A number of years ago, my best friend was getting married. He came to Provo with his fiancee, and he stayed at my apartment. I was thrilled to see him. I loved him. (still love him to this day) I offered him the bed, sleeping on the floor myself. It took some convincing. In fact I think he’s the only friend who’s ever stayed with me who let me talk him into it. I appreciated that he let me talk him into it.
Then something happened that I appreciate even more. He and I were sitting on my bed in the dark. He and I talked for hours. Even though he had to be somewhere reasonably early in the morning and was sure to be exhausted, he and I talked on and on. Then he did something that I will always remember. My friend told me things about his past that he had dealt with. They were not the same things that I am dealing with here, but had a big impact on his life. He trusted me with his secrets. To have someone trust me that much made a huge difference to me.
Because of my best friend’s trust, I decided that I could trust as well. The next day, I wrote him a letter. Even though I had decided to trust him, I didn’t trust the idea of releasing control of the information in any way that could be traced to me. I was a student at BYU, and to have the information become public would have not been good for my ability to finish my studies there. It was not that I thought he would reveal the information. He has never betrayed my trust, even to his wife, which is loyalty beyond my wildest dreams. (yes, I am starting to cry a little thinking about it.)
Instead of sending the letter via email, I called him and read the letter to him. I told him of the things I had done. I told him about the pornography. I told him about the masturbation. I told him about the nights that I lied awake in my bed, holding my loaded gun to my head, finger on the trigger. I told him everything. Never in my life have I placed as much faith in someone as I did in him.
His trust was the catalyst that enabled me to trust him that much. I already loved him. I had loved him for years. I loved him almost from the first time I met him. (I liked him a lot then. It was something he said a few months later, which also showed his trust in me, that sealed the deal making him my best friend, and honorary brother.)
My friend recommended that I go talk to a bishop about the whole situation. I did not take his advice. A while later, when I had a three day weekend, I went to visit him. One of the nights I was there at his house, he and I walked around his parking lot for hours. It wasn’t exactly the best weather for it, but he walked with me as I rambled. He asked me if I believed in the atonement. I answered in the language that we spoke on our missions. The translation, which does not do the original justice, is “I know it, but I don’t believe it.” Intellectually I knew that the atonement applied to me, but I couldn’t see how. I couldn’t see how it could fix my problem.
When I went back home, I couldn’t stop thinking about our conversation that night. The next day, I wrote a confession of sorts. I tracked down my bishop. I called and asked if I could meet with him. He asked if it could wait until some other time. It was mid-week, and I’m sure he had previous plans with his family. I insisted, because I knew that if I didn’t go talk to him then, I would not talk to him. I went to his house. When I was there, I pulled out my laptop, opened the document I had written and handed it to him. I couldn’t bring myself to tell him. I sat in silence while he read it.
That bishop ended up not being very helpful. he offered very little support. Fortunately, I moved out of the ward soon after that, and found a bishop that was more understanding, more caring and more involved. He suggested that I undertake a number of steps (no, not 12 of them) to combat the pornography and masturbation. One of the things he asked me to do was to have someone who I would check in with every day. It would just be a simple check-in to let them know that I hadn’t slipped up that day. There was only one person I even considered.
For four months that summer, I called my best friend every day. On a number of days it was a very short phone call. Every once in a while it became a long phone call. Some of the phone calls got downright uncomfortable for me, and some for him. I remember one phone call when I nearly pushed him away with my co-dependence. Fortunately, he remained loyal to me long enough for me to realize what I was doing and apologize to him.
My best friend has been instrumental in my progress, and I will be grateful to him for all eternity. (maybe even a little longer.) I know he baptized at least one person on his mission. Even if he hadn’t, I would fight to make sure he gets credit for my soul, because he deserves it. (he’s gonna blush when he reads this, and he’s going to downplay his contribution. His humility is one of the many ways in which I wish I was more like him.)
People who are as genuinely good as he is are hard to find. Knowing who they are is even harder. Waiting until one comes to you and confides in you is not a good strategy, as you may be waiting a while.
I am not him, but I am someone sympathetic to this particular struggle. That is why I invite anyone who needs someone to trust like I trust him to contact me. I know it is not the same, since you don’t know who I am. Even still I want you to have someone to turn to. If that person can be me, I’m honored to have the opportunity to help. If you have someone you can turn to who you’d prefer over me, please go to them.
I would not be where I am today without the help of my best friend. For that and so many other reasons, I will love him until the day I die, and then for at least a week beyond that. (just kidding, I’ll love him longer than that.)
Please contact me either by one of the means above, or just post a comment.