I spent 10 hours on Twitter this weekend as @gaymormonguy. 10 hours listening intently to every talk, reading the continuous flow of #ldsconf discussion, and adding my voice to the message trending worldwide. 10 hours being a missionary and sharing my perspective – what it’s like to be Mormon and live the life I do.
I write because I feel called to write. To blog at (Gay) Mormon Guy, to write here at Northern Lights, to live-tweet Conference and other Church-wide broadcasts. For a long time I assumed that calling was primarily for others. And my assumption seemed accurate – I had the opportunity to watch people find hope and heal their lives. But there was another reason I was called – to heal myself.
Any of you who have read the early posts back at (G)MG know that over the last two years my life has changed. What was initially something I was still learning to define has grown into set of beliefs that color who I am. I’ve lost my fears, increased my love, built my hope, and found greater peace and happiness – all without being any closer to finding a wife and eternal bliss. My life is literally amazing, and God is directing me toward better dreams than I ever dreamed possible.
I think that part of the reason I’ve thrived these last two years, even though I’ve been outed half a dozen times, lost friends, and sometimes still find myself almost staring at hot guys… is that I’ve been willing to write it down. To put it in front of me and God… and let the world be a witness.
Sometimes when I write, I begin feeling awful. Dejected, run down, despairing, and depressed. But, somehow, as the words flow from my mind to the page, I can see my problems more clearly. And then, just as clearly, the solution appears alongside… and before I have even finished, it’s solved. Frustration met with kindness. Despair met with hope. Anger met with faith. And I’m a new person. I push “publish” and the world sees the finished product – the end result of hours of soul-searching – and doesn’t realize that I couldn’t see the end from the beginning. But God could.
2 years, a thousand pages, and just as many emails later, it’s the same story. God gives me experiences in life. As I take the time to ponder and record the things that happen in my life, He teaches me what I needed to learn. I write to share the message with others, but in sharing gain far more than I could ever give.
I think that’s one reason why we’re asked to keep journals. To record our spiritual experiences. To write out our problems and prayers and thoughts and desires. Because, on paper or LCD, nebulous thoughts don’t stay thoughts. They become phrases, articles, conjunctions and participles. Goals and problems and failures and strengths take form, and what seemed impossible is reduced to a bulleted list of obstacles… each surmountable in its own way.
I think that writing has been the best way I’ve found to understand SSA.
That said, I think that the way I’ve learned to write is just as important… or even more… than writing itself. There are plenty of prolific gay exmormon blogs, or blogs about people who are moving in that direction. We’ve had many of the same experiences, heard the same talks, prayed the same prayers. In the end, the difference is perspective – what we emphasize in life. When someone in my quorum claims to be an expert in explaining the reason behind Proposition 8, I smile. When a colleague “understands SSA” because his wife’s younger brother left the Church, I listen. And when someone learns about my trials and then betrays me or cuts off contact completely, they stay in my prayers forever.
When things happen in life – from trials to Conference talks – there are always many choices. Choosing to be grateful – to look for the lessons God intends us to learn, to give thanks when we see His hand in all things – does more than just color our perspective. It gives us the opportunity to learn more. It humbles us. It opens the windows of Heaven. And, with time, it changes who we are.