As part of being an SSA Missionary, I wanted to start putting together a list of resources about same-sex attraction, both to help those who struggle and to help those who love those who struggle. Of course it’s not good to fixate on the problem too much, but I believe that proper understanding can and will help those who struggle with same-sex attraction feel more comfortable, understood, and welcome in the church.
I figured an appropriate resource to start with would be Ty Mansfield’s book “Voices of Hope”. Over the past couple weeks, I have been reading a lot from “Voices of Hope”. The stories I read about men and women who have dealt with same-sex attraction (in addition to several parents, spouses, and priesthood leaders) were inspiring and I could feel the Spirit testify as I read of their trials, mistakes, and eventually came to understand the healing power of the Atonement, helping them recover from the pains of sin, guilt, shame, and loneliness.
The book has six chapters, each focusing on a different theme. Each chapter begins with a doctrinal essay by some noted LDS authors (including Brad Wilcox and Robert Millet). After that, each chapter has three or four stories by someone whose life has been touched by SSA (either personally or because of someone they know that struggles). Some of the ones I found especially powerful were written by Kirk Reidman, Tyler Moore, and Jeff Bennion. One of the things I loved about Kirk’s story was the intensely personal message of hope and how he found hope in this life, despite his struggles with same-sex attraction. Tyler’s story was one that I found particularly intriguing. His story is entitled “Being My True Self”. He talked about his journey, arriving at the point that he came to understand that being true to himself did not require him to live a gay lifestyle, as many believe, because the gospel was more important to him than his sexuality.
I especially wanted to write about Voices of Hope today for a specific reason. Earlier today, I drove up to Alpine, Utah to film my video for the Voices of Hope Project. As an extension of Ty Mansfield’s book, I was filmed as I told my story about my experiences with SSA. I was very excited to participate in this endeavor as I tried to pull from my heart the lessons that I learned from my experiences and trials. I’m not sure how well it went exactly, but that’s what post-production is for right?
The website isn’t fully up yet, but this video of Ty introducing the website gives a good overview of what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. I know that the gospel is the only way to find true happiness. I know that through the Atonement I can find strength and peace.
Until next time, remember that because of the Atonement, it gets better.