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 porcupine....it 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, lingering.....it just became easier to bear during this period.