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Friday, June 20, 2014

Will Homosexuality Keep Him from God and the Church? - Part 1

Dear Bro Jo,

I have a lot on mind right now and I was hoping you could help me out with some of the issues.

I grew up in a non-LDS Christian setting. In fact there are less than 10 000 members of the LDS Church here, so you really don't get the opportunity very often to hear the message.

Today I'm nearing my mid-twenties and living alone.

At 13 or so, I reached puberty. As with all guys (and girls) this makes life a lot more complicated. You're no longer so innocent as before, as I really got to know. It started off with daydreams. I have always been a daydreamer, but the daydreams when 13 were a little bit different.

They would focus on friendships, adventures and exotic places (think jungles, deserts, the Arctic) at first, but the people in these daydreams would later take on a more "sinister" (for lack of words) role.

As time progressed, the daydreams had more complicated plots, bordering the sexual. The thing is, the sexual bits of them would never be with any girl or woman or so, but with the made-up friends. Guys. Good-looking ones too.

As time progressed, these daydreams became fantasies. I touched myself despite having an innate aversion for it. Although I've always learned that correlation does not equal causation, I can't help but think that this was at least part of why I lost my faith.

At 15, it was almost entirely gone.

Heartbroken, I decided to fill this void, the void from not having God, with continuing my daydream escapades, fantasies and physical simulations. My mental health went really low.

Desperate, I went seeing guys. Not friends nor relatives, but the kind of guys that shared my affliction if you will. I enjoyed their company, but felt bad about seeing them.

I even so to say fell in love with one.

Nothing really happened with that guy, but... At this point my family decided, for other reasons, to move abroad.

We stayed in our new land for two years before going back home.

Half a year later I started university.

I moved away from home, rather far away, and ended up in a city where I absolutely knew no one. I tried to study well, but the stress and my own issues grew steadily.

Just after two months, things were so bad that I saw no other way than to kill myself resulting in an act that left me unconscious for half a week.

That was four years ago and things went really bad.

Although I didn't do anything active to hurt myself, I was in regular contact with the hospital. I had to be admitted several times too over the course of the years. I still saw guys even though I knew that my attraction to them was in part guilty to my state of health.

In 2009 something really strange happened.

I was in the public library (probably to borrow some books, but I can't really remember why) and saw two missionaries from the LDS Church sitting by computers. Something within me told me to approach them. I did, and stuttered "You guys from the Mormon Church?"

Surprised, they said yes.

Next day we met in the lawn of their church. It was a beautiful summer's day.

We spoke a lot over the next few months and they lectured me in the gospel. I shared my concerns, and when my state of health got another setback, these two wonderful young men visited me in hospital.

They would soon leave town for another, and a new pair got in contact with me.

That Christmas I went to a meeting of the local congregation (not sure that's the real word in English, heh).

That special day carried a message from the prophet. I don't remember at all what he said, and that's beside the point.

There was also a sacrament.

I was offered to take part in it, but I didn't want to. It just felt wrong to do so at that stage.

My local friends seemed to get worried about me now. They tried to educate me that Mormonism was a crazy cult, and I began to believe them. All I now read, instead of the Scriptures, were things aiming to crack my new-found "craze".

I stopped seeing the missionaries and stopped going to Church.

My mind was getting darker and darker, seeing little hope for me. I was doomed. I stopped thinking about God, believing religion was evil.

Following the maxim of the three Japanese monkeys (see no evil, hear no evil, know no evil), I turned away.

Yet, I wasn't happier.

I was more lost than ever.

My family got really worried, believing that the hospital people didn't do enough for me and my health. They arranged for me to get an apartment in my parents' town, where I moved just a few weeks ago.

I've gone to Church (the one I grew up in) with my mother. The sermon made me very upset. Not because it wasn't Biblical or so, but because it provoked me personally.

After that I began thinking of God and my, I think, need for him.

Flashbacks of my experiences with the missionaries and the LDS Church back in uni town and what their (your? my?) gospel taught made it inevitable for me not to seek out new information. I began reading again.

The Scriptures, LDS literature, joined internet discussion boards with LDS interest.

And today I'm writing to you.

I can't say that I believe in the gospel.

I can't say I can make any testimony on the whole thing even.

But what I do feel is that I'm drawn to it.

I feel pulled to it.

Either it's something calling my name or there's me being insanely masochistic.

The gospel and I seem to disagree on many things. Most theological issues I will be able to read myself out of, study on my own by reading and reading.

I hope one day that I'll be able to believe in God so that I will be able to pray.

One issue, though, is the fact of sexuality. I've had sex with other guys (and myself if that's a definition of the word 'sex').

I've cursed my religious background believing it made me feel so bad (Christianity and homosexuality generally doesn't go well together).

I am still attracted to guys and never ever have I looked upon a girl in any other way that "oh she's pretty, but so are kittens". Guys on the other hand give me so many responses, both mental and physical. Just being near a guy is difficult. Not because it makes me think of sex with him, but because it makes me look at him in a not-so-Christian way.

I think I need to contact someone.

I've been thinking of contacting that first missionary I came across at the library in 2009. I doubt it'd be considered good form doing so, though, and then I came across your site.

Please, what should I do?

What can I do?

Even if I come to believe and get baptized, how can I ever enter the celestial kingdom with my continuing fights with homosexuality and doubts of God and gospel?

There's no-one here I can talk to!

Sorry if this letter's long, but thanks for reading it.

- Suede Shoes

Dear Suede,

First things first: to help me I often look up those that write in on the internet; are you the (name withheld) that is in a "relationship" (as noted on Facebook) with (woman's name withheld)?

I ask, because that might make a difference.

Secondly, I think it best if we take one step at a time. I believe that God is loving and just and understanding, and that his love leaves room for all of us. Whatever our differences, trials, challenges and struggles, each of us deserves his love and blessings.

Third, I invite you to go back and read your own letter. In it you make it pretty clear that whenever you grow closer to God, talking about His Gospel, attending His Church, that you feel better, and whenever you push those things from your life you feel worse . . . I think that's very telling.

- Bro Jo


Laura said...

There is an absolutely beautiful website and book called "Voices of Hope" with several accounts of LDS church members and their experiences with SSA. I personally know a couple of people who have contributed, and their stories and testimonies are powerful.

Anonymous said..., a church website may help