Sunday, September 30, 2007

Pioneering a New Future

Church was, as usual lately, ridiculously unspiritual, cold, callous, demeaning, and unpleasant. Two weeks ago I didn't go to church. On purpose. Actually I went, but left after 10 mins. Elder's quorum is first, and that's the worst part.

What was good and spiritual was some experiences I had last night and this morning. My spirituality is based in God, not in a church. I started a fast with a desperate prayer that was answered by the most beautiful feelings of divine love- I felt God tell me that he was proud of me. Then during the sacrament, I felt strong feelings of divine acceptance as I prayed. I have finally allowed myself to feel accepted by God. It's not that He didn't accept me before, it's that I didn't allow myself to feel it.

I confronted my Bishop and told him why Church was so challenging for me. His answer shocked me. He said the Church (referring to the people and organization, not doctrine or principle) needed to change and was changing, but that it would take time. He told me I was a pioneer. Like the sacrifices of the Mormon pioneers who crossed the plains and the sacrifices of black Mormons who faithfully waited for the Church to extend priesthood offices to them, my suffering will allow future people to live healthy lives.

On a slightly different note, I just watched Batman Begins. Perhaps my "coming out" to four good friends this week has been messing with my mind, but I swear there was a great scene in the movie. After saving her life again, Batman- Bruce- "comes out" to Rachael when he echoes a comment she had previously made. "It's not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me." It's an interesting sentiment. I'm not sure I agree, but I kinda do.

If my actions define me, then I am a great Mormon. It's who I am underneath that is different from what others perceive. Is that wrong? Is that dishonest? Is that weakness? Who knows.

Saturday, September 29, 2007


All the discoveries I have made since I started blogging have made me feel alive. Completely and wholly alive. Recently at church and around people from church, I have been feeling dead. And what's sad is that I don't even feel the Church is fighting for me. In this battle for my soul, the Church isn't even fighting for me. So why don't I leave it? Why can't I leave it? Why do I still love a group of people that act like an abusive boyfriend?

It's because of a promise that I made. That's the only thing I have to explain it. Baptismal covenants I can break. Temple covenants I can break. But this promise I made, I just can't break it. I don't want to. Here's the memory . . . I have adapted it from a journal entry I wrote when I was 17.

In the morning we went to breakfast and were fed some real food this time. The whole youth conference had been great thus far. After breakfast we went off and heard a very spiritual, very powerful message from President E****. We were then given the opportunity to go off and find a spot in the woods to 1. Identify the things about ourselves we hated, 2. Find specific ways to correct the perceived weaknesses, 3. Conduct a person conversation with God by 4. praying vocally, and then 5. read the contents of an envelope that was given to us. We were given over an hour for this solo experience.

I went off down the road and found a spot where I was completely alone. I knelt down in the tall grass. The sun was above me, and I could not look up because it was too bright. As I began to whisper my prayer, saying "We all know the weakness that haunts me" I was overcome with the bitterness of my sins. I felt darkness pressing in all around me and tears shook my entire body with the pain of my unrighteousness. I was curled up completely fetal, and my body was stiff and tense. I could not speak, but continued in my heart confessing and asking for help. My Father and I identified some solutions for my problem, and I committed to them. I was to seek the confidence of my Bishop when I got to BYU 3 months later, get help from a therapist, and serve a mission. The promise was that I would do these things if He would deliver me from this pain. I don't know how long I lay there curled up and convulsing, but it was a while before I finally was given the comfort of the Holy Ghost as I reflected on the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

There in the grass where I knelt, I proceeded to have a very intimate conversation with my Heavenly Father. I could feel the hand on my shoulder, lifting me from my agonized position. I was then leaning on my hands. I could not look up. The veil of Heaven thinned, and for the first time in my life I thought about having Heavenly Parents. It was the sweetest thing I had ever felt. I thanked my Father for my family and friends and leaders. I told them how hard it was to live here on Earth, and how much I missed them. My heart ached so much with it then. I longed for them. I think that God wanted me to understand the Divine role of Father and Mother and the eternal aspect of gender.

Heavenly Father told me that there were joys that I experience on Earth that exceeded the joys of Heaven before I was born because of the opposing challenges. What a comfort it was to me to know that coming here was worth the pains of mortality. I asked them more about what life was like before I was born, what I was like with them. I felt clearly a close relationship with them. I was reminded of my patriarchal blessing, and told that I was a loyal supporter of Jesus Christ. I was told that I convinced many spirits to come to Earth who might have otherwise rejected the Plan of Salvation.

God told me that just as there were people here whom I admired- Brother B*****, Pres. E****, Pres. J******, the P****'s, Brother K******, etc- there were spirits in the preexistence that I admired. Among them was Michael, the first man. I wanted to be like him.

I also felt pain when I thought of how hard it was to see spirits left behind- those who didn't chose the plan. If only we could have convinced more to accept the plan of Christ.

As I conversed with God I continually missed Him so much. I didn't want to stop, and I knew that my hour and a half was not over, but at one point I felt strongly that I had to say goodbye. I hugged my Heavenly Parents again. It was so emotional for me because I knew that I might not always remember them. I asked them to help me. I expressed appreciation for their Son Jesus Christ, and closed in his name.

As soon as I was done praying, the whole atmosphere around me changed. I felt the veil restored. I opened my envelope and read a letter from my earthly parents. It was touching. I spent a while reflecting on my experiences and reading Daniel chapter 10 in the Old Testament, and then I returned to camp when we were supposed to. I am so grateful for that personal "sacred grove" type experience. I now know exactly how possible it was for Joseph to see God the Father and His Son, and I believe that he did.

I have kept every aspect of the promise I made that day. And now, as I have just come home from my mission, I can feel Him lifting the pain. He is upholding his end of the bargain. What He is not doing is ridding me of the same gender attractions. Perhaps this is why I am so confused.

But I guess the point is, if God is keeping His promise, and I have kept my promise, then isn't that proof enough that the Church is true and I should follow it? It is this promise that makes me stay in the Church.

Friday, September 28, 2007


I have created an identity safe e-mail address on g-mail, so if you want to e-mail me, you can. I just want to thank you all for your comments and love and support. It is very new and exciting and overwhelming and vindicating. I'm not ready to start communicating with everyone yet, so I'm not going to jump on each invitation to e-mail or talk. I probably will in time. Right now I'm just enjoying so many of the blessing that have come from this blog.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

"I just want you to know who I am"

I need someone to talk to so bad I'm gonna puke. I have lived in solitude for so long and it is so lonely. It is driving me insane, and I mean that literally. I thought about telling my brother, "Thomas" because he is my best friend and I can talk to him about anything and he is so understanding and he thinks the same way I do (except that he is clearly straight). But he is about to leave on a mission, and I worry that it would be too much for him. Besides, I don't want to talk to someone who pretends to know what it's like, I want someone I can talk to who knows what it is like.

And I think I might have found it, and I'm excited and hyperactive and nervous and completely unable to function. It would be so nice to be able to talk to someone who not only knew what it was like to have ssa, but who knew what it was like to grow up where I grew up and to come from my specific culture and who could laugh about it with me.

And you know what. Today I was walking and I saw a hot guy, and I said to myself, "wow he's hot" and then I kept walking. It was awesome. I didn't have to stop and analyze it. I didn't beat myself up with a baseball bat. I didn't hate myself, because for the first time in my life I don't think that I'm a monster. Why? because other people came from where I came from- and they have these feelings too. And if I'm not the only one, then maybe I'm not a hideous freak. Maybe I'm not doomed to a life of silence.

Phantom of the Opera

Masquerade! Paper faces on parade --- Masquerade! Hide your face, so the world will never find you!

I just got back from yet another date with a girl I'm not attracted to. Why do I subject myself to this? For the record, she asked me this time.

We watched the Phantom of the Opera. I have forgotten how much I loved that movie. As a kid I had the biggest crush on Christine. I loved her long hair.

The Music of the Night gives me the shivers every time I listen to it. I mean come on- it's a man with a beautiful voice who thinks he's a monster who wears a mask to hide his face and sings about a forbidden love he will never experience. And the song is just so dark and secretive and sensual. It makes me die every time I hear it.

I could blog all night about the symbolism of the mask. And of forbidden love. Instead I'll let you do the thinking for yourself.

You know, I have always clung to this hope that I would be cured- these horrible feelings ripped from me. I have now accepted that they will be with me for the rest of my life. I'm ok with that now.

Pitiful creature of darkness --- What kind of life have you known? God give me courage to show you you are not alone.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

What is LDS?

I remember the first time I read the Book of Mormon cover to cover. I was a freshman in high school. I loved the Church, and it was a time in my life when I wanted to feel more spiritual. It was also a time when I felt a need to convert the world and wanted to talk about Mormonism with everyone. That is why I read the Book of Mormon at school for all to see. It was a deliberate declaration of who I was.

The only problem with reading a book like the Book of Mormon in school is that when the book touches you, you can't do anything about it cause you never want to let someone see you cry. Heaven forbid they think me feminine. My solution was to go to the bathroom where I could sob in a stall anonymously and somewhat romantically.

The Book of Mormon really did have that kind of an effect on me. I have always been a sensitive person (ironically it's hard to keep the ladies off you when you're sensitive) and so scenes like Alma 14 (when Alma's Christian converts are burned and Amulek wants to save them) and Mosiah 27 (when Alma has a change of heart and character) made me cry. By the time I had finished the book, I had completely enjoyed it. That wasn't enough, though. I thought about it all day long. It consumed me.

That night I remember distinctly kneeling next to my bed. I remember everything about the room. I prayed, seeking confirmation that the Book of Mormon was indeed true. I felt the biggest spiritual rush I could have imagined. I was overcome with a feeling of excitement and passion. Inside and out I felt the reality of God and of Jesus Christ. I felt forgiven of my sins. I felt vindicated. I felt warm and secure and sure that the Book was true. I let myself experience the euphoria all night. I don't know when I fell asleep. It was enlightenment. It was ecstasy. It was catharsis.

That feeling is what it means to be LDS.


Here's a question for all of you more experienced LDS-SSA people.

I told my therapist how much I loved this new blog. I explained how much it meant to me to have these comments of support and to discover that there are other people in my age group going through exactly what I'm going through. It has really been helping me (my sanity, happiness levels, self esteem, security, functionability) to know about these people and feel support from them.

Well, my therapist told me about different options - support groups, Evergreen meetings, group therapy, etc- where I can meet these people and really feel like I have friends who actually know what its like- not ones that pretend they understand, but people who know. I think it would be great, but I told him that I wasn't ready because I was afraid. Like any therapist, he asked me what I was afraid of.

I am afraid that I might like someone that I meet. And I am even more afraid that he might like me.

Funny. I have an unquenchable desire to be liked by other guys, and yet I am completely unable and unwilling to allow another guy to like me. Anyway, my question is,

Is this a legitimate fear? What if it happens, what then? What kinds of things have you done to get past this fear? What is proper etiquette in these situations? If you have done any of these things, has it helped you?

Response to "What is SSA?"

In "What is SSA?" my goal was to provide a glimpse into the every day thought processes I go through. Though it's been several years since that incident, it is still the process I go through every day. Every time I notice a guy walking on BYU campus, that is what I do to myself. It's a self-taught self-inflicting distraction technique. My goal is to stop that. (I'm open to new coping strategies if anyone has any suggestions)

There is actually nothing defining about the event in the story, that is why I chose it. At that point in time I had already been "discovered" by my dad who caught me looking at homo-erotic pornography when I was 14 (I had started when I was 13). My parents knew I had a problem as a young teen, but probably naively and wishfully hoped I had grown out of it when I was 17 (the time of that story).

As for a moment when I "came out to myself"--- I don't know that I have such a moment. I can't remember a beginning to these thoughts or to this internal process. As far as I can tell, I remember the emotional part as always being there. As a child I used to dress up as Ariel from the Little Mermaid. I played "house" during recess and I made french bracelets with the other girls. I was always around girls at school.

I do remember having day dream fantasies in elementary school about those girls- fantasies of marrying them or playing naked with them (hey, this is a forum of honesty). In seventh grade, however, the fantasies were always about boys. I don't know when that shifted. There is no transition in my memory or anything. I'm not even sure that it was really a change anyway.

The earliest "homosexual" experience I had was as a five year old. I remember distinctly playing a game where another preschooler was a giant who was pretending to eat me. It was the Bishop's son. Anyway, he was younger than me, but I remember him clearly being the instigator. The Bishop walked in on us. I remember my parents calling me over to the stairs to talk to me the next day. He had called them. They sent me to my room. I remember sitting in a little red chair. I wanted to recreate what the kid had done to me, but I couldn't do it by myself. I tried and tried, but I just couldn't bend like that. Even as a flexible preschooler, I couldn't recreate this gross funny thing that I wanted to feel again.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

What is SSA?

That day we had nothing to do, so my dad suggested we take the kids to Six Flags. I thought it might be fun to go with Katie and Joey, who were turning 5. Normally when I used my season pass I went with my girlfriend Haley or with my brother Thomas. I didn't think it was so bad going with my dad.

It's been a few years, and I don't really remember much about the excursion at all except for being in line for some car ride. I remember sliding forward in line along the railing while Katie and Joey were fighting over who got to ride in my car. My dad was talking to me about moving out for college at the end of the summer- I had just graduated. As I looked over towards the front of the line, I saw the guy working the ride. He was so attractive.

I met eyes with him briefly before he started counting people as they passed the gate. My eyes studied the way he moved. I was captivated by his eyes and the way he talked and moved his lips. Even the way he stood. Everything about him I wanted to know. As we walked forward in line, I was still looking at him.

Suddenly my eyes snapped towards the floor. I examined the sidewalk crack with quick, thorough deliberate precision. I could feel my cheeks flushing. Mechanically I started thinking of a horrendous monster. I pictured its fangs and ugly face. In my mind it was clawing my head. Blood was everywhere. I studied the mental picture. Slowly my face cooled. My shoulders slumped. My heart rate slowed.

I looked at my dad and again the anxiousness rose in my chest. Did he notice? Did he see me notice him. Did he know what I was thinking. Oh God he saw me flush. He must have seen it. Katie was tugging on my shirt. I picked her up and held her. I turned around, walking backwards in line so that my back was to the guy working the machine. Megan was between me and my dad. I put her face between me and his line of vision.

"Uh, huh," I said, "Of course it'll be different." I had no idea what he was talking about. I shifted my legs. My arm was shaking. I turned my head slightly, still hiding behind Katie, but allowing myself a quick glance towards the guy. He was looking at me.

God I know my dad saw me look again. Why didn't he say anything? Why is still talking? He hates me. He saw me look. He knows.

That is S.S.A.

I think most disturbing thing about that memory for me now is how vividly and exactly I remember every detail about the scene. I remember the feel of the railing in my hand, what I was wearing, how my dad's hair looked, where we were in line, what the park smelled like, the color of the car we rode in. I remember everything except for one thing. I can't remember what the guy's face looked like. I remember his uniform, how tall he was, his build. But when I replay the memory in the VCR of my mind, all I see is a blur where is face should be. Everything else is sharp.

Monday, September 24, 2007


“Through the exercise of faith, individual efforts and reliance on the power of [Christ’s] Atonement, some may resolve same gender attraction in mortality and marry. Others, however, may never be free of same-gender attraction in this life" (Jeffrey R. Holland, October 2007 Ensign).

“When our actions or words discourage someone from taking full advantage of church membership we fail them - and the Lord” (Jeffrey R. Holland, October 2007 Ensign).


I am obsessive and need things to have direction. What is my direction with this thing? Why am I doing this. I think that I am trying to define myself. The problem is that neither sexuality or spirituality can be defined. They're too complex and too unique and too abstract. But because we like things in pretty packages tied up with string, let me group, or categorize, the way people treat homosexuality in the Church. I believe there are three main reactions to the issue, and I frankly have not chosen (or discovered) one for me. So that will be my goal- my direction: To determine how I want to react to my sexuality in light of my spirituality.

Three Reactions:

To demonstrate the three reactions to homosexuality, I'm going to draw on some themes from the recent X-Men movies. In these movies, people all over the world start to experience genetic mutations. I will liken these to mutations to same sex attractions. In the movie, the mutations are not necessarily good or evil, they just are. Some aspects of the mutations are very painful, destructive, gruesome, and dangerous. Other aspects seem to enhance the abilities and perceptions of natural talents. Everyone who experiences them is different and experiences them in different ways. Their reactions are likewise different. This is the same in homosexuality. Some aspects of the attractions are painful, destructive, gross, and dangerous. Other aspects seem to enhance the personality and perceptions of people. Everyone is different.

Xavier reacts positively and yet privately to people's mutations. He creates a safe haven for these people and teaches them to channel their powers. Outside of his school, they wouldn't learn how to appropriately use their powers. He teaches self-mastery, but also self-denial. His reaction is moderate, and yet it is very controversial. He certainly gets hit by both sides of the spectrum. Some wonder if he is justified in some of his techniques which can be manipulative.

Magneto's reaction is much more public. He embraces rebellion against society. To him, the mutations do not need to be controlled. His approach is just to accept and use them. There is no hiding the lure of his cause. It is passionate and result driven.

The humans react both publicly and privately. They react out of fear. They believe that the mutations are evil simply because they are different. Their initial reaction is for those who struggle with the mutations to deny it- suppress it and maybe it will go away (the private approach). Just don't use your powers. When that doesn't work, and the situation escalates (mostly because of Magneto and his people), they resort to a cure (the public approach). This cure offers hope to people like Rouge, who use the cure to become who they want to be: normal. The problem is that the cure is not ethnically sound or proven over time. At the end of the movie, Magneto, who was forcibly cured, still retains some hidden power- relapse, in other words.

These three reactions from the X-Men movies make such perfect metaphors for the social decisions facing Latter-day Saints with S.S.A. you would think it was intentional. All three groups have diversity and disagreements within themselves. All three groups are controversial. There is no black and white, just blue, red, and yellow. As I write about my experiences- many of which I am going to write as if they were memoir fragments- I will be thinking about these three groups and which is the one I need to meet my needs.

1. Control the same sex desires privately. Find fulfillment in meaningful relationships with men, without making those relationships sexual. This means facing an attack on both sides. I'd have to deal with obnoxiously ignorant humans, and obnoxiously sensual rebels. There would never be complete fulfillment with my spirituality- I would never feel completely LDS. There would also never be complete fulfillment with sexuality- I would always be denied my sexual desires.

2. Live a bold, active homosexual life. Rebel against LDS society and be promiscuous with other men. Find happiness and fulfillment in sexual desires and emotional attractions.
Leave my family and friends and all the LDS support groups I have for a set of new people. I would be happy. I would be free. I would be fulfilled sexually. I would still have a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that would haunt me forever.

3. Live a suppressed life, hoping desperately for a cure. This is what I have been doing. I tried pretending that I wasn't gay. When I couldn't do that anymore and had to face reality, I went to counseling (and still am in therapy) via Evergreen International.
This is a life of denial. Unlike in the movies, there is no cure yet. If therapy is considered a cure, then relapses are very very common. I would never be fulfilled in any relationship, but I would feel at peace with my testimony.

We'll see how I shape this over time. Feedback is VERY welcome.


I am an active Latter-day Saint who struggles with Same Sex Attractions (S.S.A.).

There I said it. In case you didn't understand what I just said, I will translate: I live in hell.

I don't mean that I don't love being LDS- I love being LDS. It is beautiful and fulfilling and everything that I want. I love the rush of spiritual experiences. I love being in the Temple. I love revelation, the quest for it and the need for it. I love the scriptures. Nothing brings me more joy than reading the scriptures. I love Jesus Christ. I believe in Him and in His Atonement. I love the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I don't mean that I don't love having SSA. I love SSA. Now that is something I've never confessed before, not even to myself. These attractions are beautiful and fulfilling and everything that I want. I love the thrill of noticing a beautiful guy. I love being around other guys. I love male intimacy- the search for it and the craving for it. I love passion. Nothing brings me more joy than being passionate and dramatic. I love guys.

So what's a guy like me to do? Well, I really don't know. I have no answers, only questions. I would like to explore myself- my feelings and memories and characteristics, and to do that, I need to be honest. I am starting this blog as a safe haven for honesty. I promise before these bloggers and random public visitors to be honest with myself. And to respect myself. Please respect how hard that is for me and show respect in your comments, if you have any. And please don't be ignorant. This is not an easily explained dilemma. Trust me, I've been trying to explain it for many years. There is nothing that I hate more than ignorant people.