Off The Fence: 6 Months Later

It’s been about six months that I hopped off the gay/church fence on the side of the church after years of going back and forth (and back and forth and back and forth and oh-my-gosh-I’m-getting-seasick).  There have been ups and downs, but I generally maintain the feeling of peace I had when I first decided I was going to stay in the Church.  There have been a few breakdowns, but except for a nuclear meltdown soon after the decision were made, my relatively few emotional dips have lacked the edge of despair that they used to have back on that old rickety fence.

I have learned a great deal in the past six months and have spiritually grown a lot (I think, anyway).  There are areas in my life where the need for improvement is glaringly apparent, but I feel I am making progress, which is the first time I’ve been able to say that in years.  It has been interesting as I have directly confronted issues in my life that I was too scared to approach before.  I feel like I am more honest with myself and with those around me.  As I have done this I’ve made some observations that I thought were surprising:

Sometimes Faith=Procrastination
Right after I made the decision to stay in the Church, I knew that I wasn’t strong enough spiritually to handle all the doubts and questions that I still had, so I basically put off dealing with them.  I knew I was going to have to work them out one day, but I couldn’t do it right then.  As I have progressed, sometimes I have taken some of these questions out and have taken a look at them.  If I am able to make progress with them, I try to resolve the concern.  Otherwise, it goes right back in the mental procrastination box.  I see this as an exercise in faith in the same way I view my initial concerns and then testimony of the prophet-ness of Joseph Smith to have been an exercise in faith.  Sometimes working spiritual stuff out takes time.

Lying To Oneself Is Never Good

You might say, “um…duh,” but how often do we lie to ourselves in order to make ourselves feel better about our situations?  I think we all do it.  For example, there may be some official ideas of the Church that sometimes bother me…a lot.  In the past, I would probably try and immediately talk myself into thinking that I agreed with the Church on every issue, but I’ve found that that weakens my testimony instead of strengthening it.  Now I try and openly acknowledge to myself if something bothers me or if I don’t agree with something.  If I find a potential solution to my dilemma, I try and work it out.  Otherwise I toss it into my procrastination=faith box for sorting out later.  Interestingly, as I have tried to maintain this attitude of honesty with myself, I’ve found the need to toss stuff into that box to come much less frequently than I anticipated.

I’m Still Gay, And I’m Cool With That

While I never expected the Lord to remove my attraction to men and give me the hots for the womenfolk (He hasn’t, btw), I find it interesting how comfortable I am with my homosexuality.  Okay, most of the people at work don’t know and I don’t foresee telling them, but I usually don’t feel weirded out when I realize that other people think of me as gay, because, well, I am.  I also have discovered that I still want a relationship with a man and, while the intensity of that desire isn’t the overwhelming thing it once was, I still sometimes see a gay couple holding hands in the park and still feel that pang of longing.  Instead of burying that feeling, I allow myself to feel it for a bit.  I do this because I have no intention of ever running from my sexuality again.  I allow myself to want a relationship with a man for a few moments and then I move on.  Because I have things to do.

I Choose “Peace” Over “Happiness”
I have chosen to live according to the doctrines of the Church – potentially alone for the rest of my life.  Why?  Because there is a peace that comes by knowing you are living your life in harmony with your core beliefs – it is a peace you can feel even in the midst of unhappiness.  This isn’t to say that I am generally an unhappy person, but as I have said before, I remain one-hundred percent convinced that I would be happy living in a monogamous relationship with another man.  Sometimes I am unhappy directly because of the choice I have made, but even through the unhappiness, I can still feel that peace.  True, my sexuality is part of my core, but my spirituality runs even deeper.

It’s been a big six months.  I’ve decided to stay in the Church, came out to family and ward and world, and openly write about being gay and Mormon on the Internet.  Who knows what the next six months hold./?/!

10 thoughts on “Off The Fence: 6 Months Later

  1. Chedner

    Because there is a peace that comes by knowing you are living your life in harmony with your core beliefs – it is a peace you can feel even in the midst of unhappiness.

    I, personally, think this is the most important concept when approaching, “I’m gay… what should I do?”

    Whenever people come out to me, asking for my advice, I always start with, “Well, what do you believe?” And if they are uncertain, my advice is always, “Work on what you believe first; worry about what you’re going to do after.”

  2. Natalie

    I have so much respect for you. I cannot imagine myself ever having your kind of strength. Some of the things you say break my heart.

    “I have chosen to live according to the doctrines of the Church – potentially alone for the rest of my life.”

    I don’t at all question your decisions. But that sentence seems so sad. I feel like there has to be a way for you to be happy and at peace. It just seems so unjust that someone so good and wise couldn’t find fulfillment.

    Geez, look at me. I have a harder time dealing with your issues than you do! :)

  3. Ezra

    I completely respect your beliefs, and I know what you say is true–it comes down to living in harmony with your core beliefs–which is exactly why I’ve broken away from the church, because I don’t believe the things I thought I did, and so I am not harmonious at all when I’m in church.

  4. Kristie

    As a new reader to your blog, I am also amazed at your strength. Seriously, you could go on a speaking tour and help young people grappling with their sexual preferences and their faith. I hope that one day people won’t feel like they’ve been presented with an ultimatum, as you have, but, in the meantime, people like yourself are an inspiration to others.

  5. Carolyn

    I’ve been floating around the blogosphere, hopping from site to site looking for answers to some of my questions about homosexuality and church membership. It’s been a sad ride, for the most part. And the fact that it doesn’t directly affect me at all has one little to mitigate my grief for those it does affect.

    Yesterday I prayed and prayed that I would be able to find peace in regards to this issue. Today I found your blog and this post. You have answered my prayers with your words of hope and faith. I don’t know you and we are very different from each other. But I will always love you for answering my prayer. Thank you.

  6. parcelbombsmurf

    Your story brought two things to mind when I read it:

    1) The loneliness of certain Book of Mormon prophets even though for a different reason:
    “I even REMAIN ALONE to write the sad tale of the destruction of my people” (Moroni 8:3).
    “[T]he time passed away with us, and also our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream, we being a LONESOME and a solemn people, wanderers, cast out from Jerusalem, BORN IN TRIBULATION, in a wilderness, and HATED OF OUR BRETHREN, which caused wars and contentions; wherefore, WE DID MOURN OUT OUR DAYS” (Jacob 7:26).
    These were prophets of God who had these feelings.

    2) The teachings of Jesus Christ regarding who can be saved:
    “25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?
    26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
    27 ¶ Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, WE HAVE FORSAKEN ALL, AND FOLLOWED THEE; what shall we have therefore?
    28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
    29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and SHALL INHERIT EVERLASTING LIFE.
    30 But many that are afirst shall be last; and the LAST SHALL BE FIRST.” (Matthew 19:25-30).
    Sometimes it seems impossible to believe that we will be saved. Sometimes we feel like we have given up so much, and we wonder what for. Jesus gives us the answer here. We, the last and the weak, will be saved if we believe and endure to the end. Just don’t give up.

    I believe that homosexuality is a trial, sometimes earned, sometimes unearned. To the degree that an individual is given this trial to no fault of their own, that person can expect “an hundredfold” reward for forsaking the deepest desires of their heart. The rich man in Matthew 19 was “sorrowful” at having to give up his many possessions to follow the Christ. We don’t know if he ever got around to making that sacrifice. But if he did, great must be his reward. So shall it be to all those who sincerely TRY to overcome all difficult trials. The “last shall be first.”

    I pray for you.

  7. Karene


    I was just referred to your blog by a friend as we are in the thick of this Proposition 8 stuff, and I absolutely love what you have to say and I’m thinking I might post a link to your blog on my blog as well. In any case, I want to add to what others have already told you…first of all, kudos to you for your bravery. I am so impressed with what you’ve been through and the fact that you’ve chosen to stick with the Church despite the inherent difficulty. Secondly, I want you to know that I’ve always thought, as a mother, that the worst thing that could possibly happen to me would be to have a child tell me that he/she had same sex attraction. The controversy about Prop 8 has caused me to do some soul searching and come to different conclusions than I have before. After reading several of your posts, I turned to my husband and said, “If this guy was my son, I would be beaming with pride.” Good for you! You are tackling this difficulty, sticking with what you know is right, and putting yourself out there as a source of support for others. I still, of course, hope that my children won’t have to deal with this issue, but that’s not up to me. I’m just grateful to know that if they do, there are people out there like you who are trying to create a support structure to help people grapple with the challenge and, hopefully, successfully overcome. Thank you!

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