Friday, April 29


I feel confused. And lost. And I'm not sure what it all means.

Here's a glimpse into the turmoil in my mind... at least a part I can share here:

A few days ago I felt something for a girl - something different than I've ever felt before. It was an amazing experience... and while it was happening I wondered what it meant.

I've never been attracted to girls, and yet I know that someday I'll find a/the right girl, fall deeply in love, be married in the temple for time and all eternity, and have a family. I understand all the pieces after the falling in love part... and I've always wondered how that would work. In my mind's eye, I knew it would probably take a lot of work anyway. I envisioned developing an emotional and spiritual relationship with someone, then finally, one day, getting hit by a spiritual clap of lightning, something like cupid's arrow that would change me and make me in love in the places I can't.

And so the feeling I felt, for someone I had only barely met, made me wonder. Was it going to be easier than I thought? Was this a somewhat subtle sign that I had found someone that it might work out with?

Just one issue - she wasn't available to date and wasn't interested in breaking her current exclusivity. So when I asked for her number, all I got was her name.

I was somewhat confused. Um... normally when the Lord gives me some type of sign there's also an open door - not total rejection.

Then I realized that maybe it was something different. Maybe it wasn't a sign of finding the "one"... but just proof that I was slowly becoming attracted to girls as a whole - something that sort of scares me. I've already done the dating thing for years. Adding another facet, while it would ultimately be awesome, would put me in unfamiliar territory - a 16-year-old in a much older life. I'm not sure if I want to be lovestruck at this point.

But maybe that was it. So on another date since I tried to cultivate that same feeling - to do everything I had done before. But looking into her eyes didn't make me want to keep looking. I didn't think to myself "I could listen to her all night" or even spend much time talking with her, even though we had a lot in common. Which means that it isn't a universally applied thing.

And so I'm sort of lost. And that's only a tenth of the confusion. I haven't had the think & pray time to figure this or anything else out yet. I know it'll work out, that God will help me, and that I'll understand life eventually. Today, at least, I have the peace that comes with knowing that... but in the meantime, though, even with faith, I'm still somewhat confused.

Tuesday, April 26

Feeling Something Different

I was talking with a girl and I noticed her hair, her eyes, the way she smiled... I noticed the clothing she was wearing, the color coordination in her dress, the way she held her head while she spoke. Her laugh and a pleasant gaze that seemed to look into my soul... with peace and genuine interest.

And I felt something.

It was more than just relief at finding someone who could hold a conversation, or camaraderie in finding someone who shared a dozen similar passions that are hard to find alone. No... I've had hundreds of conversations where I played a part, wanting cognitively to know about the girl yet never feeling anything inside.

Until today.

There weren't any fireworks. Not even little ones. I didn't imagine her in white or even ponder first date ideas. In fact, had I not lived with total apathy and worse with girls, I doubt I would have noticed it. But it was there - something in her physical presence that made me want to be there.

I don't know what it means - whether it's some sort of divine sign on this girl (which makes life somewhat difficult, but would be awesome), or just a glimpse of something yet to come.

Either way, at the end, when I could still remember her name and asked for her contact information, it was because of more than just having a good conversation. I honestly hoped that I could see her again.

Friday, April 22

Premortal Character Creation

I had a conversation with someone the other day about the pros and cons of life and how they always even out for each person in the end. Everyone has different trials and blessings and circumstances and opportunities, but "all things work together for the good of them that love God and serve Him."

In another conversation someone mentioned that we don't choose our trials or temptations. "At least in this life..." was my response. And the mixture of the two brings an interesting view to mind.

I've definitely played my share of games - video, computer, card, board, imaginary, role-playing, you name it. One of the first steps in taking part in many games is "character creation" - the customization of a persona to represent me in the game. Some games, like Monopoly, give me a very small range of choices. I can be the dog or the shoe, and not the same as someone else. Card games, I choose who to sit by. Other games provide a framework to create a character in the game world that fits a certain role.

Probably the most famous example is Dungeons & Dragons. And that's the example that comes to mind.

Dungeons & Dragons is the stereotypical role-playing game - where players can do literally anything within the framework of the game because it's mediated by a third party who arbitrates the rules as time goes on. Players are usually in groups and can be doing anything in the game world from walking down a crowded city street to flying through space. It's essentially an imaginary game with rules that are enforced using probabilities and random dice rolls.

Creating a character for D&D is simple at a glance.  In one style, players have a number of "creation points" that can be used to purchase attributes. Exceptional charisma costs a few more points. So does higher intelligence or a royal background. But I can also "purchase" not-so-desirable characteristics - anything from being colorblind to allergic to human hair - and with each "purchase" of deficits, I'm actually credited more points to spend. The most expensive, desirable attributes actually cost far more than the initial allocation of points, which means that characters with those traits will indubitably have a host of trials to go along with them. But, in the end, everyone will spend all the points, and the game begins.

I just wondered how real lives were created and designed before this life... and the thought of sitting around a massive table, creating the persona that I would assume here, with costs for talents and credits for trials, made me laugh. I only played D&D a few times, and those few times I had way too much fun creating characters with dozens of outlandish traits. I could definitely see myself looking at life, reading the instruction manual that told about the potential benefits and drawbacks to individual characteristics in life, and choosing the blessings and trials I have today.

In reality, though, designing life is much simpler and less prone to error than choosing random propensities from a rulebook. God knows me. He knows who I am and knows the exact things I need to return to Him... and that is the sum total of my life. Everything I write about here at (Gay) Mormon Guy wasn't random, or caused by some mysterious outside interplay. If my needs weren't obvious to me before this life, they were to Him, and my life was created, with all of its awesome blessings and interesting trials, for me and my good... because God loves me and wants me to learn to be happy... to grow stronger and stronger in faith and return to Him someday.

Whether or not I chose my trials in life before I came here, God has the power to determine what will happen. He could make me smart, handsome, popular, rich, famous, spiritual, wise, and every other good thing... and He could take away my trials in an instant. But He doesn't... because He loves me more than that... because He wants me to become the man He sees in me. Life isn't about perfect character creation. It's about living in an imperfect world, in an imperfect avatar, and learning to become and change into perfection through Christ. It's a journey, and I'll meet things far worse than dragons on the way. Bur God is with me, and at the helm of my life. He's in control. And for that, I am eternally grateful.

Thursday, April 21

Kissing Guys

The first time I saw two guys kissing was an interesting event in my life. I had seen normal kisses before in movies, paintings, photos, and in real life at weddings or just watching my parents. And to me kissing had always seemed awfully gross... and never something that I had wanted to pursue.

But something strange clicked when I first saw guys kissing. Something stirred inside me and suddenly I had the desire to try it... a desire that seemed totally and completely foreign... and suddenly I understood what others felt... and wanted to feel more. To be in the scene and to feel the flood of emotions that had already begun to stir.

And then I did a double-take. This wasn't the kiss of husband and wife when they've made covenants to serve God and each other for eternity. This was a passionate kiss between two men who were glorifying the natural man in front of a camera... and yet, along with the revulsion that also came naturally with that thought, I felt drawn more than I had ever been before. And inside, I realized that I had to make a choice. Which feeling to cultivate, and which to follow and believe.

I made the decision to listen to my soul... and not my hormones... and have since tried to cultivate the peace that comes from living the gospel each day. I've found meaning in turning to God, hope in following His counsel, and purpose in doing what is right even when my body, my mind, and others are telling me to go the other way.

It still happens. Some days I'm online and suddenly there's a picture of two guys kissing that makes it past my pop-up, ad, and everything else blocker... and the emotions flare. My heart quickens, and I feel the tugging from two sides in my heart... two choices that will determine my mortal and eternal destiny. One promises eternal happiness, incredible meaning, growth, heartache, love, faith, hope, and trials and strength beyond what I can imagine with God at my side. The other offers love, acceptance, pleasure, earthly happiness, and instant gratification with a guy beside me. And both are telling the truth.

That's one of the biggest difficulties I think that men like me face. It's totally and completely possible to live a fulfilling, happy life with another guy. Being gay wouldn't immediately strike me down with AIDS or even destroy my ability to function as a citizen. In society today I could have romance, a family, a job, even get specialized hiring benefits from diversity programs if I were gay. In a monogamous gay relationship I could have everything I think I want.

On the other side, I have the word of God, His prophets, and His voice and He speaks to me... promising me that if I will live faithfully, I'll receive all the blessings I want and need... In due time... and it will be many, many times worth what the alternative can offer. And I've seen some of those blessings... but I still don't know exactly what the Lord has in mind for me. I still don't know when or how or even if in this life I'll see the fruition of the faith I need to show.

And so that's my choice. To sacrifice the feelings of attraction that God gave me, my dreams, and hopes for a family and love, and to consecrate my life through faith - believing that He will take care of me... or to rely on and follow what I can see and feel today.

It's a trial that I wish everyone could undergo. A crushing, overwhelming process of realizing that I will fail without God and have to choose to follow Him. That, in this moment, life is black or white... and that I have to rely on faith... and nothing more. Faith that, even if the pain and the passion and the patience never goes away, I will be a better man... And have made the right choice. It has turned me into the man I am today, and I have seen God's hand in my life. I know it's the right choice, because I've talked with God. But I still have to have faith... to choose to believe.

Sunday, April 17

Hunger, Thirst, and Other Needs

The lesson in Sunday School was about the Good Samaritan. The teacher was well-prepared, engaging, and able to easily accommodate the classroom, even full to capacity. The lesson progressed as she guided us through the scriptures, interjecting her thoughts and creating an environment of trust.

But, to me, the classroom felt like a prison cell. I felt anxious, frustrated, and almost hungry. And I had no idea why.

The background was factually accurate. The meaning behind each motif in the parable was compelling. Even the final conclusion was dramatic, different from the normal interpretation, and obviously something she had learned only through personal study and preparation. But inside I chafed... and I found myself wondering why I felt so uncomfortable.

Then, as she spoke about her personal experience preparing for the lesson, she said something that caught my attention. She said that she had prayed for greater understanding... and that the Lord had answered her... and that she had finally "got it." And I realized why.

The greatest obstacle that lies before me in understanding greater truths of the gospel... is my belief in my own understanding.

I look at the parable of the Good Samaritan, the story of the woman with an issue of blood, the healings and the miracles of Christ... And the greatest mistake I can make is to believe that I know "why" He did what He did, "why" He taught what He taught, "why" He said what He said... The greatest mistake is to believe that I "get" the gospel... because when I "get" it, I don't bother to ask Him for more.

It's even worse when I haven't even had that experience for myself, but am just going off of someone else's experience. Feasting on the words of Christ does not mean attending a class or opening a commentary and reading about the spiritual experiences of someone else. It does not mean reading a blog about someone's experiences... no matter how fulfilling in whatever situation it may seem to watch someone else feast. Feasting on the words of Christ is a personal endeavor.

But even if I feast, and find a deeper level through personal experience, it's still far too easy to rejoice in having finally "understood it" ... and when I have that experience again, or read the same passage, I already get it... and again I don't ask. I feasted once on the words of Christ. But each subsequent time I pull leftovers out of the fridge and remember how great it once tasted, contenting myself with the memory of food. And I starve.

The great secret to understanding and applying the teachings of Christ - to being able to truly feast on them over and over again - is realizing that I will never, ever, ever truly "get them" or understand their beauty and magnificence... only grow closer with each passing day. Each time I better understand a principle, I am a step closer to God... but the steps are infinite... and I will always be learning. I will never truly understand the law of tithing. Never understand the word of wisdom. Never understand the law of chastity...

I will only be able to grow in that understanding... and I can only grow when I want more. That is the difference between exaltation and salvation. The saved do what is needed. The exalted hunger and thirst for more. They keep climbing, even when they have everything they could dream of.

I looked around at my classroom, and it no longer felt like a prison cell. Yes, the teacher was still telling us of the feast she had experienced... without giving us all the tools and time to have that same experience there. But the Lord is the true Teacher, and He will teach me no matter where I am or what is happening... if I'm willing to listen. I had come to eat and be filled, and the Lord helped me remember and re-learn a principle I needed to know. It was a good experience. Did I finally "get it"? No. I have a long, long ways to go. And lots of learning and steps in between. But I'm closer, and next time He'll teach me something else.

Saturday, April 16

Dear BJ - Question & Response

I got this comment recently (some info had been edited out for privacy). I get similar questions each day, and thought this might help those readers who wonder how to help family members or friends who are trying to live the gospel in the face of trials:

I have read your blog several times and I think I have a brother who is in your shoes. He is a faithful member of the church, served an honorable mission, but he has no desire to date, has never kissed a girl, and is uncomfortable hanging out with other male family members. He is the only brother in our family. He has made comments that have lead me to believe
that he is battling same-sex tendencies, however, he has not come out and admitted this. I have wondered for years. Now I think I know.

How should I go about handling this situation? I called him last night and told him that I've been thinking about him and wanted him to know that I am in his corner no matter what. And that I want the best for him.

What else could I do? Do we want him to be able to admit this weakness? Is that part of the healing? Is trying to get him attracted to women a lost cause?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank You.


BJ -

Every person in the world is different. Each has a unique background, motivation in life, fears, hopes, dreams... Each man has things that make him want to shine and things that make him want to disappear. Life is hard for everyone - whether you're a single parent of 4 or a gay Mormon. Boys, girls, men, and women each have different needs. Your brother is completely and totally unique in who he is... which means that the key in supporting your brother is understanding what he needs... something that always requires involving God through prayer.

Some want their families to know; they've told their close friends and are just biding the time until the moment is "right." Some will never tell their families, preferring to fight their battles alone than jeopardize faith and relationships with the chaos that inevitably ensues to some extent. I don't know what your brother wants. I'm not planning to tell my family, ever, at this point... but if they found out through here I'd want to know.

But your question was actually about what you can do for your brother... and the answer to that question is profoundly calming and reassuring. 

No matter who your brother is, what trial he is going through, and whether or not you know for sure... You should always treat him the same.

This is something different than what most people would interject here, and what you hear on the news - the "Show unconditional love" that actually is meant to be interpreted "Support him in whatever he does and never tell him that anything he does is wrong."

Love is something far more than tolerance or condoning the actions of another. It's more than wanting physical happiness for another. True love is love as God shows love... by example, in word, and in deed... and always leads to righteousness. True love is always encouraging him to make choices that will lead to eternal happiness... and never settling for less than what he deserves in life - from others and from himself. Be his arbiter and cheering section in the good he does, and have the courage to play a critical role in his decisions to give him someone to help sort out his thoughts and make the best choices from all angles.

If I were your brother, I'd want you to talk to me... to tell me that you love me... and to help me see what you see in me - the vision of the person I could be someday in your eyes. And I'd want you to be truthful, not accusing, and to simply share your observations, and communicate how you feel you could help.

On how to help, please, please, please ask God for confirmation before you suggest anything specific. You said he's not dating - you need to figure out what the reason there is before you try to set him up. "Trying to get him attracted to women" is a massive simplification of a host of controversial therapy modalities called "conversion therapy"... and isn't usually something that you can just decide to do as an outsider by setting him up with a cute girls and locking them in a room together. I've had family members try similar techniques and the relationships disappear as soon as I'm out the door. And others who have tried to "reason me into liking girls." Yeah, that doesn't work. If it did, we would have done it decades ago. He's probably spent hours, months, years developing his rationale behind his current course of action... and the first step to helping him find greater happiness is understanding where he is now.

Ultimately, realize that in order to help your brother, you simply need to help him grow in faith. Can I say that again? In order to best help your brother, you need to help him grow in faith... and the most effective things you can do to help him grow in faith may have nothing to do with (Gay) Mormon Guy. It could be involving him in your family through family home evening, calling him on speakerphone to have him take part in family scripture study and family prayer. Scheduling a day when everyone can go to the temple - simultaneously if you're far away. Texting him with the text (not just reference) of favorite scriptures, and your testimony. Giving him a chance to serve your family. Helping him find good friends, choose good entertainment, read good books, and surround himself with good things. Talking with him, in person, and sharing pieces of your own life to build greater trust... and to show the hand of the Lord in your own life. Praying for him, out loud, by name, for his specific needs... and counseling with the Lord as to what to do and what to say.

Hopefully something I've written here resonates with you and your brother. Turn to the Lord for guidance, and He will help you to do the right thing for everyone involved. I know that God is our Father... and that He loves your brother even more than you do. And as you strive to serve and help your brother, you can turn to God and He will help you help His son.

Let me know if there is anything else I can do. Thanks for your question, and may God be with you. You and your brother will be in my prayers.

Mormon Guy

Friday, April 15

For the Beauty of the Earth

"Where ships of purple gently float on seas of daffodil, fantastic sailors mingle. And then, the wharf is still" (Emily Dickinson).

Have I mentioned recently that life is spectacular? I love the way the sun streams through the clouds, breaking shadows and pouring out pillars of light. The breeze rushing through the trees, the rain pounding against the pavement, the birds singing in the early morning hours. Running, with the sun warm on my face. The smiles on people's faces as I see them through the day. The green on trees, and the bushes in blossom. A car so warm that I have to roll the windows down. Fresh air, later sunlit days (thanks daylight savings), and awesome sunsets that fill the sky with color. Purple, gold, pink, yellow... dotted with fantastic creatures and apparitions shaped with the wind... and then the breathtaking beauty of twilight. Nights warm enough to lay on the ground and watch the stars, or to talk with someone and never even know that time has passed or to stand on a street corner and watch the cars go by.

My life has its storms, when the heavens thunder and the world seems ready to split apart beneath me. The last few posts on (Gay) Mormon Guy have probably indicated that. But after the storms, comes Spring... and the knowledge that God really is watching out for me... and that He takes care of those I love. And with those storms, comes a change within me - a greater sense of gratitude, of humility, of awe, and of peace.

"For the beauty of the earth, for the beauty of the skies, for the land which from our birth over and around us lies... For the beauty of each hour, of the day and of the night, hill and vale and tree and flower, sun and moon and stars of light... For the joy of human love - brother, sister, parent, child. Friends on earth and friends above, for each gentle thought and mild... Lord of all, to Thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise."

Thursday, April 14

I'll Be What You Want Me to Be

I've noticed that carrying my greatest trials and burdens in life has made the music of the Church a thousand times more meaningful. I've always been grateful that music was a central part of worship in the gospel, but as I've faced death, illness, pain, and suffering, my introspection on the words has deepened... and I've realized how much true worship really is contained in the texts of the hymns... words that sometimes make me stop singing altogether... just so I can listen and cry.

It may not be on the mountain height or over the stormy sea; it may not be at the battle's front my Lord will have need of me. But, if, by a still, small voice He calls to paths that I do not know, I'll answer, dear Lord, with a heart sincere: "I'll go where you want me to go."

There's surely somewhere a lowly place in earth's harvest field so wide where I may labor through life's short day for Jesus the crucified. So trusting my all to Thy tender care, and knowing Thou lovest me, I'll do Thy will with a heart sincere: "I'll be what you want me to be."

Sometimes I look at life, and the many things that make us different. Some are given talents that seem to give them incredible ease in studying. Others are popular. Others are good at listening. And I look at my life... and live with a constant duality. 

On the one hand, I live, every day, with massive and major problems - only some connected here to (Gay) Mormon Guy... trials that most people would say are beyond their comprehension, and that far too often lead me far too deeply into depression. Trials that threaten to cut at the core of my being and make me wonder why and how God could allow someone to experience that kind of emotional suffering.

But I look at who I am because of those trials, and I stand amazed. Somehow, God has taken a little boy, scared, confused, and hurting... and infused him with light to become a better man. A man of faith. A man of love. A man of wisdom. I know that some of you hate when I talk about myself. But this isn't about me - it's about the change that God wrought in me through the refiner's fire. About the incredible vision He has for His children... and about the power that lay in obedience to His call and faith in His promises.

I used to pray, fervently and desperately, for God to take away my trials. To make me just like everyone else... to give me friends... to let me be attracted to girls... to lose my attraction to guys... and to just help me fit in with the rest of the world around me. I looked up at the heavens, and, tears in my eyes, asked Him to lighten my burdens and to make me whole.

Today, I am grateful that He didn't... but answered my prayers in His own way. He gave me the strength, the wisdom, the knowledge, and the faith to move forward and to become the man He saw in me... something I could have never done without being surrounded by adversity.

Today I pray for strength and faith to bear my burdens. Love to lift others and to love them unconditionally. Wisdom to see God's hand in all the things in my life. Gratitude to appreciate His gifts to me, in every form they may take. And guidance... to know what I should do, what I should say, and who I should be. I know now that my life may never be easy or simple. I may never have my burdens lifted, even though I wish they could be. But, trusting my all to His tender care, and knowing He loves me... I'll do His will with a heart sincere... I'll be what He wants me to be.

Wednesday, April 13

Pressing Forward in Pain

It started four days ago, when life began to run me ragged and left me physically smashed. Then my mind began to go numb, and I found it hard to think or do anything at all... even to respond to emails asking for help. And then a hundred things all happened at once in life... each one battering at my already bruised self... and now I'm left feeling like my emotions and spirit and life itself have been drained from me. All the feelings are too familiar... and only partly influenced by the outside world and the usual topic here at (Gay) Mormon Guy. They're the precursors to depression.

I have a list of coping strategies I've developed over the years - things that I can do to try to offset it. Go play sports. Write. Pray. Find someone to talk to who I can lift. Find someone to talk to who I feel understands. Give service. But I really have no desire to do any of those things. I have no desire to do anything at all.

In my life though, habit and duty rank higher than desires... which means that I force myself to try even though my tears aren't dry. I find people that can temporarily distract me from my woes. I write and try to find meaning in the feelings that I face. And I kneel in prayer, asking God for understanding and for peace.

It's days like today when I wonder what else I'm supposed to learn from my trials. What messages God is trying to send me, what lessons He is so anxious that I understand. I know that some trials can go away through Christ once I've overcome them... but I wonder if I'll ever be able to learn the things I need to in this life... or if one of the lessons is enduring to the end - something I can only do as I strive to grow in the face of pain.

I'll be ok. God loves me. I'm doing my best and I am keeping His commandments. And with Him at my side, I'll come out on top, better understanding Him and others for my experiences here... whether in joy or sorrow, happiness or pain.

Sunday, April 10

A "Sheltered" Life

I know some people who like to rant about those who live "sheltered" lives. Usually those ranting (in my presence) are unmarried or married with no children... and they are almost always talking about others - judging them or being intolerant of them. You don't see mothers or fathers of newborns talking about how they want to expose their baby to as many airborne pathogens as possible to quickly develop antibodies. As they look at others, they see huge character deficits. For whatever reason, they then quickly claim that living a "sheltered" life is the cause of many of the earth's ills - from inadvertently hurting others to malicious hatred, prejudice, and injustice.

I'm not exactly sure what qualifies as a "sheltered" life, but as I've spoken with those ardently opposed to living one, I think I've found some commonalities. A "sheltered" life, regardless of the location or condition of the world outside the home, is often described as living in the ideal home, with parents and family members who are active members of the Church, with parents who successfully create a Christlike atmosphere in their home - children who grow up in a home that looks towards the temple, follows the prophet, has Family Home Evening and family scripture study... and where love, peace, and harmony reign supreme.

From that perspective, I grew up in a "sheltered" home. And when I have kids, I will definitely do my best to keep them unspotted from the world - to teach them the things they need to know to be saved. ...and I join with the Brethren in hoping that every family could have the opportunity to learn about the Savior in the temple that is their home.

For some reason, some people I know equate good parenting with bad kids. But looking at scriptural examples that doesn't make sense. Adam and Eve were chosen to come to Earth for their righteousness and ability to be parents of the entire human race. They taught their children in about an ideal environment as possible - no peer pressure, no media, no outside influences but the prophet and his wife. Then Cain slew Abel. If parenting and childhood environments are directly related to choices, that means that Adam and Eve must have been atrociously awful parents. Going even further, a third of God's children rebelled against Him and left His presence to be devils, damning their progression for eternity. And God is the ideal parent.

I'm not sure why... but some of my friends think that living in an ideal home gives people fewer opportunities to gain a testimony, or fewer opportunities to learn to love others, or whatever... and is the cause of their poor spirituality. If the events of scriptures happened today, they would see Cain and claim that his choice to kill his brother could have been circumvented by "exposing him to the outside world" ... or that the devil and his angels may have been more willing to choose the right had they been nurtured in an environment where choosing the wrong was accepted.

That's bogus.

I grew up in an almost perfect environment - and I and every living being are proof that life will be absolutely miserable, painful, trying, and full of temptations and learning experiences no matter how I am raised.

I can be socially backwards whether or not I am home-schooled. I can be rebellious whether or not I have "strict" rules in my home. I can be apostate in my later years whether or not I was exposed to apostasy in my youth. In reality, it's up to me - not my environment - anyway.

The scriptures teach that positive learning environments have a lasting effect on children... "Train up a child in the way he should go... and when he is grown he shall not depart from it."

I am grateful for parents who love me unconditionally... who apply the gospel in our relationship and don't judge me for my failures. I learned to love others from their example. I learned to study the scriptures and to humbly kneel and pray each morning and night, watching them. I learned honesty and good works and faith and confidence and industry and a love of all things good... 

Someday I hope to be able to give my own children the same kind of home and childhood that I had - a (sheltered?) home that creates and nurtures the strength of faith to overcome all things, to fight suicidal depression, to rise from sin, and to move forward on the path. A home where God is central and the truth is taught by the Spirit. Safe, secure, peaceful, full of faith. Home can be a Heaven on Earth. I hope mine will be.

Friday, April 8


I made the mistake of watching an animated Disney romance with friends. Not a completely good idea for someone whose goal to get married seems eternally thwarted by the inability to find a girl to love. 

I'm consciously aware that Disney romances are almost completely fake. I know of the necessary abbreviations in courtship to speed along plotlines, the ideal situational tendencies, and the underlying assurance that everyone will live happily ever after... and that true life romances take mostly hard work and come as you cultivate love. Disney romances aren't realistic in hundreds of ways. But it doesn't keep me from watching a couple (albeit animated) looking into each others' eyes, baring their souls to each other... and longing to feel that connection.

It'll happen eventually. I don't know how, and I don't know when. But someday I'll fall in love with a girl, she with me, we'll be married, and have an awesome family. It'll take a miracle... Maybe a whole series of miracles. But salvation requires miracles anyway. Living life to its fullest, with faith, always requires miracles... so why should I expect any less from the most important decision of my life?

And in the meantime, it's worth the wait... and I have experiences and moments that help me see why I'm not yet married. I reach out to people in my world, help them fall in love with the Church, send them on missions... then start all over and do it again. I share the gospel here on (Gay) Mormon Guy and hear about readers who decide to be baptized, serve missions, work through problems in marriage, and find the strength and faith to live another day.

Yes, someday, and hopefully in this life, I'll fall in love with a girl, we'll be married in the temple, and work to make our marriage happy forever after. But in the meantime... I trust in the Lord and do His will. He blesses me each day. And working alongside Him, I learn of Him... which makes the longing (almost) completely disappear.

Wednesday, April 6

A (Gay) Mormon Blog

When I started (Gay) Mormon Guy last year, my initial goal was to share my story with other faithful members of the LDS Church whose lives included gay/homosexual/same-sex attraction/same-gender attraction (whatever you prefer calling it) and who wanted help getting out of crisis. My first blog followers came from ads I posted in the gay personals section of Craigslist... located in a few areas with lots of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I volunteered to be a friend to talk to for those who wanted help being faithful. The subsequent flood of responses via chat and email kept me up for days on end - as the online gay community (and the Internet as a whole) seems to come to life at 9:00 and go to sleep around 3:00.

I found that many guys asked the same questions - background about me and how I resisted temptation... how I felt about the trial... my relationship with God. My blog (Gay) Mormon Guy was created to bridge the gap between sharing facts with a large audience (blog postings) and still having a personal connection (personal emails using the comment function or the email listed at "Contact Me").

For a few months I thought that was it. I got frequent emails and comments from readers - mostly men - who were somewhere on the path with me, and I felt like (Gay) Mormon Guy was doing its part. Partially. With every email and comment, though, I realized that there were many, many more men - especially young men questioning their faith - who might need someone's help and support.

I asked the Lord for guidance, and He told me to ask a member of my stake presidency. I was terrified, but I trusted him, and Him, so I did... and he gave me incredibly pertinent, inspired counsel. As for reaching more people, the Lord told me He would take care of it.

General Conference (October 2010) rolled around and President Packer gave a talk that was interpreted in such a way to create a massive firestorm in the gay community, and the gay Mormon community as well. I wasn't aware of the fireworks until a reader of my blog - a girl named Lauren - asked me what I thought about the talk. I spent the next day watching, re-watching, listening, praying, and reading the talk, then posted "President Packer's Talk... From a (Gay) Mormon Perspective."

Someone posted it to Facebook, and within days hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world had visited my blog at (Gay) Mormon Guy, many "following."

Some of the newcomers were men and women who matched my path, and most weren't. One passionate email said that my blog had "degenerated." He said that he went through the new followers and commented that most looked like "Mormon housewives." I have the deepest esteem for women in the Church who make the decision to sacrifice potential careers, worldly acquisitions, and their own personal agenda to instill a love of the gospel into their children. My mother was one of those women... and I plan to marry one someday. I think motherhood is one of the most important, influential works in the world. They are so much more than housewives.

So my blog changed, and it became a go-to for information on my life perspective as a (Gay) Mormon. I started telling more of my life's story and the day-to-day of my life living with same-sex attraction. The nature of my emails and comments changed, too; I still had people asking for help, but now I sorted through hundreds simply saying thank you.

As time has passed, Google,, blogrolls on personal blogs, guest posts, and other aggregators have led a new wave of readers - and they have in common a simple desire to understand and love others. Church members in Malaysia. Atheists in China and Brazil. Jewish ministers in the Midwest, Canada, and Great Britain. Gay men and women from the US. And readers from all over the globe. The emails changed again, adding those asking about helping family members - brothers, sons, fathers, sisters, daughters, mothers, and friends.

Thanks for being here. For opening your hearts and learning to understand what it's like to live life as a (gay) Mormon guy... and especially for sharing your own trials and successes with me. There's nothing better than watching people fall in love with principles of the gospel... and (Gay) Mormon Guy has given me that opportunity.

...A lot has happened in the past few months. A lot has changed. And only God knows what tomorrow will bring.

Tuesday, April 5

The Friend I Would Have Wanted

One of the feelings I took away from General Conference was the importance of people. The worth of amazing women. Behold your children. Sacrificing projects to serve others. The rescue. And looking at my own life, it's interesting to see how focusing on people has colored my recent decisions - from how I spend my time to how I look at others.

When I was younger, I would have given anything to have a friend who really understood and cared about me. Someone who saw life the way I did and I could just talk to, honestly, and see my own life in his or her reflection. Well, I'd give almost anything. By the time social groups had evolved in my peerage, I saw people around me who seemed to fit in with peer groups, but the common denominators were crude jokes, profanity, drinking, wild parties... and even though everyone thanked me for "not being judgmental" ... it didn't mean that they sought out my company... and I was never on the short list to be invited anywhere for anything.

Paired with the massive lack of self-esteem that came with the adolescent years themselves, not being attracted to girls, and trying to extricate sin from my being, I definitely was going through some rough times. There were dozens of times when I wondered if anyone would care, or even notice, if I just disappeared. Once I missed school for an extended period and when I saw a classmate again she was shocked to see me; she had thought I had moved suddenly.

It didn't help that as I looked at my life I saw inordinate blessings - hence the feeling that being depressed or sad because of seemingly trite situations was another sin of which I needed to repent. I though I had no right to be down, which meant that when I was, I felt incredible guilt mixed with the pain... only pushing me lower.

On the outside I always had the perfect mask... strong, happy, optimistic, loving, kind... but inside I was a wreck.

My prayers didn't bring the relief I wanted. I would pray for peace, and the Lord would tell me He loved me... and my mind would continue to churn. I would pray for hope, and He would tell me He loved me, and I still couldn't see anything worth living for. I would pray for help in living each day, and He would tell me that He loved me... and the next day would seem even harder than the one before.

It seemed like there was no hope - no progress - no way out. But as time went on, the answers became clearer... and I realized they held the answers I had needed all along. When my mind was a blur, I prayed for peace, and I knew God loved me... and if I did my best, everything would be for my good. I prayed for hope, and the Lord helped me see that He knew I could grow... that my trials and my pain would enable me to live and thrive in every type of life no matter what happened. I prayed for help, and He gave me His trust - the divine trust that I could stand at the front of the battle with sin and despair... and not give in... but grow in my struggles to become the man He saw in me.

Today I realize that I've always had a friend by my side. Someone to talk to when times are hard, a shoulder to cry on when I'm alone. Someone to bounce ideas off of, or tell my newest thoughts, or to ask for feedback on a post before I post it here on (Gay) Mormon Guy. A Friend who is never too busy, always available, and will never tell me to go away... One who watches over me in my sleep and protects me from danger, warns me and knows the thoughts and dreams of my heart. God is my best friend. And He's the best friend that I could ever hope for.

It took years for me to develop my friendship - years to give up my fears, to learn of Him, and to slowly learn to listen to His voice and trust in Him and His teachings... but it was worth every minute... spent on my knees, in the scriptures, at the temple, and speaking with Him in the course of my everyday.

I've finally found a Friend. The only thing He asks in return is that I keep His commandments... and unconditionally love and befriend others. So that's my goal - be the friend I would have wanted. The friend I did want. Someone who will drop everything at a moment's notice, and who cares about others more than they can imagine. Someone who will move Heaven and Earth to help them choose the right, and will never give up on them.

I have a long ways to go before I get there. But Conference left me with a greater hope and a greater desire to be that friend, and find ways to love others and help them come unto Him.

Monday, April 4

Watching People Fall in Love

Of all the blessings I have ever experienced, the most memorable and compelling is being able to watch others fall in love. I'm not talking about falling in love with a person; I'm talking about falling in love with God and His teachings. It's one thing to see someone gain a love for history, or fall in love with sci-fi novels. It's another thing to watch their eyes light up when someone walks into the room. But there is nothing like the sublime ability to see their eyes light up from the inside... To see them fall in love with life itself... To find meaning in their trials and hope in their suffering.

The only thing better, for me, is to know that, in some small way, I played a part.

It makes everything worth it.


So one of my more recent posts wasn't understood by a number of readers. So I've rewritten it here with the hope that it is better communicated. As much as (Gay) Mormon Guy is about my life, the only reason I write is to inspire others... so I'm more than willing to accommodate.

I have a number of close friends who have recently become pretty renowned in their fields for singular accomplishments. We met in varied circumstances - playing football, at concerts, at professional conventions, randomly on the street.

Today my past acquaintances and current friends are the target of academics and professionals, who rave about their unique contributions to the world. They've been listed for awards and gained a following in their own right. But most of the people who follow them know little about their personal lives, the trials they face.. and are quick to make positive or negative judgments about their choices without context.

Some of them are "model citizens" when you look at the outside. They graduated from college, attended graduate school, served missions, are married with children, hold prestigious professional positions, and currently serve in influential Church positions. Many are still moving through life, though, and are unmarried, didn't serve missions, dropped out of college, and don't seem to have a visible substantial influence on others. 

People are defined much more by the trying times in their lives - the individual things they face and the invisible burdens they carry. Which means that,  to an outsider who knows, the non-ideal portions of their lives tell much more of a hidden story about who they are than the number of awards they received at a recent convention.

Through the prophet, the Lord has given us commandments. He commanded all worthy, able young men to serve for two years as full-time missionaries. All men are commanded to get find a wife and get married. We are told to get an education and make a difference in the world. That's the expectation. But many of us live non-ideal lives in that aspect, which opens up the discussion to the universality of principles... and the difficulty in judging actions, applying them to life, and not judging people as a whole.

Whether it's people on the outside looking at a successful guy who isn't married and can't seem to hold a girlfriend, a person who seemingly has it all put together and isn't planning to serve a mission, or a capable couple who has vocally made the decision to not have children, it's easy to find pepper who differ from the norm all around us. Sometimes we don't know about their choices, or don't care. And sometimes, as has happened with some of my friends, their personal decisions have been catapulted to the public realm by virtue or vice of their newly won notoriety. 

When there are strong public opinions on behalf of the actions of those we don't know personally, there are usually two, and sometimes three strongly felt sides. 

The first has already idolized the person and believes nothing he does is wrong. Hero worship. Outside the Church this equates to looking the other way when our heroes do something we don't agree with. Inside the Church it can sometimes lead to email chains from people claiming to have overheard their cousin mention that the prophet had told so-and-so such-and-such.

The other side believes that the teachings of the prophet apply universally and without exception. If he says that young men should get married, he is speaking to all men and overriding any other option. And they sometimes have big issues with the fact that anyone in the public eye wouldn't take the time to follow the Lord.

The third group feels that we shouldn't talk about the topic - again, just look the other way and change the topic when it comes to the personal lives of others.

Either way, we end up having a decision. If we make the decision to judge their actions without context, we quickly find there aren't many options. We can ignore the actions of others, condone and support them, or reject them. But if I judge others unrighteously though, I align myself with one of the above camps - either claiming that God's commandments are not absolute, but relative, optional, and/or dependent on circumstances, or disregarding personal circumstances altogether.

Neither camp is ideal. Here at (Gay) Mormon Guy I get responses from both sides, usually passionate, trying to project themselves on my life. Some people think I should get married immediately to follow the counsel of the prophet. Others think I should do whatever I want. And others think it's wrong for me to even bring up such a personal topic in a public forum. Sometimes people and their judgments are accurate, and sometimes they're not.

But there is another option... one that holds much more power to love and understand others. And it comes when I don't judge people when I don't need to.

The Lord has counseled us to judge righteously - and to "judge not unrighteously... for with what measure ye mete shall also be meted unto you." In most of the cases of my friends, the people on the outside don't have enough information to make a judgment either way... and so supporting them or condemning them are both poor choices. I have one friend who is not married, and doesn't date... but who really, really needs and wants others to help him with that. He needs people who won't give him slack. Without being close, you'd never know that. Another friend didn't serve a mission, but now regrets his choice and wants people to give him the benefit of the doubt. And again, you'd never know from a distance.

So when there are people who I meet who haven't made all the "ideal" decisions, what am I supposed to think? Should I accept their choices? Condemn them? Or just ignore that they even mentioned it?

If I withhold judgment, and learn more about the situation, then I don't have to do any of the three. My friends' choices are integral to the story of who they are - and understanding them also means understanding why they made the choices they did... and who they are now. And if it's at a distance, then I put the thoughts on hold until it's really relevant or applies to my life.

And in my personal life, I stick with God and follow His commandments as taught by His prophets. I take everything they say to heart, and ask the Lord to help me apply it in my life. I may not have an ideal life right now, but the Lord has commanded me and all men to be perfect. Which means that we should all be striving for the ideal... and that we will get there someday.

Saturday, April 2

General Conference!

The first two sessions of Conference have left me with a lot to think about, and a few talks already to go back and read or watch in the coming days. There are tons of thoughts I could write about, but, for me, General Conference is more than just watching in the chapel or finding a broadcast. It's an opportunity to spend time with others. It always felt like some sort of holiday when I was little - a holiday where you go to church for 10 hours. And sometimes more when you want to watch the Church World Report. All that together means I'm less inclined to be online or blogging, and will encourage the same to anyone who asks.