At the end of the disciplinary council, there were a number of the high councilors who expressed their willingness to support me in what ever way I needed to help me get back to full fellowship within the church. One of them was a counselor in BYU’s psychological services department, another had his own private psychiatry practice, and others were simply very kind men. There was only one problem. In spite of their expressions of wanting to help, they didn’t seem to understand what it meant to help.The letter that I quoted in my last post was to be given to me within a couple of weeks of the council. I was told that I would be meeting with my bishop on a weekly basis, and with the stake president once every three months. (The ward I was in was rearranged, and Bishop Davis was no longer my bishop.) Unfortunately, the weeks rolled by, and things didn’t happen as they were supposed to. I didn’t receive the letter from the stake president until nearly one year after the council concluded. My bishop did not meet with me regularly. Instead, he would simply ask how was in passing at church. I met with the stake president for the first time ten months after the council.
It seemed that their intentions were genuine, but that they felt that intentions were sufficient. I unfortunately did not draw much support from their intent. For the first eight months, I felt like I was pretty much left to my own devices. While I did fairly well for the majority of it simply by bringing my life into line with the things I knew I should have been doing all along, doing so on my own became more than I really felt I could handle.
Reading and praying every day was a big help, but it wasn’t quite enough. After about six months, I was up late one night, and was thinking about my future wife. I let my thoughts go further than I should have, and ended up masturbating to the fantasy. After that, I continued reading and praying, but things seemed to go downhill. it wasn’t a steep downhill slope, but it was down. In the months that followed, I ended up going back to gay pornography, and the masturbation that accompanied it.
When I finally was able to get an appointment with my bishop, he lauded my success that I was able to do so well that I was able to go for so many months with only two or three slip ups. I was less enthusiastic, partly because I generally expect perfection from myself. That being said, I did gain strength from his encouragement.
I felt abandoned for the majority of the time I was in that ward. I was actually angry with the church leaders for not supporting me when they knew I needed support. I understand that there are all sorts of concerns when it comes to running a ward, but that didn’t change that I needed support, and did not see it. That is not to say that it was not available, but only that it was not visible to me. I of course could and probably should have been more forceful in asking for it, but in the state that I was in, I was not really willing to ask. I did not have the strength to ask for the help I needed. I needed someone to actively offer, and I just didn’t get that.
A disciplinary council was scheduled to consider reinstating me. unfortunately, I had to move to another state the week before the council was supposed to convene. I was told by the stake president that I needed to get with my new bishop and stake president quickly, and get things taken care of. I didn’t.
The next couple chapters in my story are going to be especially difficult for me to write. There is a lot of emotion wrapped up in them, and I don’t know how quickly I’ll be getting to them. Please have patience, as understanding the depths is essential to understanding how far back one can come. (I don’t mean to imply that none have descended further than I, but rather that without understanding how deep I went, we can’t really understand the climb back out.)
Thank you for reading.