Saturday, September 17, 2016

I haven't written in so long that I actually forgot my password and the steps to get into writing a post on this blog..  Because of my silence for so long, I am sure it would be safe to think that no one will really read this anyway, so maybe it doesn't matter.

So what has drawn me out?  I stumbled across a video of "Jacob" and his story of being sent home early from his mission as a result of his incidents of "cuddling" with a fellow missionary. 

So why has this impacted me so hard?  I don't really know... I thought I was over this, but obviously I'm not.  I am extremely disturbed by this as I interpret what transpired with Jacob being sent home.  You see, if you know me at all, or if you have read any of this blog, you will know that I am a HUGE cuddler - a skill that I proudly perfected particularly in the last quarter of my mission.  This cuddling and affection between two young men became the most essential learning experience of my mission.  It drew me out.  It brought me to the brink of love.  It filled my heart with brotherly passion and affection.  It enlivened me in ways that are impossible to put in words, but so profoundly that I will never forget the amazing spiritual and physical bonding that took place.

Unlike Jacob, I never told my mission president.  I didn't even think what I had done was wrong.  I was so naïve and innocent to my predicament that I couldn't even fathom the idea that this affectionate love between two men was any way, shape or form a sin that needed confessing.  I was in love!  I was filled with love!  I was passionately born anew into an amazing world bursting forth out of my cocoon of innocence and self-denial. 

I was so convinced that this was nothing unholy... in fact, I thought just the opposite, that it was very holy, indeed, to the point of equating it with the love, the affection, the kisses between Old Testament heroes of mine:  Jonathan and David.

So here I am 35 years later and I am sitting here wondering "what if"...

What if I had been discovered and reported by someone to have been caught cuddling with another missionary or young man?

What if I had reported my non-sexual behavior as some kind of sexual offense?

What if I had been sent home early (at this point it was toward the end of my mission anyway)?

What if I had been placed on probation of disfellowshipped from the church I loved?  Would I have remained faithful to the church?  Would I have chosen to leave?

What if I had the course of my life totally altered from that experience?

What if that course would have thrown me into a different path all together?  Would I have married? Or more likely, would I have returned to my mission area and continued my "brotherly" relationships? Where would that have led me?

Would I ever have become a father and had children and watched them grow and develop through their struggles and trials?

So many thoughts have flooded my mind to the point that I'm thrown back into a funk of sorts... 

This was long ago... probably before some that might read this were even born.  It was a different time and place.  All the more frustrating today that "cuddling" is deemed a grave enough incident to return one home from missionary service in dishonor, permanently altering the course of a life over such a beautiful thing.  I am discouraged that we have not progressed much in the last 35 years.  I am frustrated that this injustice is still occurring.

Or is it injustice? It seems that Jacob has awakened to a new reality of happiness and bliss, one of self-worth and confidence and radiance that is hard to resist.  Could I have been him?  Would I have come to a self-awakening so much sooner had I "confessed my sin"?  Would I have remained for another 25 years in self-denial and self-loathing? 

I know playing the "what if" game is pointless.  It isn't possible to go back and recreate the situation and learn anew.  It isn't helpful to dwell on the past.  And yet, I feel torn apart today... I ache for the missionary that has found the beautiful art of "cuddling", and yet may find also a lost family, a lost culture, a lost faith...  I am torn in what to do, what to say, how to help, how to encourage.  I find my timidity of coming out and sharing my experience is still weak, with many powerful forces keeping me hidden - destined to live out my life as an actor in a play in a strange and unnatural world.

I think Jacob is better off where he is now.  I want to think that I am better off for the choices I've made as well.  I ask the reader to not judge me too harshly for my choices.  I have been truly blessed and I'm grateful for those priceless blessings that have come into my life because of those choices.

But I still ache... ache for the "what if" existence... ache to know how fears of failure and disgrace would be over-exaggerated, and ultimately just as blessed I would have been had my mission turned out like Jacob's.

Where's my old DVD of "Latter Days"???... I think that would help my funk...


MoHoHawaii said...

Still reading, 10 years later. :- )

naturgesetz said...

I don't know what Jacob was thinking, feeling, and desiring when he was cuddling with other men. At one time, after I had realized that I am gay, I thought that every attraction to other guys was sinful, that every desire toward them was sinful. I certainly would have though that cuddling was sinful. Gradually, I have come to realize that there is physical contact which is not inherently sexual, and that gay people are as entitled to engage in it as straight people. I have come to realize that affection for another guy is not inherently sinful, and we are as entitled to feel it as straight people are.

Life is easier before we realize we are gay, because we don't question our motives, or even our actions. We understand that sex with other men is off limits, and we are fortunate if we feel no conscious desire for it. Once we realize our orientation, somehow we have to realize fully that we are still entitled to love and to be loved, that we need friendship, and that manifestations of affection which are not sinful for straight guys are not sinful for us (unless they foreseeably lead to actions which are sinful for anyone).

So, what if? Who knows, but thank heaven you didn't thinks things you did were sinful when they weren't.

MoHoHawaii said...

To get you out of your funk, skip Latter Days. Try the YouTube channel of the young married couple "Matt and Blue" and their adorable toddler Crow. Check out the episode called "Welcome to Our Pride" | Matt and Blue. You won't be sorry. The other episodes in their YouTube channel are equally adorable.

MoHoHawaii said...


Ned said...

Still reading. Still remembering. Still grateful, happy, longing. Thank you for checking in. I also read of Jacob but avoided listening to the podcast. Hope you find solace. So fleeting sometimes. May your hugs and hikes and faith sustain and strengthen you!

Bror said...

Still reading also.

tracy said...

Sill here too......

Anonymous said...

Beck, it's good to hear from you again, and good to see the comments from familiar names whose blogs I have read silently over the years. I'm a long time reader and always like reading your posts.

Anonymous said...

Hey Beck, still here too! Albeit, a few months later... Still fighting the good fight, clinging to the good and learning from the not so good. I feel like we are part of the aging guard in all of this, and I kind of like it.
Much love to you-

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