Placing It On the Alter
I struggled for a long time with homosexual desires — 47 years from the time my attractions first started – at various levels of involvement. For the first 18 years, it was really just envy, coveting, and curiosity, although I allowed a guy to seduce me when I was in my late teens.
My homosexual feelings really started at age 13 when a physical exam discovered that my testicles had not yet descended. In those days sex was rarely a topic of discussion and I didn’t even know what testicles were, but I knew that I was somehow different from the other boys in a way that mattered: I was a freak and I could never let anyone else know of my secret. The physical defect corrected itself within two years, but the newly created psychological defect became ever present, even throughout my adult life.
in the developmental years of my life.
I started to envy other boys and idealize them to the point of making them idols that were to be worshipped. This worship of other boys or men turned to sexual lust. At the same time it caused me to withdraw from many of the usual interactions with males and thus prevented the normal male bonding that needed to take place for me to develop heterosexually. In short, there was a huge hole in the developmental years of my life.
At about age 31, everything really hit me hard and I started to answer ads from other men and even placed some of my own. For about four years I was involved with others and yet completely active in my church. I hid my activities from everyone, including my wife. I finally determined that I had to stop all of that and began an 11-year period of painful “white knuckling” resistance.
At about age 46, my feelings again got the best of me and I started into a period of about nine years of acting out with others before I again started a two-year white knuckling period. You have to understand that during most of these years, especially from 1968 on, I was like so many others with same-sex attraction — not understanding why I had it and why I couldn’t just get rid of it by shear willpower. There was very little understanding of this issue and even less compassion on the part of most people, including fellow church members. I had heard my wife and others make very derogatory remarks about homosexuals, and so I knew I couldn’t discuss this with her or anyone else.
I tried everything I could think of to make it go away, but nothing seemed to work. I went through periods of intense prayer, scripture reading, fasting, service to others, etc., but this didn’t remove the desire, even though I benefited in other ways. Feelings of hopelessness often led to letdowns in my previous resolve to do better.
Only with the men I met for sex did I feel I could find any comfort from my confusion and anger with myself. At one point, I even decided that the gay activists were right – that I was born that way and couldn’t change. That salved my conscience for awhile.
About this time, my wife and I learned, ironically, that our daughter struggled with homosexual desires. In searching for a support group to try to understand and help her, we found Evergreen. As we met with that group, there were a few couples who would attend where the man had been struggling with homosexuality. For the first time, I began meeting men who had overcome their homosexual desires and found peace.
In talking to them, I realized what I had missed doing during all my attempts to overcome all of this: I was trying to do it all myself! I literally thought that when the Lord said, “Be ye therefore perfect,” he meant that I had to perfect myself, including overcoming my homosexual struggles by myself. These men told me that it was only when they humbled themselves before the Lord and asked him to do all that they couldn’t do and to take their lust from them, that healing began and they found themselves free of their constant turmoil and lustful desires and behaviors.
I immediately began asking the Lord to make up for my great weakness and to take these things from me. As I would plead with him, I pictured myself kneeling at an altar with him standing on the other side in all of his glory, and I meekly asked him to take my sins and lustful desires and behaviors from me, and then I literally placed them on the altar. I expected that this was going to be a long, arduous struggle, but I was determined to see it through.
Then he did it! Within a couple of months, I woke up one morning with the sweetest feeling of peace and no raging battles or turmoil within me! As I knelt to pray, that peace increased and left me in tears as I recognized his power had healed me from lustful desires and behaviors. That was over three years ago, and hardly a day has gone past that I haven’t thanked him for his great mercy and grace in taking those things from me.
Two years ago I decided it was time to tell my wife my whole story. It threw her into a tailspin that was far worse than I had expected. I thought she would be so relieved and happy for me that I had finally been able to overcome my “problem” that she would have a few bad days and then forgive me, and everything would be great. Wrong! It took her about a year and a half to get to where she could say she could forgive me, and those first weeks were very unsettling as she would go into uncontrolled shaking and crying periods. We did see a therapist, and he told me that my life was now a completely open book to my wife, that she could ask any thing and that I should answer it as completely as I could, and that even though she was still going downwards, I should continue my path upwards.
My wife asked hundreds of questions over the next months and I tried to answer them. She began reading voraciously the many books that are now available, and at present she probably knows as much intellectually about me and same-sex attraction as I do, but of course she can’t really know what it was like to experience it. To her credit, she stuck by me, supported me and has been a great strength to me, even in her weak moments. I will always be grateful to the Lord for helping me get married when I did, before all of this hit me like a ton of bricks.
I am even more grateful that he healed me and took those inappropriate things from me. I am left with a great attraction and appreciation for other men and their various attributes, including looks. My wife and I can now even admire the same men in a humorous kind of way! I know that any of my inappropriate desires or behaviors can come back if I am not doing my part in prayer, study, remaining submissive to his will, etc.
I now feel that I know my Savior and his power through the atonement to be my strength, to help me through my trials as long as I really acknowledge him as my Savior and Redeemer. This I do and hope to do all the days of whatever life I have left. I love him with all of my heart and want nothing more than to do what he wants me to do.
—Bob D., 2000