I don’t know where to begin. Life has been such a roller coaster and I don’t know when it is going to stop.
To preface, I am LDS.
At least, I think I am . . . I’m not so sure anymore.
I am on the brink of abandoning everything I thought I knew to be true. I was born to a LDS family (and by born into, I mean my mother was baptized a year prior to my birth, so I didn’t have some massive church-based heritage) in a staunchly conservative nation that is primarily Catholic/Christian. My family was a traditional family where we had my father, the Patriarch, and my lovely mother by his side. I was raised alongside an older brother and a younger sister – raised in a very heteronormative environment: at home, at school, in the community, and especially in the church.
I knew that I was attracted to guys from a very young age – even before adolescence. It wasn’t some sort of big revelatory experience for me. My struggle was always just trying to fit in, trying to be “normal”. Society did not allow for gay children . . . especially in the church.
Growing up as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I was always taught about eternal families, about happiness coming from families — you know, the kind where you have a man and a woman and a couple of kids (or 12). That’s where I always felt scared. I always felt I was out of place. You see, there is nothing in God’s plan about homosexuality. Nothing specific, at least. Nothing said by Jesus Christ himself, and nothing in the Book of Mormon, “written for our day.”
Sure — read, pray, follow the commandments, and you’ll get blessings, all matching to some law “irrevocably decreed in heaven”. Everyone else got specifics like, marry in the temple, be worthy of a temple marriage, get married, have children. But I have to live my life in the shadows (Lord forbid people find out I was a gay practicing Mormon, nothing is worse than that), and the only thing I kept hearing about my case is that as long as a gay person follows the commandments, eventually he’ll be rid of his homosexual desires!
Woah! Yay. Awesome.
Except I probably have to wait until I’m dead. So, that means I have to live the rest of my life unable to love and be loved in return (in the romantic, passionate sense) — something that everyone yearns for and wants in their life. Something so intrinsically beautiful to mankind . . . unless you’re gay.
You see, I’ve always wanted a family. I always fancied myself being a father. Granted, that picture in my head was always one where I would either be alone raising some kids, or with another man who I loved and could grow old with. So this ate at me until I left on a mission. I loved my mission. I loved the people I taught, but I was still distraught about the idea that I will never be happy for the rest of my life.
I’ll probably have to wait until I’m dead.
After my mission I decided to go to BYU-Idaho. Big regret. Aside from the cheap tuition, it is not worth being here for someone like me. I face challenges every day that have just worn down on me — so much so that I suffer from manic depressive episodes coupled with near-crippling anxiety. The same fears are always being brought back and triggered by talks about dating, and dating, and marriage, and dating. Oftentimes I hear people talk about us gay Mormons and hear things like, “If they’re gay, why are they here?” Or “I would punch my roommate if I found out he was gay” or ” Gay students are just taking advantage of cheap tuition (ha, this one is partially true for me)” or other hateful things like that.
Honestly, I was naïve in expecting this to be a place I’d feel God’s love, if there really is some loving Father in Heaven out there. I don’t feel it. Instead, I feel rejection and fear at every corner. I have to hide a fundamental piece of me and try to play this pretend game of being straight – going on dates with lovely young women who would make great friends, but I don’t want to be their lover. I do all this to keep up the illusion, just to keep my friends, just to keep some sort of protective barrier around me. And it sucks because I end up always falling for a guy friend or some guy in class I spend a ton of time doing homework with, and it hurts, because hell, there is nothing I can do about it (they weren’t kidding when this school ranked 15th (I think) on the hottest and smartest colleges list.). Guys here can chat it up with some girl, flirt, get their number, go on dates, have some fling or an actual relationship . . . and then there is me.
How does it feel to live a thousand heartbreaks in a semester? Come to an LDS school as a gay student. It’s the most terrific experience there is!
I would punch my roommate if I found out he was gay”
Sarcasm aside . . . I have prayed, I have studied the scriptures and the words of prophets and stuff, I have gone to Church actively, held callings (even Elder’s Quorum President) and magnified them to the best of my ability. I do service, I do all the things that I have been told should bring happiness . . . but where is that happiness? To reiterate, there is nothing, absolutely nothing in the scriptures, in modern day revelation, in anything, that talks about this so-called trial, aside from the fact that I should be stoned should I romance another man. The Book of Mormon, “written for our day”, manages to completely avoid homosexuality. God is achingly silent about the plight of LGBT LDS people.
I am told to hold on to the iron rod, but for how much longer? I am told that mortality is going to be but a blink of an eye, but I would rather die now then spend another half a century of loneliness and quiet desperation. I am told that I should raise a family in righteousness — can’t I do that with a loving partner who would raise children in an environment that would make them great people? I am told that I can be happy by being a good Mormon . . . then where is that happiness that constantly eludes me?
I have been pondering this a lot. The only counselors in the area are Mormon, so they all tell me to stay in the church and just do church things. If it hasn’t worked before, why would it work now?
This is why I stand at the edge not knowing what to do. I don’t want to disappoint people, but for the sake of myself and my life, I feel that I need to find some real happiness – you know, find a nice guy, or something like that.
Anyway, I just needed to get that off my chest. I don’t know what this is going to bring about, aside from wanting people to know that life as a gay Mormon sucks. And it keeps sucking every moment of every day. I don’t see that ending any time soon so long as I stay in the church that I used to love. There is nothing for me here. If there is, tell me. Let me know. Your condolences can only go so far.