Okay, now that I've had a couple of days to cool off from the bad weekend, it's time to start addressing it with the family. I've thought about it a lot, and perhaps I was overly emotional in my initial reaction to the whole thing (that's what you get with gay guys). Or not. Either way, I've come to the realization that I just need to help them understand. Ignorance is not their fault, it's the byproduct of living in an all-Mormon community where nothing bad is supposed to happen.
Here's the letter I'll be sending them. I'll be adding in names and whatnot before I send it. I wanted this blog posting of it to remain as anonymous as possible.
Subj: Family issues
I need to have an honest and frank discussion with all of you. I don't know the next time we will all be together, so I'm going to do it through this letter. This past weekend was a very emotional one for me. In some ways it was the best weekend and in others it was the worst.
I was very happy to finally meet the newest memeber of the family. She is adorable. I was honored to be in the circle and listen to her dad blessing her on Fast Sunday. I'm also excited for the soon-to-arrive member of the family. I'm glad that mom finally has some grandkids to shower with her affection - and then send them home when they start crying.
I was glad to see grandpa, especially if it was for the last time. He really has gone downhill since I saw him at Christmas, and I fear that the next time I see him it may be at his funeral. I'm glad that I sat down with my video camera and interviewed him and grandma last summer. That video means a lot to me. I'll send you all a copy of it soon.
Those were the good parts of the weekend. The bad parts are a little more difficult to talk about.
I think the easiest way to do this is to just come out and say it, and then expound. The reason why I am still single, in spite of being the great catch that I am, is that I am physically attracted to other guys. The world uses the term gay, but I don't like that word. It connotes a certain type of lifestyle that I don't subscribe to. The church uses the terms Same-Gender Attraction and Same-Sex Attraction. I don't really like those terms either because it makes it sound like a curable bacterial infection. But, since I'm much more inclined to side with the church than the world, I'll use their acronym - SSA.
I've felt this way my entire life. There's no reason behind it. I was just born this way. I can remember back to when I was very young, watching "The Electric Company" on PBS and thinking that the boys were cute. I was never sexually abused by anyone. I never suffered some type of trauma that "turned" me this way. This is just how I was wired up when my DNA was formed.
You may be asking about all of the girlfriends I've had during my life, and the first thing I'll say is hold out one hand so you can count "all" of them. There aren't very many. For the most part, I've only dated because that was what I felt I had to do. All my life I was taught that I needed to grow up, marry a wife and raise a family. So that's what I've always been striving to do, and every once in a while I do find a girl that I am attracted to and give it a go. Unfortunately, it hasn't worked out very well.
Let me help you to try and understand these feelings of mine. All of you are, have been, or soon will be married to someone you love. Imagine that for your whole life you have been in love with members of the opposite sex, but for your entire life you have had to keep that a secret. You've kept it hidden deep because for you whole life you have been told repeatedly that you are supposed to like members of the same sex. They were the ones you should date, marry, and have sex with. That is repulsive to you, but you want to be obedient, so you date and interact with them, and do all the other things with them that you are told to. But deep down inside you know you still like members of the opposite sex.
When I turn it around like that, does it help you to kind of grasp in a small way what it is I've been going through? I hope so. That's how I finally got my bishop to get an understanding of the inner turmoil I go through on a daily basis.
You must be curious about if I've ever participated in the lifestyle of the gay community, and the answer is no. I still have a very strong testimony of the gospel. I have had some amazing spiritual experiences that only a few people know about which have helped me stay on the straight and narrow during times of temptation. But, I do have to say that as of late, my well of faith has felt like it's drying up. My desires for sharing my life and loving someone have not diminished with age. In fact, the yearning grows stronger with every passing year. And it gets increasingly more difficult to not go down paths that I shouldn't walk down. I study my scriptures, I pray, I go to church, I fulfill my calling. I do it all. But the most basic of human needs - that of love and intimacy - is never met. And when I say intimacy, I'm not talking about sexual intimacy. I'm talking about the intimacy of sharing your life, your hopes, your ambitions, your dreams with someone else and them sharing theirself with you.
I want to stay active in the church. I know it's true. I know that I could never get spiritual satisfaction or feel at peace with myself in any other way. But I can't do this alone any more. I am weary. I need your support to keep on going.
At this point, I also need to reprimand all of you for your insensitivity towards those we know who have chosen a gay lifestyle. There is no possible way for you to understand the turmoil that a faithful LDS member with SSA goes through. Any other ailment in life has an associated prescription that a physician can give you, or a psychiatrist can counsel with you to help you overcome. There is no such thing for SSA. Our cousin and our neighbor who have both chosen a path that you would not select for yourself should not be judged harshly for those decisions. They are still children of God. He still loves them. His atonement can still save them. They deserve our love and hand of fellowship. You don't have to support gay marriage, you don't have to support their not following the law of chastity, but you do have to support them as human beings. You all also need to quit with the gay jokes. It gets irritating after a while.
I still hold the hope that some day I will be married and have a family. My patriarchal blessing talks about it, and I hope that it is talking about this life and not the next. I would like to have my children grow up with the others in the family. But, if it doesn't happen in this life, I will strive to remain faithful so that in the next, the Lord will grant unto me all of those blessings.
I know this is a really big pill to swallow. I hope that in time you can come to understand the struggles I go through. I know that it may be a bit of a disappointment to you, but I think that you'll get over that when you realize that I am exactly the same person that you have known for the last 34 years. Remember that you agreed to being part of this family while in the pre-existance, and we all probably knew that this was going to be my lot in life. You supported me then, and I ask for that same support now.
Here are a couple of references for you to browse for more information on SSA. There are lots of questions, although most answers you just have to figure out on your own. First, I would go to the website www.ldsresources.info (not .com, the .com site is just an online book store). I would also go ahead and pick up the book "In Quiet Desperation". I checked and you can find it in the self-help section of Deseret Book.
I could go on and on about this subject, but I will stop here. Please don't call me right away to talk about this - in fact, I probably won't answer the phone if you show up on my caller I.D. Take these next few days to study, ponder and pray about it and let it all sink in. Writing and sending this letter is one of the most difficult things I've ever had to do, and I also need a few days to let it sink in. I'll make my usual call home on Sunday night, and we can talk about it then.
I love you all,