Tuesday, October 27, 2015

A crowded gay/married/Mormon boat

This is a part of a letter I recently received some time ago. I have changed facts and personals because it was sent to me in confidence. I am happy to answer questions at anytime, BTW. Please understand that I am not a health/mental health professional.  I am, however, an expert in being gay and being an active Mormon -- at the same time.

I came across your blog yesterday in hopes of finding some help/advice with "coming out."  I am 40ish, LDS, married with 4 children. I'm an active, believing member of the church. and I want to stay that way. I served a mission and have an extensive Mormon heritage. I have tried hard all my life to hide the fact that I'm attracted to males but have been unable to hide it any longer as I age -- those thoughts are stronger than ever. 

I have talked with my stake president a couple of times and his advice is to read the scriptures, pray, and always use the priesthood when Satan temps -- not the sort of advice I was looking for because I know to do that but I feel I need counseling or something else. 

I just don't know where to turn for help. I feel I'm headed in a direction that can destroy me and my family. I see that you have come out and also are married with kids.  How do you deal with this?  Do you have any advice?   

This has been the most difficult trial I've had to deal with.  Bitterness and animosity has also set in and its just about to kill me.

Reader -- I feel a little unqualified to advise you. However, I was in the same boat. 

Life is good. You are in a wonderful position. It's OK to not hide anymore.

I can't tell you why you are gay or what may have contributed to the orientation. I do know that it was not due to your difficult upbringing, and I can tell you this. You are gay. Ta-da!  It is not your imagination and it is not a phase. You will not cure this by going on a mission, getting married or involving yourself in a city league baseball team.

If you are trying to stay Mormon, and from everything in your e-mail it sounds like you are, then know that there are things you can do to keep the behaviors in check. Many recommend creating nonsexual relationships with men -- I am sure you have heard this before. However, the longing will remain as will the urges. As you get older, the sexual desire may ebb a bit but it will be augmented with a different sort of longing that is just as intense.

Some men deal with your situation by masturbating and keeping their feelings to themselves. This usually involves porn. Some people believe that porn used for this reason is OK. I do not. However, I am not as firm on an anti-masturbation stance.

You have told your wife, which I feel is the right thing. It sounds like you still have a temple recommend which means that you have not stepped out on her like many in your situation have. This is also a good thing. You are honoring the commitments you made. Do not feel that the commitments are shackles. There are those who have chosen to divorce and move on. I am coming from the stance -- as you know -- that we all have agency, and that agency works both ways. If you choose to stay, then there is support. If you choose to go, then there is support.

I started this blog years ago so that men in this boat could connect, or at least to know that they are not alone. The good news is that it has become obvious that there are a lot of us.

I am confident in this advise: The Lord is aware of you and your situation. He is not hesitant to speak about it. The Spirit of the Lord will guide you to do what's right.

What is right may not be what is easiest. By the same token, it may not be what you think is the hardest. The Spirit will guide you do do what is right for you and for your family. The Spirit will not lead you astray -- like puny earthlings might. The Spirit is not politically correct. It does not put stock in man's rules.

You will need to ask the Spirit honest questions. Frankly, I myself am too experienced to be asking that the Lord take this cup from me because I know why the Lord gave me this cup. Ask the Lord questions that lead you forward to action. Ask to be able to feel the promptings of the Spirit and the strength to act upon what you are told whatever that may be.

Things will be fair in God's time. God's time is not our time. (My time was 30 years ago) God's time includes the afterlife, and God's plans include concepts that we can not imagine.

God does not play by man's rules either. He plays by the real rules, and we do not know what those real rules are. The authors of "politically correct and cool" magazine do not know God's rules either, though they are full up to here with man's wisdom.

In short, you may not have a choice which boat you are currently in, but there is always a choice in where you go from here.

When looking at options, find a source of knowledge that has your values and core principals -- ones that work for you, that feel right to you. Keep your mind open to knowledge and wisdom.