Why I, as a Gay Man, Decided to Join the Mormon Church

I have heard terrible things about the Mormon Church, and have often had people argue about me deciding to be baptized in the faith. I have been called a self loathing gay man because they assume the LDS church is homophobic, and generally have had so many misconceptions thrown at me that I have decided to talk about them here on my blog.

First off, the LDS church is NOT homophobic. Yes, it is true that they don’t recognize premarital sex, but that goes for straight people as much as it goes for gay people. They also believe that acting upon homosexual desires goes against the will of God. I am not sure how I feel about this one- and in fact I am conflicted in many ways about it, but that doesn’t mean that they are homophobic. It simply means that they believe what is written in the scriptures, and they live their lives accordingly. I have been gay for 48 years now, and honestly, there are many things I detest about the lifestyle. Although I believe there is nothing wrong fundamentally with being gay- I have come to the conclusion that the LIFESTYLE is completely unhealthy. I was all to happy to walk away from the life I was leading, and had made that choice long before I ever even considered becoming Mormon.

My church knows that I am gay. I told them way before I decided to join, and have never met anyone in the church who discredited me or hated me for my past. In fact it has been just the opposite. Many members have taken it upon themselves to ask me questions about being gay, and have been completely respectful and engaging in the process. Many people, Mormon’s and not, have questions about what it is like being gay, and I have been all to receptive to tell them my views on what it is like. However, I have always been treated with respect and have never felt judged by any of my fellow congregants.

Gay marriage is a hard one for me. Yes, I believe that those who wish to be joined together should be given that right. There is nothing more painful than being together for a lifetime just to be separated when one of you gets old or sick by family members who were disapproving of your relationship. This happens all to often, and it is wrong in so many ways. I am friends with many members of the church who have gay offspring, and I have never met anyone who loves their children any less for it. The position of the Church says that it can’t be recognized as a marriage, as they believe that marriage is only between a man and a woman- and that is difficult sometimes, but I am able to understand where they are coming from. Procreation is fundamental to marriage, and they believe that marriage is the correct way to do this. Gay people can’t have babies with each other unless they involve science or a third party. But as much as I feel myself conflicted by the church’s stance, I can’t say that I am angry over their position. They are working with what they believe, and I simply can not fault them for that. Having been married as a gay man, I can say that it is something I will never do again. Not that I believe what I did was against God, but rather I found that marriage, for me, was one of the most painfully binding experiences I have ever had to endure. Personally, I don’t believe in marriage. I have my reasons why- and don’t wish to go through it again. It is just my personal stance for myself, and I feel no need to argue about it.

Survivors have often come to me and claimed that there are bad people in the church, and to this I can not argue. It has been my experience that that there are bad people everywhere. However, I can not and will not say that the Mormon church is bad. A dear friend of mine who is Mormon, has a son that was sexually molested by a member of the LDS church. She told me that was happened was between this man and her son, and expressed her belief that it was not representative nor indicative of the church itself. It isn’t common, but it happens. And just as I would tell a Catholic individual not to judge their church by the actions of a few, nor can I judge the LDS church. People are individuals, and just because they are one thing or another doesn’t mean their actions represent any group as a whole. She is still involved in the church, and her life has been blessed because of her involvement. She is still active in the church for the same reason that I have decided to stay involved, in that it has encouraged her to be a better person. I have found the same.

I have researched a lot of church’s in my life, and the dedication to their responsibility to the community that Mormon’s feel is, in my opinion, unparalleled to any other. Mormon’s not only care about the world around them but they actively engage with that world- with Mormon’s and non Mormon alike. They, as a whole, care about ALL the people in our world, and they actively express this in all that they do. I feel as if God guided me to this church, and I am and always will be eternally grateful.

It is true that, at this point, I do not have a strong testimony concerning Joseph Smith. I can not say how I feel about the fact that he saw God and Jesus, as I was not there. But I will say that I have read much of the Mormon bible and have come to the conclusion that I couldn’t have written such a work. I can also say with complete conviction that I have not been able to argue with one thing that I have read. It is like the story of Jesus. If you take the fact out that he was the son of God, and you simply read what the man said- I have never found anyone who could argue with what he taught. People can fight about the church, they can argue about some Christian’s behavior, but the specifics of what Jesus taught- that we are to love God and love our fellow man is undeniable. What he taught works, and in doing so, it changes a person for the better. Living the truth of what Jesus spoke about makes us more compassionate and caring as individuals. It is this reason why I joined the LDS church, because in many ways, it encourages me to be a better person and live a life more fulfilling than what I have done in the past. The lessons taught in the Mormon bible directly mirror what I have read in the Bible itself, and it helps me focus on being better that I am today.

I can not argue with everything that has been presented to me defaming the church, not because it is true but because I simply don’t know enough. However, I do not think that the LDS church is a cult, and I do believe that it encourages it’s members to be more than what they are now. It gives me comfort, and considering that I have had so little comfort in my 48 years, it is the whole reason why I have stayed a member. Contrary to what some claim, the church does NOT condone polygamy, and it does NOT subjugate women. In fact, the whole reason why polygamy was allowed in the past was to help PROTECT women, who were unable to legally claim property. Back then, there were many men who died, and the church allowed polygamy- not for sexual reasons, but because, unless a man married them, the women were unable to retain their houses and land, and thus they and their children were thrown to the wind. The church strives to protect and promote people- men, women, and children alike, and this is yet another example of their conviction to the responsibility they feel to help their fellow human beings.

I can not argue every stance the church holds, because, like I have said, I simply do not know enough. But the respect and love that they have shown for not only me- but all those who come to them, has been undeniable. It is this reason that I stay. Remaining single and not involving myself in the gay lifestyle is not indicative of any hatred I feel for myself but rather just the opposite. After all, what is one life to live for God? The LDS faith teaches that God loves me, and although there are rules, they were always upfront and completely open about what those rules are. I have taken a lot of comfort in that direction, and I have been blessed as a result. It doesn’t mean that I am going to marry a woman, or embrace the straight lifestyle. It wouldn’t be fair to me or any woman in which I would become involved with. Although the question has been posed to me, I have never received condemnation for refusing. In fact, I have always been met with compassion and understanding. God loves all of us, and Mormon’s are the first to tell you that, even with our many failings. And they are focused on this fact, not just for themselves but for everyone else as well. The church gives me hope, something that far to many people in my life have tried to deny me, and it is this reason I remain.

I am happy to call myself a Mormon. And I am happy to be involved in the church. I have a LONG WAY to go to become worthy, in my opinion, but the fact that the church understands this and I am still loved by my fellow congregants assures me that it is not an unattainable goal. To any of you who are searching for love and comfort, I encourage you to look into the LDS church. Read the Mormon bible with an open mind and search your heart to see how you feel about what you read. If you take the time to listen, it has been my personal experience that God will answer you. I did this very thing, and, in the end, I came to the conclusion that not only was I searching desperately for love, but that I was deserving of the love I lacked. It was through my participation with the LDS church that confirmed this. Joining changed me, and in turn, my life changed. And though there are those who would do their best to deny me this opportunity, I feel that Heaven disagrees with their convictions. And so, even as a gay man who is compelled by the church and God not to act upon my desires, I stay with the Mormon’s, because simply they opened my eyes to a life I never thought was available to me. And for that, I will be eternally grateful.

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