Monday, October 12, 2015

Be Careful How You Judge

Frequently  I am approached by someone, or someone asks one of my children if I am Gay.  I makes me laugh how quickly we are to judge by what we hear or what we see.  I have been posting on a blog for the past year,  It's called the Jonathan and David Experience,  it is a blog designed to help men who struggle with SGA, Same Gender Attraction.    I started the blog out of a need to help men who are struggling and need support, guidance, love, and direction.  It has been a great blessing and yet at the same time really hard.  The hard part is dealing with narrow minded people who assume that just because one involves himself in a worthwhile cause he must have problems of his own.  I decided to write a blog to educate everyone just were I stand.  So judge for yourself and please  in the future when you make judgements on people, get the whole story and keep in mind that judgements made without knowing all the details can hurt and cause harm to many, those you judge and who knows how many countless others you will affect by your judgements. 

I have never considered myself a gay man.  However, after all is said and done, most people think I am. It does make me laugh, Let me explain.  The first 18 years of my life were pure hell.  I was raised in a small town in northern Arizona.  As a child I was different from the other children.  I loved playing with dolls,  dressing up in my mom’s clothes, writing poems, and planting flowers.  The hard part was that I was raised in a home filled with what I call “macho idiots”.  These were men who did not understand that a boy could behave in a way other than how they thought a boy or man should behave.  In their minds, real men did certain things; real men did not do the things I did.  It was a difficult situation to say the least.  I really did try to do ‘boy things’.  I tried sports just to make the men in my life happy.  That is what they wanted after all, and so I really tried to please, only to fail and then feel worse.
Home life was hard,  but school was even harder.  I was a sissy at home.  At school I was called a faggot.  To this day I hate both of these words.  I had absolutely no friends to speak of and was beaten up frequently at school, spit on, bullied, and verbally abused by everyone at school and at home.
My parents divorced when I was twelve and that only added to the confusion and abuse.  Her husbands were abusive and difficult and resented me and my feminine ways.  I was extremely effeminate and as I look back I understand completely why I was judged to be gay.
My father, a good man, had absolutely no understanding of me and my girlish ways.  He tried, but had no clue how to raise an effeminate boy.  He told me once in a fit of anger that I was a girl in a boy’s body.  Those words cut clear to the bone and are not easily set aside or easy to forget. I craved his love and attention.  My brothers got all they needed from him.  They understood each other.  After all they were real boys and I was something he just could not understand.  At one point I thought I hated my dad, but realized it was not hate but a desire to have him love me and acknowledge who I was.
I really cannot remember very many pleasant times prior to age eighteen. At an early age I started working in the cafe business, I was constantly surrounded by women which contributed to my feminine ways and was constantly propositioned by men patrons to do things.  I was sexually abused as a teenager by a man who took advantage of my vulnerable state and the need to be loved.
Growing up my family was not active in church.  I tried and had the deep desire to do so, but each time I tried I felt out of place and was often rejected by judgmental church members who did not understand what I was going through.   We moved around a lot and I would try to go to seminary and church and do what I felt was right, but I cannot ever remember feeling accepted or wanted in any church setting.
When I was eighteen, I had an experience one evening that set my course for life.  I was involved in some things that I should not have been doing.  Nothing too serious, but wrong nonetheless.  At one point I was handed a mirror and as I looked in the mirror I saw the reflection of what I thought was Satan.  He was laughing at me and as he laughed at me I heard him say, ”I have you now, just where I want you”.  It scared the crap out of me.  I left the party and called my Bishop and met with him.  Since then I have learned that when the Devil thinks he has won, God always steps in.  The trick is to follow him when he steps in.  I did.
I changed my life and started going to church.  It was hard.  I was still the same effeminate person I always had been.  Because of the small town in which I lived , the people had their opinions of me.  But I stayed the course.  It was the hardest year of my life as I gave up bad habits for new ones.

At one point in that year I came to a conclusion: Everyone thought I was gay and I had to make a decision about who I was.  I didn't know if I loved men or not at that age.  I had never really had many male friends, or crossed the line with inappropriate behavior,  but whatever the course I made a life changing decision during that year.  I told myself that I was not gay and no matter what I felt or what others told me, first and foremost I would follow the Savior and do whatever he asked of me.  I decided that I would keep the commandment at whatever cost, not matter how I felt or what I wanted.
Thirty seven years later after many years of battling same gender attraction (SGA), for me it was more a deep love for men rather than a sexual attraction or need, and coming to understand who I am, I have discovered that the choice I made so many years ago kept me on the path that God wants me on.  There have been major challenges and obstacles to overcome and understand.  I have recently come to understand that  since I made the choice to follow Him no matter what, he has blessed me with an amazing understanding of who I am and why I struggled with those deep loving feelings for men for so long.  Through obedience to Him and my complete desire to follow Him, He has opened the doors of personal revelation and I understand my feminine qualities and attraction to other men are indeed gifts from God; If used in His way this can and indeed will bless my life and the lives of so many others in ways that I am just starting to understand.
So yes,  according to the world’s standard, I might be considered GAY.  But in my eyes I am a man that has a deep Christ like love for men and in God’s eyes I am a son of God with specific talents and abilities, that if used for good can become and have become my greatest blessings and gifts from a loving Heavenly Father.  I am proud to be a man that loves other men in a healthy Christlike way, and I am proud to be a man who chooses to follow the Savior no matter what.  Life is hard, but as we take the challenges we have been given and trust in the Lord,  all things will come to light and we will come to understand our divine missions and stewardships here on earth.

I have come to understand that one of my missions is to teach other men what I have learned and help them understand that indeed we can have deep loving healthy relationships with other men. In fact I have learned that as we move forward and learn to love other men in a healthy non sexual way our lives are enriched and blessed in ways that exceed our understanding.

I am grateful for the challenges I have had and I am most grateful for the knowledge that when we follow the Savior we receive all we need to battle what life gives us. I am happy to have so many loving men friends in my life that bless me in so many ways and I look forward to many more as I have come to understand that one of God's greatest gifts He gives us is a heart with an unlimited ability and capacity to love as deeply and as many as we want. The only restrictions he places on loving others is to keep it within the bonds He has set.

Greatest Joy and Success to you in your own personal journey and please be careful how you judge, you never know what is on another's heart.


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  1. Chef Brad. I am so proud of you. I cannot imagine how difficult it must have been for you as a child and a young man. your writing was heartfelt and honest. It's refreshing how approachable and personable you are. .My family and I all love watching your BYU series. We've made more of the recipes from your program than any of the other cooking shows that we have watched. My husband especially loves the bread recipes and the popcorn ideas. Thank you, with much love from our family to yours.

  2. THANK YOU SO MUCH for your courage and candor in sharing your story! I think this is such a great project and will touch many lives- probably many more than you will ever know. While I don't struggle with SSA I have friends/people that I love that do and of course I have my own issues like everyone else. I think some of Satan's biggest tools are the pervasive lies that somehow "manliness" equates to hardness and expressing emotions and feelings are weakness. Thank you for your much needed message and inspiring hope and understanding! #Vulnerability=TrueStrength

  3. Thank you for sharing your story, it is powerful and means a lot to me.

  4. Brad, Thank you for sharing such a personal story. I am so sorry for the hard life you had as a child. No child should have to experience and endure what you had to do. You are a great man, that is loved by many! Thank you for your great example of Christ like love.

  5. 1 Samuel 16:7 " . . . the Lord looketh on the heart."

  6. May God continue to bless you and the work you are doing. I'm so glad I felt drawn to read your blog this evening. I am sorry you suffered so badly growing up. I"m glad who you are today. Helping so many though your experiences of life and educating with food. Regards,