Hope to inspire others to take a stand!

Anon0000 Sep 2013

I am asking for a personal favor by those who frequent this board.

Let me start with my story. I was born in Idaho Falls, Idaho, but was raised in Rexburg, Idaho. I was raised in a prominent LDS family. Our lives revolved around the church, and mormonism is still the pillar that supports the entirety of my family with the exception of me and a few other black sheep.

Like many of you here, I was raised in the church and went through the motions like it was second nature. It would come completely natural to me.

My ride in mormonism went smoothly. I made my way through primary, to be ordained a deacon. Made my way through the scouting program, which i throughly enjoyed. Become a teacher, then acquired my eagle. That is about where I was at the age of 14. In the teachers quorum and a proud Eagle Scout, although I began to notice something was definitely off. My inner circle of friends began having what I figured to be an odd obsession with the opposite sex. They would frequently talk about so and so being attractive, and I would agree just for the sake of agreement, even though I did not see what they were seeing.

I figured it was just a phase, and maybe I was late to the game. That is until I had a hard time keeping my eyes to myself in the locker room at gym class. It began to dawn on me that I was in fact into guys. I started seeing many of the guys who I had been going to school with for years in a different light. I became incredibly ashamed and tried to put it on the back burner of my mind, figuring it would go away. I began to pray about it. I did not like these feelings, they were "unnatural" and evil from what I had been told. I was used to my older siblings making homophobic stereo typical comments whenever a gay issue presented itself.

Like most young men I also had what I THOUGHT was a problem. That would be with mastrabation. Stake and general conference priesthood sessions became a dreaded nightmare. They would always bring up the topic of mastrabation and homosexuality. It was emotionally draining.

This self hate went on for years, and then during my junior year of high school I could no longer take it. I came out as gay, in a school that was 99% LDS, and decided to stop attending church. (I was the first counselor in the priests quorum go figure.)

Initially it felt good to come out and state my disbelief in the church, but boy was I not ready for the hell fire that was about to rain down on me. I went from being a fairly popular student, who was also a student body officer, to an ostracized reject. I found out that I only had a couple truly good friends who despite being LDS stuck by my side and helped my embrace who I was. The vast majority of my "friends" stopped talking to me and would no longer have anything to do with me. I even approached a few of these so called "friends" and asked them what the problem was. They bluntly told me they were no longer comfortable being around me. That was pretty devastating, but the rumors and backlash were much worse. The bullies quickly showed themselves. Calling me the typical gay slurs, literally making me fearful to be alone with them.

Well, you would think it would be better when I got home...... not even. My family was DEVASTATED. They were in incredible denial. My mom would constantly badger me begging me to tell her I was not really gay, and that I was just being rebellious. She would constantly berate me. She no longer would let my male friends, ( the few I had remaining) come over for fear I was having sex with them. She would cut out any gay related news paper article and save them for me and show them to me later. Usually something about aids. She would constantly tell me that she feared I would die from aids. My older sister who was moved out and had children was paranoid about gay people and aids, and she did not want me around her or her children anymore. My mother would have the missionaries strategically placed at home sometimes when I would arrive home from school, in hopes I would see the light. She also did this with the bishop once as well. Every single day I was being mentally beat up over being gay.

I began to DREAD being at home. So I got a job, which I went to daily after school. ANYTHING to avoid being home. Well, the people at work supported me, they were all sort of jack mormons, and they were not living perfect lives themselves. They were into drinking and some pretty mild drugs. After work, naturally I started hanging out with these guys and gals who were about 5 years older then me. I would come home sometimes at 4 am and miss school the next day. Which lead to continuous fights at home, but I didn't care anymore. I wanted to be anywhere but home.

I became so depressed over having very little to no support from family that I started contemplating suicide. The thought of driving myself into a river in the middle of night in the winter months was an appealing thought. I actually made the drive two different times, but did not go through with it.

The support of the people at my work is what kept me alive. Yes we were drinking, dabbling in small time drugs, but these people would listen to me, and lift me up. I remember one night, drunk on a couch with one of my buddies from work, whom I REALLY liked, but he was REALLY straight. I started balling and just told him everything that was going on. He sat next to me and held me. It was the most surreal experience. The fact that he cared and showed it meant a lot to me. This straight man, put down his guard, and did not back away and treat me differently because I was gay, and I KNOW he knows I liked him. 6 years later, he is married, and has a kid, and we are still friends.

Moments like the one above were what gave me the will to live. I have since left Rexburg Idaho, GOOD FUCKING RIDDANCE. I have been with my partner for four years, and am actually starting a real career......

I am grateful to be alive today, but would not be if it had been for the few people who stood by me. This leads me to ask everyone on this board. If you have an LBGT family member, or simply a family member who is struggling in the church, PLEASE let them know you support them, even if you are not close to them. If you have a family member who is TBM and has an LBGT child, PLEASE stand up for that child if a situation arises that you can.

You could potentially save a life.

Re: Hope to inspire others to take a stand!
Thankyou SO much for sharing your heartbreaking story. I am SO sorry you have been through such a terrible experience, and I send my 100% congratulations that you have come through.

Thankyou too for caring for others who are gay. You have my word that I will help them when/if ever I can!

Take care love, and I wish you all the happiness you deserve after such a rough time.

Re: Hope to inspire others to take a stand!
Your story is amazingly typical. Making gay people go through
hell is part of Mormonism. Mormons are totally obsessed with
sex. To a Mormon sex is what sex organs do. When someone
confesses a "sexual sin" to the bishop they ask all kinds of
probing questions about how many times, what positions, what
foreplay etc. They never ask, How did you feel about the

So if you come out as gay, Mormons see it as only someone
craving gay sex. The idea of love never occurs to them. Tell
a Mormon priesthood leader that he just married his wife for
sex (which wouldn't be far off given Mormonism's approach to
sex) and he'll be offended. But he'll tell a gay person that
he's only into sex.

These guys are clueless.

Cali Sally
Re: Hope to inspire others to take a stand!
I lived in Rexburg and taught at Ricks for five years. That was as long as I could stand it. The things I saw happen there destroyed my testimony. I'm sure that there were gay students that stayed in the closet for fear of what would happen to them and their status as students because it was not accepted at Ricks at all. So I feel bad that I couldn't help those students because they could not be who they were there. I also feel bad that it took me so long to see that being gay is not a sin or a chosen life style. It is just who you are. Even though I would never have mistreated anyone I knew was I, I feel bad that I accepted the church's attitude.

Knowing how wrong the church leaders are about so many things makes it impossible to believe those men have any kind of inspiration let alone compassion.

I'm sorry for your painful experiences at a time when acceptance and approval from peers is so vital. I'm happy that you have found the affection you longed for and are away (hopefully far) from the damaging influence of such an obviously insensitive and false church. Good luck and if I ever see someone in the circumstance you described I will do my best to be supportive and understanding. I hope your family will someday come to see their mistake.

Re: Hope to inspire others to take a stand!
I am so moved by your story. I didn't grow up LDS, but when my brother came out as gay, it was hard for the family. My parents, particularly my mother, wondered where she had gone wrong. (This was in the 70's when people believed it was an aberration because of something in the environment growing up.)

In addition to your parents worrying that they did something wrong, they are also having to deal with worrying about what other church members will think of them, since they haven't raised a "perfect" child. Please be as patient with them as you can.

I think you've done the right thing in leaving Rexburg and going somewhere where people will let you just be you. I am glad for the true friends you have that have provided support. I believe you will continue to find people like this as you go through life.

Thanks for reminding us here to love each other, rather than to judge each other.

Re: Hope to inspire others to take a stand!
I don't think the author was insinuating that mastrabation was a real problem. Only one perceived by the church.

Re: Hope to inspire others to take a stand!
My DW's cousin just came out as bi-sexual and her family will not be taking it lightly. She told my wife and I last week since she knows we are not LDS anymore. It was so nice to be there for her and love her for who she is.

Thanks for your story. I can't imagine how hard that must have been. I used to be a big time homophobe and am so glad to have shed that awful side myself.

CA girl
Re: Hope to inspire others to take a stand!
I would have stood by them anyway but after hearing your story, I want you to know I give you my word that I will be like your friends - loyal to my people for who they are. I think after reading your story, hearing about your courage and integrity, that your friends are as lucky to know someone like you as you are to have them.

Fascinated in the Midwest
Re: Hope to inspire others to take a stand!
Some of my favorite people and best friends are gay. They are fun to be around, we share similar interests and activities. Their orientation makes no difference to me.

The LDS message, so clearly sung in the hit musical Book of Mormon is "turn it off, like a lightswitch, it's a nifty little Mormon trick." However, what comes naturally cannot be flicked off for convenience. That isn't natural! Institutions that send that message are harmful and ignorant.

I'm glad you found support when you most needed it - and that you are now in a happy relationship and career.

Best wishes to you and your partner.

Re: Hope to inspire others to take a stand!
Yes thank you for sharing this! I'm so happy that you got out of that town and have found peace. Sharing your story has very powerful effects, and will help many out there.

Re: Hope to inspire others to take a stand!
That is a wonderful, insightful, story. I wish you would share it with all your tbm friends, on Facebook. I think it is powerful, and could really make an impact.

Im so happy for you.

Re: Hope to inspire others to take a stand!
Thank you for sharing your story. I'm glad you found your way through it all and are in a happier place.

Re: Hope to inspire others to take a stand!
Thank you for this inspiring story and great message. I have a very dear friend whose son shot himself in Rexburg 3-4 years ago. 18 years old, also a prominent family, and his whole life ahead of him. Purple was his favorite color, he was a talented musician, and had a scholarship in hand, but I suspect he knew what he was up against and decided to take the better way out (for him). He never came out as far as I know, but he had no other reason to take that road IMO. He had everything in the world going for him. You may know him or of him depending on when you left.

That town is wicked if you're not straight, white and LDS.

So glad you were strong enough to come out the other side of that hell. I know that river and probably where you thought about driving into it. Glad you were able to find the support you needed in time.

Family - Isn't it about time?

Re: Hope to inspire others to take a stand!
Very powerfully written. No kid should ever have to go through that and I am so glad you made it out the other side.

I am in awe of the fact that you came out in high school in an all Mormon community. That is guts. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to any of the gay kids. Many will get exactly what you got and may not have your strength. I got a lot of what you got without even coming out in high school.

Thank you. That was a critically important post. We are so lucky here, the exmos on RFM are beautiful, evolved and get it.

Re: Hope to inspire others to take a stand!
Thanks for your story. It helps me know I did the right thing a couple of years ago when a relative "came out". I gave his partner a big hug and welcomed him to the family. And I meant it; he's a swell guy. Together, they're an awesome, happy team.

Susan I/S
Beautiful post Anon0000
And something that should be said loud and often. I have asked Eric to add this to the archives :)

Re: Hope to inspire others to take a stand!
The church cannot face the realities of life.

The truth is that occasionally an innocent little child in born with BOTH sets of (sometimes) fully-functioning sex organs!

Explain that with Mormon dogma!

Gender and sexuality are not as clear cut as most religion make them out to be. If there is a God, that God is far more complicated than we think.

What we do know is that real things happen that we may not understand, but they are nevertheless real and our best response is to exercise understanding and compassion!

In response to cludgie
Perhaps you didn't mastrabate (satirize) enough, heh heh.

My gay ex is from Rexburg
But obviously quite a bit older than you. He is 56. Almost every one of his friends from high school is gay. Two of them still live in Rexburg and are married (with multiple children) and cheat a lot.

My ex also has 2 siblings who are gay. Two of his 3 neighbor children are gay.

From what I can tell, there are a lot of people from Rexburg who are gay.

You probably weren't alone there, but probably had no idea how many of your acquaintances are actually gay.

He didn't have just a few high school friends who are gay--somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 to 15. Most of them married. A few didn't.

I should say--I'm sorry for what you have been through. I'm glad you found your way.

Re: Hope to inspire others to take a stand!
Living in Rexburg, I'm so tempted to ask you who your family is. I'm sorry you had to go through that, but I'm infinitely glad that you were able to find support via other avenues.

Re: Hope to inspire others to take a stand!
I just wanted to thank everyone for their kind words. Today was sort of a low day for me. It is good to reflect on these things, but I am still working on finding closure.

My family does not except my homosexuality, but now they tolerate it, at a surface level. I still visit rexburg, with my partner every once in awhile. Trying to mend my family relationship. It has been a long process, but is slowly paying off.

My mom and my partner have actually gotten to a point where they can have a conversation. It took awhile for her to get to that point, and now she lets him stay at the house. Take for granted she makes him sleep upstairs and I have to sleep in my old room downstairs when we visit, but that is huge progress.

Things have gotten better. Every time I visit rexburg it is slightly depressing. All of the people who I associated with were smart and got out of the fiery pit of hell, go figure, birds of a feather flock together. I only have one friend who stills lives in rexburg. She attends BYUI, and hates it with a passion, but she is nearly done, and plans on getting out of dodge as well.

I feel like a stranger in rexburg now, but that is okay. I avoid Broulims like the plague when I visit though, because I do see people I know who shop there that I would rather not see. They always try and draw me into conversation. Their kindness is so fake, they are just prying. I prefer albertsons, i rarely see anyone there I know when I visit.

Rain writer, I doubt you know me, but you may very well now my family. They are all sorts of involved in everything mormon and rexburg, but for privacy reasons I won't post it haha. Haha they act perfect anyway, if you didn't know me you would NEVER know they had a gay son. I am sort of a taboo topic they never mention and their inner circle of mormon friends know better than to ask.

Re: My gay ex is from Rexburg
You are right, I know some guys that finally came out gay a few years after high school. I was the only out gay person in my high school ( at least while I was there) there were others, but they kept it quite and remained super Tbm. Some of them even went on missions. I know one guy who went on a mission and was sent home because he was having gay sex.

Also, I have had experiences where a few Tbm guys came onto me. I remember one kid I was assigned to do a senior school project with. We went to his house to work on it. His parents were not home, and he became exceptionally friendly and was getting exceptionally close to me the entire time even putting his hand on my thigh. It was incredibly uncomfortable, because I did not find him attractive at all.

Another time, one of my friends was dating this guy, who was really attractive. I often hung out with her and her Tbm boyfriend. Well he and I exchanged phone numbers. Well one night he sent me a picture of himself flexing only wearing his underwear. He asked to hookup. I was tempted because he was incredibly attractive, but I could not do that to my friend. So I showed her the text and she appreciated it and broke up with him. Sadly, he moved onto another woman and has married her and she is pregnant. And he is still ultra Tbm.

So yes I know there are closet cases in rexburg hahahaha

"Recovery from Mormonism - www.exmormon.org"