There seems to be a theme in the conversations I've had with people these past two weeks. I've had multiple people ask me "Why are you a member of a faith that doesn't let you "be yourself"? Why don't you go out and be "true" to yourself and your feelings? Why not go out and live a life that makes you happy?" etc. etc. It has been almost funny to me that all these questions are coming up, that so many people automatically assume I'm either miserable or not living a happy life just because I'm LDS and deal with SSA. The thing is I am happy!
I find it interesting that so many people assume that because I am attracted to men, but that I'm not dating men or planning on having any sort of romantic relationship with a man, that it somehow automatically means I'm denying my true self. An alcoholic craves alcohol, but just because he chooses not to drink because he knows that alcohol can destroy his life, does that mean that he isn't happy? Does that mean he isn't being true to himself? I'm not comparing alcoholism to SSA, however, the analogy is much the same.
I recognize that some people may claim to find "happiness" in living a gay lifestyle, in being with a partner of the same-gender, but through what I've learned and experienced, that's not what brings me happiness, nor will it bring me happiness in the future. I, for some time, basically lived a gay lifestyle, in many ways. I became inactive in the Church, I acted out with another guy, I was defining myself by my attractions, I thought it would bring me happiness, I thought I was being true to myself. I soon realized, however, that that was not the case. I wasn't happy, if anything, I was miserable. I felt so disconnected and isolated, I didn't feel God's presence in my life.
I realized that being true to myself doesn't mean acting on every carnal desire I have, it means reaching my full potential. Who am I? I am a son of our Heavenly Father. That is what defines me, that is being true to myself. I am a child of God, and because I love God and I love the blessings He has given me, I strive to live my life according to the standards He has put in place because I know that in so doing, I will be happy, I am happy, and it's a happiness nothing of this world could give me, including a man I could fall in love with.
Why remain LDS? Because I love it. It is what brings me happiness, it's what I know to be true, it's what is important to me. My relationship with God is worth more than any romantic relationship I could pursue with another man, and I wouldn't trade my testimony for anything.