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Saturday, August 22, 2015

Take Me To Church

Honestly I have been a lot happier after coming out, but then for other reasons I have been more confused and paranoid than I have ever felt in my life. I have reverted back to old habits, I have still had the same depressing thoughts, I have felt like people around me are just saying things that they want me to hear. Why have I had it so easy when others in the LDS community have it so hard after coming out? I have almost had an identity crisis because I don't know what to believe anymore. When people tell me to look forward to the future and get excited, I think "excited for what?" people who want me to say my husband is just my friend when I am around their kids? Or always feeling like I am seen as some gone astray Mormon, because how can you be fully active while "living the gay lifestyle?" Let me ask you though... Most of you who are reading this are probably straight. Some may be gay but do you look at your life as a "lifestyle" you chose? Were you born and at a certain age you decided "I'm going to live the straight lifestyle" No. That is not how the thought process works and it's the same as gay individuals. We don't just one day decide what "lifestyle" we are going to live. We just live. I guess I have just been confused and frustrated because I hear of people in the Mormon church and any Christian church who have been disowned, or kicked out, mocked, ridiculed, and I wonder why the hell? If only people could be made gay for a day and put through all the crap that gay, trans, and LGBT people of all types have to go through. The world would be such a loving place. Everyone would know what it's actually like hiding on the inside for so long. People would finally know what it's like to be looked down upon in your own church, people would finally know what its like to be an outcast.


Up until now I have been all for the beliefs of the LDS faith and I have just told myself "It's the culture that looks down on you, not the church." Recently however, The Boy Scouts of America have come out and said that they have decided to allow homosexuals to be in leadership positions in Boy Scouts. Naturally, after that statement was made the LDS church has said that they are thinking of leaving the organization that they have been with for over a century. I am not sure how this will positively effect the church because I remember hearing from multiple people growing up that if you are surrounded by people with the same beliefs then you are in the wrong place. What that was supposed to mean is that you need to be diverse and be around others with different beliefs so you can have more missionary experiences. I don't see how that works here though. Also, let me add that I am not even technically able to hold a calling or really do anything but go to church, so I have no Idea why they have even seen the need to bring this up because not homosexual individual would even be able to hold a calling in scouts anyways. It seems slightly pointless for them to even say this. The BSA is just simply saying they are allowing people to be in leadership positions because ones sexuality does not mean they are a child molester. Women are able to be in scouts and over the years there have been issues with women school teachers, amongst other jobs and callings right alongside men in the same positions who have all made poor decisions with minors. It's not your sexuality that depicts that you are a danger to youth. It is the character of an individual. Because of this topic I have had to tell myself that God is always understanding. He knows who I am. He knows who everyone is. It is man that is ignorant and not understanding of others. Mankind fears what they don't know, and some simply chose to never make an effort to understand. I seriously have no idea what the future has in store for me, I don't know what my life looks like in the church at the moment. I'm not saying I'm leaving it either. I just simply don't know what to think. I do know that I just need to focus on myself (easier said than done) and I need to focus on God. He is simply the only one who will ever know what I am truly going through. I love you all, and I know many of you may disagree with what I have said but that's ok. You aren't in my shoes to know how I am feeling about all of this. Just know that it's overly confusing and at times exhausting. I'm figuring it out though. Slowly but surely.


Until next time,


Zac :)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Confessions of a School Boy Misfit

I honestly don't know what all I am going to talk about in this post. I just felt like there was more for me to say, and open up about. So with this post I decided to come up with a title and I am just going to type and see what comes out.

I was born gay. When I say that what do you think about? Do you see a child sitting around thinking about sex? For some reason that is the main thing people think about when they hear that someone is gay. Why is that? Or if someone is transgender the first thing people think about is what their "down there" looks like when it's really no bodies business. I grew up in an amazing LDS family. I have three wonderful sisters who for the most part we have all gotten along pretty well. We would always play house, play with barbies, do eachothers hair, I may have even tried on a dress or two. I think the first time I had anything remotely close to a crush on a boy was in kindergarten. We kids would always chase each other, usually the boys would chase the girls. I however found it enjoyable to chase the boys. Once they were cornered in the bathroom they received a kiss on the cheek. I only remember that happening once or twice, and for some reason I was never told on. If I was to be told on I see the end result being a bad one. Now don't get me wrong, I had crushes on girls too. At that age you don't think about sex, you don't even really think about the body at all in that way, you just simply think someone is cute. I knew though that being in an LDS family and growing up in a Christian church you are told that marriage is only between a man and a woman so why on earth would I tell anyone that I had crushes on boys and girls? Instead I would just tell people about my girl crushes.

Skip ahead to a new year and a new school. I was now in the first grade at another elementary school. I remember this boy, I forget his name though. I always felt threatened by him and it was almost like he had some sort of a hold on me. He kissed me on the lips in the middle of the grass field once or twice. I don't remember liking it. I remember feeling kind of scared actually. Knowing what the church teaches I knew I better not tell anyone what happened. So I just kept it to myself. I was so relieved the day that he left our school never to come back. After that I never really had any issues except for the occasional mockery, name calling, and loneliness. I never had a close guy friend in elementary school, Jr. high, and high school. I always felt extremely awkward around any guys. So I only made friends with girls. My girls had my back and it felt nice. I felt like I belonged somewhere, except I wasn't where guys are supposed to be. Boys were supposed to be out on the field playing ball, or shooting hoops, maybe even playing tether ball or something. Instead I was with the ladies on the playground talking about whatever we wanted. Sometimes we would swing on the swings, or create a new club. We also would always make great friends with the playground assistants. I remember dreading recess at some moments. If the girls were gone, I literally had no one. So I walked around. I would try to kill time and I could not wait for the whistle to blow. I was so excited to start Jr. high because there would be no recess! I didn't have to worry about being alone, or being sad... I was sure wrong though.

When I started Jr. High I had a few close friends from elementary school who I would sit with. That only lasts for so long though before everyone begins to find where they fit in. Except for me. I didn't fit in at all. I had a few "friends" I  would find while I was walking around. Usually people I shared classes with. Then I would feel the awkwardness and I would leave. You should have seen me in P.E Oh my goodness was that awkward or what. Have me in a locker room full of guys while I'm trying my hardest to seem "straight". I definitely seemed as straight as a circle. Just looking at me was a dead give away. Guys were constantly asking if I was gay, I got that literally every day at school, in the locker room, even in public places. This was about the time that the rumors began that I discussed in my earlier posts. I'll skip that though so we don't have to go through the depressing details again.

Both of my years in Jr high kind of blend together, nothing really changed from one year or the other. I do remember however, every girl I thought was pretty (even in highschool) I would immediately say I had a crush on them. I wanted so bad to be in a relationship so I could give off a straight persona. I never had a girlfriend though, not until highschool.

I think the best year of high school was my freshman year. Everyone is awkward and you are all getting used to the new school. I loved freshman year. We were all on an equal playing field almost. I even joined the student senate which is a part of student council. I helped plan dances and put up the decorations, we also planned the homecoming floats. I had alot of fun that year. From sophomore year on it was pretty much the same story as Jr high. I did have more friends though, and I established a few amazingly close, life long friendships with a few girls in my high school years. I was able to blow off some rumors because I was so used to hearing it but I think it was Jr and senior year I was done hearing it and that's when I began cutting my wrists to relieve the pain I was feeling on the inside. It really helped me being in EVIT though, for those of you who don't know. EVIT is a trade school for high school kids to go to for free and get training in various professions. I chose baking. I met so many amazing, open minded, loving individuals who welcomed me with open arms. I never came out to them but I am positive that they knew, but they didn't care! I was almost in culture shock because I was so used to how I felt at my high school. I feel like I should explain though, I was in seminary and I had church activities and lots of amazing friends, but I was still so dead set on having a close guy friend. Just a friend, that's all I wanted. I had all the girlfriends you could ask for but I desperately just wanted a guy or two who liked the things that I liked and we could be platonic friends. I rember there being a few nights were both my parents held me while I cried. I felt like I was broken. Something had to be wrong with me right? I never told anybody that I found guys attractive until after I graduated highschool. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I came out. Would my adolescent years have been easier? Nobody will ever know, and frankly it doesnt matter. What happened happened. Sure, people said and did things to me that had a negative impact for a time, but I also made it worse by speculating what everyone thought of me.

I want people to know that it is not because of the LDS religion, or because of the Christian belief that marriage is only between a man and a woman that sent me into depression, and a downward spiral of suicidal thoughts. It may have added confusion, and some frustration for me internally, but the main thing that I was effected by was how my peers treated me. Nobody should have to get to the point were they are used to being talked down to. I think the main thing I was confused about growing up was the future. To be honest the thought of being intimate with a woman freaked me out. Yet, I was telling people I was going to marry a woman. It was only inevitable for me to officially come out as gay though because I would not be able to put a woman through a marriage to a gay man if I wasn't attracted to her in that way. I feel like that would cause doubt and self esteem problems for both of us, not to mention the mockery she may recieve, or our kids may recieve. I decided that it was best for me not to marry a woman and to save an individual from heartache and heartbreak.

I dont know why I shared all of that, but it definitely felt good to just release it. I hope that people can relate to a point, and know that you are never the only one in the school or your surroundings who is going through something difficult. Would I go back in time and change what was said about me? Change what people did to me? Change the rumors I heard for multiple years? Change how people saw me? No. My past is filled with hurt, and pain. It is also filled with strength that I gained, strong friendships that I built with amazing people, and now the confidence to be who I am today. I hated who I was years ago, but I'm telling you that with time and patience you will grow and become stronger. You will hit a few bumps in the road, but thats all they are. You go over them and you are back on the smooth road again. I love my life so much. Yes I still struggle with depression, yes I have anxiety, but its controllable. I am able to talk myself down when I get in a bad place mentally, I am able to open up to people. Heck I even blog to all of you! I would have never thought of opening up so publicly on the internet but I think that is what has helped me out the most. I may have had a hard past, but I know there are many many more people who have had it alot worse. I would not change  what happened to me at all. If I did that then I wouldn't be who I am today and I like who I am today. I am a stronger person because of my trials. Thank you for letting me open up to you, I hope my words have been helpful to someone.

Until next time,

Zac

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

From Hate to Hope

Over the last week or so, I have really had to get my thoughts and feelings in line in order to discuss them. On June 30, 2015 the first presidency of the LDS church released a letter in response to the June 26, 2015 Supreme Court ruling legalizing same sex marriage. If you are interested in reading the full letter here is the link (LDS Newsroom). Originally when I read the letter, I got sick. The letter bothered me. I was upset with how it was worded, how I felt it made us gays look to the other members of the church. I was also concerned for how fully active members would treat us LGBTQ members of the church. I know for the most part I can feel comfortable in my family ward. I have many friends married and unmarried, my age, and some older. I am not necessarily concerned for myself or how I may be directly treated because all the essential people in my life have welcomed me with open arms. I do feel pain for the other people who don't have my situation. Either their parents disowned them, they are homeless, their ward family has shunned them, sometimes their bishop may even shun them. I know there are people out there and I let those feelings get to my heart. I don't see how people can be that hateful and I ache on the inside because I know I can't help them see the light. This post may seem negative in the beginning but bare with me. My attitude changes.

So back on the topic of the letter. I felt like the tone of the letter was simply just regurgitating the teaching that marriage is only sanctioned by God if it is between a man and a woman. This was to be expected. I didn't have any hope or feeling that the church doctrine would change. I just hoped that the letter would have made it more clear that there ARE members everywhere who are either SSA and staying active in the church, or members who live authentically and live with the one who they love. Some people may not understand the frustration I and many others felt when this letter was first released, and thats ok. Be glad that you dont have to worry about this stuff. At the same time though it would be nice if LGBTQ individuals could be taken out of the "sinful" category. It is not the same as alcoholism, it is not an abortion, Homosexuality is not about sex, it is not a sin that you openly commit. It is more than that. These are hormones, emotions, actual feelings, and legitimate attraction to the same sex. None of the sins they categorize homosexuality with have any of those. You choose to have sex, you choose to have an abortion (in some cases it is necessary), you choose to become alcoholic (unless its genetics). How can you compare how you feel about people to how someone sees alcohol? Alcoholism is an addiction. Not an attraction.

I know my thoughts may seem clustered and slightly jumbled but I have alot going through my mind. Let me take a few steps back to 2 years ago. Back when I was contemplating serving a mission. I had committed a few sins that I needed to clear up with my bishop. I was in the singles ward then and he was the new bishop in that ward. I was scared because I didn't know how he would respond to the fact that I was attracted to men. Our past bishop was slightly open minded and easy to talk to. He also was willing to learn more about the topic because he knew there was a large number of individuals in the church who needed help, love, and compassion. The conversation became more of an interrogation. My feelings and attractions were seen more as a problem and he thought that in the future I would grow out of the "gay". Around this time is when I moved. I met with my new bishop and things were great! He said he had a personal connection to the topic of SSA. I felt like I could open up. Eventually there was a point where I was depressed. This was about the time that I came close to taking my life. I was in a situation where something happened to me and it was out of my control. This made things even more difficult emotionally for me. I could not stop thinking about the razor blade. I went back to being a zombie while driving. I wanted to die. I felt like garbage. I was worthless in my eyes. I wanted to meet with him hoping to get this off my chest and to seek help and guidance. I bawled my eyes out to him, I told him everything and I felt anything but Christlike love in that moment. He immediately jumped to the conclusion that I would need to go through disciplinary council for something that I didn't do, or choose to do. My thoughts, emotions, feelings, and attractions were pushed aside and I felt worse than I did when I went in to meet with him. It was about this time that I decided I am not going in to a bishops office to talk about things that are so personal and things that were life and death for me. I was and still am at a point where I feel like I can't open up to certain individuals who don't agree with me because the whole time I'm opening up I feel as though they just see me as a sinner, someone who can still come around. They begin talking about the churches stance on things when I already know the stance. I don't need people telling me how they feel I should live my life. Each individual is different when going through this. I believe that some individuals may be able to find happiness as a gay or a lesbian living in a straight relationship. That's not me though. I know who im attracted to and what I want in terms of a happy relationship.

I have began seeing the letter more as a positive thing. I think it will be a gateway for the topic of LGBTQ individuals to be discussed more. I also pray and hope that there will be more done in the church to help the LGBTQ members to feel welcome. I know we may never be able to go through the temple, or have any of those blessings but there are other ways to help people feel welcome. We should start talking more about this issue and make it less of a taboo topic. Talking about it more does not mean that you have to change the way you believe. It's simply a way to get people to be more open minded about authentic lives that are lived all around them. Kids are growing up in a time that is so different from the past. You can only shelter them for so long now before they are "exposed" to different ways of living. There are more and more children coming out as gay, bi, and transgender. If the kids are in school or have friends who are LGBTQ they will be exposed whether the parents like it or not. I think with the church releasing this letter it is opening up many doors for people in the LGBTQ community. A few years ago we never talked about gay, or even SSA. We pushed it aside and did not acknowledge the fact that people in the church are born with those feelings and tendencies. Now the church has released a letter that mentions the words "gay" and "SSA" multiple times. Church buildings all over the world this past Sunday and next Sunday will be discussing this to great lengths. That in and of itself is a huge milestone! From this point on it will not be a weird thing to hear people talk about anything having to do with LGBT people in a LDS church building. We need to get past the point of being afraid to talk about something because it is "taboo". Homosexuality is real, people are born with those tendencies. We chose to be gay the day that you chose to be straight. Some may not understand, some may never understand. In order to understand something though you need to seek out. Some people may need to soften their hearts before they are loving and accepting. We gays need to be patient with those individuals. I have began seeing that this is as much a process for me as it is for everyone else around me. Sure, I wish people were more loving and understanding right off the bat but I think we would never grow if it was that easy. I love the gospel. Sure, some of you may roll your eyes at that statement but that's your own prerogative. If I have consequences, then I have consequences. We all are going to have consequences no matter what and we are given time in the eternities to grow, fix mistakes, and learn.

I know people may disagree with my stance on things and that's ok, because I disagree with them. This world would be so dry and boring if we all had the same opinion. There would be no point to our time on earth. Let's work harder on being more open minded and accepting on both sides of the spectrum.

Until next time,

Zac

Sunday, June 21, 2015

How I Overcame Depression (For the Time Being)

For those of you who don't know what it is like to suffer from depression, let me explain it a little further so you can try to understand what its like. According to www.mayoclinic.org, "depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called major depression, major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and depression may make you feel as if life isn't worth living.
More than just a bout of the blues, depression isn't a weakness, nor is it something that you can simply "snap out" of. Depression may require long-term treatment." When you are truly depressed you literally feel worthless and no matter what people say, you will continue to feel that way until it either subsides, you find out what your triggers are, and or you get put on medication. I won't focus on the medication so much because I know there are people who disagree with it and this whole post would be focused on the benefits of medication. Moving away from that topic, I would like to just focus on how I personally, at least for the time being have overcome depression.

The things that trigger my depression always change. Depression is always there but I learn how to curb it when I figure out the triggers. While I was in High school it was due to the rumors and partial truths that had been spread about me, I was also constantly worried about how people saw me. When I moved out of my parents house and I started being on my on to a point, I began focusing on "hanging out" or just constantly being out of the house because I was afraid that if I stayed at home for too long with my thoughts that I would get more depressed or do something drastic. Because I thought this way, it slowly caused me to become even more depressed. Especially if plans fell through that I was looking forward to. Now I know a lot of people who may not know what depression is like may think that sounds childish. I would like to say though, if you base how you see yourself simply from how people treat you and if plans are cancelled or people bail over and over and you feel like they are doing that because they are annoyed or they don't like you. It will negatively effect you. I promise.

Without going into too much detail, I will just say that there were a couple of instances where I was way to focused on being in a relationship. You would think that if you were in a relationship with someone or if you even just liked each other, there would hopefully be close to a 50/50 effort. However, with the first person it felt more like a secret. He would only ask what I was doing late at night. We never went out during the day to do anything. He told me that he doesn't respond to anyone really through text or ever text anyone, Eventually it got to the point where we would go weeks without talking and we would only talk if I said anything. I was sick of the mind games so I decided to drop it and not put forth any effort and we stopped talking. I finally had my answer. What we had never meant anything. I was just being strung along. Looking back I know what was about to happen next was a very drastic choice. This was another time I seriously contemplated harming myself. I felt like I had put everything that I had into the relationship, I treated him the exact way that I wanted to be treated. The same way anybody in a relationship would want to be treated. I had been played, used, and emotionally abused. So I felt worthless. I couldn't think of anything else. I decided though that I am better than that. I deserve better. I deserve to be treated better. So I told myself to not get to down about it. This took time to come out of my funk but I did eventually get to the point where I kind of forgot about him. I had to, otherwise I was literally going to drive myself insane.

The second main instance that was the final straw for me happened not too long ago actually. I began talking to someone from my past again. I had stopped communication with him initially because that was before I came out and I had no idea how I was going to go about things yet. It seemed like things were going well, we were going to get to know each other again because it had been so long. He wasn't honest though... I think in a way it was pay back for me. He was mad with me still for how I had stopped talking to him in the past, but instead of talking about it he decided to string me along too. He would make the initiative with plans and then cancel right before they were supposed to happen. This caused me to again have negative thoughts and get down again. I let him know that he had done it three times in a row so it was obvious he was avoiding me. He then opened up a little bit and we met up again to hang out. We decided that we did want to be friends and he said that there were still feelings there but then he started ignoring me again and it just went back to how it was before.

My parents had warned me multiple times that I need to take a break from relationships and just focus on myself and this kind of forced me to do that. I decided to give it a shot. I stopped planning things with people so much, I started a second job, I came home after work, and I began focusing more on myself. I needed to get myself to a healthy stage in life and the people I was focusing on were not helping me get there. I stopped feeling the need to always be gone and my happiness increased immensely. I decided that my life has no room for toxic relationships. If people really wanted to be in my life then they would have made more of an effort. I am not trying to sound winy or complain about people. I simply just wanted to open up a little more about how I was internalizing things. There is definitely more stuff that has made me depressed in the past and there is likely to be other things in the future. For the time being however this is what has been a big contributor to my most recent outbreak.

I hope that we are all able to take a break from our day to day lives and ask ourselves who is the captain of our ship? Are we the captain or are we letting other people drive our ship based off of how we let them make us feel. In my case I was letting others drive my life in a different direction than what I wanted. So I decided to take charge and grab the wheel of my life. I hope all of you are able to do the same or at least recognize that there is always something you can do to improve your quality of life.

Until next time,

Zac :)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Called to Serve (Not Your Typical Missionary)

I have alot of things running through my mind so this post may jump around a bit. The list of things I want to discuss are the following: The topic of me continuing to occationally blog about anything gay and the issues that people have with that, Straight pride and how it's offensive, Caitlyn Jenner and the lack of Christlike individuals in our conservative bubble, and the last one is me seeing my life as a mission.

As time has gone on I have gone from saying that I have SSA, to stating that I am gay, then I had to clarify that by identifying as gay I was also saying I will get married and life my life accordingly (I didn't know that I had to really spell that one out for people). I have had many people tell me that I should not focus on the "gay aspect" of my life so much, and that it is just a small part of "Zachary Jones". While this is true, they don't truly understand what it means to come out. Before I came out I was living as "normal" a life as I could in the eyes of individuals in the Mormon church, so I didn't raise any eyebrows or cause people to worry or have pitty on me. Since I was so shut in I was not able to voice my views or fight for equality like I am now. I posted a photo earlier today that states "Gay pride was not born of a need to celebrate being gay, but our right to exist without persecution. So instead of wondering why there isn't a Straight Pride movement, be thankful you don't need one." With this being said, I will post and blog about this however much I want to because for right now it is a big part of me. I started this blog for me to have a release. For me to be able to voice what I am feeling and for others to read and feel what I am going through. It is up to you if you want to read it.

Lately on Facebook there has been alot of posts and photos about "straight pride". I have no idea who the hell started this but they have no idea what that looks like to others when they post that. To me having straight pride is a pretty dang close equivilant to a meninist vs. a Feminist, a white supremacist vs. any ethnic group, or people who protest in general against any religeous group or other. They dont understand that Gay Pride is not about being loud and proud neccisarily. It's about fighting for rights, and the dream that we all have to be equal and feel comfortable in this cruel world. You guys who are straight have nothing that you need to fight for in this aspect. You are free to live however you want, you arent even looked down upon for living together before marriage. Whereas 50 years ago you would have had to live together in secret or just plan on getting married. Us gays have never had that freedom and we are just now scraping the surface of getting to the heart of the matter. Now, I do understand that there are religious view points that get in the way of all of this, but if we are going to argue that, I have one question. What would Jesus do? Even if you are going to sit there and say that He is condemning us or He sees gays as an "obomination". He also said to love everyone and to love thy neighbor as thyself. I personally know that I was born this way and wheather or not im supposed to live "this way" well... That's your own opinion but I know that God does not make mistakes and he for sure does not make "obominations". I think I started to stray a little bit from the topinc of this section but I think I got my point across. Basically the next time you see a "Straight Pride" post, know that there is a hidden negative message.

Now we have all by now heard about Bruce Jenner coming out as Transgender. He recently went through part of the surgery to transition to Caitlyn Jenner. I know that this is a hard topic for those who dont understand. They say that she is a "sinner" or she is giving up on her trial. Who are you to say what she is or what she's feeling? I know the media is definitely messed up and they did shed a lot of light on the topic of Caitlyn Jenner instead of talking about the war, or topics involving police officers. There is not one way to be a hero though. Are veterans, and people in the armed forces heros to us? You bet your ass they are. They do so much for us and sadly they get so little in return compared to what they deserve. As far as police officers go, I know that there are definitely good ones out there and the media focuses way too much on the negative stories, therefore giving police officers a bad name. But for people to sit there and actually say that Caitlyn Jenner is no hero is a shame. It is so sad to see how closed minded and hard hearted people are in a supposed "Christian Society" Where is the Christianity? It sure is not shown when people live lives that are opposite to peoples beliefs but I know that is not what Christ would do. He would welcome ANYONE with open arms and be there for them. He would listen to their feelings and what is on their mind. He would love them as he loves Himself. Why is that so hard for so many of us? I think what it comes down to is people simply not understanding and they don't want to. So instead they put up a wall and have this forcefield that shoots anything down because they are afraid of what they don't know. So instead of being Christlike, they become the comlete opposite and they give a bad name for Christians everywhere.

Many of you know I have had my depression issues, I have had my suicidal issues, I have caused harm to myself, I have abused substances on multiple occations, I have even prayed for everything to go away and for me to just be numb years ago. I know that these situations have made me a stronger person and they have forced me to recieve help and to counsil with loved ones. I have been able to be completely open and honest with my parents and many other trusted family and friends. Something that I realized though is that even if I ended up wanting to serve a mission in the future, I know I couldn't just based on the fact that I am so open and I have put myself out there in the publics eyes 100%. I have however decided to see my life as a mission. My mission is to bring others unto Christ and I feel that deals with Christians mostly (which is sad). I want everyone to know that life is precious. Me and many others like me would not have just chosen these attractions. I did not "choose" to be gay. If I chose to be gay then that is just as ludacris as saying someone "chose" to be straight. That's just not how it is. I was born this way, you were born the way you are, and others were born the way that they are. We are all different, we are put here to learn compassion, learn how to show love, learn how to be Christlike. Let's start practicing what we preach. Instead of being hypocrites, lets actually start showing more of a love and a compassion whether you are Christian or not. This is just the human thing to do. After all, it's the way you would want to be treated.

Until next time,

Zac


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Charity is My Medicine of Choice

Last night was a major turning point for me. While in Tempe with my friend, we were on our way to Jack in The Box when two homeless men pleaded for us to buy them food. They even had some money but had been told by management that they were not aloud in the restaurant. We decided to pay for their meals and to hand the change back to them. 

While the food was being prepared, I decided to go back outside and sit on the park bench with my two new friends. We just started talking about some random stuff and laughing. One of the men then asked me if he could talk to me away from his friend. We stepped away for a little bit so we could talk. He began telling me all about his life, he told me how he is scared every night being in that part of town and how nobody cares about him. He gets beat up constantly. Fellow homeless people who he has bought food for have even beat him up in the past. He asked me what he should do and how can he get out of there. On top of all this, he is religious. He believes in God and he knows there is a higher power. One issue is, he has felt rejected from churches and various church leaders from multiple faiths. He prays every single day that God will take his life away. At this point I'm bawling and I'm just holding him on the park bench crying with him. I looked him in the eye and I said "God is not those churches. God is God and He loves you. We have all been given our challenges and you have definitely been given an extremely difficult one but I know you can do this." I then continued to tell him that I just barely met him but I know that he is awesome and I love him.

He looked at me and said "you are so kind, you have to be Christian. What religion are you?" I told him that I am Christian and I am also LDS. I don't know why I expected or thought I would get a negative response from him. I however got the complete opposite. He told me that he knew some LDS people growing up and he really enjoyed their company.

As our conversation went on we started talking about his past jobs and whether or not he would be interested in looking for another job. He got emotional again and pointed to what he was wearing. (T-shirt, and cargo shorts) He said that those were the only clothes that he had and that nobody is going to hire him looking like that. It was at this time that I realized why I hadn't taken my bags of clothes to Goodwill yet. I still had two huge garbage bags full of clothes that he would fit into. I told him that I would go get my car and bring it around and we could go through the bags and pick out clothes for him so he could get some interviews. My friend stayed with him while I got my car. 

When I came back to the park bench and we started going through my clothes, he was so pleased to be given a knit sweater and a hoodie because he had nothing to cover himself up with at night. I also gave him a nice pair of Levis and a button up shirt. when he finished looking through the bags he was emotional again. He told both of us that we were an answer to his prayers. He need to know that there were people who cared about him and here you have two complete strangers who are literally holding him while he sobs. I told him that I care about him and I love him. I made me so happy to be able to help him out that night. 

When we were getting ready to leave he grabbed us and asked if we could pray with him. Of course we agreed to that! So we stood there in a huddle right on Mill Ave. And I said a prayer for him. I asked God to keep him safe and help him get through the night and I asked for our new friend to know how much he means to us and for him to know that he is loved. I also asked God to help him remember to look into going to the Salvation Army. 

I am so incredibly grateful for the opportunity I had to show somebody Christlike love when they felt like they did not deserve it. He felt like he was not worthy of Gods love and I hope I got the point across to him that we are all worthy of love, especially the love of Christ. We all have our challenges and our issues that we go through but those are what shape us into who we are supposed to be. It may take longer for some but thats ok. Please, lets all try harder to be less judgmental, be more loving, don't criticize, don't throw stones when you yourself are bleeding. We are here to love and to help our fellow man. I look forward to future opportunities I may have to serve like this. I walked away feeling so good on the inside! I know you all can too. 

Until next time,

Zac

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

This is Real, This is Me. I'm Exactly Who I'm Supposed to be.

So here's the thing. In the beginning of my journey of coming out I stated that I had SSA and I really believed that I could either live my life remaining celibate and alone, or I could lie to myself and live in a heterosexual relationship and have a family. I know that there are people who find ways for either of those options to work for them. For me however, that is not the case. Most of you who are in the church you will remain set in your ways and not see this from mine or my families point of view because you either don't want to understand, or you see me as someone who has "given up on the fight" and you are disappointed. I have decided to just not care what people think. This journey has really helped me see the difference between those who love unconditionally vs. those who love with conditions. One thing in life that I strongly believe in is that we all need to find what makes us happy. I don't know about you but my long term idea of happiness is being able to settle down with the love of my life and start a family. I just happen to be attracted to guys.

I have noticed an ignorance/double standard with various people in the church. When the topic of gay marriage comes up a lot of members will actually support or agree with the idea of people being able to be happily married. I have talked to individuals who say that they don't agree with their religion dictating how other people who don't share the same beliefs live their lives. I was surprised when I finally came out as gay that some people had actually shifted their views on that topic because now they were "directly affected" by the issue. I know that the road ahead of me will be rocky in terms of processing peoples reaction to this. I know there is a chance that certain family members may turn away from me, may not allow me around their kids possibly (so I don't "confuse" them), and they will probably always call who ever I'm dating my "friend". Who cares though? I hope that that doesnt happen and that my family will be accepting. I am just incredibly happy that I have found those individuals who I can go to for advice, love, and support. I am happy to say that some of the main people I can go to are my parents and my grandparents. They have seriously helped me out so much the last couple of weeks.

This whole journey the last few months and weeks has brought me so much closer to my parents and my grandparents, it's insane! I am so blessed to have people in my family who are so willing to see things from my perspective. They want to be understanding and they want to help. I really do believe that people in my position are born gay, bi, lesbian, or with gender dysphoria to test those around them. We are here to test peoples love and to help expand their views on how they view people. Those of us in the LGBT community are weird to people around us and they don't know what its like to live in a world that can be very un-accepting, and judgmental. So they start regurgitating what they have been taught over and over to believe. They have no idea how to help so they tell you to pray and to read your scriptures. I do believe in the scriptures and I also believe in prayer, but that's just an easy answer for some people to say because they don't know what else to say.

I know a lot of you are probably thinking that I am letting this all define me. The truth is though... This is all new for me. I may be letting it define me at the moment but I do plan on getting to the point where its not a topic of conversation all the time. I plan on dating. I plan on being married, and I do see myself adopting kids. Whether or not this all happens? I have no idea! But I'm excited to watch it all unfold. I know I will lose people in my life due to this and their lack of understanding, but that's fine with me. It's not worth it for me to focus on that negativity. I'm happy to have those in my life who love me without conditions. They have saved my life for more than one reason. I'm not sure what my blog will be like now, but I would like to get away from the gay topic eventually because I don't think it's necessary for me to keep focusing on it. I feel like I have gotten enough of my point of view across on here. It's up to you how you respond to it and how you are going to let it effect you. Just know that I am happy and I still plan on being as involved with the Mormon church as much as I can be.

Until next time,

Zac Jones (anxioussoul)

Monday, April 27, 2015

Confessions of a Gay Mormon

As many of you know I have been going through a lot lately. When I say a lot I really do mean A LOT. I won't get too into it with you because it will literally make you so depressed you will not want to finish reading. I'm ok now though!

I know when I originally started this blog I stated that I had or was living with SSA. I have since then changed my stance. No I didn't change it, I am just now getting to the point where I am comfortable saying "yes. I am gay". Now, I have no idea what this means for me. As for right now I can not see myself marrying a guy or doing anything like that, but I do know that I have been really depressed because I have not felt completely like myself. I have felt lost and alone. I know my "changed point of view" will upset some people, and to be honest that's perfectly fine. You have no idea how hard this is for me or how hard it is staying in the church while also being crazy attracted to guys. I can not even count all of the nights ive cried myself to sleep, or the nights I did sleep and I just did not ever want to wake up. I grew up hating myself. I hated myself not because of how I was raised, or because of anyone specifically, but I hated myself because I liked guys and that's "an obomination".

I think when outsiders look into this situation or situations like mine, they just dispise gays, and any form of homosexual activity because they dont understand it, and they just don't want to. A lot of people see it as a choice. Why on earth would I choose this? That is the most outlandish thing I think anyone could say to a gay individual. There are actual emotions, feelings, and physical attractions that are all intertwined to this. I need an emotional connection, I want to be able to be effectionate with someone. I want to be comfortable in my own skin, and with my life.

I want everyone to know that I do plan on staying in the church. I just need to be open on here because that seems to help me be more comfortable. Sorry if this disappoints any of you, please don't send me messages trying to "save" me or "bring me back". I am here. This is me. I'm Zac and I am gay. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

This is My (Un)Suicide Letter

Dear friends and family,

This is NOT a suicide letter. This is however, a very open letter to everyone so you can all see how my life is not some amazing fairy tale.When I first started blogging on here, I felt like that was the way to be happy. Yay! everyone knows I'm attracted to boys. I thought that would somehow make life easier. It did too a point. I finally stopped caring about how people saw me. I no longer worried about what my style of the day was, or what fad I was going to follow. I just started dressing however the heck I wanted and I still do, because it feels so amazing to not care about other peoples opinions. One persons opinion that started being more prominent was mine, however. I started being my worst critic and saying the most negative things to myself and I started to believe it. On top of all of this, I stopped praying, I stopped reading scriptures, I stopped caring about the church and about the gospel therefore I began to slip away in all aspects.

I have had a good amount of suicidal thoughts throughout my life. Most of them were in high school when I seriously considered taking my own life. This last month began to be that bad. In the middle of March, I remember being so depressed beyond explanation. I was so angry at God because I was mad that I couldn't have any other challenge besides this, I was also angry because I had no idea what I was doing with my life (I still don't). I'll be honest, I have had relationships to a point, with men and women. Both in different aspects but still in a "relationship" setting. After those all ended I felt like I wouldn't be happy with men or with women. Am I attracted to men? yes... am I attracted to women? also yes.. Then why don't I see myself being able to settle down with either? What is the point of me being here? is there a point to life if I could very well end up just spending it all alone? These are the questions I was asking myself repeatedly. I remember not being able to move and I was just crying and I was a wreck. I walked into the bathroom, opened the medicine cabinet and pulled out my box of razor blades that go to my old fashioned razor. I opened the little paper envelope to the blade and contemplated if I really wanted to go through with this and how severe I wanted it to be. I was shaking and trembling. I looked up and saw myself in the mirror. That image all in itself stopped me in my tracks. I saw myself holding the blade and looking into my own eyes, I knew there was more to my life. There was more to life then for me to just kill myself or harm myself when I felt depressed. I put the blade away and I washed my face and went to bed.

After that happened I was still depressed on a pretty consistent basis. One night, I was with my friend and I began opening up and crying. I voiced how much I hated my life and how I almost cut myself again. This frightened my friend. Long story short, my parents found out and we were able to talk. I was able to tell them how this has become a little worse and I am done pretending.

I have no idea why I  felt like I couldn't talk to my parents about this. I guess I was just worried about making them sad and worried and I was afraid we wouldn't be able to just talk about it. I was completely wrong. A couple days later, my dad and I met up and were able to open up to each other. I told him that the reason I was always gone consistently at night and I was always with my friends was because I knew I could talk to them. I knew I could be completely open with them and I felt I couldn't open up 100% percent about my issues to my family. I told my dad that I would like to feel like I could just come to him and my mom and vent. I didn't want to have to worry about lectures or life lessons every time I wanted to come to them. Sometimes you just need to talk to someone and just have someone listen to your problems. He agreed with me and that evening has made me such a happier person.

There is so much more I could write about, but I feel like I have been open enough to the point that you all know whats going on in my life at the moment. I am working on getting to a happier place. I'm working on talking to my bishop, looking into a new therapy, and being more open with my parents. It is crazy how quickly your life can turn around. I stopped myself from doing something incredibly stupid. Imagine the outcome if I hadn't have stopped myself. I have no idea what the out come would have been for sure but I don't want to think about it. I know that I have people here that love me and care about me. ESPECIALLY my family. I am so incredibly blessed to have such amazing parents who have been so amazing from the beginning. I still don't know what the future holds for me but that's OK. I know I want a family. I want a wife and kids! Whether that happens or not... Who knows? I just have to have faith and keep pressing forward. I need to focus on one thing at a time and not let myself get overly stressed about the future.

I love you all and I hope you know I'm here for the long run! I am not going to give up. This is one fight that is definitely worth fighting for. Thank you so much for the continued love, support, and friendship. I love all of you and I cannot express that enough! Thank you for helping me feel so comfortable to open up about such personal stuff. Just know that it is in the past and it is not something to worry about. I know I have people to talk to and be honest with (my parents). I hope this was positive enough and not too depressing. I didn't want to keep being this super upbeat person on here. After a while it is obvious that something is being hidden so I figured it was about time I put it all out there.

Thank you again.

Sincerely,

Zac Jones

 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Moving on From the Past

The topic of forgiviness has been on my mind alot lately. This last Sunday was Fast and Testimony Meeting, and someone spoke on the power of forgivness. I thought I had forgiven all who had wronged me, and caused me pain in Jr. High and Highschool but I hadnt. I was still holding in emotions and anger towards alot of people. One in particular. I went on facebook yesterday to look up the message I had sent to the individual who had shouted across campus to me in Jr High. I was very dissapointed in what I had said to him. My words were a horrible representation of me as a person and also a bad represention of someone striving to become fully active in the church. I decided to send another message and this is what I said  

"Dear, ******
I know you probably won't see this message, as you haven't seen the other ones I sent in the past. You have been on my mind off and on since I have began blogging. I was wrong to message you a few years ago. I was mad and hurt and I didn't know how to approach it. I wanted to show you how much I was ruined or how much I thought I was ruined. The truth is though, I grew from that experience. Whatever torment I went through from people in Jr high and High school helped me become the person I am today, and I am pretty happy where I am. I guess what I am saying is that I forgive you, and I feel horrible for sending those messages in the past. That was very immature of me. I don't know if i'll ever see you around but if I ever do just know there are no hard feelings. If you are interested at all, or if you haven't seen it yet, here is the link to my blog. I thought it was a good way for me to work through the stuff that I have gone through throughout my life."

After messaging him on Facebook, he actually responded to my message. We had a really great conversation actually, and it resulted in me feeling horrible. I felt horrible for holding onto a grudge for so long. Horrible for letting something so small effect how I saw myself, how I thought other people saw me, and I was finally able to let go. It is so crazy how you can say something about someone or to someone and you might not think anything of it. You might not think it effected the other person but they never forget it because they took it so personally. That was pretty much what happened with me. I had held on to this hatred for a good 7 years and he went on living his life. Sure what was said was rude, and hurtful but why did I let it effect me so much? I think I realize why. I wanted someone to blame. Besides hating myself, I needed to blame someone for how miserable I was feeling. I knew there were rumors but I didn't know who started them so I blamed him for all of my misery and turmoil since he was the one who vocalized it to me. 

I hope we are all able to look at our lives and do some self evaluating. We are our own worst enemy at times and we let what others say about us get to our minds a little too easily. It has taken me forever to learn this and I know I don't fully comprehend it but I am getting there, slowly but surely. Emotionally, and mentally I have been through a lot. I do know however that my experiences have helped me grow so much. Sometimes it may seem like your world is falling apart, or you may just want to have one day at school where you can feel completely comfortable in your skin and not worry about if the whispers in the halls are about you or not. I spent so much time throughout my Jr High and High school years just coming home and crying in the bathroom or laying in my bed at night not wanting to wake up to the new day. At the same time though I know that I grew during those emotionally trying times. I am not saying that I am perfect in this category. I still struggle with how I see myself to a point. After posting my first blog entry on here I started being paranoid about how the guys and some girls around me saw me. I don't want to be seen as a project and I don't want people to think that I am making a mistake in choosing this lifestyle. I am simply choosing to live the way I know to be right. 

I love this gospel and I wouldn't change it for the world. If this gospel and the church didn't make me happy then I wouldn't be in it still. Granted, I have had my challenges and my fare share of mess ups and multiple second chances but I still come back to the gospel every time. I don't see what the point to life would be if we didn't have guidelines or "restrictions" as some would say. Without those, there would be no way to mess up and learn. There would be no point to life on earth if we didn't see sins as sinful. I know that some may disagree with me and that is totally ok. We are all given agency to believe what we believe and to have our own opinions. That's the beauty of life. We are all so different from each other. Life would be boring if we had the same opinions.

Wow, I kind of went on a tangent there. Anyways! Back to the topic of forgiveness. 

I have decided that the next time I am finding it hard to forgive someone who I feel has wronged me, I need to remember Christ. He was killed by his own people and he forgave. Why would any of us be an exception? If He was able to forgive his own people for killing him, I know we can all find it in us to forgive those who have wronged us in any way. This is not an easy task by any means but I know we can all try. By doing so, I know we will all become better individuals.

Until next time,
Zac