The ceiling fan stirred the cool March air from the open window with the heat flowing up from the floors below.  I lay on the floor of my empty studio apartment and stared at the ceiling.  A couple of months earlier, as I had determined to get off the church/gay fence once and for all, and for the first time seriously considered the side that I had fearfully avoided my entire life.  I took a good long look at my sexuality…and I actually liked what I saw.

The part of myself that I kept locked away like a queer Tasmanian Devil had been let loose and when seeing it in the daylight I realized that it wasn’t so terrible after all.  In the past few months I had made gay friends, come out to people, and more and more thought about leaving the church, whose meetings by this point I could barely stand in their entirety.  It was not uncommon to have to leave elders quorum and end up in the parking lot with tears streaming down my face.  How could God make me gay, make accepting my sexuality feel like the right thing to do, and make acting on it an abominable sin?  I couldn’t take it anymore.  I was going to leave.  I had to.

I thought about all this all this as I stared up at the spinning fan.  Could I really do it?  Could I really leave?  The thought was both terrifying and exhilarating at the same time.

What about your friends?

It was true.  Most of my friends were LDS.  Many would not understand why I would leave, but then again, many grew up around gay kids in school.  It’s not like they hadn’t had gay friends before.  Some would distance themselves, but I felt my closest friends wouldn’t treat me any differently.

What about your family?

While my family loved me, they would certainly not approve of a decision to leave the church and pursue a gay relationship.  Even though I thought they would grow used to the idea over time, I knew that there would always be a layer of tension on some level.  Quite simply, things would never truly be the same.  But it was also a decision that I had to make for myself.  I couldn’t live my entire life in a certain way simply for the approval of my family.

So, are you going to start drinking, too?  Going to gay bars?  Sleeping around?

I’m sure everyone in the beginning thinks that they are going to act the same as they always have, don’t they?  “Oh, sure, I’ll still keep high standards.”  I guess everyone ends up…wait, no.  No, I won’t.  I hate alcohol.  I always have.  I hate bars.  I have no desire to turn into a man-Paris Hilton.  The whole point of this is to be honest with myself.  Drinking, sleeping around, all of that.  It isn’t me.  It never has been.  Even if I weren’t a member, I would hate those things.

That probably cuts down on your chances of finding someone.

Maybe.  But then again, how do straight people who don’t go to bars find each other?  Just because the majority of people behave a certain way, doesn’t mean I have to.  There are several gay friendly churches in the neighborhood; maybe one of them would be a good place to start looking for like-minded guys.

What about your testimony?

I guess I’ll have to…I don’t know, to be honest.  If I left the church, I imagine that my testimony would keep bothering me.  But with time it would go away, wouldn’t it?  Or, I’d have to allow anger and bitterness to kill it quickly.

Do you really want that?

Well, no.  I don’t want to become bitter and angry.  I guess I’ll just have to keep telling myself that it isn’t true and slowly wear it down.

But is that was you really believe?  Isn’t the whole point of this to be honest with yourself?

Good point.  If I told myself that the church wasn’t true, I’d be trading one lie for another.  I do know the church is true.  I don’t want to have to lie to myself.  I’m tired of that.

So what now?

Maybe there is a middle ground?  Maybe I can accept my sexuality, which has already made my life a lot more livable, and still retain my testimony.

So you would pursue homosexual relationships and still attend church?

I know me and I can’t see myself maintaining that situation.  Besides, if I know the church is true, why wouldn’t I try to live according to its doctrines?

You know what that means don’t you?

Yeah.  That means that unless I get to the point where I feel like I can honestly marry a woman, then I’ll have to be alone for the rest of my life.  That means no relationships that go beyond “just friends”.

Do you think you can do that?

I’m not sure.  Maybe.  What I can’t do is pretend to be something I’m not.  I’m not straight.  I won’t go back to pretending that I am.  I can’t do that anymore.

Is anyone asking you to?

Well, no, I guess not.

Can I really do that, though?  Can I really embrace my sexuality, embrace my testimony, and still feel as though I am being honest with myself?

In my small studio apartment I looked out at the city.  Its hum drifted through the open window as the fan whirred overhead.  My life wasn’t heading in the same direction it was going five years ago, or even the day before.  And, unlike the train as it switched tracks at Lindberg station, my future didn’t have a clearly defined path.  Much of it I would have to discover on my own.  I would likely make huge mistakes, but I also thought of the things I would learn along the way.  Could I really do it?  Could I really make it work?

The thought was both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time.

12 thoughts on “March

  1. SallyGirl

    This is a really awesome post. It makes me want to share with my non-member (very anti-church)(gay) cousin so he can see what its like for a Mormon who’s gay, at least from a positive perspective. But we’re not close in a way that lets me feel safe doing that because I don’t know if he’s the kind of person that would just stir up crap for you on here.

    At any rate, this was a generous peek at your thoughts. Thank you.

  2. Scott (aka Dichotomy)

    I hope that, like me, you’ve found that the exhilaration was justified and the terror misplaced. It turns out being an openly gay member of the Church isn’t as frightening as I thought it would be, and being honest to myself and those around me about who I am feels even better than I expected.

    The example of your testimony from a few weeks ago was a big help in my own journey, and I thank you for your integrity and your willingness to share your experiences with the world.

  3. Bravone

    Clint, Amen to what Scott said.

    I didn’t ask myself those questions until well into my marriage, in fact not until recently. Had I known or accepted my sexuality earlier, I could have saved myself and those around me much heartache. However, I don’t know how I would have answered those questions 20 years ago. I’m not sure I would have had the conviction to remain true to my faith. I hope I would have, but am not sure. It is probably a good thing for me that I had more time to mature and deepen my testimony before confronting my ssa. I am glad that I didn’t realize that my ssa wasn’t something that wouldn’t go away with marriage because I would likely have not married and missed the blessing of my family.

    I truly admire those who are able to accept their same gender attractions and still hold to the faith, knowing that they might lead lives devoid of the intimacy of a partner – opposite or same gender. I also understand how some cannot bear to live without a partner, feel conflicted about the church, leave it, and embrace a homosexual lifestyle. I hope some day the church will welcome them in its congregations. I believe Christ would.

  4. MoHoHawaii

    I think it’s more possible than ever to be a gay Mormon who remains active in the Church. But you have to come out.

    The closet is your enemy.

    I’ve followed your thoughts for a while now. I respect the path you’ve taken.

  5. jondh

    This post almost brought me to tears. Thank you so much for your honesty, your courage, and testimony. I’m going to tell all my friends about your blog. I hope they read it. I hope everyone reads it. Sir, you are a better man than I.

  6. Scott (aka Dichotomy)

    I don’t know how I would have answered those questions 20 years ago. I’m not sure I would have had the conviction to remain true to my faith.

    The closet is your enemy.

    This brings up an interesting question…

    If we accept the premise that the ideal is to be an active member of the Church who is open with his orientation and comfortable being gay, what of the choices that fall short of the ideal?

    If a young man wants to come out of the closet and follow his attractions (dating other guys in hope of finding a partner) but is currently keeping his orientation to himself and attending church, etc. so that his family doesn’t suspect anything, what do we recommend to that young man?

    Would it be better for him to remain in the closet and continue attending church in the hope that his testimony will be strengthened and he will eventually reach a point where he can make the choices Clint has made?

    Or would it be better for him to come out of the closet, and in doing so leave the Church?

    I agree with MoHoHawaii. The closet is the enemy. It’s a lonely place, and it’s hard to remain closeted without accumulating a dusty layer of self-loathing. It’s not a place that’s healthy for the psyche or the soul.

    My inclination would be to recommend that he come out, and accept himself and find peace in who he is. My own experience in doing so was so powerful that I value it above any spiritual experience I have had in the Church. I don’t think this recommendation would make me popular with the boy’s family, though (or his Bishop or other priesthood leaders).

  7. Captain Midnight

    That’s the same thought process I went through before I met my boyfriend. I finally admitted to myself that I was gay, and then a week later I met him. Like you said, I thought of my friends and family and how my decision might affect my relationship with them. I know that the path I am taking is not the one my family would want me to take, but I can’t live a certain way just because they want me to. I know that what I’m doing is right because it makes me happy. I feel so much love and acceptance from my boyfriend now that I never could have had otherwise. Whatever path you eventually decide on, I hope you are happy. I know the path that worked for me, but it’s probably not the right path for everyone. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. You have a pretty awesome blog.

  8. Carolyn

    Your attitude at the end of this post makes you courage personified to me. Can you really do it? I ask myself that same thing every time I get up in the morning to struggle once again with the same temptations as the day before.

    In the end, I always remind myself that I can do hard things. And that through Christ, I can do all things.

  9. Brett

    Great Blog. What more can I say? I love reading this, not because I’m gay, but because it’s so honest and peaceful. You have great advice.

  10. Dan Weston

    This blog is peaceful. And perhaps a wee bit solipsistic?


    1) The theory that the self is the only thing that can be known and verified.

    2) The theory or view that the self is the only reality.

    You are struggling with the fact that you are heading towards the belief that the first definition is true and the second false. You are pursuing Descartes but channeling Hamlet.

    Although your struggle with what God wants proves that you know this is not all about you, your current entry uses “I/me/my” over 100 times.

    So just what do you know about God’s vision of connubial love that

    1) no one has told you and you alone can verify, but

    2) does not involve you or depend on you?

    You mentioned one thing:

    Yeah. That means that unless I get to the point where I feel like I can honestly marry a woman,

    You love others enough not to lie to them (or with them) just for your own happiness and to fit in. Sounds like God’s love to me.

    then I’ll have to be alone for the rest of my life. That means no relationships that go beyond “just friends”.

    Now you’re back to martyrdom, which does have a compelling self-importance to commend it. Where is God in this? Does God really want you to be alone? Or is this fear and self-pity?

    So, are you going to start drinking, too? Going to gay bars? Sleeping around?

    Absolutely. Sleeping around is the most fulfulling aspect of being gay…

    NOT. A little anecdotal reality check from the fully-out gay world. I know at least 4 straight men cheating on their wives. I know no gay men cheating on their husbands.

    Why do the brethren seem so eager to believe it’s all about the sex? They crave it to be so. Is it because they know this is not God’s way?

    Well, answer them. This is your blog. Is it sex you ache for, or a soulmate? Do you want to conquer and control, or support and nurture? If your husband of 8 years gets cancer, will you dump him (like some politicians we know) and run after some young thing? Or will you lie next to him in the hospital room, changing the bed pan, combing his hair so the doctor will continue to see him as you do, beautiful and worthy?

    I know because it happened to me. And even as my husband lay dying while part of me died with him, I summoned the courage to go down the hall once in a while to say hi to the poor old woman lying alone in the last stages of breast cancer, whose husband “didn’t like hospitals” and never came to see her. She outlived Eric’s stay in that hospital, and I imagine she died there alone.

    When my husband finally died, I went without sex for two years (like the several years prior). No, it was not a struggle. I didn’t have the heart to desecrate our memory with a stranger. Is this the sort of love that Satan or God created?

    But enough about me. What do you know about what you yearn for? Is it the urge for maximum conquest? Or do you long for a life-long partner?

    Do you still not trust your inner voice? What would Jesus do? He himself never spoke about homosexuals, except in regards to marriage (Matt 19:10-12), which tells me it must be important:

    10 His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.

    11 But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.

    12 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

    Were you born without sexual love in your heart? That is no sin.

    Are you a eunuch for the kingdom of heaven’s sake? Good for you.

    But if you have been made a eunuch by men, and absent that oppression are still able to receive God’s grace in marriage with the man of your dreams, then, as Jesus said, “let you receive it.”

    Frankly, I was already sold three verses earlier, and why I fought so vehemently against Proposition 8:

    What therefore God hath ajoined together, let not man put asunder.

    Man was not made for sexuality, but sexuality for man. I imagine God gave it to you for a reason. He also gave you a backbone, so that you among animals will walk upright. Use them both as God intended, and you will not need to worry about what Men think.

  11. Clint Post author

    @SallyGirl – Refer if you like. While I generally let people post whatever they want, I ain’t scared of the delete button.

    @Scott (#2) – There is a definite “honeymoon period” when it comes to coming out. As the months pass, I’ve noticed that while some things have changed, most things have not.

    @Scott (#6) – Hmm…. I am wary to issue a blanket “come out, come out, wherever you are”. I agree that the closet is a scary place, but coming out has its complications and challenges as well.

    @Braveone – I don’t think it matters much how we would have answered those questions back in the day, just how we would answer them today.

    @MoHoHawaii, @Captain Midnight, @Carolyn, @Brett – Thanks.

    @Dan Weston – Don’t worry, I am most definitely a vertebrate.

  12. Alan

    Clint, I continue to be impressed by the depth and articulation of your posts. Your thoughtfulness is refreshing and your insight true.

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