Mortal (Mormon) Man

Navigating Same Gender Attraction

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Caught and Released

Late one night my wife confronted me about a few things that she found on my iPhone.  I had been caught.  I could feel her anguish just by looking into her eyes.  I was shattered, but not devastated like she was.  How would you react if you found out your spouse had a same-gender attraction?  Imagine the pain of finding out that you had not been fully loved.  In hindsight, I can clearly see how my SSA caused her to feel inadequate, to feel substandard and not loved.  I hate that.  I hated the position I was in, and I hated how I made her feel.  It was a really difficult night.  It would be a novel if I were to write all of our conversation.  Truthfully, there are some parts of my admissions that I would never like to think about again, but they are mine.  I own them.

My wife and I married in our 20’s in the temple. True Mormon style.  It wasn’t a difficult decision to marry her.  She is intelligent, witty, driven, good looking and her parents always offered dinner.  She checked all the boxes.  It has never been easy for me to love.  I don’t love holidays, chocolate, cheesecake or Christmas presents.  Couple
In hindsight I believe I created that natural defense mechanism to avoid hurting people that I care for.  If somebody found out who I really was I could make their
separation from me easier by hedging against that self imposed barrier.  It has everything to do with the creation of exit strategies.  If I needed to,  I could break off my relationships to avoid additional pain and confrontation.  It was my way of limiting collateral damage.

I do not think I am alone in this pattern.

So now, too many years after our wedding day, she knows a very real and detailed part of my life.  She is my support system.  She loves me.  She has released me from a pain that I struggled for so long to bear alone.
Her love for me is stronger than the love I have for myself.  My SSA doesn’t consume my thoughts, it doesn’t control my future, but it is a part of me.  For many years I hated the fact I wasn’t ‘normal.’  Only recently have I begun to embrace it.  And so, today, I am re-learning to love my wife.  Today I am beginning to see the sun rise above crumbling walls.  It is beautiful.  Some days are cloudy and some days bring storms.  This is not an easy process.  It is painful to talk about transgressions and the pain you put your eternal companion through.  Fortunately for me (and my family) I never physically cheated on my wife.  That is a tender mercy.  The feelings I have today for my wife, for the Savior, and for myself have placed me in a much better place.  You can find that place too.  You need to be there.

“Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.” –Victor Hugo

He Knows You Personally

I have had the privilege of preparing a talk for church.  Most hate the idea of speaking in church or teaching a lesson.  I kind of enjoy it.  I always have.  It’s not that I am an eloquent public speaker because I am far from that.  It is the challenge of the task that is appealing.  The spirit of learning and growing is sweet.  Lately I have been pondering about the power of the Atonement and redemption.  Years ago, Elder Neal A. Maxwell appeared in a Special Witnesses of Christ film produced by the Church.  His closing words have always sung sweetly to my soul.

“When Christ comes again, it will not be to the meekness of the manger; it will be as the recognized Redeemer and the Lord of the universe! Then, in a great solar display, stars will fall from their places in a witnessing way, with much more drama than at His birth, when “the stars in the heavens looked down where he lay”.
Yet in the vastness of His creations, the Lord of the universe, who notices the fall of every sparrow, is our personal Savior.” –Neal A. Maxwell

IfThomas we are to see things more clearly, we have to lift ourselves above the secular smog.   I recently found myself in John 20 studying the experience of Thomas Didymus, also known as ‘doubting Thomas’.  I am convinced we have labeled him incorrectly.  Thomas was just like all of us.  We have doubts, concerns, fears and questions.  For some of us it is easy to gain a testimony.  For others, it is a struggle.   When the apostles met Thomas they exclaimed their excitement and belief that they had seen the risen Lord.  It is easy to believe when you see.  For Thomas, gaining this testimony was going to be more of a struggle.  He had to know.  He had to feel the nail prints in His hands and in His feet to believe.  I see a lot of Thomas in my own life.  Some gospel truths didn’t easily flood my mind with immediate understanding.  I have doubted.

Time is a great teacher.  From the time that the resurrected Jesus appeared to his Apostles to the time that he finally showed himself to Thomas was, according to the scriptures, 8 days.  Have you ever stopped to consider what happened to Thomas during the eight days?  I am confident that Thomas prayed, and he probably fasted, and he worked on developing his testimony.

Now, what about the Savior?  What was the Redeemer doing to help Thomas?  He who notices the fall of every sparrow knew the personal needs and struggles of Thomas.  He knows your personal needs.  Finally, in an upper room, the time came: Jesus appeared to Thomas.  Without a prior conversation to Thomas regarding his concerns, without asking Thomas how He could help him believe, Jesus worked another miracle:

“…then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto  him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”

Did you catch the message?  For me, the beauties of these scriptures are not that Thomas was able to see the Savior and believe.  It was that the Savior knew Thomas’ needs personally.  He knew exactly what Thomas had desired in his heart.  Thomas needed to feel the nail prints to solidify his testimony and the Savior knew it.  Christ’s atoning sacrifice enabled him to know how to succor us in our infirmities.  You and I have that same promise.  We have a loving Savior who knows our needs, our struggles and our joys.  You can do great things.

Today you can be a SPIRIT with human experiences, not a human with occasional spiritual experiences.

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