at the crossroad...


i don't want to preech so instead i'll share where my life has taken me.

it was eight years ago (just last week actually) i returned from my mission
with much the same drive and passion for life and the gospel that i had had
before the mission. i was wiser of course but still, as my then fiancé
(melanie) put it, "running toward exaltation." if you haven't figured it
out yet, the marriage never took. i talked to her about my challenge and
though she seemed to understand and react with compassion during the
conversation her actions spoke louder than those words. she married someone
else not two months later.

it hurt deeply to be so rejected. it has honestly been a formative
experience in my life. since that point i haven't wholeheartedly dated a
woman. i remained very active in the church and at BYU. i was volunteering
at the MTC as a translator/interpreter and working at the temple and
eventually even teaching at the MTC. I was working hard toward completing
my degree and achieving my goals and dreams. during that time i had come
face to face with my sexuality on numerous occasions. it wasn't always an
extremely difficult choice but it became increasingly more curious to me as
i grew older and became more aware of myself and my needs and wants. i was
intrigued by the possibility of finding happiness with a male companion, not
a sexual partner but a friend that i knew well and trusted and liked. it was
something that i had never really ever had. i started to spend time with
guys in my program that we're obviously in the same boat i was in. i
enjoyed spending time with them and making friendships based on numerous
common points of interest, a shared religious and faith building experience
(mission), and lest i forget our shared SSA. life was good, i had stumbled
here and there with minor things that again my very supportive bishop and
stake president helped me overcome. but life was most definitely moving in
a positive direction. i was dating a few girls here and there but never
really committed to any of them. my mind didn't quite trust them and i was
still curious about that other side of me.

then someone unknown to me made some pretty serious accusations regarding my
worthiness. my bishop and stake president were very aware of my position and
felt the accusations were a frivolous attempt made by some vengeful
individual. unfortunately, that vengeful thought carried a lot more weight
than my heartfelt honesty and the support of my ecclesiastical leaders. i
took it in stride. i was handling things beautifully on the outside. i had
been called as sunday school president (a calling i LOVED more than any
other) and things were alright. but then the adversary kicked things into
high gear. it seemed like temptations of all shapes and sizes were coming
at me from every direction and it just got harder and harder to say no. soon
i lost the support of my roommmates, my ward (excepting my bishop) and of
others that i thought i could rely on. i was feeling very very alone. and
then the coup de gras!

in that moment of weakness i said to myself, "miserable and suicidal is
simply not worth being faithful." and in an instant i went from on top of my
spiritual game to stumbling over a cute boy with a chocolate martini in my
hand. it's been a little over 5 years since that day. funny i remember the
exact day even that it happened. i'm not one to divulge my past or current
transgressions, suffice it to say that it's been 5 years since i've been
active in church.

so here i am 5 years later on the opposite side of the crossroads you find
yourself at. again i'm alone and unhappy (not suicidal, thank heavens). i
find myself peeking at lds.org the same way i used to peek at well, less
holy websites. i find myself on the verge of returning to what i've always
known is true. i've gone to church more frequently over the past few
months. this website and expressing my faith has been an immense help. my
neighbor, a man one year younger than me is my bishop and has been very
kind. i'm not sure what he knows about me. i've been reading my scriptures

so what does this all mean... well it boils down to a discussion that i had
with a friend in the same place that i am (he's a performer, lds, return
missionary, SSA). we talked and he made one of the most poignant
observations about his own position that i must say i have adopted as my own
(and any of you are free to use it as well). he said that his faith was his
right arm and his love & companionship his left arm. his passions and dreams
were his heart and his family and friends his head. his right leg was his
independence and his left leg his dependence on others and god. each
challenge that comes our way we need one of these parts to address them.
there was no way he wanted to give up anyone of his parts as he needed them
all. but when it came to living his life people on both extremes were
forcing him to choose which parts of him were the least valuable. when it
came to being faithful in the church many around him were asking him to tear
off his left arm and rip out part of his head and if it got bad to tear out
the parts of his heart that made his left arm twitch funny. if it got really
bad he'd probably have to chop off that right leg too and rely solely on the
left leg to get him around. when speaking to those in the gay community he
was told to cut off his right arm, it was useless anyhow. he was encouraged
to drink away those nagging thoughts in his head and live only in a
heartbeat because tomorrow you'll die. and on top of it all they ripped off
his left leg and forced him to stand alone. so this is the man he was
regardless of the choice he made an one armed, high wit, passionless, gimp
on crutches. what kind of a choice is that?!

i guess this anecdote explains a little bit of how i have felt for most of
my adult life. i know the gospel is true and i cannot and will not ever
deny that eternal fact. but i know that i am who i am and i will always be
this person. i might be a better or worse version but my story will always
start the same and my story will always have an antagonist and a struggle.
i know i am gay and i long for a happy fulfilling relationship. but i know
it's not to be as i would have it. so which arm would you cut off? what leg
can you do without? for some the answer is simple for others... chop 'em
both off! neither solution works for me. i have learned to like all parts
of me. granted, they need to get into better shape ;) but i like all of me.

and i'm glad that i can say that. i no longer wake each day dreading to
move forward because i fear erring. i no longer dread walking through the
locker room at the gym for fear i'll get totally aroused, cuz i don't it's
not about that. i no longer dread facing members of the church for fear
that they'll find out i've kissed a boy, and i liked it. that is part of my
journey and it is what makes me, all of me, the person that i am.

so in the end i want to keep all my parts. i love and appreciate my
attractions and i am learning to keep them in check and appropriate. i also
can't live without the power of the HG on a daily basis and can't deny that
i miss the temple like nothing else. i guess my journey has brought me to
know better who i am and accept myself and then "journey on."

so lane, i'm standing across the intersection most likely on the west side
(because they say here in salt lake that the west side is bad news) and to
be honest, i really wanna come join you on the east side and be your
friend. and just like i was doing back when i first got home from my
mission, i really wanna start running. i want to run hard. i want to run so
hard it hurts. coming from the other side of the street i'm here to say, it
ain't any better. it ain't any easier. in the end i've come back to that
same crossroads.

i hope this experience helped you make whatever decision you're gonna make.
best wishes lane in your quest for happiness.
nathan - signature 001

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