Thursday, November 30, 2006

Going Home

Going home for Thanksgiving was good. Over the last few years when I have returned home from school for one reason or another I am always inundated with a flood of emotions; sometimes positive sometimes negative. The last few times had been really good, but this time I was surprised that I felt so disconnected from my family –as if I lived in a different world than they. Perhaps there is some validity to that. I have been acting more on my homosexual tenancies in the last few months than I ever have in my entire life. And conversely, as it is no surprise, my family lives in a very heterosexual world.

I first came out to my parents when I returned from my mission. I had such gained a level of self confidence from my mission that I felt ready to tell them with some assurance of support. My parents are wonderful and have always been particularly in tune with their children’s feelings. After the first time speaking openly about t
he fact that I struggle with same-gender attraction issues, it became somewhat of a closed topic –not because my parents were in denial or particularly uncomfortable with the topic, but mostly because I wanted them to know that I struggled and leave it at that… I didn’t want any prodding or pushing for more information. My parents were simply there for me if I needed. Years have passed since that first uncomfortable discussion and very little was ever discussed again. However, again, the time had come for greater transparency with my parents, and Thanksgiving provided me that opportunity.

ntially I shared with my parents everything I have written here in my blog save the detail that my blog provides. It felt good to share and be completely honest in my feelings and my parents truly respect that I trust them enough to share these things. The bulk of my discussion centered on my unresolved feelings toward the Church. (See my Nov 15th post.) It’s not that I don’t believe in Christ or something as much as it is that I’m unresolved and un-reconciled to the doctrine of Christ –that it just doesn’t make sense to me.

My father is a convert to the Church. He joined several years after marrying my mother, but even so, my upbringing in the Church was less than typical. And though they tried to hide it from us kids for fear of negative influence, my parents still drank occasionally and had their morning cup of joe until I was in High School. I used to resent my father’s wishy
-washy attitude towards the commandments. I wanted someone who was firm and stern in the gospel. I used to stand in judgment of him for being so lukewarm. My father always had a respect for the sacred. It wasn’t that he had a wide rebellious streak as much as he really just struggled with his testimony. Fearing that his un-sureness would influence my siblings and me, my father never spoke of the Church or his testimony. In fact my father was never a leader in the household for the most part. We never had family home evening or scripture study or family prayer except at dinner time. My father just didn’t want to lie to himself nor to us. He never really spoke of this concept that I am writing about, but I have put the pieces together as I have gotten older and completely relate to where he stands with the Church. However he has my mother and she supports him in his times of doubt, but it is still difficult for him.

So anyway, there I sat on the couch across from my parents pouring my heart out about my concerns. Mom cried, Dad understood. I find myself echoing the same concerns that have haunted my father and consequently trouble
d my mother for years. We are not your average Mormon family. Neither my father nor I have ever felt the truly lasting, permanent conversion feelings that so many members claim to have from living the Mormon lifestyle. I’m not saying that the Church is false or wrong or doctrinally flawed, but merely that I have had no long lasting testimonial witness. I won’t deny that I have felt things at times and that the Church has done much good in my life, but that overwhelmingly I have never been converted. I tried, forced, and have lied to myself for years about the Church because I wanted so badly for it to be true and for it to rescue me from my homosexuality. [Note that I wanted it to be true and to rescue me. Not simply to be true for the sake of rescuing me.]

Like I said already, my parents are very intuitive and incredibly connected to their children. My parents actually confessed to me something of particular interest this last week. Apparently when I was five or so they took me to a psychiatrist because they had concerns that I might be… ummm… how do I say it…. Gay? Yeah. They had some inclination early on.
get me wrong, it's not like I’m “obvious.” Even my gay friends wouldn't have guessed. I’m not feminine or walk swishy and most of the time I do all of my own work on my truck. About the only truly “gay characteristic” I have is that I know how to dress well, but even straight guys can do that (though not all).

Anyway, as I shared openly my concerns about everything from the Church to tryin
g to identify my sexual orientation my parents were able to voice concerns that they had had for some time but were unable to discuss because of closed lines of communication. Marriage, my future… My mom is concerned about my salvation. I don’t really know what to tell them as to where I go from here nor do I want to make them promises. Really my mother knows what a struggle it has been for my father to be in the church and for her to see me come forth with the same concerns but with the added burden of homosexuality she really worries that there is really no hope at all for me to ever stay in the Church.

I don’t kn
ow why God has never really ‘come to me’ and put something permanent and lasting in my heart. Why hasn’t he done the same with my father? If I knew the Church were true and I believed in Christ and had a firm testimony that the Church was true and that Christ was who they say he is and that he would support me and aid me in my battles I could continue on being a member of the Church. I could deal with my homosexuality and being Mormon at the same time. But without any sort of foundation to build on, it’s somewhat unreasonable for me to expect to continue to wander in the halls of Mormonism and keep confusing myself.

And for clarity’s sake, I want to explain that I don’t expect that God would sudden
ly put some testimony out-of-the-blue in my heart, but rather that from day to day, church act to church act, I would receive sustenance that would build me up. Instead it was always a battle reading my scriptures. I never felt like it got me any closer to God and it only served to frustrate me even more. So I still remain unresolved. I don’t know where I go from here and I don’t know what the future holds for me. I fully recognize that I am the author of my life and that I choose where I want to go and what I want to do. I want to be happy, and I want to be close to God and I think that those two ideals are completely achievable. I have no idea how to achieve it though and I don’t want to give up on either one or to feel like I have to give up one to have the other.


Elbow said...

Your parents seem like amazing and insightful people. You are blessed to have them in your life. It's great that they were so perceptive when you were young to take you to see a therapist about the possibility of being gay, because it sounds like they did it for you and not because they had an agenda to change you.

You sound like you are most definately at a cross-roads. What a really powerful image! I think in some ways, you are in a very powerful and exciting possition. You are free to choose, and you are free to feel and seek out for yourself the life that you feel is best for you to live.

You seem to have all the resouces that you need in order to live your live to it's fullest.

As for the gospel and your doubts in the matter, I understand, and I truly know that feeling certain about the veracity of the gospel is just not in the cards for me either. Christ is my rock, but as far as the Church goes, it's hard to feel that the Church and Christ are one.

Keep praying, and keep communicating with your parents. You'll find great solice in searching out what's best for you. Thanks for sharing. I'm happy for you.

The Ugly Swan said...

I have no advice to give, and since it's been a few weeks, you've probably worked it out or are more at ease, anyway.

However, I would like to let you know that I am living proof that the stereotype of gay men being good dressers is not always accurate.

Trust me. It's not pretty.