Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Jeff Part 1

Hi, I’m Jeff and I’m excited to be a part of this blog.  Many people have strong and varying opinions on gender roles, homosexuality, marriage, and family values.  Hopefully some of the thoughts I share will help you understand a perspective that may be different from your own. 

For as long as I can remember, I have been emotionally, spiritually, physically, and sexually attracted to guys.

In elementary school, that attraction caused me to seek to be around other boys, but at the same time I felt much more comfortable around girls. I enjoyed the types of things girls did (playing house, making crafts) more than I enjoyed the activities that boys occupy themselves with (sports, camping). At first I had both boy and girl friends but over time I started to spend more and more time with girls. Eventually, I became uncomfortable around boys and felt alienated from them.

By the time I reached high school, almost all of my close friends were girls. At the same time, the sexual aspect of my same gender attraction started to intensify.

Being raised in a faithful Mormon family, I naturally wanted to resist the temptation to act on these attractions. I wanted to serve a mission and get married in the temple and do all the things that I had been taught were good and right.  I tried to obey the commandments and to keep the spirit in my life.  In general, I succeeded, despite the very real and difficult trials I faced. I battled to resist the temptation not only to commit what I had been taught was sinful, but also to succumb to feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness.

I served a mission and emerged from that experience strengthened in my resolve to obey the commandments as I had been taught. My testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ was solidified, including my belief that God's plan for us included sealing of husband and wife for eternity.  I knew in my heart that I was going to be a husband and father and that my family would continue into the next life. This deeply personal belief is central to all the choices I have made since then.

Perhaps the hardest years of my life were those that followed my mission. I attended BYU while working part time at the Missionary Training Center.  My spiritual health was never stronger, but with my hormones in full gear, my desire to be with a man also grew more intense. 

I don't recall ever believing that the attraction to men would ever go away, or necessarily wanting it to. But I did hope and pray that I would develop an attraction to women, or at least to a woman. Unfortunately, my prayers seemed to be in vain as one after another, my relationships with women failed to blossom into the type of love that could sustain a lifelong commitment.

In the years after I graduated and moved out into the real world, I lost hope. I thought that perhaps the blessings I sought might not be in my future. From time to time, I gave up on those dreams and began to look elsewhere. However, no matter where I went or what I did, I always returned to the belief that anchored me - I knew that God had a plan for me.

To make a long story short, one day I met a girl who was different from all the others I had dated previously. Everything clicked and the relationship progressed easily, even effortlessly. I was emotionally, mentally, and spiritually attracted to her. The physical attraction was not so simple - although I thought she was beautiful from the beginning, it took time to get used to the idea of intimacy.

Eventually, I came to know that she was the person I wanted to spend my life with. I shared with her my experience with same gender attraction. She was very understanding and, to my surprise, was completely willing to enter into this adventure of life with me.

Now we have a young son and a daughter on the way. Although our marriage has its trials (as any marriage does), I have never been happier in my life. I can't imagine a better existence than the one I wake up to every morning.

One of the most important lessons I have learned is that obedience brings blessings. If we will follow the guidance that God has imparted to us through prophets, scripture, and personal revelation, we will be happy – not because God will punish us if we don’t, but because God knows what will make us happiest in the end.

Looking back, if I had always chosen what I wanted at the time, or even what I thought I would want later, I may never have chosen what I did.  But God knows the end from the beginning, and if we trust him, we will eventually come to understand why he was leading us in another direction.

I am reminded of this story told by President Gordon B. Hinckley:

Long ago I worked for one of our railroads whose tracks threaded the passes through these western mountains. I frequently rode the trains. It was in the days when there were steam locomotives. Those great monsters of the rails were huge and fast and dangerous. I often wondered how the engineer dared the long journey through the night. Then I came to realize that it was not one long journey, but rather a constant continuation of a short journey. The engine had a powerful headlight that made bright the way for a distance of 400 or 500 yards. The engineer saw only that distance, and that was enough, because it was constantly before him all through the night into the dawn of the new day. . .

And so it is with our eternal journey. We take one step at a time. In doing so we reach toward the unknown, but faith lights the way. If we will cultivate that faith, we shall never walk in darkness. (2002 April General Conference, We Walk by Faith, Gordon B. Hinckley)

If there is anything you would like to hear about in my next post, let me know in the comments below. 

1 comment:

  1. You are an example to me that this road is possible follow. Thanks for sharing your experience and story.