I wish more of the world would be open. I like what you said about how we would hold the door open for someone in a wheelchair, but we can't see people internal needs. Very true. I hope that those in your life will understand and try to fill your needs. What breaks us, makes us beautiful. You are an imperfect, beautiful man. Your story gives me courage to be my own imperfect beautiful self.

GMP said...

Cheers David! Glad to see this has been an overall positive experience for you! Thanks for all you write and do.

Megan said...

David,

It's wonderful to put a face with the amazing person I've come to know. You have increased my desire to overcome my own struggles with the "natural man." I read your posts and I want to be better and have a deeper relationship with my Father in Heaven and my Savior. Thank you! I'll continue to watch your journey and cheer you on from the sidelines.
Megan

Serin kNight said...

Sweetie,

All I have to say is you are perfect and loved and this has changed nothing for anyone who truly knows and cares for you. You're honesty is incredible and your courage is amazing! Nothing can stop you now!

Much love hun

LaurieBee said...

I've read your posts off and on for quite a while now. The respect I have for you just continues to grow.

The Atomic Mom said...

Well, hello David. Thank you for being so brave and telling us who you are. You are one brave guy. I am just very much in awe of your whole story. Please keep writing and doing what you do.

Jon said...

David, I've been following your blog almost since its beginning. Over the past couple of years, your posts have moved, uplifted, educated, and enlightened me. Such a privilege to finally meet someone who's been a significant inspiration in my life.

Jennifer said...

Very nice to meet you :)

Ben said...

Rock on man. You are one courageous person. We all support you.

www.bensopinion.com

Kristin (Butler) Wooters said...

Hi David, what a beautiful and very uplifting post. Thank you so much for sharing. You are loved!

Lor said...

Thank you for sharing your very personal self with the world. I've learned a lot about myself and God just from experiencing this one blog entry. I feel that I am already a better person for having been touched by your thoughts and words. I will work much harder at being a light for others to follow and a source of love and acceptance. Thank you, again.

Unknown said...

Love you. So glad to be able to learn from you.

Logan said...

David, You don't know what an amazing affect your blog has had on me and my journey. You are an inspired man. Thank you.

g.r.o.u.n.d.e.d. said...

I recently had an experience on the Internet: I followed a blog for several years. The author and I became good friends. He had both amazing and horrible things happen to both him and his family. I felt for him when his adopted daughter was getting stalked by on the elementary school janitors. I wept when I read about his brother's young daughter dying during the night in her sleep. I laughed when I read other accounts. He and I wrote personal e-mails to each other. As we are both teachers, we offered support and friendship. And, then came the day when I found out his blog, him, every detail he had ever written were all a fraud. He had merely created EVERY word on his blog, including his childhood friend's death through cancer, as an "exercise in creative writing". I had been scammed. I get the EXACT same feelings reading your blog. You are not real. You are scamming each of us who read your blog. Oh, I have to give it to you: you leave references, pictures of your family, this and that. He did the very same. He was good, like you. But, in my book, you are both frauds. You do not exist in reality, only as an exercise of creative writing. Shame on you. Shame on hurting the people who write your blog. Shame, shame, shame, Wake up, do the right thing, and tell the truth, not this glorified version of what you think your life is all about. It would not surprise me in the least to find out that you have created the very people who comment on your blog. I have known other bloggers to do the very same thing. I am on to you. I was scammed once, I will not be scammed again. You are a fraud.

Mormon Guy said...

You made me laugh... and today's definitely been a stressful day. This reminds me of exactly what happened when I started writing (G)MG two years ago. Someone else made the same claim. Except that he claimed I was a group of BYU professors. Talk about high praise. :)

That said, I'm not really sure how to take your comment. It could be totally sarcastic. At which point I should ignore it. I think. Or you could be totally sincere. I usually assume the latter, so here goes.

At this point I've linked this blog to my Facebook, my Mormon.org profile, my personal blogs with letters from my mission, and even told you where I live, work, and go to school. You can find my phone number and home address if you follow the trail I've left down. Which means I don't really have much more that I can reveal. Maybe my weight. I weigh 171, since I've been lifting with the BYU football team.

I'm sorry that you've been hurt before. But my blog is definitely not fraudulent, and neither am I. Your accusation is based on a deeply painful past experience with someone else, and I understand your avoidance of investing yourself emotionally when you've been recently hurt. But I don't think that it's fair or accurate to make claims against my authenticity that are completely unfounded. I invite you to rethink the evidence at hand and make a more informed decision.

Kimberly Bluestocking said...

Thanks for having the courage to merge your worlds. I especially appreciated your point that in God's eyes everything that happens to us is meant to be a blessing, even if it doesn't feel good at the time.

Matt said...

I've been reading you since the beginning too. I think you're a sweet guy, and I admire you for doing what you think is right.

Also, you have a lovely voice.

Jennie Davenport said...

A mutual friend of ours introduced me to this post (and now I've found myself surfing your other posts all morning) and I just wanted to leave a quick comment to thank you for your inspiring words. Though I do not suffer the struggles of SSA, I think much of what you discussed here can be applied to most trials. Thank you for the moving and inspirational story! It was just what I needed this morning, as I'm struggle with my own internal demons.

Oh, and I'm a writer as well, and I just have to throw out that you have an amazing writing voice, too. :)

Bryan said...

David, this is an incredible post. I really appreciate you sharing all of this. I'm really grateful to know you, and I consider you a friend. Thank you!

Emily said...

my brother just shared this on fb. I feel blessed to have read it, and am so grateful for your example. Thank you for sharing your life in such a public way and teaching us all so much!

Anonymous said...

Wow, very nice response David. Very humble, logical, and straight forward.

Big O said...

David,

I feel honored to be in the MBA program with you. I've seen you at school, but we haven't formally met. I'm a first year studying Finance. I admire your courage, faith, and testimony (not to mention, you are a great writer). I hope to formally meet you soon.

Oh, and BTW, I also served in Rome. Yet another reason that makes you awesome.

drew

MoHoHawaii said...

I can understand the confusion... I've been reading this blog on and off since the beginning. I also initially mistook it for a work of fiction, fiction that was written in a grandiose style and from a rigid, didactic point of view, particularly the earlier posts. I now see how those qualities of the text could be related to bipolar and autistic traits of a diarist.

But here's the thing: I've also noticed a lot of growth over these two years. The persona presented in this blog has become much more self-aware and willing to avoid the easy answers. I see genuine searching for answers here.

Take care of yourself, (G)MG. I wish you well. At my father's 80th birthday party, I asked him to give the family a few words of wisdom from his life experience. He said, "Take your pills on time." We all laughed out loud at the joke, but there's something to that for all of us.


catherine said...

Well...it's so nice to finally 'meet' you! I've been a follower of yours for almost two years now. I started off as tuba.girl...that was before you were really popular and had a million and one followers ;) I even emailed you with some questions that I had. I've really enjoyed reading your posts all these years. You inspire me! I've especially liked the ones from the past month or so. Getting to "know" you has been a pleasure. You're one unique fellow...but you already knew that! You're also a fantastic writer, but I bet you knew that too! You only have 25 other people above me saying it!

You're so great! I look forward to reading more!

=D catherine
hazelnuttree.blogspot.com

Josh Guest said...

Having known the author for some time and having worked with him on other publications, I can vouch for his personhood: He's real. I can also vouch for his character: David is quite sincere in everything he writes and says.

The Weed said...

Having met David in person yesterday, I can assure you he is very much a real, live person. Which may be helpful to hear, unless I'm fake too. But I'm not. Pinky swear.

The Weed said...

Awesome post. Was great to meet you, both in person yesterday, as well as through this post. Thanks for following the spirit and sharing who you are.

Mormon Guy said...

Thanks, Arlo. CJ's doing pretty well right now... we still have one more round of chemo to go before we know whether or not it's been effective. Hopefully it will have been.

Mormon Guy said...

As always, you're welcome GMP.

Mormon Guy said...

My first thought reading this comment was, "Did you come Karaoke singing with me on Tuesday? Watch me in Pirates of Penzance? Show up at my house when we're singing/playing the piano? That would be awesome/strange."

Then the next comment got posted. Writing voice. Ohhhhhhh. Now I get it.

Mormon Guy said...

Thanks, Bryan.

Mormon Guy said...

We'll definitely need to swap stories. How have we not met? We served in the same mission, live together in the Tanner building, use the same refrigerators, and I'm your TA for Operations. I feel like I definitely need to work on my networking skills.

Mormon Guy said...

I definitely remember tuba.girl... mostly because of this comment.

"I know you don't know me, but I would definitely be catagorized among those girls who would "kill for a husband like that." It's top of the list..."

The context was an incredibly rough time here on my blog, and your comment made me smile.

Mormon Guy said...

...and wonder about the sanity of girls who would think about marrying a guy with same-sex attraction, no matter how well put together the rest of the package may seem.

catherine said...

I think my choice of wording might speak for how sane I was when I wrote that comment. The killing part especially.

Plus, I was 16 at the time. Young. Naive. And, yes, a little bit crazy. Actually...a lot crazy. The fact that I play the tuba probably adds to the slightly insane factor too.

I'm glad my comment made you smile, though. That makes me really happy to hear!

=D catherine

Lalis said...

Part of me is a little sad that I don't know you in person! But that's ok :)

I missed the post where you explained about your Asperger's, so this was a surprise but it was fascinating to read and understand more about you.

I'm excited for you to be free of your anonymity. I can't know if it will be hard for you or not. Only you know that... but you should be able to be YOU, be respected, and be loved despite your idiosyncrasies, religion, and sexual attraction.

Kim Orlandini said...

David. This post makes me happy, and cry all at once. It was a pleasure meeting you a year ago...and getting to know you and watch you grow has been triumphant. Thank you for your example and it is my hope and prayer you have continued blessings come your way. Much love.

FG Mormon said...

I dunno, I dunno, David. I think you did it masterfully. This blog nay very well end up being means of finding you a wife.

Michaelann said...

you know, I was a little bit sad when you first started down the path of leaving behind your anonymity.

I've been reading your blog since I got home from my mission over two years ago. I comment occasionally.

What I loved about your anonymity is that it made you EveryMan, which in turn made *me* kinder and more empathetic. I knew you lived in Provo, and I often found myself comparing the little I knew about you to various men I know, and wondering if they were the ones carrying a secret burden. And I often realized this truth: it didn't matter if you were an actual person I knew or not, because "everyone you meet is fighting a secret battle." Your anonymity reminded me to be careful not to take people at face value.

It's surprisingly satisfying to now have a person behind the blog, a personality and interests and a family and a name. (The name feels especially important somehow.) You are a brave man. And learning the details of your other labels (aspbergers and bipolar) suddenly makes so many more things about you make so much more sense. And I hope every person who judged you in their blog comments for being too unfeeling, or (paradoxically) too emotional now understands better. And I hope they let that revelation of your other labels teach them the same thing your anonymity taught me: "be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a secret battle."

Laurenkri said...

David, you took me on one of my favorite dates my freshman year at BYU, we collected leaves and left a mini snowman on the doorstep of a girl who had hurt her ankle. Remembering that date, this made me laugh: "Were You Ever Attracted to Me? If you’re a girl, then no. If you’re a guy, then maybe."

I remember thinking you were way out of my league. A handful of us freshman girls were all a little bit in awe of your drive and intensity ... knowing GMG is you I am obviously surprised, but also feeling like it makes sense as your writing has always struck me as profoundly introspective and clearly the work of someone very intelligent and well-read, which matches my memories of you quite accurately.

Good luck as you forge your way through this new connected stage in your life!

Married2OneRescued said...

I'm Arlo's wife. I just discovered your blog tonight and I've been reading through a few of them. I just discovered that my husband has been writing replies to you here and there. I absolutely loved your story set to the music "Blessings". It was very powerful. I also feel like I can relate to you because of my husband's SSA, and also because of my sons social challenges. He was tested for Aspergers syndrome recently, but the diagnosis came back as social phobia and depression, though I still think his symptoms match Aspergers. I also relate because I know sign language, (but not any other languages, like you).

I would love to talk to you about our story. About how we met, about how he told me on our second date that he "used to be involved in the gay lifestyle", and how we love each other deeply and have made our marriage work for 19 years. We were at the SSA conference in Provo. I wish we could have met you! Perhaps someday....My husband blogs at OneRescued.blogspot.com. In case you're curious.

JaNean said...

David. You are amazing. Thank you so much for your honesty, your insights, and for you love of God. You have made a difference in my life in so many ways. We all do have demons and knowing how someone else has worked through theirs gives me hope that I might do the same. I am in awe of your spirit. I do not have your talent for putting my thoughts into words, but I pray that the Lord will help you to feel how positively you have effected me. If I knew you in person I would give you a great big hug, then I would probably try to set you up with my sister :) Thank you again for your words... through them I have been reminded that our Father in Heaven will help me through my struggles, and I don't have to get through them on my own.

ifwecouldonlysee said...

Oh wow... I've followed this blog off and on for a long time, and I NEVER thought you'd actually tell us who you are!

I'm glad you can talk about this with the people close to you, now, because that's the hardest thing I had to cope with in my own life (though for other things, not SSA specifically). It's very relieving not to be fighting your demons on your own...

Rebecca said...

Hi my name is Rebecca and I found your blog through a friend. I just wanted to say thank you for your inspirational words and I'm sure you're helping many people in the world. I have a friend who I dated and he too was struggling with SSA. In the last year he gave in to his desires and I don't know how to be there for him. We're still great friends, but discussing his lifestyle isn't something we do because I don't agree with his choices. Any advice?

Rebecca Durham

Eddieberto said...

I have subscribed to his blog

Kristina said...

It's been a while since I checked out your blog and the book you wrote, Ten Days until Forever, features my cousin and his family. We obviously love that book in my family, since it is very close to the real story and features my cousin, my cousins (his siblings(, my aunt and uncle (his parents), and our grandparents. What a small world.
Thank you again for sharing your story. You're very courageous. And hey, we're bipolar buddies. Fun! ;)

Christy said...

So nice to meet you, David!!! It's been awhile since I checked in on you, but I still have included you in prayers when I've thought of you and other members struggling with SSA. I pray God blesses you for all you have done to bring understanding and awareness on this important issue. Thank you so much for sharing so much. I cannot even imagine the extent of the positive impact you have made. You are amazing, and an instrument in God's hands. You are my brother in the gospel and I love and admire you for all of this!
Love, Christy

Marnie said...

Hi David,

Thank you for such a well thought out post. I admire you greatly and think what you are doing is so important. I wish I had half your dedication and faith! Keep hanging in there. I look forward to reading about your miracle one day, but in the meantime, bless you for helping others.

Love,

Marnie

Bernhard said...

I found this blog through a post on facebook, and hardly could stop reading.
Since I have a testimony of the Gospel I know by the Spirit that the principles you write about are true, but it is always great to read the first hand testimony of someone who also knows from experience.
And I'm sure it's even more important for people in similar situations to be able to read things like that!
I just want to say that I am really impressed and grateful! You strengthened my faith! =) Thank you!

dalene said...

Sometimes it is just nicer to know that I am not the only mormon out there that is lonley. It is hard sometimes to keep the faith and continue to go to services being the only single person in my age group in my ward ( I am almost 40 and it is a very small branch!)

Steph said...

I thought it was fascinating to read your post and finally put a face to your "name/title"! Thank you for sharing your faith in such a positive and uplifting way, while not hiding how you really feel inside. It makes for a richer and fuller life experience that will not only bless your life, but the lives of others around you in the world as well.

Marsha Keller said...

We love you too. Love is an interesting thing. So is attraction. Sometimes it is physical, and that lasts awhile, sometimes it is mental, emotional, spiritual and when you are lucky, a combination of two or more.

You are a blessing to the world. Never forget that.

Hello David. (My all time favourite name, and I've never known a David I didn't love...)