Hi! My name is Alex. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. To cut right to the chase, I experience same-sex attraction. I also identify as gay; however, I have learned recently that my identity as a son of God is far more important that any other term I use to describe myself. He loves me, and I love Him, and that needs to be my top priority. This is where "If ye love me, keep my commandments" means a lot to me (John 14:15).
I was raised in a Latter-day Saint family, and homosexuality wasn't discussed very much in my younger years. It's not that we avoided the topic; it just hardly ever came up. I don't consider this a bad thing in my case, because it left the door open for me to "come out" to my family. I didn't have any preconceived notions about what my parents thought of gay people, so it wasn't too difficult to discuss it with them. My family has been very supportive and willing to learn. Since I didn't know much about homosexuality, I couldn't put a name to these feelings until after high school. However, upon further reflection, I realized that I've had them as far back as I can remember. It was after high school where I first heard the term "same-gender attraction." I don't remember where I first heard it. Even though I had acknowledged the attractions, I figured that everything would work out after my mission. Long story short, I'm in my late twenties and I'm not married. I don't know if I will be getting married in this life, but I believe it is possible.
I would consider myself "born that way." I don't feel like it matters if I was born this way or if it's something that I acquired at a very young age. Heavenly Father has given me commandments, and I have made covenants with Him. He has blessed me with a testimony and a working knowledge of the role that families play not only in the Church but in society. I have a testimony of living prophets and apostles. I know that as I listen with the Spirit, I will know how to apply their words to my life. I do acknowledge that there have been some cultural attributes about the Church that have changed over time, but the core doctrines and simple truths remain the same. I must add that I have also been blessed with several friends who also experience same-sex attraction and who are keeping their covenants and are finding joy in the gospel. I wouldn't be on this journey without them. I also have friends who live the lifestyle, and we at least try to respect each others' choices and rejoice in our common ground. I must express thanks to many other friends who have been there to support me. It means so much when people talk to me and treat me just like any other person.
Over the last few years, there have been challenges, but I have also had many wonderful and surprising experiences that have strengthened my testimony of Heavenly Father and the love He has for me and for all of His children. I know that I have this quality for a purpose, and that purpose is slowly being revealed to me. It is through this blog that I hope to share some of those experiences as appropriate. I want to help others who may be walking a similar path. Likewise, I am concerned about the increasing gap between the world and religion in general. I am concerned about the many brothers and sisters leaving the Church either because of its teachings or because of how they have been treated by fellow members. I hope to address some of these issues as well, and possibly help clear up misconceptions about the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints regarding this topic.
I am not a professional, and I don't have answers except for what I have learned through my own experiences (and through the experiences of others) as well as what I have learned through the inspired leaders of the Church. I realize that this is a complicated and sensitive issue, and it tugs at many of our heartstrings no matter what angle we are coming from. I don't pretend to know how everyone feels about it, and I will try not to tell others what to do.
I want my fellow LGBT friends to know that no matter what your relationship status or gender is, you are ALWAYS welcome to join with us in our worship services and activities. There is a place for you, and your unique talents and abilities are needed in God's church (and you don't even have to pretend or try to be straight! I know that has been a major stumbling block for some). There are some teachings that may be hard to swallow, and there are commandments and covenants necessary in order to progress, but that does not exclude you from God's love, the ability to participate and the ability to develop a relationship with Christ. Along the same lines, and perhaps more importantly, I want to help other Latter-day Saints understand how to better respond and rally around those who experience these issues no matter what their current choices are.
The theme of this blog revolves around the song "My Shepherd Will Supply My Need," by Isaac Watts. The last line is "No more a stranger, nor a guest, but like a child at home." It is my hope that we can help more people feel at home among Church members.