Tuesday, November 30

Rise Up, and Run

Be of good courage, for thy sins are forgiven thee... That thou mayest know that the Son of Man hath power to forgive sins, rise, take up thy bed, and walk.

I can tell when the worst temptations are about to hit. It starts with a feeling of unease, followed by something that is between a mix of incredible stress and depression. It hits when I'm alone, with nothing planned and no one around to save me. And at that point, I realize that I have a choice. Stay alone, do nothing, and let it hit me full force and probably carry me way beyond where I want to go (and set off at least a week of depression as I try to regain my feet again), or rise and run away as fast as I can. I don't always run... even though I know I should, and that is what concerns me. The Lord warns me. I know when life is going to get hard and the trials begin to overwhelm me. And yet, sometimes, I don't listen. And I fall on my face, only a few steps from the last time.

I'm not perfect by any means. And often that irks me... I've been blessed beyond anything I could ever dream, and yet I still haven't fully integrated the teachings of the Savior in my life. Do I not believe Him? Am I just lazy? Stupid? Falling to temptation is never worth it; the road to Heaven is steep enough without jumping off of sheer cliff faces.

I know that I'm not hopelessly lost. I still move forward every day. Most of the time, I listen when the Spirit tells me to run, and then I start running. Yes, sometimes I still fall. Flat on my face, in the mud, and the Lord holds out His hand to help me stand, just as He dis to the woman who washed His feet with her tears and the men who lay crippled by the side of the waters of Bethesda or in a home on their bed. I, too, have fallen, too many times... and I can't rise alone. His hand is outstretched... but not to take away my struggle. To help me learn to stand, with Him as my strength. To help me realize that it takes more than faith to rise up and walk...to rise up and run from temptation... more than anything I could ever do alone. Maybe that's another meaning of the promises the Lord has given in the scriptures... That as I turn to Him, He will give me the strength to run and not be weary, and walk and not faint.

Sunday, November 28

Hopeless Romantic

So I've decided. I'm not going to stress about falling in love with guys and I'm not going to stress about not falling in love with girls. I'm going to live my life, enjoy it, learn to love and support people, and let the Lord fulfill His promises according to His timetable.

I've found myself thinking about a guy, constantly, over the last few weeks, and I realized that I had a decision to make. Completely avoid him and cut off all starts of a lasting friendship for fear that I would put myself or him in jeopardy, stay friends and worry about what to do and what not to do, or just enjoy life, keep the commandments, and make a new friend. So I'm not worrying about it anymore. If he thinks I'm strange, then he's probably right. I hold too much of myself back in relationships because I'm afraid of hurting people Ns afraid of being hurt. I think I'm just going to move forward and follow the guidance God gives me. If I make a friend, then I'll make a friend. If not, that's ok, too.

The bigger decision is to not stress about the timing of falling in love with a girl. I believe that it will happen since my Patriarchal blessing promises it. But recently I've been waiting on the Lord, constantly wondering when it will happen... when He seems much more interested in the other aspects of my life. In many cases, the Lord has given me the ability to make my own miracles. In this case, I am waiting on Him, and I think He is using the experience as an opportunity to teach me patience.

So that's my decision. Don't worry about falling in love, at all. Follow the guidance of the Spirit, love people freely, keep the commandments, and have faith that God will fulfill His promises, everything will work out in the end, and, if I've made the right choices, I'll live happily forever after. Yeah. I'm definitely a romantic.

Saturday, November 27

A Sense of Entitlement

The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

I was in the temple with a group of youth the other day, helping officiate while they did baptisms and confirmations. Everything seemed pretty normal until we got to baptisms. Then it was pretty apparent that two of the other men wanted to baptize and wanted everyone else to stand by the font and witness. Being a witness in the temple is an amazing responsibility and opportunity, and I really enjoyed it. But as time went on and I realized that no one else would have the opportunity to actually perform baptisms, I felt a bit put out. That feeling shocked me - was I really feeling a sense of entitlement in the temple? I looked inside myself and realized that yes, I was. For whatever reason, I felt entitled to do the things I wanted...

Another opportunity to baptize came up, and another man literally jumped from his seat to take the spot. Something inside me felt awful... and yet I stayed. And thought, "Maybe tonight the Lord is trying to help me not have a feeling of entitlement. Maybe He wants me to be happy with my lot in life... even if it never changes." So I changed my perspective, and witnessing the baptisms on the side of the font became an incredible opportunity.

Then, as we were about to leave, the coordinator came out and asked me to do a few additional baptisms, then more, then more... and as I was baptized and performed baptisms in the temple that night, the Lord reaffirmed the promise that He has given me so many times. "I love you. I haven't forgotten you. And I promise you that someday, your prayers and your righteous desires will be fulfilled. You'll fall in love with a woman, raise a righteous family, and find fulfillment in your life. I promise you this..."

It will take time and effort. But it will happen.
And nothing else matters.

Friday, November 26

Strength to Bear My Burdens

...that ye may not feel them...

I listened to Elder Oaks in his October 2006 General Conference talk - He Heals the Heavy Laden... and something inside of me is calling out for me to give the Lord complete control of my life - to trust Him completely and fully. In my case that means enjoying a short vacation from life instead of brooding over the major issues that currently seem to face me. Becoming more carefree. Living life and actually enjoying it. Sometimes I think way too much about life and, in some cases, it makes it hard to enjoy when I see things I didn't need to see or understand.

The Lord is willing to carry my burden. I just need to allow Him to carry my load - to give Him permission to help me be happy even if He doesn't take away my trials. Am I willing to allow Him more fully into my life? It may still be a while until the clouds clear and I find an eternal companion... but in the meantime I think it makes sense to just move forward. Spend time with girls and guys. Find things I enjoy and do them just because. Don't stress about falling in love with guys instead of girls - I'm not going to do anything against the commandments; the Lord will give me strength to carry my burdens even if He never lifts them from my shoulders. ... And maybe it's better that way. I think I'd rather be strong in the face of affliction instead of having all my trials disappear.

Wednesday, November 24

Grateful to Be a (Gay) Mormon Guy

This is, by far, the worst trial I could ever imagine. I've been in places where people were starving, in the heart of violent gangs, standing among friends who have been diagnosed, and then slowly died of cancer. I've seen people murdered and families ripped apart from feuds, others who fell from riches to abject poverty. And while I have no way to tell how those trials influenced others, living with an attraction to guys is the hardest thing I could ever imagine.

Some days I hate myself. I feel like I shouldn't exist and that somehow, God has forgotten me... and usually I blame myself for His forgetting. I feel inconsolably alone, and filled with constant grief and guilt for my mere existence. Everything the Church teaches seems to go against the feelings inside me... and it seems like there is no one who could ever understand. I feel like God will never answer the prayer I truly want Him to hear... And I wonder if God will really keep His promises...

But it has been worth it. In my isolation I have gained a love of the Lord. In my pain I've learned to pray. And the relationship I have with Him is something I wouldn't trade for anything... not even to be free of my pain. Somehow the Lord knew it all would happen this way - that my pain would push me to make a choice - to turn to God or to turn away from Him. And, for that, I am eternally grateful.

I'm grateful for the perspective that I've gained that allows me to face trials with a happy heart, and to help others face their own.

I'm grateful for the empathy that I can have through my pain - which could come no other way.

I'm grateful for the commitment and zeal that has come from trying to overcome temptations - the super-spirituality that can accompany this and other massive trials in life.

But, most of all, I'm grateful for who I have become in this fight. For the truth I have learned and the skills I have gained. For the knowledge that I am a child of God, and that He hears and answers my prayers... and that, someday, I will be saves through His grace and return to His presence.

I still don't understand everything in life. I don't know why I feel the way I do. But, at least in my case, I'm grateful for the trials, the pain, and the blessings they have brought into my life. Someday I will be perfect, and I'll understand and recognize the hand of God in all things. But, today, I am grateful to have been a (Gay) Mormon Guy.

Tuesday, November 23


Wind, snow, swirling clouds and biting cold... And yet I look at the world and see the crystal snow, the beauty, the snow banks drifting across the road. It's amazing how life can change... when nothing on the outside is really any different. Yesterday I felt like dying. Today I have a new lease on life. Nothing has changed. Life is still going to be hard; the snow is still cold; and I know the pain will come back. But at least now I have one more battle won, one more mountain climbed, one more memory to hold as proof that God loves me and is involved in my life. Somehow the swirling, twisting clouds disappear... leaving behind a winter wonderland. I haven't yet seen the clearing of my own clouds, but with the passing of each tempest, I find I have greater strength to weather the coming of another storm.

Monday, November 22

Dear Father...

For the last twelve hours I've been a wreck. My heart feels like it is being ripped out of my chest as I realize how much pain I feel... Mingled with wanting, so badly, to do what is right and to understand the purpose of my life. How can it be possible that I feel this way? I finally left life behind and came here to pray, to cry, to ask for help in living another day. I haven't cried this hard in years and I just want to be happy. I just want to do what is right.

The sun came out. Dear Lord, please help me. Help me to grow. Help me to understand. Why am I in so much pain? ... I'm grateful for my life... for the people who inspire me... help me to be grateful for all things... to understand them and learn from them. To become a better brother, servant, and friend. Help me be grateful for the pain, for the tears, for the anguish and loneliness and grief that has burned itself into my heart. Even though it be a cross that raiseth me... Help me reach out to my fellow men, to be my brother's keeper...

And, Father, help the people in the world who are in pain - the people who are alone, without families, outcast from society, depressed, and hopeless. Help them to feel loved... and help me to help them. I can't do much... but please help me. Help us. We're so lost and alone, afraid and worn from life. Please help us to be happy, to lift one another, to become the men and women Thou seest in us.

Sunday, November 21

And wanting to die

My life is a roller coaster... and somewhere near incredible spiritual experiences, whether before or after, come the lowest of the lows. The points when I see, in perfect clarity, everything that the world takes for granted and that I would give anything to have. The days when something inside me tells me that, for all the good I do, I'm worthless... because the sins of my past have robbed me of the blessings of eternity.

I know it's a lie. But right now I feel awful. Burned out, discarded, lost... and, most of all, powerless. Powerless to keep myself from hurting people around me, powerless to take my life in my hands and live the dreams I've had since I learned to dream. And sometimes, tears running down my face, I wish I could die and at least this trial would go away.

I'm lost, confused, powerless, and ground into the dust. Nothing I've done in life seems to matter. And maybe that's where God wants me... humble enough to turn to Him for guidance and peace. I know that God loves me. I know that He will do anything to help me be happy. And I know I can keep moving forward, and tomorrow will be better than today. Or at least God will give me the strength to live and the faith and hope to be happy.

Today was a good day. It was an awful day. Maybe that's another meaning for great and terrible day of the Lord... but I know that the Lord will fulfill His promises. I don't know how or when. But I know that He will if I continue to do what is right. And that knowledge and peace makes life worth living.

Overwhelming Desire

I've tried not to think about this blog for the past few days. I didn't read emails or check comments or draft posts in my head as I went through each day. I just wanted to better understand why I'm writing here - what keeps me here when I feel like, maybe, I would be better off disappearing and never coming back... and if (Gay) Mormon Guy became a short blip in the history of the blogging world.

Part of it is for me. Getting emails from all over the world giving or asking advice helps me feel connected with the world... and helps me feel like I'm making a difference. Having to be honest here and share my deepest feelings keeps me out of trouble, too - I feel like I've had more strength to resist temptation because I don't ever want it to impact my ability to write and be honest here.

But I was sitting in Church today and one of the speakers talked about men who had experienced a change in their hearts... And thereafter became missionaries who never fell away. But that wasn't the part that hit me - it was when he spoke of Alma, after all his missions, returning home... and finding it impossible to not go out and preach the gospel. Or Nephi and Lehi, who leave government positions for the opportunity to preach to the Lamanites. Or the sons of Mosiah. Or Paul. Each of these men felt the changing grace of the Atonement of Christ, saw the blessings of living the gospel, and spent the rest of his life sharing the news with the world.

As I was sitting there, the Lord helped me realize that, at least in part, I'm somewhat like those men. I'm definitely not a prophet or a leader, but I've seen the blessings that the gospel has brought in my life. I know that the gospel blesses individuals and families, and that following its principles will bring eternal happiness... and I'll spend the rest of my life sharing that message.

Thursday, November 18

Warning: this post is on priorities

Wherefore, do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy.

I've been looking at my priorities lately and wondering where I spend my effort and my time. I write here 2 out of 3 days, am behind on posting 200 comments, listen to and read the scriptures, spend my requisite 8 hours trying to find a way to meaningfully improve the world... But what am I accomplishing? What are my goals in life? And if someone stopped me on the street and asked me to tell them about my life, what would I say? So I've written something that lots of people have read. Maybe helped others in their lives. I guess I just need a change in scenery. Something novel to catch my attention and distract me from thinking too much. I'll take that to the temple the next time I go: dear Lord, what more should I be doing in life?

Tuesday, November 16

Frustration with Girls

Sometimes I feel like dating is totally not worth it.

I try to date frequently. I make friends with girls, ask them out (it usually works better that way than the reverse), spend time with them in a variety of situations, try to be totally upfront and honest with them (I am asking you out because I want to see if this will work for us and because I enjoy spending time with you), and, for the most part, have a good time. And I really, truly believe that there is at least one girl out there that I could fall in love with. And yes, I've written posts on what it means for me to fall in love.

But sometimes trying to be honest, straightforward, and kind... backfires. A girl I've been dating asked me about our relationship yesterday... wondering if I had found the attraction necessary to move forward into the next phase of dating. My answer? Not yet.

Since then, it's like our relationship (and friendship) fell off the face of the planet. No more text messages wondering how I'm doing, no more letting me know about things in her life, no more invitations or any communications from her end. I feel like honestly sharing my feelings instantly deactivated any desire on her part to play an active role in "us"... and it's frustrating. I can't tell her that I'm attracted to guys, because I don't want to date someone who pities me... And that's probably what would happen if I told her right now. And I don't feel like it's the right thing to do. If we were close to marriage, I would tell her. But right now marriage isn't even a possibility.

On the other hand, I can see exactly why she would withdraw, at least partially, from the relationship. When you invest too much of yourself into someone... and they don't return that love, then it's a lot easier and less painful to simply withdraw. To cut it off so that it doesn't consume your life. It takes a lot more love, faith, and courage to continue loving someone, and showing that love, when you realize that your love may never be returned. I guess that's one thing that I think that this trial has taught me - learning to love people who will never return it in the same way. I mean, when I fall in love with a guy, or become really good friends with a girl, then I'll do anything for them... and I'm okay if they never know, never show it back to me... and I find ways to help them meet new people... then give them goodbye hugs at their weddings, keep in touch, but let them create their own lives, usually without me as a part. But if they called me out of the blue I would still do anything.

I just wish people would be willing to invest everything in everyone they meet. To be honest and share their feelings and really, truly care about people - beyond whether or not he or she will be an eternal mate. We weren't sent here to find a spouse and then die, but to live and work and love the people around us... and to help them to rise with us. I guess I'm just frustrated. But I can see already ways that I can change... ways that I can be more honest in showing that I care about others. And that's pretty much all I can do - change who I am, and then hope that my example makes an influence on the people in my world.

Monday, November 15

I know. I'm crazy. But at least I'm not bad crazy.

A few weeks ago I wrote about how I wanted to find a way to put the scriptures on an .mp3 player and take them with me wherever I go. Well, I finally did it. And today while lifting weights I listened to the entire Book of Mormon. (Tomorrow I'll start Ether) I know I'm crazy. But I have to be crazy. It's the only way I stay spiritually safe in the face of trials.

As I looked around me at the gym, I wondered what everyone else was listening to... and realized that I had absolutely no clue. Maybe they're listening to Chopin or Beethoven, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, or the scriptures. Or maybe just whatever workout songs are playing over and over in their heads.

And I realized how easy it is to judge people by their outward appearances. Anyone who saw me wouldn't guess that I'm listening to Moroni tell a story of destruction... Just as sometimes I look at people around me and instantly type them by what I can see on the surface. It's not a bad thing unless I'm unwilling to learn more - to break the type cast and become a friend. Maybe the person who is overly quiet in Church meetings is learning something amazing from the Lord. Who am I to judge another? "Judge not unrighteously... For with that judgment with which ye judge, so also shall ye be judged."

Sunrises & Sunsets

I took some time this morning to just walk outside, long before the sun was up. It was snowing, and the wet snow left a thick, clear coating on the sidewalk, while rare cars cut pathways through the slush and sprayed the even rarer passer-by. Trees dripped and swayed, clouds swirled, wind howled, and the world seemed caught under a dark, wet, cold cloak.

And yet I didn't notice the cold or the wet, and only passed a cursory thought on the inch of slush beneath my feet. Maybe it was because I was busily engaged in life, or caught up in thought. Maybe the morning rush of adrenaline made me numb to the world around me. Or maybe I had seen it before, and I knew that, by the end of the day, the sun would come out, the snow and slush would melt, and even leaves would crackle in the arid warmth that still exists in mid-November.

Now it's close to sunset, and the prophesy has come true. Newly fallen leaves crunch beneath my feet; the snow has disappeared from all but the most shaded nether regions of the world; and the coat I brought with me this morning makes my arm sweat as I carry it out to my car. What seemed an impossibility simply happened as a course of events… bringing hope and peace and comfort in my life.

When I find that life is hard, and I am wallowing in the valley of despair, there are two ways that I find inspiration. The first is to look back - to count my blessings and give thanks for all the things I take for granted in life… and the Lord helps me know that He will bless me as He did in the past. The next is to look forward - to realize that valleys, by definition, lay between mountains… and the Lord promises me that He will help me rise from my trials. The sun may not come out tomorrow. Even if it does, it doesn't mean that tomorrow will be any easier. But that's ok… because, as I turn to God, recognize His hand in my life, and have faith that He will bless me, the Lord becomes my light. "…and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day."

Sunday, November 14

Reflections On Writing Here

Recently I've been thinking about this blog and how writing here affects me. On the one hand, writing takes time I could be spending learning some new skill, developing better relationships with my family members, dating, doing yard work… On the other hand, writing here gives me a chance to reflect on my life and, hopefully, make a difference in the world.

For the last 100 posts I've written about how being attracted to guys colors and influences my life. Sometimes it isn't hard to find something to address. Wedding receptions where I somehow catch a thrown garter. Conversations with bishopric members and family members who are trying to set me up with total strangers… but sometimes I wonder if I'm doing the right thing by writing everything from the light of being a (gay) mormon guy.

I mean, a few months ago, the only time I thought about being attracted to guys was in the moment - when I felt attracted to a guy or very not attracted to a girl, when someone asked me about love, or when someone set me up on a bad blind date. Now, it's starting to become part of how I view the world and things that happen to me… I see the world in a different light, and I am constantly composing how I could explain my feelings here. And it concerns me… because, at least to a point, my attraction is becoming more and more a part of my life. I've prayed for guidance, and I'm planning to talk with some of my priesthood leaders and ask for direction, but right now I feel like I'm still doing the right thing. The Lord prompted me to begin writing here, so I'll wait for His call as to when or if I should stop. It crossed my mind, though.

I'm still wondering what I should write here… whether I should just write whatever comes to mind, and let myself just write without a given topic, or continue on the topic of living as a member of the Church who happens to be attracted to guys. At least until right now. Laugh. The Lord is amazing. I was ready to take time to ask Him tonight… but He's begun to answer prayers before I even have a chance to take it up with Him. And He just answered. At least for the foreseeable future I'll be writing about the namesake of my blog. And I'll let the Lord take care of everything else.

Friday, November 12

Friday Nights: Turning Grief Into Good

Since my mission, I've always loathed Fridays.

Part of it is probably looking at everyone else, with girlfriends and boyfriends... Or even big groups of friends to hang out with. The internal perfectionist in me won't let me think of doing anything but a date, which means that when I don't have a date there is nothing planned... which is not a good thing.

But sitting at home wishing that I had a date isn't really productive. In fact, it's probably more likely to end up going downhill. So I've realized that I should probably have some type of backup plan. And while I'm not condoning skipping "Friday date night" on a regular basis, I definitely find peace in finding a soccer game at the indoor gym (there are pickup soccer games at UVU at one of their indoor gyms almost every night), going to the temple (last session begins at 8), or just spending time out in the world without a date. I've learned to turn to something better as time has gone on... and many of my current skills find their birthplace in Friday nights when I wondered if I would ever do anything worthwhile.

I don't hate Fridays anymore. Well, not as much. Yeah, I wish I were in love and had a date I could spend the time with tonight. But I don't. But anything beats being here and potentially putting my eternal salvation at risk. Hopefully I'll find a date for next week. And while I'm working on it, tonight I'll get out of my room, go into the world, and do something good.

Thursday, November 11

The Things That I Can't Do

When I first began this blog, I had no idea what I would write about... or if anyone would read the things I wrote. I still have no clue what to write about. But, at least part of my reason for writing is the vision I have had - something I've seen and want to make real in the world.

There are lots of things that could change in the world - things that would have helped me as I faced the reality of being attracted to guys in my teenage years... and yet weren't available then, and some of which still aren't available now.

The first was a reliable, understandable source of doctrine as it relates to the topic. I read every handbook the Church I could find, including segments of the General Handbook of Instructions, trying to understand exactly what I was supposed to do with my struggle. I wanted to know why I felt the way I felt, if there were other people who felt the same way, what I was supposed to do about it, how I was supposed to repent, if it would ever change, and how all the principles of the gospel and the blessings of the eternities applied to me. Ultimately, I wasn't able to find the information I felt I needed in anything I read, so I turned to God... and slowly learned from Him. Today, there are a few more resources for understanding the doctrine of the gospel as it applies to same-sex attraction, and efforts to compile them at Mormon.org and other locations have so far been worthwhile... but there are still tons of people who don't understand how the gospel applies in their lives.

The second was a personal connection and example. For years and years, I thought I was the only person in the world who struggled in the Church with this issue. Every other temptation seems to be talked about from the pulpit and in the classroom, from lying to cheating to stealing to staying out past curfew with a girl. But there was never any mention of my trials in Sunday School, never any mention in success stories in the Ensign, New Era, or Friend. I felt like I didn't exist... or that I was an anomaly - something that shouldn't be - in the society of the Church. I just wanted someone I could talk to who could show me that it was possible to live my life and be faithful in the face of my trials. Someone I could confide in, who would truly understand my pain, not just stand on the sideline of my life. And yet I had no one. I finally turned, again, to God, and learned that He understood my pain, could inspire me to become better, and could help me carry my grief when no one else in the world seemed to understand.

And the third need I felt was a way to share what I had learned with the world. If I had a breakthrough and kept myself from suicide, I had no one to tell. If I felt the love of God and better understood how I could apply the scriptures to my life and my predicament, there was no one who would understand the story. And so I kept those things in my heart and tried to share simple things I had learned about the gospel, apart from the circumstances in which I learned them. When I got up to bear my testimony, I spoke about the love of God... not sharing the story that had prompted it.

I'm just now realizing that the three things I wanted from my participation in the Church were, ironically, nourishment of the word of God (doctrine as it applies to my life and my circumstances), friends (people to love, who understand my circumstances, and will help me to achieve my goals), and the ability to serve (and share the blessings that God has given me along the path). That's exactly what President Hinckley said that all members need in order to thrive in the Church. I had pieces of all three - plenty of callings, plenty of friends, and plenty of doctrine. But there was a piece of each, as it applied to same-sex attraction, that I could never find inside the building... and instead found by going to the Head of the Church - to God Himself.

Here on this blog I guess I wanted to try to fill parts of those needs - to try, somehow, to be an influence in someone else's life. To fill my need to share my story to lift and inspire others. To create a personal interaction with someone - to become friends, in a way, to lift and teach one another. And to try to share the doctrine that I've learned with the world.

But there are things that I can't do. I can't be a source for doctrine... because I'm not a Church official. Anything and everything I say is just that - something I've said. I can't answer questions or requests for advice with authority; I have to simply say, "This is what I would do." I also can't be a friend to everyone. As universal as my story may be, I get emails every day from people who don't feel like they can relate to me. I'm being honest. This is who I am. As much as I wish I understood everything that was going through everyone's heads and could meet their needs... I realize that I don't understand your problems and maybe you don't understand mine. It's an inherent problem with being only one person... and not having experienced the pain, trials, and sufferings of all men.

Perhaps the biggest difficulty is that, since this blog is not part of the Church, there's no way to reach the people who are struggling most. The 14- and 15-year-olds who are struggling, or the 18-year-olds wondering if they should serve missions, or the returned missionaries who are wondering what to do with their lives when the two dichotomous societies are tearing them apart... have no way of hearing about the message (except through Facebook... which was an answer to prayers).

Maybe someday there will be another official resource in the Church designed specifically to help us apply the gospel in our lives, to our struggles. An anonymous online question-and-answer page where we could learn official doctrines and promises of light and hope and how they apply to our lives and can help us to find peace. A forum full of stories of men and women who are living the gospel while facing the things we face, people we can talk to who could help us see perspective... people who understand what we are going through because they've been there. And an opportunity to lift and serve others through our own examples and testimonies... inside the community of the Church, where we could find friends, opportunities to serve, and the ability to be nourished by the word of God.

I don't know if that will happen. But I do know that, even though we as a people are still growing, God makes up for our deficiencies. The teachings and examples of members of the Church helped me develop a relationship with God and then to turn to Him in my times of need... and He has helped me to thrive even while the people around me weren't yet able to meet my needs. I hope that someday we, as a people, better follow the teachings of the Church... and reach out more to befriend, teach, and serve one another. But I am grateful for the lessons I've learned anyway... and maybe that's what I needed to learn, and what each of us needs to learn - the faith to turn to God when conditions aren't ideal and to let Him make up for the things that we, and others, can't do.

Monday, November 8

Lifting Me

"I think a post on fellow-shipping members with SSA would be great. When I look around my family ward and think who I should reach out to, it is usually people in my same circumstance in life. So, in my case, I know how to befriend and serve young couples, young mothers, etc. So, if you were in my ward, how could I fellowship you? Should I encourage my husband to befriend you, befriend you myself, ask you to join our family for FHE or a dinner? Do you want to hold my baby? Do you want me to set you up with my single friends? What would make you feel most welcome at church from married couples?"

"I just learned that my friend's daughter is lesbian. What can I say to her if she wonders about how her daughter will be accepted in Church?"

I might be in your ward. And even if I'm not, two or three of my brothers or sisters probably are. I can't tell you exactly how to best fellowship every type of person. Every person who faces trials has different needs. But I can tell you how I have been blessed and fellowshipped by the people around me... the people who, in almost every case, had no idea of the impact they were having on my life. I'll say it again and again: The Church is the perfect place for me as I struggle with being attracted to guys... because it is through the teachings of the Church that I have come closer to God and found true peace.

I have a friend who, one day, just knocked on my door and asked if we could be friends. I didn't know her, but she had felt like she wanted to be friends with me... and had no idea how to begin. It may sound like her approach was a bit awkward, but that day had been terrible... and her knock on my door was an answer to prayer. Only moments before she knocked, I had felt so incredibly alone, and had prayed for someone - anyone - to simply spend time with. My roommates were as close to antisocial as you can get in an LDS community. I dropped everything to spend time with her whenever she wanted a friend. And as we talked, I felt useful, loved, and worthwhile. Did she understand me, completely? No. But she valued me as a person and a friend.

Another friend got my phone number the first time he met me, and called me each week to let me know when Family Home Evening took place... invited me to birthday parties for people I didn't know... encouraged me to play flag football or ultimate frisbee with the group each Saturday... and I reciprocated with invitations (and often a ride) to attend the temple each week.

Should you encourage your husband to fellowship me? Yes. Should you fellowship me? Yes. Do I want to be involved in your family? Yes. I love kids - I would love to hold your baby and rock it to sleep. The last time I heard a baby cry in Sacrament meeting, I wished I could go, hold her, and rock her to sleep out in the foyer while her mom and dad sat in peace and silence. I appreciate when I'm invited to family dinner, FHE, and everything else... even if I'm not in your ward. I love to laugh, play board games, talk about the world and the gospel, and eat good food. And even though being around families creates a powerful, and sometimes painful, contrast to my own current life... it fills a need in my life.

Now, the last question - do I want to be set up with your single friends? It doesn't really matter if your single friends are the most attractive females in the world. I've never been attracted to girls. It seems, from my perspective, that relationships that "don't work out" return to the state before you began dating. If we were total strangers before, then dating makes it pretty likely that we will remain total strangers forever. But if we develop a friendship and become good friends, then (at least hopefully) we'll stay good friends regardless of what happens romantically. Don't just introduce me to someone and say she's really cute. Leaving us in a room alone is more likely to destroy any chance of relationship than anything else. But introducing us... over and over again, and then letting the relationship move forward on its own, will allow us to become real friends - not just blind dates.

Of all the things you could do, opening your home and your life to me makes the biggest difference. I feel lifted when I lift others... and so you enable me by letting me help, even when you could do it on your own. The greatest trial I face is feeling alone, and feeling worthless... and when I am with people who love me and value me, I can almost forget my pain. For me, the Church, the temple, and my family are the only places I have ever felt accepted and loved. The only place where I knew that I was really a valued member of the group, and not just an outcast that someone had allowed to take part. Treat me like a brother. A friend. And realize, that, beyond the things I face, I'm just another person who needs a friend, an opportunity to serve, and to be lifted by the word of God. And when I have those things, it's easier to remember that I, too, am a son of God.

Sunday, November 7


"For it is not needful that a man run faster than he has strength."

The one thing that could keep me from receiving the blessings of God is my own unworthiness. Unresolved addictions. Attachment to impurity. An unwillingness to give away my sins to God. For the most part, I'm doing okay in those respects. But unworthiness is more than just not doing bad - the Lord expects me to be anxiously engaged in good causes. He opens various doors and prompts me to run through each.

Some day, maybe, I'll see patterns in the pathways I am running. In the meantime, I keep running faster and faster... I only wonder if I'm running fast enough.

Friday, November 5

The Lord Will Fulfill His Promises

In my Patriarchal blessing it promises me that I'll fall in love with a young woman who will fall in love with me, we'll be sealed in the temple, and have a happy, righteous family in this life and in eternity. Some days I look at my current life - I've fallen in love with guys, but never with a girl - and I wonder if maybe I need to put my faith simply in the Lord, and I've interpreted His promises wrong somehow. And then the Lord kindly and lovingly reminds me that He made the promises... And that He intends to keep them. That He will keep them, and fulfill them in His own due time. I think I feel somewhat like Abraham did, wondering how the Lord would make of Isaac a righteous generation when he was on an altar... Or how Zacharias felt when the angel told him his old wife would have a son. I don't know how the Lord will fulfill His promises to me. I know that, however it happens, there will have to be miracles involved. But the Lord can do miracles... And I guess He will for me... again, in His due time. Those are my thoughts. Trust in the Lord, and He will fulfill His promises, no matter what they may be, as I do my best and put my faith in Him.

Thursday, November 4

Learning to Love

Questions: Have you ever fallen in love with another guy? Is there a moral way to express the love you feel for another man within the doctrine of the Church? How can people use the word 'love' to mean so many different things?

I've been thinking a lot lately about the meaning of the word "love." It's amazing that so many people can use the word and yet present it in so many contradictory settings. The scriptures definitely teach that men should be full of "love"... But what does that mean? And, maybe more relevant here, how does same-sex attraction influence love... if at all? 

So what are the things that typify love? A desire to be near someone else, to understand the workings of his mind, to listen to his voice. To see him laugh and smile and to help him solve the problems of life with new ideas or just a listening ear. To see him grow and progress and become the person that God sees in him - and the person he truly wants to be in his heart. And, ultimately, to realize that my vision of that future may not be exactly what God has in mind... Or even what he has in mind, and being willing to help him in any way possible. 

Have I ever been in love with a guy? Yeah. So in love that I called him multiple times a week, visited him at his apartment, played sports with him, and found myself thinking about him throughout the day. In this case, I was also his home teacher, which made it easy to see why I'd be interested in how he was doing... but in the Church there is no ban of being a good friend. We never did anything that would arouse passion. This was the only guy who knew that I was attracted to him (that's a long story and circumstances were way too unique to post and keep anonymity). As far as his "returning" my love, it didn't happen. We were friends and that was all - and even then our friendship was mostly one-way. Then he got engaged, fell off the face of the planet, stopped really participating in anything, and I cried for a week. Not because I had lost a lover... but because I had lost a friend. 

It would be dishonest to say that part of my mind didn't constantly barrage me with the desire for a much more physical relationship. But I knew where that would take me - if not with him then alone somewhere else with dark fantasies that leave me with nothing worthwhile. 

So, the big question: what is love? And what defines its righteous expression, especially among guys who are attracted to other guys?

I think that different levels or types, or expressions of love each have three different facets:

1. A desire for present happiness. 
2. A desire for future happiness. 
3. A desire for eternal happiness.

Every expression of love denotes a hierarchy among each of the facets.

Now, it's obvious that the right way to express love is pretty simple to see when all of the facets line up. If something you can do will increase someone's present, future, and eternal happiness, then it's an obviously valid expression of love. Man finds woman, they find happiness in being together and want to be happy for all of this life and the next. They're sealed in the temple and spend the rest of life working to fulfill that dream.

But what about when an action requires subjugating one facet to another? In my opinion, that is where different types of love appear... and where the controversy over love erupts. A one-night stand holds present happiness over future and eternal. Gay marriage holds present and future happiness over eternal. These are types of 'love' - but, at least in my opinion, any love that subjugates eternal happiness to the present is not true love. The only true love is where desire for eternal happiness outweighs future, which outweighs present. That's the love that God shows to us, and the love that we should show to one another. He has sent us to a fallen earth, jeopardizing our present happiness, and given us the ability to sin, jeopardizing our future happiness, for the possibility that we will repent and return to Him happier than otherwise possible. He's willing to put anything on the line to help us grow... and He has.

So what are valid expressions of true love? I believe that true love follows true principles, and that anything else doesn't truly show love. True love, or charity, as it's called in the scriptures... comes from valuing someone else's, and my, eternal happiness over everything else. Being willing to sacrifice personal and even future happiness for their eternal wellbeing. Does being attracted to other guys affect that? Yeah. It means that I will never indulge in fantasy with other guys. It means, if I don't find a girl to marry, that I may never get married in this life. And it means that in everything I do, I try to help others be eternally happy - to develop the perspective and knowledge and habits necessary to help them in the life beyond this one. I have plenty of guy friends. We do all sorts of things together. If I'm overly attracted to them, then I have to make sure that I'm careful of what I do for my own sake. But, otherwise, I treat them like everyone else - someone to love, lift, inspire, teach, and comfort through the perils of life... a brother on the pathway to happiness.

Wednesday, November 3

Just a Good Day

Today started out awful. I definitely did not want to get out of bed, leave home, or do anything on my pages long to-do list. I did it anyway, and the day just continued to get worse. By noon I had a massive headache and I wanted to just disappear. So I did something a bit out of the ordinary. I called a friend and we just hung out for the evening. I didn't let myself think of all the things I neede to do, I didn't worry about anything at all... And right now I feel like I can face another day. I'm grateful for friends in my life. And I'm grateful that tomorrow is another day.

Tuesday, November 2

Fame, Fortune, and Feelings about them both

Half a dozen reporters have asked me to share my story on TV or appear in public. Some of them promised national fame, others promised fame while preserving anonymity. And others just wanted a story… some way to attach a name, face, and voice to Mormon Guy.

I've thought about each offer. Each one came from someone who felt that the message needed to be shared, and was trying to do his part to share it. And, on that level, it would be an amazing way to share the message with thousands of people. 

But it doesn't feel right.

If I were being showcased for an amazing voice or outstanding accomplishments, it would be different. But I'm not outstanding or amazing… and I'm not a poster boy for living the gospel. I'm not a leader of an underground movement. I have absolutely no authority or official anything on the subject. I'm just another guy who lives his life and shares his testimony on a blog. And, at least in my perspective, I shouldn't be plastered on TV when there are so many unwritten stories of men and women so much better than I am. Yes, we need more uplifting newscasts. But it doesn't come from shining a spotlight on one person - it comes from shining the light on the message of hope and peace… and the influence that Christ has in our lives. We don't reward or honor people for paying their tithing, fulfilling their Church responsibilities, or keeping the word of wisdom… and with good reason. Who is good but God alone?

I didn't start writing this blog to become famous. And, as much as I love each of you, someday I'll stop writing here. And when that happens, or before, I hope that you realize that this isn't about me. Maybe something I said resonated with you, once. Maybe the Spirit taught you something. But ultimately I'm not the teacher here. I'm not the example. Christ is - and I hope that comes across in the things that I write.

I'm not a voice in the wilderness, crying for change. I'm not saying anything that is really unique or amazing. Mine is a story of imperfection and failure, sin and suffering, repentance and again seeing the light. I'm just telling my story - and, while I'm an individual son of God, truthfully, I believe that anyone could tell the same story… and does, by simply living according to the light of the gospel, no matter what life brings.