I Think I’m Gay. Now What? (Mormon Edition)

So, you think you might be gay and you are a member of the LDS church (or a member of any faith that discourages homosexuality).  What do you do now?

I remember asking myself that question.  I don’t want to claim to have all the answers, but I would like to write about what I have learned and might be of benefit.  Here is what I found:

  • “There is nothing wrong with you. … You are not sick, and you are not wrong, and God does not hate you,” (Harvey Milk).  These are things you absolutely must realize.  Just because you are attracted to people of your same gender does not mean that you are sick or wrong or that God hates you.  It doesn’t mean that you are evil, that you don’t have enough faith, or that your testimony isn’t strong enough.  None of that is true.  Everyone has their own trials.  Some people are born with debilitating illness, while others seem to have constant road blocks.  No matter how hard we try to hide our problems, we all have them, and as Elder Packer has said, “…there is more equality in this testing than sometimes we suspect” (Boyd K. Packer, “The Choice,” Ensign, Nov 1980, 20).
  • You are not alone.  There thousands of members of the church that feel attracted to their own gender.  One of the most important realizations I made was that I was not alone.  I was so relieved when I figured this out.  When I made this realization, I was able to figure out that I could remain active in the church if I desired to do so and that I wouldn’t be excommunicated for having a problem.  Some great ways to find people who want to keep their connections with the church are through North Star, Evergreen, and LDS Family Services.
  • Find some way to express yourself in writing in an anonymous/semi-anonymous way that will allow you to receive feedback from others.  There are probably several ways to do this, but the two best ways I have to do this is through blogging or North Star discussions.  Here are some differences between the two:
  • Blogging:  When you have a blog, you are able to write whatever you want.  There are no rules or boundaries that you have to worry about.  If you want to rant and rave about your frustrations just to get them out, you can.  With a blog, you can control comments.  If you don’t want any comments on a certain post (or any posts at all), you can turn that off.  If you want to moderate comments, you can do that.  If you want to be able to post something and then take it down you can.  What happens on your blog is completely up to you.  The problem (or maybe a benefit) with blogging is that you might not have anyone read what you write.  If you are looking for feedback, blogging makes that difficult until you have built a following (sounds kind of cultish, huh?).  The best way to do that is to comment on other blogs and to let Abelard Enigma know that you have a blog so that he can post it in the MoHo Directory.
  • North Star:  North Star is great because you can address multiple forums (young adults, men, women, parents, etc.) on the topic of homosexuality in the church.  Because North Star is a support group, there are certain guidelines that must be met when writing.  These guidelines help to create a safe environment.  You’ll be able to get a lot of feedback from people that are trying to stay close to the church (where blogging opens you up to the entire world).
  • I personally recommend doing both, but the important thing is to do what feels right for you.

    • Meet other people.  Meeting others will allow you to deepen the realization that you aren’t alone.  Meeting others might feel a little bit risky.  Believe me, I felt the same way.  Why would I want to meet other guys that might be attracted to me when I’m trying to not act on my homosexuality?  Doing so will help you to be able to talk to people that know what you are going through.  Being completely understood is priceless.  There are some really great ways to meet people such as Evergreen/LDS Family Services, Matis Firesides, Logansides, and other gatherings.  These programs are set up to provide a safe atmosphere in which people can meet and talk about what they are going through.  ***A WORD OF WARNING*** I mentioned that meeting people might be risky, and I will confess that it is.  It is very low risk, in my opinion, but there is still the risk that you might meet someone that you are attracted to and they are attracted to you, and that you will want to pursue some kind of relationship.  That risk is there.  Recognize it and move on.  Meeting people will be one of the best things you can ever do for yourself.  (I started by attending a support group at LDS Family Services and then attended the Matis Fireside, which I felt was a good way to transition into things because I was able to go to the fireside with friends instead of going by myself).
    • Decide who you will tell about your attractions.  This is something that is a completely individual choice.  I think it is important to tell at least one straight person.  This is important so that you can have someone who doesn’t understand what you are going through give you feedback from another angle than those that understand your struggle.

    I also think it is important to tell your parents.  I know that there are situations in which one might not feel comfortable telling their parents.  I know of one guy that doesn’t want to tell his parents, and after hearing their background, I think I quite agree with him.  I think it would be too much for them.  That being said, I think almost all parents will try to be understanding and at least deserve to know.  Telling your parents will result in one of three outcomes:

    • They will support you in whatever decision you make.  This is the response I got.  My parents encourage me to remain with the church, but told me that if I were to ever bring a boy home with me, they would welcome him as they would anyone else.  This outcome is rare, but it does happen.
    • They will be loving and understanding, and will express their strong desire to have you remain associated with the church.  They may encourage you to continue to date members of the opposite gender.  They will always love you, but if you choose to act on your attraction to the same gender, you will have to face their consequences (which could range from severe disappointment and strain on the relationship to being kicked out of the family).  This, I believe, is the most common reaction.
    • They will be upset.  This doesn’t happen often, but it does happen.  Some parents will think you are choosing to be attracted to your same gender.  Some will think that you thinking you are gay means that you will become a pedophile, a drag queen, and/or a slut.

    Telling your parents you are gay will be hard for them.  No parent wants to hear that their child is gay.  It probably won’t be the end of the world to them though.  In my experience, I have found that most people are very understanding.  They are willing to admit that they don’t know much about homosexuality or what it is like to experience it, but they will try to be understanding.  Some people may feel like they should treat you different, but if you treat them the same as you always have, they will usually treat you the same.  I have also found that it is easier to talk about it with them if you can joke about it.

    When deciding who to tell, I recommend starting off with someone that you know will respond in a positive way.  My first friend I told had been home from her mission for about 8 months when I told her.  She was one of my best friends in high school and we had been through a lot together.  She came home from her mission early because she had a parasite that was making her incredibly sick.  After a week of being home, she told me that she had been struggling with depression for the last few years and had resorted to cutting and was occasionally suicidal.  I, along with her parents, were the only people that knew what was going on.  She was later admitted to the psychiatric ward of a hospital and was able to receive treatment that helped her more than any medicine could.  I knew that I could tell her of my attractions because she had trusted me with such a big secret.  She responded so well and I’m so grateful that I told her.  She and her husband have been extremely supportive of me and I have been able to turn to them many times for help.  Sharing such an intimate secret caused our relationship to deepen and to grow, and I now trust her more than almost anyone.

    • Do what is right for you.  Throughout the whole process of coming to terms with your homosexuality, you need to always follow what you feel will be best for you.  I will never tell anyone would they should or shouldn’t do.  I learned this lesson early on.  There was a boy that kept a blog.  It was really depressing to read.  He talked about how he hated himself and how he thought about killing himself, and it was all because he felt attracted to his same gender.  He finally decided to start dating guys.  When he got into a serious relationship, he was happier than he had been in his entire life.  He was finally able to love himself.  That is what worked for him.  It may not be what is right for you, and what is right for you may not have been right for him.  Everyone needs to be able to do what is best for them, and we are to leave the judgment to God.
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    11 Responses

    1. Excellent post. It should be a must read for someone beginning to come to terms with his/her homosexuality. You are a great example to me and many others. Thanks my friend!

    2. 🙂 Hey. Thanks for creating this blog. I’m an 18 year old guy also attending USU and I also am attracted to men. I’m preparing for a mission and trying to build my testimony as much as i can. Sometimes it’s hard to keep going and it’s so nice to know that there are others just like me who have the same problems and are successful, worthy preisthood holders and members of the church. This really helps a lot. Maybe i’ll see you around campus (though i’ll never know if i do or not i guess). Thanks.

    3. You forgot to mention one alternative. Get the heck out of the Church. See LDS for what it really is and leave it behind for those who are straight, gullible and easily influenced. Get on with your life! There’s a whole big, wide world out there with a lot of beautiful people that don’t have the same hang-ups that LDS tags us with.

    4. Wow, as a woman who is gay and still believes very strongly in the Church of Jesus Christ Im actually very offended by what Harold has said. I am getting on with my life. It very much includes Christ at its center. Now I understand that there are other communities that I could be a part of that believe in Christ and do not persecute the SSA members. The difference for me.. is that none of those is the true church of Jesus Christ. None of those have the full and complete gospel.
      If anyone lets the members of the faith shake them they are not understanding that it is only Christ and his gospel that are perfect, the members of the church are humans, with flaws and weekness and a history of nurture that entrenches them in the attitude that being Homosexual is evil or wrong.
      Should I judge them for their misconceptions or their parents for instilling that passive judgment in them? No, but I should love the lord with all my heart might mind and strength and follow him. I know what the gospel says about homosexuality, and it makes it perfectly clear to me that I am not evil or wrong nor messed up. I am a beautiful daughter of a loving Heavenly Father. I have my own unique set of challenges in this life and whatever I choose, my father will continue to love me.
      I have been in a long term relationship with a woman, and find her love to be a blessing to me. I have also been in a long time marriage to a man and find his love a blessing as well. I have 5 beautiful children who all know and adore the woman that I am in love with who continues to be the most wonderful friend I could possibly have. I Married a very supportive and wonderful man and due to her love, have been able to find the love in my relationship with him. My family and my choices are unique, but they are mine. Noone else has to judge them, understand them or justify them. I do not find the bishop judging me or calling me evil, nor has he asked that I stop associating with the woman in my life.
      I stay in the church because it is true, not because the people in it are perfect now because I know that I will be accepted and will not have to deal with attitudes or judgment.
      I hate to return the offense Howard, but you strike me as a coward, someone who would turn away from what is right and true to seek approval of the world, to make yourself feel good in the present.
      May god bless you and keep you and I hope you will find the happiness you so desperately seem to be seeking.

    5. You’re post was very interesting to find. As a young lds woman (returned missionary), trying to come to terms with my sexual orientation has been hell on earth. But It’s nice to know I’m not alone. I know what I am, a child of God and that’s the only label I really care about making sure that defines me before any other. Thank you for your post.

    6. I think I’m gay? how do I know for sure? can recieve some lititure?

    7. Don’t listen to this bullshit.

      There is nothing wrong with being gay. It’s a perfectly natural variant in sexuality that has been around for tens of thousands of years in homo sapiens, and is found in roughly 6% of every mammal population on Earth.

      Unless you can provide some proof that the zombie you worship exists and orchestrates events in this world, you’re going to need to come up with a better excuse for your disgusting hatred of people who are different than yourselves.

    8. I’m not totally sure what you are getting at. I’m fine being gay. I like it, actually. And I don’t feel like I’ve ever said anything on this blog that would be viewed as a “disgusting hatred of people who are different than (me)”. So…. yeah. Explain?

    9. I’m a lesbian and I feel amazing.

    10. im 12 and think im gay or konda am sure im gay …. i have a really close friend. should i come out to him first( he is very understanding) or someone else??9

    11. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems
      as though you relied on the video to make your point. You obviously
      know what youre talking about, why throw away your intelligence on just posting videos to your site when you could be giving us something informative to
      read?

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