Friday, December 21, 2007

I've developed a close relationship with a guy over the past two years. I helped him through a divorce (his second) and have been helping him come to terms with his membership in the church and his beliefs. We have become very close friends and I have told him on occasion that I loved him and am grateful for his friendship. Yesterday, I went to his house to hang out for an hour or so on my lunch break, which at times can turn into three or four hours and lots of shopping, driving, hiking, etc. But lately, we have been seeing each other less often. He is not gay, extremely good looking and knows that I am gay.

Yesterday, before lunch, we sat on his couch. He was on his cell phone, sitting forward on the edge of the couch. I was leaning back, reclined, giving me the advantage of looking at him from behind. I had an incredible feeling of wanting to lean up against him, lay my head on his back, or at least put my hand on his back, but I knew I couldn't. He would react negatively. Instead, I just moved my hand closer to his leg on the couch, wanting to touch him, but I didn't. I just moved it as close as I could get without touching. We sat there for a few minutes while he talked on the phone. What would be so wrong about rubbing his back or putting my hand on his back? Why would he take offense? If I tried to touch him, would I then lose his trust?

Before I told him that I was gay, he had no problem undressing - dressing in front of me. One time he asked me to put lotion on his back. We were at a park and I was so uncomfortable doing this in public that it eradicated any pleasure I might have had in feeling his bare skin. On another occasion, he was trying on some of my shirts to borrow one. He wasn't wearing any undershirt and it was incredible to be next to him, so close. This was soon after I told him that I was gay. He noticed something was wrong and asked me what it was. I told him the truth - that I wanted so much to touch his chest. He handled it very well, but he has never taken off his shirt in front of me again. If I were straight, we would hug more often like we used to, we would have more contact and we wouldn't worry about it like we do now. In this respect, I hate that I ever told him I was gay - not because I want to take advantage of him in a sexual type of way, only because I want to be close to him, like we used to be. I thought coming out to him would make us closer, and I guess in some ways it has, but in reality, I feel further away from him.

Yesterday, when he finished his phone conversation, he stood up and turned to look at me. He immediately looked down at my hand and for an instant realized how close it had been to him. He didn't say anything, but I could see in his eyes his disapproval. At lunch he asked why we hadn't been seeing each other as much as we used to. I told him that because he was now through the divorce and remarried that he hadn't needed me as much. He stated that he didn't want us to have to need each other in order to be friends. I just sat there silent, not telling him how much I depended on that need as an integral part of our friendship. I couldn't tell him that. The risk of seeing that disapproval in his eyes again would hurt too much.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Is it really possible? Is it possible to control same-gender attraction within a mixed-orientation marriage? I've already made a lot of the hard decisions. I've been able to marry an incredible woman, have children and have an incredible family life. I've been attracted to my wife and able to perform sexually. But, with all this, I'm still attracted to men. I've been through bouts of moderate porn addiction. I've been through occasions where I nearly hooked-up with another guy. I've chatted on-line with other gay men. I've met other gay men with whom I was attracted and would have liked to pursue a friendship and possibly more. But, I never seem to follow through on any of these. I've been able to put the internet porn and chat rooms at bay. I no longer chat with gay men, but I do look at the occasional porn - maybe once a month - and even then it's not really graphic porn. Is it okay to view a little porn once a month in order to keep any more serious transgression at bay? So far, it has worked for the most part, but not without damage to my spirit.

I want to be completely clean, all of the time. I don't know if I will ever be free of same gender attraction, but it seems that I can keep it "under control" to a certain degree. Will it always be a struggle not to look at any porn and/or masturbate? And if so, do I consider this a small trade-off for being able to have a wife and family? Does this mean I will never be clean in this life, no matter how many times I repent, because I know eventually that I will make a mistake? Are there others, in my same situation, who are having better success? I think that overall, I can live a happy and fulfilled life in a mixed-orientation marriage, stay active in the church, true to my beliefs, attend the temple and serve in callings. But can I raise the bar? Should I try harder with the potential of greater success but also a greater possibility of failure? Or do I just continue on my current, relatively successful course, accepting my weaknesses, and perhaps knowing that this is the best I can do?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I've been told a few times by a close frined of mine, who is aware that I am attracted to men, that I'm not special. He suggests that the more we believe our situation to be unique among all other temptations, the more we will become dissatisfied and angered with the church, with ourselves and with life in general. This assumes that our attractions are temptations, nothing more and nothing less. I think what I have learned over the years is that the physical aspect of homosexuality is a sin, however all other behavioral and psychological aspects may or may not be considered a sin, depending on the situation and the extent to which these aspects are publicly voiced. In my view, longing for and having close male relationships that do not involve a sexual component is not a sin.

I know this view is a greatly simplified context for discussing whether or not certain actions and feelings are considered sinful, but if isolating the physical from the emotional helps to draw a boundary that I can understand and implement, then surely it can serve a positive purpose. We really aren't all that special and deserve no more attention from the church than any other member. Is more really asked of us as compared to other members of the church? If I had my choice, I think being attracted to men is much easier to deal with than most of the other challenges faced by members of the church.

Monday, November 12, 2007

I think I just may have convinced my LDS therapist that now is not the time to tell my wife about my same gender attraction. He has been encouraging me to discuss it with her, in an open and loving way. I still believe that revealing these feelings to her would be counter-productive and could do more damage than good to both her and myself. Part of me does still yearn to tell her and I will tell her someday, just not right now. Someday could be a week from today, years from now or even in the next life. I've prayed about telling her and continue to get the impression that there is no need to rush into it. When the time is right, I will receive the guidance I need to move forward.

Part of the basis for not telling her comes from the idea that my attraction to men is not as black and white as the world would have us believe. Having feelings of same gender attraction does not mean that I am gay. Coming out to my wife has the potential of creating a black and white scenario where I am portrayed as being gay in the world view of what being gay means. I know this sounds like I am playing with semantics here, trying to re-define what it means to be gay. But isn't that what we, as married gay mormons are attempting to do? We question all that the world has taught us about being gay. We attempt to erase the line of gay and straight by living a life that is in essence both gay and straight. Some may say that we must then be bisexual, being able to marry and have children while still being attracted to men. But this too is not inherently true. I am not attracted to other women, but I am attracted to my wife.

It has been possible in my life to diminish my attraction for men. I'm not sure how this is possible, but it has and does occur. I must be careful however in this endeavor. I do not place myself in a position of success and failure, with success being the total loss of attraction to men. Success for me is getting to the point where I am willing to accept all that the Father has in store for me. I believe that He can take away my feelings of same gender attraction, but whether he will do it or not does not play into my ideas of success, nor does it determine my happiness. I have learned that I can be happy today, just as I am. If tomorrow, God decides to take away these feelings, then I will accept that, but if not, I will continue to live the best that I can with what I have been given. Having feelings of same gender attraction does not mean that I am less of a person. It does not imply that I need to be fixed. It does not require that I overcome a sinful state. I am clean, I am whole, just as I am. Being faithful to my wife and holding true to the covenants I have made with God is what makes me clean, whole and happy. This is the right path for me and my life. This is what I have chosen, and I rejoice that God has given me a choice to live the way I want to live - to follow His guidance, even though at times it seams difficult and seams to make no logical sense.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Feelin' groovy. If all else fails, try sedation. I'm back on a drug I had weened myself off of a year ago because of its side effects. But, considering my current state of depression versus a few side effects, the drugs won. Seroquel is an interesting specimen of a drug. It ensures that you experience no lows by also taking away the highs. It makes you feel so drowsy and sedate that nothing really matters.

With respect to SGA, and by comparrison, I've reached this same level of no highs and no lows. However, with SGA, it's not drug induced. Somehow, I've reached a point where I have few sexual desires, and when I do, they can be either gay or straight (bisexual?). Sometimes niether side wins out and I feel asexual. I'm guessing that this is due to the depression. A decreased libedo is one of the symptoms. This, in and of itself, has been a good thing since it has made it much easier to resist temptation. However, it also leaves me feeling quite bland - like I have no sexual identity. It's a very puzzling situation. Can anyone relate?

Friday, October 26, 2007

I've really come to hate posting on my blog. It makes me think about things I would prefer to ignore. It makes me take a hard look at who I am and what I think and believe. It also exposes much of my weaknesses. I don't like being weak. I don't like being afraid. I don't like having to confront life. Life can be so beautiful. Or at least, it used to be. Now I just don't know anymore. I hate seeing others suffer. I hate seeing myself suffer. I hate the repercussions of the fall of Adam. I hate having to toil in order to feed myself and family. I try hard to focus on what is good and beautiful, but when I do, something always hits me from behind. Then when I am down, I get kicked over and over again, not only by myself, but by others as well.

I used to be able to find refuge, to get back on my feet and continue climbing. But lately it has been too hard. How many times do I have to give my life over to Him? Am I not humbled to the earth? I'm too small and weak for the fight. I don't want to fight anymore. I just want to be happy and make others happy.

If you haven't noticed, I have clinical depression. I was diagnosed over two years ago. The extent to which my gayness lends to the depression is very debatable. It doesn't help, but I don't believe it is the major reason. In fact, I don't believe there is a major cause or reason. I've been in therapy for two years and nothing seems to really come of it. I sort things out, get advice, learn ways of battling this illness, but it feels as though so little of the illness is psychological. It's more physical than I had ever imagined. I've thought about opening a separate blog about depression, but for now, you guys will have to bear with me. I really didn't intend this post to be about depression and I don't want the link to being gay, married and Mormon and depressed to be assumed. Compared with all of the ugliness in the world, being gay, married and Mormon is almost nothing.

So why then all these posts about being gay, married and Mormon if it's not really that big of a deal? Maybe because it allows me to focus on something. It allows me to look at all aspects of my life and how they combine into one great whole. Blogging is also a way to gather sympathy and support. I blog because I am afraid. Afraid of not knowing who I am. Afraid of facing myself. Afraid of facing the world. I worry that it is exhibitionism. That I have some need to show the world who I am, when in reality I'm just trying to show myself who I am.

Friday, October 05, 2007

I really have nothing profound to say right now, but I wanted to just let everyone know how I'm doing. Things have been up and down the last few weeks. I had the opportunity to meet one of the mohos who blog in person for lunch and really enjoyed myself, apart from being very nervous. He was very nice and would make a good friend. I also had the opportunity to meet another blogging moho in person this week but turned him down. Basically, I don't think I can make friendships behind my wife's back. I still haven't told her about my feelings of SGA and still don't think I can right now. However, I regret not being able to make friends.

If I told my wife, would I then be able to meet other mohos? And if so, I would then have to tell her about this blog site because she would want to know how I met these guys. Would she want me to make friends on here? Would she want me to stop blogging? If I kept blogging with her knowledge, my blogs would change since they would no longer be anonymous. Would telling her mean the end of this blog site? I don't think I'm ready for a change of this magnitude, but if it meant that I could develop closer relationships with some of you then maybe it would be worth it. On the other hand, it could mean the end of blogging with all of you and never being able to meet you.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

In response to my previous post, Geckoman expressed my feelings perfectly; "I feel out-of-sync with my personal integrity, am disappointed with life's outcomes, full of stress, depressed, and so lack desire." (And now paraphrasing) I repeatedly knock my head against the wall of same gender attraction while still trying to make it all fit within the perfect LDS framework of eternal families. It's hard to believe in myself, that I'll ever succeed at my previously committed goal.

While feeling this way, today I came across the following reassuring quote from an article by Steven Covey:

"You have to look at each case on its own merit. No case is black and white. It takes real judgment to know what you should do. You may feel that you operate "between a rock and a hard place." Still, with a well-educated conscience or internal compass, you will rarely, if ever, be in a situation where you only have one bad option. You will always have choices. If you wisely exercise your unique endowments, some moral option will be open to you. So much depends on how well you educate your conscience, your internal compass...The more internal uncertainty you feel, the larger the grey areas will be. You will always have some grey areas, particularly at the extremity of your education and experience. And to grow, you need to go to that extremity and learn to make those choices based on what you honestly believe to be the right thing to do."

And from the same article, "As human beings, we have four unique endowments: self-awareness, conscience, independent will, and creative imagination that not only separate us from the animal world, but also help us to distinguish between reality and illusion, to transform the clock into a compass, and to align our lives with the extrinsic realities that govern quality of life. Self-awareness enables us to examine our paradigms, to look at our glasses as well as through them, to think about our thoughts, to become aware of the psychic programs that are in us, and to enlarge the separation between stimulus and response. Self-aware, we can take responsibility for reprogramming or rescripting ourselves out of the stimulus-response mode. Many movements in psychology, education, and training are focused on an enlarged self-consciousness. Most popular self-help literature also focuses upon this capacity. Self-awareness, however, is only one of our unique endowments. Conscience puts us in touch with something within us even deeper than our thoughts and something outside us more reliable than our values. It connects us with the wisdom of the ages and the wisdom of the heart. It's an internal guidance system that allows us to sense when we act or even contemplate acting in a way that's contrary to our deepest values and "true north" principles. Conscience is universal. By helping companies and individuals develop mission statements, I have learned that what is most personal is most general. No matter what people's religions, cultures, or backgrounds are, their mission statements all deal with the same basic human needs to live (physical and financial), to love (social), to learn (educational), and to leave a legacy (spiritual).
Independent will is our capacity to act, the power to transcend our paradigms, to swim upstream, to re-write our scripts, to act based on principles rather than reacting based on emotions, moods, or circumstances. While environmental or genetic influences may be very powerful, they do not control us. We're not victims. We're not the product of our past. We are the product of our choices. We are "response-able," meaning we are able to choose our response. This power to choose is a reflection of our independent will. Creative imagination empowers us to create beyond our present reality. It enables us to write personal mission statements, set goals, plan meetings, or visualize ourselves living our mission statements even in the most challenging circumstances. We can imagine any scenario we want for the future. If our imagination has to go through the straightjacket of our memory, what is imagination for? Memory is limited. It's finite; it deals with the past. Imagination is infinite; it deals with the present and the future, with potentiality, with vision and mission and goals with anything that is not now but can be. The man-on-the-street approach to success is to work harder, to give it the "old college try." But unless willpower is matched with creative imagination, these efforts will be weak and ineffective."

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

I've been on a spiritual low lately that I can't seem to get out of. I enjoyed going to church last Sunday, but had a hard time feeling the Spirit. I also haven't been to the temple in awhile or read the scriptures. My personal prayers are also lacking. I tend to go through cycles, but this cycle has lasted longer than usual. I think I need some time alone to replenish my spirit and start seeking answers to some questions that have been lurking around for a long time. Questions like what do I really want from this journey through SGA? What is the next step? What do I really want from my church membership and my relationship with God? What do I do with the knowledge I have received over the past year from blogging and reading blogs about other gay Mormons? There is so much I don't know about myself, and so much more I want to learn. I'm at a crossroads in my life and believe there is so much good that can come from it. I'm excited for the future, but also full of fear and doubt. How do I move forward with faith, believing in myself and in the principles I have come to know and trust?

Friday, August 24, 2007

I sent an email a few days ago to my gay cousin who is living in a monogamous relationship with his partner. What follows is an excerpt from that email. It's about a dream I had and some things I've been feeling. Of course, the names have been changed.

"Hey John, I just needed somebody to talk to and thought I would send you a note. I've had a couple of dreams about you lately. The last one, the other night, we were at a family reunion at some resort in the mountains. You and your partner Mike were feeling dejected and others in the family were talking about you behind your back. Needless to say, I stood up for you. I let you know what was going on and you and Mike decided to leave. I was really torn because I didn't want to stay at the reunion without you guys, yet I also felt obligated to stay at the reunion with my wife. My kids weren't there for some reason. I needed your support in the dream and needed to talk to you some more. I was really sad to see you leave and wanted to really leave with you.
There are a couple of things the dream made me realize. First, how much I respect you, feel a connection with you, and have a desire to talk to you and Mike in person. Second, it made me realize how torn I have been feeling over the past couple of years between being gay and living a straight, married life with kids. I've been trying to figure out a way to come and see you and Mike in Salt Lake but haven't found a way. I could tell my wife that I'm going on a business trip, but I don't particularly want to lie. However, I think in this case, I may need to do it anyway. I'm not thinking about leaving my wife, I just need some answers and need to talk to someone who would understand. I wish I could come tomorrow. That's how important I feel this is. Are you going to be in town the within the next couple of weeks?"

I haven't heard back from my cousin yet, but a trip to Salt Lake may do me some good. I would also like to meet a few of you who blog here.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

I haven't had this problem before, or at least hadn't really noticed it too much, but today in EQ I couldn't stop staring at all the good looking guys. My ward has an abnornally high proportion of fine looking 25-35 year old men. Rather than continue in my seemingly sinful state (not that I necessarily felt guilty for having these feelings), I got up and left about half way through the meeting. I didn't leave because I was overwhelmed by guilt, I left because I was feeling sad and irritated that I couldn't pursue any of them. Like I said, I don't think I've felt this way before. It was more overwhelming than usual. Typically, I would feel more guilt about wanting to see these guys naked, but today I just didn't want to feel anything regarding SGA, whether it was attraction, guilt, longing, pitty for myself, hatred toward myself, anger for having to deal with this, or whatever feeling associated with this plight I am in. So, I got myself out of the situation. I went down to the gas station and bought a Coke and sat in the car, just not thinking about my SGA.

Do I really want to have sex with these guys? What is it that I'm longing for? What price am I willing to pay to get it? I want to be closer to these men but I don't know how or don't have the courage. I don't fit in. I want to be like them. I want to be straight, but I don't really know what that means. I don't know what it is that I'm feeling. The world calls it gay, the church calls it SGA. All I know is that this is how I feel and I go from day to day, trying to do what is right. I have obligations to a family I love and can't imagine being without.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

So what is it that keeps me from pursuing a relationship with another man? What is it that I do from day to day that allows me to stay with my wife and kids, attend the temple, take the sacrament and participate in all church functions? What are the daily functions that I adhere to that keep me where I'm at? I'm not sure if there is any safe and sound, tried methodology. I, like many of you in my same position try to pray daily, read the scriptures, serve in my calling, fulfill my obligations as a husband and father, hold family home evening with my family, and attend church each Sunday. Are these the things that keep me from giving-in to my need for a male relationship? I know these things help, but I can't imagine that they are the determining factors.

Perhaps it is because I have a personal testimony of the teachings of Christ as taught by the church. But, this too, in and of itself could not be the determining factor. So what is it? Maybe I'm afraid to lose my wife and family. I also don't believe that pursuing a relationship with another man will really make me happy. All these things combined could lead to my not taking action on feelings within me that are so powerful and seem so natural. But I also know there are others who are doing the same things on a daily basis, who feel the same way I do, who have strong testimonies and beliefs in place that are even stronger than my own, who have decided to pursue a same-gender relationship. So what is the determining factor? Does it simply come down to making a choice? A choice that I must make on a daily and sometimes hourly basis?

I definitely don't claim to be perfect. There are times I regress and look at porn, usually being more offended than aroused. But if I can find just the right amount of "soft" porn, I can be aroused without being offended. Do I look at images and videos of naked men because I have a need to do so, with the end result being masturbation? Yet, I seem to be able to get up each morning, kneel before my God and my Creator, sincerely asking for forgiveness and moving on with my life and my daily responsibilities of work, family, church and society. I read yesterday in the scriptures that sharing your testimony can help with forgiveness of sin. I think I should share my testimony more often.

So here I am, writing this blog, trying to piece it together and make sense of it all, but it's simply too miraculous to make any sense. Ah, there it is. It's a miracle. It's not just what I do each day, and the choices I make, it's a heavenly gift. Perhaps it has correlation with the greatest sacrifice of all. It's the process of forgiveness and allowing myself to receive this most incredible gift from a loving and understanding Heavenly Father. There is no way that I could deal with my beliefs, my convictions and same gender attraction on my own. It's not simply what I do and what I believe, it's what is freely given to me. His grace. His love. His perfect love. Christ's love.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

I'M NOT GAY! I no longer want to be associated with this label, or any label for that matter. I am me, an individual. I understand the need to be associated with a group of people, to band together, to support each other and to feel accepted. Although there are many good reasons for being identified with a group of people (in this case men who are attracted to men), I've just recently begun to notice some of the harmful and damaging consequences of labeling myself as gay. Having feelings of same gender attraction, or "struggling" with SGA as many in the church use, is also not acceptable to me. Using SGA fits closer to what I feel and believe but it's still a label I am not comfortable with.

Some of you may say that I'm in denial, and perhaps I am, but the point I am trying to make is that I am seeing a negative side in myself, and in others who blog here, that really bothers me. For those of us who have decided not to act on our feelings of SGA (meaning that we have chosen not to have sexual relations outside of marriage between a man and a woman), using the broad term of "gay" implies too much. The main negative consequence I have noticed in myself is that my focus has changed or has become too narrow. I feel like I'm limiting myself to being gay or not gay. Although I didn't choose to be gay or be attracted to men, I am now choosing not to be gay. I think what this means is that this is isn't the sole focus of my sexual identity, nor is it a major defining piece of who I am. Our lives really are greater than the sum of our parts. When considered with how complex we are, feelings of SGA begin to take on a much smaller role.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

I found out today that my dog is gay. He stayed at a friends house this past week while I was out of town. When I picked him up today, my friend said that he tried to copulate with my friend's male dog. He's been neutered, so I thought his sex drive was gone...I guess not. Although this new information about my dog isn't really that extraordinary (most dogs will hump just about anything), I found myself feeling sorry for him. My friends were laughing at him. I couldn't help but feel for him. Hardly anyone knows of my SSA, so I haven't ever been ridiculed, but I still feel the sharp pains of feeling different and not understood. I don't feel ashamed of my SSA, but wonder if I will ever feel normal and accepted. For those of you who are out to your friends and family, does coming out relieve some of these feelings as you encounter people who love and support you, even knowing that you are gay? I want compassion. I need someone to feel sorry for me, like I feel sorry for my dog.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Sunday, July 08, 2007

I'm wondering if there is something different about MoHos (I swore I would never use the term, I just don't like labels, but it is very convenient). I'm thinking that perhaps, due to our beliefs, as well as other forces of Mormon lifestyle, we are attracted to other men, but don't really want to have sex with them. Gay porn for me is more offensive than arousing. Yes, there are times when I lust after the male form, but for the most part, I could never imagine actually having sex with another man. To be specific, anal and oral sex are not attractive to me, and I'm thinking that many of you feel the same. Yes, there are other ways of being physical with another man, but in the common practice of gay sex in the world, anal and oral sex seem to be the standard.

Kissing sounds good (but I don't really know for sure), hugging sounds great, touching sounds incredible but just being close would provide for my needs. Many of us were interested to hear that a famous gay rights activist, now turned anti-gay activist and possible member of the church described being gay as lust and pornography wrapped into one. He didn't mention anything about the need for a close relationship, or just needing to be loved by men. Although I'm sure that many gay men also need to be loved, the focus in the gay world seems to be on the sex. However, here in the Mormon gay world, the focus seems to be on the need for just being close and accepted by other men. Is this because of our beliefs and upbringing? Mormons in general are very loving and close as a religion. We have spiritual experiences together that are really quite intimate. If you've been on a mission, those experiences are often encompassed by an almost exclusively male environment.

I like the idea of not really associating with the larger gay world, as described by many of you in the definition of MoHo. We're not really gay to the same degree, or at least our focus is maintained by some very powerful guiding principles based on person testimony. This fundamentally changes our gayness. Maybe we're not really gay, according to the definition set by the world. All we really want is to be close. As far as male attraction is concerned, I'm as attracted to men as the next gay guy. Women just don't do it for me, or at least, not quite as easily as do men. I have to work at being attracted to women. But, again, there does seem to be a limit to my gayness. I don't' think this has anything to do with the gayness scale, it's a separate issue. I know many of you have touched on many of the same ideas here, but I'm still trying to put it all together. If I could have one very close male friend, who isn't afraid to touch and love, with limits, I think that the majority of my gay needs would be met. Would I end up wanting more, possibly, but overall, I would be quite satisfied.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

I have to apologize if I place any pictures on my blog site that may offend anyone. It's not my intention to lead you down the tempting path, but instead provide an outlet for me to freely express myself. This is the only place I can talk about being gay and share what I feel inside. This is an outlet for me and the pictures are part of that. I try and chose pictures that are tasteful.

I've read a couple of blogs from you guys lately about not feeling anything at church. I too have been going through a tough time at church and have actually been cutting out of priesthood meeting to go for a drive and get a Coke. I don't feel guilty about doing this, but lately it has been turning into a habit. Last Sunday I stayed at EQ and the lesson was actually great. It was given by a man who was baptized less than a year ago. It was so nice to hear him talk about why he believes in the Book of Mormon and in Joseph Smith. I came very close to feeling the spirit, but still had a hard time.

The rest of the day was not good. I spent the day feeling down and somewhat aggravated, but mostly just wanting to tune everything out and be by myself. I can't explain how, but the simple act of going for a drive by myself makes the rest of my day go much smoother. I seem to need the time to re-energize. We don't have church until late afternoon, and I spend most of the morning taking care of the kids and getting them ready for church. The only time available for me to spend some time alone is during church. If I wait until after church it's too late and I spiral downward.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

I took a needed break from the blogging world for awhile. I've been trying to catch up on what's going on with everyone. I'm so grateful this blogging world exists. There are so many going through the same things I am. I also appreciate the varying levels and degrees of everyone's situation. I feel like I can go back in time with some of you where you are now, contemplating marriage, or I can go forward in time with some of you who have been married many more years than myself. Some of you have made not so good choices I might have made had it not been for your example (sorry to take advantage of your bad choices). I selfishly like to see the outcome of your decisions, weigh the consequences and make choices for myself, based on your examples. I also enjoy the loving support from all of you. I'm always amazed at the caring responses I get when I am in trouble or headed down a path that will only lead to further unhappiness. You guys are great, and I feel honored to be a part of your lives. Thank you for sharing some of your most intimate thoughts and feelings with seemingly total strangers. I hope that I can meet some of you someday and thank you in person.

On another note, I went to the doctor yesterday with an embarrassing situation. I have an infection located in a very private part of my body. I've been going to this doctor for about a year now. He's young and good looking, although I'm not really attracted to him. He knows a little about my SSA. I was dreading having to undress in front of him and expose myself. I know, he's a doctor and sees naked guys every day, but the only time I ever undress in front of other guys is at the gym, and the room is full of naked guys. At the doctor, it's just me and him, and he's not taking his clothes off anytime soon for me. So he said let's take a look and I began to unbutton my pants and pull them down while he sits in a chair in front of me, with me standing. His eye level is right at my crotch. He sits there and looks, doesn't touch and tells me what I've got and what to do. By this time, I can barely talk I'm so nervous. My voice quivers as I respond to his questions. I'm sure he could tell that I was way nervous. When he was done looking, I quickly dressed and sat down, my heart still racing.

So what was that all about? Why was I so nervous? He's my doctor. We're both adults. I wasn't necessarily aroused in any way, but I could have been if I had thought about it. In fact I did think about it while waiting for him in the room alone. I started to get a little aroused, making me even more nervous, so I quickly redirected my thoughts. But I failed to regain my composure. I get nervous just thinking about it all over again. Do you guys have this same experience at the doctor? I hate it, but at the same time, would enjoy doing it all over again. It has made me reevaluate my self-control and my intentions. Do straight guys have any problem exposing themselves to their doctors? Maybe I'm just really shy. But in some weird twisted way, even though I was way nervous, I wish it would have lasted longer. Of all the dumb things we have to deal with as gay men, trying to live a straight life. I can't even go to the doctor without it becoming a defining event in my gay little world.

Monday, May 21, 2007

I've been thinking seriously about posting my real name and a picture of myself on this blog, rather than using the name of Forester and a false picture. Part of me doesn't want to hide behind anonimity. I think it would help as a step toward the coming out. My wife still doesn't know about my attraction to men and I guess there is the possibility that someone I know will see my blog site. Would coming out this way place a limit on how truthful I am in my blogs? Probably, to some degree, but for the most part, I don't have a problem with others I know possibly reading this blog. I don't exactly use this blog as a personal journal, but I guess there is some information that is quite personal, especially my sexual preference for men. Why does anyone need to know something so private, and how is coming out this way really necessary in my acceptance of who I am and what I'm struggling with? If I reveal my name, I may be less likely to divulge some of the more intense sexual feelings and situations. For example, I may not want to create a post about an intense moment of physical passion in an hour of weakness.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I don't think I'm cut out for corporate America. I feel like I'm on the Apprentice every day. The competition is stiff and I just don't have the passion any more. I work for a huge consulting firm with offices all over the world. I love the firm, its goals, principles and reach, I just hate the work. I thought I could handle the stress and the pressure but I've found that I don't work well under pressure. I'm a very level headed person, but when it comes to crunch time, I find myself holding back and drowning in the chaos. I've also found that I can do lots of things but I really don't know anything. I just keep doing and hope that I will end up on top. I find myself hiding in my office, hoping I don't have to talk to anyone. The worst thing is that I have spent the last ten years educating myself and working my way up the ladder to find that I want off the ladder. If I could walk out the door today and never come back I would. I put out my resume on the web and have received multiple job offers, all doing the same thing. Why would I want to leave this job to start over again with another firm doing the same work? I'm trapped. I can't afford to start over again. I have a family to take care of. Where do I go from here? Is this where I'm destined to be the rest of my working life? There's plenty of opportunity for growth where I'm at, I just don't want to grow anymore - at least not in corporate America. I need out. I don't mind wearing a suit and tie every day, I just don't know the reason I'm wearing a suit and tie. My work life has little meaning to me. I enjoy the perks of working for the firm (being able to work from home, new laptop every two years, good pay, good pay increases, good health benefits, travel, etc.), but do the perks really make it worth feeling like another rat in the rat race? I don't like myself when I'm at work, I don't like what I've become and I don't like what I see for the future if I stay in this field of work. Whatever happened to be excited about the future? Am I going through a mid-life crisis? I have arrived, but I don't know where or why I have arrived.

Friday, May 11, 2007

A week ago I was listening to Dr. Laura on the radio and a woman called in asking if she should leave her husband because he was gay. They had children and the husband was begging her to not leave him. He hadn't been unfaithful to her but was having a difficult time with his attraction to men. The woman felt that it would be best to take the children and leave so that he could have some time alone to deal with his struggle. I was suprised when Dr. Laura told her not to leave her husband since he wanted to stay together and work things out. Dr. Laura felt it was worse to leave than to stay with a gay man. She said that once the children were grown, then they could decide if they wanted to stay together, but for the sake of saving the family, they should stay together for now. She told the woman to help her husband, stay by his side and stay committed to the vows they had made at marriage.

I was so impressed by her advice that I wrote an email to the show thanking her for sticking up for gay married men and their families. I told her a little about my own situation and how I am trying to do everything to stay faithful and that I would not be able to make it without the support of my wife. I also told her about our blogs (hope that was okay) and that there are many of us who are staying faithful against the odds. She immediately emailed back (during her show, not sure how she did that) asking for specific websites. I gave her mine.

I was so proud to have our struggle highlighted on national radio, with the support of a national figure. I don't always agree with what Dr. Laura says, but was very impressed with her advice to this woman.

Monday, April 30, 2007

I am 99% gay. I reserve 1% for being attracted physically to my wife, but beyond this, I have no attraction for women. I've heard that there is a scale for gayness, but I've never met anyone who was gay that was only half gay. I have also heard of gay men who have rid themselves of their attraction to men. I do believe this can be done, but I have yet to experience it. There have been times when I had no attraction to men or women. I had little to no sexual drive during my darkest months of depression. I could look at naked men or women without any attraction.

I had someone tell me that since I have been able to marry and have children that I must be lower on the gayness scale. Believe me, I am extremely attracted to men. I have never been attracted to women at any time in my life except for one short period of my egagement to my wife. Looking back to puberty and even before, I have always and only been attracted to men. There were a few short months while dating and being engaged to my wife where I was attracted to her. If this had not happened, I may not have gotten married. As it stands now, I love my wife, but I'm thinking that our sex life is probably not as good as a perfectly straight couple. If she initiates it, I can usually follow through, but I rarely initiate it any more.

Is this a sad existence? Not by a longshot. Having an incredible wife and incredible children, being able to take the sacrament, attend the temple, participate in all things in the church as though I were a perfectly straight man is what I have worked to accomplish. These are real and tangible accomplishments on which I base my success against the temptation of being attracted to men. I fall now and again, but I pick myself up and continue down the path I know will bring me true happiness now and through the eternities.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

"Do we nevertheless feel somehow diminished by the reality of the omniscience of God? Does His foreknowledge (which grows out of His omniscience) seem to make us less significant or less free? Does the perfect predictability of our behavior (in God's eyes) seem to squeeze out some of the sense of adventure in mortality? And if so, do we childishly want to play-act just a little longer - risking righteousness and true happiness merely in order to be reassured about our independence?"
Neal A. Maxwell, from All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience

I am back from my business trip to Salt Lake. And although I didn't meet up with a guy, I'm not proud of my actions. As a bachelor, without my wife, there is no way I could make it to heaven. I'm just too weak and stupid. I was supposed to arrive in Salt Lake at 6:30 pm Sunday evening. This was going to give me time to spend the evening out, cruising for guys in some of Salt Lake's seedier places. I didn't have to show up at work until Tuesday morning, so I also had a full day on Monday to live the bachelor life and "play-act" the gay life. However, my plane was delayed three hours and I didn't make it to the hotel until nearly 10:00 pm. So I gave up the evening out idea and decided to go online to a gay chat room to see what was going on in Salt Lake in the gay community. Needless to say, I found a guy, willing to come to my hotel room, but we chatted for so long that he decided to go to bed, with the idea of meeting up the next day for lunch. I was supposed to contact him and let him know where.

The morning came and I slept in. Once I got up and going, I had no desire to meet up with this guy, thanks to masturbating the night before. Normally, I would say that masturbation is not the right thing to do, but in this case, it was better than actually meeting up with the guy. And no, I didn't do it online with him, it was after we signed off. I had a pretty normal day, but there is not much to do in town on a Monday afternoon, so I ended up walking around the city and found myself at Temple Square. I saw the Joseph Smith film at the JS Memorial Building. There were many who were crying, but I would not allow myself to be touched by the spirit, especially after a less than righteous evening.

However, I was still determined to have some fun as a bachelor. So Tuesday night I met up with an old friend. He is gay, but does not know about my SGA. Luckily I am in no way attracted to him. He had seen a play and I met him afterward in front of the theatre when all of the actors and staff were coming out. I made a statement that was overheard by some of the staff. I said to my friend, "No wonder you like coming here, there are a lot of cute guys." Within seconds, one of the guys came over and started talking to us and was obviously hitting on me. I really wanted to ask him to dinner, but I didn't.

Later that evening, we went to meet a new friend of my gay friend. This friend was also gay, and to my near downfall, very hot. If the friend hadn't been on his way to work, we would have ended up hanging out, perhaps going back to the hotel, and who knows what would have happened. I flirted with him a little and wanted to touch him, even if it was just in jest. I kept looking into his eyes. I'm pretty sure he thought I was gay. Then my friend mentions my kids and all my fun went out the window. We left and I went back to the hotel and went to bed.

That was the extent of my few days as a gay man. Close calls, but no major action. However, it was enough to make me feel pretty guilty. I can't imagine how I would feel if things had gone further. I would be devastated. But as it turns out, I'm home, with my family, with a few more days of temptation behind me.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

HELP! My flight leaves tomorrow afternoon (Sunday) for Salt Lake and I've been cruising Salt Lake gay chat rooms to find someone to meet while I'm there for a few days. Overall, I trust myself and have made it this far, but I'm having a hard time for some reason. Why can't I be the same person I am when I'm at home when I'm away by myself? Am I really that weak? I don't necessarily want to have sex with a guy while I'm in Salt Lake. I just want to meet someone and spend some time with another guy. Do I allow myself to meet someone, going into it with the goal of just spending time, going to dinner, talking, committed not to have sex? I know I'm playing with fire, but I think after all these years that I can handle myself. Do one of you guys want to meet and save me from myself?

Saturday, April 14, 2007

So I took a trip to Utah this weekend. I had forgotten how many good looking young guys there are in Utah. Everywhere I looked there were groups of guys everywhere. I couldn't keep my eyes off them. I don't know how those of you who are in Salt Lake, Provo and other Utah towns can handle it. I would seriously have a tough time. I have to make another trip to Salt Lake in another week and I'm worried about how I am going to handle it. I will be in town on business, by myself, with a great hotel room. Three nights in a town full of clean cut Mormon guys. It's been a couple of years since I was in Salt Lake on business and the last time was the closest I have ever come to picking up a guy and taking him to my room. I was in the Starbucks at the Marriott when two obviously gay young men came in. They knew I was looking at them and that I wanted to approach them. But, I just couldn't do it. I finally got up and left. As I walked out, one of them called after me "Don't leave." I almost turned around. With my heart beating I kept walking back to my hotel room. Way too close for comfort.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Modern reason compared to that of fifty years ago is quite amazing. I'm a big fan of watching old movies and television. They seem to give us a glimpse into the thought and culture of the time in which the movie was made. I know we can't judge a time based on its media. Can you imagine being judged by what is currently on television and in movies? However, there are glimpses into the time period through the themes, scope and format of dialogue, reasoning, and structure of plot. These glimpses sometimes show how simple minded people must have been. Have you ever watched the old "Planet of the Apes"? Although quite remarkable in concept, deliverance of the story to the people of that time period is at best hilarious.

I wonder what will be said about SGA fifty years from now and how they will look back at us today.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Like many of you, I can't stop thinking about Elbow. He has been having such a difficult time. His latest post says that he has decided to leave his wife. Although I support him in his decision, I can't help but think that he is making the wrong decision. After reviewing my responses to his posts, I really hate myself for not taking a harder line for what I believe in. As much as I want him to stay with his wife, I don't want to be the one to tell him that he should. I want him to be happy and I want him to make choices that he feels will make him happy. I've always thought that when faced with a choice, most people, especially those raised in the church, will choose the right - meaning that they will hold fast to what the church teaches. But, nobody should be making choices based on someone elses testimony. Members of the church need to learn to rely on their own testimony. If you don't make your own choices then you start feeling resentment for the church. You shouldn't live the gospel if you don't want to - if you don't believe in it. Nobody shold be coerced into living a latter-day saint lifestyle. If you don't want to be in the church, then get out. I'm not going to try and save you. I'll be here for you and support you, but I won't make your decisions for you. I'm definately not one to talk. I'm depressed, attracted to men myself and question my own testimony frequently.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

I've received some comments suggesting that I am suffering from depression because my SGA is in conflict with my beliefs, my marriage and my family. I know there are many struggling with SGA who also suffer from depression, and that there is a direct link between the two. In my case however, there doesn't seem to be a connection. However, I can understand and sympathize with those who do suffer from mental illness as a result of inner conflicts, as well as religeous and societal pressures, arising from SGA. It's a tough road for all of us, whether or not we are Mormon. I have had conversations with many openly gay men who feel, deep down, that they know their lifestyle is wrong. I believe we are all born with the light of Christ within us that helps us to know right from wrong.

There is a lot of misunderstanding and stigma associated with mental illness. Saying that depression is a result of their environment or their circumstances does not always hold true. I have yet to pinpoint any reason for my depression. Some mental illness is simply the result of chemicals, or the lack thereof, in the brain. Having clinical depression for the past two years has helped me to take a closer look at myself. The disease in and of itself is actually quite physically and mentally debilitating. I ended up taking two months paid medical leave from work just to begin recovery. Although the disease probably snuck up on me slowly, it felt more like a sudden hit. I woke up one morning completely unable to face going into work. There was nothing in particular happening at work to make me feel this way, but I felt like I couldn't be away from my wife for more than five minutes. The idea of being alone was terrifying. Little did I know that this was just the beginning and there would be even more terrifying moments over the next two years. It has been quite an intriguing journey. I would never have guessed that I would have come down with this illness. I've always been happy - even with my struggle of SGA.

I'm not sure where I'm going with all of this, other than to say that my choice of being faithful to my wife and my beliefs, in the face of SGA, has not caused my depression. I don't feel trapped in my marriage or unfulfilled sexually because I have chosen to supress feelings of SGA. There are many who would lead me to believe that by not allowing myself to follow my "true" feelings of SGA that I will never be happy. In reality, the opposite is the truth.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Maybe I'm in denial, but I just don't believe that my SGA is the cause of my sadness. I have depression, and there may or may not be a reason for the depression. It's an illness, like having diabetes, just with a more complex mental component. I'm not leading a duplicitous life like many feel who have SGA. I have no internal conflict between my SGA and my religeous beliefs. I'm not denying myself of who I am. I will definately not be happier by giving in to temptation. Yes, I do have guilt about my feelings, but only enough guilt to keep me on the right track. Most of the time, I am happy and most of the time I have no SGA. I don't allow my SGA to play a dominant role in my life. I truely have dominion over myself. I have over ten years of marriage and at least twice that many years tempted with SGA but not a single sex act with another man. I can definately make it through the rest of my life.

I did not choose to have SGA, but I have chosen not to follow those inclinations. Anyone striving to live a righteous life must learn how to set limits on sex, whether gay or straight. I'm being more true to myself by staying true to my beliefs. Giving in to SGA would be denying my true self and my true nature as child of God. SGA does not define who I am, but it does help me to find my true self by exposing SGA for what it is: a lie. It may seem attractive and exciting on the surface, but it will never lead to true happiness. I am willing to bear this struggle all of my life if need be. By doing this, I will at least be true to myself by staying true to what I believe at my core. I will deny myself of all ungodliness and come unto Christ.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Crying in the Dark

There are times when I feel so fragile. It feels like the world is just too cruel of a place for me to exist. Where just the words from someone could crush me. It's a world where I just want to build a huge wall around myself and my family to shelter us from the evil and ugliness that surrounds us. Living at the end of times is difficult and often overwhelming. I feel like a child. I can't comprehend all that is going on around me and why there is so much hatred. It seems that everyone around me is struggling. They are tired. At work, at church, in restaurants, at the library, wherever I go, people are tired and barely hanging on. There has never been a greater need for the saving grace of Christ.

What is my role in all of this? I want to be a good father and husband. I want to contribute to society in a positive way. I want to be obedient. I want to be good. I want to help others. I want to make the world a better place. I feel like I'm stuck in a place that is difficult to move forward. I do okay at work, but not great, I do okay at home, but not great, I do okay in my church calling, but not great. I feel trapped. I often feel depressed, not just down, but totally overcome by blackness.

I have a good job and am able to support my family. I have a good education that allowed me to get a good job. The work is interesting, but something is missing. Something is not right. Is it just me? Should I be more positive about my work and the life I am leading? I have a great wife and children. They are my anchor and my hope, but they know something is wrong with me. I wish I could just pin it on the SGA, but that would be too easy. My SGA doesn't really create that many problems in my life. It's tough at times, but I don't believe that it is the cause of my suffering. My therapist tells me not to focus on the cause, but instead on the solution - don't ask why, just look forward. But I can't help but ask what is causing these feelings of incompleteness? Why are there nights that I can't stop crying in the dark - and I don't even know why I'm crying?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Thorn in the Flesh

"And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong." (2 Corinthi ans 12:7-10)

Paul's words strike me with both beuty and despair, ugliness and comfort. I've often felt that my ssa was a part of who I am. Do our sins define us? I would hope not, however the struggles that result from sin and temptation do define us. Our hopes and desires define who we are, but even mor than these our actions define us. I've never really been a man of great action. As an introvert, I prefer to watch and listen and then act in more subtle ways. In some ways, non-action can be a very powerful action in and of itself. Choosing not to participate, not to respond, not to give in, not to follow the crowd, not to jump at every beckoning call can be more challenging than taking action.

I am who I am, a married Mormon who is attracted to other men. But I am also so many other things. How much of the ssa plays a part of me, is really up to me. There is a group of thought in the field of psychology called "Parts Theory" that breaks a person down into various individual persons. For example, a person could have a distinct personality of an artist, as well as a businessman and a father. It's helpful to identify our various parts and give them place within us, without letting one part dominate the others. There are times when we have to negotiate between our parts, to make peace with each of them when internal conflicts arise. For me this understanding has helped a great deal with ssa. Yes, it's a part of me, but it does not define the complete me. Someday, I may find no further use of this part of me and I will be able to lay it or him to rest, but for now, he is there. A thorn in my side. I no longer ask for it to be removed, and believe me, I have asked more than "thrice". Instead, I ask for help, patience, understanding and mercy.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Strength in Numbers

So far, this blog, as well as other blogs of similar subject matter, has been an interesting look into the lives of gay married Mormon men. I'm impressed by the resiliency and faith of all of you and I'm honored to receive strength from your writings on these blogs. The greatest insight I have received is learning more about myself through my own writings and your responses to my blogs. I look forward to hearing about all of your struggles, successes and yes, even failures.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Coming Out to a Gay Friend

Only a handfull of people know I'm gay: a bishop, a couple of therapists, and a cousin. Each one required much thought and prayer before coming out to them. However, there is one person, a very close friend with whom a spent a few close years each summer that I have not told and continue to debate in my mind on whether or not to tell him. He's gay. He came out to me a few years ago, worried that I would then refuse his friendship. Little did he know how understanding I would really be. Should I tell hime that I am gay? He has gone through so many struggles and I've tried to be there for him, but something has held me back from letting him know that I too am gay. If I tell him, I'm worried it would ceate a bad situation. I finally found out that he has been attracted to me, where I find him very unattractive. I'm worried that he will feel like more of a failure because even though I'm gay, I have been able to marry and have kids and am doing very well. I have been able to keep my attraction to men at bay. He already feels like a failure with everything else in life and I don't want to add to that feeling. I know he's not a failure and have told him many times how much I love and respect him. Also, if I tell him that I'm gay, he may lose hope in coming back to the church. I want to tell him, but am not sure of my motives. I want to tell him how much I really do understand his struggles because I've had them myself. I'm also worried that he would take things too far and tell my wife, or it may even push him over the edge - be too much for him to handle. I'm worried that he would try and develop a relationship with me, and that if I pushed him away, he would feel extreme rejection, something he constantly feels already from most men. Is there any good in telling him I'm gay? So far, my answer to this question has been no.
Since July 15, 2007