Wednesday, February 7, 2007


Thrasius posed a question in his blog recently:
Why have so many LDS guys with SSA chosen to get married without first disclosing their 'gayness' in any way?

As I commented in his blog, It is a fair question and one that needs to be asked and openly discussed.

Beck also discussed this in his blog. Although, my experiences are different from his. I spent my formative years in California, near Santa Cruz. At the time, Santa Cruz had an openly gay mayor. Santa Cruz is only about 75 miles South of San Francisco which had already established itself as a, sort of, gay mecca. Also, my father owned an antique store. Antiques is one of those areas that tends to attract a higher percentage of gay people than the population in general. I recall conversations between my parents, referring to the owners of other stores (two men) and wondering which one was the guy and which one was the girl.

So, I was not naive about what 'gay' meant. I first started having thoughts that I might be gay in high school. However, after joining the church in college, I was taught, as a new convert, that anything I may have done prior to my baptism was washed away. The Lord would remember them no more and neither should I. Not that I did anything really bad; I've never acted on these feelings. But, I did have unholy thoughts about some of the boys at school, especially those who shared a PE class with me.

I don't mean to sound like I'm trying to justify my actions. But, when I married, any thoughts of being gay was just something that was part of my past and did not need any further discussion.. I married about 5 years after joining the church. During that time I had decided to serve a mission, dropped out of college to raise money for a mission, served a mission, got back into college, and was now preparing to move onto the next phase of my life - to marry and to start a family. Any thoughts I had of men earlier in my life was just a phase I had gone through - one that I genuinely believed I had overcome. It wasn't until after our 2nd child was born that the feelings and attractions returned - this time with a vengeance.

I still remember distinctly the catalyst that caused these feelings to return. I was in my senior year at college. Upon verifying that I had met all of the requirements for graduation, I discovered that I was missing a PE class. So, I enrolled in one my final semester. I had taken another semester of PE earlier in my college years; but, it was one of those wussy classes that didn't require getting dressed up. This was the first time since I had graduated from high school that I was in a boys locker room. At the risk of sounding crass, I have to say that some of the other guys in this class were really good looking, especially when they took their shirts off during class. But, there was one boy in particular whose locker was next to mine. Three times a week I had to endure being next to him as he walked back from the showers. He always stood facing me while he dried himself off and got dressed. I tried so hard not to look - to not sneak a peek. I did not want these feelings to return. But, I found myself having unrighteous thoughts about him, dreaming about him, even fantasizing about him. That summer, after college, for the first time in my life I sought out gay pornography. We didn't have the internet back in those days, so I bought a magazine in a bookstore. After a couple of days I was disgusted with myself and so overcome with guilt that I threw the magazine away. I recall ceremoniously finding a trash can far from where I lived because I did not want it anywhere near me or my family.

There is more to this story which I may blog about sometime; but, suffice it to say that I have dabbled in pornography other times since then, but it is not a problem in my life right now. I used to sometimes wonder how my life might have been different if I hadn't taken that PE class. But, in retrospect, I don't think my life would be any different. If it hadn't been that PE class, something else would have come along as a catalyst to trigger these feelings within me and bring them to the surface again. And, even though I had a few years where I genuinely felt that I had conquered these attractions - that God had cured me. The reality is that the attractions never really went away; I just did a good job of rationalizing them as something else, such as brotherly love. All that PE class did was trigger the same feelings inside of me; only this time I couldn't rationalize them away as something innocent.

But, I digress. A corollary question to that posed by Thrasius might be:

Why didn't I confess these attractions to my wife once I realized that they had returned and that I had not overcome them as I had believed?

Another fair question - one that I don't have a good answer to. I will say that this is something that my wife and I have discussed a couple of times since I came out of the closet to her. She has said that if I had told her this while our children were young, she doesn't feel like she could have handled it. The implication being that it could very well have resulted in our divorce.

So, if I knew then what I know now would I have told her before we married? I want to say "Yes", but, truthfully, I don't really know. Some things are extremely difficult for me to say. For example, I never actually said the words "will you marry me". I just sort of shoved the ring in front of her face and hoped she got the hint. So, how would I tell her that I was gay? Wear a pink shirt and shove a rainbow pin in front of her face? (did they even have those back then?)

Would I recommend to others who have same sex attraction to talk about it with their fianceƩ before marriage? Absolutely! Although, I realize that sounds hypocritical.


Anonymous said...

Dear M-E -- I have often had thoughts along the lines of, "If I had known what dealing with this in my marriage would entail, would I have still married my husband?" I have decided that that is really the wrong question for me to think about or dwell upon. Besides it being a mute point, I think it opens a way for Satan to get his foot in the door of our relationship. I have thought a lot about our marriage over the past few days - asking myself not would I do it all over again, but what have I learned from life's struggles, and in particular, dealing with SSA? Truth is, as we have worked through this, I have learned some incredible lessons. I think I am a better, hopefully more compassionate person. I know this trial has given my husband an enormous amount of compassion for people. And because of this, he has been such an example to me of compassion and strength.

Would I purposely ask to have this trial in our marriage? No. But I have faith in Heavenly Father's plan, that He knows all things, and that all things can work towards our good if we constantly turn to Him. And that is true with any struggle, not just SSA.

Thrasius said...

I just caught up on your blog. I liked this post and I feel like you bring up some very legitimate points for your particular situation. It's so amazing to me what the human mind is capable of...even if that is forcing ourselves not to deal with things or even to forget them. That's what happened to me until a few years ago. Thanks for posting! Also, I enjoyed the poems, so thanks for those.

Distinguishing Preoccupation said...

Being a single guy it really makes me wonder about the possibility of marriage for me. I think sometimes the reason why some gay LDS men never tell their wives BEFORE marriage is because they still don't know their struggle. If I had followed suit with the many LDS RMs I would be married by 24 and would have to address this issue at some point in time afterward no matter how much I would have wanted to burry it. It's a matter of personal development I think. Coming to understand our struggles no matter WHAT our struggles are is what life is about. I'm glad I didn't manipulate myself into a marriage simply because my culture encourages it. However now that I am dealing with my homosexuality so glaringly in my face, I see the reality that I will likely never get married, for both the sake of the marriage relationship as well as out of respect for my wife. It scrambles my brain to try to figure it all out. Sometimes I cry about it too. But I guess you just gotta keep moving.


Distinguishing Preoccupation said...

OOh and just to clarify, I'm not saying that LDS people get married simply because their culture encourages it, I'm just saying that it was a strong motivation for me for a long time.