I’d like to say I’ve always looked for something more than sex, but that would be a lie. That being said, I always preferred chatting with men to simply watching porn. I would go online to find men that I found attractive, and chat with them. Sometimes I would just want to chat, sometimes I would want to have cyber-sex.
I don’t really remember which I was looking for on this occasion. I was trolling my usual site, and I started chatting with a guy a few years younger than me. He lived in Provo, and was a student at BYU, but had grown up in a town near my hometown. I recognized the name of the town, but couldn’t think of why it was so familiar. He told me that his family now lived in a different town in Utah. He and I chatted for a while, and we decided to exchange pictures. Up until this point I had not seen his face.
From the bits of information I had, I suspected he was the younger brother of a guy I was friends with during my freshman year at BYU. I asked him if his parents lived on a particular street. He told me that they didn’t, but I wasn’t sure if I believed him. Once I got his email, I saw the first two letters of his first and last name. His last name was fairly distinctive, so I hazarded another guess. I asked “so you’re not the younger brother of (name omitted)?
His response was: “please don’t tell (name omitted). My family doesn’t know.”
His brother wasn’t exactly the most understanding of people. Don’t get me wrong, he was one of my best friends freshman year. In the years that followed, he and I had become estranged. I was a hugger, he wasn’t…. I promised to not tell the brother anything. I reminded him that I couldn’t really tell his brother without outing myself in the process. While there would have been little risk to me in doing so, since he and I no longer had any mutual friends, it was not something I was interested in doing.
When I first met this guy, he was unsure about himself. He was a nice enough guy, but wasn’t sure if he wanted to struggle with himself to maintain his being a member of the church. He certainly didn’t want to go talk to his Bishop, since he was afraid of getting expelled from school. (for those not familiar with BYU, one of the conditions of attendance is a contractual agreement to follow the rules of the school, which mirror the stance of the church. Those who choose to violate those rules are asked to leave. This is not limited to homosexual sex, but any pre- or extra-marital sex.)
He and I talked about whether he felt the church was true, whether he still felt anything when he was there, and what he wanted in his life. He ended up making a different choice than I did. He had convinced himself that there wasn’t a conflict between his wanting to have sex with men, and the teachings of the church, at least not in his case. He decided that his desire to “be loved” was going to be better filled by the vague promise of an unknown future sexual partner. He was so sure of this, that he was willing to move to another state, cut virtually all ties with his family, and pursue the lifestyle of his choice.
There, but for a few key things, go I. I think I had a stronger testimony of the truthfulness of the church. That isn’t to say that I didn’t choose to go down paths that I should not have traveled. When I last spoke to this young man, he was a virgin, I unfortunately, was not. but the difference was that I had not convinced myself that the two mutually exclusive choices of engaging in homosexual activity and being a happy fulfilled member of the church, were somehow no longer mutually exclusive. I think he eventually came to the same conclusion, but decided that sex was more important.
The second key difference, I think, is that I had already experienced gay sex. I understood what it was to me. (well, to a certain extent…) I knew that I wasn’t happy when I was engaging in those things. He was still living in the mode of fantasy. Since pornography and masturbation are both projective activities, the mind can make the experience whatever the instigator wants it to be. Unfortunately, fantasy and reality sometimes disagree.
I’ve stopped talking to him. He decided that he was going to turn away from the things that I held dear, to pursue something that I couldn’t champion. He’s one of the few gay friends I have severed ties with. The reason he is no longer someone I talk to is that unlike several of my gay friends, he does not support me in my efforts. Several of those who I do consider supportive think I’m crazy, think that the idea of “going straight” is ridiculous, and even offensive, but there is a key difference. Because they know the depth of my commitment to not only the church, but my belief in the theology presented within it, they respect the effort that I am putting forth.
Some of my gay friends have commented that I am a stronger person than they are. I usually reply that I’m trying to be strong. I really don’t feel strong. I feel like I’m teetering on the edge of a precipice the width of a blade of a knife. (The cutting surface, not the flat.) Sometimes it feels like I’m going to lose my balance.
That young man once stood on that knife as well, but decided that it just wasn’t worth the balancing act. He decided to step off, and I don’t blame him for not wanting to keep it up. It’s not a fun place to be. That being said, I know it’s worth it, and I will keep trying to be strong. I’ll also keep offering myself as a resource to anyone else who is looking to find the source of strength that I have found.
I would love to hear from all of you. If you are someone who is looking for your strength, let me know. If you are someone who has given up, but thinks it might be worth another shot, I’m here, and would be more than happy to talk. If you are someone who is reading this blog to gain insight into the mind of an LDS man who is struggling, and you have questions that I haven’t answered, ask me. I know how lonely the path can be. I understand the potential desperation, having been there, and struggled alone. I don’t want others to have to do that. I want to help anyone I can.
Thank you all for reading. Knowing that someone is reading my words helps me to keep going. Thank you.