When I started writing this, I intended it to be in just one post. But after looking at how long it got, I decided to split it in two.
When I moved to Utah at age 17, I was going through some major therapy (as to why is a whole other story). It was a good and bad experience, but honestly, I do not look back on it fondly. It destroyed my self esteem, I learned that I was wrong about just about everything, and right about virtually nothing. My mother, with whom I've never had a good relationship with, would not write letters to me, or speak on the phone. Our relationship never recovered. Nor did my relationship with the rest of my family.
But it was here, at my lowest point in life, that I finally recognized what I was. I finally recognized that I was gay. I craved an emotional, physical, and sexual connection to women... Not men. And it scared me, because at the time, I had a very conservative therapist, who I already did not like, or trust, so how could I possibly tell her my biggest secret? I remember the entire experience felt like a fight or flight... I simply had to survive. And there was no way in hell that I was going to tell her something that could potentially lengthen my stay. No way.
After that experience, I was released from my cage, and into the world of college. I was at Southern Utah University which is in no way a big school, or a party school, but it felt that way to me! I had 5 roommates in the dorm, and every single one of them is Mormon. Here is where my Mormon experience starts. I read the Book of Mormon, and I had the lessons with the missionaries. This was the first time that I had heard anything about homosexuality not being ok. And the Elders did a fantastic job at explaining it... They said nothing bad about gay people, or that they were damned to hell. They simply explained the Law of Chastity, that sexual relations were only allowed in marriage, and that marriage was between a man and a woman only. At this point, I was beginning to form a testimony, and I wasn't going to question it... This was the first time that I had ever felt the Spirit like that. And it felt right, and true.
As I gained a testimony of the Book of Mormon, I read passages about God healing afflictions, and that He will bless me. I believed that, and I still do. But I foolishly thought that I could be fixed. Wrong. In my baptismal interview I was asked about homosexual activity, not feelings. So I answered his questions honestly. I got baptized and was on top of the world. I was happy.
I continued to date men... And no one really was able to fit the bill for me. One guy, Mike, came the closest... Still no fireworks and earthquakes when I kissed him (like I later would experience with women). But it was something. To this day, he's the only man I could seriously consider, but even then, I wouldn't be as happy as I know that I could be.
And then, in my last year living in Cedar City, my roommate Missy kissed me, and we formed a mini relationship. I was on fire... I never stopped wanting to feel her lips on mine. But wait! This is wrong! Dirty! Abominable! This is the same year that Elder Boyd K. Packer gave his infamous talk titled "Cleansing the Inner Vessel." I was terrified. And so was she. She "broke up" with me, and told me months later that if she or any of her friends see me, they'd beat the shit out of me. Naturally, I never again tried to contact her.
This is where I tried to serve a mission, and it failed, because I told my bishop that I was gay. He was the first one I told... Needless to say, I didn't tell another bishop for a while. I went back into the closet. Dated another guy named Zac. And he's amazing... Just not for me. Reason? He has a penis. But... He will make a girl so happy one day :) He was the last guy I dated.
My boss at the time was my saving grae. Melanie is a lesbian, and grew up LDS, so she knew the dynamic I was struggling with. She was the first person that I had truly come out to. The first person who heard me say, "______, I'm gay." She helped me realize that I wasn't alone, and that there was nothing wrong with me. She was the missing piece in the puzzle for my self confidence.
I started dating a girl named Jamie. She was kind, and smart, but she had completely left the Church, and wanted different things for our lives. And it was difficult, but in the end it was for the best.
That's when I came out to my roommates... I couldn't stand being set up anymore, or them asking about my dating life. I told them, and at first it was alright, but after a while they turned really Molly Mormon about everything, and started insisting that I go to church with them, which was anything but what I wanted to do. I finally caved and went.
That eventually proved to not be enough and they encouraged me to speak to the bishop. I scheduled a meeting and told him that I was gay... I didn't tell him about anything that I had done, just came out. He wasn't hostile about it, but he wasn't inviting either. He recommended articles that were "less than compassionate", and absolutely refused to refer to me as a lesbian, using instead the term same sex attracted. And I hate that more than anything else. The one good thing that came out of those meetings was a recommend to receive my patriarchal blessing.
It was around this time that I met Melissa and until 2 weeks ago, I was the happiest woman alive. I knew that I was finally being true to myself. I was being authentic. I wasn't hiding anymore. I was free.
Continue to Part 3
Continue to Part 3