Monday, December 31, 2007


Many times I have received letters from missionaries who were discouraged because a Church leader had promised that if they would pray and set a monthly goal for baptisms and then sacrifice and work hard and follow the Spirit, they would be able to call down the powers of Heaven to help them achieve their goals. Those writing me said that they worked long hours, fasted and prayed and did everything they could and at the end of the month they fell short of their goals. Some had no baptisms that month. They questioned their faith and their righteousness. “Please help me to know what’s wrong with me?” one pled. I wrote that there was probably nothing wrong with them, except that they believed that their righteousness could manipulate events.

Some LDS struggling with guilt about SGA have been told that if they were spiritual and worthy enough that God would make them “normal”. They tried to live fully righteous and in tune, received blessings, etc. and their attractions didn’t change. They then began to question if God loved them. They began to wonder if they could be loved by a Perfect Diety. I know that feeling well.

Believing that I can call down the powers of Heaven by my righteousness is to believe in magic. Magic is the supposed knowledge of the right formulas and procedures to tap supernatural powers to bring to pass what we want. I believe in miracles, but I don’t believe in magic. Righteousness and faith do not call down God’s power to your will. They give us power to do His will on His timetable. Jesus said, “If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me.” (Moroni 7:33)

I have seen miracles. I have been an instrument in God’s hands to heal people. He has spoken through me, addressing things that only He and the individual knew about. I didn’t do these things. I was privileged to be part of the miracle. Yet there have been other times when I wanted a miracle. I pled for the miracle. I tried to be worthy to be an instrument in the miracle. But it didn’t happen. I asked, “Why, Why! Certainly God would want this to happen! I don’t understand.” When I am finally open to that Still Small Voice, it whispers, “You don’t need to understand. Don’t let what you don’t know get in the way of what you do know. You know that God loves you. He knows what He is doing. Be at peace.”

“Faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things.” (Alma 32:21) God works within eternal laws which He will not violate or He would “cease to be God” (Alma 42:12). I am certain that faithful Lehi prayed that Laman and Lemuel would change. They didn’t. Was there something wrong with his faith? No. Can our faith and prayers affect the lives of others. Yes, but they do not take away free agency or violate eternal principles. Jesus pled that His cup of agony be removed and then submitted to His Father’s will.

Paul said, “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” (2Cor. 12:7-10) Did he struggle with SGA? I don’t know. But he learned to live with his handicap. I am learning to live with mine.

We don’t control God’s power, but when it is His will, it can flow through us. We do have power to listen for His guidance and submit to His will whether guidance comes or not. Many times we receive no witness until after the trial of our faith. (Ether 12:6) There is so much that I don’t understand, but occasionally His peace does flow into me bringing the “joy that surpasseth all understanding.” Then I know that no matter how hard it seems, it is worth it.

Friday, December 21, 2007


Well, the curtain terrorists are back. I wrote in a previous blog about my weakness with my wandering eyes in the locker room of the gym and how relieved I was when they finally put up curtains. Well, the curtain terrorists shredded them. The management has put them back up many times and gradually they all get shredded and torn down. Why do they tear they down? My only guess is that some are more committed to a study of the male anatomy than they are to individual privacy. If they don’t want privacy they could leave their curtains open. Most choose the privacy option, so the few force their wants on the rest. Some may say, “Well our government is spying on us and won’t allow us privacy, why should we expect it in our gyms?” Well, both are wrong! (I hope that the CIA is reading this.)

I hear on the radio preachers ranting about forcing businesses to use Christmas in their advertisement instead of saying “Happy Holidays”. They call for a boycott of those stores who don’t commercialize Christ. What’s the big deal? “Well, people are taking Christ out of Christmas!” I say, “Hurray!!” Let us worship Christ in our hearts and in our homes and in our churches. Let the Jews worship their God and celebrate Hanukkah and the Muslims celebrate Eid, etc. etc. Must we cram the commercial Christmas down everybody’s throat?

And so what that the school administrators cannot promote prayers in the schools! Prayer is a personal thing. I would not want to be forced to be part of a Muslim or Hindu or Evangelical Christian prayer or a sanitized prayer designed by the government. Some people are more concerned about forcing us to be a “Christian” nation than to be true Christians and tolerating people of other beliefs or no belief.

These same people try to control our school curricula and force us to teach creationism instead of evolution. These same people want a religious test for the presidency of the United States. I think that it is unfortunate that Mitt Romney is bending over backwards to try to please them. In my school Jewish groups are attacking professors for criticizing Israel for the terrible way they are treating the Palestinians. They want to silence these scholars. They say that any criticism of Israel is anti-Semitism. That’s like saying that any criticism of Utah state leaders is anti-Mormonism. The thought police are on the march.

So many people criticize the Muslims. All of my many Muslim friends are tolerant, kind individuals. They are far more compassionate than some of the Latter-day Saints and Evangelical Christians I know. (I also know many compassionate LDS and Evangelicals.) Muslims are good Americans, but the right-wing radicals can’t scare people about communism any more and so they are creating the Muslims as fear objects through lies and distortions.

So we have gay people in the military? What’s the big deal? These same fear-mongers stir up prejudice against gays and immigrants, and Muslims, and Mormons as a means to get support for their causes. And too many of our LDS get sucked into these tactics of hate. (My favorite bumper sticker: “Hate is not a family value.”)

I am tired of the fascist thought police who try to manipulate and intimidate our society for their own purposes. I feel sorry for them. They seem to be very unhappy people.

Well, I got that off my chest.

I wish you all Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Eid Mubarak! Happy Kwanzaa!

Monday, December 10, 2007


I heard on the radio today a Bob Marley song: “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds.” It started me thinking of the many voices in my mind that have chained me down. The most insidious ones are those negative recordings that I am not fully conscious of, that repeatedly play in the background of my mind. They are often manifest through my feelings. These feelings influence my behavior.

For instance, my wife says something and I snap back at her. Usually I then justify my response by blaming her. But sometimes, I pause and say to myself: “That was inappropriate. Why did I do that?” “Well, I have felt crappy this afternoon, ever since I listened to ‘This American Life’ on NPR.” There was an episode that reminded me of a stupid, embarrassing thing that I did many years ago. I began reliving that incident with all the feelings of embarrassment and shame and guilt I felt then. Like a nuclear chain-reaction I recalled one related incident after another from other periods of my life, until I felt pretty crappy. I wasn’t snapping at my wife, I was kicking myself for being such an idiot in the past. It took introspection for me to realize this. Usually I would just go on being grumpy and blaming someone else for my feelings. But this time I recognized that I was a slave to those negative voices and started cutting the chains.

“WAIT A MINUTE!” I said in my head. “WHY ARE YOU BEATING UP ON YOURSELF FOR THINGS DONE IN THE PAST!” I recognized that background voices are telling me that I am a stupid, inadequate person because of the past. I could feel my Grandmother’s voice from the past saying, “Bad boy! Bad boy!” Flooded by feelings of shame, I was subconsciously punishing myself. Depression is anger turned on yourself. I turned my anger on the voices: “I AM NOT THE SAME PERSON AS I WAS THEN. THAT’S WAY IN THE PAST!” They speak back, “YES, BUT remember last week when you did such and such. And also remember when you did. . .” (They can always find lots of YES BUTs to throw at me.) I can give up and let them handcuff me and lead me away to depression.

Or I can emancipate myself by saying, “I DON’T HAVE TO LISTEN TO YOU. GET THEE BEHIND ME SATAN. THOSE THINGS ARE PAST. I AM FORGIVING MYSELF. I AM FLUSHING THE TOILET AND WASHING MY HANDS OF THIS STUFF. I AM FORGIVEN BY GOD AND CLEANSED THROUGH HIS SON. DON’T THROW THIS CRAP AT ME AGAIN. I AM NOT GOING TO LISTEN TO YOU ANY MORE!” I then pray to God for peace. I focus on my strengths and the good things that have happened in my life. With the help of God I emancipate myself from these chains. It doesn’t come easily. I have to work at it prayerfully.

But if don’t take the time to recognize the voices, they can enslave me. They become so much a part of my background music that I don’t notice them. Like the frogs in a shallow pot of gradually heating water don’t realize what is happening until it is too late I assume there is nothing wrong and blame someone else. Or I assume that there is nothing I can do. When I am feeling down is when I am most tempted to escape through porn or other addictions. This just enslaves me further.

But there is something positive we all can do. Take, for example, the repentant multitude after King Benjamin's sermon: "And it came to pass that after they had spoken these words the spirit of the Lord came upon them, and they were filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins, and having peace of conscience, because of the exceeding faith which they had in Jesus Christ who should come.” (Mosiah 4:3) I know of people who have repented and been forgiven by God but still are beating up on themselves because of the past. The negative voices are telling them that their past sins have made them second-class citizens in the Church. They can at first fight those lies with the truth of the powerful cleansing and healing power of the Atonement. And then, they can identify and crowd out the negative voices by dwelling on the good stuff in their lives as Nephi did in 2 Nephi 4:17-35.

Society has infused many of us with self-punitive voices that say that we are “queer” or “fags” or “sinful” because of same-gender attraction. I bet if you listened carefully that each of you would find that those negative recordings are part of your background music. I certainly have them. I recognize them and then refuse to listen to them when they start replaying. I find it hard to erase them, but I can choose what I focus upon. I can focus upon the fact that SGA is not an action. It is a condition. It is not a condition that I chose. I am not evil or sinful. There are lots of things in my life that I didn’t choose and the challenge in life is to make the best of what is. I have many unique positive qualities in my personality because of SGA which I have mentioned in previous blogs. With God’s help it has given me the motivation and the capacity to understand, care and help many people. I focus on my strengths and God’s blessings and crowd offstage the negative satanic lies that would enslave me and drain me of the strength to be a powerful influence for good in the world.

The booklet, God Loveth His Children, says, “God assures His children, including those currently attracted to persons of the same gender, that their righteous desires will eventually be fully satisfied in God’s own way and according to His timing.”(p. 4) The Savior of mankind said, “If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me.”(Moroni 7:33) Ultimately all of these negative voices can be erased and we can fully enjoy the Good that we have become through God’s help. In the meantime we strive to increase spiritual emancipation in the world and in our own minds.

Monday, November 26, 2007


Since I left church today two experiences have been ruminating in my mind.

First in Gospel Doctrine we read in 2 Peter 2:22, where Peter says that returning to my sins is like a dog returning to his vomit. VOMIT! What a revolting imagery! My problem is that I don’t see it as vomit. Satan covers it with chocolate and whipped cream. My mouth waters. I can almost taste it. All that I can think of is the pleasure. I’ll just take a nibble and then just more and more. I indulge. And then my mouth tastes like vomit. Oh if I could always remember the aftertaste, the crappy feelings, the withdrawal of the Spirit. My prayers become superficial if at all. I don’t want to face My Father. I get angry about all the Church asks me to do. I want to “get a life” and forget the joy of “losing my life in His service”. I feel empty and want escape. Oh here’s some more chocolate, covered with whipped cream. Just a little won’t hurt. . . . The easiest thing to do would be to do the “natural” thing. Pleasure is just a click away on the computer or in my pants. Invitations come to me at the gym and elsewhere. . .

Now, I haven’t been having a chocolate orgy, but I have been getting lax and contemplating some nibbling. But today Peter shouted at me, “Oh please remember (2 Peter 1:12) Remember (vs. 13) REMEMBER (vs 15.). You can partake of the divine nature. It may be natural for you to desire these physical pleasures but you have a higher, spiritual nature. Abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.”

I don’t know if you have seen the movie, “Matrix”. It illustrates well how we can be brainwashed with a virtual reality that keeps us from our true reality. It is natural to fall back into a material, physical, pleasure-oriented perspective. These desires are normal, but I have a higher nature and unlike an animal, I have a moral capacity to understand spiritual realities. I have a divine nature and can discipline myself for a higher purpose than immediate pleasure.

Last night my son asked me for a blessing. It shocked me out of my spiritual lethargy. Immediately the chocolate I had been sniffing didn’t look so enticing. I told him I would in a while. I immediately took a private inventory and pled for guidance. I pondered and prayed and then later, in my weakness, promising from that moment to repent and trusting in His love for me and my son sought him out. I laid my hands on his head and silently prayed for power and light. It came. We had a few sacred moments together as father and son feeling the love of our Father flow through us. We embraced and looked lovingly into each other’s eyes and he left. Oh may I remember, Remember, REMEMBER what I felt at that moment. There is a higher joy that surpasses all the pleasures of the world! Oh may I never violate the trust my Father and family have in me.

This incident prepared me to hear Peter’s call during Sunday School.

For the closing hymn in sacrament meeting we sang:

“Jesus, the very thought of thee
With sweetness fills my breast;
But sweeter far thy face to see
And in they presence rest. . . . .

To those who fall, how kind thou are!
How good to those who seek. . .”

I sang those words with renewed gratitude and have carried them in my heart throughout the day.

Sunday, November 4, 2007


I recently came across a paper given to me by a friend, Eugene England. He died a few years ago but his wise counsel given in this paper has had a profound impact on my life. It has helped me as I have struggled with SGA in the world and in the Church which are oriented to heterosexual attractions. Those of us with SGA especially understand the struggle between "polarities" he describes. I am learning to make the best of these conflicting forces and use them as a sailor uses the wind and the current to propel him forward. The set of the sail and the rudder make all the difference. In fact without these forces the ship cannot move ahead. The proper use of opposition makes progress possible. Excerpts from his paper follow:

Lehi's law, "It must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things" (2 Nephi 2:11), is perhaps the most provocative and profound statement of abstract theology in the scriptures, because it describes what apparently is most ultimate in the universe. In context it clearly suggests that not only is contradiction and opposition a natural part of human experience, something God uses for his redemp­tive purposes, but that opposition is at the very heart of things: it is intrinsic to the two most fundamental realities, intelligence and matter—what Lehi calls "things to act and things to be acted upon" (v. 14). According to Lehi, opposition provides the universe with energy and meaning, even makes possible the exis­tence of God and everything else; without it "all things must have vanished away" (v. 13).We all know in our experience the consequences for mortal life of this fundamental, eternal reality. Throughout history the most important and productive ideas have been paradoxical, that is, in useful opposition to each other: the energizing force in all art has been conflict and opposition; the basis for success in all economic, political, and other social development has been competition and dialogue. Think of . . .reason versus emotion, freedom versus order, individual integrity versus com­munity responsibility, men versus women (whose differences make eternal increase possible), justice versus mercy (whose combination makes our redemption through the atonement of Christ possible).Life in this universe is full of polarities and is made full by them. We struggle with them, complain about them, even try sometimes to destroy them with dogmatism or self-righteousness or a retreat into the innocence that is only ignorance, a return to the Garden of Eden where there is deceptive ease and clarity but no salvation. . .
And that is precisely where the Church comes in. I believe the Church is the best medium, apart from marriage (which it much resembles in this respect), for helping us gain salvation by grap­pling constructively with the oppositions of existence, despite our limited and various understandings of "the gospel." I believe that the better any church or organization is at such help, the "truer" it is. . .

Let us consider why this is so: In the life of the true Church, as in a good marriage, there are constant opportunities for all to serve, especially to learn to serve people we would not normally choose to serve—or possibly even associate with—and thus there are opportunities to learn to love unconditionally (which, after all, is the most important thing to learn in the gospel). There is constant encouragement, even pressure, to be "active": To have a "calling" and thus to have to grapple with relationships and management, with other people's ideas and wishes, their feelings and failures. To attend classes and meetings and to have to listen to other people's sometimes misinformed or prejudiced notions and to have to make some constructive response. To be subject to leaders and occasionally to be hurt by their weakness and blind­ness, even unrighteous dominion—and then to be called to a leadership position and find that we, too, with all the best inten­tions, can be weak and blind and unrighteous.Church involvement teaches us compassion and patience as well as courage and discipline. It makes us responsible for the personal and marital, the physical and spiritual welfare of people we may not already love (may even heartily dislike), and thus we learn to love them. It stretches and challenges us, even when we are disappointed and exasperated, in ways we would not other­wise choose to be stretched and challenged. Thus it gives us a chance to be made better than we may have chosen to be—but need and ultimately want to be. . .

Two keys to this paradoxical power in the Mormon church are first that it is, by revelation, a lay church—radically so, more than any other—and second that it organizes its congregations geographically rather than by personal choice. I know that there are exceptions, but the basic Church experience of almost all Mormons brings them directly and constantly into very demand­ing and intimate relationships with a range of people and prob­lems in their assigned congregations that are not primarily of their own choosing but are profoundly redemptive in potential, in part because they are not consciously chosen. Yes, the ordinances performed through the Church are important, as are its scriptural texts and moral exhortations and spiritual conduits. But even these, in my experience, are powerful and redemptive partly because they work harmoniously with profound, life-giving oppositions through the Church structure to give truth and meaning to the religious life of Mormons. . .

These are examples, I believe, of what Paul was talking about in 1 Corinthians 12, the great chapter on gifts, where he teaches that all the parts of the body of Christ—the Church—are needed for their separate gifts, and in fact that those with "less honour­able" and "uncomely" gifts are more needed and more in need of attention and honor—perhaps because the world will auto­matically honor and use the others.It is in the Church especially that those with qualities ("gifts") of vulnerability, pain, handicap, need, ignorance, intel­lectual arrogance, social pride, even prejudice and sin—those Paul calls the members which "seem to be more feeble"—can be accepted, learned from, helped, and made part of the body so that together it can all be blessed. It is there that those with the more comely and world-honored gifts of riches and intelligence can learn what they most need to—to serve and love and patiently learn from those with other gifts. . .

The Church is where there is fruitful opposition, the place where its own revealed nature and inspired direction maintains an opposition between liberal and conservative values, faith and doubt, secure authority and frightening freedom, indi­vidual integrity and public responsibility—and thus where there will be misery as well as holiness, bad as well as good. And if we cannot stand the misery and the struggle, if we would prefer that the Church be "a compound in one" such as Lehi described (smooth and perfect and unchallenging, without internal oppo­sition and thus "vanished away") rather than as it is, full of nagging human diversity and constant insistence that we perform ordinances and obey instructions and take seriously teachings embodying paradoxes that are not logically resolvable—if we refuse to lose ourselves wholeheartedly in such a school, then we will never know the redeeming truth of the Church.

If we con­stantly ask, "What has the Church done for me?" we will not think to ask the much more important question, "What am I doing with the opportunities for service and self-challenge with which the Church provides me?" If we constantly approach the Church as consumers, we will never partake of its sweet and filling fruit. Only if we can lose our lives there will we find our­selves.It is precisely in the struggle to be obedient while maintaining independence, to have faith while being true to reason and evidence, to serve and love in the face of imperfections, even offenses, that we can gain the humility we need to allow divine power to enter our lives in transforming ways. Perhaps the most amazing paradox about the Church is that it literally brings together the divine and the human—through priesthood service, the ordinances, the gifts of the Spirit—in concrete ways that no abstract systems of ideas ever could. . . "

(The original paper was titled, "Why The Church Is More True Than The Gospel". He later modified it, but I prefer the original title. I found two other full versions on the Internet: and if you would like to read the entire essay.)

My SGA is a unique mortal gift to make the most of. I must frequently remind myself of the good qualities it has given me. Navigation within the complex forces of marriage and Church membership can draw out the best that is within me. I am challenged to develop compassion and spiritual sensitivity. I get tired and discouraged and many time get off course, but then, in the midst of the tempest when the sweet Spirit whispers, "Peace, be still", I am reminded that He knows the way and will guide me Home if I let Him.

Monday, October 15, 2007


Someone said that the Church is not a museum for saints. It is a hospital for sinners. I thought of that when I read the Church's new pamphlet, "God Loveth His Children". Some bloggers' critical comments about it motovated me to go to and read it for myself. I came away with a very different response than the critics.

They said that the title was too vague; that the Church was trying to cover up the fact that there are gays in the Church. The numerous articles in the Ensign, Church News, and now this pamphlet don't suggest to me that the Church is hiding the fact that many members struggle with SGA. They said that the pamphlet said we shouldn't have gay thoughts, act gay, or have gay friends, that we should deny our true selves and remain in the closet so that we won't make straight members feel uncomfortable; that there is nothing new, just the same old guilt trip.

While I understand that people who have been hurt by Church members' often unsensitive responses would feel defensive, I really believe that they are over reacting this time! I had never read the pamphlet. I was expecting to be offended by it because I have read all the past Church publications on this subject and at times have been miffed. Some pamphlets in the past seemed to try to bludgeon me into conformity. They got my attention like a 2×4 between the eyes. But I found this one to be very gentle, supportive, and inspiring! As I read it my thoughts were: "These principles apply to people of any sexual orientation." I thought of the hours I have spent counseling individuals and couples as a singles ward bishop. This is good counsel! I am going to use it in the future and suggest that if their problem isn' t SGA, they substitute their own issue and follow the principles and advice given. As to the title, the message that God loves me, and wants to help me permeates the pamphlet.

What follows is my summary of what it says:

They start off by saying that they don't know why SGA exists, but you should know that God loves you and that you are not a second class citizen in the Kingdom. You have the potential to fully enjoy all that God has to offer everyone. Handicaps in this life will be removed in the next. SGA doesn't make you unworthy.
Everyone is tempted. The challenge is to "diminish" these "uninvited" tempting thoughts. When they come don't "entertain" them. It helps to replace them immediately with uplifiting , constructive thoughts. [I see nothing but good advice here for someone who strives to discipline his thoughts. There is no guilt trip for having desires and thoughts, just good advice on how to bridle passions (Alma 38:12)]
You can be forgiven by God and should forgive yourself of the past. Concentrate on your strengths. Don't worry about those things you don't understand. Focus on simply living the Gospel.
You can resist these strong temptations through the power of Jesus Christ. Surround yourself with uplifting, positive things. Avoid environments full of temptations. Be fully active in the Church. No member of the Church should ever be intolerant. If some are, show them love and kindness. Don't stoop to their level.
Avoid influences that can harm you spiritually. Avoid people who talk obsessively about sexual stuff and unnecessarily discuss it. Choose friends who lead constructive, righteous lives. Set wise boundaries in your relationships. There can be danger in some emotionally intimate relationships, be cautious. [Again, more good advice. It doesn't say to have no SGA friends. It does counsel to avoid those who "flaunt" the desires you are struggling with. That is good advice for a heterosexual.]
You can find hope and overcome despair by knowing of God's continuing love and the power of the Atonement. Be patient if resolutions are not immediate.
Pornography is damaging and addictive and can lead to worse behavior. Turn to uplifting literature and music.
Don't carry guilty feelings for sexual experiences during your early years.
It is better to have daily spiritual food than to have occasional spiritual binges. Seek out help when needed from priesthood leaders and counselors, but don't become spiritually dependent on them. Your spiritual strength will come from your relationship with God.
There are other Latter-day Saints who, like you, have SGA. They are living lives worthy of all the blessings of the Gospel and so can you.
[It ends with this statement:]As President Hinckley said: “Our hearts reach out to those who struggle with feelings of affinity for the same gender. We remember you before the Lord, we sympathize with you, we regard you as our brothers and sisters.”

True to its role as a "hospital for sinners" the Church has provided a practical aid to healing. It as written for each of us with SGA who choose to stay in the Church and who strive to live up to our covenants. This is hard. We need all the help we can get.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


Earlier I said that I would report back after I taught the priesthood lesson discussing concerns of LDS with SGA. I was ambivalent after Elder Oaks' strong remarks in priesthood about sticking with the Spencer W. Kimball text. I prayed about it and felt strongly impressed to proceed.

I began by asking them what they would say if a faithful, returned missionary son told him that he was homosexual. [One brother then got up and closed the door into the hall.] The first response was: "I would listen, listen, listen. I wouldn't preach or be critical. I would let him talk and then let him know how much I loved him." Next one said: "I would make sure that he knew the Church's position on homosexuality which I support and then tell him that I would respect his free agency. He would have to decide for himself what to do. He should know that whatever he decided, I am still his father and love him dearly." I asked "What is the Church's position?" Someone responded, "I think that as long as he doesn't get sexually involved and strives to be morally clean that he can go to the temple or do anything else in the Church." Someone said, "Well he can't go on a mission!" I said that each potiental missionary is handled individually and that I know a number of cases where they were called on missions after confessing and waiting for a time period if they had any transgressions. I know of a case where one missionary even transgressed on his mission. A general authority was his mission president and seeing his grief and thorough repentance didn't send him home, but let him repent and serve a successful mission.

Other comments were: "Tell him that there is far more to him than his SGA. He should focus on the goodness in his life and all of the goodness he can do in and through the Church. Satan only wants him to feel that he is a queer and feel like a second class citizen in the Church. This is not true." "We all struggle with sexual issues. He has his and I have mine. What matters is how we deal with them, and staying close to the Lord." I said that I would tell him that he must cope with a physical/emotional emptiness and hunger for intimate contact with a male if he stays in the Church. But if he pursues just the physical he will have to cope with a spiritual/emotional emptiness and hunger for the peace and fulfillment that comes from communication with God and the opportunity to serve in the Church. He has to make a choice. Even if you choose the gay path you still may not be able to satisfy all your sexual desires. One brother said, "Well, even we straight guys with happy marriages experience unfulfilled desires and have to cope with them." Another said, "Yes, especially as we get older and have physical problems."

I said, "What is your counsel about marrying a woman?" After no response from the class, I referred them to Elder Holland's article in the current Ensign. He leaves the door open for marriage, but realizes that for some that may not be a wise choice.

I then read a statement by one of our fellow bloggers expressing his love for his wife and children. He stated that he had no physical attraction for her but that they had developed a satisfying physical relationship. He then listed many of the things he did to show her he loved her, praising her, helping around the house, etc. One of the class members said, "He sounds like he is a better husband that I am!"

Following Elder Oaks' suggestion, I then turned to the Spencer W. Kimball manual page 182: "What is love? Many people think of it as mere physical attraction and they casually speak of “falling in love” and “love at first sight.”… One might become immediately attracted to another individual, but love is far more than physical attraction. It is deep, inclusive, and comprehensive. Physical attraction is only one of the many elements; there must be faith and confidence and understanding and partnership. There must be common ideals and standards. There must be great devotion and companionship. Love is cleanliness and progress and sacrifice and selflessness. This kind of love never tires or wanes, but lives through sickness and sorrow, poverty and privation, accomplishment and disappointment, time and eternity. For the love to continue, there must be an increase constantly of confidence and understanding, of frequent and sincere expression of appreciation and affection. There must be a forgetting of self and a constant concern for the other. Interests, hopes, objectives must be constantly focused into a single channel. …Even though sex can be an important and satisfactory part of married life, we must remember that life is not designed just for sex."

And page 194: “Soul mates” are fiction and an illusion; and while every young man and young woman will seek with all diligence and prayerfulness to find a mate with whom life can be most compatible and beautiful, yet it is certain that almost any good man and any good woman can have happiness and a successful marriage if both are willing to pay the price. …
Two individuals approaching the marriage altar must realize that to attain the happy marriage which they hope for they must know that marriage is not a legal coverall, but it means sacrifice, sharing, and even a reduction of some personal liberties. It means long, hard economizing. It means children who bring with them financial burdens, service burdens, care and worry burdens; but also it means the deepest and sweetest emotions of all."

These apply to any couple. I told them that I knew many with SGA who had happy, fulfilling marriages.

Getting back to the initial comments about listening to and loving and our sons and daughters in spite of their chioces we read selected quotes from pp. 205, 207, 210, 212.

Time ran out. It seemed to go well. Only about one third of the class of about 25 brothers made comments. A few seemed embarrassed. Some spoke positively of neighbors and friends who were gay. One said that his gay neighbors were surprised that he and his wife who were Mormons would be so friendly and nice to them.

It seemed to go well. I felt the Spirit confirming our discussion.

Saturday, September 29, 2007


L and others have given suggestions for overcoming addictive habits. A friend shared the following with me which I have found helpful:

"I read in a diet book some techniques on “how to talk back to a cookie.” These same strategies are useful to confront a variety of temptations, physical or otherwise. There are many ways you can tell temptation to “Get thee behind me !” (Matt. 16:23)
‚ The bait:“Just one won’t hurt.” (2 Ne. 28:7) Your response: “One was never enough before. It won’t be enough now!”
“But it’s been such a stressful day.” Respond with: “If I do it tonight, I will even more stressed tomorrow!” (2 Ne. 4:19)
“I’ve been so good, I deserve a reward.” “I don’t reward myself with things that cause me pain and guilt!” (Alma 36:12)
“I feel lonely. I need comfort.“Guilt and shame will make me feel more isolated!” (Al. 41:10)
“It’s not fair that I can’t have it.” “It’s more unfair to lose the peace and joy that will come from overcoming this!” (Alma 5:16)
“It’s a holiday. Time to indulge.” “I’m not going to take a holiday from good judgement!” (Is. 1:18-20)
“Go ahead. You deserve it.” “I’ve come too far toward my goal to take orders from you!” (Matt.4:10)
“You did it once. You may as well do it again.” “Repeating will only make it worse. It’s like consuming my vomit!” (2 Peter 2:21-22)
“Taste it. It’s not wrong. You’re just curious.” “Curious is just another word for lust. I know how cruddy I will feel afterwards.” (Matt. 5:27-28)
“If you must say, ‘No,’ you are not free.” “I choose the freedom to experience peace and joy. When you say, ‘No,’ to something, you are saying, ‘Yes,’ to something else!” (2 Ne. 2:25-26)
“You failed! Go ahead and enjoy it again.” “Mistakes are only failures if they are repeated. I’m going to learn from this mistake starting right now!” (Ether 12:27)
“You shouldn’t deprive yourself.” “This is not deprivation. It is liberation!” (Gal. 5:1)
“Your rigid rules are keeping you from fun.” “Your ‘fun’ is a little bit of pleasure with a lot of pain, self-doubt and confusion afterwards!” (Moroni 10:22)
“All these rules clutter up your life and control you” “I freely chose these rules because they lead me to strength, discipline, peace, joy, and confidence.!” (D&C 121:45)
“It’s just a little. It’s not like you did something big.” (2 Ne. 28:8) “A little banana peel can cause a big fall. Having just a little is harder than having none!”
“You cannot deny this powerful craving.” “Even the most powerful craving is just a passing desire. I am changing my thoughts and getting out of here!” (Gen. 39:12)
“You’ll never make it up this mountain.” “Yes I will, one step at a time. I am going in the right direction, even if it is not as fast as I would like. I am going to get there!” (D&C 90:24; Moroni 7:33)"

Monday, September 10, 2007


I just read an insightful article on the Church written by a non-LDS professor and published in a Christian Journal. It is written in the context of the Romney campaign. She responds to Evangelical Christians' fears of Romney's Mormonism. Please read it. You will enjoy it, especially her comparison of Mormonism and Evangelical Christianity. From my point of view, she has an accurate understanding of LDS history, culture and doctrine and presents it in a clear, concise, and positive way. I also must make it clear that although I respect Mitt Romney and have no question that he is a man of high integrity and is an excellent leader, I am disappointed in his right-wing rhetoric. I believe that like his father he is a pragmatist deep down within. But I think that he is bending over backward to get the right-wing vote. I may end up voting for the democrat. Politics aside, this is a good article:

Monday, September 3, 2007


Please read the following letter, keeping in mind the teachings of Jesus and compare our actions in Iraq:

Letter from David Christie to George Ellis The following letter from a Scottish soldier was sent to Dr. Ellis after he received the Templeton Prize in 2004. Ellis says that despite the British army's overpowering force, they risked their lives in order to achieve peace by not retailiating but by exercising restraint, even while being attacked. It's this type of sacrifice, Ellis points out, that can be applied to the situation in Iraq.

"In 1967 I was a young officer in a Scottish battalion engaged in peacekeeping duties in Aden town in what is now Yemen. The situation was similar to Iraq, with people being killed every day. As always, those who suffered the most were the innocent local people. Not only were we tough, but we had the power to pretty well destroy the whole town had we wished. But we had a commanding officer who understood how to make peace, and he led us to do something very unusual, not to react when we were attacked. Only if we were 100 percent certain that a particular person had thrown a grenade or fired a shot at us were we allowed to fire. During our tour of duty we had 102 grenades thrown at us, and in response the battalion fired the grand total of two shots, killing one grenade-thrower. The cost to us was over 100 of our own men wounded, and surely by the grace of God only one killed. When they threw rocks at us, we stood fast. When they threw grenades, we hit the deck and after the explosions we got to our feet and stood fast. We did not react in anger or indiscriminately. This was not the anticipated reaction. Slowly, very slowly, the local people began to trust us and made it clear to the local terrorists that they were not welcome in their area. At one stage neighboring battalions were having a torrid time with attacks. We were playing soccer with the locals. We had, in fact, brought peace to the area at the cost of our own blood. How had this been achieved? Principally because we were led by a man whom every soldier in the battalion knew would die for him if required. Each soldier in turn came to be prepared to sacrifice himself for such a man. Many people may sneer that we were merely obeying orders, but this was not the case. Our commanding officer was more highly regarded by his soldiers than the general, one must almost say loved. So gradually the heart of the peacemaker began to grow in the man and determination to succeed whatever the cost. Probably most of the soldiers, like myself, only realized years afterwards what had been achieved."

Now consider what President Kimball wrote in the First Presidency article in the Ensign in June 1976 when we were celebrating America's 200 birthday and saying how good and great we Americans are.

"We are a warlike people, easily distracted from our assignment of preparing for the coming of the Lord. When enemies rise up, we commit vast resources to the fabrication of gods of stone and steel—ships, planes, missiles, fortifications—and depend on them for protection and deliverance. When threatened, we become antienemy instead of pro-kingdom of God; we train a man in the art of war and call him a patriot, thus, in the manner of Satan’s counterfeit of true patriotism, perverting the Savior’s teaching:
“Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
“That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:44–45.)
We forget that if we are righteous the Lord will either not suffer our enemies to come upon us—and this is the special promise to the inhabitants of the land of the Americas (see 2 Ne. 1:7)—or he will fight our battles for us (Ex. 14:14; D&C 98:37, to name only two references of many). This he is able to do, for as he said at the time of his betrayal, “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matt. 26:53.) We can imagine what fearsome soldiers they would be. King Jehoshaphat and his people were delivered by such a troop (see 2 Chr. 20), and when Elisha’s life was threatened, he comforted his servant by saying, “Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them” (2 Kgs. 6:16). The Lord then opened the eyes of the servant, “And he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.” (2 Kgs. 6:17.)
Enoch, too, was a man of great faith who would not be distracted from his duties by the enemy: “And so great was the faith of Enoch, that he led the people of God, and their enemies came to battle against them; and he spake the word of the Lord, and the earth trembled, and the mountains fled, even according to his command; and the rivers of water were turned out of their course; and the roar of the lions was heard out of the wilderness; and all nations feared greatly, so powerful was the word of Enoch.” (Moses 7:13.)
What are we to fear when the Lord is with us? Can we not take the Lord at his word and exercise a particle of faith in him? Our assignment is affirmative: to forsake the things of the world as ends in themselves; to leave off idolatry and press forward in faith; to carry the gospel to our enemies, that they might no longer be our enemies.

Compare the above quotes with what we are doing in Iraq and what we are threatening to do in Iran.

What are your thoughts??

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


"If we could read the secret history of our enemies we should find in each man's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility." (Longfellow) Jesus told us to love our enemies. Who are our "enemies"? They are people different from us, those who make us uncomfortable, whose lifestyle or behavior is emotionally or physically threatening to us. They may be members of the Church or members of our own family. They may be people of a different gender attraction or people who have chosen a different path than we.

Some in our blogging group have chosen or are considering leaving the Church or at least entering a gay relationship. Some are terminating their temple marriages. My first reaction is to say, "Don't do this. You'll go to hell! The Church is the only true way for you. God doesn't want you to do this. You will lose contact with Him." I have a personal testimony of the Gospel. I experience the good that the Church and Temple marriage and family have brought into my life. Shouldn't I warn people that they are going to lose all of this and much more?

The longer I live, the more I am convinced that each our lives are very complex and unique. Is what is best for me always what is best for someone else? Can I really know what is best for another person in a specific situation? Do I have the right to judge and condemn someone's actions? Yes, I must speak out against what I interpret to bring abuse, exploitation and unrighteous pain to others. I must warn against the dangers of addiction to porn, or gambling, or anything else.

But I find others with very different lifestyles non-judgmentally blessing the lives of others. Some of my Catholic friends who believe in lifetime celibacy excel me in community service. Some of my Muslim friends (some of whom have more than one wife!) have taught me a lot about devotion to God and being charitable to others. Some of my Protestant friends (who drink alcohol and coffee!) have taught me to have a greater love for the Savior. I have gay friends who excel me in community service and compassion for others (and are living in sin by my standards). Should I rush in and tell these people they are wrong in not living and believing as I do?

I believe that many of these people are currently more righteous in many ways than I, and will go farther in the next life. Am I not arrogant when pointing a finger of scorn at them? A bumper sticker read, "Hate is not a family value." Another read, "Jesus, please save me from those who believe in you."

I believe in a loving Heavenly Father who wants to lift us, lead us and bless us all. If we but open up to him, He will embrace us. (Yes, even me with SGA and all my weaknesses. I know this because I feel His love right now!) He will take us from where we are and lead us to "something better" if we but follow. Everyone is unique. The challenges He gives to each of us is different. "Something better" may be different for you than it is for me. I cannot understand my own chemistry, let alone someone else's. My responsibility is to listen to His voice speaking to my uniqueness and to follow. Do I have the capacity to understand another's choices. No. If someone chooses to follow a path divergent from mine should I condemn him or her or write them off as evil sinners? It is too easy to focus on our "strengths" and others' "weaknesses". A minister friend of mine is has SGA. Some of my LDS friends ignore all the good she is doing, wrinkle their noses and write her off by saying, "Well she is a lesbian!"

When I see people following another path, doing good, blessing others, sacrificing for the common good: basically living the teachings of Christ, whether they believe in Him or not, I am humbled. I have enough weaknesses in living the law of love myself to spend time beating up on others for choosing a different path.

It is not easy watching another take a divergent path from mine. Jesus has commanded me to love them, to listen to them, to see the good that is in them, to encourage them to stay close to God. I help them best by trusting them to make their own choices and staying in touch in a loving way. The Father lets His prodigal sons and daughters take their inheritance and spend it as they choose and then learn from the consequences. He does not condemn, but rejoices when his child returns. Although I am a Temple recommend carrying Latter-day Saint, I am prodigal in many ways as you have seen in my previous posts. I am grateful for my other prodigal brothers and sisters who share their intimate thoughts and insights in this blogging group. I have learned a lot since joining you.

Monday, August 6, 2007


I often listen to podcasts of an NPR Radio program, “Speaking of Faith.” Yesterday I listened to one that touched me deeply about a community of mentally handicapped individuals. ( )
These people throughout life are limited severely. They have experienced much loneliness, rejection, pain, and grief, yet they are for the most part happy and enjoy the simple blessings of life. One person said that these people learn to live with their limitations gracefully, forgiving God for their design flaws.

I thought of myself and the limitations I experience in life. They seem so minor compared to these folks. Most of these people will never marry. They are frequently rejected by society. Most of my handicaps are private. I have a wonderful wife and family.

Mother Theresa said that when we work with handicapped people we go from repulsion to campassion and from compassion to wonderment. I think that we can go through the same process in working with our own handicaps. In the past I have thought of myself as a eunuch, without the normal attractions that those around me have, knowing that if most people knew of my SGA they would be shocked and treat me differently than they did. Then I discovered a scripture in Isaiah that gave me a different perspective:

Isaiah 56:3-8

Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people. The Lord GOD which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him.

The portion I put in bold print above Avraham Gileadi translates as such:

And let not the eunuch say, I am but a barren tree. For thus says the Lord: As for the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths and choose to do what I will—holding fast to my covenant—to them will I give a handclasp and a name within the walls of my house that is better than sons and daughters; I will endow them with an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.

Even though the world may view my SGA handicap as worse than a eunuch, in the eyes of God I am whole. He has given me sacred promises in the Temple and I know that if I hold fast to theses covenants these will be fulfilled. I should learn to view myself as God views me. I am reminded of Paul’s statement in 2 Cor 12:7-10:

“And lest I should be
exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

I am sorry, but I cannot yet take pleasure in or glory in my infirmities, but I can push them out of my mind and focus on the wonderful blessings that I do have. And I can work to help those who do not enjoy these same blessings such as my other handicapped brothers and sisters. And I can try to help them rejoice in the strengths that they do have.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


This blogging community is exciting to me. It causes me to reach deep into my inner hunger for male contact and face it instead of running from it. It causes me to recognize my love for my wife and children and the community of friends that trust and respect me. It causes to appreciate and question my love of my Heavenly Father and His Son.

Discussions on several blogs have caused me to ask how far I can go in satisfying my need for emotional and physical contact with males. It raises more questions than I have answers for and I realize that the answers I have come to thus far are for me. I am not proscribing anything for anyone else.

Let me give you an example of my exploration of my inner needs. A few friends have recommended massage as a means of stress relief and relaxation. For me, massage from a male is more fulfilling that one from a female. I found a few relatively inexpensive male therapists in the area and enjoyed the experience of totally letting go of my physical self and letting someone bring pleasure to me. The therapist I settled on has a warm, gentle touch which is a reflection of the kind of person he is. His looks are not appealing to me and I am not attracted to him, but once he puts his hands on my back I relax and let go. I went every few weeks for a while and as soon as I felt that I could trust him we eliminated the sheet he was using to cover me. I made it clear that my genitals were off limits during the massage. I wanted a sensual experience, not a sexual one. He respected my request. My experience with him seemed to fulfill my need for male contact. It was very pleasurable and since I did not have an erection I justified it as a non-sexual experience. But I found myself wishing he would massage me sexually and as he massaged my thighs and stomach I felt strongly stimulated. But it was nice to be completely vulnerable and know that I could trust him to not violate my boundaries. I had no erection, so I assumed that these were not sexual feelings, but I found myself wanting to return more frequently. I had a vague feeling that I probably shouldn't be doing this, even though intellectually I felt that there was nothing wrong. Physical pleasure in an of itself is not wrong. My wife was fully aware of my visits. She had a massage by him once (with sheets of course.) She knew how much I enjoyed the massages and encouraged me to go.

I found myself at times angry at all the time the Church takes from my life, even though my calling was quite fulfilling. I avoided doing some of my Church responsibilities. I found myself angry about all the Church rules, and some heavy handed leaders. Scripture reading got boring. My prayers became flat. I would stop myself at times and say what is happening to me? I have always gruffed at the authoritarian aspects of the Church, but could put it in a broader perspective and recognized that the Church is run by humans with their weaknesses and problems. But I found myself more and more focusing on the negative and being angry and distant from the Spirit. Over time I discovered a pattern. These negative feelings were more intense on the days following the massage. I told myself that I was just too Puritanical and feeling guilty for having innocent pleasure and that there was nothing wrong with what I was doing. But the pattern still continued and at moments, especially during the sacrament, I felt that I should discontinue the massages. I realized that even though I saw nothing sinful in the massage pleasure it was having a negative effect on my spirituality.

What is sin if it isn't something that becomes a wedge between you and God no matter how innocent it seems. I was being fulfilled physically and ending up empty spiritually. I more and more felt negative about those things that brought me spiritual joy and fulfillment in the past. One side of me said I was too much a prude and that I shouldn't feel guilty over a little thing like this. Anyway God permitted me to be wired with SGA and has taken from me the possibility of fulfilling my deep hunger for male physical contact and this is one little way of satisfying some of this need without sinning! The other side of me said look at the spiritual consequences. Are you really happy? You know what the still small voice is saying. Be honest with yourself.

WHY DO I HAVE TO MAKE CHOICES LIKE THIS! If God came down and said stop this, it would be easy. But I have to be sensitive these gentle promptings and struggle with my justifications. I finally asked myself, "Do you love the Lord enough to give this up whether it appears to be right or wrong, to give it up as an act of faith and love?"

For a while I would decide not to go, but a few weeks later would change my mind. It seems that this pleasure had addicting qualities. I have stopped going for massages for some time. I do feel my spiritual balance returning. I made the right decision for me. But often the hunger returns and the thought comes, "Why not just this once?" and I begin to rationalize why it would be OK.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


I have been away for a while, enjoying the blessings of my large family. Many children and grandchildren have consumed my life. What a wonderful way to go! I have thought of the many times I have been tempted to stray from the Path and am grateful that Heavenly Father has helped not betray the trust of my wife, my children, my grandchildren.

I discussed in some of my posts the challenge I have had in the locker room, especially in the showers. There is often stress because of my desire to check out those across from me. It has been hard to keep my eyes from wandering. Some times I have watched those smiling at me and masturbating and felt guilty afterwards. I have requested curtains many times to no avail and finally gave up asking. I have considered not going to the gym even though I know that the exercise there keeps me healthy, alert, and energized. I love the way my body feels and looks when I am in shape. I sleep well at night. A week ago I went in for a shower and there were curtains!! It was wonderful! This is the only gym in the area I know of now with curtains. I didn't realize how stressful the showers were until I pulled the curtain closed, and showered in private. It is wonderful to walk in there knowing that there is no temptation. I know that I should be Mr. Straightarrow, walking into the valley of temptation and never yielding. But I am not. I have, over time, been able to overcome the weakness to look at porn on the computer without the use of a filter. But I needed this filter in the shower where I didn't seek out porn but it often followed me.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to have all the benefits of testosterone without the SGA challenges! Wouldn't be wonderful to be fully vulnerable to the feelings of love and affection toward males without the strong desire to go beyond that which is appropriate. I hope that when I go through the veil and leave behind my telestial body I will feel that release of stress that I felt behind the shower curtain. I hope that some day I will be worthy of a celestial body with celestial attractions and powers. Oh, what joy I will have with my family and all of my friends then!

A footnote: I know that I will never be "worthy" of a celestial body. My life has been far from perfect. I know that I will only reach that joyous state because of the blood of Jesus Christ and His Atoning Sacrifice. I know that there is hope for all of us because of Him in spite of the telestial burdens we must carry throughout mortal life.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

In light of the LA Times and the Orange County Register articles recently posted on Northern Lights, I have a question. Are LDS Social Services therapists still teaching football and other forms of "manliness" in order to "cure" homosexuals? Years ago, a local "therapist" from LDS Social Services spoke to a large group of LDS bishops which I attended. And he described this as part of his therapy. I was serving as a bishop and went away disgusted. I have since never referred anyone to LDS Social Services who was struggling with SSA.

If any of you know of the current policy or practice of LDS Social Services, please comment.

I am convinced that for at least me and many others that SGA has an organic source. Genetics, or more probably conditions in the womb have wired me to have these attractions that are unique to some of us. Few know of my SGA, but no one has ever accused me of not being "manly". I am very curious as to how I will feel once I leave this mortal body. How will I relate with my wife when I am no longer in this telestial state? I am curious, but willing to wait for many many more years to find out.

Monday, June 18, 2007


I just finished reading a long, but awesome interview on the LDS Church and politics by reporters and Richard Bushman. Others of you may have seen it. If you haven't, it is at . I would be interested in any of your responses to it. It is late. I am going to bed. I hope I sleep. It gave me a lot to think about.

Monday, June 11, 2007


My previous post discussed using SGA erotic fantasies to achieve sufficient arousal to physically satisfy one's spouse. I agree with the comments that such fantasies can place one on a slippery slope. If erotic fantasies are justifiable, then why not enhance them by viewing porn? Then why not justify a little arousing relationship outside of marriage? Then why not a little physical stimulation with someone outside the marriage relationship, etc.? After all, the goal is altruistic: to have a satisfactory sexual relationship with your wife. It is easy to play these kinds of mental games with ourselves.

But what about the side effects? When ice skating, I prefer to stay near the shore where I know the ice is solid. Anything beyond the bedroom experience to me is getting on thin ice. I limit my permitted fantasies to those moments when more mental stimulation is needed for enough arousal to make the experience fulfilling for us. It is like using a controlled substance with little side effects in a limited situation.

Using anything beyond the bedroom situation for stimulation such as porn is to me like using a substance with cancerous side effects. I have indulged in porn. I rationalized that I was just on the edges of porn and not involved in the hard stuff. It seemed at the time relatively innocent. I rationalized that since I was just viewing and not masturbating, I was just educating myself as to what was in the "real" world. I was so involved in the visual pleasure of the moment that it wasn't until afterwards that I felt a definite absence of the Spirit. But even with that knowledge I was tempted to return again and again, until I realized that I could easily become addicted and move into harder stuff. I finally stopped, but not without some setbacks and the temptation lingers on. I created an appetite that I will have to deal with from now on.

The only benefit it gave me was empathy for those struggling to overcome a porn habit. I know from my limited experience how hard it is to discipline such an appetite. I have since counseled with dozens and dozens of men addicted with porn. I see the serious negative effects of porn on their lives, and for those married, the negative effects on their marriage. Porn viewing is usually done in isolation and can raise fantasies that lead to expectations, comparisons and disappointments in the real experience with one's spouse. The pleasure is easy and immediate (unless one must first navigate through a filter). Real life can be more difficult and less satisfying than the fantasy. During the short period I was involved in it I experienced feelings of guilt, unworthiness, depression, and confusion as I continually tried to justify what I was doing.

To me, porn has no justifiable benefits, only serious negative side effects. If anyone is struggling with it, I will be glad to email some resources I have found helpful. To me the experience underlined the importance of following the counsel of our Church leaders.

Thursday, May 31, 2007


I have found that in spiritual matters, life is not black and white. Issues have to be approached personally, with Spiritual guidance, taking into account contexts, consequences, and the effects on others involved. Counsel for one person may not be appropriate for another.

Beck recently commented that in an intimate relation with his wife, the only way he could "do it" was through a fantasy of a male friend. He seemed to feel guilty about this. This started me pondering about the morality of fantasy during intimate relations, especially if the images come from outside the relationship.

Engaged young adults have often asked me if it were sinful to visualize sexual relations with a future spouse. Or after marriage is it wrong to fantasize sex with your wife. My response has always been: What are the consequences? Before marriage does it make it harder to maintain your Temple worthiness when you are with her? Does it distract from the rest of your life? Is it a fleeting experience or does it consume you? Does it lead to masturbation or porn? Does it distract from your relationship with the Lord? Each person is different and must answer for himself and then seek guidance from the Lord. Because of my SSA I occasionally worked on visualizing my wedding night with a woman I loved very dearly, but had little sexual attraction for. I believe that it helped. In an earlier blog I have said more about this.

In a temple interview a young married man asked if he sinned if he visualized sexy women sometimes while being intimate with his overweight and less attractive wife. He said that he loved her very much. He said that sometimes it helped him maintain an erection and reach climax. He said that he limited such fantasies to those difficult times. I told him that if it inhansed his ability to give her pleasure and reach fulfillment himself and that if it did not bring negative effects, spiritual or moral, outside of the bedroom that he should continue. He should also continue to avoid porn, etc. I felt that this advice had the concurrence of the Spirit. Future interviews indicated that he and she continued to have a loving, bonding relationship and that he was not having serious fantasy problems outside of their intimacies.

A stake president of mine when asked in bishops' council about appropriate behavior in intimate relations with your wife said that one General Authority conseled him that "Anything that bonds the couple together in love is ok. Anything that leaves one partner feeling abused, demeaned, exploited or less loved is wrong. What goes on in the bedroom is between the couple and the Lord. Bishops should not ask indelicate questions in their interviews." I know that some BYU professors (whose motivation I question) feel compelled to make lists of what should should or shouldn't happen in the bedroom and some of them have out of date quotations from previous Church leaders as evidence. I believe that this information should be filed with those which counsel that a good Mormon cannot be a Democrat and supply general authority quotes to back this up. The same waste basket receives both in my house. The first time I served as bishop, some other bishops I know probed deeply into the intimate practices of married couples. This was condemned by the First Presidency and bishops are counseled to only ask the question provided, "are you morally clean?"

In my intimate relationships there are times when I cannot reach a climax. If this happens frequently not only am I frustrated but my wife also. She usually finds it easy to reach a peak (usually many). But she says that she is not fully fulfilled if I cannot reach the peak. So at times I permit a fantasy of a male to help me reach a climax. This helps us to both to be fully satisfied and to bond in love. I have never shared this with her. I don't believe that it is necessary. I didn't ask to be wired this way: to be aroused by males. I believe that the Lord understands my mortal makeup and confirms me in this. I avoid porn and daily try to "bridle my passions". I even try to avoid the men's bathing suit and underwear adds that appear in the paper.

I know that the Lord loves my wife and me. Even though I have all my life struggled with an SSA emptiness that I choose to never fulfill (and at times wish I could) I feel His love, patience and support.

Everyone and every relationship is different. I don't share this information to suggest that anyone else should do likewise. You have to work out your relations with the help of the Lord. But if you have been broadsided by those professors or some other well meaning person, you may want to reconsider the issue. Please respond with your reactions to the above. If you want to discuss anything with me privately, use my email that is posted on this website.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007


I have visited with many, many LDS who have same gender attraction. A common problem they all struggle with is low self-esteem. The culture around us would call us queer or faggot if they knew. So we keep these feelings deep within and learn to despise ourselves and hope that some day that we will change. Some, like Distinguishing Preoccupation, may get into the clutches of a "repairative" therapist who promises a "cure" and when this fails they feel that they are really hopeless. (DP was strong enough to come through it with valuable insights.) I had a therapist try to hypnotize SGA out of me. I finally met a therapist that helped me learn some of most important truths of my life. I have since had them reinforced by sensitive Church leaders and Institute teachers. Let me share some of the with you.

There are many voices within us, many instilled by parents, family friends and other significant people in my life. The voices are part of us and we seldom recognize them and the effect they have on us. One teacher said, "A fish notices water last". Unrecognized and unchallenged we accept them as reality. Some are reality but some are false. Some are positive and some are destructive. The challenge of life is to first recognize the voices, accept those that are beneficial and confront those that drag us down.

Take some cards and write down all your good qualities. Then write down all your sins, shortcomings, weaknesses, etc. Which list is the longest? I wager it will be the latter. "But I must face my weaknesses in order to make them strengths!" Go through a day dwelling on your weaknesses and how do you feel at the end of the day? Those negative voices sap you of the power to overcome. They leave you feeling weaker and weaker sometimes angry/depressed about life. (Depression is anger turned on yourself.) There is a difference between recognizing your shortcomings and wallowing in them.

Many times a day I catch myself and say, "Hey, you are beating up on yourself. What is it doing to you. Is it helping you? No. Then stop it!!" I fight off the critical voices and focus on my strengths. I feel hope and energy and power. I am easier to live with. This is easier said than done. Life can be a struggle and you have to choose to be happy. I fight the negative voices every day. I don't have to listen to them. God helps me.

If you are guilt ridden, remember that the Spirit of the Lord never drags us down. He kicks us in the rear at times, but His message is you are my child. You can do better. Focus upward. Repentance is a positive principle: get off your butt and get back on the path. You can do it. Enjoy the power of the atonement! "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) He knows you can make it. Jesus said, "Repent or suffer," not "Repent and suffer." (D&C 19:4)

Satan wants to drag you down. He tells you that you are an evil sinner. He wants you to doubt that you will make it, to give up and then escape through more sin.

All of you who have struggled, or still struggle with masturbation raise your hands. Hey all hands are raised (including mine). Look at what the voices have said to you each time you have given in. You feel crappy and weak and so you give in again. A fellow discussed this with me, telling me how bad he was. I said, "You mean you have had this problem all these years and still come to Church? You are really commited to the Gospel. You have a lot of faith. You have been struggling all these years and are still in there fighting. You haven't given up? You have a lot of strength!" "Well I haven't thought about it that way," he said. Instead of focusing on the set backs, we began to focus on the days between setbacks. He began to focus on his successes and how he did it, on his strengths instead of his weaknesses. Days became weeks which have become years. There were setbacks along the way, but instead of beating up on himself he learned to ask, "What can I learn from this?" Thus turning a negative into a positive.

An Institute teacher showed me how Nephi applied these same principles. Read the Psalm of Nephi (2 Ne 4:17-35) and see how he starts out depressed and then crowds out the negative with the positive. Like Paul he pushed out of his mind the past and focused forward (Philippians 3:12-14). It takes work, but it is worth it!

As I mentioned in a previous blog, my struggle with SGA, instead of being an albatross, has through God's help, given me unique insights, skills, and strengths, that I could never otherwise have had.

Meanwhile, Back in the Locker Room

My earlier blogs brought comments an other website. Some expressed fear or disgust about going to gyms. I responed with the following in defense of working out in a gym:

I have found it to be great place to get addicted to endorphins and it is great to feel strong and healthy and to burn out the stress of the day and to clear my brain. The collective energy in the gym motivates me to work harder than I would at home. I have read a number of books while on the cardio machines and overall have met some very interesting people and may have helped them with my support and friendship. I believe that just a smile and positive recognition from me may enlighten a dark day for someone. I grumble to myself all the way to the gym about how tired I am and I glow all the way home about how good I feel. The feeling of strength in my body helps my self-confidence and thus helps me to fight negative voices that want me to beat up on myself. I am more tempted to escape into lust and lustful acts when I am down. I know that what works for me doesn't work for everyone.

The only dark side of the gym for me is what I expressed in my blog. Having served in the military I got somewhat used to showering in front of a bunch of guys. I only feel uncomfortable when someone stares at me and/or makes sexual gestures. My discomfort is heightened by the fact that I sometimes am aroused and this is obvious to the other person and others in the shower room. The particular gym I enrolled in had shower curtains. The closest gym where we now live has individual stalls but no curtains. I have checked out other gyms in the area and they don't even have stalls. I have requested curtains to no avail. I have thought of not showering, but the warm shower is my immediate reward for working out hard and I enjoy briefly visiting with friends I have developed in the locker room. Hey, I am paying for this! I am not going to let the occasional "jerk" (jerker?)drive me out.

What am I doing, then? I prefer the showers at the end, next to the wall because of privacy. But so do the jerks. So I shower in other stalls where we can be seen by others. This avoids some. If I see what's happening out of the corner of my eye I turn my back, keep my eyes to the wall, quickly cleanse and get out. I always wear a towel outside the shower, but if I am aroused it is still obvious. Those who try to get me visually involved, after a few trys and no cooperation usually don't try again.These guys irritate me, but I feel sorry for anyone who has such a shallow social life. When we are dressed I sometimes visit with him to let him know I don't reject him even though I am not into that kind of stuff. Some have opened up and shared concerns about work and family. Please don't get me wrong. The vast majority of those in the gym are not like this. I usually don't encounter problems in the showers and I go home refreshed and energized.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

What follows I shared on another blogsite, responding to some profound questions raised. I place this here hoping that it will help you understand some my inner thoughts. I hope that they will be helpful. If you disagree, please let me know how you feel.

"President Lee gave us a parable of a person praying to God to be healed from a wound that brought much pain. An angel came to him and said that God loves him but that he would not be healed. His pain helped him to to have compassion and to help others in pain. His calling was to not focus on the pain, but to focus on reaching out with compassion and understanding to others in pain and to bless their lives.

It doesn't seem fair that some of us were given handicapped mortal bodies that trigger same-gender attraction. But here we are. I am one whose handicap is still in the "closet". It is no one else's (except my wife's) business. I am not ashamed of it, but I know that most people would have a hard time handling it. As a bishop (once with a family ward and again with a singles ward) I have counselled with many good, faithful LDS heterosexuals handicapped with all kinds kinky attractions. I have met with many with SGA. I have at times asked myself, "What is normal??" Everyone has his or her own unique "thorn[s] in the flesh" (2 Cor. 12:7) One of mine is sexual orientation. Others carry wounds from other sources. I have sat and wept with them all. I have tried to help them to see that God loves them and accepts them where they are. It doesn't matter where they are. What matters is where they are moving.

I hope that I don't sound preachy. I think of sexual things every day. This is me. I am tempted often. I don't feel any less in the Kingdom than anyone else because of it. Others (with their handicaps) may be farther ahead of me but God compares me with no one. What matters is that I am striving to move forward.You and I are far more than same-gender orientation. Far, far more. Please don't let this one aspect block out the other rich, complex gifts you have to share with the world. Wanting to tell everyone you are "Gay, no big deal, lets move past it. Puhleez!" May be a symptom of your struggle to accept yourself unconditionally. It doesn't matter if they know, if you are at peace with who you are. Most people are not spiritually mature enough to accept that aspect of you. That's just the way it is. It is their problem not yours. God is the only other you should worry about. He knows all about you and loves you and is there, willing to help you bless others if you will let Him. Whether you come out to others or not is your choice. Weigh the consequences and then ask the Lord what you should do.

He has counseled me to be silent on this aspect of my life as long as I do't transgress His commandments. I have fully confessed my sins in the past to appropriate priesthood leaders, but subsequent priesthood leaders know nothing of my SGA. I probably would not have been called to many of the positions I have held had they known. I have been able to help many boys and men, girls and women through my callings.

It sound like you also are reaching out and blessing lives. Losing your life in His service means to stop dwelling on your wounds and to focusing on helping others to find that they are loveable by seeing that you love and accept them. It sounds like you are on that Path, pressing forward. Thank you for your candid comments. Your honesty and my opportunity to respond has given me the time for introspection and has helped me to stay on the same Path. Thank you. "

Monday, April 30, 2007

SGA, Romantic Love and Marriage

Last night for hours I enjoyed consuming my way through the Blog feast prepared by Mormons with same gender attraction. So much good stuff, so little time! A frequently discussed issue is "Should I marry or stay married to a good friend whom I love when I don't feel much physical attraction for her." I cannot really answer this for anyone besides myself, but maybe my thoughts may help someone struggling for his or her answers. Foxx reviewed a book on the social history of marriage that started me thinking about my philosophy of marriage. The ideas that follow are not all original to me. I have read and gathered from many sources.

In the scriptures we have Abraham sending his servant off to pick a wife for his son. The servant brings her back "And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her." Genesis 24:67. He married her and then he learned to love her. Because of Lehi's instructions the wife selection pool for Nephi and his brothers was just Ishmael's daughters. They married and then worked out their relationships during the physical hardships that followed.

It seems that down through the ages love was not the basis for mate selection. People married and some of them learned to love each other. One philosopher said that "we owe to the Middle Ages the two worst inventions of humanity: romantic love and gunpowder."

President Spencer W. Kimball said, "'Soul mates' are fiction and an illusion; and while every young man and young woman will seek with all diligence and prayerfulness to find a mate with whom life can be most compatible and beautiful, yet it is certain that almost any good man and any good woman can have happiness and a successful marriage if both are willing to pay the price."

This suggests to me that almost any two people can come together and build a loving relationship if they are willing to put in the work and sacrifice to grow together in love. A therapist and Church leader friend of mine said: "We act our way into a new way of feeling more often than we feel our way into a new way of acting. 'Love' in the scriptures is a verb, not a noun. Love is not as much a feeling as it is a way of acting, no matter how we feel." (President Kimball told our country in the June 1976 Ensign to love our enemies so that they will no longer be our enemies, instead of building up stores of weapons to fight them.) Individually we tend to build up defensive tactics to defend ourselves. Reaching out kindly and sensitively helps us break down our own barriers and invites others to likewise let down their defenses.

My friend said: "You don't love a person forever unless you decide to day by day. Love is a daily decision."

What about sexual attraction? I remember sitting in a BYU marriage class before I was married. On the board was a drawing of male and female genitalia as the professor discussed sexual relations with the class. I remember looking at the female drawings and hoping that in marriage I could develop an attraction to the female body as strongly as I felt towards the male body. I hoped that boobs would excite me as much as pecs. For me, after many years, this has not happened. I do enjoy carressing my wife and feeling her touch. I enjoy giving her pleasure. I enjoy cuddling with her and enjoy the fulfilling oneness we feel in our intimate relations. The recognized sexuality experts, Drs. Masters and Johnson, said that the most important techniques that lead to sexual satisfaction are not developed in the bedroom. They are developed in the every day relationships outside of the bedroom. Through patience and acceptance and flexibility and creativity over time my wife have found fulfillment in our intimate relations. I think that is because we have used these same principles outside of the bedroom.

I have never experienced the pink clouds of romantic love or the surge of passionate physical desire in our relationship. But I do experience caring, respect, trust, empathy, friendship, and unconditional love in our marriage. We are committed to similar goals: to raise self-confident, caring children, to provide service in the Church and community, and to stay in tune with God.

Neither of us are perfect people. Marriage for us has been on the job training, with many mistakes contributing to many hard times. There have been times when we each wondered if we made the right choice to be married to each other. This is when our Temple Covenants have come to our rescue. The public commitments of the Temple marriage ceremony, supported by families, Church, and society have helped us get through the rough times when positive feelings wore thin because of stress and conflict in the relationship, economic challenges, sickness, and children. My wife and I have come to where we are because we have been both commited to higher purposes than the bliss of continual emotional, economic, physical security and satisfaction. It has been challenging. The Covenant we made to each other and God and society has helped us through many rough spots and brought us to where we are today.

I had a very immature understanding of “love”when I married. I hoped that it had to be more than physical attraction because of my SGA. It is! I wouldn’t trade our relationship for anything in this world. We have even survived raising many teenagers! (They are good kids and, in spite of their imperfect parents, I think that they will make this world a better place.) I still am not above temptation and will never be, but I thank God for the Temple Marriage Covenant that has helped us get this far along the path.

I do not criticize someone who has chosen another path, to not marry or to divorce because of SGA. I encourage each to seek out God's guidance and to follow and learn from the path they choose.