So I haven't decided whether to split this up into different parts or not so I guess we'll see. I've been contemplating writing this post for a long time, and I guess today seems like it's going to be the best day.
Back in high school, I began having arguments with myself. I would be taking a shower and be arguing in my brain back and forth. I now know that arguing with yourself isn't a good idea because nobody ever wins. Anyway, I was arguing with myself about feelings of same-gender attraction.
Now let me just say something right here. Just because I have these feelings does not make me a sex-starved pedophile. I do not go prowling around Provo looking for gay guys to hook up with. You guys know me, and know my personality. These feelings do not define me. It's just another part of me like saying that I love to laugh, or that I love to snowboard.
All right, so these arguments in my head really started to drag me down. I felt like I was being forced to choose between my religion and my feelings. From what I knew, I felt like I was sinning just by even consider I had those feelings. I think I really hurt myself by thinking that.
I did some research on lds.org and found that having these feelings is not a sin. Having feelings of same-gender attraction is never a sin! It also seemed to me that there were other people out there like me, which gave me a little bit of hope for the future. The article also said that I would be able to partake of all the same ordinances of the Church as any other faithful member. To me, the idea of doing that really kept me going.
The first time I really came out to myself and to my best friend was my freshman year of college. It had been a few months and I had been feeling particularly lonely that night and I really just couldn't take it anymore. I was terrified to talk about it but it actually turned out a lot better than I had expected. My friend acted as I wish everyone would act. I told him I struggled with same-gender attraction and his response was, "and...?" That is what a good friend would do! I believe he really understood the idea of those feelings being a part of me, but not defining me.
To say that all of my experiences with other people were like that would be a total lie. I have been surprised and am very grateful for the love and support I have received. I have also been shocked by the actions of some. I am constantly amazed at how insensitive some people can be. Maybe people don't realize it but there is always someone watching. And what we say can really hurt someone who's battling with an internal struggle.
Some of you may have now realized that this is the main reason I have not chosen to serve a mission. This is not a challenge I would like to deal with out in the mission field. It would simply be too much for me to be trying to preach the Gospel while still trying to figure out where I fit in with the Church and with God. Not serving a mission does not make me a terrible person FYI. I will still receive the same blessings; it may simply take me a little longer. God will always use a person to accomplish His work. God will work with that person on their level in order to teach them what they need to know.
And I believe that is what God is doing with me right now. I have had a lot of experiences lately that have really pushed my testimony to the limits, but have also strengthened it beyond measure. I have officially decided after much meditation, study, and prayer, to not pursue the gay lifestyle (i.e. pursuing intimate relationships with other men). Don't get me wrong, I will still associate with my gay friends, and I will always value the gay side of me. It has taught me a lot, especially in terms of being non-judgmental, becoming in tune and in touch with my emotions, and loving people unconditionally.
I hope to also convey something else to you. Being a psychology major, I know that there are real genetic, and environmental factors that go into someone who is homosexual. I hope you know that homosexuality is not a choice. Why would I choose to live these last few years of struggle, doubt, and fear? Why would I choose to give up my dreams of having a wife, 2.5 children, a dog, and a white picket fence? Why would I risk losing close friends? I wouldn't, ok?!
The reason I am coming out to everyone now is because I need help. I need to know that I have support from loved ones and that I can call on you when I am really struggling. Today has marked a turning point in my life. While the feelings of homosexuality are not a choice, I do have a choice on how I am going to live the rest of my life with those feelings. I have chosen a difficult path and I do not treat my journey lightly. I hope and pray that you will be here for me, as I hope I can always be there for you in your time of need.
Just so you know, I know this Church is true. I know that God has a mission for me to do on this Earth. I know He will guide me to touch the lives of people around me, and hopefully change them for the better. I do not condemn those who have chosen to live a homosexual lifestyle. They are seeking happiness in the way that they feel is best for them. I am choosing a different way of seeking my own happiness.
Please, if you have any questions, ask me. I am not afraid to talk about who I am. I know who I am, and I love who I am. Also, thank you so much for being my friend. I look forward to taking this journey together.