Monday, February 27, 2012

Pray that away......

Number 6

My next mission after my mission was to run from the gay part of me after continually having to saw that sapling branch off.  My mission president (a wonderfully knowledgeable and compassionate man) said my next transfer would be home and I would need to find a new companion immediately!  I knew that if I wanted to continue on my Mormon expedition, I would need to find someone that would be strictly obedient and that would be a good mother for our children.  My dating experience hadn't been too extensive, I dated in high school and college but I knew that Rachel fit the bill.  She would help me fight my (internal) battle and help keep us strictly obedient to the principle taught us.  I felt comfortable with who she was, her family, her background, her belief system and we were friends.  We were married 8 weeks after I got home from my mission.  I was following the counsel from my mission president. 

My next line of action was to "pray the gay away".  I had focused much of my energy on my mission to others, now I had to focus on my internal struggle.  When you are taught that being gay is an abomination....1) you do not want it brought up in conversation....2) to acknowledge it would admit you have a problem.....3) the church does not provide helpful guidance for this type of individual (because it is an abomination)....4) this is a burden that I alone would have to bear and find some sort of solace......and 5) guilt, shame, remorse, thoughts of not being good enough, were ever present in my life.  I needed to use the tools I had at my disposal to "rid this sinful yearning from my breast"!  Those tools were:  Read the scriptures, pray and be obedient.  I did all of these probably better than 90% of those around me.  I served wherever I was called.  I kept myself busy.

One would think that after using those tools to find peace, solace, or anything to overturn those feelings of guilt and shame.....that the obedient son of God would find an answer to his struggles.  The only respite that I would receive was when I was completely busy with callings, school, fatherhood, work (getting 5 or less hours of sleep) was where I was actually able to ignore my inner self.  That was the only way I was able to subsist for so long......ignore the inner self and focus on the external nature of self and things.  It is tough to compartmentalize oneself for so long....then is starts to fragment and disintegrate!  I am not sorry or apologetic for doing what was needed to survive in a closed system.....but I am disappointed in the system that compels such obedience and obliterating the inner self of those like me.  There has to be a better way.  There needs to be honest and open conversations that allow people in this situation to come to the surface and find air.  Otherwise the system just drowns us.  Maybe those in my situation now can realize that there are other (valid) options for them.  I hope so.........

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Whose to Judge?

"If you judge people you have no time to love them"  Mother Teresa

Recently we have experienced some VERY judgmental people in our lives.  John in particular has had people who have stated they do not approve of his actions and tell him what a bad person/example he is.  These people have been influential in his life for decades.  It is hard to witness this discrimination and judgment from people who have sorted pasts!  For example:  One person who has been in a hand full of relationship (some marriages, some not) through his life time....feels the need to condemn John for moving from his first relationship to his second.  The difference between the two is that the accuser is heterosexual and John is homosexual. 

My argument is that they are relationships (period) sexuality does not matter!  What gives the accuser the right to point a finger at John!?!?!  I do not understand this rational?  Is this a perceived sexual privilege?  I would suggest that individuals who insist on throwing out judgments needs to get their own lives in order (which is a continual process).  Since we are all trying to sort out our own lives.....JUDGMENTS SHOULD NOT HAPPEN!!!!

Friday, February 10, 2012


I think this is number 6?

My second semester at Ricks College I caught the conformity bug and began considering serving an LDS mission.  Many of the people in my life were submitting their mission papers, getting their calls to serve and celebrating.  I was not becoming a sheep and doing what everyone else was doing....I thought about this option daily.  Finally making the decision to go.  I knew that it would benefit my life and others.  I do not regret going, it really helped me grow up, mature and set goals. 

While on my mission I had an internal battle daily!!!  I would write in my journal, "Chris, you have to stop these evil desires!  You are going to hell if you don't get rid of these desires!"  I would self hate and loathe the part of me that was there my whole life.  There were days when I would be severely depress but I would have to get up and go.  My energy waned, I continually had to focus my energy on why I was there.  It was like I was killing a part of myself to survive in the present.  I learned to subsist!  :(

I believe that each of my companions would say that I was a hard worker and focused.  We had success teaching and serving people.  It was one of the most memorable times of my life!

The unfortunate thing that happened is that I learned to consistently "saw off the gay branch" that was truly me.  I was a hard process, but I think this prepared me to continue living the heterosexual life for a couple decades.  I could not let the gay grow back!  I stayed busy enough and focused enough on other things than taking a look at the internal me and coming to some sensible agreement with that person. 

Happy that I can meet that person now internally, and give him a hug!  :)

Thursday, February 9, 2012


It has been an historical couple of days.  I will relieve the reader of my so called "depressing" life for a moment.  Prop 8 was overturned! I can remember sitting in my office after work last year when Prop 8 was overturned the first time.  I sat in my office (door closed) and cried!  That was before I had fully come out to everyone and started making changes in my life. 

As part of that this quote was very telling to me in the response of the court:

Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples.

I am that many people get to be treated equally, and that this precedent set by these circuit judges will positively affect numberless other decisions in the future.  I post this picture below to show that if we had the innocence of a child, humankind would not be in such a messy predicament.   Enjoy your day and remember to be childlike!  :)

Monday, February 6, 2012


Number 5

Up to this point in my journey I had to reconcile all of these experiences with the belief system I possessed.  Intolerant people belonged to the church organization, hypocritical abusive persons were left unchecked....I had a decision to make!  I felt that I needed to repress, accept and move on in my life to survive.  There were not other options available at the time that I could have used.  I surrounded myself with a supportive network or friends.  Most of them know who they are.....these are the ones that know my story, are still with me on FB and do not mete out harsh judgements.    

I did have fun, memorable times in high school....I was just burdened with some baggage that I would not be able to unpack for years to come.  I gave up the notion that I needed to fit in with the larger group.  I was unconventional, unpredictable, and spontaneous during the last year of high school.  I tried to be tolerant to others, but I had become so bitter at the establishment that sometimes I was like hugging a can't be done.  I barely graduated from seminary (which truly was a joke).  I advanced in the priesthood at the appropriate time, but I did not want to go on a mission for the church.  If I accepted the opportunity to go, I thought I would be hurt at some point through the experience.  I was conditioned to think and feel that way. 

I attended Ricks College for a year right out of high school.  Even though this establishment was a church school, I finally found a place where I fit in a bit more.  I met some amazing people....learned from them, loved them.  Unfortunately, I rarely attended class.  My social life was my priority, I was able to express myself and be free from the shackles of conformity.  The reader my think that I error in my thought process because I am attending a church funded school.....but moving from a town of 700 people to a college town was probably the most liberating thing I had done.  Many of my friends from high school made the same transition to college as I.

I was able to make new friends, express myself in music and dance, and break from the pressures of rural religious life.  I would go dancing with Rodney, Nanette and Christy night after night.  It was fun and therapeutic.  Then I found new people to associate with - Sharon, Amy, Christy, Colleen, Mathew.....I was finally growing and maturing.  My attitude changed regarding the church.  I was able to associate positive things with the church and I finally decided to go on a mission. 

My same-sex attraction was still there....hidden, just became easier to bear during this period.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Take 4

Here is s small picture of what went on after my 14th year.  I was tortured incessantly by a hand full of peers in high school.  I remember being shoved up against the lockers in the hallway, called a faggot, threatened and told to die numberless times.  If you watch Glee and watch what happened to Kurt.....those things really happened....and still happen to many.  If you can imagine having that experience daily, or live in fear of it happening, you would want to avoid it at all costs.  I made sure I was either surrounded with people that I trusted or went out of my way to not see these people on a given day.

I thought this torment would end after my Freshman year.  It did not!  My Sophomore year was even worse.  This is the year that I contemplated suicide multiple times.  I already had a low self-esteem of myself, for abuse, self-identity, and torture.  I am still surprised that I made it out of that year alive.  I was followed to my car after school a few times.  I was threatened with a gun 2 of those times.  Back then the big trend was to have your gun mounted on the back window of your truck.  I was scared that someone would follow through with their threat.  These people had the tools, I cannot believe that guns were actually allowed on school property.  Then I think about the community I lived in....they were trusting, religious and naive!  No one could be that cruel!

I wrote out suicide notes multiple times, naming people, blaming them for my sadness and turmoil.  The main thing that kept me from following through was the impact it would have on my mother.  She was one of my best friends growing up!  We would have long talks, I loved them!  :)

The locker room was a venue of stupid testosterone and intolerance.  I can remember being pinned up against the wall in the locker room, being punched by the alpha male in high school.  He was only a few punches in when my cousin (his girlfriend) burst through the door and stopped him.  She placed herself between him and I, settled him down, and promptly exited with me in tow.  It was humiliating being saved by a girl, but I was SO thankful for her help.  I will always be in her debt....I do not know what state I would have been in have I been subjected to additional abuse.

These same handful of guys would demand sexual favors from me.  I would immediately refuse and run!  Humiliating that I could not stand up and fight....being half their size made that option unreasonable.  I was also shocked that the very thing that they accused me of being, they did not think twice about doing it to satisfy their own carnal needs.  One instance that I clearly camp at USU the summer after my Sophomore year.  I was getting settled in my room, another guy from my school came into my room, pulled his pants down, demanded that I service him....while blocking the exit.  I refused his advances, got around him and left.  I ended up staying the night with my grandparents who lived a couple blocks away from the university.

The most disappointing part of this story is that this young man now serves as a Bishop in his church.  I hope that his sexual tendencies are quelled and he has not hurt others in his position of power.  Speaking of positions of Bishop as a youth would always call me into his office asking me if I was gay.  Asking me if I needed to repent.  I felt unjustly accused and was a miserable experience.  When I told my parents I did not want to go to church...I did not want to see my Bishop and I did not want to be in the same rooms (administering the sacrament) with the same guys that tortured me.  Seeing the hypocritical nature of so many was continually disheartening.

My path is sure now......

Formative years.....

Entry 3

In middle school everyone is trying to find an appropriate identity.  Friends are important to this process.  This period of time can dictate future happenings in ones life.  I remember wanting to play basketball and to be part of the popular crowd.  Boundaries and limits are tested.  I clearly remember being invited to sleep overs with the more popular boys.  These boys were a group of about 5.....I was the 6th.  I was shocked at how sexual these sleep overs became.  All sleeping in the same room, boys trying to touch each other....silly things (I guess).  This made me completely uncomfortable.  I did not initiate anything or desire to do anything with these boys.  I felt like my parents would find out....or my abuser......there would be harsh consequences to be had if uncovered.

I lost interest in this group of boys.  I stopped hanging out with them and refused to attend their activities.  I had other friends that I fell back on and these friends were who I identified with the rest of my adolescence.  I am grateful for this group of people.....they helped me get through some tough times in the coming high school years.

Growing up in a farming community I think the expectation would be that everyone wear wrangler jeans, plaid shirts and cowboy hats.  I was the antithesis of this.  I wore parachute pants, t-shirts, chucks and a "flock of seagulls" haircut.  I guess I looked like I needed to be torturer and singled out.

When the Freshman class came into high school, all upper-class people felt it their right to "initiate" these youngsters into "adulthood".  There was a kangaroo court where the upper class would be given permission by the administration to torture us.  There was a bidding war to sell the Freshman as "slaves" to those that wanted someone to serve them.  It was a discriminatory degrading time.  I do not know when they discontinued this practice but this was the mid to late 80's.  Even though not everyone was bought and sold, there was an expectation that measly Freshmen would do everything requested by the upper class. 

The event that changed my experience in high school happened at a football game.  It was homecoming and I was attending the game with friends.  We were standing close to the sideline.  A Sophomore came up to me and demanded that I go get him something to drink.  The expectation was for me to get the drink and pay for it from my own pocket.  I refused.  He came back to me and demanded that I take the first down marker, because his friend was doing it and was tired.  I refused.  I left the game.

After these 2 events, my life was made a living hell by this person and his friends.  Threats of abuse, death, sexual advances and treacherousness language was my lot for the next 3 years.  I my next entry I will go through some of those experiences.

Friday, February 3, 2012

In the beginning

2nd entry of honesty
When I was young I was a curious child, timid but free.  I grew up in a very traditional Mormon household....rural, farming, 10 children, church attending family.  I was the fifth child.  We were hard workers, everyone contributed on the farm.  I was feeding calves before I was old enough to go to school, milking cows a few years after that.  It was a hearty life.  It was a good life.  It taught me values and ethic that I will carry with me to the grave.

Aside from early recollections of my same sex attraction, there were other defining moments during these formative years.  I remember grandparents being very harsh and not personable.  They grew up with very exacting rules, they expected them from the generation removed from them.  I really did not grow close to any of my progenitors.  

I was sexually and emotionally abused by a family member.  The more I give freedom to my honesty and authenticity....the more I recollect what I went through at that age.  Prior to this, I was conveniently able to repress these experiences.  I remember at one point thinking I was going to die for months because of what I had done and what my abuser had convinced me of.  It was excruciatingly turbulent!

The final thing that I clearly remember was the uncertainty of farming in the late 70's and early 80's.  Many small farm operations were going under.....and the businesses that supported them.  There were months that would go by when we would dump thousands of gallons of milk down  the drain because there was not a creamery that would accept new dairy clients.  Creameries were going out of was hard economic times for a large dairy family.

These experiences have left me bruised and distrustful.  Things I am learning to cope with decades later. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

I have decided to be more open and honest with this blog that I recently started.  Here we go......

I am a man, having grown up in rural Idaho....I was born into the Mormon church like everyone else around me.  I struggled from my earliest recollections with same sex attraction.  When I would play with toys and act out scenarios, I always pretended that I had a boyfriend.  After a while I knew that the outward expression of love had to be expressed to a girl, but deep in the recesses of my mind dwelt my secret boyfriend and what my heart yearned for. 

I was strictly obedient to the Mormon rules and laws that were placed before me.  Growing up in a heterogeneous place I was not exposed to what my heart wanted.  I thought I had to be cured, this was my burden to bear, I had no one to verbalize my disparate concerns to.  I remember being pulled into the Bishops office multiple times asking if I was gay and to stop acting out those feelings.  I never did act was all of the leaders sons that would proposition me for sex, me refusing, and then being blamed for being gay.  These young men most likely found someone to satisfy their sexual need, and according to doctrine....needed to repent!  Some of these same bullies are now Bishops and Stake leaders in their congregations.  I do not know when justice will be meted to them, but I hope it comes back their way eventually.

I went to Ricks College, served an honorable mission and got married. I married someone that I felt comfortable with, she was a good woman, and I hoped that I could find peace.....and be cured of this burden that was wrapped around my neck.  Again, I was doing everything I was told to, to find solace.  I served in many leadership positions and taught seminary for many years.  It seemed that all I was doing was running faster to avoid the inevitable.  We had 6 wonderful children.  They will always be the light of my life. 

After 40 years of running I realized that I needed to make a change or exit this life.  The later option being irrational from the outside looking in, but a valid choice for one going through the hurt and turmoil that I was enduring.  I came out to my wife with the intent to find healing and solace...but later knowing that that path would not be trodden.  I had a wonderful LDS counselor (part-time), he was a mental health professional in the community for his day job.  He had a very profound impact on my discovery process. 

I am fortunate to have had people placed in my path to assist me.  I left the LDS church over a year ago.  Still attend sacrament meeting with my children.  I support them as much as possible not living with them 24/7.  All of my children know who I am and have accepted this new normal in varying degrees.  I have some champions and skeptics, but they all still love me and the feeling is mutual. 

I do feel like there are people that have been in my life that deserve more, but I cannot change and live a lie anymore.  I finally feel comfortable in my skin.  Hard to describe, but wonderfully peaceful.  This is my journey to a better place.