Ask Mormon Girl: I’m Mormon. I’m Gay. I’m torn in two. Help?

The story this week, readers, is in the questions.

Dear AMG,

I am a 26-year-old returned missionary, have a temple recommend, serve in the Elder’s Quorum presidency in my singles ward, and am attracted to men.  Without detailing the entire melodramatic saga, I’ve been dealing with this issue my entire life, but it has really consumed a lot of my attention, energy, and vitality in the last four years.  I made some pretty intense missteps in my efforts to come to some level of catharsis, and was consequently disfellowshipped.  I was reinstated, and have served as faithfully as I know how in every calling I’ve had.  I’ve been involved in LDS-oriented organizations helping to support active members of the church who are gay.  In short, I’m giving it my all.  I feel forgiven of the mistakes I made years ago, and am assured I’m in good standing with God.

Yet, I haven’t been happy.

I met a great guy recently, a BYU grad student, who is in very much the same boat.  We connected both on this issue and many other commonalities, and we’ve started spending much of our spare time together.  He has become my closest friend and confidant.  While we haven’t gotten involved in any way that would compromise either our church membership or his standing in school, I realized one morning that I had a de facto boyfriend.  Scarier still: I loved him, and was ok with that.  He has since communicated with me that he reciprocates those feelings.

 And yet, I’m not happy.

There’s something about being a gay Mormon that makes you feel that joy’s simply not part of the equation.  Either I stay involved in the family-oriented church I very much believe in, single and isolated, surrounded by families, or I pursue a relationship I desperately want, yet that would alienate me from my family, my friends, and worst, the surety of my personal convictions.  No road seems viable.  And two different poles of my soul are tugging ferociously toward opposite directions.  I’m not suicidal, but have known three men who have taken their lives, and scores of others who’ve made attempts.  Everyone thinks these kinds of deaths are results of bullying, bigotry, or bias.  In truth, for many men like me, death seems like a pleasant relief from the grind of life’s contradictions.

Despite our insistence to the contrary, gay Mormons don’t have a corner on the suffering market.  How could my pain even begin to compare to some of the crucibles others face?  We all have our Gethsemanes.  I’m certain my current one is light compared to many others.  The difficulty I face is an unsettling feeling there is no path through this; all paths seem to lead to the same sense of cut-off damnation.  Four years of learning, growth, and effort have been beneficial, yet seemed only to wield more question, more uncertainty.  Any advice for a guy being torn in two?

Sincerely,

DK

***

Dear AMG:

I attended BYU-I for a little over a year, two actual semesters that were split up by taking a couple online classes during a winter semester. And it was brutal. I never felt like I belonged and homophobic attitudes were around every corner; in mutiple FHEs, in various RM attitudes and constantly amongst both conservative and liberal conversations. My first semester there, I was a girl that was anxious all the time that someone was going to find out. I made up boyfriends left and right and pretended that I thought a boy was cute or that eternal marriage in the temple was a reality I saw in my own future. Second semester was a different story. After I came out to my parents and various friends, I had built up a support system of mormons and non-mormons. I had done some serious soul searching. And I had taken a lot of drugs to curb my own feelings of isolation and inadequacies, as I had seen them. When second semester rolled around, I wasnt the girl out to please everyone I came in contact with. But I also wasnt one to be openly gay. I feared being kicked out and I feared being excommunicated. But there was an honesty that time.

 After that semester I didnt go back. And now I feel torn. I feel so confused. I enjoy the Mormon community and the friends that I have made there. I think the church offers great guidance and support in a lot of areas and a general sense of love that is rare to find. My whole family is active, including both extended families (minus a few cousins.) Ive tried the inactive route. But how does a gay person experience a fully active Mormon lifestyle? I don’t feel condemned for being gay, or that it is something I must seek and strive to change within me. And the more I have accepted it, the less bouts of depression I have. 

Is there any hope for this one day to be reconciled? Or will this be a constant battle I fight for the rest of my life?

Sincerely,

 

KS

Dear Brother DK and Sister KS:

I have absolutely no idea what I’d do if I were in your shoes.  I am humbled that you even wrote me. This is one of those weeks where I hope people will just read your letters and begin to grapple with what it means to be a gay Mormon.

I also hope you both take a minute to watch this just-released “It Gets Better” video made at BYU.  The filmmaker is Kendall Wilcox.  Please visit the site for his forthcoming movie Far Between to access more videos and resources.  You should also know about an upcoming gathering of LGBTQ/SSA Mormons and their allies, April 20 – 22 in Washington, D.C.  More info is here.

I believe in a loving and powerful God.  I believe that God loves you just as much as God loves me.  I believe as the Book of Mormon teaches that “man is that he might have joy.”  And I am a follower of Jesus.  This Easter weekend it struck me that the message of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection story, the meaning of the atonement is that it does get better.

I don’t know how.  But I am willing to walk alongside you and learn.

Send your query to askmormongirl@gmail.com, or follow @askmormongirl on Twitter.

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87 Comments

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87 responses to “Ask Mormon Girl: I’m Mormon. I’m Gay. I’m torn in two. Help?

  1. Thanks Joanna. Its fantastic to see such a desire to understand and love. And mucho thanks to you, Kendall, for all you do!

  2. Paul

    DK,
    Your story resonated with me. I think that what I have to say may leave you uncomfortable, but I sincerely hope it helps. But first a brief version of my story to help contextualize my comments: I knew I was a different sort from my earliest childhood, and I knew that some part of that difference was a challenge to typical masculinity, but I did not know I was gay until quite late. I struggled with my connection to LDS authority for a number of reasons that had nothing to do with my sexual identity. I attended BYU, was extremely active in Church activities including serving an honorable mission and followed that up by service in a Branch Presidency after I returned home. I asked my questions directly in religion courses when I went back to BYU, asked in Sunday School and Priesthood, and I read scripture and gazillions of writings that were related to my questions. I had a deep faith that following my questions was the only way to grow. The odd thing was that the more I followed my faith, the more I came into conflict with the authority of the church. I have never been excommunicated, but I am completely non-practicing, and thoroughly non-religious.

    This is what I want to say to you—you must follow your deepest faith, and that faith is not in a church. I know it may seem strange that I am encouraging you to hold on to your faith when I already said I am no longer religious. But faith remains a compelling driving force in my live. Just not faith in God. You are left in conflict, because the church has already rejected you. It may change, but the conflict is not in you. To remain in the church is to remain inside of that conflict. This has nothing to do with what God wants from you, but on how that group of people behave.

    On the other hand, when I left the structure of the Church, I realized this beautiful and empowering thing: I can and do hold on to every aspect of faith that I valued in the first place. In other words: “prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” I did not leave the people in the church; they rejected me for something they did not understand. The church and most of its members have handled that lack of understanding abominably. Separation from my community was terrifying, but liberating and extremely positive. The truth is robust, and we learn the truth by challenging it, changing our vantage point. Seeking. This blog has eloquently and faithfully addressed the connections of faith to doubt and uncertainty. While I was struggling in the church, I was imposing the church’s dogma onto the world and trying to reconcile everything accordingly. When I started to trust that I did not know, and it was ok not to know, I really started learning and growing. I had to trust that uncertainty before I could really consider another approach. We must surround ourselves by people who bolster our faith.

    One of the lessons I have learned is that it is not the person I agree with and the person who is supportive are often not the same person. I accept that your faith may very well lead you to stay inside the conflict you are in. Some fights are worth fighting. But my family has also grown because of my choice to live independent from the church. I experienced some deep rejection and harsh judgment from those who were supposed to be the most loving and supportive. I don’t know what my mother believes about my sexuality anymore. I do know that I am close to her again and she accepts me and supports me. She hopes I find someone to love, and understands the value of affection and physical intimacy that comes with that love. She’s even back to encouraging me to give her another grandchild—which is funny to me as I am single and 46. It was painful to be estranged from my family. But the thing that gets better—they changed as much as I did. We’ve all (my familly) grown in this arena.

    If there is anything I can offer, I will gladly do so. I wish you the best. I suppose I have greater faith in love than anything else. If it is love pushing you toward your de facto boyfriend, how could you be estranged from God for following that love? If your community condemns you for following your faith or love, is that not on them? Is it not really what is demanded of each of us to follow love and faith and leave it to another power to address how the community treats us for that fundamental decision?

    Paul

    • A.

      Paul, that was written so well. Thank you!

    • Great Video Replay guy

      I would like to respond to Paul’s comments. Eventually we as a people in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will have to answer and perhaps answer for our intolerance against homosexuals. May I apolgize to you now, and tell you that I hope my prayer for you helps you carry your burden.

      Christ was not hateful towards gays at all. In fact He never condemed gays. Christ brought the Roman Soldier’s slave back from the dead. The solder and his slave were gay lovers–anyone with any degree of common sense recognized that.

      Anyway, Jonathon and King David were also gay lovers. Two examples in the Bible of Christ showing compassion and love towards gays. Take heart, Christ will not condemn you…. neither do I.

      God bless you!

  3. BJ

    I cannot understand what you or any gay mormon has to go through. But I am glad I read these letters, which opened up my understanding just a bit more.

  4. Alex

    Dear DK and MS, I’m so sorry to see all the pain you’ve gone through. And I believe that nobody on earth has the right to condemn you. One of the saddest memories of my life was sitting in a church disciplinary council and not being firm on the prompting I felt that we should not excommunicate a certain person for being gay. I went with the flow of unchristlike folklore traditions and we excommunicated. What we should’ve done was followed the Spirit and told the person to go forth in life and be true to themselves in how the Lord created them. Too many young gay people in the church aren’t true to themselves. I personally know of 3 people from my childhood who were gay Mormons that eventually killed themselves because they couldn’t cope and because their church leaders and peers didn’t follow the Spirit and understand that the Lord created them how they were and expected them to have joy in life.

    • Deborah

      Thank you so much for this. I’m still questioning, but I think I’m a lesbian, and I always felt like I was just confused, and that the answers I feel so strongly are from God couldn’t be because, I don’t know, the leadership are somehow automatically more worthy than me to receive revelation and I should trust them. I still should trust them, but it is so encouraging to know at least that somebody else feels the distinction between dogma and genuine revelation.

  5. Judith Hansen

    Yes, in a way, gay Mormons have a corner on suffering, and rightfully so. Simply because the church causes this suffering. If you are physically or mentally challenged, you can always claim that God will heal your earthly suffering “on the other side of the veil”. However, being gay will never go away. Any older homosexual will tell you that that’s how you really are inside. It’s part of your eternal being. It won’t change because it doesn’t have to change. Being gay is inherently “you”, just as being straight is to the hetero folks. Yet, according to Mormon theology, you shouldn’t be that way, meaning, it were better if you were straight. In current LDS theology there is no room for straight people who don’t want to or gay folks who can’t procreate in the heternonormist way of thinking. As a gay, you are a persona non grata in the current version 1.0 of the Plan of Salvation. That, in a nutshell, renders your existence meaningless. So, you might think about killing yourself, or find other ways to terminate your suffering (eating disorders, obsessive and compulsive behaviors …) since there seems to be no point to your existence because you can’t participate in “happiness”, Mormon-style. Don’t do it. You are a wonderful person who has every right to exist, but maybe you will have to find a life outside the Mormon community, no matter how painful. It you choose to fully participate, you will always feel that something “isn’t right” about living chastely, when everyone around you, even a 134-year-old straight, barren, or impotent single, might some day be granted the bliss of marriage in the Mormon tradition.

    Do NOT participate in reparative therapy. It doesn’t work and it is simply wrong because it is based on the assumption that homosexuals can and ought to change. They can’t and they shouldn’t.

    You have a lot of thinking to do. Either way, get help from a gay-affirmative counselor. Rethink what you believe about prophetic leadership. The church has changed its stance on many things. Even Bruce Almighty McConkie admitted that trusting the prophets of old as related to the Blacks and the priesthood was wrong.

    As far as homosexuality is concerned, the church is wrong. Believe in yourself. Let yourself be. Heavenly Father loves you just the way you are.
    Do yourself a favor and read Jay Michaelson’s book God vs Gay. Jay is Jewish, but what he says applies to anyone who wants to know more about homosexuality and religion.

    • sandy

      Judith: You are wrong on just so many levels and spout so many half-truths. I suggest you look to the many happy gays in the Church before you give out bad advice. And NO ONE is born gay, also no one will have these feelings in the next part of our life.

      • TexasLady454

        Sandy you are actually incorrect and should open your mind a little more. It is not for us to say if a person is born gay or not. Also, we are taught that any feeling we have on earth whether it be feelings for the same sex, an addiction to smoking or alcohol, or other feelings WILL be feelings we have in the next life. The difference is we won’t always be able to act upon it (I doubt there are cigarettes in heaven) As for judging those that are gay, it’s not for any person to condemn. Yes the bible technically says marraige is between a man and woman, how do we know that us accepting those that are Gay is another test for people to go through? Maybe God did make them Gay for that very reason, to see how people could handle it. We as members of the church should pray about it and accept everyone, rather than blindly follow what one or two people may say.

      • DK

        Sandy, I appreciate that you have strong disagreements with Judith. I, myself, am hesitant to follow counsel to rethink what I believe about prophesy. I think my personal solution to this likely lies somewhere more nuanced and in keeping with my own personal beliefs, which resonate with the doctrines of the church.

        I had to respond to your post, though. I do not know if these attractions are part of my eternal identity. But I absolutely know being gay is inherent, intractable, and absolutely innate. Previously, I’ve absolutely hated that fact, but have never doubted it as true. It’s a rare SSA person that would claim otherwise. Please be cautious when making such blanket claims. I hope you’re seeking to help people in my situation. I promise that insisting on dogmatic ideas like “NO ONE is born gay” can truly hurt.

        -DK

      • M.D.

        Really? Were you born straight? I know I was. I did not make a conscious choice to be straight and have never met anyone who has. This suggests to me that no one chooses to be gay.

        Unless of course, you chose to be straight, which I would love to hear about.

      • Jen

        Sandy, if you want to counter Judith’s ideas, you must give us a little more to chew on other than claiming that she is wrong on so many levels. Tell us why.

      • “No on will have these feelings in the next part of our life.” I don’t believe that.

        The atonement of Jesus Christ wasn’t designed to make us into beings we will not recognize — it was designed to help us become our very best selves and recognize our best feelings and truest expressions of love. It helps us to see Jesus Christ as He is (1 John 3:2). He teaches us how to see ourselves as He does. His love invites us to embrace our truest feelings, in this life and the next.

        Being gay is a sacred part of my spirit. Expressing love in any form is divine. It always has been and will continue to be throughout eternity, the same yesterday, today and forever (Mormon 9:9). It is something which helps me recognize God and the divinity within myself. If the atonement were to erase the gay part of me — or, if it required me to wear a mask — I would have difficulty in recognizing my divine self. Jesus’s work was never about wearing masks, but giving sight.

      • Billy

        “NO ONE is born gay” is Sandy’s opinion. It is not the official doctrine of the Church:

        “The Church does not have a position on the causes of any of these susceptibilities or inclinations, including those related to same-gender attraction. Those are scientific questions — whether nature or nurture — those are things the Church doesn’t have a position on.”

        Elder Oaks, http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/official-statement/same-gender-attraction

      • mari

        Sandy, where I appreciate that you do point out the “happy gays” in the church, I also feel that you are wrong in saying that, “NO ONE” is born gay. Where I don’t believe that ALL gay people were born that way, I do believe that a certain percentage of them actually were (I can’t help but believe that there is a percentage of gays who actually choose to be gay, perhaps due to many failed relationships with the opposite sex, issues in childhood, lack of a father figure, lack of a mother figure, poor parenting, etc….). We don’t know who was born gay and who was not, so we cannot judge. We can only love and support the best that we can.

        That being said, I can’t say that I condone the practice of homosexuality. I’ve heard that to be homosexual and a faithful mormon is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing, because they are on their knees praying a heck of a lot more than a lot mormons are, and their relationship with God is stronger for it. A curse, because they know they can’t give into those feelings and that keeps them from being in a “romantic” relationship with anyone.

        Where the practice of homosexuality is being more and more accepted in the world, the doctrine of the church remains the same, and I don’t see it ever changing. But I do see the attitudes of the church members slowly evolving towards acceptance of homosexuals (non-practicing) as good and faithful members, which may not seem like much, but given what the views of homosexuals in the church were just a few years ago, it’s huge.

        I pray that those who are in this predicament will find strength in knowing that there are people in the church who do love them and want them to be happy. I wish there was an easier way for them.

      • SharonGoldstein

        This is for Sandy. It’s NOT a choice. We are getting more and more proof that homosexuality is natural. There are MRI scans that show measurable, physical differences between the brains of gay men and straight ones. Yes, despite your own untruths, people are born gay. Think for just a second of the agony our poor friend is going through. Why on earth would anyone “choose” this? To be bullied, sometimes to death? A CHOICE? Please. I’m sorry homosexuality makes you uncomfortable, but the world is an uncomfortable place, and sometimes you just have to accept.

      • The truth is, we don’t know if a person is born gay or not. The research I have read have all been inconclusive. The other truth is, that those how have homosexual tendencies or identify as gay did not choose to have these feelings. This I know because of my own experiences with Same sex attractions. However, we can choose to act upon our feelings or not. I myself have chosen not to act upon these attractions and over the years, those same sex attractions have diminished. It’s not an easy path, but it is what I choose and I have been happy in that choice. My believe is that although we don’t choose Homosexual feelings, we can choose our behavior concerning them. For research you might consider visiting narth.com and for assistance, you might consider visiting thessavoice.com

  6. Jack

    I hope these two people someday get a sense of their personal worth. They are worth a happy life. A loving touch, a life support, a flirt. They deserve that, they are entitled to the opportunity for those experiences, and those are an option for their future. It will not be an easy experience, but whatever path you take that fully affirms your self and worth whether it be within Mormonism or with out, you will find that your world eventually becomes a safer, more whole place for you, internally and externally, because you will have molded the potential of your life. I was told I was happy, because I was righteous, but I was so terribly unhappy. I have since molded my life to be affirming of my self and worth, and since then, my life, my world, has become safer, happier, and infinitely more fulfilling. I wish you both the best of luck.

  7. For me, the most vital thing has been connecting to and feeling God’s love through the spirit. That, of course, is a simple sunday school answer. I realized though, that I had to open myself up and allow myself to be surprised by the ways in which I’d feel the spirit as well as be surprised by what the spirit would communicate. There are people who aren’t you and haven’t been in your situation, who will try their best to give you advice and will tell you what will bring you happiness, people on every side of the fence. My ability to feel the spirit and God’s love started to change for me when I started listening more to my own connection to the spirit.

    Here’s what I think is the difficult thing about feeling that connection. I believe our relationships here in mortality help inform our relationship with God. We can’t remember what it was like to have an unfiltered connection to the Divine, so I think we project our mortal relationships onto that relationship. That makes it hard to conceive of a God who loves us unconditionally, a God who loves perfectly. Trust what your instincts tell you in those quiet peaceful moments about who God is and how he feels about you. Find people who love you unconditionally and who are good sounding boards, but will allow you the space to figure things out, even if it means making some mistakes along the way. It’s those people who will help you realize the beauty of God’s love for you.

    Once you feel that love and feel that connection to the Divine, trust it. Don’t let others define your spiritual experiences for you. You get to do that.

    Much love to both of you and to anyone who is in the same place. Feel free to follow the link to my blog and contact info if you want to chat more.

  8. Aron Lupton

    Hi folks. Here is my advice. Do what you want and put those things first. The lds church great as it seems is only a system, and systems don’t have feelings. Be gay, live gay, be happy, put your happiness first. The presidency says wickedness never was happiness (I’m not gay btw) but honestly not one lds apostle or GA or president has ever been gay. Gay people dont last in the lds church, they leave, or so my many ex lds gay friends say, or stay and feel pitiful all the while. I was in a similar circumstance however. I decided my happiness was more important that to be judged by others, and the doctrine, and I left so I could clear my mind and be at peace.

  9. C.

    There are a lot of people willing to walk alongside you. There are a lot of people who believe there is a place for you in the Church and willing to work and love and encourage (and occasionally agitate) until you get it. You’re in for a long haul if you want to carve out a place for yourselves in the Mormon tradition, in whatever capacity that may be. You’ll be digging against generational divides, cultural mores, and good old fashioned bigotry. But you’ve got friends digging from the other side as well who are willing to stand up and say, “We want you. We want your partners and your families. We know some people will turn away, but I promise I won’t.”

    In Joanna Brooks’ own words, “We claim you. We recognize you.” I’d add that no matter what choices you make, wherever you end up on the Mormon spectrum, we still claim and recognize you. We may be in the minority, we may be hard to find (although the It Gets Better BYU video gives me a lot of hope that this is changing) but we are here and we are fierce friends.

    • ron metzger

      I was also glad to read your message and I send my love and support to you. I wish I had some answers about being gay. I cannot imagine the challenges you face as you try to reconcile your faith and your deepest yearning to love and be loved. just know that I am sure there are many in the church who will love you and will not stop loving you as you struggle with these decisions in your life. we are all struggling with something. life is not easy but love and friendship is what get us through.

  10. I am a 41 year old single never married man who has experienced homosexual feelings most of my life. I have only been in family wards after my mission by my own choice. I avoided the singles wards due to my observation of high pressure to marry that was exerted on the return missionaries. Until 3 years ago, I had a belief that my SSA was a sin and experienced deep depression for quite some time. Ten years ago, I met a woman and came the closest to being married. We were engaged and she died of medical malpractice 4 days after our engagement. I became less active, explored living the lifestyle. I participated in the gay community quite heavily. After realizing I didn’t want that life, I poured myself into my career of choice. When the economy crashed I lost my dream job. I was left floating and grasping for support. Through a series of miracles, the church found me again. I finally decided I would tell someone in the church about my situation. It was met by an old school bishop who was very harsh towards me. I was disfellowshipped, eventhough I had never acted out sexually with another soul. I sought out counseling through family services. Eventually my treatment went from dealing with my SSA to dealing with my harsh bishop. I found serveral resources including Northstarlds.org (Online discussion groups, blogs, bookstore, etc). PeopleCanChange.org and their shame reducing weekend called Journey Into Manhood. I also attended Evergreen International and heard first hand Elder Bruce Hafen speak. After 6 months, my bishop came to me in tears apologizing for his lack of understanding and love. From that day on, I was wrapped in the arms of love. I was later put into full fellowship and called to be a ward mission leader. A calling I loved because I recieved an out pouring of love from Men in healthy ways. Eventually my attractions decreased because the love that I was seeking turned out to not be so much sexual, but brotherly. This past January, I was called to serve as first counselor to the bishop in our ward. My life has changed significantly. What I have learned and what has given me the most solace has been the understanding that no imperfect man or woman can or will make me whole. Only the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who is the Gentle Healer will bring peace to my soul. As I have developed this relationship through serving and getting out of myself, I have found the greatest joy I have ever known. I have not expected my attractions to go away, yet they have diminished. My attractions to women have not miraculously appeared, but I am a believer in miracles. Whether the Lord has a plan for me to marry or not, that is up to him. I know he won’t give a commandment such as marriage without a way in this life or the next to accomplish it. I also know that marriage is not the point of the gospel, my relationship to God and Jesus Christ is. So my goal is to nurture that relationship first and foremost and as I do that my joy is full.

    • I want to make another clarification. I have told every leader and HomeTeacher of my SSA. All have been very supportive and loving. At times there has been some misunderstanding because they are not aware of everything that I go through. I have responded with love and understanding of them and forgiveness, and have found they were very loving and supportive in return. Incidently, we had a lesbian couple come to our ward yesterday. Last week, in bishopric meeting, we discussed what we would do if this were to occur. I found myself shocked at how open and liberal the other bishopric members were. When we were meeting after church, I asked if they had seen the couple and how affectionate they were. The other two bishopric members did not notice the couple or even know they were there. I realized that sometimes in our own anticipation of rejection, we are hypersensitive and might interpret others behaviors as rejection. Just another piece I have noticed.

    • RUBYQ

      Thank you for sharing! You are courageous. Your choices would not work for everyone, but I believe many would find peace taking your path. Especially as sexuality is on a continuum (read the amazing Lisa Diamond, my favorite queer theorist). Society tells us just to “follow your own compass” and offers much kudos for those who do. But, that doesn’t necessarily lead to happiness. I have greater respect for those who choose to follow the gospel path, despite the hardship and the lure of the “great and spacious building”. In today’s world, that takes more courage to stay on course. But, it really is the highway of happiness. i wish you the best.

      • Ren

        What beautiful words. I wish most members of the church were as accepting as those who encircle you. We would grow so much as a church and a people. Your example of faith, experiences of trial and error, should be shared with the world of closed-minded members. We each have our trials and our missions in life, and why some are harder than others no one knows. But I know this for sure: In the end, our perfectly loving God will deal more lovingly and patiently with us than most believe or are willing to accept.

  11. Rawkcuf

    The culture of christianity, and (social aspects of) mormonism is often what causes the most pain. Elder Uchtdorf mentioned it in conference… “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you do.” If you can separate the gospel from the culture, and Jesus from church administration, I think you can travel some difficult paths with a bit more ease. Remember, the church cannot (should not) stand between you and your relationship with God. (And don’t you let them!) Keep writing a journal. Record you spiritual experiences, your testimony, and impressions you have praying or reading the scriptures. They may take away your membership, but they can’t take away your testimony. Be sure to continue writing (and reading!) your journal. Pray to your Heavenly Father about your relationships too! I remember reading in Dialogue (1995?) about a man who received a witness from the Lord that if he lived worthily, he would be provided a (same sex) companion.
    I have served on two stake high councils where another high council member was being tried for breaking the law of chastity (both heterosexual). They both received a probationary ceasing of temple and leadership privileges for a few months, and bounced back to normal without anyone outside of that room knowing. A fellow in elders quorum confessed to kissing a guy he had a crush on, and got excommunicated. Its not fair, and there is no way in this climate you will be able to expect most of the people in the church to understand you without prejudice. The best that can be done, is to show them all what exemplary mormons you can be. (Inside or outside the church!) I love the fact that Lavina Fielding Anderson continues to actively attend church in spite of having lost her membership. No one can tell her she isn’t mormon. There are so many ways a person can minister– even without a calling. Find your place to serve. (The Lord needs you, let Him tell you where.) The membership can be very brutal to excommunicated members, but just keep reminding yourself that at the very least, you are allowed to claim the position of investigator, and all the fellowship that position enjoys.
    I believe Christ’s words and His example can be your best guide, and your best comfort. If people around you need reminding, don’t withhold!
    You will find people you expected to be supportive not,
    and those you knew very little about to be your strongest allies.
    First, it sucks, then it gets less bad, and then it gets better.
    Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.” I believe that wholeheartedly!

  12. No, it’s true an apostle or GA or President has never been gay, however, it’s very possible that one or more have struggled with Same Sex Attractions. We all have a thorn in our sides. But I know that it is possible to live a happy contented life in the LDS Church and be Same Sex Attracted. I am such a person. It has not been an easy journey, and I have not “changed” my attractions completely, but over time those feelings are diminished. I believe that if I had put my “gay feelings” first, I would be a very unhappy person now.

  13. As I, as a non-Mormon, read this blog, I am continually hit by the emphasis on human happiness that floats through most posts. Is happiness the highest goal for a member of the LDS church? It looks very human centered to me, not a religion that seeks to love God with heart, mind, soul and strength and neighbor as self, but as a religion that says, “You own happiness is the ultimate goal.”

    I know I’m just getting a piece of Mormon thought in this blog, but there is no question about the constant popping up of this word, “happiness.” While human happiness is a delightful experience, I know few who center their lives on that who find it ultimately satisfying.

    I also ache for the writer of the question, because happiness cannot be possible when one must either lie to the self or to the community around them. Lying always eliminates the possibility of real happiness.

    It’s no different for the gays and lesbians in the very conservative Christian world, although many Christians have moved to a wider, more embracing theology that recognizes the variety of human experience and the fact that humans inhabit a sexual spectrum, to the point of a significant number being born intersexed, rather than rigid division between male and female.

    Even so, I continue to wonder why many religious folks focus, and condemn, homosexual expression of sexual love when done in covenant relationship and pay no attention to heterosexual expressions of sexual lust and power that often destroy others.

    Personally, I think that if gays and lesbians must fully disclose their sexual activities and thoughts in order to be accepted in a religious community, then all heteros must do the same. Could be very enlightening.

    • Dear Pastor, I feel someone should reply to you and say, no, human happiness is not the highest goal, and we are not taught that in church. In fact I just taught a lesson a few weeks ago about the difference between earthly happiness and eternal joy. We, like other Christians, believe ultimate happiness comes from being Christlike: serving, loving and learning, not from seeking our personal, and often selfish, components of happiness.
      Also, the LDS church does pay attention to “heterosexual expressions of lust and power” as well, even though they are talked about less in the blogging world. And Mormon will tell you topics such as pornography, sex addiction and adultery are common topics at church.
      Thanks for reading and adding your perspective, it makes me examine our collective image a bit more closely.

  14. I am a therapist in Salt Lake City and have had many LDS gay clients who are in tremendous psychological pain because of this problem. As a Mormon, I struggle with my own feelings over the Church’s position which I cannot support because it is counter to my belief that all people deserve to establish an authentic life and have support and validation in doing so. There are many LDS people who feel your pain, love and support you, and do not feel you need to sacrifice an important part of life—having an intimate relationship with someone you love. Hang in there, I do believe it will get better. The Church cares about your feelings too, and change is coming, I am certain.

    • Carolyn

      Carol: I am sure you are aware of the many LDS therapists who are successfully helping those with SGA to manage their feelings quite successfully…may in your area?

  15. StillConfused

    Jesus loves you and God loves you. But reality is that you will also likely need someone on this earth to love you too. Someone who stands by you through the thick and thin. Someone who is there when you need him/her the most.

    I am not gay/lesbian. But I have seen the horrific pain that is caused when people turn to the church/its members for love and support during a hard time only to be turned away.

    When my husband was a new widower, he looked to LDS family and friends for support. Not a single one of them had anything to give him. He was figuratively drowning in loneliness. Along came my “Samaritan” group — who were there for him and loved him in his time of need.

    I pray that you each find the Good Samaritans to help and support you during your lives. You are beautiful sons and daughters of God and that should never be forgotten by you… even if it is forgotten by people affiliated with your faith.

    If you keep charity in your heart you will be reunited with God… no matter what people, even so-called religious people, try to say.

  16. I just want to say how impressed & proud of these two gay Mormons. I don’t have any advice or solutions, but I really appreciate their insight & courage to share! Perhaps, as the LDS & nonLDS communities learn how to best support, accept, encourage & love these fellow brothers & sisters…their burdens may be lightened, and the love & testimony of a loving Heavenly Father will abound.

    I don’t know you , but I know I love you ! You are my brother & sister doing your best to follow the teachings of Christ as I also try to do. Big hug, tears and compassion flood my soul for you!! Don’t give up! Keep going! If there is a way Jesus is the on the path to guide you!!

    Blessings,
    Sister Cheryl Fenton
    Indy 2nd Ward, IN, USA

  17. Dear DK and KS,

    I know exactly how you feel. I too have been in the very same position of spiritual struggle. I knew that I was different at a very young age, but repressed my feelings and nature until my 20s. I played it straight, dating guys just like my church girl friends and was even engaged to be married to a wonderful man. It was at that moment that my crisis of faith begun.

    In my heart I knew that I could not truly love my future husband the way he deserved. In the back of my mind I could see divorce as inevitable. He did not deserve such heartbreak, so I called off the engagement and ended our relationship. A few months after our separation, I then shared with him the truth I had been hiding from myself.

    Since my secret was now known to many friends and family members, I stopped attending church for fear of excommunication. Having removed myself from all that I knew, I spiraled into depression. I went from being a bit of a Molly Mormon, to the far extreme and began drinking. I wallowed in my misery, and as many bottles of alcohol I could afford for about 4 months. I never thought of committing suicide, but I guess you could say I still tried to hurt myself by drowning myself in alcohol.

    At my lowest point, I found myself on my knees praying, begging God for forgiveness and to have him take this burden away from me. I didn’t want to be gay, and I was willing to do ANYTHING to be like everyone else. The answer I received was not what I expected. Simply, I was told that I was loved, and that I needed to forgive myself. The peace and joy I felt in that moment pulled me from the depths of anguish.

    Now I’d like to say that everything from that moment on was easy to deal with, but it took me awhile to learn to love myself again. Since that time I’ve come to realize that we all deserved to be loved and accepted for who we are. I’ve been very fortunate to have found a wonderful woman, who I call my wife. We have been together for 11 years and legally married for four.

    Because of my relationship, I am not able to be an active member. I would love nothing more to be able to attend church again. For now, I pray that I live to see the day when I will be welcomed back.

  18. First, I want to hug you letter writers. You sound so open. You deserve gentleness and love.

    It’s always seemed to me that if you believe in the church wholeheartedly, then celibacy is the only okay way until we hear differently from the prophet. We tend to underestimate ourselves and say that it would be impossible rather than excruciating. It’s not impossible. (And when has God shied away from asking excruciating things of his children?)

    Myself, I don’t believe in the church wholeheartedly. I’m separating myself from it a bit at a time. I plan to have my name removed from the records in the next year or two. If it were me in your shoes, DK, I would get the de facto boyfriend to leave BYU and I’d start dating him for serious, with an eye toward marriage and kids.

    But for you? If you believe in the church, I think the only honest option is to lay the sexual aspect of your love on God’s altar, and then do it again and again as long as it feels right.

    • LMA

      Matt, this is a very commendable comment. I think that there have been a lot of really good comments, thoughtful and loving comments, on both “sides” of the discussion. But yours is different for bridging the gap between them. In other words, you respectfully identify your choice – but you also very lovingly express the alternative path, even if it would not be yours. Well done.

  19. wspendlove

    Hi DK,

    Your story resonated with me for many reasons. Mostly it’s because you’re exactly where I was 15 years ago.

    I was seminary council president at my high school in Utah, attended BYU, went on a mission, taught at the MTC, and was temple worthy the entire time. I met my best friend when I was 25 at BYU and we became very close. Because we were both in the Church we stayed righteous but I fell in love with him. After 2 1/2 years he made the decision to get married and I became very depressed. I sought reparative therapy through the Church to overcome my sadness and even moved away to try and get over my heartache. In my new town I became very active in the Ward but I couldn’t deny that I was gay.

    When I was 32 I was surrounded by a great LDS community but I was all alone. It was then when I finally decided to come out. I approached my bishop and told him that I was going to date men. He was amazingly supportive and told me the most important thing was to find peace and happiness. For a full year I saw an LDS therapist and he helped me come to terms with my decision. What an amazing year that was. I was surrounded by people who were more concerned with my happiness than anything else.

    Today I’m a happy 40-year-old gay man. I’ve lived in a monogamous partnership for six years and am happier than I’ve ever been. I respect the Church and the incredible lives it helps. However, I’m here to tell you that you can find peace by building your own value system and living truthfully to that.

    I still attend Church now and then. I have close LDS friendships and still consider myself part of the LDS community. But now I’m part of an even more amazing community… The LDS gay community. This community is made up of gay brothers and sisters and straight allies (of which Joanna is one) that are here to support and love you!

    We’re here to welcome you with open arms!

    -Will

  20. S in Chicago

    I cannot imagine a more difficult life than one that is not genuine. I say be true to yourself. I believe that Heavenly Father is a loving parent who loves all his children equally. He wants us to live a joyful life, please remember that.

  21. So glad AMG posted this today. I have a close family member who I love dearly who is an openly gay man. He was adopted into our family and we try very hard to show him we love him for who he is as a person. He is an amazing guy, and there are A LOT worse people and things in this world than being gay, I wish people could see that and many people are changed once a close friend or family member comes out to them. He is not LDS, but my husband and I are active in the church. He knows this and at times it makes it uncomfortable when controversaries come up. We want him to know we love him, but like ya’ll we don’t know how this all plays out with Heavenly Father. I do know that is required of us to forgive, to love, and to serve. This is what we do and what we plan to keep doing for our family member.

  22. L.C.

    During the Church’s Prop 8 campaign, which several members of my family were involved in supporting, a piece of my heart went dormant. I felt SO bad about what was happening and at a loss to do anything to help. I cried gallons of tears thinking about the countless people who were receiving the message that the Church thinks they’re undeserving of a very important blessing. I think that putting a human face on this whole question is exactly what needs to happen in order for the Church to make any kind of change. I am heartened to hear that others feel the Church may some day change its position (I haven’t seen any evidence of a change in attitude here in my Colorado ward and stake, but that is an admittedly limited sample.) So, while I don’t have any advice, I commend you for your courage to open the discussion. It’s one we need to have again, and again, and again.

  23. Dear friends,

    Many of us have walked your path. It’s harsh, and lonely, and won’t get better until you come to certain conclusions. The first, is that God made you this way, and intended you to be this way. Any version of God which excludes people isn’t representing his unconditional love for you. And if you truly believe that you were meant to have Joy in this life and in the life to come, then you have to follow that. Recognize the Church for what it is—a community of saints, led by humans, hopefully inspired by God. It changes very slowly, and you will likely be ahead of it in terms of change. It took the Church 150 years to give up sanctioned racial bigotry, but it happened. And hopefully, this too will change.

    Create your own community, find those who can be your friends, and love you unconditionally (without reminding you of your possible or actual sins). Love can’t be limited.

    Kurt

  24. It would take a long time to articulate my story and how I feel. I’m a lesbian and an inactive member. There are lots of reasons I’m not active, not just because I can’t express my sexual orientation in the church. I do miss the community and structure that DK describes. I find spiritual comfort in a different Christian church now, but still read all the scriptures.

    I just wanted to mention Affirmation: http://www.affirmation.org/

    I’ve never got in touch with them or been to their meetings, so I don’t know if they will be able to help but I wanted to make sure the writers were aware of their existence. Just in case.

  25. It would take a long time to articulate my story and how I feel. In short, I’m a lesbian and an inactive member. There are lots of reasons I’m not active, not just because I can’t express my sexual orientation in the church. I do miss the community and structure that DK describes. I find spiritual comfort in a different Christian church now, but still read all the scriptures.

    I’m comfortable with my sexuality, I don’t believe it’s a sin. Heavenly Father created me and loves me the way I am, and He loves you, DK and KS, just the way you are. I believe that the LDS church will welcome everyone into the fold, in good time. Heavenly Father has only one message – love. We’re all just hearing it differently – which might be why prophets of old proclaimed revelation that has since been revised.

    I just wanted to mention Affirmation: http://www.affirmation.org/

    I’ve never got in touch with them or been to their meetings, so I don’t know if they will be able to help but I wanted to make sure the writers were aware of their existence. Just in case.

  26. DK

    I’m pretty overwhelmed by the support, here. I appreciate all of your thoughts and advice. It helps more than you know. The prospect of a life outside of the church is frightening. The idea the church may be wrong on this issue, too, is frightening. Not knowing what kind of reaction and support I may receive from my family and friends, if I’m to take my relationship further, is terrifying. It’s nice to know that there are charitable, non-judging people to lean on, no matter how tumultuous my life seems to get. Thanks again.

    -DK

    • Julie

      I’d highly encourage you to look in the Unitarian Universalist church. Many, many former Mormons have found their home there.

  27. Jen

    I unknowingly married a gay man in the temple. I was a total Molly Mormon and quit BYU to subsidize his medical school education. He came out to me when we had been married about six months and I felt betrayed and heartbroken. I went to the church leaders and they urged me to pray and read the scriptures. Also, the bishop gave me overwhelming church jobs like directing road shows and being ward activity chairman–this was in addition to my being the only breadwinner in the house. Several years later, he started misbehaving so I divorced him because I didn’t want to risk getting AIDS.

    Yet this experience turned out to be the biggest blessing ever. It was like the universe was saying, “We need to knock you out of your orbit because earth existence has so much more depth and richness than you will ever come to know in the “Mormon world.”

    It’s a wonderful world and you don’t need to be afraid of being punished for being your true self. I agree with Plato’s philosophy of seeking “the good, the true, and the beautiful” in this life and the next. Be true to yourself above all. Enjoy the journey and accept what you cannot change.

    • Deborah

      Thank you. Even though I can’t imagine how painful that experience was for you; it is such an example of the huge danger of not being honest about who we are. It hurts others when we lie, and that is one thing we can help.

  28. Bryan

    Latter-day revelation teaches us that Christ experienced in his mortal life greater joy, greater pain, greater glory, greater loneliness, and greater every thing else than any other mortal will ever experience. And, because of this He knows how to succor each and every one of us if we come unto him. D&C 88:6 referring to Christ states “He that ascended up on high, as also he descended below all things, in that he comprehended all things, that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth;” In addition, Alma 7:12 states “And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.” There is no human condition that Christ does not understand and there is no burden for which he does not have compassion. I do not know how or when Christ will comfort those who follow him and make their burdens light, but I do know that eventually all Heavenly promises are kept. God bless you in your struggles. Keep the faith. Endure to the end. You will be very glad you did.

  29. Reblogged this on Competitive/Contemplative and commented:
    Praying for a day when no one has to struggle with this question – no matter what God they believe in…

  30. DK,

    I think unless you’re a gay Mormon it’s hard to understand what it’s like the internal struggle that happens being pulled apart by 1) the desire to remain in the church, in good standing, with friends family and love ones and 2) to have a fulfilling relationship with another person.

    The way I see it, both of those things are things that are absolutely essential, and absolutely incompatible. They are both fundamental human needs; the need for community, and the need for a loving relationship.

    You’ll find that depending on your actions you may or may not be able to remain in good standing in the church. And not everyone will accept you or your decisions. But there are so many of your friends, family, and fellow church members who love you and will accept that you are gay and that you have the need to fall in love, and be in love.

    Now that you have it, you know how special that is. The question is, do I engage in physical intimacy and risk losing my membership in the church? I can’t answer that for you. I can’t tell you that you should wait til marriage, although that is a possibility these days.

    I want you to know that there are many options. My best advice is to let yourself explore them and decide. I know there is a variety of experience among gay Mormons as to what they choose and how they navigate it. The worst choice is to opt out, to commit suicide, and it breaks my heart. No one should ever feel like there is no hope. I have felt that, but I had loving friends who helped me see that even losing my community I would be ok. It was so hard to face that, but I can honestly tell you that you WILL NOT lose everyone, and you stand to gain so much.
    And amazingly, my friends and family and Mormon online community all accept and love me. It gets better. You will experience conflict with family (I have), but now that I’m in a relationship, I can tell you it’s worth it.

    You need to know that you have options, and I think that helps with the depression. Pray. Figure out what’s best for you. There are answers, even if the choices you make aren’t easy. You’re brave and I’m proud of you (And KS) for having the courage to ask questions and to talk about this.

    My story of how I try to navigate this conflict is at thecrazymormon.blogspot.com. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with me through there if you want/need. I don’t have the answers and I’m in the middle of it myself. But I know that “It gets better.”

  31. km

    I am a lesbian. Excommunicated at 19 for being gay. I’m in a relationship with a wonderful woman…we have 4 beautiful children from 16 years old to 15 months. We are domestic partners. She is a member and has not been excommunicated.

    We are active in our ward and out. For the most part, we have been wonderfully supported. Our baby was recently blessed in our ward, which raised a few eyebrows but mostly was smiled upon.

    I love the gospel. Many ask me how I can be out and active…all the while being a non member. I don’t take the sacrament, but I believe in a loving Heavenly Father and a brother who took my sins and sorrows on his shoulders and paid the ultimate price for me. I can’t tell you all how…but I know in my heart that it will all be okay. Funny thing, I’m a lawyer. I’m an advocate…so I understand a tiny bit about that role Christ will play for me on judgment day.

    Someone asked me a while back how I can have a testimony when I’m an out lesbian. This brother thought it was a bit of a mockery that my partner and I would come to church each Sunday with our kids in tow…he said it was a bit like pretending. I didn’t have an answer for him, except to say…come to my home. Sit in on my family home evening. Feel the spirit in our home…see that my partner and I are really no different than you. Walk a mile in my shoes and feel the promptings of the Holy Ghost that I receive so frequently. Yes, my membership was taken away from me…but I do not believe the gift of the Holy Ghost was…nor was the love that Christ has for me.

    How I long for the day I can take the sacrament again. During that time every Sunday, I think about my Savior and I feel his embrace. I covenant with him to try hard, to be a good mother, a good partner, a good person…

    I can’t change my spirit. If you knew my partner and I, you would see a loving relationship. We work hard to have a successful family…and we do. We have happy kids who have the love of two parents and who are raised in a home, not really different than any other Mormon household.

    It takes courage to be out at church. It takes courage just to be out.

    Be strong. Know your eldest brother loves you.

    • LMA

      I’ve been touched by a lot of comments here, and the original letters too, but this one especially. It is wonderful that the two of you maintain activity in the Church and feel the blessings of what it does have to offer, even while coping with those matters that are (to put it mildly) problematic.

      • Deborah

        That is so beautiful. It takes so much strength to believe in revelation, both personal and through leaders, and acknowledge that the leaders who excommunicated you are human, and so much faith to be so assured that the only one you can ultimately put your trust in is Christ.

  32. Mark

    I have complete empathy for DK and KS, I don’t envy your challenges in the least.

    Elder Bednar has a great article in April’s Ensign.
    http://www.lds.org/ensign/2012/04/the-atonement-and-the-journey-of-mortality?lang=eng

    Here is a quote from it.
    “The Savior has suffered not just for our iniquities but also for the inequality, the unfairness, the pain, the anguish, and the emotional distresses that so frequently beset us. There is no physical pain, no anguish of soul, no suffering of spirit, no infirmity or weakness that you or I ever experience during our mortal journey that the Savior did not experience first. You and I in a moment of weakness may cry out, “No one understands. No one knows.” No human being, perhaps, knows. But the Son of God perfectly knows and understands, for He felt and bore our burdens before we ever did. And because He paid the ultimate price and bore that burden, He has perfect empathy and can extend to us His arm of mercy in so many phases of our life. He can reach out, touch, succor—literally run to us—and strengthen us to be more than we could ever be and help us to do that which we could never do through relying upon only our own power.”

    I’m not going to pretend I completely understand how you feel because I have never had any gay feelings. However we all our weaknesses and struggles and I can’t tell you how many times I have asked the Lord to take my weaknesses away. It hasn’t worked for me and Elder Bednar explains that we shouldn’t be asking for our weaknesses to be removed but for strength to become better and to make our situation better. I’m going to venture and say those who struggle with addiction also have long term burdens that for many never go away. Alcohol, pornography, smoking, pornography all tend to stay with you for the rest of your life even if a person hasn’t partaken of it for years. I’m not trying to suggest having gay desires are just like addiction, just that those who struggle with it have similar mountains to climb.

    I wish people were a little more understanding and compassionate towards individuals who struggles with such issues. I don’t think those who carry harsh feelings towards the gay community are going to go away instantly but I think things are getting better. I also know that Christ understands and He will support and strengthen you as you rely on him. God bless you.

  33. DK,

    I read your letter and thought, “That was me…more or less.” I was an active, temple recommend-holding returned missionary who served in the Elders Quorum presidency in my singles’ ward, too. I also served as a primary teacher in my other ward. I spent years and years trying to be the best member of the Church I could be because I had a strong testimony and wanted to be obedient.

    At the same time, I dealt with strong attractions to members of my own sex from an early age and no matter what I did; no matter how obedient I tried to be; no matter how hard I prayed or fasted; no matter how much I magnified my callings or went to the temple or paid my faithful tithes or dated women or tried so very hard to “endure to the end,” my heart wanted a relationship with another man, and nothing I did negated those feelings.

    As I’m sure you understand, it was exhausting, frustrating, confusing, and wearing on my soul. While I wasn’t ever really suicidal, I would pray to Heavenly Father to please just let me die somehow so that I didn’t have to deal with the struggle anymore. Trying to fight my homosexual attractions made me uptight, stressed, depressed, unhappy, and to use your word, “torn.”

    Torn between a Church I genuinely loved (and still love very much) and torn between wanting to be true to whom I felt I really was; torn between trying to live according to my church leaders’, family’s, and God’s (so I believed) expectations and torn between wanting to be where I felt my heart was leading me; torn between trying to do what I was told was right and what actually felt right.

    I spent a long 35 years in full church activity (except for two years) before I just felt my soul couldn’t take the fight anymore. I was too tired of the battle and I felt like I was dying inside. I could no longer balance my same-sex desires with he Church that taught me that “men are, that they might have joy” when fighting against what I seemed to need the most was taking all the joy out of life.

    At 34 I was still doing all the things I was supposed to be doing, and I had made my mind up that I would just live a lonely, celibate life until I died. But then I met Jonah.

    We were just friends, but the more our friendship developed, the more it was very clear to me that I was falling in love with him. With him I was starting to feel joy again and yet the Church taught me that a life with him was not where joy would be found.

    Eventually I had to make a choice; a very tough choice and not one that didn’t come with a lot of soul-searching, turmoil, and pain: I had to choose whether I wanted to be with Jonah, who was giving me so much happiness, at the expense of my salvation or whether I would stay true to my covenants but also face a future that seemed unsatisfying.

    I talked matters over with my family and church leaders. No matter what, all of them could see the pain and anguish I’d been through fighting this issue my whole life. My mom said, “I’m tired of seeing you so unhappy and not being able to help you. If Jonah makes you happy, then you should be with him.” One sister told me to “go for it.” Another sister said she didn’t know the answer, but that I needed to do what was best for me. My brother urged me to stay true to the Church and its teachings. Obviously my church leaders, who were very compassionate, tried to get me to stay true to my covenants.

    One of the scariest things I ever did was to choose Jonah. After being taught my whole life that “wickedness never was happiness” and that such a relationship was wicked, I wondered what would happen to me. Also, knowing that I would eventually be excommunicated was of great concern. I imagined the powers of hell would descend upon me; that the Spirit would abandon me; that God would be very displeased; that my very salvation was at stake.

    What happened instead was surprising; I found real love with the person I wanted to be with. Neither God nor the Spirit abandoned me. In many ways I have felt closer to them and my Savior. I have felt very blessed, and most of all, I am really, really happy.

    It certainly wasn’t easy to lose my membership in a church I dedicated most of my life to and which I still love and value a great deal. It’s not always easy to not participate fully in my ward, which I still attend.

    But I’ve learned some valuable things that I didn’t know so well when I was trying to be a good Mormon: I’ve learned that God’s love for me is truly unconditional. I’ve learned that Heavenly Father and His ways are bigger than any institution. I’ve learned that men can excommunicate me from a church, but nothing can excommunicate me from God and His Spirit. I’ve learned that a life led in fear isn’t much of a life at all. I’ve learned that my relationship with Jonah is blessed and valuable and joyful even if it doesn’t fit the LDS Church’s definition of a marital relationship. I’ve learned that I actually can be happy outside the Mormon box.

    That being said, I still have great love for the Mormon Church. While I have limited participation, I still enjoy going and enjoy the things I still learn and feel when I’m there. In some ways, I’m learning more being outside of it. It’s not always easy, but I am happier than I was when I was in it as a member, and anyone in my family would back me up on that. Even my former Stake President, while still maintaining that he felt same-sex relationships were contrary to the teachings of the Church, had to admit that he could see I was happier and said although he didn’t understand all things, his was not to judge my choices.

    Jonah and I did not consummate our relationship until after our commitment ceremony. I still live my life as a Mormon; I read my scriptures, pray, serve others, attend church, sing in church, worship, listen to Conference, read the Ensign, don’t smoke or drink or do drugs (although I admit drinking an occasional coffee), try to be a good spouse, and try to help others follow the Savior in the best way I know how.

    I don’t know what my place will be in the afterlife. I don’t know how this all gets sorted out. But I feel I’m doing my best to live a good life, and while I don’t understand all things, I do believe very strongly that my Father in Heaven is happy that I am happy.

    All that being said, I would never say that my path is the right one for anyone else. Only you and your Father in Heaven can truly know what will make you happy. Some choose to stay in the church and live celibate lives; others choose to try to make a heterosexual marriage work, sometimes at great cost; others abandon the church; some are excommunicated or disfellowshipped, but stay as active as they can. All choices are valid if they work for the individual.

    All I can say is that I have found happiness in a place I was told it wouldn’t be. I have no regrets. It has been worth it. As I have said many times, “I would rather be ‘wrong’ and feel the way I do now than be ‘right’ and feel the way I did then.”

    Best of success in wherever your journey takes you, DK. You can read more details about my own, if you wish, at my blog. I started it just about the time I was struggling with my feelings for Jonah. It can be found at http://www.gayldsactor.blogspot.com. It’s interesting to see where I was then and where I am now. Perhaps it will be of use to you. If not, that’s okay, too.

    Good luck to you. Whatever you choose, be happy!

    Sincerely,

    Cody

  34. KS,

    I wish I had answers for you. It is hard to reconcile the two. I try to take all the good things I find in Mormonism and focus on them. Disregard the things that aren’t useful or productive. Unfortunately, at this time it doesn’t seem like a person can be fully active in Mormonism and be fully accepting of their own gay feelings. It seems like one has to choose. As for me, I am in a relationship and take what edifies me, and I don’t worry about the rest. Some call that a cafeteria sampling of the gospel and that with the Church, it’s all or nothing. I don’t believe that. I believe we can take what works for us and draws us closer to God and use that. If other things are unhelpful at achieving that goal, disregard them for now. Anyway, I wish I could be more helpful.

    Good luck to you.

  35. We humans try to make sense of things by putting things in boxes …good/bad. We look for value judgments without confusing shades of grey. Once someone decides on a religion, they try to make the whole thing fit in the “good” box. Anything good, such as community and connections reaffirms good, and anything bad is discounted and usually not thought about much. On the other hand, people outside the religion tend to villify the whole thing.

    Gay Mormons are necessarily forced to see the shades of grey because there really is no way to act on who you are and at the same time be fully involved in the Mormon community. Unpleasant compromises have to be made. While looking at that reality, you can also consider the rest of Mormonism dispassionately. Instead of doing the mental gymnastics to force everything into the good box, consider everything you know. If you let it all go, you avoid the “less than” status of being gay, but are there other benefits as well in leaving your faith?

    It is difficult to do a complete cost/benefit analysis when comparing a familiar path to the unknown, but looking objectively at ALL the costs of the familiar will help you make your best decision. I’m suggesting that one of your options is becoming an apostate. I hope that voice is allowed among the many other voices here.

  36. Anonymous

    I do not have any answers. I do not struggle with same gender attraction. My struggle has been with mental illness. While both are potentially painful and cause one to ask, why me, or life is not fair. Both have a stigma but same gender attraction requires one to give up a wonderful fulfilling part of life if one is to remain chaste. It seems mental illness does not have the stigma of sin so much. (And just to be clear I am not saying same gender attraction is a mental illness just that that has been my struggle.)

    It can be a lonely road. Jesus walked a lonely road. I think Abraham walked a lonely road when he was asked to sacrifice his son…. but it didn’t last his whole life and once he passed the test things got better. Perhaps this is the lesson. If we pass the test, things get better.

    I can only image that the harder the test the better the individual. In my case I had a wonderful opportunity to serve that gave me fulfillment and meaning. I need to reach out and make more friends to have a bigger support network. Exercise has helped burn off some steam and I walk my dog everyday.

    It seems that you need the Lord as much as I do as we wrestle before the Lord like Jacob did. Best of luck my friends.

  37. palerobber

    family and friends will come around. in time, even the church will come around.

    far be in from me to give advice, but just let me observe that these two letter writers are in a unique position to speed the day when the church comes around. it requires 3 steps:
    1. come out to as many people in the church as you can.
    2. remain a member in full fellowship as long as you can.
    3. after you ultimately persue a relationship, stick around anyway.

    that’s how the church will change most quickly — by more and more members having contact with faithful and out LGBT members. in about 20 years, societal pressure will force the church to accomodate. but i think accomodation could come much sooner.

    • Mitch

      What palerobber described above is just how the church, and church leaders, changed their stance on withholding privileges from those with African descent. David McKay wanted to change it in the 50s after visiting LDS churches in South Africa and seeing all the human value the church was missing out on; Spencer Kimball wanted to change it in the 70s because of his visits to Brazil.

      That’s not to say that staying part of the church is the best way for any particular gay mormon to live–you may find other better and deeper ways to love god and find true joy.

      However, if you do find you’re sticking around and remaining part of the church however you can–such as KM’s particularly beautiful story above of her wife and family in their ward–just know you’re doing something beautiful and generous for us all by being there.

  38. I made a choice a long time ago. To live celibate. To live celibate until my parents pass on and then I will kill myself. I’m 49 years old and lived my life as righteously as I could. I have no one in my life. I have nothing to gain. Nothing to live for. I don’t know why I’m gay. I hate it. I hate it with every fiber of my being. I feel this is the only choice I have.

    I just don’t understand why. Why do I have this burden if there is no way to overcome it? Four years of reparative therapy and ex-gay groups and nothing changed. I’m still gay. Which according to the scriptures is an abomination. I’m an abomination.

    I hate this life. I want it to be over. Soon. Unfortunately my parents are very healthy. Comes from living a clean life I guess. I wouldn’t know. I’ve always been an abomination.

    I’m angry with God and I’m angry with myself for having this burden.

    All the platitudes and I’m-so-sorries in the world cannot quench the agony of being a gay Mormon. I keep seeing people saying, “We’re here for you.” Well, you’re not. You claim to be but when it comes down to the wire you don’t want to be bothered with a faggot.

    I love the Gospel and I love the Church with all my heart. There just is no place in it for someone like me. So why bother? Nothing matters anymore. No matter how I live or how righteous I am it all boils down to one thing. I’m an abomination looking for a redemption that will never come.

    This is the reality of being a gay Mormon.

    • FrancescaS

      Dear Newbienewton, it’s true… I cannot understand what you’ve been through… Your post, and the despair transpiring from it, underlines the difficulty of finding an acceptable solution to your (and other peoples’) situation. Still – and I know you’ve heard this before – don’t think you’re an abomination, because you are not, in any way. Maybe this sounds as a cliché to you, but I truly believe you’re a child of God! I don’t know why you’re gay and the sufference you describe would be unbearable to me, but please don’t ever think of yourself as an abomination.

    • Newbienewton you are totally right if we are straight, which I am, we really have no idea what it must be like for you and all I can say is I am sorry yet my love and prayers go out to you. I work with middle school students in Utah and with a hand full of LGBT adolescents that are experiencing similar feelings to you. My heart breaks. I cannot see why our loving Heavenly Father would do this to his children. For a while now I have not attended LDS church and this is probably the number one issue why. I am not OK with the idea of a God who is so loving yet creates such suffering for who people ARE. My wife and I have been attending Unitarian Universalists and have had a wonderful experience there and I am pretty sure no one there feels like they are not wanted for who they are. I love Mormonism, I have faith in many of its tenets but this is NOT one. Truth can come from other places and the LDS church can be wrong (blashphemer I know) please read the South African prophet Desmond Tutu’s words on God and gays http://huff.to/wPPJBb powerful truth and light. Love you my brother.

    • SharonGoldstein

      You are gay because that’s the way God made you. FrancescaS is right: you are a child of God. Being gay is part of the spectrum of sexuality and is perfectly natural and Godlike. The Bible is a very old book, and reflects many positions we no longer hold. Sell your daughter into slavery? Sure, according to Exodus 21:7 & 8. PLEASE find a support group to go to. Google “gay support groups”. PLEASE. I’m sending you a hug via this message.

    • Newbie, I get it. I’ve called a suicide hotline, twice. I’ve given up more times than I can tell you. I’ve literally torn myself inside and out trying to become something that I could not be.

      It’s not fair. And it’s not right. You’re stuck.

      But don’t give up. It’s not too late. You probably hate me for saying this, but it gets better. You just can’t see it.

      Let go of your self hate. Let go of your anger. Be easy on yourself. What you are going through is so difficult. I love you brother, and I understand the reality you face. But it isn’t your fault. It isn’t God’s burden he’s given you and it isn’t anything you or your family did. Undo the lies you’ve been told, and realize you were never broken. You just have to let go of that illusion.

      I’m here if you need me. I know that I can’t know exactly what you’re feeling, but as a gay Mormon I can empathize with your pain.

    • Deborah

      It’s true that there are a lot of insincere people out there that aren’t there for you, because the truth is the only one you can depend on is God.
      The thing is though, if you really loved the gospel as much as you say you do – you wouldn’t think that nothing matters. Think about when you first got your testimony; you didn’t have an instant understanding of everything, you just had the conviction that God exists and loves you. Well if that’s true, he wants you to be happy, and he created you, body and soul so that you could LIVE.
      If you don’t think it matters, and you really don’t believe the gospel; then what you’re real fear is might be facing the unknown and the rejection you’ll experience if you choose to pursue happiness. SCREW THAT!
      This might not be very articulate, but what I am trying to tell you is that the most important thing is to be happy. So you have a million options, but the two best ones that I see are 1) if nothing matters and you genuinely don’t think you’ll be redeemed anyway, then go for it, find someone who will love you, or 2) if you do believe the gospel, then it is so much further removed from what God wants for you to take your life – so consider that you are not an abomination, accept who you are and accept that that is who God wants you to be.
      One more thought, Elder Oaks, in an interview on the topic said a mistake that a lot of people make today is that we define ourselves so exclusively by our sexuality. You are gay, and you should embrace that, but you also have gifts and talents and interests that are completely unrelated, but that make you a whole person who is absolutely deserving of God’s love.
      trevorproject.com

    • Anonymous

      newbienewton,

      It may be weak but I sympathize with you even if my sympathy seems cheap. I will disagree with one thing you say. I do not agree that you are “an abomination looking for a redemption that will never come”. You have value, you have meaning and redemption is always possible.

      The point is not your righteousness alone. It is true for all of us, that no matter how righteous we live, it is not our righteousness that saves us it is, as Romans says, The Righteousness of God. We are not saved by our works alone. I think it is Lehi in the Book of Mormon who says to Jacob, I know you are saved because of the righteousness or your Redeemer.

      If you give it your best shot, despite all the challenges you have, challenges that may not be your fault or a result of anything you did now or in the preexistence you can make it.

      God’s work and glory includes you!

  39. SharonGoldstein

    I’m not a Mormon, but I firmly believe in a God of love in any religion. Please contact one of the organizations that helps and supports and advises gays and lesbians of all flavors. The below links are only a start. If you Google “gay support groups” you’ll get a ton of them.
    http://www.gnlh.org; http://www.vachss.com; http://www.pflag.org.
    You are loved. PLEASE keep that in mind always.
    Love to you both

  40. Amanda

    You are loved. My brother is in this same exact position. God gave you this trial for a reason and all I can really truly say is if you focus on what is important, and follow Christ, he won’t keep this burden on you. There’s somthing you must DO.

  41. Jenn B

    I know I am late in the game to answer. But I felt compelled to speak up. I will speak from the heart and hope that you will understand what I am attempting to say… I would like for you to imagine sitting in front of Jesus as he is speaking to the masses. Jesus says something like, “and so I say, treat others as you would like to be treated. Remember to always love all your brothers and sisters as I love you.” Now imagine that you stand up and ask the question, “Jesus, does this include Gays?” What do you believe he would say? I honestly believe that he would look you in the eyes and say “did I stutter?” (credit for this idea to a fan of George Takei) Jesus said more then once to love all, hate none, treat others with respect, and not to judge because that was for him and his father to do. I know I am paraphrasing here, but I think you get the gist of what I am saying. We may not agree with someone’s lifestyle. We may not agree on how they raise their children or their descision not to have any. We may not agree on the best way to worship. But I hope that we can agree that Jesus said that all should be treated with respect, loved and cherished. So I will openly embrace my Gay friends. I will hug them in church. I will sing joyful songs next to them in the pews. I will stand up and call them friend,family and brother/sister in Christ. I will not condem them for their choices in life. Thats not my job. That is God and Jesus’s job alone. I leave you with this. If Jesus said to love and accept everyone, how can we not welcome them into the doors of the church and our hearts? How can we be obedient to his words if we deny someone the right to worship and love along side us? How can we demonstrate His love to all in how we live if we dont allow all in? Thats my ideas for what they are worth. I wish both of you the best, and invite you to my church anytime.

  42. I’m so honored to be a part of the FAR BETWEEN PROJECT, and I am extremely happy to be a gay Latter-day Saint who is active inthe church. Returning to church activity has been the best thing I’ve done for myself in a long, long time. I have been a life-long cynic, and even though I have returned to the gospel and the company of the saints, I have yet to feel the “love of God” that so many gay Mormons have expressed as their answer to prayer, and so it has been extremely good for me to see these videos and to strive to connect more fully to a loving Father in Heaven.

  43. Brian

    I am going to kill myself before I turn 41 this year. I’ve been living a celibate “church approved” lifestyle for the past 11 years. It is miserable. It is not o.k. for all of you commenters to encourage this path for others. Imagine your own life without being able to date and have any sort of human affection. You would do what I’m going to do. And after such a long denial of love or intimacy, you get to the point that you cannot see any sort of future for yourself, in the church or even in a gay relationship. That’s where I find myself, and I’ve accepted the various consequences and outcomes of my future actions.

    • Brian,
      I just turned 41. At 23 and 33, I considered suicide for days and months, I called it walking depression. My life was miserable. I had just gone through a major life change and felt unsupported. After watching the movie 28 days, I bought a bonsai tree. I am now killed my 300th Bonsai. My sister suggested a dog, they are much more hardy, and they reach back. It took me until I was 38 years old to admit to another person that I had homosexual feelings. Six months later I was present when a General Authority gave me hope that, if I lived a celibate life and worthy of marriage I could be exhalted. That was the first time I had heard such a thing. He taught me that my surrender of my sexual desires was a form of fasting and as I woke up each day, I could dedicate that sexual fast to God. I think back on my monthly fast days and see how somedays I didn’t fast completely. I didn’t beat myself up, but I did rededicate myself as an offering to the lord that I would do better next time.

      I just spent a weekend in Scout training with a bishop and stake president who know of my situation. I think of my lost opportunity of being a father. Then I think, what would be God’s purpose in putting someone like me on the earth. Was this a calling I was forordained to have? If so, for what reason? The blind man in Christ’s time was placed on earth to allow his Miracles to be a witness unto the people. Like many children born with or who develop a severe disability, is that for their growth or those who love and care for them. I have had my life threatened by some in the church who have spoken in very harsh ways about “Queers”. I allowed such talk to cause me to be silent and cowar in fear and develop a hate for even myself. That I do not do any longer. I love myself and see the miracle that the Lord has made of my life and glorify Him in doing that.

      In this race called life will I fall? maybe. Should I just quit now because it is hard? I see that the finish line is promised a Savior who will love me. So figuratively let’s say I do have a disadvantage that would never let me be out front. What if everyone else has a running partner to help carry them when they are tired and weak. I finally realized one day, I do too. I don’t have to wait until the finish line to embrace the Savior. He like the Poor Wayfaring Man is right next to me on the street. I can reach out in love and as I bind up another’s wounds, my wounds though concealed are healed.

      My challenge to anyone who may be nursing the wounds that so often come with the challenges and blessings of living with homosexual feelings is to reach out and take on another’s burdens through service. I can promise you as one who has been in the depth’s of depression, self loathing, and dispair, that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. I believe that I can fall into the arms of the Savior like a wounded warrior. And he will bind up those wounds and through them make me whole. Take courage, be not weary in well doing, fall into Christ’s arms and let Him carry you to the finish line. There are many who are not blessed with homosexual feelings, and want to be there for you. Many of them face their own challenges for which they may need your love and understanding. Be there for them. Bless them and look for the image of God in their face. Be an example of Christ to them. He will bless you with hope in the Eternities. He has done so for me. He will do so for you. I testify of this truth in his Holy Name Amen!

      ForeverSTRONG, Jimmy M

    • Brian,
      I just turned 41. At 23 and 33, I considered suicide. My life was miserable. I had just gone through a major life change and felt unsupported. After watching the movie 28 days, I bought a bonsai tree. I am now killed my 300th Bonsai. My sister suggested a dog, they are much more hardy, and they reach back. It took me until I was 38 years old to admit to another person that I had homosexual feelings. Six months later I was present when a General Authority gave me hope that, if I lived a celibate life and worthy of marriage I could be exhalted. That was the first time I had heard such a thing. He taught me that my surrender of my sexual desires was a form of fasting and as I woke up each day, I could dedicate that sexual fast to God. I think back on my monthly fast days and see how somedays I didn’t fast completely. I didn’t beat myself up, but I did rededicate myself as an offering to the lord that I would do better next time.

      I just spent a weekend in Scout training with a bishop and stake president who know of my situation. I think of my lost opportunity of being a father. Then I think, what would be God’s purpose in putting someone like me on the earth. Was this a calling I was forordained to have? If so, for what reason? The blind man in Christ’s time was placed on earth to allow his Miracles to be a witness unto the people. Like many children born with or who develop a severe disability, is that for their growth or those who love and care for them. I have had my life threatened by some in the church who have spoken in very harsh ways about “Queers”. I allowed such talk to cause me to be silent and cowar in fear and develop a hate for even myself. That I do not do any longer. I love myself and see the miracle that the Lord has made of my life and glorify Him in doing that.

      In this race called life will I fall? maybe. Should I just quit now because it is hard? I see that the finish line is promised a Savior who will love me. So figuratively let’s say I do have a disadvantage that would never let me be out front. What if everyone else has a running partner to help carry them when they are tired and weak. I finally realized one day, I do too. I don’t have to wait until the finish line to embrace the Savior. He like the Poor Wayfaring Man is right next to me on the street. I can reach out in love and as I bind up another’s wounds, my wounds though concealed are healed.

      My challenge to anyone who may be nursing the wounds that so often come with the challenges and blessings of living with homosexual feelings is to reach out and take on another’s burdens through service. I can promise you as one who has been in the depth’s of depression, self loathing, and dispair, that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. I believe that I can fall into the arms of the Savior like a wounded warrior. And he will bind up those wounds and through them make me whole. Take courage, be not weary in well doing, fall into Christ’s arms and let Him carry you to the finish line. There are many who are not blessed with homosexual feelings, and want to be there for you. Many of them face their own challenges for which they may need your love and understanding. Be there for them. Bless them and look for the image of God in their face. Be an example of Christ to them. He will bless you with hope in the Eternities. He has done so for me. He will do so for you. I testify of this truth in his Holy Name Amen!

      ForeverSTRONG, Jimmy M

    • Julie

      Brian, please don’t kill yourself. There is life after the LDS church; I promise. But there is no life after suicide. Find someone you love and also love yourself. If that’s not good enough for the Church, then find another one. Many, many former Mormons are finding peace, acceptance, and love in the Unitarian Universalist Church. Look them up.

  44. I actually read a great article about LDS people becoming more accepting and loving towards the LGBT community. It’s really positive and worth the read: http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/04/17/gay-rights-activists-see-mormons-softening-attitudes-toward-their-community/?hpt=hp_c3

  45. Just found this blog Joanna! Eager to read more…. :)

  46. VA

    I don’t really know how to put into words all the thoughts and feelings in my heart right now, or if anyone will even read these words. But I feel like I need to throw my two cents into the pot. I am so grateful for all of the experiences I have read here, and the realization that there are real people out there who have lived through these experiences.

    I have just recently admitted to myself that I am a woman who is attracted to women. It’s something that has been hanging around the shadowy corners of my mind the last 12ish years that I have tried to get rid of to no avail. It was never something I asked for, but as I’ve gotten older it’s become something I am forced to address.

    I have spent a lot of time these last few months in anger and despair. Perhaps the length of my suffering hasn’t been as long as others as I am at the beginning of this road, but it has been painful enough. And silent, as nobody but my bishop and a counselor know I have these struggles. I have asked many of the same questions. I have hated myself, my existence, the church, God, straight people. You name it, I was angry at it. And still am on a bad day. The biggest question on my mind is – Why?

    I have been trapped by the same impossible dilemma. I felt like there are two paths in front of me to choose from. Down one, I live every day with a broken heart because I will never get to experience the full spectrum of love. I stay in the church, live the commandments, maybe find a little peace in this life with the hope that the next life is better. But I think I will have missed out on so much. Down the other path, I live every day knowing I have broken the Lord’s heart because I have left the church and deliberately disobeyed one of the greatest commandments. But I will have the opportunity for love and joy in this life. For a long time, I couldn’t decide which would be worse, nor did I see a third option.

    Another thing I would like to point out – none of this would be a struggle if I didn’t have a testimony that the church itself is true (not to be confused with what the members decide to do with the church). If I didn’t believe, I would just walk away and live however. In a way, what I have been contemplating is deliberate disobedience to something I really believe in, which is so much worse.

    After months of darkness, I had a brief moment of light. I was praying so hard about this issue and what I was to do. It came to me that there might be a third path. Down this path, I got to stay active in the church AND not struggle with the pain and confusion of same gender attraction. Down this path, I trusted in Christ’s promise that he could heal me of any hurt and take away the very desire to sin if I let him. I realized that Jesus has felt this temptation. And he understood that temptation better than I ever could because he never gave into it. He knows how to change to me. Isn’t that what the entire gospel is about? Changing our hearts to become more like Heavenly Father? This path was going to be harder than either of the others I saw before. But this to me is the best path.

    Perhaps many will read this and think that I am naive. That I have not endured the trials that come along with being a homosexual long enough or that I must not really struggle with same gender attraction to see a way out or that my third path will simply never work. And perhaps I will have a different opinion twenty years from now. For now though, that third path is my goal.

    My attraction to women is a part of me and will be for a long time, if not forever. But it does not define me. I think that struggling with physical attraction – no matter the object of that attraction – is something that every man and woman has to master in this life.

    Heavenly Father has gifted each and every one of us with agency. I think happiness and contentment come from exercising that agency. We must each make the best choices for ourselves that we can given our circumstances. I am so glad to read of the many people who took a stand and made a choice that was best for themselves – whatever that choice may be. And I am even gladder to hear of the people who had a positive result. I only hope my choice turns out as well for me.

  47. Craig

    Thank you for being brave enough to admit that while you are sympathetic, unless you have lived it yourself you truly do not understand the plight of a gay Mormon.

    The promise of the Atonement is that somehow Christ truly DOES understand it. Mere human Church leaders, however, should be careful to not be so arrogant as to pretend that they do understand something they don’t.

    The stories that are told by those who have left the Church to find their true happiness within the gay community are often leaving out major details to protect the pride of the individuals telling those stories.

    Those who assume to be an authority on this issue based from their second-hand information are ignorant.

    The struggles are real. And no, the Atonement of Jesus Christ is not inclusive of every trial and tribulation except for this one. This is not an exception.

  48. I am a gay mormon as well, I felt the same way, conflicted about 2 paths that I could take, one marrying someone I was not attracted to and retaining my membership in the church or marrying someone I was attracted to and being excommunicated, both paths with things I wanted and things I didn’t want. I have a strong testimony of the gospel and that this is Christ’s church restored to the earth, and after much internal struggle I know that marrying a man would not be wrong. But it is really important to me to find a man who also has a strong testimony. these videos really helped me a lot, its of two gay mormons who are married to eachother who are very active in the church, you don’t have choose between your faith and love. you can have them both.

  49. Chris

    I have been in the same situation as DK. I grew up conservatively Mormon, mainly to escape an abusive home life, but also because I loved believing in a supreme being who loved and watched out for me. When I was able to, I went on a mission to Germany.

    But it wasn’t until I got back that I was finally able to process things. I had always been attracted to other men, but thought it was something else. Especially growing up in a climate where I heard Apostles saying that masturbation was evil because it led to homosexuality. And equated being gay with a terrible sin.

    I had to take some time away from the Church in order to learn who I really am. It was during this time that I really learned that I am gay. And that being gay isn’t nearly as bad as others say it is. I’m not promiscuous, but even if I were, that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. I am who I am, and I love me. I am sad that the Church isn’t in my life, I don’t miss it.

    Gay Mormons are the saddest people I usually see, because they experience these conflicts. But the problem is that the Church forces us to choose between letting us explore to learn who we are or living in accordance to standards that exclude us. Neither of these alternatives would make anyone happy. And that is the problem.

    I currently identify as an atheist, but if you do decide that you still want a Mormon influence in you life, I would recommend you look at the advice that Joanna gave a 19 year-old woman at http://askmormongirl.wordpress.com/2012/04/23/im-a-19-year-old-progressive-mormon-woman-and-im-so-frustrated-at-church-help/.

    As for me, I honestly couldn’t see myself returning to the Church until the Prophet apologizes for their past treatment of gays and lesbians and acknowledge that our relationships can be just as healthy as those of straight members. I’m not holding my breath for it, though. But this is about your life and what you feel is best for you. I wish the both of you luck and happiness in your lives and discoveries.

  50. Sian

    I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one out there. I feel so unhappy not being completely myself. I miss being involved in the church, the feelings I get there are wonderful, but I don’t feel like I belong anymore because who I am is not accepted. life is hard.

  51. Sian, one argument is that you aren’t accepted as you are, but maybe you should go along with partial acceptance while you wait for things to get better. I don’t think that is very helpful and it it would be far more loving if people acknowledged your truth. At one time the church had value for you, but things change. So then the question is what functions did the church serve? How can it be replaced in your life?

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