Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Chapter One: On-line book preview

This is the first chapter of "They that be with us -- Understanding the connection between being gay and being Mormon"


Chapter One: At least I was paying attention  or  What made me different?

Julie:  I’ve heard it said by those who are homosexual that they knew there was something different about them at an early age. I mean to ask as many personal questions as I can be because I think it will help others. How did it all happen to you, Calvin?  What was different, and when did you notice that difference?

Calvin:  I tell people I had a normal childhood because for me it was normal. Singing to musicals and creating fashion shows and magic acts was normal. Pretending to be a nun from the Sound of Music with the fireplace hearth as a stage was normal. I didn’t know anyone else had it any other way.

I only realized that life in my home was a bit atypical when I associated with other boys at school, who, by the way, did not dress up like nuns in their free time. I was raised in south eastern Idaho where boys snowmobiled. They planted potatoes. They smacked each other around. They did not re-decorate their bedroom and gold leaf old furniture.

There was another difference between them as a group and me.  I was a Mormon. The LDS conservative culture felt completely intrinsic - even instinctual for me. I did what Mormons did. I knew all the well-loved and well used priesthood hymns and could list them in order of their popularity. I prayed, I read scriptures, I went to church
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I believed that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was true. I hadn’t had a startling or earth shattering chapel raising event that gave me that knowledge. My testimony came quietly day by day. (Way too quietly for my taste if I may add). I asked questions when I wanted to know something, but I never questioned. There was no need. My understanding of the Church was sound. The Church was true, the sky was blue, and Judy Garland was the greatest singer that ever lived. 

I was smarter then. It became way more complicated after puberty.

I knew about the practical function of the Church as well, probably more than many of my siblings or peers. Mine was not just an understanding of the church taken from books or filmstrips. I knew how it worked day to day - in the chapel and in the kitchen - because I payed attention to what people did, how they acted and what they said. 

Additionally, even though I was only nine and had yet to graduate from primary’s CTR class, I was hanging with the older righteous dudes in priesthood meeting - which kept me in tune and in sync with the culture and traditions of the priesthood and must have affected me for relative good. I was attending general priesthood meeting as a pre-priesthood-holder, tethered to my father’s side because (I have since found out) I could not be left at home due to the fact that I was a hellion.
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If I had had my druthers, I would have stayed at the home, watch Bewitched and painted my "I Dream of Jennie" bottle. But I had established a reputation as a trouble inducer/maker/reveler. My mother begged my father to take me anywhere for two hours to give her time to glue her hair back in.

It was while I was squished between guys twice my size in white shirts and black nylon socks who smelled of Brut -- or later on, Elisha -- (you will want to Google those) that I had my formal introduction to the “thou shalt not’s” as presented by LDS general authorities over the radio airwaves. In one of the first meetings, I remember the speakers asking us to respect women and girls. I nodded my head like the older guys around me and I vowed to do better. I had no idea what they were talking about.

Several priesthood meetings later I realized that the G.A.s weren’t talking about hitting girls, but about hitting on girls. The revered men from Crossroads of the West, in their subtle and genteel way, were talking about sex.

As I reflect back, the G.A.s didn’t really say the word “sex” right-out like they do today. They implied and we inferred, and some immature fool in the back that no one could identify giggled nervously. The effect was exactly what I imagine would have resulted from a gallon of chloroform being poured into the church’s swamp cooler.  I inhaled and then stopped breathing.
 
“Sex is for marriage” combined with “Respect woman and girls” was the sage advice I heard over the pulpit -- officially. Unofficially, sex seemed to be a whole different plate of potatoes.
 
Here is where it gets more complicated. My mother - the one pasting her hair back in - died, and my father remarried. This woman had also been married before and she brought with her a new family with new challenges - just as you would expect. However, stepmom’s ex-husband was a man who’d been excommunicated from the church for being homosexual. He lost his membership in the Church and was no longer with his family as a direct result of his being gay.

I, being semi-intelligent and having a library card, was quick to both do the research and put two and two together.  So, in my first real-life-math-story-problem, to be “homosexual” meant that a guy liked other guys, not girls. And the feelings that I had were for guys, not girls. I was, then, a homosexual. The LDS church - my church - excommunicated homosexuals.
 
No wonder I don’t like math.

Julie:  How could you realize your orientation so young? It must have been more than a sexual thing, because at nine most children aren’t thinking much about that stuff. I know I wasn’t.

Calvin:  It’s true that my body was not responding to sexual impulses at that point, which should have been my first clue that there are many layers to SGAttraction – not just sex.  At nine years of age my feeling’s and yearning’s had not sexualized. The feelings only became sexual when my body did at about age twelve or slightly before.

I’m making it sound like this all took place over one conference weekend, but it didn’t. Some of these realizations were years in coming, and others I’m only just beginning to understand.
Nevertheless, before I ever had an image or a face to associate with sexual preference - before I understood what sexual leanings and inclinations were - I somehow knew that I preferred males. I’d had strong feelings of what I know now was homosexuality before I ever heard the word presented or defined.
 
I can’t say my life changed in those few days of discovery, though those days ended up being years long. Life continued as it always had. I went to school, I came home. I mowed the lawn on Saturdays and church was on Sunday and Tuesday.

“So kid, are there any cute girls in your class?”  a friend of my dad’s at church asked me.   No.
“I bet you are a real ladies man and have to beat them off with a stick!”  Not really.
“A tall kid like you!  Are you on the basketball team?  You like to shoot hoops, right?”   Nope.
“You like the Jazz?”  Vocal, yes, but instrumental drives me a little crazy..
“What are you, a fag?”  You’re not very compassionate but at least you’re paying attention.

What I do know is this. Femininity was my default; it was my home page. I had femininity in spades. In stereotypical personality traits, in obvious talents and abilities there was no question.  It was the masculine that I yearned for. I craved manliness. I wanted to emulate it. I wanted to be it.  I wanted to be touched in affection by another guy. I was even willing to get beat up or made fun of, or wrongfully used in order to have that attention.

Julie: Because of that you realized that you were gay?

Calvin: Good choice of words. Many would say that it was at this point that I decided to be gay, but being gay wasn’t a decision to make or not make (as those not-in-my-shoes often suggest).  It was an awareness, a discovery. There wasn’t a moment where I was presented with the option and made a choice - guys over girls.  There was no “today I am going to be gay” moment - the kind I have heard told by men wearing ties and holding degrees. If that were the case then there would have been an equal “today I am not going to be gay” moment.

Girls, as kind and well-meaning as they were, were never in the running.

Julie: Was it a relief then to understand what you were feeling?

Calvin:  You would think so, that being able to put a name to it would have helped. I suppose in a way it did. However I realized immediately what the label meant. I went from the apparent sexually ambiguous frying pan to a giant gay furnace fire that bellowed black toxic fumes.

Have you read any psychology articles from the eighties? I did. I actually read them in the eighties as a matter of fact. There was no Internet. There was the library. I was armed with a library card and I knew how to use it. Everything I read confirmed what I had heard. To be homosexual, as per a very thick book, was to be depraved and deviant.  I went from considering myself as a nice though somewhat unmanageable young man to someone who was deviant, derelict and a few other “d” words.
 
After that revelation there were moments of incredible panic. I was on the wrong road. I had always thought I was on the straight and narrow, but no.  Straight was the “straight and narrow”, and gay was not “the way”.
   
Julie:  It sounds like you were dealing with huge issues all by yourself. Couldn’t you have talked to someone like your bishop, your parents, or even a school counselor? Surely the late seventies and eighties weren’t all that pre-historic.

Calvin: You’d be surprised. The thought to talk to someone didn’t enter my mind. Counselors were people paid by other people to get to your secrets. I once had a counselor call me into his office at school (which had more to do with me falling asleep in the choir practice room every day for two weeks than it did trying to peg me down on my sexual preference). But the meeting was as clinical as it was brief. My problems were attributed to fallout from my mother’s death. He flippantly warned me not to masturbate, to stop sleeping in the practice room and then he dismissed me in order to take a personal call. I suppose I was then checked off of his list of things to do.

Church leaders as far as confidants were concerned were out as well.  I saw how the homosexual ex-husband I mentioned earlier had been treated by the Church, and heard how he was being spoken about in the circles of members of the Church. I met him on a few family occasions and thought he was a nice guy. I liked his shoes. What I knew of his experience taught me that I was going to have to work my way through being a homosexual Mormon all by myself because anyone finding out that I was gay was not an alternative. 
Gay was “not clean”. Gay was way-out in the deep end. Gay was the hands in the muddy water that pulled you away from the iron rod.

Julie: There are a lot of theories about why some people develop homosexual feelings and others don’t. I’ve heard it blamed on sexual abuse or being too connected to mom instead of dad. What do you think caused you to have these feelings?

Calvin:  I’ve read the theories, too. I find them both enlightening and confusing.  I myself fit snugly into many homosexual stereotypes and don’t come anywhere close to others. The latest theory is that if I was preceded by several boys having gone before me through the womb, then chances are that I would be a homosexual.  But I was the first boy, so…  

On top of it all, I didn’t know then and don’t know now which of my many problems were caused by a wacko adolescence and which of my many other problems were a direct result of homosexuality. I may never know. But that doesn’t mean I am powerless or picked on nor does it make me a second class Latter-day Saint either.

Julie: How did you balance your homosexual feelings with your belief in the teachings of the church?

Calvin:  I don’t know that I did until my late thirties. There was no balance or equilibrium.  Sometimes I leaned one way, and the next month I leaned another. I didn’t know how to balance, or if I should even try to. When I was involved with one, the only way to survive was to ignore the existence of the other, and I got really good at flipping back and forth.
Let me be clearer. I put my baptismal document, my primary awards for memorizing the Articles of Faith, my ordination to the priesthood certificate and many other records in a scrap book so I could later appreciate that I had done things the Church way and that I had indeed chosen right. I went to my meetings and attended seminary during the week. I went on a mission and worked as hard as tall skinny guys can. I came home and dated some really nice Ricks College girls without a thought to marry any of them. I hung out with theatre people. I went to BYU, worked professionally as an actor and singer, and started getting a name in the arts. Then suddenly I went directly off the deep end.

The deep end, incidentally, can be exactly as muddy, filthy and… well, deep, as the implication in 1st Nephi.  “…and the depths thereof are the depths of hell… that they perish and are lost.” It was not where I wanted to be.

Julie:  What brought you back to the church?

Calvin:  My decision was ultimately between living as an actively gay man (homosexualy-active, male partner, no church), or as an actively Mormon man (Church, not homosexualy  active). When it came time to do or die, I didn’t want to die the way I had been living. I ultimately went with my heart, and my heart was firmly planted not only in the gospel of Jesus Christ, but in His church - even when my body was off being promiscuous.

I left Church activity briefly because of the priesthood. Being gay and not having the priesthood was painful to consider, and I knew I could not have pre-marital sex and hold the priesthood. Living a gay life meant that the priesthood would be something I couldn’t touch. When I came back to church activity it was because I wanted the blessings of the priesthood and to know that I was obeying my Father in Heaven more than I wanted to live a gay lifestyle.

I wanted the Melchizedek priesthood more than I wanted to have sex.

Today I am still as much a part of Mormon-land as I ever was back in south eastern Idaho in the 80’s - even with a documented past that is not ready for the Ensign. While I may not be the best to articulate the plots or plight of either LDS men or homosexuals, I know my way around the proverbial block. I know both sides of the street.

Julie:  You’re married and have a family now, right?

Calvin:  Yes, both. I made the decision to marry, and I found someone who was more forgiving than I could have ever imagined.  As a husband and a father there are some things I do well, and other things I don’t do so well. I have strengths and weakness like anyone else I suppose.  Of course my wife knows about my sojourn, and so have my previous bishops. Our new bishop doesn’t have any reason to know thanks to the question “Is there anything you need to clear up that you haven’t already taken care of?” Marriage has been good to me and we will touch on that later.

Julie:  I’ve got my parent hat on for this question. What could your parent’s have done to make the road easier? Short of tying my son Sean up in the basement for the duration of his life, I’m constantly trying to think of ways to help him without infringing on his agency.

Calvin:  A good half of this book is my response to that question - what could those in positions of authority have done to make it easier - bishops, parents, friends, etc.  Frankly, good parenting is good parenting.  One should do all the things that one knows how to do and has been doing for years; Talking, loving, praying, teaching kids how to be responsible, being proud of who you are and who they are. I didn't get that.  Looking back at what I want through, I see that I just wanted to scream for help, and when I didn't get it I ended up screaming at everything.

Part of Heavenly Fathers answer to me, as I see now, was that I needed to gain strength by helping myself. Could I have made the changes I made if I hadn’t figured a few things out on my own? I don’t think so. There were things I had to discover for myself.

Had my parents or any youth leader pulled me aside and spoken to me about homosexuality I may have just died on the spot, and I definitely would have slunk out of the building and cried in shame or disappeared into denial. But after the drama was over I may have thrived.
 
I will say this to parents; Regardless of your situation, please watch what you say. I became aware of my parents distaste for homosexuals at the same time I became aware that I was one. It’s very tough to come back to your child after years of distaste and disapproval and have any credibility as a parent.

Julie:  Thank you for being so open.

Calvin:  Thanks for asking.


Next: Chapter 2

Monday, December 5, 2016

Preface of the new book "They That Be With Us -- The Connection Between Gay and Mormon

I am dividing the new book up in chapters and presenting them here on the blog. Feel free to comment in the notes, or contact me at calvinthompson.cal@gmail.com.



Preface:  A few principals upon which everything we believe is based

Calvin: As with most of my meaningful encounters, Julie and her husband and my wife and I were brought together by food. It was a family dinner invitation under the guise of a “get to know you”. It was over desert that we realized that we had something other than a new ward and a love for eating in common. In our own private lives, Julie and I were both dealing with homosexuality; I was gay, and she had recently found out her son was as well.

Julie and I come from dissimilar backgrounds and we have singularly different approaches to living and writing. We will not attempt to blend our styles because we hope that in keeping our unique perspectives we can act as Velcro; I have the rough edges and she the smooth soft side.  Neither side works effectively alone.

There are a few assumptions or suppositions - five, actually - that we as a team have made in the researching, writing, rewriting and subsequent reworking of this book. They are fundamental enough that each and every point we will be making is contingent on one or all of the following.

1) The first assumption is, of course, that homosexuality is somehow and to some degree an issue for you or for someone you either love or are required to tolerate.

Julie: More and more I am running into people - parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends - who have someone in their immediate circle that is dealing with SGA and they are confused. As members of the LDS church we have very strong beliefs in what is right and what is wrong, but as family and friends, we hate to see our loved ones hurting and struggling with something we don’t completely understand. We need answers.

This brings us to the second principal.

2) God is God - all knowing, all powerful and unchanging. We do not know everything. Not having to know all the answers but trusting that someone has them is liberating. Answers are available, and as we grow and progress and seek truth they will be revealed to us.
Our Heavenly Father has the power to heal and reveal, to mend and make whole. He knows us and is aware of our quirks, trials, our successes and failures.  He knows what is on our I Pod and on our Google search. God, who is our Heavenly Father, loves us and wants to share with us all that He has - such as His love, His power and His knowledge. All three are quite formidable.

God’s abilities are limitless. He is able and has the means - both power and knowledge - to keep us safe. Because we know this we know that the situations we face will be for our good and are ultimately in his control. As writers and collaborators, every point Julie and I make is based on this truth and will resonate if we remember this; God has our back - even if we don’t see Him, or hear Him.

3) The third fundamental is that Jesus is the Christ, and that as our Lord and Savior He has made repentance possible. Jesus is Jehovah of the Old Testament.  He left our Father from on high and lowered himself to come to earth. He alone was the perfect man capable of carrying out the atonement - the only being “at one” - signifying the act of unifying or reconciling that which has been separated (in this case God and us)
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The atonement of Jesus Christ was necessary to overcome both physical and spiritual death - physical death by guaranteeing our direct involvement in the resurrection, and spiritual death by providing a way for us to return to the presence of God. Because of the sacrifice of His life, all people will be resurrected. Because of His atonement, we who sin can be clean and may receive the gift of eternal life with God.

Calvin:  The Savior didn’t do it for fame, a promise of stardom, or to bind us to Him, though thankfully, we are bound. I can’t imagine being bound to someone I genuinely love and respect more. He did it because He loved us and He loved His Father.

“For behold, I...have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer...even as I”  
There is none equal to Him. We honor Him.

4) The forth indisputable fact is that Satan and his influences are real.

Julie: Satan wanted to control us from the very beginning, to compel us to worship him.  His methods haven’t changed in the many years since. While our Heavenly Father will never force us to do anything, Satan has no such scruples. He aims for power over us and to deprive us of agency.
 
Satan was a control freak in the pre-existence and he is even more so now. He traps, binds and would force us to give up our freedom so he can sift us as wheat or do as he would with us. He has an answer for all he does - a perversion for everything pure. If it exists in righteousness then he has his own version that is immoral and foul. He is not the inconsequential mischievous Halloween fodder he has been made out to be. He wants to demolish and destroy all that Father has.

What Father has is us.

Calvin: Satan is the opposite in every way from our Savior. He too has priesthood power, though his is dark and selfish. But our Savior’s priesthood power comes from our Heavenly Father and is stronger than that of the devil. I have had personal confirmation of that. When we live as the Savior has asked we have access to God’s power. Having authority through the Savior and ability to use Gods priesthood will thwart Satan’s plans for our destruction.

5) Lastly, we know that Latter-day Saint prophets speak for the Lord in our day. Christ, who is at the head of His Church, has not left us alone during our stay here on earth. He speaks to us and guides us by way of his spokesmen on earth who are modern day prophets -- just as He did in days of old. His word will be disclosed, and, “…He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.”

We believe that the words of the modern day prophets when they speak for and to the body of the church are the word of the Savior just as those contained in the scriptures.
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These are our essential suppositions -- the core issues which are the foundation of our lives and, consequently, of this book.
 
We witness to these truths. If you do not have knowledge of these certainties for yourself then come and sit on our porch for a while. You can stay as long as you choose, and you can borrow a little of our testimony until yours is stronger.
 

We have enough to share. 



Stay tuned for more of  "They That Be With Us -- The Connection  Between Gay and Mormon"

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The book! Preview the Introduction

I finally wrote the book: The Big Gay Mormon Book. 

Be forewarned that it's not the Big Gay Ex-Mormon book. It's for those who are gay and Mormon; Full-fledged and true blue. I am going to post each chapter on this blog starting with the intro. I am happy for comments either at the end of each post or sent to my Gmail account calvinthompson.cal@gmail.com

Here goes...








They That Be With Us
Acknowledging the connection between Gay and Mormon
 By Calvin Thompson and Julie Martin



By way of introduction

No righteous person will be denied any blessings which come from God. We have no control over the heartbeats or the affections of men [or women], but pray that you may find fulfillment. And in the meantime, we promise you that insofar as eternity is concerned, no soul will be deprived of rich and high and eternal blessings for anything which that person could not help, that the Lord never fails in his promises, and that every righteous person will receive eventually all to which the person is entitled and which he or she has not forfeited through any fault of his or her own.  - Spencer W. Kimball

Calvin: First on the list of qualifications to write this book, were I hiring someone, is that the author would have to be a Mormon -- a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He couldn’t be someone who doubted, who was half in or half out, who was fine with doctrine as it currently stands, but could see the day when “things from Salt Lake get a little out of control”.
   
A returned missionary would be nice -- one who knows his way around a road-show, a stake conference, and who has been battered around in church ball. Being born in the church would be a plus, or the budding author could make up for it by being a quick study.

He must believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ and in the restoration of the gospel. He should have gone to BYU on a musical theater scholarship as well. Knowing the cultural vernacular would be crucial to help him connect with his readers, and a love for the priesthood is not optional. He should be able to keep his sense of humor in check and his tongue occasionally in cheek.

And he would need to be gay.

I have waited years for someone to write that book -- one that sheds light on my situation. Surely, I thought, someone owning a pen or a printer has shared my same state of affairs and could put in writing their wisdom so I wouldn’t have to reinvent the proverbial wheel.

I would have worn a clever disguise into the bookstore and purchased that book. Then I would have ripped off its cover and duct taped it into my Especially for Mormons anthology and hidden it behind the oak paneling in my room. I would not have taken the chance that anyone could have seen me carry such a book around or found it in my possession and pegged me an issue man. I would have been mortified.

Issue man -- that’s what I call those like me. I gave the status that label so that I wouldn’t have to say the word “gay” even in my head.  We issue men were rarely spoken of as I was growing up and when we were we were considered a fringe element.  When I did hear the word “gay” it was associated with “perverted”, “distorted”, or “defective”.  And the word “excommunication” was never far behind.
 
So I became silent on the issue of issue men. I bottled up whatever it was that I was, and sat in on a low shelf -- not the high one where my dreams were all laid out -- my dreams of a mission call, a wife and family, and a “happily ever after”. 

When it blew up there was no time for setting issues on shelves or hiding them in closets. There were no shelves or closets left.  Slowly I had to deal with facts.  As I slowly came out it was just as shocking for my “issue” friends to discover that I had a testimony of the gospel as it was for my church friends to discover that I had this issue. The big gay issue.
  
While I waited for someone to write the book I quite unintentionally became a subject-matter expert.  I became the poster child for gay married Mormons. If I were a bit nicer looking I might have considered putting my face on the book cover. But that is not necessary.  You have someone in your life already who could be on the cover. Picture them.

Today I hold a temple recommend and I try to be worthy every day to actively use the Lord’s priesthood. I want the blessings my Father in Heaven intended for me and every other man and woman to have. When I read the scriptures or listen to conference and hear the promises made to those who follow the commandments, I count myself in.  I am the kind of person that hopes that the prodigal son can return.

So I will write of the atonement or at least my personal knowledge of it; I could jump on that trampoline all day.  And, I will write of a few of the challenges I have faced as a gay Mormon man using the words I have.
 
The pitfalls in putting this to paper are many.  I am a little nervous.


Introducing Julie Martin

If you met me at Church I probably wouldn’t stand out as any one unusual. Like most of you I struggle with my weight, worry about my children, love and support my husband and try to get my visiting teaching done before the last week of the month. I don’t always get two prayers in a day, but I try really hard to at least open my scriptures before I start cleaning up the breakfast dishes. And, I have a son who is homosexual.

For years before Sean officially came out, there were lots of signs that should have alerted his father and I to the fact that something was up, but we didn’t want to see them or even think of it as a possibility. And when at last we were confronted with the undeniable truth, my world fell apart, crashing around me like a thousand piece jigsaw puzzle that had suddenly been turned on its side.

I love my son with all my heart, and yet I did everything in my power to rescue him from this homosexual thing. I argued with him, bribed him, threatened, teased, mocked and harassed. I justified these behaviors because I felt I was trying to save his life and protect our eternal relationship as a forever family. In the process I nearly destroyed my relationship with him. Eventually I had to accept the fact that there was nothing I could do to change Sean or make it all better.

I carry this secret inside of my heart, and I mourn the loss of my dreams and desires for him. I try hard to understand the choices he is making in his life, and have learned great lessons in patience and hope. But mostly, I just love my son, and I hope that however this story plays out tomorrow and for the eternities, this will be enough.

There are a lot of mothers and fathers just like me - I am finding out - trying to faithfully raise their families in righteousness while struggling with a child who’s dealing with feelings that I don’t understand.  Parents who have children who are homosexual, can feel particularly isolated. There’s a perceived dark shadow associated that is difficult to see through, and a sense of secrecy that forces us to keep our child’s problems safe from the judgment and censure of those around us. 

“Sure Sean, you can bring one of your friends to the ward pool party, but please choose one who looks more… well, one who doesn’t wear a tight tank top… okay, and wear your boring shoes. Oh, my.”

My objective in writing this book is to share the things I’ve learned over this journey, and outline a few things I still don’t get. Perhaps I can save other parents some of the needless heartache I’ve suffered through, and maybe share comfort with those who are hurting.

And now, together

According to the information we have been privy to, and based on our own personal experience, there seems to be many more in the LDS Church who are dealing with homosexuality in some respect than had been previously realized.
 
In 2010, LDS Family Services estimated that there are four or five members in every ward of the Church dealing with what they called “…same-sex attraction problems”. Usually half of those individuals are married (most are temple marriages) and have children.  From experience, Julie and I feel that these are conservative estimates.  Individuals dealing with same gender attraction in the LDS church when interviewed tend to be less vocal than their counterparts outside of the church. And these numbers do not deal with those affected by someone SGAttracted, such as a friend or relative.

Calvin: This is a good time to make it plain that both Julie and I write under pseudonyms. Personally, I am happy to be both “out” and “in”; “out” as a Mormon man who is same gender attracted, and “in” the Mormon Church with all my heart. However, we both have families who aren’t all that comfortable putting their lives on display for public examination where they would be susceptible to the whims and whines of the world.  Our family’s safety, comfort, and well-being is worth more to us than any credit/blame or personal recognition positive or negative.
 
Our families come first.

We don’t know why some individuals have a propensity toward same gender attraction -- read; are gay.  We do know that like any other challenge, Heavenly Father is willing to support and help His children as they seek to overcome or work through anything in life considered an obstacle. We make a point of this because there are those who consider homosexuality an obstacle in some way and it is to them that we write.

Regardless of your current vantage, we hope that your outlook will widen and your understanding will be increased – that you will discover something you didn’t know before reading this book, and that something will be good. There may be no amazing or startling new concepts, quick fixes or cures contained in these pages. But we can promise a lot of ideas, ways to cope and an interesting relevant story or two.

You wouldn’t be wrong in feeling that we are all in this together. 

Next is the Preface