Wednesday, August 4

To tell... or not to tell?

Up until recently, I've never told anyone that I'm attracted to guys.

For me, there have been a lot of reasons. The first was that I didn't have to tell anyone. When I went to see my bishop to get help with pornography and associated habits, it didn't matter if I was attracted to guys or girls - it was the same process to overcome the issues. And, as I mentioned in a previous post, I've never found anything in a Church Handbook (and now I've read them) that requires that I reveal my temptations to others. Looking at that, I realize that it was because I didn't want to face the facts. Somewhere, deep inside, I still believed this was all just a really horrible nightmare... and if no one else knew, then maybe there was a chance I would wake up and all the urges, temptations, and attraction would just go away.

The other reason is a mixture of pride and fear and stubborn hope. Since I've realized my issues, I've felt like it was my cross to bear - my silent burden to carry. I've always been the teacher, the star, the role model for everyone in my life - and so asking for help is something I never learned to do. I know that some of my family would be able to understand - since they would ask God for help and He would help them. But I know that I, even struggling with the issue, took years to finally come to grips with what it was. In my mind, I can see my family members and friends struggling to understand what it means to their testimonies. And I can't afford that. I care way too much about them to let them see a trial that almost broke me.

Some days I've wanted people I could talk to. A therapist to help me out. Friends I can call who really understand. But, whatever the reasons, I've turned to God instead. And, for me at least, it has worked. He listens to my struggles and hears my prayers. He sends me signs that He loves me and is actively involved in my life. He gives me assignments like a therapist would, and we counsel together on how I can overcome temptation. My relationship with Him has developed... and each time He helps me overcome, I feel the power of the Atonement. The Savior really did go through what I am feeling so He could help me. And, for that, I am stronger.

Some day soon I'm planning to talk with a priesthood leader about my struggle. I have a good relationship with him and I know that the Lord can inspire him to understand. He's also probably seen tons of people just like me. Even so, I still don't think I'll be asking for help to overcome it. Instead, I'll be asking for help to reach out and help others who are struggling with the same issues - to find a way to share the message that it is possible to live a faithful LDS life with same-sex attraction, no matter what happens. We'll see what happens then.


  1. I have done much thinking about what you have said on this specific topic. This was a very difficut thing for me to do. It was about two years ago, I was 25 years old, I was very faithful in the church. I was in leadership in my ward, and I got to the point where I felt like I was not able to face it all on my own any longer. Up to that point I had never shared any of it with anyone before. I first tried to talk to my Bishop about it but that went very poorly as he was military man and he didn't understand any of this. When I saw how it went with him I decided to keep it to myself. Then one night I started to cry (which I never do.) So my best friend asked me what was going on. I told her that it was nothing at first. She then looked at me and I felt she was very inspired at this moment and said I love you no matter what it is. I then huged her, and we sat down and I told her about my SSA. She was very supportive and was always there to listen when needed and to encourage me to do the right thing. Then I moved, and things kept being a struggle and I decided that i was able to fight this on my own. Then I got to the point where I could not fight it any longer so I went to my new Bishop and I told him everything (not because I needed to confese anything, as I had not done anything wrong.) In hopes he could help me with all of this that I had as a burden. Also I knew I needed to get further help as I knew for me that my SSA all stemed from when I was a young child I was raped by one of my friends step father. I had never told anyone what had happend to me because I knew that my father who was a marine would had killed the guy. So I kept it a secrete for my whole life almost till about a month ago when I shared it with my Bishop. I knew that this was causing big problems. So i told my Bishop the therapist that I had already set up to meet with, and then I asked him to help me stay strong spirtualy. The Breaking point for me was I was not able to sleep, I was not eating, I was pulling away from all my friends, and when I would sleep I was waking up screaming from the flash backs that had been taking place. That is what got me to break down and seek help from others. Since then I have come very far. I was diagnosed with PTSD, depression, and anxiety. Knowing what the issues are inpowers you to fix them. I know that one day I will defeat this with all the proper help. I am not saying that everyone has to get halp the same way that I have, I am just saying this is what I have found to be one of the largest things to help me. I recongnize we all are differnt and have differnt ways to defeat problems. This is just what I have found the best way on this one for me.

  2. Keith: I'm glad that you were finally able to find the help you needed. Each of us overcomes our struggles differently, and knowing yourself is a key to knowing what you will need to do in order to succeed. While some may not work, there are many options for help - family, friends, strangers, books, Priesthood leaders, professional counselors... but I think that, first, we need to turn to God and be willing to accept His will and live by His commandments, no matter what the outcome.

  3. I have never had a relationship like that with Heavenly Father, you are extremely lucky!

  4. Kyle: I have been blessed to have an amazing relationship with Heavenly Father. It has changed my perspective on everything.

  5. Okay, I'm not dealing with SSA, but I did deal with a pornography addiction. I did talk to my bishop about it, but it took me MONTHS to make up my mind to do it. It felt weird and awkward to talk to my bishop about something that was primarily a "man's sin".

    After I did though, I felt SO MUCH better. We talked about triggers like stress which made me want to give in more. He was not judgemental at all.

  6. I love your blog! I think you have such a gift for writing and it's refreshing to hear your honest feelings. But I just have to say it-- talk to your family about this issue in your life! I know you have put a lot of thought into this and I know you are prayerful and doing what you feel is right. I don't know your family but from what I can gather they are good people and they raised an incredible son. It's definitely going to be awkward and uncomfortable and probably really weird for a while but they will love you still. Then at least you can share this experience with the people who know and love you the most. Don't you think that they will be more sad when they get to the other side and realize that you fought this battle without their support? I know this is not my place and you can brush this aside just like any number of people who think they know whats best for you. I just really wanted to say something. Thanks again for your inspiring words.

  7. I "came out" (to co-opt a word for my own usage) to my family a few years ago. I did it via a letter. I've also told a few of my Bishops. Trying to hold it all inside and "be strong for others' sake" seems wrong-headed to me. The point of this life is to learn not only the joy of being self-sufficient, but the fact that we WILL need help sometimes. This idea is embedded into our concept of eternal families.
    Think of marriage itself, you need someone else. Think of parents with children, siblings helping each other, etc. Think of repentance through the power of the atonement of our Savior and the plan of our Father in Heaven. We are meant to strive to be self-sufficient, and ultimately "fail" (though this is no failure) and receive help from others. I'm certain some people will freak out, some will drift away, some will be supportive, and many many will pray for you, and some will even want to help in meaningful ways.
    Since telling my family (starting with my wife) I've gone on to tell quite a number of friends. The response from my friends has been overwhelmingly positive. The response from my family has been supportive, though there has certainly been some awkwardness about it. I can say though that it's nice to be able to freely talk about such things. My wife and I can talk about my issues, we can agree or at least discuss who's hot and who's not, and honestly if women can discuss why other women are attractive, why can't men?
    Lastly though I must say that if in your case not telling has helped you develop a good relationship with Our Heavenly Father, then there has been some positive to it. Perhaps you can take that amazing relationship and put it to good use as you now reach out to others in your earthly family.

  8. Anonymous:

    I've since told my parents. And the response was supportive of the good that I do. There's a more recent post that talks about it. Thanks for your comment.


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