Monday, October 18

...and not to be acted upon.

I got this comment last night and it has been making me think. I thought that I would just share my thoughts, inline.

Hey. I have been reading your posts and I thought you could help me with problems I am having. I hope you read all of this, I have tried to put my heart and soul into it. Also, if anything here is offensive to you, i am not deliberately trying to do so.

I grew up in a strong and stable Mormon family. All my life I have had anxiety issues and depression issues. I realized early on that I was attracted to guys. I always was taught that it was wrong and evil, so I denied it and covered it up. my teenage years were full of depression, I didnt like myself, i thought that God didnt like me either. I still dont know if he does.

I spent a long time wondering about that. It seemed like a dichotomy - if God really loved me, why would He curse me? Had I done something horribly wrong to merit suffering and feeling so incredibly alone? I don't know all the answers, but I do know one thing: no matter who you are or what has happened in your life, God loves you.

In my darkest moments, when im curled up in the shower hyperventilating (i have severe panic attacks) i cant say that i felt the holy ghost comforting me. I can also relate to your being depressed and wanting to commit suicide, but not going through with it because it was also wrong. 

I have many problems with the church, some of them being about church culture and how everything is run, but i want to get your perspective and ideas on what it means to be gay and mormon, specifically in my situation.

I will be very quick to point out that the Church is different from church culture. The Church is the power of the Priesthood, the blessings of the temple, the scriptures, the gift of the Holy Ghost, personal relationships with God. Church culture is everything else, and is created by the people who profess to be a part of the Church. It even happened in the Book of Mormon. Either way, the Church is not the people, nor the people the Church. 

One of my issues is one of shame. I know that if i went into my sacrament meeting and told everyone there that i was attracted to other guys, i would be whispered about in the halls of the meeting house and that i would be called into the bishops office. I would probably also hear from my parents (i am away at an lds school) resulting in long arguments and probably a disowning. 

Dont you think that due to the social atmosphere of the church and the taboo that the church sets on "same sex attraction" is what leads to teen suicides?

I was a teenager, too. And while the pain of isolation, loneliness, and feeling worthless and taboo can all be factors, we can only judge our personal actions - not the intents or actions of others. I can only tell my own experience. When I struggled most, it wasn't because I felt unloved. Love is preached from the pulpit every day in the Church. The reason I struggled was because I hadn't yet learned to turn to God for my support... and because I hadn't found that support and understanding anywhere else. If someone had written a blog like this and I had read it, it may have changed my life. Hence why I'm writing now. But I didn't take my life as a teen... and it was the doctrines of the Church and the Plan of Salvation that kept me safe. Those same doctrines enabled me to counsel a dozen friends who had decided to end their lives... and, thankfully, help them come closer to Christ and regain a desire to live.

Dont you think that church members should show more respect and love to others, in following with jesus' teachings?

Of course I do. So do the Brethren. And every single priesthood leader or parent in the Church. Anyone who claims that imperfect Saints should be complacent, saying, "All is well in Zion, yea, Zion prospereth..." can read the Book of Mormon for perspective on that part of the pride cycle. And so we should do that. At the same time, our actions shouldn't be based on the choices of others. If everyone in the Church went apostate, should that influence my testimony or my actions? What if people in the Church go apostate... and stay inside the Church? What if they make mistakes or grievous errors or purposeful sins? Ultimately, my choices and my actions and my destiny is my own... not someone else's to decide.

I know that the common excuse is that "the church is perfect, but the members arent" but i think by now that is kind of a cop-out. I think that if more of the church was geared to teach kindness and love and respect that there would be more understanding and dialogue on these issues, instead of resulting in people becoming inactive or running away or killing one's self.

The focus on repenting is not "them." It is me. Talking about others and how they should improve doesn't ever actually improve the situation. Yes, the world is full of sinners. But I can't repent for someone else or change his heart. I can only change my own heart, and reach out to touch the people within my circle of influence. If I am more willing to be kind, show love, and respect, then I can make a difference, and inspire others to make a difference... and from that, change the world. The scriptures talk about acting, and not being acted upon. As much effort and pain and whatever else it requires, I take responsibility for my life, my actions, and my destiny. 

I know that in my case, whenever confronted with questions about why i hang out with girls a lot but never date any of them or why i would rather watch "what not to wear", i would always make up excuses. I would always avoid and kick up dust to end the conversation asap. I wish that i could tell them, but i know that if i do that they will never look at me the same again. i know that my mother takes a very strong stance on homosexuality (a very negative stance) and i have had a friend kicked out of her house because she told her parents. 

Another issue i have is that many members think that they have a monopoly on goodness. I hate how when members that i know express disgust, hatred, pity or have a feeling of superiority when they see people of other cultures or of different faiths. Shouldnt we be a self actualized church? shouldnt we, in about 180 years of "progress" have learned that hate and fear and intolerance are unacceptable? 

I used to love people less because they didn't love people as much or as freely as I did. Then I realized how incredibly ironic my feelings were. I was judging the people around me because they were judging others, and refusing to tolerate them because they were intolerant. That sounds like circular logic. I looked inside myself and realized that I, like they, needed to simply love people - even the people who didn't love me or tolerate me and who judged me without context - and help them to make good decisions. But, no matter what choices others eventually made, I still needed to love them. The Church is made of millions of people who are constantly changing. While the Church has lived 180 years, none of its members has, and so every generation has to learn the same principles. The best way to teach them... is to be an example... to love them and make a difference one person at a time. 

In the early years of the church we were on the receiving end of hate and fear and intolerance. Shoulnt we have learned from the past by now? my mother always tells me that my ancestors were lynched and murdered for their beliefs, and now we are doing the same to others. 

it brings me to tears thinking about all the other people that have gone through what you and i have gone through. i wish that every time i was in the pit of despair (so to speak) that i could feel the spirit comforting me. i wish that living on my parents borrowed light had ignited a fire in me. i wish that i could share my situation with more people, without judgement and looks of disgust. 

I cant see the way forward. I dont know what i want. I dont know what i should do.

Please help


The fire is still within you, brother. It's within each of us. You light the fire by doing the simple things. Reading the scriptures. Praying to God each day. Keeping the commandments. Showing love to others. And sharing the light that you've been given.

You've already begun sharing your story with the world. But your story doesn't have to ostracize you. It's the testimony that you share in Sacrament meeting, telling about your personal relationship with God. It's doing your home teaching and helping someone feel the power of the Spirit. And, as time goes on, the Lord will enable you to touch the lives of the people who need you, sometimes without your even knowing.

The way that I moved forward was by turning to God. I wish I could answer all your questions, solve all your problems, and fight all your fears, brother. But there is One who can, and who is there to help you live each passing day, no matter what the people around you do or say. Know that I am praying for you.

Mormon Guy


  1. Gosh Thank You for your response to that. It was completely ironic the way he perceives how people are is really what he is doing himself. I love how you explained everything! you gave some great council.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your testimony. Your posts are always so wonderful and uplifting. They always remind me of the truth we've read in the scriptures: God is Love.

    Thank you so much; you've improved my life.

  3. As a first time commenter, I'd just like to say that I think this blog is a great thing, keep it up. But mostly I appreciate your faith and strength in spite of a weakness that so many have crumbled beneath.

    I'm not a regular reader so I may cover something that already has been. In reading Lost's post I was struck by the fact that he wondered if God loved him. While I understand his (& that of many others) feelings that same-gender attraction is a particularly difficult weakness to deal with, its also not the only one out there. I don't personally struggle with same-gender attraction, but have friends that do, and have had to wrestle with these same questions out of my love and concern for them.

    I've learned one thing from this concern, as well as my own experience with weaknesses, that one thing wasn't fully addressed in the response. That's the logical flaw in thinking that if God loved you, he wouldn't have given you this weakness. The truth is, BECAUSE God loves us he has given ALL of us weakness. I suffered severe depression and anxiety too. I wondered if God loved me. But as I was slowly blessed to be cleansed of this weakness, I learned to have great faith in Jesus Christ my Savior and in the healing power of his word and obedience. If he hadn't given me weakness, I wouldn't have the faith, love and appreciation for Jesus and his Atonement that I now have. I'm happy to say that I've been almost completely healed of that particular weakness and rarely suffer the debilitating depression and social anxiety I once experienced almost daily.

    I don't know God's reasons, or why some have same-gender attraction given them as a weakness (usually in addition to depression and anxiety), but I do know that as Ether 12:27 explains, God gave us weakness. Not because he doesn't love us, but because he does. And if we are willing to go to Him, His grace is sufficient to make any weakness into a strength. However slow or difficult the path may be, eventually, somehow, we can be healed of all weakness and even become strong in those areas. My heart goes out to both of you. Thanks.

  4. I want to say thank you to both of you -- Mormon Guy and the commenter -- for sharing your feelings and experiences. I think of lot of this judgment problem in the Church comes from us getting stuck in the cycle you describe: we see our own weaknesses and we know our own sins, and we automatically assume that everyone else is judging us as harshly as we judge ourselves. And then it's more comfortable to judge others than to hold up a mirror to our own behavior. And so we all go around, afraid of what others think of us and afraid of what we think of ourselves. But "perfect love casts out all fear." If we love God and let His love into our lives, we don't have to be so hard on ourselves. If we love others, we accept their imperfections (even when their imperfection is judging others unkindly). When that love radiates out from us, it can't help but influence those around us. You are so right -- it has to start with each one of us. We can't wait for others to start loving us before we are willing to love them. Thank you for sharing that today.

  5. I'm so grateful for you blog and your spirit. I thank God for you and your ability to express yourself so eloquently.

    Thank you a thousand times over for being who you are and sharing it with the "world."

  6. I am praying for you, too. Thank you for sharing this. Although I would never consiously treat anyone with temtation this way, it has helped me self-relflect to make sure that I am not. This post has reminded me to focus more on looking past the outer shells that house our souls and consider people's hearts. And to show love, no matter what.

    Thank you both for your courage.

  7. Again, amazing! Loved your answers. I'm curious, how old are you, Mormon Guy? You don't have to answer that if you don't want to. I'm just wondering how long this struggle has been going on. Age puts things into perspective for me. :)

  8. I just wanted to let you know that I think you are a very inspiring person! You write so well, and I've learned so much from reading your blog- and I only started reading a few weeks ago.

    I hope I can raise my boys to be as good of men as you are. You truly are an example, and I know you probably change many people's lives.

    Thank you for your posts. They've really been such an inspiration to me.

  9. Oh, wow. I'm so touched by your responses, and by the understanding you have been given! No doubt the Lord is using as an instrument to help and lift others. What a blessing that is. Stay faithful and humble and I'm sure you'll have your reward, in this life or the next.

    I am realizing more and more that the Lord is placing people within His Church that can open their minds and hearts without deviating from the course of righteousness. I'd like to share my own experience.

    I'm a scientist. Well, a scientist in training (currently in a PhD program). I got my Bachelor's in Microbiology from BYU. I grew up in a very Mormon household outside of the United States. Evolution was of the devil and homosexuality was nothing but a depraved choice. Thank goodness that I had open-minded parents! When I was taught the Church's official stance on evolution my freshman year, my parents accepted it. And then, something interesting happened...

    I had Cell Biology with Dr. William Bradshaw. Perhaps you have heard of him. One of the great advantages of attending a Church school is that professors can actually bear testimony of the Divine while teaching a secular subject! Dr. Bradshaw was one of those. This man taught about cells with the Spirit! So when I saw a flier announcing a seminar on the biology of homosexuality by him I knew I had to attend. To say the least my mind was opened and I knew I could not reject the evidence presented before me. Homosexuality was NOT merely a choice as I had grown up believing. Again, thank goodness for open-minded parents.

    I shared this with one of my closest friends from that year. Little did I know that a few days later I would receive a phone call from this same friend in tears. He was experiencing the same exact emotions described in this post. Had it not been for that seminar I would have not been able to listen to him, understand him, and not judge him. He needed a friend and the Lord was merciful by preparing me for him.

    It is because of this that I have no doubt in my mind that the principle of love you have testified of is crucial. After all, that is the way our Savior acts! He shows love, even to the sinner, he doesn't stone them! He is understanding, merciful, and only asks that we put in the extra effort in trusting in him. He does the rest.

  10. I forgot to mention that I loved that you touched on the difference between THE Church and Church culture (I often refer to it as Mormon culture). Perhaps you could write a post on it???

  11. I have read your blog and it is one of the most spirit-moving reads I have encountered in a really long time! God bless you for sharing your story! Through your experiences, you have reached others without actually phyiscally being able to reach out and hug them! You're guidance is truly a gift, not to those who struggle with SSA, but to everyone who has walked down a path that would essentially lead them away from Heavenly Father. I have been blessed just reading your story! I pray that this young men finds the courage to stand strong against adversity as you have! Truly a role model for many! Thank you!

    To the 'Lost'..You are definitely not lost..We are given so many trials in this life that it is easy to ask 'why me?' We don't know the answers in this life, but I am convinced we will learn them in the next..Hold fast to your faith and know that there are more people who love you, then those that don't :)

    In Christ's Love

  12. I have been following your blog for a couple of weeks now and I just wanted to thank you for your willingness to be open and honest -- but also for your incredible faith.

    While I don't live with same-sex attraction, I do dance to the beat of my own drummer and always have. I have been on the receiving end of judgment because of choices I've made -- none of those choices going against the doctrine of the gospel, but they are outside of the "box" that seems prevelant among mormon culture.

    It gives me hope to see others that don't fit the accepted "norm" to share their testimonies of the gospel and open up their lives so others can see that this is for everyone -- not meant for cookie-cutter lives. Thank you, a thousand times over!

  13. Dear Mormon Guy,
    I stumbled upon your blog this morning and have spent every free minute reading it. I can't even being to express how grateful I am to you. I'm just your average Mormon Girl attending BYU, but I do a lot of theatre and (I hate to stereotype but I tend to find more guys who struggle with SSA in theatre) have some dear friends who I love that sadly have fallen away from the church. But your blog gives me so much hope. Good for you! I can also relate to struggling against temptation in my own life, and it's nice to know I'm not alone in fighting off those fiery darts from the adversary. We've obviously never met and I don't know who you are, but I feel nothing but love for you. Keep fighting, friend :)

  14. I appreciate your words so much.
    I grew up in a very liberal area, and was always taunted for being a Mormon. Even now, those friends from my teenage years who I have kept up with, still put down my religious beliefs often. I have lost friends becasue I am LDS. Even alot of my LDS friends have major issues with the church's stance on SSA.
    The funny thing is, the only one of those old friends who respects my beliefs and shows interest in them, is one of my best friends. She is gay and not LDS. I love her to bits and she knows I love and support her unconditionally.

    I am so glad to read your blog and know that you are making such a difference in people's lives. I am so glad that there is hope in the gospel for people with SSA.
    I am grateful for your testimony and glad to hear all the people commenting. It makes me feel like I am not alone in this world:)

  15. Keep writing your blog. As always, you say it just right. Thoughts and prayers for "lost."

  16. I saw a link to your post regarding President Packer's talk on facebook & have been hooked since. Over the past few days I have felt the spirit so strongly through your written testimony, even though I don't have anyone close to me dealing with homosexuality. I just wanted to share that I appreciate your amazing strength and faith.
    xoxo ♥

  17. You are amazingly prolific and dedicated to writing. Just wanted to encourage you by saying that your heart sure seems to be in the right place. Because of that I believe your efforts in writing are helping people.

    I knew I was attracted to men before I was old enough to understand what sex was. So it was not a surprise as I became a teenager to discover that all my sexual attractions were same gender. By the help of God I have avoided ever having a sexual relationship with anyone other than my wife. It has been a miracle in my life. But I have suffered intensely from my attractions to men, just as you have. And I have capitulated many times to fantasizing about men or looking at inappropriate content on the internet (it is difficult even now to write the word "pornography", but not as difficult to succumb to it when the temptations are great).

    I read your first posts. I can relate. It is a difficult life. I commend you for your great efforts to fight the battle. And I agree with you. God's love and grace are there for us. I have felt His love so many times -- especially after I have fallen off the wagon (viewed pornography) and am humbled by my personal weakness. I know He is there. I know He loves me. But still I struggle. I wish my love was so strong that it would protect me from the weak and human part of myself. But still I keep trying and as Churchill said, "never, never, never" give up.

    As I have read your blog entries, your courage and your determination help strengthen my own. If you should ever want to talk, it would be great to talk with someone via e-mail who shares the same convictions about God. Which you may or may not be able to tell from the 3 posts I've written in the past 3 years... lol. I'm not interested in trying to find out your real identity or talk about anything other than ideas that can help us walk the often difficult road we seem destined to walk. If you want to have that kind of conversation sometime, please e-mail me. If not, no worries. Keep up the good work. Your genuineness and your sincere insights are helping others who fight the same fight and who are trying to stay true and faithful to God. I have no doubt about that.



  18. Thank you for your testimony, it is strengthening mine. I don't struggle with SSA but I'm trying to overcome some obstacles in my life that's becoming incredibly difficult. Your trust in Heavenly Father is so beautiful, thank you...

  19. "the church is perfect." I'm not sure what that's supposed to mean. I don't think the church IS perfect, or that it has to be. It's only a framework around the priesthood that gives us a lab in which to learn and practice the principles of the gospel. Maybe people actually mean "the gospel is perfect" and it's confusing church and gospel that trips them up. But even that statement is problematic, because while God is real and the laws are real, our understanding of the words that describe these things - are just human words, and are going to fall short of being complete and clear.

    So our understanding of the gospel is NOT perfect - that's why we continue to read and talk about it and practice it and learn every single day - every single minute of the day. NOTHING about people is perfect. Everything, at the very best, is trying. Experimenting. And we make mistakes constantly. The church IS people - people in process. When someone expects perfection from the saints, they are setting themselves up for disappointment. But when someone is practicing love and humility and love themselves, they begin to see this and are able to have compassion and patience.

    I think people get into the most trouble when they try to set things in cement - when they expect a prophet to somehow be perfect in all ways every moment of his life - even Joseph was chastized by the Lord several times - and probably more times than he wrote about. And if this thing I just said is true, how can we expect the guy in the pew ahead of us to be perfect?

    Maybe too, when we, ourselves, are terribly conscious of our own flaws - and look around at other members, thinking they should be perfect - we cannot even have mercy on ourselves, and we cast our eyes about and depart, ashamed and embarrassed, and mad about feeling that way, on strange paths.

  20. Thanks for all you do! You are such an example of never giving up. I found this talk to be so great and I'm sure you've read it but when I read it this morning, I thought of this post. It's "Turn to the Lord" by Elder Hallstrom, given in last April's conference. It's wonderful! Keep up your wonderful, inspiring words!!

  21. Thank you for this post. I think it is important for everyone to remember that they are loved by God. I think that a lot of people with SSA let it define who they are. I don't think you should let it define you though. You are a child of God. Let that define you. God has blessed you with talents. Pray to recognize those talents and then develop them. The more you do that, the more you'll recognize God's love for you and that he is aware of you.

    I know that God loves all of His children, I know that he knows each of us and is watching over us. I pray that you (Lost) can fill his love.

  22. You are amazing! I saw a link to you on facebook too and have read everyone of your posts. You make me want to be a better person in every way. I have a brother, who I love dearly, that has given in to SSA. How I wish you had been around when we first learned of his trial. You are able to put into words the feelings we have been trying to express to him for years. Maybe if he could have had your blog as a support he would have been stronger. I am going to send him this link. Maybe it can still help. As a mother my heart aches for the young man that wrote to you. It aches for everyone suffering alone. I hope he knows that there are people ready to put there arms around him and help him in anyway they can. My prayers are with you both. Keep up the good work... you are changing lives.

  23. "Church culture" reminds me of a scripture I read today while at the gym. (Okay, that sounds weird, but I have nothing checked out from the library and I need something to read!)

    Helaman 4:11
    "11: Now this great loss of the Nephites, and the great slaughter which was among them, would not have happened had it not been for their wickedness and their abomination which was among them; yea, **and it was among those also who professed to belong to the church of God**."

    The next two verses describe what they did (smite their humble brethren, withhold food from the hungry, etc) and what happened to them (they lost their lands and possessions to the Lamanites.)

    Even within the Church people can be horrible. That's why we hold to our faith in Christ and His Gospel. Thank you so much for your posts.

  24. "I used to love people less because they didn't love people as much or as freely as I did. Then I realized how incredibly ironic my feelings were. I was judging the people around me because they were judging others, and refusing to tolerate them because they were intolerant. That sounds like circular logic. I looked inside myself and realized that I, like they, needed to simply love people..."

    This is me. I have been thinking about this lately. I am too judgemental, ESPECIALLY towards those who judge people for being different. I think these words were meant for me. (Okay, and probably lots of others too...) I read your blog often, and today it was as if Heavenly Father was saying, "Britt, read this...right here..." I need to change.

    I know you struggle and I love reading your words. I believe that this trial in life, which must surely be harder than any other trial, was given to you because you are so strong. I know I couldn't handle a trial like this. I wouldn't be strong enough. God never gives us more than we can handle. You, my friend, must be one tough spirit. I would be lucky to know you.

    Thanks again for your words.

  25. Spot on and insightful! Beautiful post.

  26. The struggle with SSA has only recently become personal with me, when my nephew told me he had given in to his feelings. My very first reaction was simply to put my arm around him and let him know that we loved him. I knew it was hard for him to tell me. In the next moment I was sad that he was so worried about what everyone would think, that none of us had known, or been able to offer support. I cried the whole way home from leaving him, mostly because I wasn't sure how to feel, I felt such contradiction. I love him to pieces, and him telling me this didn't change that. I just struggled on dealing with my own feelings. I knew he was in the wrong, but where do I stand now? I'm greatful for your post, it made me realize that just loving each other is the best thing we can do. Before he told me, I wasn't really aware of the personal suffering and struggle of SSA. Tolerance doesn't mean we accept the sin, but that we accept the person. Thank you for your insight, you are a powerful tool in the lord's hand. Your answers are very profound and insightful. Thank You!

  27. Satan wants us to feel alone, guilty and ashamed. The Lord wants us to feel loved, appreciated, and whole. The only way we can feel those feelings though are through Christ's atonement. By allowing the Lord to truly carry our burdens and by turning our will over to him we can feel his love.

    The Church is the the PERFECT place for IMPERFECT people. It is the way we can connect to the Lord, understand his will and feel the fellowship and love of others. Some people say things that they ought not to... but we can allow other people to dictate our eternal happiness.

  28. This blog is such a great thing. You have some beautiful insight! The women I VT right now is not coming to church anymore because she is knows the Gospel is true but doesn't like the church. She is resentful of Pres. Packer's talk this past month because she has close friends who are gay. I hope she reads this. She is suffering from that circular logic that you spoke of. I just don't want her to miss out on blessings. Maybe your blog will help :)

  29. I love reading your blog. I am LDS and married to a drug addict. He has always been active, served a mission, attended the temple regularly, but has had this big secret, a demon. He is now being open and honest about it, but it is ripping us apart sometimes. I often get upset with the people in the church and wish we could be more accepting of people who struggle with different things we do not understand. I can't understand what my husband is going through, but through your blog you are able to address many of my questions and concerns. Thanks for taking the time to share all that you have learned. I love you post on borrowed light and it is so true that we can turn to Father in Heaven for anything and he can help us. So many people advise me to divorce my husband, but when I pray, I know Heavenly Father wants me right where I am, with my husband, as impossible as that feels. We are both in 12 step prgrams (not the LDS ones) but you say a lot of things that they teach. I'm curious if you have been in a 12 step program before. You have so much knowledge and insight and so much to offer to the world. Thanks for being so brave!

  30. I just have to say thank you for sharing. I am Mormon and I know how I feel about the gospel, but I have never been gay and truly do not understand how that would be. But I believe that I should love everyone, or at least I try.

    I really like that you can talk about this with love and understanding, so that I can understand a little more from a different perspective. I truly believe that love and understanding is where we should be, because hate only divides and never resolves anything.

  31. Right on brother. Have you ever thought of publishing your writings? I know Deseret Books would love to help you publish a book if they knew about you.

  32. I appreciated this post, and all of your other posts. I'm in agreement with what another commenter said-- that this is an excruciating "weakness" but it's not the only one out there. I find it helpful to realize that I'm suffering from weaknesses also and we all are and that we all have the same answer-- to turn to God. I love your blog for your perspectives and I love that you are providing a place for those who might feel ostracized and ashamed to come and see a good example of someone who is working hard and plodding through just like we all are. Thanks for all of your perspectives and for being willing to share a piece of what is happening inside of your mind, God bless you.

  33. you're doing wonderful missionary work, not just helping people in similar situations as yourself, but people like my self, who can now help their friends. thank you, thank you, thank you.


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