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. "