The personal stories features are taken from the personal accounts of former and current subscribers of LDSR.
When my mother was pregnant with me, my father announced to her that he was going to the store and would be back later. He never returned.
I had an older brother who was killed in a car accident shortly after my birth, leaving my mother and me alone in the world. She worked as a waitress at a local cafe while her sister took care of me.
Every night, she would pick me up at my aunt’s house after work, and carry me across the street to the trailer where we lived. One night, during a time when I was sick with the mumps, my mother was carrying me across the street.
She paused under a street light and I remember looking up at the light and the stars beyond. Something inside me told me that I was loved and that there was a God out there somewhere who cared about me.
I often have wondered why I would have been given such an early manifestation of God’s love. I was only three years old at the time. My mother told me later about the mumps. Looking back on my life, I figure that God sent me that message of love then because I would need that knowledge that I was loved to get me through the rest of my life.
After my mother remarried, I found myself in a situation, while my parents were working, of being in the control of a monster who for six years put me through every kind of abuse a child can go through, including sexual abuse. I was also bullied a lot at school. Somehow, I wore a countenance that said “victim” to every abusive personality within miles. I was beaten, coerced into having sex, taught about things a child so young should not have to understand, frightened that my parents had been killed, and many other psychological torments like that. This began when I was six years old.
When I was twelve years old, we moved to a different city and my main abuser and his accomplices were all gone out of my life.
Back when I was seven, I had begun to experiment with many of the sexual things I had been taught to do by my male abuser by teaching them to other boys my age. I had continued to do these things right through adolescence. By the time I was twelves years old, I had probably had more sexual experiences than men twice my age.
I was same-sex attracted and still had not developed any feelings of attraction for females. I was a predator of sorts, though I always sought partners my own age. What made me a predator was my extensive experience in finding other boys my age who were likely targets due to their curiosity about things sexual.
When I first entered high school, I had already had many sexual encounters, all with males. I had been raised as a member of The Church or Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but we, as a family, had not been going to church due to my mother’s work schedule.
She was concerned about me gaining a testimony of the gospel. She didn’t know about my sexual activities. She asked a church leader what she should do about my testimony and my activity in the Church. He promised her that if she could convince me to go to early morning seminary, that I would one day marry in the temple and come to honor my priesthood.
She struck a deal with me, said that if I would give Seminary a try for just two weeks, that if I didn’t like it, she would not ask me to go back. I decided I would give it a try. Throughout my time of acting on my sexual temptations, I had continued to pray, although sometimes my prayers were warped and full of justifications about my actions.
As I entered Seminary for the first time, I saw many of my classmates that I knew at school. I was surprised to discover they were members of the same church, because I knew many of them to have big problems with morality and the Word of Wisdom. Since I was not one to point a finger of judgment, I ignored what I knew about some of them.
Sister Reed was the teacher and she was a very wonderful person who had gone through some hard times of her own. She made the Book of Mormon come alive for me and in the first two-week trial period, had completely convinced me that I wanted to stay in Seminary. I was really enjoying myself and for a while, my sexual acting out disappeared.
One day, when I came home from school, my parents told me we were moving far away and that I had to pack. I had one day to say my goodbyes to Sister Reed and friends at school. I recall that Sister Reed committed me to finish reading the Book of Mormon and to pray for a testimony of it when I was finished. I promised her I would. After we moved, I settled into our new home and continued to read the Book of Mormon as I had promised. I also read other scriptures and kept trying to be obedient to the things I read. The teacher in the new Seminary was not as interested in me as Sister Reed had been. My ride to Seminary was unreliable and I found myself drifting again.
Still, I kept up with my reading until I finally reached the end of the Book of Mormon, where Moroni challenges readers to ask God in sincerity of heart of the book is true and promises that God will answer by the power of the Holy Ghost.
True to my promise to Sister Reed, I got down on my knees and began to pray. I prayed about the Book of Mormon but also about my life. My answer started to come from the Lord and it was affirmative. The Book of Mormon was true, but another answer accompanied it that shook my very frame and left me shivering in a heap on my bedroom floor. The answer was that my life was not right and I was in great need of repentance.
Soon, we moved again and I forgot about Seminary and church activity. Then, one summer while my parents went on a long vacation, I went to stay with a male friend’s family. My friend and I became sexually involved with each other on a nightly basis. He was also a member of the Church, and I felt more guilt about that relationship than I had felt about others. It was mostly because of that powerful message from the Lord that I needed to put my life right. Still, it was a very hard thing to give up.
One night, while the family I was staying with were out in the front of their house visiting, I went into the most remote part of their property in back and knelt down. This time, I wrestled with God until I felt I could give God a promise I knew I could keep. I promised that never again would I have sex with another male.
I was sixteen years old and from that time forward I have kept that promise. I returned home after the summer was over and reactivated myself in the Church. I did everything to keep myself active and kept up with my prayers. I often felt lonely. The youth in the Church were mostly accepting of me, but I was so different, mutated by my experiences, that they had a hard time relating to me.
Eventually, I married, avoiding a mission for the Church, as most nineteen-year-olds are expected to do, because I was afraid I could not live in such close quarters with other young men without falling back into my old ways.
Though I was still same-sex attracted, my wife and I had a good marriage and children started to come. My sexual attractions towards men were all in my mind and I was doing well.
I still struggled with masturbation problems and fantasies. During a particularly lonely time, I began to develop a heavy emotional dependency on a coworker which ended in disaster. He told me we could not ever see each other again and I felt as if a close family member had died. In my grief, I began to seek inappropriate contact with males, but I was pretty rusty at my old ways. Eventually, I began placing myself in dangerous circumstances, backing out when things got too close to the edge, but always flirting with danger.
As I crept closer and closer to the brink of same-sex adultery, I sought desperately to control my behavior. I prayed for help and soon found a resource for same-sex attracted Mormons who are striving to keep the commandments. It was called Disciples and I quickly joined. Through fellowship with other people striving to make their lives right, I found strength to return my focus to my marriage and family. I cleared up my problems with masturbation and fantasies.
Today, by spiritual means, I can say that I have found peace in the sweet gospel of Jesus Christ. I am still, at some basic level, attracted to men. I have forgiven those who abused me and moved forward with my life. I have a wonderful wife whom I love and five children of whom I am very proud. Life gets better and better everyday.
It is my goal now to help others who are struggling with sexual addiction to see that there is hope for them, that they can find peace and joy in the arms of the Savior through activity in His church and through facing the things that stand as obstacles to their progress. The journey is not easy. After over thirty years of dealing with sexual addiction problems, I can say that there is no cause to abandon hope. The Lord can and does heal.