Thursday, December 30, 2004

Letters to the Editor :)

Within the last week, I received two WONDERFUL emails from people who had read my blog. I was actually surprised by the emails because no one had ever commented on my blog before. I was also surprised because both emails were very positive. I’ve emailed other gay men (from personals sites, etc.) who basically put me down for taking the path I’ve chosen. These two emails were nothing but support and respect.

The first email was from a gay man in Florida. His name is Bill. Besides having excellent grammar, punctuation, spelling, and writing abilities, he gave me some excellent advice. I’ll publish his email – and my response to it – in this blog. I liked it that much.

The second email I got was from a wonderful Mormon woman in St. Louis, Missouri. She also said very nice things about my blog. Her comments were a little more personal, so I won’t share them on the Web. Both emails were huge pick-me-ups! If you two are reading, thanks a million for your kind comments!

In my response email to Bill, I explained a few things. First, I explained what I meant by “Health Risk” in my blog entitled “The Path I’ve Chosen.” Also, I explain why I think I was born heterosexual, but because of certain circumstances became homosexual.

In Bill’s email, the parts I loved the most were the parts about not hating one’s self because of his or her trials. Read closely because he is a wise man.

Anyhow, here’s the email I received from Bill and my response to that email.

To GayMormon:

I am very moved by your honesty. Let me tell you up front that I am a gay man who does not believe there is anything wrong with being gay. However, I do not judge you for having beliefs which are different from my own. What right do I have to do that?

I would not try to dissuade you from your efforts to overcome homosexuality, even though I do not believe it is something you should (or even can) overcome. Your reasons are very valid for your own belief system and I honor them. The only thing I would take exception to involves health. I assure you, heterosexuals who are indiscriminate or careless are at risk for AIDS and STDs as much as gay men. And you already know from your family's experience that unplanned pregnancies are another worry that heterosexuals have.

I can tell that you are an insightful and intelligent person. What is most important is that you are a man who strives to do the right thing and wants to do good. When you feel down on yourself for the aspects of yourself you feel are bad, do not lose sight of the fact that you are overall a good man. Everyone you know is flawed. I know you imagine your baggage is the worst. But no one is perfect. I am not a Mormon, but I do know the teachings of Christ and self-loathing is not a tool for redemption. As you strive to love others as Christ taught, you must not stop loving yourself.

I do not know enough about your religion to understand the culture you are living in, but gee, lighten up! Why can't you date nice girls without worrying about when to tell them about your sexuality and how unfair it is to marry them? Is it OK for you to slow down and just enjoy someone's company? Take everything a step at a time. You should be free to enjoy the company of someone you like (and allow them the enjoyment of being with you--don't forget that aspect) without feeling bad because of issues that may never enter into the relationship.

I would be interested to know more about why you are certain you were not born gay, but instead are gay because of circumstances. Perhaps you will write about that in your blog, or perhaps, if you want, you will E Mail me back. As for myself, I believe I was born this way and that's OK. However, my father died when I was very young and my life circumstances fall right into the classic nurture vs nature explanation for my sexuality, so who knows?

I have no agenda in contacting you, other than the fact that I was moved by your blog. Such raw honesty is inspiring. I know you have lots of support in your church and family when it comes to overcoming homosexuality. While I am not interested in changing your mind about that, I would like to offer an ear (well, E Mail) for those times when you need to vent and your usual support might not be the best place to go. I listen more than I talk back. And what is most important to me is not that you decide on the side of homosexuality, but that you never hate yourself for the struggle, no matter what the outcome.

My name is Bill and I live in Florida. I have been to Salt Lake and know it is a beautiful city. I took the tour of Temple Square and heard the Mormon Tabernacle Choir rehearse. While I will never be a Mormon, I have some insight into the source of your inspiration.

Whether you elect to write to me or not, I will be reading your blog. I wish you all the best in securing the life that you want for yourself.

Take care,



To Bill:


Thank you so much for all the kind things you said. It certainly was refreshing to get an email from someone who respects the decisions I’ve made and the path I’ve chosen. Typically I get emails from gay men telling me I am stupid for not accepting and living a homosexual lifestyle – but they say it in more polite terms, of course.

To be honest, I’ve considered both lifestyles. In fact, I am constantly considering both lifestyles. However, because of my belief system and circumstances, I think living the life of a heterosexual is best for me. It’s the route that will bring me the most joy. I don’t expect others to understand it – just respect it. Thanks so much for your respect.

Likewise, I truly understand what homosexuals are all about, and I don’t judge gay men. Just because I have chosen to live a heterosexual lifestyle, it doesn’t mean I think homosexuality is a choice. It’s not. It’s definitely a part of us, and, like you said, it probably isn’t something we can change. That’s why I am more liberal on gay rights issues, even though I am conservative overall. Anyhow, my point is I would never try to dissuade you or someone else from living a homosexual life just as you would never dissuade me from living a heterosexual life.

By the way, I agree completely that sexual promiscuity on either side of the fence – heterosexuality or homosexuality – is equally risky to one’s health. I didn’t explain my logic in my blog, so let me do so now.

You see, I have framed my problem as an all-or-nothing decision. Either I’m gay and NOT Mormon, or I’m Mormon and live a heterosexual lifestyle. (I know Mormon men who try to live the gay lifestyle and be active churchgoers, but the church excommunicates practicing gays and is against homosexuality entirely, so I don’t consider being both a viable option.) The Mormon Church is against sex outside of marriage. Because of its strict chastity code, I am a virgin man who plans on having sex with only one woman – my wife. Hence, I would have very little health risk because of sex. However, if I were to live a homosexual lifestyle and abandon the church, I would likely have many partners. That’s why I said health was one of my reasons for not practicing homosexuality. Rather complex, I realize. Perhaps I should include this section in my blog for clarification.

My favorite part from your email was the reminder that I am a good person and that I can’t hate myself. You’re absolutely right that self-loathing is not one of Christ’s teachings and that no one is perfect. I sometimes forget those two things. It’s easy to forget when you’re so consumed in a church and culture that views homosexuality as a sin. Thanks for the reminder.

Also, thanks for the dating advice: one step at a time. I like it. I’ll keep you posted on the dating situation.

You asked why I think my sexuality is a product of my upbringing. Here’s why:

The reason I think I wasn’t born gay is because I have distinct memories of being attracted to women/girls. For example, when I was a little boy, probably eight or nine, I remember going into my friend’s grandmother’s attic and finding some pornographic magazines – Hustler, Penthouse, Playboy, etc. Anyhow, I remember being very aroused by the naked women inside. In one of the magazines, there was a small steamy story with photographs illustrating what was happening in the story. I can actually remember the storyline … girl’s car breaks down, girl walks to gas station, girl meets guy, girl and guy eventually have sex. Anyhow, I remember looking at the beautiful naked girls over and over. I remember having an erection and telling my buddy, “I want my wife to be just like that.” Then, after looking at the pictures for several minutes, I noticed that I hadn’t even seen the guy’s penis. I had been so focused on the woman that I didn’t even notice the guy. I remember thinking, oh, I didn’t know these magazines had guy’s parts in them too. I then went back to staring at all the naked women. That’s one memory.

I also remember in the fourth grade my friend and I found a pornographic puzzle. I remember working on the puzzle for hours because I was so excited to see the naked women depicted on it.

Anyhow, those are just two examples. I realize they aren’t the most conclusive memories, but you’ll just have to believe me when I say I remember being attracted to women.

It wasn’t until junior high and high school that I remember being attracted to men. Of course, I denied most of my feeling back then, writing them off as “a phase.” I remember coming to the realization that I was gay in either the 10th or 11th grade. I was sitting in the dining room recliner and had just finished fantasizing about other men. Then it hit me like a rock: if I like to fantasize about men, I must be gay. I just started crying because that was the LAST thing I wanted to be.

In any case, I am now a gay man and I guess I’m not exactly sure why. I suppose it could be genetic, but I am skeptical. I think my relationship with my father, my personal interests, and my childhood friends were bigger factors in my becoming gay.

First, my father and I had a terrible relationship throughout my childhood. It wasn’t entirely his fault. He is a very hardworking man who did the best to raise his family. Because he was busy supporting his five sons and one daughter (I’m the youngest), I didn’t see him very much growing up. Plus, he was raising teenage boys for the first time and was heavily involved in their sporting events, high school activities, etc. As a result, my father’s main role in my life was that of punisher. If I ever did something wrong, my father would intervene to administer the punishment. That was our main interaction. Suffice it to say, we didn’t see eye to eye growing up, and I still don’t have the best relationship with him.

Second, all five of my older siblings were VERY involved in sports. All four of my brothers played sports on the collegiate level. I, on the other hand, did not like competitive sports. I was more interested in speech, drama, academics, and student government. My mother and siblings had me play sports through junior high school, but it wasn’t until the 10th grade that I broke off from all of it entirely. I personally believe I always felt a bit inferior because I wasn’t into sports like my brothers.

Third, my best friend until the 4th grade was a girl. We were very close, but then cruel children started teasing me for having a girl best friend. I broke off our friendship and tried to find a guy best friend. Again, I think that was a factor.

Wow, this email is a novel. Sorry. I just start rambling, and I can’t shut up.

Thanks for offering me your ear (or Inbox) whenever I need to talk. I’m sure I’ll take you up on that.

Thanks again for your great advice and understanding.



P.S. You have impeccable writing! No spelling, grammar or punctuation errors. Very impressive! Also, your email flowed flawlessly! Are you a writer?

Friday, December 24, 2004

Keeping the Hope Alive

I just finished watching the Butterfly Effect, which is a very interesting but creepy movie. Because of the movie, I am feeling a bit weird right now. A little dark, if you know what I mean. It seems like those types of movies leave me in a hopeless state – like the one I’m in now.

With that preface, let me explain how I’m feeling right now. (Need I explain?) I feel like I am just resisting the inevitable. It doesn’t matter what I do – go to Evergreen, make guy friends, get married, have kids, resist homosexuality – I feel that at some point in my life I am going to throw in the towel, give it all up, and become openly gay. Where that path will take me, I don’t know. I don’t even like to imagine. I really don’t think I’ll be happy on that road. In fact, I’m sure that road will be much like the path taken by many other gay Mormons.

I’ve been reading about some of the experiences gay Mormons have gone through. They all seem to end the same: they come out of the closet, live the gay life, accept who they “are,” turn against the Church, and say they are so much happier. HOW? WHAT? WHY?

I know there are other gay Mormons who haven’t had that experience, but their stories aren’t nearly as prevalent on the Internet – go figure. In any case, if – and I repeat “IF” – that is my destiny and if that is what I am going to become, then I may as well try to minimize the damage. I shouldn’t try to date girls. I shouldn’t try to resist it. I should give in now and avoid the pain; i.e., this painful journey of futile resistance.

However, I can’t say that I know what the pain is like on the other side. I suppose the “other side” refers to the homosexual lifestyle. I’m sure it’s just as painful, if not more so.

I was folding my laundry thinking about the happy Sunday I had several weeks ago. If you remember, I felt bad because I felt good. I realized at that moment that I don’t understand God. Because of my guilt, I didn’t feel right about feeling happy when I have committed so many grievous sins. Yet, I know God would want me to be happy. I certainly have screwed up, and I have certainly fallen short of what I should or could be, but God doesn’t hate me for it. He loves me and wants me to be happy.

I know that because of the indescribable happiness that I’ve felt because of Him. I cannot deny Him or His many blessings! I’ve been given so much. I think homosexuals like myself often get too wrapped up in themselves. That’s their biggest downfall – not that they give into temptation, but that they become selfish and can’t see outside themselves. Perhaps that statement only describes myself.

God in heaven, help me to never become so self-centered that I lose perspective! Help me to be humble. Help me to do Thy will, not the world’s or anyone else’s.

I love God. I love what He has given me and what He has helped me accomplish in this life. With His loving help, I can do anything. May I never forget that. Also, may I always remember that most of life’s happiness comes from being selfless – not selfish.

I can’t help mentioning how I feel now. I feel happy and hopeful. I don’t feel dark anymore. It’s amazing what writing things down can do for you.

“Hope is a great thing, possibly the best of things.”

Saturday, December 11, 2004

What Happened?

Just two hours ago I was writing about how I am fighting homosexuality, then something hit me and I decided to look at gay porn. What's wrong with me? I decided to write about it before I go to bed. I think it ties into the loneliness thing. I was feeling unattracted to the whole idea, then I started thinking about hairy men. The next thing I knew I was on a gay site looking at male porn. How do I do it!?

Writing It Out

I’m sad right now. Actually, I was even sadder ten minutes ago, but I just finished reading some of my former blog posts on, and now I am in a happier, more peaceful state. To elaborate on my feelings, I’m not exactly sure why I was so sad. I just felt lonely. You see, I just got back from a party with some of my friends. Well, I don’t even know if you could call it a party, we just sat around and talked. I enjoyed it thoroughly, but something inside of me made me feel bad. Probably because a lot of people were invited and only 10 or so came. I guess I want to have everyone like me and come to parties that I help plan. It’s ridiculous. In fact, as I write this, I realize my expectations are off the wall sometimes. Anyhow, after the get-together, my one buddy – who is extremely attractive and fun – left to go to another party. I felt bad. I’m not sure why. Perhaps I was sad because he didn’t invite me specifically to go with him. He gave a blanket invite, but I didn’t feel like he had invited me directly. We’re good friends, and he and I get along well; it’s just that I don’t dance well and he was going dancing. I love to dance, but I don’t know how to Latin Dance. Anyhow…I am an idiot at times. My emotions are crazy sometimes.

On a brighter note, Michelle and I had lunch together yesterday! It was wonderful – as always. She’s so perfect. She’s so amazing! The man who becomes her husband is one lucky person. I don’t even know how to pinpoint her amazingness, but it’s there. After our fun-filled lunch, we looked at the art in the museum on campus. We had fun. Some of the art was absolutely fantastic; other pieces were very weird and unattractive. I need to get more into the weird stuff I suppose. Anyhow, after we were finished looking at the art and on our way out, she said she wouldn’t be going to her home until Dec. 22 or so. I said, “really?” and then she said, “we should do something before I leave.” I could have melted right then. I kind of hate that I’m so twitterpated over this girl. I am never like this. This is not me. Most people would never know I have these emotions because I am so good at hiding them. My roommate tells me I hide my emotions too much, too well, and too often. What can I do? I hate being overly transparent to people who really don’t care and just want entertainment value from my emotions. I know those types of people because I sometimes find people’s emotional struggles to be entertaining. Not that they are always laugh-out-loud funny, but that they are interesting and fun to know about. Anyhow, maybe that doesn’t make sense. Let me illustrate.

A dear friend of mine told me about her break-up last week. It was the juiciest EVER! That’s the sole reason I wanted to hear about it. My friend actually caught her boyfriend with his ex-girlfriend. The ex-girlfriend was performing oral sex on the boyfriend when my friend walked in on them. (There were a lot of “friends” in the last two sentences.)

Now you see. That story was not only funny, but unique and very dramatic. I enjoyed it. Did I really want to hear it just because I was concerned about my friend? Probably not. I wish I were that altruistic.

In any case, I need to reduce my Michelle infatuation. It almost seems borderline obsession. That’s freaky. Plus, I need to realize that she’s not going to go for a gay man. Especially once she finds out about my sexuality. She will dump me for sure. In fact, while we were eating she said she had heard of nearly 10 couples who were separated, divorced or struggling because the husband was addicted to porn. Hello! I’m addicted to porn! She said it terrified her. I wondered right then if I should just drop my interest in her, but I guess I have this hope – call it faith if you want – that I will overcome my problems with porn and homosexuality and become an influence for good in the world. Not to say that I’m not an influence for good, but I believe if I do overcome these struggles, I will be able to help people with similar struggles. I would first recommend they start with that book I finished reading. It was magnificent.

Nonetheless, when she finds out, I’m sure she’ll can me in a very polite way, and I can’t blame her for doing so. I will even support her in that decision because my baggage is the EXTRA-EXTRA LARGE kind, and nobody should have to deal with it. Sometimes I try to tell myself that this baggage isn’t that big, but I really can’t think of anyone with larger baggage on this train of life. Such is life. I still love my life, but it’s unfortunate that I’ll never be able to have a wife and family. Oh well, I’ll just have to find joy in service and money – which aren’t bad things by any means.

This is a funny thought: sometimes I think I should find a girl who has baggage similar to mine; i.e., a girl who has emotional problems of some sort. Then she would be able to accept my flaws and baggage. Then I think to myself, “Would it be good to have two people with EXTREMELY large baggage in the same compartment?” Probably not. That would mean our baggage would be very difficult for the both of us to deal with. I need someone with little baggage who can help carry mine.

Enough of the baggage talk…so I’m poor and need to find a new job. I love my current job, but it doesn’t pay well enough and I don’t work enough hours. I need to talk to a few of my friends who might be able to hook me up.

Oh yeah, before I forget, I decided I need to make a list of things I can do to beat my “Feelings of Isolation,” the first step in the compulsive behavior cycle. Feelings of isolation are the ones I’ve been feeling tonight. I feel alone and unlovable. It’s a bad combo. Fortunately, I’ve not turned to the Internet, i.e. porn, for comfort. Whoopee! Two whole weeks of staying clear from the Internet! I deserve a brownie! Sheese. I really have felt tempted all day long. I just want to cuddle with a man. Please, someone let me cuddle with you. That’s all I need. Yeah right. If I were able to cuddle, the next thing I’d want is sex. And I know I’d never feel satisfied. That’s the nature of my homosexuality – it’s unquenchable! I’ve heard too many accounts of people who feel unfulfilled. In fact, a gay man from NY wrote me once – he’s an ex-Mormon – and told me that sex will never make me feel fulfilled. He’s right. I realize that. I bet most people in this world are simply pursuing fulfillment when they turn to deviant behaviors. I think about drugs all the time now because I think they could help me deal with my problems better. Who am I kidding? I know drugs will just mess me up even more. It’s irrational, but it sure sounds nice.

Writing makes me feel better. Just a half hour ago I was so lonely and unhappy. I’m actually feeling better now. Weird.

What I want to do to overcome my feelings of isolation: serve others, visit people randomly, set up game nights, write letters to people, make more friends, go on dates, plan activities, plan one-on-one activities. I love one of my good friends from class. She’s wonderful. I wish I could mention her name specifically, but her name is unique so people would be able to identify both her and me. I just want to say that she is a fun, fun person with great people skills. She loves to talk and I love her. I thought of her because she is so thoughtful and considerate of others. What a great quality.

Okay, I’m going to go watch a movie now.
PEACE! (I wish I felt it all the time.)

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Happy Days

Today was such a wonderful day! For a moment today, I just stopped what I was doing and enjoyed the happy sensations that were overwhelming my body. While I was enjoying my happy state, I started to feel bad for feeling so good. After all, I am a terrible person, I thought. I don’t deserve to be this happy. I have such a history with awful things like porn and homosexual tendencies! How can I be happy considering my past? I then realized that everyone deserves those feelings of peace and happiness. Regardless of my history, everyone should feel good about life every once in a while. In fact, we should feel that way more than once in a while.

Nonetheless, I suppressed all my negative thoughts and basked in the moment. Today was truly marvelous!

I felt so good because of a combination of things: first, Michelle baked me cookies! She is the most wonderful girl ever. She’s the first girl I’ve fallen head over heels for. I can’t even believe how amazing she is. I really want to date her, but I’m scared. My main fear is rejection. Plus, I don’t want to waste her time. Once she finds out about my sexuality, she will likely reject me and then regret having gotten to know me. I so badly want to date her, but she deserves better. She deserves someone who honors his priesthood, is morally clean and is a heterosexual. I really dread the day when I’ll have to tell her about my sexuality. I don’t even know at what point I should do that. I already know that I will disclose EVERYTHING about my past with my future wife before we are engaged. I don’t want her to get engaged to somebody she doesn’t know. I think it’s her right to know about my past and who I am. Then she can make a righteous judgment about our future. I’m thinking four months into the relationship should give enough time. If I ever get into a relationship, I’m going to set a goal to disclose everything at or around the fourth month. I really wish this wasn’t my struggle sometimes. I’m glad for everything I’ve learned from it, but it really sucks at other times. That’s life. My sexuality is a big part of me, and I can’t do anything about it..

Speaking of sexuality… today was incredible because I had very little – if any – homosexual desires. How does that work? How can I want men so badly one week, and then be totally turned off by them the next? I really don’t understand myself. Well, I have theories. I personally believe that since I have been making progress over the past week, the spirit has been with me and I haven’t had desires to do bad things. If only I felt like this 24/7. I believe I will be able to be strong at some point, but I’ve just got to be patient.

I also finished that marvelous book. I’ve had it for nearly a year, and I just started reading it last week and finished it this week. What a life-changing book. I hope I can apply those principles. I’ve come to realize that my sexuality is rooted in my loneliness. Most of the time, my homosexual desires don’t extend beyond just cuddling with men. I want to be close to them. I want to feel loved by them. Because I get lonely, I reach out through the Internet for solace. Now that I can see the root causes, I can see what I need to do to overcome them.
Today I also met the most amazing people! I met a bunch of Michelle’s friends and I love them. They are wonderful people. I hope to become good friends with them. Today was GREAT! I couldn’t have asked for a better day. I really want to feel like this for the rest of my life. May that happen. May I find the strength to resist temptation always! I am such a happy person when I am not meddling in porn or masturbation. I feel like I can conquer the world. That’s how I feel now. I love Michelle. I don’t deserve her.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Kill me now, Lord

Today has been wonderful. I attended my niece’s baptism earlier today, and just about an hour ago I received cookies from a girl I love to death. I also just finished reading the best book I’ve ever read on the subject of addictions: “Breaking the Cycle of Compulsive Behavior” by Martha Nibley Beck and John C. Beck. It was WONDERFUL! It has inspired so much hope in me! I just want to die now because it has been a week since I last caved to my natural desires, and I don’t have any desires to look at porn, be with a man, or do anything bad. I just want to be good. Kill me, Lord, while I am still moving up the path of righteousness. You see, one of my biggest fears is dying while I am going down the path of wickedness. For example, had I died two weeks ago, I would have been devastated because I was doing so many terrible things; i.e., looking at pornography and masturbating.

Though I don’t really want to die, I do want to die a clean – or, at least, a relatively clean – person. My fear is that I will never overcome my problems with homosexuality, problems which I so badly want to overcome. I fear the future. Yes, right now I am strong. Right now I know that I will not do anything bad because my homosexual desires have dissipated from within me. How that happens, I’m not exactly sure (I have an idea or theory, but I’ll share that another time). All I know is right now, in this moment, I am in control. But, what happens tomorrow, next week, in a month, one year from now, a decade from now – I don’t know! For nearly the past decade, I have gone through this cycle of feeling strong for a week, several weeks, or even months, but then something inside of me snaps, and I cave to my temptations. I find myself looking at homosexual pornography, masturbating, and just feeling plain awful about life and my struggles.

In the book I just finished reading, one of the men in the book struggled with homosexuality. His experience has many similarities to my own. He feared the same things. Because of his fears, he didn’t want to enter into a relationship with a woman; he didn’t want to hurt her sometime down the road. In all likelihood, I will probably relapse at some point in the future. That’s the truth and it terrifies me. The book points out that most people struggling with addictive behaviors do relapse several times during their recovery. The authors said they know of no addicts who overcame their problems over night. It was a process for them. It took most of them years to completely eradicate their addictive behaviors. On top of that, the book said once an addict, always an addict, just like Alcoholics Anonymous professes. I know that I am a homosexual, and I know that I will very likely have homosexual desires on and off for the rest of my life. My goal is to minimize the effects of it, to bring it under control, and to work my way back to my Father in Heaven. I know that forever more I will have to watch myself. I will have to be careful about the places I go and the people I see because I will always be vulnerable to the addiction.

Though I have been on a roller coaster ride for the past decade, I’ve always believed – and still do believe – that I will be able to rein in my natural man (if you’re not Mormon, I’m referring to my natural carnal desires that are not in harmony with God’s principles of joy). I suppose the only thing I have to fear is fear itself. My father instilled that fear inside of me after I returned from my mission nearly 20 months ago. I’ll explain how he did so in a minute. First, let me explain how I came to tell my father about my sexuality.

About six months before going home from my mission, I was watching a general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Elder Holland was speaking, I believe. He was talking about raising the bar for missionaries, and in his talk he told both the youth and parents that fathers need to be more involved in their children’s struggles. I had a strong impression at the time that I needed to tell my father about my struggles. In fact, I had the impression that if I did not talk to him, I would certainly follow the path to eternal destruction. It sounds a little crazy, but it’s true. I knew that if I didn’t ask for help and tell people about my problem, I was not going to be able to overcome it.

Within days of returning home from my mission, I relapsed. I found myself looking at male pornography on the Internet. Immediately, I fell into depression. After all, I had just gone nearly two and a half years without pornography. I had been a servant of our Lord, Jesus Christ. How could I have returned so quickly to my carnal instincts! I felt empty, hopeless, and doomed – feelings which prompted me to continue in my sins. To those around me, I played my depression off as being the “transition” period after a mission. After only a week or two of meddling in sin, I remembered my impression from six months earlier and decided to obey it.

I prayed for an opportunity to talk to my father alone, when my mother was not around. I absolutely did not want her to know about my homosexuality. She is too fragile. I love her to death and I don’t want to see her hurt. I knew my father could handle it and would handle it well. He’s a very understanding person and truly wants to help his children any way he can. Within a day or so, the opportunity presented itself. I don’t remember the time of day or preparations I made before speaking to him. My memory of the experience begins with me walking into the dining room where my father was reading something (perhaps it was morning time because he usually reads in the morning). I was very nervous. I can remember dreading having to tell him. I began with small talk. After a few minutes, I told my dad I wanted to talk about something. I began by telling him about my dreams and future goals. He was impressed. After all, I have wonderful goals and dreams. Then I broke it to him. I told him only one thing stood between me and my goals: homosexuality. I told him I struggle with homosexuality and that I’ve struggled with it for the past 8 years or so. I also told him that I’ve struggled with porn in the past. (I purposely said “in the past” because I didn’t want him to know about my recent return to pornography.)

My father reacted exactly as I thought he would. He was very understanding and showed great concern and love. He then told me a horrifying story; one I will never forget for the rest of my life. His intention was to illustrate the negative effects of pornography on men; however, I took it as foreshadowing for my own life.

His story goes as follows:

While serving as bishop in his ward in Salt Lake City, my father met with a member who was struggling with pornography addiction (female porn, of course). He began working with the man to help him overcome the addiction. He worked him for a period of years, and though the addict would show signs of progression for a period of period of time – weeks or months – he always “returned to his vomit.” I don’t know what possessed my father to tell me this story after I had just barely confessed my pornography viewing habits.

As a result, I reacted with dismay, asking my father why he would tell me such an awful story. Was he alluding to my situation? Was he saying I, too, was doomed to a life of pornography addiction? He said, “But you haven’t had a problem with it for years?” I told him that just that week I had been into it. My father was surprised. He was horrified. He felt bad for having told me the story but immediately counseled me to get out of the addiction as quick as possible (as if I didn’t have that desire already). To this day, I still think of that man from Salt Lake, struggling with his porn addiction for the past 30 years. How awful! I pray that man found help and inner strength. I pray that he overcame it – more for my sake than for his.

Though my father is understanding and loving, he has no concept of how addictions work or how to help an addict. For several months after our conversation, I would talk to my father about my problems, but eventually I made it clear that I didn’t like talking to him about it. I always came away from our conversations feeling worse than before. It wasn’t entirely his fault. A lot of it was my fault. I have always hated receiving advice from my father. I’m prideful, I know. I guess I just want him to listen to me and love me despite my problems – not give me advice.

In all fairness, I know my father loves me unconditionally. I just never feel it when we talk about my problems. Does that make sense? He has always wanted to help me. He simply doesn’t know how to approach my problems. His instinct is to tell me that my addictions are sinful and that I need to quit them. He tells me that I just need to have more faith and believe that I can overcome my problems. He tells me everything I already know but can’t seem to do. Telling me how to do overcome my problems just isn’t helpful for some reason. I know, it sounds ridiculous. In any case, it has been at least 8 months, probably longer, since we last discussed my struggles. I now want to give him the book I just read. I think it could help him help me. At some point, I know I am going to have to confront him on the awful story he shared with me. I need closure and reassurance that the story does not apply to me.

I told my father about myself back in April 2003. Now it’s December 2004 – nearly 20 months later. I have gone through the same cycle the man in the story went through. I’ve had ups and downs. I’ve gone weeks, even months, without viewing porn or masturbating, but then I always seem to return to my vomit. That’s why I fear for the future. That’s why after only a week of resisting temptation I want to die. I just don’t know how long this good period will last. I want it to last forever, but I’ve always wanted that. I just want to know that I can overcome this problem. I wouldn’t mind relapsing in the future if I was sure it was all part of the recovery process. “Two steps forward, one step back” is okay for a while, as long as I’m progressing, and as long as it becomes “Three steps forward, one step back” and eventually “20 steps forward, no steps back.”