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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Not Fitting the Mormon Mold

I am new to this whole blogging concept but I don't know any other way to get my thoughts across clearly. As many of you may know, I am currently and have been for a while now preparing to serve an LDS mission. whether that's a service mission or a full time mission it doesn't matter. It's a mission no matter what. It has been an interesting journey for sure. When I first began seriously considering serving a mission I had expressed past feelings of anxiety, depression,  and yes some minor self infliction as well as using substances to numb the pain. While these things at the time were somewhat under control I was directed to LDS family services, to go through some assessments to see if I was in the position to be away for a whole two years. After taking a series of tests. I met with the counselor and we discussed it may be best if I wait a little bit and perhaps move out of my parents house so I could work on managing my stress and anxiety levels.
I'm going to back up a little bit and explain more of my earlier issues I mentioned. Why on earth would I ever cause harm to myself or seriously contemplate taking my own life? Why had I gotten to the point were I didn't care if a car hit me while I was driving? Why was I to the point where I was breaking apart my razor to get to the blades? I grew up in an amazing family. I have three amazing sisters, we were raised in this amazing gospel that I know is true and yet I grew up with these unbelievably negative thoughts that began at the age of 12.

I was and am struggling with Same Sex Attraction (SSA). I knew I had different thoughts and tenancies since before I could remember. I was born with this struggle. It never hit home until Jr. High almost every person I met began our conversation with "Are you gay?"  now, it doesn't help that there were a few people spreading different things around campus about me. What twelve year old doesn't believe the school gossip? Why ask the person himself? Lets just spread the rumors and call it good.
The thing that irritated me the most was how little it seemed people cared about me. They weren't interested in me or what my hobbies were. All they wanted to know was if I was gay.
My first mental breakdown as well as suicidal thought was about midway through the 7th grade. I had recently learned I was the talk of the school. "Mormon boy has crush on a guy on the basket ball team". That couldn't have been farther than the truth, but that doesn't stop people from spreading what they want to spread. I walked out of the cafeteria, trying to find a place to sit when I hear my name being yelled in the distance. when I look up I see some of the guys on the basketball team. They were laughing about something. One of the teammates yelled my name again and said "Is it true?! We heard you have a crush on P*r***!" of course people heard and they put it together that he's talking to me. I tried to keep it together the rest of the day.

That was just the beginning of what was going to be a torturous 5 years of my life. I will spare you the depressing details but needless to say I began experimenting with self infliction and various substances to numb the pain my Junior and Senior year of high school. My thought was "people don't care about me so why should I care?" I had hit rock bottom.

Things got better after High school. People began reaching out to me. People who share the same struggle and also wanted to stay in the church. I also had learned that just because I had different thoughts or tendencies, I wasn't sinning if I didn't act on those thoughts. Has it been hard? You have no idea. You probably wont be able to even comprehend how hard this has been unless you have gone through it as well. It isn't the thoughts that have been difficult it has been seeing how ridiculous people are that has been difficult for me. It's sad but I am expecting people in my own church to treat me differently because church culture and church teachings are completely different from each other these days. Whatever the outcome is though I am not worried. I have told all of the people I talk to on a regular basis and I have received nothing but positive feedback. I know there will be those people who will treat me different but they are just blinded by their personal "opinions" and not by actual church teachings. Like I said before. Church culture and church teachings are sadly two completely different things.

This "coming out" process has for the most part been very amazing. Most of the family I have talked to has been very sympathetic and helpful. All of the friends I have shared this with have been amazing as well.
I want to make something clear though. While I may find men attractive, I am not coming out as gay. I do find girls attractive as well. You all may have your own opinions on that. Some of you may also have negative thoughts about my church. My church is not making me do anything, my family isn't forcing me to make my choice either. I just would much rather live my life in the religion that I believe then live a lifestyle that is contrary to the teachings of the LDS church. I also feel like if I was to label myself as "gay" or "Bisexual" then I would be insinuating that I am open to living that lifestyle. Which I am not. Keep in mind though, I have plenty of friends who are openly gay or lesbian and just because I am choosing this way of living does not mean I push them asideI like to look at people the way Jesus does. I have such a wide range of friends because of that. I may not agree with everything some of my friends do, but they know I am still there for them and I am more then willing to lend a listening ear.

Some people my say that people choose to be gay and it is impossible to be born with those attractions. If that were true then wouldn't it be safe to say that you can't be born with a stutter, obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety, depression, or an appetite for food that leads to obesity? I am simply seeing this as something that I need to live with and learn how to channel other ways. My goal is to serve a service mission or even a full time mission (still deciding) then eventually find a lovely daughter of God who knows full well what I am going through. I have been told that I would not be lying or hiding this from my future girlfriend if I wasn't open about it now and just waited to tell her about it when the moment is "right". Well for me the moment is right now. I wouldn't feel comfortable being in a relationship and hiding something so big while at the same time trying to give the relationship my all. That just would never work out, and that would be a form of lying. I would much rather be open about my struggles now and put assumptions of me aside and accept myself for everything that I am, and find a girl who can do the same.

I love this gospel and I know it is true. If I didn't, then I would be a completely different person then who I am today and I wouldn't be writing this blog. I know we are all given weaknesses so we can become stronger. We go through trials for a reason. For whatever reason this is my trial and weakness I have been given. I am over being ashamed of it though! This is not going to go away. I am finally to the point in my life were I am completely comfortable being in my own skin. I am comfortable dressing the way I want to dress. I am also finally comfortable with the things people have been saying about me for so long because I am finally okay to admit that they are actually kind of right! I would not be able to have come this far if it wasn't for the atonement and for this gospel. I am so thankful for all I have been given from Heavenly Father and for all the trials I have been given. They have made me a better person today then I was a few years ago. I love everyone so much who have been so helpful and supportive throughout this whole ordeal. It is so nice not being worried anymore and being able to be so open about things. I am so happy I have made this decision to come out about this because I know I would have just been more miserable in the future. Thank you all so much! I will keep this blog updated on my journey with SSA, and how I strive to be more spiritual every single day.

Until next time,
-Anxious Soul