Saturday, December 5, 2015

Invictus Pilgrim Memoir: Praying the Gay Away

This is a continuation of the post from the day before yesterday. On 2 December 2010, I wrote a blog post about entries from my journal during the months leading up to my decision to marry my wife.

“When I came into the Church [one journal entry read], I thought for a long time that my very nature had changed by accepting the Gospel. I had convinced myself that I was really a great guy and everyone around me fed those feelings. I was such a “special,” “special” “golden” convert. I built myself up to the point where I felt that I was indeed special … I thought I couldn’t fall because my nature is good.  Well, I found out that I can fall …”
I thought that joining the Church would give me a highway out of homo hell. I basked in the love and acceptance I was given as a new convert and truly believed that I was a “golden boy” who would “go far” in the Church. Then, I got out on my mission and started hitting some pretty monumental gay speed bumps. By the end of it, I knew that I was still gay; or in my own words, I was “fallen” (and I didn’t even get to do anything).

I wrestled with what I should do about marrying this woman. On the one hand, I felt like marriage would be a mistake; on the other, I thought maybe this was how God was going to “cure” me, i.e., through the love of a good woman and my own dedication to following the “priesthood path.” In other words, “faith precedes the miracle,” and I would “receive no witness until after the trial of my faith.” 
“I am passing through hell, or so it feels like at times. I have never come so close to feeling that everything could be lost. I’m so very, very confused … The choices facing me are: (1) abandon the standards I have strived to maintain for almost three years, leading to a life of inactivity and possible excommunication, or (2) marry [my wife], or (3) ? … The time has come for me to accept my past and who I am. If I want to stay in the Church, then I’m going to have to make some compromises. I do want to stay in the church. I want to feel the power of the Atonement change my nature – but I know it can rarely be done overnight.”
You will note that I was considering life as a gay man. Again, I emphasized my need to accept the fact that I was (and always had been) attracted to men, but not so that I could affirm my gayness but as a prerequisite to “feel[ing] the power of the Atonement [as it] change[d] my nature.” 

In other words, I had swallowed the Church’s line: homosexuality was a choice, and I was being confronted with a choice. I could choose to accept the fact that I was gay, then “apply the Atonement” so that I could be changed/cleansed of this affliction; or I could choose to accept the fact that I was gay and choose to not put forth the effort to change, i.e., "give in" and live life as a gay man. Or I could try to asphyxiate my gayness and tell myself that I merely experienced an attraction to men which could be overcome through marriage and commitment to the priesthood path.

I opted for faith and asphyxiation.

(Note: I'm working on writing a memoir about the year I came out. In order to help me stay on task, I've decided to publish this ongoing series of posts based on the blog - entitled "Invictus Pilgrim" - that I kept during that year.)

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