So the past week had a bit of a blast from the past experience.
Let me rewind 12 years to my first year of seminary in 2002. I was a timid, shy 14 year old attending my first year of seminary. 6am in the morning (yes, we didn't have the privilege of seminary during school in Australia), I would unwillingly get up out of bed and get driven to Church. I never really paid much attention to other people in my class much mainly because I was half asleep most of the time. I don't think I was aware I was gay back then either but I do remember a very good looking guy in the class. We never really spoke but he was friends with my sister who was also in the same class so I knew who he was.
He was only there for my first year of seminary and I found out that he and his family moved interstate later that year. That was the last I'd heard from him until last week.
I was google-ing 'gay mormon australia' wondering what would come up and this radio interview came up. The interview featured an ex-Mormon talking about his experience. I was obviously intrigued by the subject and listened to the interview. I came across a picture of the guy being interviewed..... you guessed it! It was that guy from seminary 12 years ago!!
I stalked him on Facebook and sent him a messaging wondering if he would remember me from seminary... he did and we caught up for a chat. Interestingly enough, we both moved interstate and ended up in the same State years later, in fact we had both moved to the same city 2 years ago.
So we met up for a meal and chatted about what our lives for the past 12 years. Oh wait... did I not mention that he was also gay? Haha! I'm sure you would've picked that up already. Either way, it was good to hear him talk about what his views were on the Gospel. I found that my views were moving in a very similar direction. We're going to go to a few things together which will be great because I'm way too nervous to go by myself.
A few themes came out of that visit that really got me thinking and ultimately helped me clear things up on where I stand in the Gospel at the moment.
We both talked about the many years we spent praying, hoping that things would change, be different. We served faithfully in the Church, served a mission and tried dating girls. Countless tears shed and time spent on our knees wishing we would be different. We both came to similar conclusions in our own times;
If the Gospel were true, we would be judged according to our acts but also the desires of our hearts. Only God would know how hard we've tried to overcome this and the many years of pain we went through. We believe he would have mercy on us. The way I see it is, the Plan of Salvation is planned so that we will end up somewhere we will be happy and if I can be happy in this life then I'll be find whichever kingdom I end up in because I will be happy there. Our activity in Church isn't a direct reflection on how good of a person we are. We can still be a good person and that's what matters.
At the same time, we both do have a lot of doctrinal issues with the Gospel which I won't expound on here.
All in all, I think this experience gave me the push that I needed to finally get off the fence and make a crucial decision.... I'll save that for another post.