Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Fall

Just a note: Although this entry doesn’t specifically tell of my first homosexual experience (nor will I ever relate those types of details), it does discuss how I met my first boyfriend, and the spiritual experiences that relate thereto. While recounting this story to a friend, just as it is outlined here, she told me it was “too much information.” However, it is a pivotal point in my story, and the spiritual experiences contained herein MUST be recounted.

It wasn’t long after that experience with the church, that shift of faith, that I met Dave (name has been changed). Dave was an interesting fellow, and we became friends long before I knew he was gay (blame it on faulty gaydar if you want). When we finally discussed his sexuality, I suddenly was filled with a million questions: What was it like to be an out gay Mormon? How did you resolve the inner conflict? What did it take to come to terms with, what I considered was, breaking the law of chastity?

In counseling, I was told I needed to stop running away from my fears. Whenever I had met anyone else like Dave in the past, I immediately ran in the opposite direction. This tendency I had to run away affected my relationships with male friends, as well. I never allowed myself to get too close to someone I was attracted to, just in case. This was a behavior I was told I needed to change, so I decided to maintain my friendship with Dave. This, to me, necessitated my telling him of my own personal struggles with homosexuality.

He took the news very well, and promised to never do anything to make me uncomfortable. The joke flirting he was known for while thinking I was “straight” stopped immediately, and he did nothing but listen and answer my questions to the best of his ability. I found this to be very comforting, and also very strange. I was always taught that gay men were only after sex, and after telling Dave of my own homosexuality, I practically expected him to pressure me into more intimate situations. This was simply not the case. Dave respected my boundaries, and I respected him for that.

When I told him I had some more embarrassing questions to ask him, that I didn’t think would be appropriate to do in private because of my own temptations, he immediately suggested we go to dinner. The public ambiance of a restaurant would remove any possibility of “falling into temptation” while maintaining enough privacy that our conversation would not be overheard. I was cautious at first, because I didn’t want to feel like I was being taken on a date. We resolved that we would each pay for our own meals, take separate cars, and treat it as nothing more than two friends going out to eat, because, after all, that would be exactly what it was. We went to Panda Express so nothing would be too formal, and I finally got to ask the questions that had been weighing on my mind regarding alcohol, drugs, sex, promiscuity, and the more negative details of the gay lifestyle.

Questions led to more questions, and when dinner was over and we had been sitting in the restaurant for far too long, our conversation turned back to religion, and I thought it would be safe to invite him back to a house that I was watching for a friend so that we could continue our conversation.

As the night drew to a close I saw something in Dave’s eye that sent my head into a spiral. There was a glimmer there that told me he was starting to have feelings for me. I knew he would never act on this interest, out of respect for me, but I also knew that the situation had come that I had prepared for during the last 12 years of struggle. That fact didn’t scare me as much as knowing that I wasn’t strong enough to resist. I started telling myself that there was nothing wrong with wanting to know what it felt like to hug him, but before my train of thought could go beyond that, I excused myself and went into the bedroom, where I hit my knees in prayer.

I pleaded with my Heavenly Father. I told him that the moment had come where I would fall, and I knew I wasn’t strong enough spiritually, even after all of my preparation, to resist. The worst part was that part of me didn't want to resist. I begged God for any excuse… a telephone call, an earthquake, a fire, an angelic vision, anything to distract me or give me a reason to send Dave home.

In that moment I think I felt the spirit more strongly than I ever have in my life. I could almost make out the words, “It will be alright.”

I argued back. A spiritual revelation like that was not enough. Couldn’t I at least get a “Don’t do it!”, or “You'll go to Hell!?” Things would not be alright, I was going to fail!

The voice returned, and simply said, “I know.”

I don’t believe those two words were an endorsement, maybe not even approval, but I did learn more about agency and the lengths to which God is willing to go for my happiness. I knew that God wanted me to be happy, and that if His way wasn’t working for me, then He was willing to allow me to try my own.

I think when people say they received an answer from God telling them that it was OK to be gay, that they aren't lying. I know, from an LDS perspective, that such an answer would seem impossible. But I think, perhaps, that such a claim is simply an answer similar to mine - and what a loving God it is who gives us such range on our agency.

My resolve remained unsure as the spirit drifted slowly away. The only thing that remained was the knowledge that I was, in fact, gay, and the choice in this situation wasn't whether or not to break the laws of God, but whether or not I would allow myself to love. Did I dare allow my relationship with Dave to grow? Was it even possible for me to love? I had tried with so many women without success, so since I had never felt those feelings was it even possible? I didn't know.

But I finally got off my knees, resolved to give love a chance.


Anonymous said...

I would like to tell you about my "fall". While somewhat different, nevertheless, there is similarity.

I was struggling like you, though I was too fearful back in those days to seek counseling. I felt I could handle the situation myself. I struggled for 28 years before I had a single encounter. After which I went to the bishop to confess.

He wasn't much help and counseled me to find a woman to marry (even without love). I almost did what he suggested too.

I went 3 more years celibate after that. Prayer was somewhat helpful. While praying I often felt as if the spirit was there comforting me. Spiritual comfort, though, didn't help take away the feelings, the loneliness nor the pain.

Finally, at age 31 I just couldn't take the self loathing and hate any longer. I knelt down in prayer and instead of asking for the feelings to be taken away, I simply said: "I can't do it any more and I am going to just accept myself and try to live the best I can".

Unbelievably, for the first time instead of just comfort, I felt the most incredible sense of peace and acceptance come over me. The guilt (for having these feelings) went away immediately and have never come back. I am now 50 years old and have never since had any regret for that particular prayer.


Gay Saint said...

RH: Thank you for sharing that experience with me.