My name is Jacob Helaman. I am 24 years old. I am Mormon (a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). I am a English student who is majoring in Creative Writing. On top of all this I struggle with Same Gender Attraction (SGA). I also fervently believe that God is my Father in Heaven who loves me and wants me to be obedient.
I didn't realize that I was struggling with SGA until about the time I was 20. Looking back I know I worked very hard to hide it, even from myself, from about the time I turned 12. When other boys my age talked about girls and sex and what they would like to do concerning those two things I was silent. If they really pushed I would come up with some excuse, like dating is to find a spouse and I wasn't looking to get married yet. I didn't talk about it because I was actively avoiding the issue. Some where in the back of my mind I knew but was unwilling to accept that I might be gay because I grew up learning that homosexuality is a sin and only bad people are homosexual.
I will point out right now that my parents never actively taught this. They never advocated being rude or cruel to anyone. I will also point out that I was never abused or neglected. I do not have some dark history to blame my SGA on. I do not have any real explanation for why I experience SGA, and personally I think anyone who tells you they do are lying. There are many commonalities between those who like me struggle with Same Gender Attraction but I refuse to believe that there is a switch that got flipped to make me gay. I also refuse to believe the argument that I was born this way and so I am justified to sin.
At this point you are probably asking: then what on earth do you believe?! I believe that there is no simple answer. I believe that we are all individuals and as such each arrive at the points in our life differently. I believe that it is a combination of certain traits I was born with and certain experience that I have that contributed to my having SGA. I also believe that I am a child of God and this is the most important thing I believe in relation to SGA. I am one of God's children and as such am an inheritor of His divinity and grace.
I cannot separate my religion from the rest of my life, it is too integral to my existence. It is the only way I can explain the insanity of this world and the only way I can explain the miracles I have seen. I have experienced too much that science cannot explain with out the assistance of divine intervention.
What I can say is that I lived in constant fear for close to half my life that someone would find out that I experience SGA and that I would be dammed for all eternity. What I have discovered is that, yes, this is a trial. It is a temptation. It is a weakness. I have also discovered that SGA is NOT a sin. You are not dammed for experiencing SGA. You can overcome the temptation. This does not mean I approve of breaking the Law of Chastity or any other behavior that is in violation of the commandments. It simply means that being tempted is not a sin, breaking the commandments is.
This journey has been a roller coaster of emotion and learning. As I said before I never really admitted to myself about having SGA until I was in my 20's. It wasn't until I was ready to make a decision and start making changes in my life that I could even bring up the subject of homosexuality with my Bishop or seek out counseling. I remember very clearly what helped me to reach that point.
I had recently moved to Rexburg and was sitting the the congregation during a Stake Conference at BYUI. (A stake conference is when several wards, congregations, meet together for a larger meeting.) During the conference one of the Bishops was asked to share what was the most important lesson he had learned as a bishop. I don't think he ever answered that question, but he did answer the questions in my heart. I was wrestling with the knowledge that yes, I was gay and yes I needed to make a decision. This bishop told a story of a young man coming in to see him and asking to have his name removed from the records of the church. Upon further discussion the bishop discovered that this young man was struggling with SGA but had not broken the Law of Chastity nor any other commandment. Armed with this knowledge the bishop asked the young man who he was. The young man responded that he was a child of God. In the end the young man realized that as a son of God he was destined to be a father. When the bishop said the words "I was born to be a father" I felt like he was speaking to me and no one else in the congregation. I do not know this bishop's name nor do I have any real way of contacting him but I am eternally grateful that he listened to the Holy Ghost and answered my prayers because I needed to hear that I am destined to be a Father. At that point I made my decision: I would remain in the church no matter what came and make it work because I am destined to be a father.
Then came the hard part. I needed to make changes and seek healing through the atonement. I don't mean this to say that homosexuality is an illness or injury that needs to be healed. Rather that my response to my own attractions to men caused emotional stress and scars that needed to be resolved. My path is not the one that everyone can or should travel. I believe each individual needs to make the choice on their own what they should do. Then they need to live in accordance with that decision. Every one has the agency to live life as they see fit, I will share what has helped me in this blog and my only desire is that the knowledge I have gained may help those who read it.
I don't know whether this will happen in this life or the next but I know that I will have an eternal family. Having made that decision I sought out resources to learn more about homosexuality, addictions and mental health. I found a councilor and a support group. I spoke to my bishop and received instruction and support. I have since been asked to be an assistant group leader in my support group and am attempting to help others reach the peace that I have found.