My Big Reveal: Same Sex Attraction as a Latter-day Saint
Spencer is a BYU student and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Visit his blog, “For a Wise Purpose.”
Copy . . . Paste . . . Post . . . Thus began the scariest day of my life. I had written the blog post earlier that week and had two friends proofread it to make sure everything came across as I meant it. The moment it had posted, I shared a link to the post on Facebook. No sooner had I clicked “post” than I was out the door. I had to work. Hopefully that would take my mind off of the anxiety of what I had done. The whole time, I was doing my best to trust the Spirit that what I was doing was right. You might be wondering what was so scary. After about two months of seeking personal revelation, I had revealed my biggest secret: I experience same-sex attraction.
My journey to that point started two and a half years ago. I was in my second transfer as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Canada Toronto West Mission. One night, as my trainer and I were falling asleep, we got talking and as the conversation was guided by the Spirit, I told my trainer about my same-sex attraction. I had never done that before. No one knew. This secret that I had held inside for years and years was now known by another person. Fast forward two years: I had told a handful of friends and my parents in the time since telling my trainer. One day I was reading Voice(s) of Hope, a book filled with stories of those whose lives have been affected by same-sex attraction. Not even a page into the book, I felt the Spirit whisper to me, “Your secret will not be a secret for much longer.” As I pondered that thought and read and sought revelation over the two months that followed, it brought me to the point where I began blogging about my sexuality.
Same-sex attraction is a hot-topic issue in the culture of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The LDS church is making strides to help teach people about the issue, or more importantly, how to treat it. Recently, the LDS church came out with a new website focused on homosexuality. I was impressed that very little of the website had to do with the doctrine or the causes. Instead, it focused on loving all of those around us, regardless of what they experience or what they do in their lives.
That being said, I do have my opinions on the matter. I agree with the leaders of the LDS church that the standards of chastity haven’t changed; sexual activity outside of marriage between man and woman is still sin. However, the attraction itself is not a sin. As such, I have chosen to live a life in accordance with the gospel. It’s difficult at times and I’m sure it’d be easier in some ways to not stay in the church. A life as a gay man would prevent me from achieving my goals: I want to get married in the temple, I want a family that I will create with my wife, and I want to be part of the Lord’s kingdom. I have a hope that I can reach those goals.
For those who struggle with same-sex attraction like me, you are not alone. One of the hardest parts of the journey is when you believe that you’re the only one. There are hundreds of us striving to remain faithful to our covenants and to stay active in the church. Your same-sex attraction may never go away completely in this life, but that’s okay. Your sexual orientation is not a prerequisite for the Lord’s love. He loves you regardless of who you are. In addition, the fact that you feel the way you do toward those of your same sex does not mean anything about who you are. I have known many men and women who believed there was something evil about them because of their same-sex attraction. Your attractions are not a sin.
My advice for those who do not struggle with same-sex attraction is to love. Above all else, love all those around you and be sensitive to their needs. There are so many people struggling with this that you would not expect. The biggest mistake we make is when we say something that makes someone feel that they are not welcome among the members of the LDS church because of how they feel. If they do not feel loved and wanted among us, they will seek that love elsewhere. This applies to those silently struggling to live the gospel as well as those who have chosen another path: love them. They are our brothers and sisters and they deserve our love, regardless of their decisions.
Learn more about same-sex attraction:
http://mormonsandgays.org (official church website)
http://ldsvoicesofhope.org (set to be released in late March)