Sunday, April 27, 2008

Temptation


Lately it seems to lurk around every corner for me. Every time I turn on the TV I see something (someone) exciting. Same with the internet. Same if I go to the gymn. To the mall. To the movies. In an airport. In a magazine. Geesh!!




Then I realize I'm focusing on the wrong thing. I'm LOOKING for it. Maybe I need a new hobby!?

Monday, April 14, 2008

New

Welcome to my blog! You may also want to visit my web site - http://www.lds-ssa.org/

One of my favorite inventions in the Harry Potter series of books is the Pensieve, which is a magical stone bowl Dumbledore uses to store his thoughts. It struck me how much like a Pensieve a blog is (minus the magic spells, of course) - hence the name.

Although I may post about nearly any subject, the primary focus of this blog will be Same-Sex Attraction and my thoughts about being Mormon, active, and single without living a Gay lifestyle. Its not an easy combination, but there are more of us out there than you might imagine.

I came out to my Bishop about 3 years ago after decades of hiding my sexual orientation and some pretty serious sins and habits. Fortunately for me, I had a really great Bishop at the time. Since that moment, I've slowly come to accept my homosexuality as a part of who I am and not be ashamed of that fact. Actually I think some of my best attributes have sprung from that side of me. At the same time, I've learned that a lot of Gay people allow their sexual identity to overshadow everything else in their life. So I made a conscious decision not to allow it to become the focus of mine. Rather, I view it as an interesting and challenging gift from a loving God who knows what I need to experience during this short stay on earth. That sounds easy enough, but make no mistake! Getting to where I am now was not an easy thing! There were many tears, heartaches, fears and temptations. But I think I've come a long way in a relatively short period of time (with more to go, of course). I feel good about my direction.

One of the true joys I've experienced on this journey was to find and meet my wonderful cyber family on the LDS-SSA.ORG web site. The discovery of "The Group" as I call it was most certainly one of those 'tender mercies' sent down from a loving God. I was in a very low place indeed, and I happened to stumble upon that site and - for the first time ever - pour out my soul to people who understood what I was going through without feeling fear, judgement, or reprisal. Words cannot express the healing that came from that and subsequent experiences with The Group. The outpouring of support and love has been overwhelming!

Just a year after finding The Group, tragedy struck the web site and we were violently hacked by a malicious cyber-gang from Germany. The site went off-line for an extended period, and things were not looking good for us. The founder, our beloved Sey, was in the process of changing careers, moving to a new city, etc. etc. and simply could not maintain the site and fight the attackers any more. So, in what I can only call a miracle, a way was opened up for me to take over the site. I found a hosting company that could offer the protection we needed, and a programmer to help us put the pieces back together. In a few weeks we had the site back up, running, secure, and almost completely restored. I knew at that point in time I had a mission from the Lord to fulfill - to maintain a safe place for those in the Church dealing with Same Sex Attraction where they could find love, support, healing, and advice. I've had the privelege to watch many wonderful people discover the site and find what I found there - hope and healing. Its a humbling thing to see, and such a blessing to be a part of!!

So, for the past few years I've stuck mainly to the lds-ssa.org web site, and did little to venture out into the cybershpere in general. Then I got an invitation from Ty Mansfield (author of "In Quiet Desperation") to hook up with a new web site he and a group of other Mormon homosexuals (MoHos) were creating. Called NorthStar, it had a lot of things lds-ssa.org had, but went far beyond in other aspects. In then end, we did not merge the two sites together, but maintain them separately with references to each other. I came to this decision because I strictly control the content and tone of lds-ssa.org, and Ty wanted a "looser" format on his site. I think having different offerings is good, and a stronger approach in the long run.

After Ty & Co. launched NorthStar, I've been fairly involved posting responses and comments on various blogs. But, I've hesitated creating my own blog for quite a bit, since my web site takes up so much of my time. Today, however, I felt differently and - shazzam!! Here it is! We'll see where all this leads...

Neal