Once I joined I got such a warm, welcoming, and loving response from so many members on North Star. For most of my life, I really thought I was the only one who was LDS who dealt with SSA. I felt distant, alone, and shameful. Once I joined North Star, my perspective and understanding widened so much. Since joining I've had so many people reach out to me with love and compassion. I've been given the opportunity to meet some of my brothers who understand me, love me, and care about me.
I realize I'm taking a bit to get to the point of this post, but there's still one other thing I want to talk about, because it has strengthened my testimony so much these past 3 weeks.
For much of my life I've struggled with making and keeping friendships with males. It's something I wanted and needed, but also hated and feared. I prayed so many times for help, guidance, for a friend I clicked with, but for years I saw no answer to my prayers. When I got my patriarchal blessing, it promised me I'd be blessed with normal relationships in my life, and yet I didn't see that promise fulfilled in my life to that point.
I began to question why, I thought perhaps God was upset with me, and had therefore withheld that promise. Perhaps my patriarch was mistaken, maybe I was expecting too much of God, maybe this... maybe that... I became angry at God. I didn't understand why my prayers hadn't been answered the way I expected they would, and I didn't understand what my patriarchal blessing's promise meant or why it hadn't been fulfilled.
It wasn't until about 3 weeks ago when I received my answer. Through divine intervention, I began talking to another guy who had SSA and who I had seen on a Voice(s) of Hope video. It was him who introduced me to North Star, and he was the first answer to my prayers. Since my joining of North Star, I have met and contacted quite a few other young men who share my struggles and beliefs and who I have become very close friends with. I feel comfortable to talk to them about anything, and that has been a huge help to me to have that support.
God answered my prayers beyond what I even imagined possible. God has given me the blessing of people who love me and care for me and who I can relate to, and for that I will be forever grateful.
Anyway, now I will get to the subject of this post. Physical touch.
Now, as mentioned above, I wrote some stuff in my iPod Sunday, and I feel like what I wrote explains what I'm trying to explain better than I could explain it right now, and so I will just copy down what I wrote:
"...Physical touch was, for me, a huge taboo for a long while of my life.
It was something I feared and hated, and yet something I needed and craved.
For a long time, I believed the only way to get physical touch was to break my morals and boundaries, and go down a path I did not want to walk.
I only began to realize 3 weeks ago that physical touch and true emotional relationships between members of the same-sex do not require the lowering of ones standards.
I have received so much healing and support through physical touch and my wonderful new friends who understand its importance while also staying within moral boundaries set for us by the Lord.
Physical touch has benefitted me beyond what I considered possible, and has helped me feel the Savior's love for me in ways I never thought possible."
"To have someone's arms around you, and for them to tell you they love you, is a feeling which is so hard to explain.
To feel absolutely loved, completely safe, and to feel the Saviors love through a brother in spirit.
I cannot explain in words the importance of physical touch, quality time, and true emotional love shared between two individuals in a non-romantic, safe, and nonsexual way."
Now I understand physical touch isn't for everyone. Yes, it can be triggering or dangerous, but then again, so can almost anything, that's why it is important to communicate your needs. My point is to explain something that has helped me personally.
When I'm holding someone, I feel trusted, I feel a sense of importance, and I feel love and care towards the other person. I want happiness and success for them. That's what physical touch is for me, an expression of love and care. The same applies for when someone is holding me, in that case I feel trusting, I feel important, I feel loved and cared for.
Physical touch and emotional closeness has been monumentally therapeutic and healing for me. This past few weeks have been some of the best in my life because I have come to truly accept myself as well as learned to love others in ways I never dreamed possible. I truly feel like I've grown so much and I feel so blessed.
I'll include some scriptures too, because that seems to always help out right?
John 13:23-25; "Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake. He then lying on Jesus' breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it?"
Genesis 45:14-15; "And he fell upon his brother Benjamin's neck, and wept; and Benjamin wept upon his neck. Moreover he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them: and after that his brethren talked with him"
Even if healthy physical touch is not an option for you at this current time, or if physical touch is too dangerous or not good for you, know that there are ways to express and receive true and healthy love from others. I know God loves everyone, every single human being on this earth regardless of race, sex, choices, etc. Thank you for all the support and love you've all shown me.
One other thing I'd like to add. I've learned that it can be very important to read more than just one opinion on a subject, and therefore I'll provide a link to another bloggers post on the same topic, just with a little different approach. The post is A Nice Thing about Guys with SSA by (Gay) Mormon Guy. His post is part of what inspired me to write mine, as well as all the blessings that have been given to me recently. One other link I'll include is a more standard look at the concept of male friendships and is not LDS based or even same-sex attraction based, and yet has a great point and some great info. It's The History and Nature of Man Friendships,. I love you all! Best of luck and God be with you all!