Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Coming out to a few friends

The past couple of days have been very exciting. I think I mentioned on Sunday that I was going to come out to a good friend of mine (read: ex-girlfriend sort of) who I had tried so hard to be interested in. We had gone on dates and become very good friends, but trying to have an actual relationship with her always seemed impossible. A few months ago our friendship turned cold and communication between us became difficult. I will take most of the blame for that, but at the time I really was having a hard time seeing any value in our friendship, especially because I was not ready to tell her what was really going on in my life. Things have improved slowly over the past month or so, and I know that she really is one of the few people I can really trust. So I had decided to let her know what had been going on in my life.

I had already told her I wanted to talk, so after FHE ended we walked over to her car and sat inside. I started by thanking her for being a good friend to me, even when I seemed distant and upset. I went on to share with her the internal struggle that I have faced and my desires to remain active in the Church. And then I told her that I was gay. In my head she was not going to be very surprised, but man was I wrong. She was very understanding and I never once worried about her reacting badly (which she didn't), but I could have never imagined how upset it made her. She told me she was worried about me leaving the Church. I told her I have no plans of leaving the Church, but told her that the thought does cross my mind. But of course I do not want to, but sometimes reality can be hard to accept. Being alone sucks. I don't rule out marriage, but at this point in my life I really cannot imagine it happening.

She seemed so sad to hear that, and I really wonder what was going through her head. She has texted me a couple times since then, telling me that she is worried about me. Today she sent me a message asking me if we can live together if neither of us get married, so that we don't have to be alone. Hmm... maybe she didn't get the point that I don't really like women, and living with one does not entirely interest me at this point. Oh well. Overall she was very supportive and I hope that she can understand that I really appreciate her friendship, but that right now there is not a very good chance of a romantic relationship between us. I worry that she has too much on her plate as well (most of which I was completely unaware of at the time), and hope that she does not spend a lot of time worrying about me. For once, I am feeling good about myself.

So after telling her, that really only left two people who I really wanted to tell right now, my room mates. When I got home from FHE on Monday, I told them that I wanted to talk to them the next day if they had some time. We agreed to have our first (and probably last) apartment meeting. I have no idea if what they thought I wanted to talk about, but definitely once the conversation started I could see that they had no idea what I was about to tell them. I started off in a similar manner describing my desires to make good decisions in my life while struggling inside with accepting myself. Then I came out and told them. Again, I was never worried how they would accept it. They are the coolest guys I have ever lived with and are super supportive. I tried to assure them that I have not fallen in love with them, though it seemed like both of them wanted to believe that I had. (just kidding guys).

Oh and the best part? I told them about the MoHo's I had met and about my blog. They asked if they could read my blog and I said sure. Whoops. Did I wonder out loud in a recent blog if either of them were gay? Yep, sure did. Luckily they both are pretty cool and had a really good laugh about it. I mean what was I supposed to think about living with an emo and a metrosexual? They really are super understanding and it felt great to let them know what I have been going through. I felt fantastic afterwards.

So yeah, that's been the past couple of days for me. I am not really planning on telling anyone else in the near future, although I did just buy a plane ticket to surprise dad on his 60th birthday in May. Won't he be surprised? Mom doesn't really want me to tell him on his birthday, and I agree, I was going to wait til the day after. =) Oh, and I need to tell one cousin who I am close with that lives in SLC. She definitely needs to know before I have to go out on one more blind date with another of her "super-cute and single" girlfriends. Bless her heart for thinking of me.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Meeting the MoHo's

First off, can we please come up with a better word for MoHo. I can't help by laugh when I see/write/say that word. Oh well. I guess I came out a little too late to have any influence on the lingo that exists in the gay Mormon world.

Anyway, the past week has been absolutely nuts. As I was coming to terms with my future and considering the various paths my life could take, something unexpected happened. A local MoHo (Max Power) contacted me and invited me to dinner with him and a couple of other MoHo's. I couldn't believe it. I was barely starting to open up about my sexuality and then just like that I was invited to meet other MoHo's. I was mostly excited to meet them, but a little nervous that I would fall in love with one of them and never be able to contain my emotions. I also felt a little uncomfortable opening up to 3 stranger about this since I had only come out to my mom before then. But for the most part I was stoked to meet other Latter-day Saints who are trying to live their lives within the bounds of the gospel, while being open about their feelings and struggles. We agreed to meet for dinner on Wednesday.

Meeting these three guys was absolutely nuts. All of us had very different experiences to share, but what really struck me was how normal these guys were. I was expecting to meet 3 super weird dudes, but they were all cool, relatively normal people. And I would have never really pegged any of them as being homosexual (although I apparently show up as a large blip on the gaydar). I sat and listened to their experiences and felt so relieved to finally be able to relate with somebody about one of the biggest issues in my life. I also solicited advice from the more "experienced" Moho's about coming out and the best way to let people know. I felt a strong connection with each of them for different reasons. At the end of dinner, my head was still spinning from the whole experience.

As we left dinner I could not stop thinking about what had happened. Literally just a couple weeks before, I felt like I was on verge of a breakdown. At that point in my life, every option except for activity in the church seemed like the best one for me. When I left the restaurant on Wednesday though, I left with a renewed sense of desire to remain active in the Church.

I slept better that night than I have in weeks. I have felt an amazing sense of peace since meeting them. I have exchanged emails with all of them since that night and am feeling a lot better about life. I'm not quite sure what God' plan is for me, but I am more dedicated to finding it in my life. I mentioned at dinner that I had never talked to a priesthood leader about my same-sex attraction, and one of the other MoHo's encouraged me to do so. and so today I did. I was still nervous about talking about it with my bishop, but am so glad I decided to talk to him. My bishop is the nicest guy on Earth and was very understanding. He talked about my options in life and was very understanding that this trial will probably never go away and that it would be near impossible to live out my life without sin, so I should not set that as an expectation. That was about the last thing I expected to hear a bishop say. Anyway, overall it was a good experience for me, and will hopefully help me to continue strong.

Tomorrow should be interesting. One of the last girls that I tried unsuccessfully to date, talked to me at church today and said the could tell that something has been bothering me for a while, and that she wanted to talk. So I told her we would go somewhere after FHE tomorrow and talk. Can't wait. She'll be the first non-MoHo friend I tell. Oh, and I really am looking for a good opportunity soon to let the room mates know. I feel like they might have an idea, but I guess we'll have to see.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Two (OK, three) quick things

First, it was my roommate's birthday a couple days ago, so a bunch of his friends from his hometown came over tonight to celebrate. In fact we are all in the living room right now as I write this. My roommate (who is now 24) returned to church activity about 18 months ago and is currently preparing to serve a mission. He has a very strong testimony of the gospel and an unnatural amount of love and concern for others. To sum it up, he will make a great missionary.

Anyway, in the course of the night's discussions, the topic of the MTC and showering naked in front of the other missionaries came up. Apparently, the showers have since been remodeled so that everyone showers privately. And the reason given for why they were remodeled? Of course, it was one of my favorite statistics: 2% of missionaries come home gay. I laughed out loud. Only 2%? And even more ridiculous, do people honestly think that people leave straight and come home gay? I would venture to guess that nobody "turns gay" from showering with other guys. I personally am more attracted to men with their clothes on, and definitely had a companion whose body could almost turn someone straight. Although I had not come to accept my sexuality before, during, or even immediately after my mission, I definitely did not come home any more straight or gay than I was when I left. Anyway, I didn't really think much of the comment, and I don't think that very many people actually take this "statistic" seriously, but I still wanted to comment on it. But who knows, maybe my fantastic body turned some confused, unsuspecting Elder into a homosexual while I was in the MTC (please note the sarcasm).

On another note, I almost came out to my roommates on Thursday night when we went out to for said roommate's birthday. All of us are currently single and so we decided to go to dinner and celebrate (Yes I have wondered if both of them are gay, especially since there are more apparent gay indicators present in their lives than mine. In fact I think more people suspect them of being gay than they do me). Of course the conversation at dinner revolved around girls in the ward and dating. We have all had girlfriends during our 6 months together but all of us seem to have difficulties turning that into anything serious. As they talked about the girls in the ward that they think would be perfect for me, I was so close to just coming out and explaining my lack of motivation in the heterosexual dating world. But I figured my roommate's birthday dinner was not the most tactful place, and ultimately decided it was not the best time or place. Sometime soon though.

Last, I have noticed with many gay Mormon blogs that there exists a certain level of anonymity (and understandably so) when writing. Well, I initially started my blog, not intending to share it with anyone, but a few people wandered upon it. After I came out as a gay Mormon, I was thinking of how open I wanted to be online, when I remembered that my blog's URL kind of does away with any sort of anonymity that I ever intended to utilize. Oh well, I guess I'm over it.

Friday, March 14, 2008


So now I am not so sure. I called mom this morning while driving to work. She was noticeably surprised since I usually call her only once every 10 days of so, and I talked to her for about an hour yesterday as I drove to work. But I never got around to talking about what I wanted to with her, so I called her again. Only this time, I just came out and said what I wanted to.

I guess a little background may be necessary. A little over a year ago, a series of events involving my parents moving from California to Utah, me breaking my leg (double compound fracture, perhaps a story for another day), me staying with my parents while I recovered, and me accidentally leaving my journal at my parents' house all led to my mother outing me. Coincidence? I think not. My mom came over to my house one morning a few weeks after my accident with groceries and she said she wanted to talk. She said she could tell something was wrong, and continued to hint at the fact that she knew I was gay. She continued to ask me if I knew that she would still love me even if I was gay. As I sat with tears rolling down my face, I told her I was indeed struggling with same-sex attraction. Immediately, I recognized that she had read my journal. Maybe I should have been upset. But I wasn't. I was so relieved to finally tell somebody, and to be able to be honest. I had just two weeks prior, admitted to myself for the first time that I was gay. As private as journals are, I had never been willing to admit that, until the day before I broke my leg. So that is how mom found out. Not the best story, but alas, that's how it went down.

Fast forward to today. Mom and I have not discussed my homosexuality much since then. I know she thinks about it, and prays for me, but I think she is fearful to bring it up. So this morning I called her, to ask her if she had told anybody else. You see, in my family secrets really do not exist. We know if we tell one person, we tell all, and if we really wanted it to remain a secret, we would tell nobody. I knew that when I told her, and honestly expected her to at least tell dad and my oldest sister. But this morning, she claimed to have told neither of them. Not sure if I believe her.

So anyway, I told her I wanted to tell my oldest sister this weekend. My sister is down from Sacramento with her husband and kids. She really is the only sibling of mine that I trust (more on that later too). I asked mom what she thought about me telling my sister, and mom said that she does not think that is a good idea. I got very defensive and asked why not. I told her I am so tired of keeping this a secret, like I have something to be ashamed of or to hide. I told her I see it as a trial/temptation, just the same as any other, and that there was no reason to hide it from people. I told her what a relief it was having her know, and what a strength it would be to me if others knew. Yet she still disagreed. I guess maybe I was little too optimistic about how mom would handle it. Plus, I really want to think that my siblings are bright enough to figure out by now that one thing is not quite like the others.

But anyway, so there I am, an emotional wreck sitting in traffic on the 405. It made me think that it would have been better to not even ask mom. Regardless, I think I am going to tell my sister. She has confided in me so much, and I in her. I know that she will not judge me or be upset. She has a few gay LDS friends that she grew up with and I think she would be more understanding than mom.
Hopefully I can make time to talk with her in between the beach, Disneyland, and all the other fun plans to tell her. I guess I'll just have to see.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Searching for meaning

What a difference a couple of days makes. A couple of days ago I was so preoccupied with my life that I could barely operate. I have a really long commute right now (upwards of 90 minutes some days: I love SoCal) and sometimes by the time I get to work I am already an emotional wreck. During the day my co-workers don't hear much from me (keeping in mind that my line of work means we are all sitting in a conference room together) and my mind has been racing a million miles an hour as I think about what it means to be a gay Latter-day Saint.

And that was Tuesday. But I feel SO much better already. Something was so liberating about admitting to myself on Tuesday that I am gay. That yes, despite my strong desires to be straight, I'm not. I'm gay. I am not sure what that will mean for me in the long run, but for now, this is what it means to me.

I need to accept myself for who I am. I did not choose to be gay (contrary to what I used to believe about homosexuals) and there really is not a whole lot I can do about it. I am attracted to men more than women (yes I am attracted to women, even sexually). But the truth is, I am probably always going to be attracted to men more than women. That does no mean I am going to live the so-called "gay lifestyle" though. Right now, I still long to marry in the temple and have a family. And I think I would be a pretty good husband and father. Certainly I have a long way to go before that ever happens, but I do not rule that out.

There is no reason to be angry or upset with myself. I believe that God lives and loves me. And I believe very strongly in the notion that God made us to be happy. I guess that can be a little confusing to me right now though. What will truly bring me the greatest measure of happiness? The gospel of Jesus Christ? Or embracing a side of me that I feel like I need to suppress or control? I guess I don't want to try the whole church game for 10 more years only to find out that it won't work and then give up and leave the church.

God has given everybody weaknesses. Mine just happens to have a very large stigma attached to it (at least in my church). But it would be hard for me to just turn my back on my faith, and to go against what I believe. I am not, nor have I ever been one to follow my faith out of social or family pressure. Believe me, if there was ever a family in which you can leave the church at any time, it would be mine. All of my siblings have left the church, and only one has returned (sort of). No one seems to care much. Although I will admit that it does add a certain level of pressure to my life. I love my parents so much and I don't want them to feel like they have failed with all five of us. But at the same time, I know that if I were to leave the Church or come out to them (well I guess mostly Dad, since Mom managed to put two and two together a while ago), that they would love and support me. I have no fear of being disowned, ignored, or shunned by my family. That's not how we roll in my house.

So when I really look back at the last few years, I really see myself as the biggest obstacle to me coming to grips with the real me. Being the eternal optimist, I continued believing that one day I would wake up and be free of my attraction to men. OK, please don't laugh, but it's true. I'm a little bit more realistic today. And now I want to be more open about this, with some of my close friends and family members. It doesn't bother me too much when people ask me about dating/marriage, but the truth is, if they really want to know why I am not dating, I'll let them know. Also, I feel like there are others who could help me, and whom I could help, if I were more open.

I'll never forget one of my first Sunday's in my current Singles Ward. In Priesthood meeting, we were reading from the Teaching of the Living Prophets and the topic was sexual purity. Part of the chapter discussed homosexuality. A few members shared some thoughts (all very respectful in my opinion) when another brother, who was in our ward for the first time, rose his hand and shared with the quorum his struggles with homosexuality. Wow. First Sunday in a new ward, and this guy has the cajones to share that. I think it was one of the most spiritual Sunday's ever. The outpouring of love in that meeting was amazing. I wanted to go up to him after the meeting and thank him, but I was too afraid. Surely he would recognize why I was so grateful. Still to this day I have not thanked him, and have only had a couple conversations with him. When we have talked, I feel like he already knows that I'm gay, so I decided after out last conversation that I would at least thank him for his faith and example the next time we talk.

Anyway, I guess this is about as long as a blog should be. I'm not sure if anyone is reading this, but I feel more at peace at least having written it.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

What next?

The past couple of days have been some of the most challenging of my life. I have been reading a lot of strangers' blogs, and thinking about my life. Let me sum it up this way: Life is not quite what I expected.

I am an active Latter-day Saint, a BYU grad, and a returned missionary. I am striving to live by my faith and I want nothing more than to meet a beautiful young woman, get married, and have a family. There is only one problem: I am gay.

I have read the blogs of a number of other gay Latter-day Saints the past few days. They have made me reflect upon my life, and what I am going to do. Over the past year or so, I have acknowledged that I will probably never get married or have a family. My faith has been wavering and going to church gets more and more difficult every week. Depression and anxiety rule my life. As I read the blogs of others in similar situations, I notice a gradual process where people fall away from the church and begin living a life contrary to what I want to believe. The thought of that happening to me terrifies me. And at the same time, I long for that other lifestyle. I would be lying if I didn't admit that I long for male companionship, that I am tired of being alone, and that I want a relationship with another guy.

But how does an otherwise "normal" (oh I hate that word) Latter-day Saint reconcile his sexual orientation with his faith? How can I have the two things that I want most when they appear mutually exclusive? I guess that is what I am going to have to decide over the next few years. I read about some gay Latter-day Saints who rationalize away the part of our faith that they do not agree with, without actually denouncing our faith. I don't think that I can do that. Either this church is 100% true, and what the modern day prophets and apostles teach is true, or it's a big lie and I am a sucker. Personal experiences in my life lead me to believe the prior.

So that is it for now. In case anyone does actually read this (which is what a blog is for, right?) I will let you know this much. I am not out to anyone, except to my mom. Reading the experiences of others gay Latter-day Saints has made me realize what a blessing it is to have a supportive and loving parent at your side. I wish I could say I had the cajones to just tell her, but she actually brought it up at a point in my life when any good parent would realize that something was terribly wrong with their child. I feel like my dad probably knows as well, but who knows if mom ever told him. Anyway, she is totally cool about it and very supportive. She recognizes that I will probably never get married, and I can tell that she has even accepted the fact that I may someday live a life contrary to her beliefs. Anyway, I am thinking about being more open about my sexual orientation with my family and close friends. This is not a burden I can bear alone any longer.