Friday: Part 2, FEAR of Being Red Lighted

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The stories of Voices of Hope are as varied as the human sharing their story. Rejection, Denial, Ostracism, Not being understood, or Validated are very very real, for many of the young men I have listened to.

And after today’s episode that I watched earlier today, where I heard MY story told by someone who walked this very same path, knowing that HE got the Green Light, and was baptized into the church, has put some real fear into my heart tonight.

I’m really afraid that for some reason or other, the man who will be charged in green lighting my baptism, will say NO. It is a logical fear, because my story is a bit complicated, but I’ve done all the work I need to do. I’ve thought this all through, I have reached my conclusion that, I am done with Gay.

I want to be baptized. I want to be part of the community that was shared with me. I have turned to Heavenly Father for wisdom, and love. I just really need to trust the men who have been ministering to me that they know the particulars of my story, and when I see them on Sunday morning at Church, I will share with them my fears.

I just need to relax and pray for peace and understanding.

I know, Heavenly Father knows what is going on with me and that He loves me for who I am, an imperfect human being who just needs to hear that I am just ok.

 

 

Thursday – Is there anybody out There ?

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I know where I am going. I know where I have been. I know the way out, but I am not quite there yet. It’s like I am standing in front of the door of the church, and the door is closed at the moment, because it hasn’t been opened for me just yet.

There are steps I need to take, and people I need to meet and talk with, before that door is fully opened. I just need someone to talk to, someone to share with, someone who can be there and to listen.

I have heard the warning about “Disclosure,” that Heavenly Father will send the right people to us, when the time is right, and that we should not look to having conversations with people, who won’t necessarily accept or understand the finer details of the story I am living right now.

Right now, I have my sponsor who knows, I have my Elders who I have asked for help from, and for someone to talk to.

This afternoon, I had “The Discussion” with my best friend. He lives in another City, Ottawa, so he isn’t local, and if I want to see him, I have to go to him.

I had not really prepared what I was going to say to him, but I had an idea. I just was not sure that I would have the right words to explain all the details fully, or that I would be able to paint the right picture for him to look at.

He knows me, and he knows my story. We have spent months of Fridays sitting on his back patio, when he lived here, talking through a manuscript that, at one time, I thought would make a good book. I later decided that writing said book, was not a good idea, so I shelved it.

In my story outline were 5 threads. One of them is a Heavenly Father thread.

With that idea firmly sussed out between us, the story I told him made perfect sense. For over an hour we talked, and he did have valid questions, worries, concerns for my spiritual welfare, because he has seen me get burned before, and he does not want to see me get burned again.

He is walking with me. He gets it. It makes sense to him. And he supports this journey.

When I hung up the phone, I was emotionally and spiritually exhausted. In a good way though. I talked about my Testimony of Faith and The Atonement. I’ve studied the Plan for Salvation. Last night, I went over my scripture readings and I prayed.

I sent word to my Elders that I really wanted to know if there was someone who they knew who could be there to listen or to guide.

I listened to another story from Voices of Hope when I got home this evening.

I don’t have a map of the next steps. I don’t know what is going to happen. Or who is going to come into my life right now, to walk with me.

If there is anyone out there, who has time … Contact me. Please.

jeremy1350@gmail.com

You know, I sent two emails out over the past week. Neither of them have been returned.

I have an odd story, I am where I am.

I also know that if I don’t hear Heavenly Father myself, that the next step is to go and listen to someone who knows Heavenly Father, because words might come from them.

He always finds a way …

 

Tuesday – Heavenly Father is Constant Like the North Star

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Forgive my back and forth. I come from a religious tradition that calls the name of God – God. I am still getting used to Heavenly Father, which is why I added a section to this piece, to reflect that understanding and respect for Him.

 

God is Perfect. God’s timing is perfect. It has taken a lifetime to get here, but I think I have arrived. God is always there. Patiently waiting. Always knowing when we might need Him, even if we don’t always know it at the time. I feel, God has called upon me for this next season. However long that season is.

This is the route He has chosen for me.

You might not know where you are at the moment, but God has a plan for each and every one of us. I don’t know what my plan is, there are some things I do know based on my testimony of faith.

As a young child, Memere introduced me to God, in that big Church we attended together when she had me with her. She took the time, on that one perfect day, to give me to God. It was she that had that intimate conversation with God. At least that is what comfort I take from that memory. She loved me, without a doubt.

She gave me that gift. It is sinful what my father did to her over my lifetime. My father was so hateful and he was a pig. What does a child do, when the two people that should have loved you and gave you Good, Sound, Godly advice, failed in their responsibility to do just that?

Knowing I was coming from a broken home, a home where all my father wanted was for me to, just die already, after spending my lifetime trying to get rid of me, makes me sick.

How did I know what was good for me, when the humans that were charged in making sure I did the right thing, did not care one bit ?

I didn’t.

Spending that year in seminary, my second year of college, did teach me some things, in hindsight. In telling this story to my Elders this evening, at the time, I thought that serving God would be the end all and be all of my existence. The seed was there, but the ground was not fertile.

That seminary, might not have been the proper garden for me to flourish, as God wants each of us to flourish. Too many weeds, Too many vines, and WAY too much sin.

There were adults in my life whom I worked for, who were there when I was in the beginning stages of serious alcoholism. Some of those same people are sober today, and got sober, well before I ever hit the rooms. And I wonder, to this day, “Why they didn’t say STOP, or Maybe I had a problem?” True, I wasn’t their responsibility nor their child.

I did not know what I was getting into, when I moved to Orlando. I had a simple plan, nothing too difficult, but it was not too long, before I was way over my head, and nobody knew, cared, or offered any solution to that madness of sex, drugs and alcohol.

Everybody grows up, one way or another. This story life, might have been different, if a change of just a single degree had taken place, on this specific timeline point. Had someone warned me, or spoke to me and given me Good Advice … Not Just

Go to the Bar, have a couple of drinks and see what happens ?

What did I know, I was told, that that was the way in.

I’ve heard many young Mormon men say, in their stories, that they never heard one good word about the gays ! Well that might have been true. I had never met more evil, backstabbing, dishonest people in my life, than some of the men I had interactions with in my time in Orlando. No wonder, I had such a bad time.

Every challenge we have, in hindsight, as the Elders said tonight, was to give us experience with whatever was going on with us, in order to teach us something about our challenges.

I have worked my way out of several challenges in my life. It surely was not on my own that I found my out, it was God.

I said to them that, “I had been to hell several times over…” And the response came back that “Now you know the way out.” You had to have that experience, so that one day, you could turn around and help another human being who might be stuck in the hole you were once in.

You have the way out …

You cannot help someone, if you don’t have the invested experience to share a solution with them.

Mother Teresa once asked Lorna, “How do I help the alcoholics in Calcutta?” Lorna’s reply was a simple question … “Mother Teresa, are you an alcoholic? No, she replied, Then you cannot help them.”

I have a Testimony of Faith. I have had a lifetime of experience, and I can share with you that God does exist. That God is faithful. That God is always there. And I know that when I turned to God, He was there for me.

There were times when I needed God, and I did not necessarily call on the name of God for help, just the same, He came in the guise of someone who played a direct role in my life at one point or another.

God has been good and giving. God has been merciful and kind. I don’t know what God has in store for me right now, but I am spiritually prepared to walk where ever he asks me to go.

I thought, early in my life that the answer to all my problems, was to go and serve God. The Good Men who pushed me through the process of admission believed in me, more than my own family believed in me. In the end, I failed them.

Or was it that the rector of the seminary who had failed them ?

I wasn’t the only seminarian from our home parish to “leave the building.”

I like to say that when I was “On the Beam with God, my life was really good.” And I know, in hindsight, what good feels like. I also know what being “Off the Beam, from God, feels like as well.”

The next time I consciously connected with God, was when I was diagnosed with AIDS in 1994. I’ve never prayed more serious prayers in my life, because this was my life we were talking about. I really did not want to die, because so many people wanted nothing better than for us FAGS to die, because God was punishing us for our sins.

Let me tell you, God had nothing to do with the things I witnessed. God had nothing to do with how sick all of my friends got. God had nothing to do with the indignities I watched being perpetrated on the sick and dying.

My poor friends went to their death, in ways you cannot even imagine or conceive, and I am sure, as the sun rises, that each human being that turned their backs on us, paid a heavenly price for that ultimate Sin Against God’s humanity.

I survived the worst disease I have ever seen. And God was right there, in the middle of it all, and for a few hours each night, I spent time with people, who were running out of time. I know who loved me through that darkness.

On December 9th, 2001, I promised God that I would remain on that beam, even if it killed me to do so. I moved to Montreal for a spiritual truth. I had been given the gift of sobriety a second time. I’m not sure that wasn’t a fluke.

If I had not had salvation from the sinister episode I was sunk in, when it was time to go, I am not sure I would have survived, and nobody knew where I was for one, and two, nobody cared either. If I had dropped off the face of the earth, or died, nobody would have come looking for me or even missed me.

God Giveth, and God Taketh away …

I know today, that in my life, at certain times, God removed things from my life, for certain reasons. Other times, I had to choose to walk away from some things. And in a few instances, when I walked away, from, let’s say, a substance, I did not go back to look for more. I knew I was done. That happened with alcohol as well.

When I moved here, I did not go looking for it again.

When I decided that I did not need the Village or the people in it, early in sobriety, I walked away from it. And I did not miss it. I was sober, so I was not bar hopping nor was I trolling for sex either.

Heavenly Father, in His wisdom knows what He is doing for me and for you. Over the years, I trusted in His wisdom and love when I was relieved of things in my life that were not serving me. I’ve spent fifteen years here, I was educated here. I know a ton of people here. Out of ALL the people I know, ONE, ONLY ONE, friend has invested in my life. HE is my best friend.

I can’t say that much about the community I walked away from. And don’t miss one bit. For the first time in all my years I went to Pride in the Nations Capitol, Ottawa. I had never felt so out of place or unsettled in my life. I knew, that I did not need that event, or any of those people. I have certain gay friends who I trust and listen to advice from. Getting sober in straight rooms, that assimilated many into them, serves me well. There are just some things in life that once i felt necessary and exclusive, proved, in the end, to be unnecessary and pointless.

When I was diagnosed in 1994, even our own brothers, who were alive, healthy and safe, turned their backs on those of us who were sick. i watched healthy humans toss their sick partners, boyfriends and lovers out into the streets destitute and alone. I served every one of those men left on the side of the street, and I was there when many of them crossed the veil into the afterlife. Let me tell you, that was a bitter pill to swallow.

But Heavenly Father delivered me out of that hell. WHY he chose me to live is still beyond me, but like my Elders said, I have a story and a solution to offer. At least that is solid wisdom.

So the decision to convert was not a difficult choice. It was another choice, as I heard from a young man on the Voices of Hope site tonight.

When I left home, there was only ONE choice. There was no other, and no other voice offered to engage me.

I have a choice today.

I don’t know what it is, but I am certain that, when I walked away from something, or something was taken away, it was or has been by Divine Intervention. (read: God)

Hubby was dropped into my life, So I could repay God for his tender mercies He had shown me, so that I could turn around and help, love and serve another. Then marry.

My Marriage is Non-Negotiable. However, a commitment must be made to God. One that I am ready and willing to accept.

I will not, in any sense of the word, forsake my marriage.

God has always been part of this marriage. But I see now that, God removed some things from my life, just the same, and I am ok with this truth.

There are covenants coming.

There are commitments to be made.

There is a process in this conversion experience. The Elders think well of me, and I am blessed that God put them in my path, at the moment they appeared.

Cedric said that the Elders who found me, were “The Right” elders to find me. That had any other Elder come across me, this time might not have happened the same or even at all. Because the young men I know today, speak with the authority of the Church, and their Scriptures.

I spent a couple hours with my sponsor this morning talking to her about this process, and she could identify with the feelings and emotions I was talking about.

After we parted, I had lunch with a lady friend who had texted me earlier in the morning, and it was funny that she asked how I was, then she asked me “What are you reading?”

And I said … The Book of Mormon.

She did not believe me. I told her I was going to be an LDS member, and she was intrigued, so we had lunch together. At my evening teaching session, I said to the Elders that “They should have warned me, that I would become an evangelist…”

They just laughed …