Friday, October 13, 2006

Staying in or coming out

With everything that's in my head at the moment, this may not be very coherent. I'll risk it. So many different things I want to write about, and actually that has kept me from writing anything.

Can I deal with SSA by myself? In General Conference, Richard G. Scott used the example of rock climbing. There are people who climbs rocks alone, without equipment, companions or secure protection. Then there are those who climb with a companion and use ropes and anchors and other equipment. Elder Scott counsels: "Do not solo in life. You will almost certainly fall into transgression".

Up until now I have not sought help from anyone else. I have asked myself the question whether it is necessary for me to open up to others about this. Hearing elder Scott speak, and watching the little video of the rock climbers they showed during his talk, sort of felt like an answer to this question. It may not be impossible to deal with it by myself, but the chances of really finding peace with it are probably higher if I do decide to involve others.

I have actually know this for a long time, but I haven't done it. Why? I'm afraid people will stop thinking of me as someone who's got his act together (well, I like to think that's how people think of me anyways :-)). I'm afraid my male friends will think or at least wonder about me having developed any special interests in them. I'm afraid people will be cool about it to my face, but will joke about it or judge me behind my back. I'm afraid the young men or their parents might all of a sudden feel a little weird about those sleepovers at my house (during which absolutely nothing inappropriate happened by the way, nor did I ever want it to!!). I'm afraid I will be labeled as 'gay' or even 'ex-gay' forever, even if I do manage do put it behind me. I'm afraid people will never really trust me again. I'm afraid I will not be able to trust other people anymore. And I just don't want people to know about my weaknesses.

I realize these reasons are based on the fear of man. So not the best reasons. I want to say the real reason is pride. Maybe a little bit of shame too. That I haven't been able to overcome, or that I've let it come this far.

I do think people, or at least some people, will react in the ways I described above. People are people. What I should lose is the fear of that reaction. Just accept it and remember that what other people think is not important when it comes to my eternal progression. Yes, humble myself.

Like so many others I have been longing for friendship and intimacy. However, it seems impossible to really connect with people if I have to hide this part about me. Many times when I talk to friends I can't really tell them how I'm doing or what's been going on in my life because they don't know. So in my relationships with people I can only get to this certain level of sharing and connecting.

In a way I want to come out to people. I would love having someone that knew everything about me, just so I could be completely open and honest. That when I am with this person, I don't have to worry about showing too much of me. Even thinking about it is a liberating experience.

Who to talk to though. Select a friend I feel I can trust enough? A priesthood leader? Someone in my family? Somehow talking to someone that experiences the same thing feels the most secure. Not only would they understand better what comes along with being mormon and experiencing SSA, but also I think they'd have a better understanding of the importance of confidentiality.

Anyways, I'd write about some of the other things that have been on my mind, but I can't. Not without ending up using the word 'I' more than 50 times in one post anyway. Some boundaries are just not be crossed... To be continued...

7 Comments:

Blogger Robert said...

I read this post, and immediately identified with you. I am also a gay male who struggled in the LDS Church, and tormented myself over the choice of leaving or staying. For me, LDS membership for a gay person only prolongs pain. As a male, there will be unbelievable pressure on you to marry, have children and live a life style that is impossible for you.

I will be fair and note that the LDS Church is more compassionate today than they were 30 years ago. Back then, they allowed horrific statements and pamphlets to be distributed. At least with "Evergreen" it is an attempt to be more compassionate. In the 1970s, non-endowed gays were routinely excommunicated for having sex, whereas hetros were simply warned, counseled or, worst case scenario, placed on probation or disfellowshipped.

The advice you will get from other gay men will be to leave Mormonism. However, they never understand the strong cultural and familial ties in and around our membership. The advice you will get from Mormons is that homosexuality is curable. Both groups want to help, and are sincere in their advice.

However, homosexuality is not curable. I have know so many gay men who marry in desperation, have families, and slowly go insane. They eventually leave their wives and children and finally pursue a gay lifestyle, often in middle age.

And you are a child of God. Never forget that. You have a spiritual side to your being that needs to continue being nourished. You have been dealt a difficult hand to play, but these challenges only make us stronger.

As for me, I left the church as a young adult. I never had my name removed, and occasionally attend LDS services. This is possible. It is possible to remain active, confide in leadership (with the understanding its confidential) and keep gay sexual experiences from them. You are a whole person, and part of that includes sexuality.

You may want to check out affirmation.org, a gay Mormon website. Also, you may want to visit a Metropolitan Community Church (gay church) in your area for more personal help.

I am here for you!

10/14/2006 10:06 AM  
Blogger Unusual Dude said...

Iovan, I think you probably know better than to think that the only advice you'll get from Mormons is that homosexuality is curable. Anyone who has read Elder Oaks and Elder Wickman's interview on same gender attraction will know differently.

Plus, there are a whole load of us in the blogosphere who have these feelings and are actually happily married and active LDS (not pretending to be happy or pretending to be active, but BOTH) and it's working just fine. I don't mean to attack Robert, and I don't mean this as an attack, I just want to make sure you hear both sides of this argument.

FYI, the Elder Oaks / Elder Wickman interview is found here: http://www.lds.org/newsroom/issues/answer/0,19491,6056-1-202-4-202,00.html
and you can link to several blogs that I mentioned from my blog. I think there are a lot more of us out there who are same sex attracted and active LDS, but not on the blogosphere - I think those of us who blog are just a tiny sampling of those that exist.

Just my two cents.

10/14/2006 12:57 PM  
Blogger iovan said...

Robert: Can I ask why you think homosexuality is not curable? This is not meant to be an offensive question. Just wondering what lies behind your opinion, hoping to find my personal answer to the question what the possibilities are as fas as changing.

10/14/2006 11:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sexual preference is a continuum. for those at one end or the other, change is just not going to happen. for many in the middle, there can be a fulfilling sexual relationship with either gender. more power to them. but their choice of partner does not represent a change, just a decision.

and then there are those who have made a preference decision in opposition to their own nature. this decision may be based on complex social, religious and psychological factors. for this group--a relatively small group i would think--change is possible with counseling and disciplined thought and action.

notice that i use the word change not cure:
'don't fix what ain't broken'

10/15/2006 2:06 PM  
Blogger keeper said...

For me, having some people know all about me, and knowing they *still* love and accept me, has been very healing.

That said, it's true that people will not always react compassionately to SSA issues, so it does help to be choosey when deciding who to tell. Maybe try testing the waters by talking to a therapist? In general, they are safe choices, an easier place to start. Sometimes church leaders, friends, even family members can be surprisingly understanding and accepting. Sometimes not.

It's always a bit of a risk, since you don't know how your relationship with them will change - but it will change - hopefully for the better.

Just be sure you know why it would help not only you but *them* by letting them know.

10/16/2006 8:07 AM  
Blogger epadavito said...

as Dr. Seus says, its the mountain you must climb today...and although that today last everyday of our lives....its still just a mountain...or as my sister would ask me, 'are you making mountains out of molehills?" I know everyday is different..but some days are amazing, aren't they? so there is no reason in the world in the universe to ever leave the church . PERIOD. . . . . this is why we came to earth - to prove ourselves to Heavenly Father.....I don't believe homosexuality is curable..its do-able.....its been done and will have to be done until this life is over....its way hard...its really, really way hard...but certain people have certain issues they must deal with, certain characteristics of who they are that challenge how easy our existence is going to be....and there is no fault in complaining, its ok to cry about it, to moan about it, to get so mad and frustrated that you just want to give in and have sex with some guy or make an amazing friendship that leads to immoral acts that don't seem at all immoral because you feel that connection...but still...you'd be going against the very person that agreed to come here -yourself- and you'd be defying the one who created you and knows you best - your Heavenly Father....imagine the day we get to be with Him again.........and imagine how happy Satan is when we give up

10/18/2006 10:29 AM  
Blogger Distinguishing Preoccupation said...

Well, I'll drop my few cents worth here too... Everyone has already offered advice in many directions... my experience has been that NOTHING is in absolutes in this unusual LDS/SSA world we find ourselves. TO say it is not "curable" is misrepresentitive and to say that it is "curable" is short-sighted. Everyone knows that each SSA man has his own story of how he came to grips or is coming to grips with homosexuality and perhaps some causes of their homosexuality. Also, that the types of persons and personalities of homosexuals are never identical. Therefore it is impossible to offer the same solution to solve a vastly complex problem for a variety of different persons.
Some say to give up the church and dive into the homosexual world.
Some say to pursue marriage in the church and seek therapy.
and then there is everything inbetween.

As for me, I believe that I must find a place between the extremes where I will be most happy and content.
Where you stand must be completely your decision and independant of anyone else.

Nevertheless, in my experience it has been quite benificial to reach out and unload my head in the presence of others who have had similar struggles. It can take time to get used to the idea of someone knowing your "secret" but for me, having people hear your heart that do not judge you for your situation can be quite thereputic.

Good Luck with EVERYTHING!

-Cas

12/06/2006 3:19 PM  

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