Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Ex. It is a powerful prefix. It signifies the end of something significant. For most people, ex- is probably not a good prefix. It comes with betrayal, or pain, or memories that you would like to erase. For some, though, it can be a blessing.

Back when I was attending grad school, no one knew of my same sex attraction except for my parents and one friend from high school. My parents and my friend, as loving and understanding as they were, just didn’t know how to approach the situation and left me feeling very alone and unloved. I desperately wanted a gay man in my life that I could be friends with. I had a strong desire to connect with someone whom I could be completely honest and who could understand my struggles. I wasn’t necessarily looking for a boyfriend or a partner, just someone who I could have an emotional connection with.

Like all closeted gay men, I took my cause to the internet. I tried to find support groups, but found nothing. I tried chat rooms, but found nothing. I tried personals, but found nothing. My problem, I thought, was that I was too picky. But I only had three things on my list and I thought there had to be someone out there with these three things: (1) must be spiritual, (2) must not do drugs (including smoking), and (3) must not drink. Concerning the first item, I did not care whether this person was Christian, like myself, or Jewish, or Buddhist, or Muslim. A specific religion did not matter. I just wanted them to have a belief in a power more powerful than any of us.

Finally, after way too much searching, I came across Mike (the name has been changed). Mike’s profile listed three things: (1) Buddhist, (2) Didn’t smoke, (3) Didn’t drink. Perfect!!! My new friend. I contacted Mike and we started e-mailing back and forth. Mike was pretty cool and we soon started chatting on-line. Chatting turned into phone calls. And eventually we both built up the courage to meet each other. That was one of the scariest moments, but that’s another story. Ask me later if you want to hear it.

Mike and I become friends. I love Mike’s company. He’s masculine but he’s sensitive, he’s a great listener, and he’s genuinely interested in my life. This is perfect, I think. I have a really cool friend who I can just be myself around.

Well, pretty soon after we start hanging out, Mike and I start to cuddle a little bit. Okay, cool, fine. We’re both gay, we cuddle, no big deal. Soon after that there is some hand holding, a little kissing, and a whole lot of time being spent together. All of the sudden, I have a boyfriend. Wow. That sort of just happened.

All the while that Mike and my relationship is progressing, I have this constant nagging in my mind saying, “You aren’t supposed to be doing this.” I ignore it. It’s probably just me being worried about what my friends will think. Another similar message comes, “You aren’t supposed to be in this relationship.” Again I ignore the message. I’m probably just worried about my parents disowning me. It doesn’t matter, I’m a grown man. But over and over in my mind the message persists.

I don’t want to admit to myself, but I know why the thoughts persist in my mind. I know what my parents taught me in my childhood and I know what my church teaches me on a weekly basis. My relationship was in direct contradiction to everything that I was raised to be. At this time in my life, though, I did not have faith in the teachings of my parents. I did not have a testimony in the beliefs of my church nor did I care to have one. I had never truly desired to pray to God to know if my church was true because I feared that the answer would be yes, it is true, and that I would have to abandon my hopes of finding a same sex partner to share my life with. However, as much as I feared giving up my desires for a relationship, I feared even more that I was living a lifestyle contradictory to the will of God and that my punishment in the life to come would be far worse than anything I could comprehend.

Finally, after months of internal struggle, I broke off the relationship with Mike. It was difficult. Incredibly difficult. And worst of all, I had no one to turn to. My parents wouldn’t want to know that I had been dating someone. I didn’t want my parents to know, either. I spent the next year or so in limbo. I swore off men. I didn’t date. I didn’t even want to date. My breakup was painful. I didn’t want to go through it again. I didn’t want to put someone else through it again.

I was still scared, though, and couldn’t bring myself to indulge in spiritual upliftment. Finally, about a year later, I made a decision. I could be in a same sex relationship as long as I knew, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that the church I was raised in, and the teachings of my childhood were not true. I decided that for a few months, I would be totally committed to finding out God’s plan. I read the scriptures every. I said prayers every day. I attended church every week and even made it to some social gatherings my church sponsored. I was completely and totally immersed in finding truth.

After one month, not too much was different, but I hadn’t determined yet that the church was not true. After two months, I still didn’t feel like I had a testimony, but things seemed to be going well enough in my life, so I kept going. Three months, four months passed. I was waiting for a defining moment to slap me across the face and say “Hey!! This is your answer.” It didn’t come. But somewhere along the way, I realized that the worst case scenario had happened…I accidentally started believing in my church.

I have wondered a few times if I ever should have contacted Mike. Should I have e-mailed him? Should I have called him? Should I have met him? Should I have dated him? Every time the answer is YES!! Ok, that might not have come across very well. I am not saying to all the gay men out there that you need to date someone in order to determine what kind of life you want to live. But Mike changed my life.

Mike spoke to me often about releasing myself and accepting who I am. I am sure I told him what a ridiculous notion that was, but looking back, I think he was right. I am still in the process of accepting who I am. But I know that I am a child a God. I am on this earth to learn, and to grow, and to be example to others. God has a plan for me.

There is a great quote that I first heard in the movie Coach Carter. It goes:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinkingso that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
A Return To Love - Marianne Williamson

I have an ex that is a blessing in my life. I will forever be grateful to him for his kindness and his understanding.



Anonymous said...

I am so proud of you. You are one of my best friends, because of your strength, your deep understanding of who you are, and your patience. And your sincerity. Often, I feel people profess a belief because they feel like it is what they are supposed to do. They feel more accepted. But you not only embrace the part of you that alientates you from many (your same gender attraction) but you face it, accept it, and still cling to those very things that try to change you, because you truly believe in them. You trust in God. Thank you for being so good, and doing it for yourself and by yourself. You are my hero.

Anonymous said...

Your blog is very thought-provoking. I am female, but could have written it for the most part. I'm also married, but have been down that lonely road of trying to find an SGA friend to confide in. I also did all the things you did, including the too much developing to the point of impropriety, and swearing off women. That was a bad idea.

I like how you solved your problem. I have not quite solved mine. I am restless, and fearful of what following your path might require of me.

Nonetheless, I carry on in silence, trying to find my way. It's fast Sunday, which always makes me cringe, but perhaps I will be inspired today.

LDS Pride said...

To the second anonymous commenter. I apologize, but I am near rolling on the floor with laughter. Not by the whole comment, just by the word "solved." My life is far from solved. I still feel the same restlessness and fear that you feel. I still have moments where I wonder if I made the "right" choice. I still have doubts if I really can walk this path. But, the difference now, is that I have hope it can be done. For all the things that I don't have faith in or knowledge of, I have hope. You can have hope, too! And if you don't think you can have hope, then you can have some of mine :)

And in response to you carrying on in silence...DON'T. Silence is the worst. Tell someone you trust. If you need to, tell me. Set up a fake e-mail account and get it all off your chest. I have started telling people about my struggles and it releases so much of the fear just knowing that people are with you, supporting you.

I hope your fast sunday goes well and that your stomach doesn't growl the whole day like mine.