I grew up in the Sacramento area of California for most of my life. I grew up in a staunch Mormon household where we were taught morality from an early age. I was like most other boys in my adolescence. All of my friends were straight and were street toughs and jocks. I played sports with them, traded baseball cards, played G.I. Joes, went to Boy Scouts, and did all of those other things an all American boy does. I can honestly say that I was attracted to girls until I was about 14-15 years old. There was no interest in guys at all. That all started to change in about the 8th grade. My friends and I started to go through puberty. We did the typical things of comparing penis size and looking at dirty magazines. While I was a very moral kid because of my religion, sex was something I could not seem to stay away from. I found myself wanting to do more and more with my guy friends and, being the horny teenagers that we were, it always seemed to happen.
I had about four friends that I would “explore” with. They never wanted to admit that they enjoyed it but, deep down inside, I knew that I did and the feelings were very intense for me. My teenage years were riddled with guilt and confusion as I became more deeply aware of my feelings for men and, yet, I was being taught that what I was doing was very wrong in the eyes of God and a serious sin. I broke down at the age of 19 and told my older gay brother everything. I just knew that there was something different about me and I could not deny my attractions for men any longer. He convinced me to tell my dad and step-mom who told me it was just a phase I was going through. I had my doubts but, being the naive Mormon boy that I was, I believed my parents and that with the help of God, I could change how I felt and live a “normal” life.
Fast forward several years later. I was married. I had a son. I had served a Mormon mission to Portugal. All this time, I continued to suppress my feelings and pray that God would eventually change me. At this time, I started working out and meeting gay men that were attracted to me. I had sexual encounters with one guy from the gym who was like a Men’s Fitness model to me. I was pleasantly surprised that he was interested in me. I fell quickly for him. After we had done the deed, I opened up and told my wife what had happened. She was devastated and left me for a few days. We worked it out and the suppression started again. This cycle happened a total of four times and she finally decided it was time to go our separate ways.
I was heart-broken but at the same time felt ecstatic because I felt free for the first time in my life. I tried to follow the Mormon way for a few months longer. Despite all of the therapy, counseling with my bishop, praying, and determination, I still felt the same deep down inside. About four months ago, I decided to see life from the other side and let go of all of the inhibitions and beliefs that had held me back for so long. In the beginning, there was intense sadness and guilt. As time went on and I began to meet other gay men and experience what I had so long denied myself, I felt all of the anxiety and clouds of repression slowly lifting. I have never felt freer in all my life! The joy and excitement I feel in my life now are incredible. I am now 31 and I am feeling and living in a way that I should have accepted 16 years ago when I first felt it. I have not been to church in about three months now and am probably on the verge of excommunication and I have never felt happier. I would never go back to the chains that held me down before. I cannot even imagine trying to force down all of these feelings that I have let loose now. I am still in the process of coming out. It never changes how anybody feels about me. They know and love me for who I am regardless. This is a very condensed version of the story but it looks really long now that I am looking at it. I hope I have not lost you in the telling. I now feel that God loves me unconditionally and nothing that any religion or preacher teaches can change what I know in my heart is true. I hope somebody has found something in this story that has helped them out.