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.

1 comment:

Calvin said...

How interesting-- I think yours is the first gay Mormon blog I've seen that didn't start out as one. It's refreshing to see someone who intends to stick with the Church when that seems to be getting less and less popular. I'm sure you realize that coming out to yourself and facing all of those issues can be overwhelming. Remember that you're not alone!

PS-- I've actually been thinking of writing about the slippery slope, the "gradual process" of falling out of the Church you mentioned. I too was scared of it, but I've realized that it's not as inevitable as I once thought.