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Growing Up Gay


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This thread isn't meant for debate. I chose to start it more as a reflection on the 28 years of my life.

I was born abroad because my dad was in the US ARMY. In some ways, I find the stereotype of an absent father and an over-bearing mother to have little if any impact on my upbringing. Because Dad was in the military, us kids didn't get to see him much. Our mother had to play both roles. On top of that we didn't have an active LDS home life. Mom worked quite a bit because when I was young Dad was serving in the Gulf War in the early 90s. In the mid 90s, Dad retired and we moved.

The details of my life are essentially of little importance excepting the facts that I have never really been close to either of my parents (we don't really know each other) and I'm not close with my siblings (we never cared to get to know each other).

Moving on.

I can remember as far back to about 5 or maybe 6 years old and that was the first time that I was able to recognize that something was different about me. Most people have scoffed or will scoff at this claim. But it is my life and I remember what I remember. Having the ability to recognize at such a young age that something was different made my life problematic. The greatest problem was that recognizing and understanding were not the same thing.

To have an issue that is incomprehensible at such a young age and not knowing how to identify, self identify, or relate or draw conclusion as a means to learn was troublesome. It affected my ability to develop, even to this day, lasting friendships and relationships with people who could have impacted my life positively for future progression.

As time passed and I grew closer to adolescence I began to recognize cultural norms. These were norms that were still prominent in my conservative and military centered home. I can remember the first time I heard my father use the f*gg*t. He used it in reference to something on the news that bothered him. I remember that it had something to do with homosexuals. I didn't know what a homosexual was at that time. One thing was sure...my father didn't like it and it was obviously something pretty bad. I concluded that I wanted nothing to do with a homosexual or homosexuality. If my dad thought it was wrong then I should think the same.

Typical of young teens coming of age, we begin to identify more closely with gender and what characteristics are tied to such an identification. We have 1) the imposed idea of what we are to be and how we are to act and 2) we have our own internal conflict and struggle on how to self identify and how that relates to the world we live in, both generally and personally.

I turned 14 years old. I was scared to death. By this time I was finally able to understand what a homosexual was. It is fascinating how adolescent education heightens senses and expands our ability to recognize, disassociate, and develop. I went to my mother and for the first time I opened up to her about what I feared. I was heartbroken by the response. I wasn't rejected...I was dismissed. Something that terrified me because of the negative attitudes expressed was the source of my fear. I feared my father's response because I remembered vividly his durogatory expression from when I was a child.

A year later I tried once again to talk to my mother about my problem. I wasn't dismissed. Something much worse happened...I was sent to a Christian therapist that believed in reparative therapy. I was able to accept the idea that I needed to have something repaired. It was what was said in the therapy sessions that did the most damage. Scripture was cited to propogate the attitude of negativity toward homosexuality and it was at such an impressionable age that I, naively and ignorantly, realized that I was hated. I was hated by a God that I had no real relationship with; a God I did not know. I was told that God knows all His creation inside and out.

How could I be hated by someone or something I did not know?

A new virus developed inside me. If the Creator of all that is good hated me for something so vile...then it was once again necessary for me to agree with my Father, although a different Father. I taught myself, and was possibly nurtured, to hate myself. How could I not? God destroyed entire cities because of what I struggled with.

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Respecting your express wishes not to debate, I read your story and find it moving. It would seem necessary to hear your parent's and counsellor's side of the story to form any kind of judgment, as I am sure you will understand. Anyway, I sense your pain and without arguing would point out that the cities that are depicted in Scripture that were destroyed were not destroyed because they were "struggling" with what you were struggling. They had given up on any struggle. It seems to me like that is an important distinction that could be a step towards relieving any lingering self-loathing. I could never admit or believe that the God who destroyed cities hates you.

It seems to me like yours was taken to an unhealthy extreme, but if one retains hope in God who loves us despite our unworthiness, an extreme and unhealthy degree of self-loathing, can be transformed into a healthy degree of humility. I am Catholic. Before we receive Holy Communion in the rite I frequent, the priest recites three times and we repeat the "Domine non sum dignus". "Lord, I am not worthy", as we touch our breasts in imitation of the man who knows he is a sinner before, God, yet hopeful of grace and forgiveness. Self-loathing as you describe is certainly incompatible with sweet trust in a loving God, but it does a reflect a truth that needs to be maintained in order to fully appreciate what God has done for us in enabling us to become partakers of His very nature.

Edited by 3DOP
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I decided that it was time to for me to go to church. I began attending the local LDS ward in my town. I did so on my own. My mother was willing to take me so long as I continued to go to my therapy appointments and keep my grades up. Still to that point in time, Dad didn't know what I was going to therapy for but was willing to pay for it so it would keep me out of trouble.

I met with my bishop a few times before I confessed to him my sin and the appropriate measures I was taking to eventually be a child worthy of a loving God. I was encouraged to continue the therapy and to meet with him (my bishop) once a week. I began to read the scriptures more earnestly and I began to embrace the LDS religion religiously. Eventually, I was baptized by one of the missionaries who taught me the discussions at the church. Mom and Dad didn't want them over to our house as they saw them as annoying and interfering. A few ward members and the Bishopric were there. My parents didn't come because unfortunately my dad's older brother was having surgery because of an accident that happened at work and so they were out of town. My older sister dropped me off at the church and told me to call when I was ready to be picked up.

As my place in the LDS church continued on I accepted my Aaronic Priesthood ordination. I did everything I was supposed to except I chose to withdraw from any activity, outside of Sunday meetings, that was for the young men.

I withdrew further at school. I played sports because my father felt that I needed them so that I wouldn't be so socially awkward. I don't recall really having friends that I hung out with regularly. This was mostly out of fear of being found out. If friends were to find out then it was possible that my father would find out and that was not an option.

I graduated in 2002. Nothing special. I did get a scholarship to a state university and attended my first year there. With the move came the change of wards. I had a new bishop and I was part of a singles ward. This was a nightmare for me. I was paranoid that everyone could see right through me. I did tell my new bishop about what I had been struggling with. I was met with indifference. I remember only one suggestion of serving a mission for the church. That was NEVER an option. I wasn't worthy to serve in a position that was meant for those whom God loved and I never felt I deserved the privilege or honor. It was never spoken of again.

Eventually I began to withdraw from the church all together. How could a creation so vile be part of something so holy? Remember, I was still subject to the therapy and the self-hatred.

My church activity then fluctuated. I was there when I felt the need to try to feel God's presence and then I wasn't there because I believed God didn't need me.

My second year in college I was approached by my RHD (Resident Hall Director). His name was Sean. He asked that I meet with him so that we could get to know each other as he tried to get to know his residents. I became comfortable with him rather quickly and I opened up to him easily. He never once said anything negative toward me and he didn't reject me as I suspected he would. He expressed frustration and anger toward the therapist (as he was working on a master's in sociology). He recommended a campus therapist so that I could begin undoing the damage that had been done.

I agreed but didn't think much of the new therapy. I was still holding strong to the attitude of the Church toward homosexuality. I was able to understand the 'love the sinner, hate the sin' attitude. But there was still the effects left over from Boyd K. Packer's To the One and Spencer W. Kimball's chapter in The Miracle of Forgiveness.

It was during this time that I began to deconstruct the damage that I found out that my older brother and sister had become active in the church. I was excited for them but it also added to the already existing pain.

I realized that I would never have them as a support network.

As the new therapy continued, the fear and pain from the past took the backseat to a new emotion. Anger. I began to be consumed by it because I didn't understand why I never was good enough for my parents. I didn't understand why God didn't love me when all I had ever wanted from Him was to know that He really did know me and that He understood what I was struggling with. I was angry because I don't believe my bishops ever really reached out to me in love (though I will say that I may have missed the outreach). This was in 2004.

The up and down relationship with the church continued until I made the official decision to remove my name from the records of the church.

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Do not misunderstand me. I had happy moments in my life. Most of them have happened only in the last 6-7 years. I cannot ever express the full gratitude that I have to my parents and to the ecclesiastical leaders of the church who worked with me directly. I believe they did the best that they could.

I know that I have done a piss-poor job of extending the love and kindness that seemed lacking in my early life. I am sincerely apologetic for the negative and hostile responses and antagonisms that I have inflicted. It was inappropriate.

I had lunch with my father a couple weeks back. (I came out to him when I was 21 and he didn't seem phased by it.) Like any child who wants the approval and love of his parents...I apologized for not being the son that I was raised to be. We talked for a couple of hours and of course I cried. It was the first time in almost 17 years that I can remember being hugged by my father. It was a step in the right direction for healing.

I know that I'm probably a narcissist for the three posts that are part of the story of my life. I wanted others to understand that it wasn't always about following the prophet and reading the scriptures that attributed to faith journey I'm on. It was never simple. It was hell for me. I don't blame the Church any more. I realized that it wasn't the best decision to tell my mom early on about what I was struggling with. Perhaps if I hadn't, I wouldn't have been through the internal hell. But then I don't think I would have ever been an active member of the Church. The Church and the Gospel were never the problem. It was the warped reality that was set by my adolescent therapist. The Church just happened to be on the receiving end of the backlash.

I don't know what I wanted others to get really get out of this, if anything at all. I think I just wanted to get it out so that I could look at it and be able to say that "That person isn't me anymore. I'm better than that. I know that God loves me and He sees me and accepts me flaws and all. I have a family that does care although it was difficult to show and be seen."

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Respecting your express wishes not to debate, I read your story and find it moving. It would seem necessary to hear your parent's and counsellor's side of the story to form any kind of judgment, as I am sure you will understand. Anyway, I sense your pain and without arguing would point out that the cities that are depicted in Scripture that were destroyed were not destroyed because they were "struggling" with what you were struggling. They had given up on any struggle. It seems to me like that is an important distinction that could be a step towards relieving any lingering self-loathing. I could never admit or believe that the God who destroyed cities hates you.

It seems to me like yours was taken to an unhealthy extreme, but if one retains hope in God who loves us despite our unworthiness, an extreme and unhealthy degree of self-loathing, can be transformed into a healthy degree of humility. I am Catholic. Before we receive Holy Communion in the rite I frequent, the priest recites three times and we repeat the "Domine non sum dignus". "Lord, I am not worthy", as we touch our breasts in imitation of the man who knows he is a sinner before, God, yet hopeful of grace and forgiveness. Self-loathing as you describe is certainly incompatible with sweet trust in a loving God, but it does a reflect a truth that needs to be maintained in order to fully appreciate what God has done for us in enabling us to become partakers of His very nature.

Thank you for your response. It was uplifting.

I do understand now that Sodom and Gomorrah weren't destroyed for the reasons that some of the older Christian traditions have held. The Prophet Ezekiel explained the purpose of their destructions.

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Valnetinus, you are not a narcissist, this post is a healthy thing, that it is =). It is very hard to hold something like this in, and to tell it seems to help.

Sometimes life gets overwhelming, and then there are lulls before the impending storms hit again, would you not agree?

Always know though, that even if we here argue about things, we are all here for you during those storms; we here at MD&D are here for you... okay =P.

Best Wishes,

TAO

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Always know though, that even if we here argue about things, we are all here for you during those storms; we here at MD&D are here for you... okay =P.

Absolutely, Tao!

Valentinus, I appreciate your willingness to open up and allow us to see the person behind the posts. Has your family come to terms with everything? Are your siblings accepting?

Praying that you find peace and come to know the full extent of your Father's love,

MnG

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My siblings and I talk more now than we ever have. My parents are wonderful and 2 of the the most compassionate and loving people I know. I look forward to the years ahead inwhich I can grow closer to my family. There is a rough road ahead in full healing but I'm excited for it.

Thanks MercynGrace and TAO for your encouraging words.

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Thanks for sharing your story, Valentinus. It looks like you really took a lot of time to think this through. I can empathize with some of your feelings and life experiences.

For what it’s worth, and I hope you don’t mind me sharing this, but the Church published a pamphlet in 2007 called 'God Loveth His Children.' http://lds.org/manua...TH+HIS+CHILDREN

The tone is noticeably much softer from what you read by Boyd K. Packer and Spencer W. Kimball.

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God loves all of his children, and ultimately, the Atonement will heal all wounds. What we must do is have faith in him and keep our covenants. That is something that applies to us all.

Consider King Benjamin's address to his people. I find not only direction in it, but great comfort as well.

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God loves all of his children, and ultimately, the Atonement will heal all wounds. What we must do is have faith in him and keep our covenants. That is something that applies to us all.

Consider King Benjamin's address to his people. I find not only direction in it, but great comfort as well.

I'm going to have to go back and read Mosiah. I remember find a great deal of comfort in it. Thanks for the reminder.

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Thanks for sharing your story, Valentinus. It looks like you really took a lot of time to think this through. I can empathize with some of your feelings and life experiences.

For what it’s worth, and I hope you don’t mind me sharing this, but the Church published a pamphlet in 2007 called 'God Loveth His Children.' http://lds.org/manua...TH+HIS+CHILDREN

The tone is noticeably much softer from what you read by Boyd K. Packer and Spencer W. Kimball.

It has been a while since I read the publication. I will re-read it from the link you provided and possibly comment on it later.

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God hates all "sin"..... not the sinner.

Many of us have "crosses" that MANY of us have had since we were very young. Just because you developed an interest in a particular sin younger than others do, doesn't mean it's not still a sin, and it doesn't mean many don't develop that sin when older, thus NOT "born that way" as you all like to say.

I have a cross that I could say I was born that way, but I know I wasn't. I know at each step of my development, what life was, the lack of love, the environment, my thoughts, my exposure to things, etc. See, the problem is that you "accept" your sin, without recognizing that it was the sin of others and yourself in thought and action that developed that sin in you. Whatever "succeptability" to sin that you may have been born with, be it homsexuality or to be a pedophile or a serial killer, the ultimately "choice" is on YOU to be who you want to be. It's not to say that all of us can fully escape the temptation, the cross on our backs, but we CAN choose a better way.

Just because your cross is more intimate and personal that some peoples crosses, that doesn't make it anymore "right" or "normal". The natural man is an enemy to God. YOU decide whom you serve. You can choose to serve the devil by being proponent for the homosexual agenda, or you can serve God and strive to control those impulses and fight against all wrong and fight for all right. My cross is just as intimate and power to me as yours is, but under no circumstances will I EVER these days give into it, and I most certainly will not promote it was normal, right, okay, or given by God. You shouldn't either. God did not create sin, man did, and our our mortality and weakness did. He wants us to be more, not just a mere animal subject to our impulses. Homosexuality is wrong, it's clear and unequivocal. Now you choose whom you serve.

I understand well your pain and struggle. Trust me on this. But that doesn't excuse you. God also will not excuse you, when you know what is right and wrong, yet you "intentionally" choose to rebel and trying to destroy the Work unto your own image, just like satan did (speaking of the gay agenda and those trying to change the Church).

Edited by ldsfaqs
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God hates all "sin"..... not the sinner.

Many of us have "crosses" that MANY of us have had since we were very young. Just because you developed an interest in a particular sin younger than others do, doesn't mean it's not still a sin, and it doesn't mean many don't develop that sin when older, thus NOT "born that way" as you all like to say.

I have a cross that I could say I was born that way, but I know I wasn't. I know at each step of my development, what life was, the lack of love, the environment, my thoughts, my exposure to things, etc. See, the problem is that you "accept" your sin, without recognizing that it was the sin of others and yourself in thought and action that developed that sin in you. Whatever "succeptability" to sin that you may have been born with, be it homsexuality or to be a pedophile or a serial killer, the ultimately "choice" is on YOU to be who you want to be. It's not to say that all of us can fully escape the temptation, the cross on our backs, but we CAN choose a better way.

Just because your cross is more intimate and personal that some peoples crosses, that doesn't make it anymore "right" or "normal". The natural man is an enemy to God. YOU decide whom you serve. You can choose to serve the devil by being proponent for the homosexual agenda, or you can serve God and strive to control those impulses and fight against all wrong and fight for all right. My cross is just as intimate and power to me as yours is, but under no circumstances will I EVER these days give into it, and I most certainly will not promote it was normal, right, okay, or given by God. You shouldn't either. God did not create sin, man did, and our our mortality and weakness did. He wants us to be more, not just a mere animal subject to our impulses. Homosexuality is wrong, it's clear and unequivocal. Now you choose whom you serve.

I understand well your pain and struggle. Trust me on this. But that doesn't excuse you. God also will not excuse you, when you know what is right and wrong, yet you "intentionally" choose to rebel and trying to destroy the Work unto your own image, just like satan did (speaking of the gay agenda and those trying to change the Church).

This is a diatribe that I believe I stated was not welcome in the initial post. I said nothing in my posts about changing the church. If you want to talk about that then start a new thread. I am not concerned with the LDS church's policy on homosexuality. In fact, it is actually irrelevent to the thread. I was talking about a journey that is essentially void of church politics and dogmatic belief. It was about a journey. If you can't respect the intent of the thread then don't post here.

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