For more on what The People I Find is read this.
I have known Logan for some time now. I had the opportunity to be his coworker at one point, and even take him on tour while serving an LDS mission in New York. His story represents an experience that is not widely understood and there are vast perspectives on the topic. I have thought long and hard about posting this. I know that there are many out there who are experiencing Same Gender Attraction (SGA) and don’t know who to go to, what to say, or what to do. I know that each person’s story is different as is the outcome. This post is about one person’s experience and I recognize there are many other experiences. What I loved about the writer of this story is his ability to do hard things, and how his belief system and support system have helped him on his journey. This is a post centered on a Mormon, not all of my posts will be, but I wanted to share this story because I know that the topic of SGA receives much public attention from various perspectives. The writer allowed me to ask him any questions. Even though I don’t have SGA I still have questions. My personal beliefs about the topic of SGA are consistent with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I believe that it is important to show unconditional love to everyone around us. It is not up to us to judge others. Never should we show hate in any way or speak unkindly. I look up to Logan for his courage to share such personal things.
My Unknown Story…The best place to start is two years ago, early 2012. My dad called to let me know that my brother was on his way home from his mission, I was caught off guard. I hadn’t expected this. He seemed to be struggling, but that was normal when you were adapting to a new life in a new country. Aware that he would be coming back shaken and unsure of his standing, I knew the only approach to take was unconditional love. I didn’t know why he was coming home early and that really didn’t matter; it was time to circle the wagons and show him what being a family was all about. He had been home for a week or so, and I was about to find out why he had come back. My mother looked at him seated on my bed, stoic and expressionless. Her voice shook as she told him it was okay to tell me, I’d understand. I sat and waited. Finally he said it, “I have homosexual tendencies.” (Hold up, who says that!? What an awkward way to put it. It makes me shudder when I think back to it.) I took it in and there wasn’t a second of delay before I replied, “Oh yeah me too.” This was the first time that I had audibly acknowledged the fact that I had dealt with feelings of same gender attraction. It was a strange sensation, I was in shock, but I pushed it aside so I could focus on my brother. My mother was in tears and would be for the rest of our conversation. I don’t remember much else about that day. All that mattered to me was the fact that I had said it. This was the beginning of my story.
Growing Up… This is the part of my story that is the most unclear. I don’t know what it was, but somehow I had avoided acknowledging my feelings to a point where I could simple ignore them. It just wasn’t an issue for me. I had plenty of ups and downs growing up, but they weren’t directly related to SGA. I never cried myself to sleep or tried to pray it away. It wasn’t an issue. Sure people would tease me here and there, but that was what kids did. It didn’t matter anyway, I wasn’t gay. Looking back now, I can see and understand so much more, but hindsight is 20/20. I can’t pinpoint some event or circumstance in my upbringing that caused me to be this way. I was never abused, and my relationship with my father wasn’t any different from my brothers’ relationships. Life was what it was and for me it was normal, my normal. I was able to develop my testimony of the Church and the Gospel free from the confusion which plagues so many others in my situation.
My Decision After My Shocking Self-Discovery… I was attracted to men. I realized that I had a long way to go. I was embarking on a journey; I needed to decide what I was going to do and how I was going to move forward with this new discovery. My mind finally settled on one thought, “stick to what you know.” That was it. This has become my motto per say. I realized that there were so many things that I didn’t know concerning same gender attraction: my options, my future, why, how, when, how long, etc. However, there were things that I did know – my testimony of the Gospel. This is what I go back to when I feel frustrated and confused. I know the Church is true, I know that through the Atonement I can do hard things, and I know where I want to end up in the end. This is my foundation.
Coming Out…In order to really accept it, I decided I needed to open up to others. I started with a few safe bets; the first three people I told were all friends who I suspected to be in the same boat. Each experience was different and every time before I opened up there was that moment of fear and hesitation. It was a new experience for me to be open and vulnerable with people. Each person was in a different place in their journey and everyone’s story was different. Despite the common theme of same gender attraction there weren’t always shared experiences I could relate to. Being such a personal thing for each person it is amazing to listen to so many stories and compare and contrast them with my own. I have learned a lot and been strengthened as I have listened to these stories. I wish everyone had a similar opportunity to listen to and learn from others personal experiences. After getting warmed up with these friends, I decided it was time to tell some people I knew who didn’t deal with SGA. Each experience was filled with apprehension and fear, but it always worked out well. I have found that people are curious about SGA, they want to understand it. They also want to know how they can help me, and that support has been invaluable. Next up were my parents, it was May and we had yet to talk about my situation since I had first mentioned it to my mother and brother. We’d had many conversations about my little brother and they had come a long way in being supportive and educating themselves on the issue. I eventually began to wonder if they had forgotten about my situation since they had never inquired further. I decided to finally break the silence with them on the night following my college graduation. They took it well, for the second time. I put on a good front and don’t wear my struggles on my sleeves; they had assumed it was something in my past and that I had moved. That it was no longer an issue for me. I quickly corrected that thought and explained to them where I was at with everything. Once again the response was love and support, they couldn’t fully understand my situation but they were willing to help me through it. After talking to my parents, I was done coming out for a while. I had told who I needed to tell, and I decided to get on with my life. A New Start I took off to California to work for the summer, then I moved to DC, got a job, reestablished myself, made new friends and didn’t look back. The only problem was my lack of a dating life. It is always difficult to explain to someone why you aren’t dating, especially when there is no reason besides the fact that you just aren’t attracted to girls. After being settled for about 6 months, I finally began to open up again. I had established new friendships and felt secure talking to these people about my experiences. With each person the experience was different, except for the response – love and support. Slowly it became easier and I became more comfortable. I still had frequent moments of frustration and confusion, but they were less impactful because I had a network of people to reach out to when I was in need.
My Testimony… I was working on my annual journal at the beginning of 2014 and I realized how trans formative 2013 was.I have realized that 2013 answered a very important question for me, why do we need the Church? The Gospel I get, I love the Gospel. I know why we need the Gospel. I am grateful for the Gospel, for the blessing it is in my life, and for the strength and support it provides. We need the Church because we need each other. We need the people and the support; we need the experiences and the perspectives. The Church is a physical lifeline during our struggles. I struggle. I have trials and the Church helps me so much. This past year I have really been forced to face the fact that I deal with same-gender attraction. It is hard. I don’t need to really elaborate on the difficulties associated with SGA, but needless to say the world can be a confusing place. There are so many temptations, opinions, and choices. It can be really hard, but the Church – all of you – have been there to help. We all struggle here! Some deal with depression, eating disorders, self-esteem, and doubts. We all have issues. We are put together with imperfect people so we can smooth out each others rough spots. It is easy to feel inferior or to make unjust comparisons to many of you, but I am grateful to have realized that everyone struggles. Together we make up a wonderful church and we are able to help each other overcome so many challenges. Coming together, working towards a common goal, we are able to do so much. We are all better able to progress together back to our Heavenly Father. I am grateful for my ability to learn from my mistakes and to repent; to draw on the Atonement for power and to change myself to become more like He is. I am grateful for my membership in this church – I love it!
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