Connect with Rod
Born and raised in Northern California, Rod was introduced to the Church as a young child through his mother, who became a member following his parents’ divorce. Rod served a full-time mission in Houston, Texas; studied musical theater at BYU (where he was a member of the Young Ambassadors as well as an instructor at the Missionary Training Center); and performed professionally on the stage in New York City.
After a 13-year hiatus, during which time he worked in New York and Los Angeles in the brand development and shipping logistics industries, Rod returned to his entertainment roots and is now a producer in Los Angeles. Rod realized early in life that he was gay and at 10 years of age, unbeknownst to his mother, made an appointment to talk about it with his bishop. As he matured, Rod knew that his homosexuality was not going away. He eventually came out to his parents and spent a decade pursuing short- and long-term relationships with men.
Toward the end of this period of self-discovery, Rod fell into addiction. It stripped him of everything—love, relationships, career, friends, money, health, and even hope. With nowhere to turn, Rod entered a 12-step recovery program for gay addicts that, along with the gospel, he credits with saving his life. Rod has been sober for nine years and active in the Church for eight.
Since returning to full activity, Rod has served as executive secretary to three bishops, in an elders’ quorum presidency, as stake public affairs director, and as a gospel doctrine instructor. He currently serves as ward mission leader, a priesthood teacher at the Los Angeles Federal Prison, and as a veil worker at the Los Angeles Temple. Rod makes his home in Beverly Hills. “All life is a journey, not a home; it is a road, not the country; and those transient enjoyments which you have in this life, lawful in their way–those incidental and evanescent pleasures which you may sip, –are not home; they are little inns only upon the road-side of life, where you are refreshed for a moment, that you may take again the pilgrim-staff and journey on, seeking what is still before you- the rest that remaineth for the people of God.”
Rod’s Essay: “’The Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with One Step’… So Watch Your Step”
I sit here with my fingers at the keyboard and think, “How do I write a short essay to explain my relationship between myself and God? Do I have some definitive or interesting anecdotes to share? Can I do this while I am still in a continued reconciliation—a ‘restoration’ of sorts—with Mormonism and my homosexual orientation? How do I sum up my daily walk?” Then it hits me. At a fireside not too long ago, a friend of mine said this simple and succinct sentence, “I live between two competing truths.” I, too, have settled comfortably there. In other words, I have accepted two truths; both my religious tradition and my homosexual orientation are authentic and are good.
To illustrate this point, I want to quote, two of the more refreshing voices in the Mormon “apologetic world.” They are husband and wife team Terryl and Fiona Givens. In their latest published work, they write that the conditions of life are explained in the Garden story.
“The master etiology, the story that explains the human condition itself—the tale that answers life’s most agonizing questions about pain and suffering and undeserved struggle—is the story in Genesis, chapter 3, which the Christian world calls the Fall. In the Mormon narrative, therefore, the circumstances that define the reality of the human predicament are not a blatant choice between Good and Evil but a wrenching decision to be made between competing sets of Good”—and, I’ll add here, Truths.
And so it has been with me. My story, like most, has been full and complex. It is filled with events, significant and small, cast with myriads of individuals in every walk of life. There is a wide range of relationships set in culturally diverse cities and countries which range from affectionate, to friendship, to romantic, and even godly. These and more are the elements that comprise my life, all resting on the foundation of my undeniable religious belief in a living God.
Still in Process—a.k.a., “Eternal Progression”
I will be 50 years old at the end of the year. That gives me, so far, 40 years—that is, about 14,600 days—of experience dealing personally with homosexuality. And while I’m still learning, I’ve come to realize that I have a bit more real-life “experience” than the average Mormon on these matters. As such, I may have an idea or two, new or not, that might help others see something differently or in a new light. I hope that that something may resonate with you, allowing you to see that a life filled with joy, sadness, excitement, spirituality, anger, fun, adventure, heartache, soul-wrenching questions, and love, is possible. In other words, lest you think me prideful, let me echo Albert Einstein: “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” I’m living proof of that fact. Here is my first bit of advice, my plea is simple: Live. Right now. Get out there and live life!
To me, “living” means I am incomplete. I am still becoming. I still fail—at times, horribly. I still have success. I’m still confused. I’m still in recovery. At times, instead of sitting comfortably between competing truths, I find myself gravitating closer to one or the other a bit more than I should. In other words, I’m eternally progressing. Even now, every minute of every day, I am still becoming.
For me, this is what is meant by being alive. It is such a refreshing, hopeful thought. Also, what is very clear, I don’t have all the answers. What’s more, I’m no longer looking for all the answers to come at once. I’m comfortable in the middle. I know that there is so much more out there to be discovered and learned from, and while I do want someday to be a “know it all.” For now, I’m just living.
Assumptions—The Foundation of My Thinking
Much like science, my story sits on some beliefs and assumption. Let’s establish these upfront. I believe in: 1) God; 2) A Plan of Happiness/Salvation; 3) Jesus Christ; 4) The Book of Mormon; 5) The Restoration; and 6) Living Prophets. I am not here to convince anyone of those six assumptions. For me, they are a matter of fact. They inform much of the basis of how I interact with the everyday world. Now that you understand this, let’s set the stage, mortality.
I’ve come to call planet Earth, “The Petri Dish of Mortality.” I see myself as temporarily “housed” here to have very specific and unique experiences, unlike any other experiences I have had before. This belief, which is in my core, has inherently always been there (see D&C 46:11-26). In other words, I know that I came from somewhere else to gain experience and that I will go somewhere else with this experience and add to it—experience, without end, in the eternities. I bring up this evolution of experience as a preamble to my second bit of advice: get this “not only in your head but down into your gut.” This life is not it—life is not permanent.
Everything, whether or not I can see it, including myself, didn’t start here. Neither will it end here. I had to set my eyes, thoughts and heart away from the distorted notions of the permanency of mortality. That distorted view only exists here, in this “petri dish.” I am eternal. I have always lived. I will continue forever. So, it’s okay. I can relax. I don’t feel I have to have it all now. The reality is that no one has it all. We’re not meant to. That is why it is okay to be incomplete.
I like being gay. I’m not ashamed or embarrassed, and I don’t have some weird notion that my homosexuality was some type of mistake. I have come to see that this, among many other things, is a variable that has helped me have unique experiences, tailored just for me. Only now in hindsight do I see these experiences as remarkable. My understanding and growth have been sealed to my soul, not just in my head.
I didn’t always think this way. For much of my life I was very much ashamed of my homosexuality. I felt that my life could be described as a mountaineer scaling the incredible climb of Mt. Everest. The incline was unbearable at times with a seemingly never-ending, gale-force wind blew at me, hindering my every step. The climb and the energy that I had to exert was relentless and brutal. Then suddenly I had my paradigm shift: the slope did not suddenly become a gentle field. I am still on the mountainside; the ascent continues. Sometimes it is thorny, rocky, uncharted, yet now it feels mostly as if those intense winds have become a cool breeze. The slope, still challenging, is giving way to achievement. My life, now, is much more manageable, happy, meaningful, and worthwhile. Yes, there are momentary gale-force gusts of wind to slow me down, but they can no longer hinder me.
Now that I’ve set the stage with metaphors and retrospective revelations, let’s get down to it. How did I get here? What is my story?
I have always known I was gay.
The word “gay” for me holds no negativity or shame, nor is it a descriptor of a “type of lifestyle” or “a way of life.” It’s just a short, simple word known to most, as a natural, human and complex homosexual orientation. That’s all it is to me.
My upbringing gave me this understanding. I was born in San Francisco, so I was always aware of gay men. We drove past “The Castro” in the family car on a regular basis. For me, as long as I can remember, gay men and women have always existed and been a part of my world. However, at around the age of ten, it became personal. I began to realize that I, too, was attracted to men. From what I heard and understood at church, as well as from most of the kids (bear in mind this was the 1970’s), being gay seemed to be in conflict with everyone and everything. I noticed how much emotion, bullying, prejudice and hate seem to be directed at the LGBT community, even in the Bay Area.
Frankly, I didn’t want to be gay, especially when I realized it at age ten. At this young age, I was acutely aware that I was in the minority, different and misunderstood by almost everyone.
Why? It’s a fact. The latest data from the CDC states that only 1.6% of the U.S. population identifies as gay. In other words, this means that most of the US population cannot really relate or understand my sexual orientation. I felt back then as if I had a mark on my back that read “not normal.”
Now, let’s add my inherent belief in Mormonism. Super abnormal, right? As I have mentioned, I have always had a firm and straight-forward belief in the doctrine set forth in the standard works regarding “the new and everlasting covenant of marriage” (see D&C 131-132), in the restoration of the priesthood, the restored apostolic ministry among humanity, and the institutional Church headed by Christ. These are all a reality to me. Anyway I looked at it there was conflict in my life between my religious beliefs and my sexual attraction to men.
To better understand my thinking and my upbringing, I’ll set the stage my drama unfolds on. I have lived almost all of my life out of the traditional culture found in the LDS Church. I lived in Northern California for 17 years (my high school had 3,500 students; 15 of us were Mormon). After high school, my family moved to Germany. I went on a mission from there, after which I attended BYU. Then I toured in some theatre production companies throughout the US and eventually settled in New York City for 14 years. Currently, for the past seven years, I have resided in Beverly Hills, California. I haven’t spent any significant amount of time in a closely knit LDS Community. I cannot comprehend having neighbors that are all LDS, with chapels that dot the landscape and where there are temples less than 45 minutes in seemingly every direction.
At the age of three, my parents divorced and shortly thereafter, my mom converted to Mormonism. Not having very many LDS family members, I never saw or felt that being a member meant I was better or “chosen” from the rest of the world. I have never seen others not of my faith as less than me. In other words, there was no dividing religious line that separated me from people. Frankly and due to my Latin roots, my family life was more “family-centric” than most of my Mormon friends, even to this day. My paternal grandmother was 100% Italian. Her mother, my great-grandmother, was born in Italy. Owing to an arranged marriage, she migrated to San Francisco shortly after “The Earthquake.” My mother’s heritage is Spanish, French and Basque. They are equally family orientated.
Growing up I saw extended family weekly, and Sunday dinner together was practically a guarantee. We always went to Grandma’s or Nani’s house for dinner. There was not much of a divide in religious “ideology,” despite the differences in faith traditions. Many family members were active in church, most being Catholic, with only my immediate family being Mormon.
Think of the movies Moonstruck or My Big Fat Greek Wedding, that’s basically my father’s side of the family. My Grandmother lived next door to my Great-Grandmother, and my aunt lived 2 miles from them. My Dad, when he was married, lived only blocks from them all. Between his five divorces, like a good Italian son, he always moved back into his parent’s house in San Francisco. Everyone was very dramatic, crazy, and dysfunctional, just like in those movies. I loved it. I loved my childhood with my family.
That said, my family life was by no means a fairytale. Following my parents divorced when I was very young, I was sexually abused by a babysitter for many months while my mom was at work. We were moved around a lot and I had many “babysitters” who were not very kind or even very friendly towards us. Besides the five divorces, my father was what we now call “a deadbeat parent.” He rarely paid any child support. We only saw him when we stayed at my grandparents’ house in San Francisco. He would take us to watch the sailboats or racing cars, usually only for a few hours, two times a month.
My Mother, single most of my childhood, was a woman of incredible strength and resolve. Just to name two of the many odds against her, my mother never graduated from high school and had two deadbeat ex-husbands. Her second husband was verbally and physically abusive to the whole family. With great strength and fortitude, my mom left that marriage in a matter of months. Through it all she was always happy, went right to work, made her way up the corporate ladder, stayed very active in church, and raised and supported three children, mostly on her own. Much of my testimony and appreciation for hard work comes from her example of stalwart faith, stability and steadiness.
This, in summary, was my childhood. It influenced me, forming my personality into what it still remains today. I see the world not with religious boundaries or clearly defined stigmas. And I firmly believe that to get through life requires work. Hard work. You don’t let setbacks hold you back. You move forward.
Therefore, in 1971, true-to-form, I wanted to tackle this gay “thing” head on. I made an appointment with my bishop and proceeded to tell him that I thought I was gay. Even though I didn’t specifically ask for it, what I was looking for was some guidance on what to do about it. There was an awkward 10 to 15 seconds of silence. He seemed surprised, perplexed, and oblivious. He couldn’t find many words, except, at last, to tell me, “Watch how you dress.” That was it.
In hindsight, I think it was pretty profound advice. Not in the “words” of the advice, but in the delivery of the non-issue of the message. It was in line with my everyday thinking, the principle that being gay was just a matter of fact. There was no fanfare, judgment or negative reaction. For a 10-year-old, I was satisfied. That was enough to put it to the side and not focus on it much.
As I reflect back on that time in my life, I don’t recall my homosexuality bogging me down in any way. I knew my perspective towards girls was way different from the other boys. I didn’t feel too different yet. But that would come. Much of the joy of my childhood came from music. I devoted much of my non-school hours taking voice lessons, dance classes, and performing. While my homosexuality was always there, I rarely acted on it. I also rarely went on dates with girls. All counted, there was maybe ten dates, including proms. Still, I had a very close, tight knit group of friends, all of whom were a part of a musical performing group I was part of. This group kept me out of trouble because of the weekly rehearsals, performances, required dance classes, and voice lessons. I loved every minute.
I didn’t like school very much. I actually hated going, but I did go. I never felt a part of the crowd, although I desperately wanted to be popular. I wasn’t interested and didn’t play any sports. I was not interested in having girlfriends. Add that to being Mormon, where was the chance for popularity in all that? So once again, I always felt different. I was picked on and bullied a little in elementary, junior high and high school. Consequently, I just went to class and isolated myself with only the handful of LDS kids.
At the age of 16 my mother remarried a Major in the US Air Force. I had graduated from high school mid-term, went to BYU the winter semester in 1984, returned and walked with my graduating high school class that spring. Two years later we packed up from California and moved to Germany for my step-father’s final tour of duty. It was there, from the Zwiebrücken Ward in Germany, that I left for my mission to Houston, TX.
Mission and BYU
From the time that I graduated from high school, that first semester at BYU, and on my mission, I felt much more emotionally secure. The guys no longer made fun of me, at least to my face, because I couldn’t play sports. On the mission, most of the Elders wanted to be my friend and I was gaining a reputation due to my understanding of the Bible. I made it a goal to know the Bible as well as any good Southerner did, as well as to know as much as I could so that I could contend with the best of them. Obviously that didn’t do much for converting the staunchest evangelical, but it help solidify my testimony. Within a year I was in the office serving as an AP. I made great friends and had memorable experiences on my mission, but I was eager to finish my mission and get to BYU.
As soon as my mission ended, I visited family in Germany, New York City, and San Francisco after which I headed to Provo, excited to begin school. I was hired at the MTC and began the 1987 fall semester at school. That same year I was accepted into the Music Dance and Theater (MDT) program and was cast in The Young Ambassadors. To my surprise, I could pick out many in the MDT program who were most likely gay. The surprising part wasn’t the fact they were gay, it was that I realized that I wasn’t the only gay active Mormon.
I had no desire to be part of any dating scene. I really had no inclination to be married, either and my family also never pushed it either. I was not fearful of commitment or women; most of my most committed friendships were with women. I just didn’t think about it. My whole dating experience could be counted on one hand. I was perfectly happy and didn’t seem to have much conflict at school, except for being attracted to guys on campus or friends, but I never intended to act upon those attractions.
At the end of the fall semester, a few national tours, theme parks, and regional theatres came to BYU to hold auditions. I was hired by two of them I auditioned for and I decided to leave school and take the offer from Opryland Talent in Nashville. I left BYU before the end of the winter semester and headed south to Nashville.
One of the major reasons I left BYU was because of a negative experience I had with a faculty head. In addition to that, no one else in my class was hired. As a matter of fact, those who were hired had already graduated and were some of the most talented of that graduating class. It boosted my ego to know that I was at least three years younger than most and was considered to be just as talented. So I left.
This proved to be a decision that started my wrestle with a loneliness that would become more apparent and seemingly unbearable.
Once I’d moved to Nashville one of my roommates, and cast members, was an openly gay man. He had also graduated from BYU. Eventually, I came out to him. He wasn’t a “believer” but he was very thoughtful in his advice as to the reasons I should stay committed to the gospel, since I really believed it.
In Nashville, I was away from everyone that knew me. The majority of the male performers were gay, super talented, and very good looking. It felt like they were all dating, many of them had “serious” relationships, and the real kicker, none of these guys looked unhappy and none of them lost their jobs or their talent because they dated or moved in with their boyfriends.
This was unsettling to me because I had been “taught,” and wanted to believe, that only those who are obedient would prosper and have success, whereas those who lived as they wanted to and not obey the laws of mortality would have bad things happen to them. That wasn’t happening in Nashville among the performers I knew. I felt so at home with all these new-found friends, we all had such similar likes. Saying no to the dating proposals I was getting more frequently, I started to become obsessed with my loneliness.
At the time I became super close to one of my “dressers” (a person in live productions who helps with fast costume changes) in the show. She started coming to church with me on Sundays, took the missionary discussions and eventually I baptized her. I didn’t see that she wanted more than just a friendship type of relationship. In fact, I even told her that I was starting to like one particular guy in our company, but that made her become even more aggressive. She became like a lioness, over protective and controlling towards me, and was increasingly mean to the guy I was starting to like. The whole thing became very dramatic.
Eventually, I ended up falling for this guy. We were inseparable. He was respectful of my commitment to not have sex. I really did want too, but didn’t. However, we went far enough for me to be put on “informal probation” for a few months.
Later, I was cast in other productions, which included signing a contract as a lead singer on a cruise ship. In retrospect, I should have asked the question, “How in the world would I be able to find LDS support on a cruise ship?” But I didn’t. Consequently, it was there that I fell in “love” and had my first fully-committed relationship. Over the course of about a year on the ship I had abandoned my LDS practices. The firsts out the door were the word of wisdom and the law of chastity.
As a side note, I have to “out” a pet peeve of mine, it’s within the LDS “SSA” circles I hear this phrase “the lifestyle.” This is a term, specifically targeted at “gay” people, to describe negative/self-destructive life, including: actively dating, not active in church, not living the law of chastity and word of wisdom, etc. Let’s keep us all equal here: gay or straight, the average single person in the US is having sex every 12 days, over half of all American’s over the age of 12 are actively consume alcohol, and only 4 in 10 are attending church.Would I refer to my friends who have left the church or are non-members as living “the lifestyle”?
I personally have never heard a member say: “Oh, my sister has moved in with her boyfriend and they are living “the lifestyle.” Nor have I ever heard a member say, when a straight person comes back from inactivity, “He or she was living ‘the lifestyle.’”
If I had my way, the term “the lifestyle” should be removed from the LDS vocabulary. Short of that, if it is to be used, we need to include everyone who is not practicing the law of chastity, word of wisdom, attending church or is actively dating non-members. That is the only fair use of the phrase. Frankly, not using it at all, keeps each one of us on the same playing field. Are we not all sinners and beggars? We are all desperately in need of help from God? The correct answer is yes.
Anyway, back to the cruise ship, I discovered that by letting go of the charade of trying to hide my homosexuality, every aspect of myself improved, especially my mood, my acting, singing, and dancing. I didn’t see it as “letting go” back then. I was mostly shocked that I wasn’t cursed. The fact that I was not only still successful, but that I was actually having greater success stunned me. On the other hand, I did feel the loss from my daily religious rituals and the spiritual grounding I had cultivated most of my life. There was a palatable paradigm shift on life too. Instead of seeing every action as having both a physical reaction and eternal consequence, it was more about living in the moment and planning a life together for the here and now. Focusing only on the next 50 years or so with no mention of eternity.
Of everything, this was the biggest shock. Everyone seemed so grounded in building a happy life that included staying in a committed relationship, a career, buying a house, adopting children, traveling the world on fabulous vacations and planning retirement. It was all about having a life to grow old together, which was wonderful, but that’s where it stopped. The conversation didn’t go on. At the end of life that was the end. For the first little while this approach to finality took some getting used too.
My newfound “love” on the cruise ship lasted less than eight months. When it ended, I immediately went back to church and started the repentance process. However, within a few months I stared dating again. This was my experience for the next five years. It was a constant sea saw between my two competing truths.
I tried to do all that I could to merge the worlds. I would even bring some of my boyfriends to church. A few times, after Priesthood meeting, they would make comments like, “All these guys seem so gay.” I just laughed. I think what they were experiencing was a group of clean-cut well-dressed men who were able to share some of their feelings openly with each other. I have come to know that this is a very uncommon and unique experience for those who are not members of the church. Speaking in broad terms, in the Church there is an openness and a vulnerability to spiritual feelings among men that is seldom found elsewhere.
This pattern of an up and down life continued, again and again. Essentially, I’d get into “mini-relationships” while I was away from home doing shows at regional theatres. At the end of a contract or run of the show, I would head back to San Francisco and start the repentance process with my bishop, yet again. Up until this point, the only church disciplinary actions taken, was “informal” probation.
The Beach Ball—A 20-Year Journey to Understand
During this time I had visited with many therapists. One of the best therapists I have ever worked with told me an analogy at my last session before I moved to New York City in 1990. To paraphrase, he said:
Imagine life as a swimming pool and you are in it. There are also many “floating toys” representing all your attributes and outside of the pool, a pool party. There are lots of people engaged with each other doing various things, talking, eating, etc., not paying very much attention to you. Now, among those floating attributes, there is a small beach ball. It represents your homosexuality. You have grown to hate this ball. To you, it has become overly ugly and very undesirable. In fact, you’re embarrassed and ashamed that something like this could exists in the pool with you. All you can do is stare at it. You think others look at the pool and all they see it that ugly ball too. And to top it off, it appears no Mormon seems to have a beach ball quite like yours. Since you can’t get rid of it you want to hide it, pretend it isn’t there. You grab it and shove it underwater. It’s not too difficult at first, but the longer you try to hold it down, the harder it becomes. At some point, the upward force wins and the beach ball surfaces with tremendous force, hurling the ball and a gush of water upward into the air for all to see. So you begin to try all these different techniques to keep it down. Let’s say, one technique to hide the ball in the pool is to sit on it. This seems clever at first, but it’s a bit risky. One wrong move and the ball shoots right out from underneath you. Once again it flies out of the water exposing you for all to see.
Whether it’s a beach ball or the truth, it’s not a matter of if and how it will surface, but when. It’s a natural law of mortality. At some point, you are going to have to let the ball go, just like all the other aspects of you—the other floating toys—and swim freely. And in the course of your swim you have the agency to choose whether or not you want to play with them or not. If you don’t, you don’t waste your time and energy trying to hold them down, you just gently brush them out of your way. That is how you are going to have to learn to live with your homosexuality. I don’t know the detailed specifics for you of how this is to be done, but that’s what must happen.
This explanation from my therapist made sense. It was logical. But it was beyond my ability to fully understand. It would take another 20-plus years to comprehend what he was trying to convey.
New York City
With the move to New York City, I fell in love with a city and the people in it. I loved just about everything about it. It was so intense. I loved the weather, the caliber of the intellect, the abundance of all types of education, the talent, the wealth, the art, the high fashion, the food, the living conditions, etc. Everyone had so much energy and seemed to be going after “it.”
Just as I felt I had so much in common with most of my gay friends, I felt like I belonged in Manhattan. I was so “normal” there. It seemed like everyone there was honest and didn’t have a filter. They just came out and said whatever they thought or felt. For most of my life I have always felt I was putting my foot in my mouth, saying what came into my mind before I could stop it, but this wasn’t the case in NYC. Nowhere else had I felt more comfortable in every aspect of my life, even at church!
When I arrived, I jumped right into the ward. I was fully active, held leadership callings and was fully engaged. I loved much of my YSA Ward experience in NYC, except for the self-imposed loneliness. There, for the first time, I had found like-minded people who actually went to church. I didn’t have to pretend to have the same likes, humor, and perspectives. We had a similar mentality, sense of humor, interests in museums, theatre, opera, parks, food, people, books, fashion, weekend trips, and to boot, many of us even had similar careers. I connected and was able to make some very close friends, friends I still have today.
Yet even with a comfortable ward environment, I wasn’t dating women, the majority of my friends in NYC were not members, and the obvious reality of being single forever was looming.
Perspectives on Dating
Let me add here that I had been dating women off and on for years for one purpose only, to get married and sealed in the temple. That was my objective. I felt I had to look at it that way; otherwise, I’d never even contemplate asking a woman out. As a gay man, why would I? Some of my closest, dearest, and most beloved friends are women. My ability to have intimate emotional-centric relationships with women has never been an issue. That is very natural for me. But trying to use that as the basis to fulfill a duty, a sacred sealing ordinance, “Celestial Marriage,” wasn’t working for me.
I think part of that reality is that I had actually had experience. I dated men, I was able to be touched by and touch someone I cared for. I knew what it was like. I had practical experience and never, at any time, had dating men felt shameful, forced, contrived or counterfeit. Nor did I feel I was looking for some masculinity, something that I was personally lacking, in the men I was dating. To be frank, I’d describe my dating experience with women as forced, contrived, and counterfeit, but a “must do.” I was taught, if I don’t complete the ordinance of temple marriage “check the final box” within the timeline of my mortal experience, I would be out of luck and at some point, my eternal destiny would be stopped and ultimately be forever unhappy. Dating the opposite sex came from the desire to be obedient. Nothing else. I can say with full purpose of heart, I gave it my best. I take comfort in the eloquently stated words of Elder D. Todd Christofferson,
“To declare the fundamental truths relative to marriage and family is not to overlook or diminish…those for whom the ideal is not a present reality. Some of you are denied the blessing of marriage for reasons including… same-sex attraction… Much that is good, much that is essential—even sometimes, all that is necessary for now—can be achieved in less than ideal circumstances. So many of you are doing your very best. And when you who bear the heaviest burdens of mortality stand up in defense of God’s plan to exalt His children, we are all ready to march.”
Coming from my background, those words are so comforting and affirming. I use them to counter anyone who thinks that my experience should follow anyone else’s specified timeline. I am not suggesting in the least that my experience diminishes anyone else’s experience with dating or marrying those of the opposite sex. After all, it has become very apparent that my experience is unique among most LDS men because of my specific experiences. Like in the Adam and Eve story, I “know” because I have eating of the fruit of the tree. In other words, I have become wise by virtue of my personal experiences.
Self-Imposed Restrictive Agency
While I was in New York City, I began to live life as if I had two different lives. Person #1 was semi-out and hoping they didn’t ask about religion. I still basically kept the commandments, but I’d be embarrassed to say I was Mormon because that meant, I was not dating. I wanted to be “available” on the dating market. Person #2 was closeted, with a constant mental wrestle that permeated every facet of my life. I still basically keeping the commandments, but avoided any type of marriage/dating questions.
I thought I knew how to interpret the scriptures. I had a good understanding of Sunday School and Seminary lessons, even General Conference talks. I thought I’d heard that if I kept the commandments (i.e., “works”) and endured the “crosses” of the world (white knuckle, do everything not to act on my desires) I would be happy and blessed. But my practical experience of 30 years was very different. Keeping the commandments in either of those worlds didn’t seem to change my happiness at all. I began to see the commandments more and more as restrictions that caused distress and unhappiness.
I had done everything I could think of doing. Fasting, praying, therapy (from counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, and analysts, including the “father” of reparative therapy, Joseph Nicolosi), dating women, temple service and work, serving faithfully in callings, daily scripture reading, attending all my meetings and going to all church activities. I did everything that was asked of me, to my utmost capability, and yet God still had not removed my homosexuality.
I had whittled down my reconciliation with God to two options: 1) living some 45+ years as a covenanted person, which meant a self-inflicted loneliness, with a hope to be blessed to be transformed into a heterosexual in some incomprehensible future or 2) break my covenants by dating, actually being touched, spend time, and allow myself to love and be loved by someone, eventually, find a partner and live as I felt was normal, honest, true and stop trying to “‘turn it off’; that great little Mormon trick.”
I was 100% wrong that I had only the two above choices.
Nonetheless, at that time this is was all I could see and what I believed. I am convinced that this absolution of thought is one of Satan’s finest tools—to narrow my vision, to whittle down choices to a point where I felt I had nowhere to go, was his greatest weapon against me, to restrict my agency into a false conclusion that I only had a few or no options. That notion is very powerful, but it is also absurd and false. I could no longer can see that life was still nuanced and full of choice.
I can tell you today that there is more to life than just binary choice. There are many ways to live happily and keep covenants. However, let’s face it, until recently, for someone like me, being gay in the Church meant there wasn’t much hope if I didn’t get married.
My Angel, Tragedy and Addiction
This binary viewpoint led to my “seesaw” between the Church and relationships. It continued for about 10 years before it all came to a dead-end. I hit rock bottom. I hit it hard. Spiritually, emotionally, financially, physically. In every aspect, I hit the bottom.
By this time I had left the entertainment world and had a successful and promising career in advertising. I had just gained full fellowship back into the Church (after my second time of being disfellowshipped) when I had a series of very tragic events that happened over a two-year period of time. My best friend called me at work and told me that after a five-year remission she had received the news that her melanoma had metastasized to her lungs. She had no family in the U.S., so I went with her to every doctor’s appointment. I was with her through all of the decision-making process, with the different opinions and doctors, and the first operation of losing one of her lungs. During this time my grandmother’s health started to deteriorate. She had been diagnosed and was in the first stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia and she needed help. My father had moved in with her in San Francisco so I thought this would be a great time for us to “bond” and repair some past issues.
It all looked good on paper, and it felt good, so I marched into my boss’s office, the Vice Chairman of the world’s largest advertising company and said, “I’m out, I need to move to San Francisco.” Needless to say, that didn’t go over well. Unhappy by my decision, he nevertheless graciously helped me find a job in the San Francisco office. Leaving my friend in the hands of her family, who had now journeyed across “the pond” from Ireland, I packed up and moved from New York to San Francisco.
I hit the floor running. I had no idea what was about to happen over the next 18 months. Life altering events awaited me—events that for the first time in my life were beyond my ability to “control” or “repair.” The unexpected, unrecognizable emotional pain blind-sided me.
Before I arrived in San Francisco, my grandmother was in my father’s care. When I arrived, she was in a fetal position on the couch and weighed about 90 pounds. I was horrified. My workload was insane at my new job. I was thrust into the middle of two major new business pitches. My average workday was between 10-12 hours a day. At home, I would clean the house, cook, do laundry and yard work, set up and drive my grandmother to doctor appointments and do my best to get her out of the house as much as I could. My weekends were filled with taking her to the beauty parlor, grocery shopping, errands, etc. I hired a daytime caregiver to relieve some of the stress, but my father complained and fired three different ones for fear of her running out of money, which was impossible.
She started to have panic attacks because of her dementia usually around 2 or 3 am. She would do these horrific screams, calling out for help every night. Sometimes it got so bad, I had to take her to the emergency room and then head straight into work. Shortly after the intensity of her illness started to sharpen, I got “the call” that my friend has passed away. I was unable to return to NYC for the funeral because of my new job and responsibilities. I was crushed. And to boot, much of the time my father and I were at each other’s throats. It was a complete mess. I was overwhelmed at every angle.
One evening on the way home from work, I stopped in a grocery store and I happened to run into a friend who had recently moved to San Francisco from Boston. At the time I felt pretty isolated from the world. My days had been reduced to home, hospitals, office and some church. As he heard my story, he said, “What you need is a little ‘Rod time’ and join the world again.” He invited and insisted that I go with him to a party that weekend. I thought, yes, I do need that but that proved to be the start of my downward journey.
I did not know how to deal with the chaos and all the emotions that came with it. In the span of 12 months I experienced a major move across the country, taking on a brand new, very stressful job, became a caretaker in the evenings, experienced two untimely deaths of my best friend and my beloved grandmother and created an even more complex messy relationship at home with my dad. Soon, I had stopped attending church, started dating and eventually moved in with a boyfriend, and then shortly after my grandmother’s death, my father starting legal proceedings against my brother and I regarding the estate. At work, I had gone from being the rising star in the first eight months to being fired. Never, ever had I been fired. My unconscious recourse was to go right to something that would numb the pain, which for me it was dance clubs, crystal meth and GHB.
This was my life. Jobless, I moved back to New York, using crystal daily, and spending money like crazy. Eventually this led to the loss of all the little wealth I had acquired. I became very sexually promiscuous. Within the year, I was evicted from my apartment. I moved in with a new boyfriend, who of course was an addict, too.
Then one cold, rainy morning around 4:30 am, after having heavily used crystal for most of the weekend, I was wondering down W. 45th Street in New York City. I was in sweatpants and a t-shirt. To keep the rain from hitting my face, my head was down. Suddenly, I had a feeling to look up. Standing there was the Imperial Theatre, a place where I had performed almost a decade earlier. I thought to myself, “What has happened to me?”
At the time, and unbeknownst to me, this audible, rhetorical question seemed to unlock the way God was going to work in my life. Shortly after this incident, a funny thing happened. While I was using meth with a friend, I mentioned that I wanted to make some changes and get my life together. He asked if I wanted to go with him to CMA (Crystal Meth Anonymous).
I said, “Wait? What? You go to CMA? We’re using….” He said, “I know, I shouldn’t. You want to go with me next Sunday, or not?”
I went. As the meeting began, I thought holy cow, this is the gospel just presented on a different platter. What I thought I was hearing, was, “If you want to live (sobriety and living is one in the same), you have live in accordance with the laws of God. In fact, you already know them, they are in the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.”
I saw the whole program designed like the Church institution in that it offers ways for us to serve others and then, in turn, we are made whole. It was so shockingly clear. I was overwhelmed by how much I resonated with CMA. I couldn’t wait to go to my meetings each day. In the beginning, I was urged to go to 90 meetings in 90 days I doubled it. I went to 180 meetings in 90 days.
My sobriety did not come overnight and neither did my desire to return to church again. The level of difficulty, not only to let go of the drug addiction, but to leave my relationship and get my own apartment in the midst of being bankrupt and jobless, was arduous to say the least. This was not a light thing or a quick change. God was changing my thinking—He was changing my entire life.
When I started my new job, working in a sales position, my first paycheck was $14. It was straight commission. What hope? Life was pretty rock bottom for me. Nonetheless, I kept showing up each morning to recovery meetings and each morning I kept showing up for my life.
At some point I got wind that the Church had gained authorization to use the 12 Step program. That intrigued me and I wanted to attend, just to see what it was like. There was a meeting that met every Wednesday only a few blocks from my apartment. So, I went. It was not the AA I was used too. Everyone seemed so afraid to actually say what their addiction was. They couldn’t accept it. It was as if the words were just as bad as the addiction, or maybe even worse. I would say, “So why are you here? What is your addiction? How many days of sobriety do you have? Do you guys ever hang out together after the meeting or do you just run back home, ashamed you even attended the meeting?” and so forth. I wanted a room of sobriety for everyone and there was very little there, so I asked them all the things that I had learned were vital to recovery.
There, in the LDS ARP meetings, is where I began to feel a pull to go back to church. I still did not know how that was going to be possible. A very close friend made the suggestion that “If you do go back, this time, keep your mouth shut and sit in the back row. Arrive five minutes late and leave before the closing prayer.” That was the perfect advice for me at that time.
A New Approach
I had memorized the AA saying that the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Now I was being retrained to think, “Who cares what lies ahead? Just be present. If you have to worry, just worry about this second, that’s it.” In the spirit of this new philosophy, I got enough courage to attend church.
Months later I made it into the bishop’s office. Together we both agreed not to repeat the same type of strategy for coming back that I had used over the past 25-plus years. It was blatantly obvious that that particular roadmap didn’t work for me. What I was able to do was apply my daily AA thinking over the old, unsuccessful cultural of my religious practice.
My plan was unorthodox from the typical Mormon perspective. I felt I needed to understand the principle of why I was living on earth, not trying to get the unanswerable questions that I had focused so much on in the past. I realized I had not been short-changed in life. I had come to see that I had lived a life, much of the way I wanted to live it. I took risks and opportunities that gave me a life full of rich experiences many will never have. These experiences taught me that I had always had to negotiate and give something to get something. I started to see that what I wanted in life, truly wanted, had always required me to give up other things that I enjoyed in order to have something else; something better.
Over the next three years I started to see that I had been going about this whole repentance thing wrong. That was a huge and surprising revelation. I realized first that I needed to stop past thinking and behavior. I would literally say both in my head and aloud, “Stop! Stop. Make a new choice, different, as I would have done in the past.” In other words, I would purposely make a different choice, try to look from a different angle, step where I had not stepped before. This was terrifying. I trusted that God would put me on the right path. This took a lot of work and time.
I did this for 72 months. Every minute of every day I had to be that vigilant in my thinking. If not, I would fall back into the habits I had created over the past 40 years. This is not white-knuckling, it’s letting go. I had to acknowledge that I didn’t want to act in the same manner because I knew it would give me the same results. I didn’t want those again. I was clear and committed to letting go of myself. So, when it felt almost impossible, especially when I was discouraged and angry at my circumstances and saw little change, I would let go of my doubts and look to others who had what I wanted. This kept me committed to my new way of thinking, to stop trying to control everything and trust God.
I had come to a place in my life where this was the most important thing for me. When I would mentally drift back into my past, I would stop and purposely reposition my thoughts, to show myself “the proof “of my learned false reality. That false reality was that there was only one way and one outcome. Funny, how this new way of life was proving my old self wrong in comparison and changing my outlook. And that is exactly what God wanted me to do. It’s everywhere in the scriptures and counseled by the Apostles and Prophets: let go of me, stop relying on myself, and trust in God 100%.
I was allowing my old thinking to die, as it were, allowing sufficient time and space for this new thinking and trust to take hold. This new thinking becoming more then just thought, it caused new action. In other words, I was being reborn by virtue of my thoughts and actions.
This new way of thinking did not take away the good and truth I had earned but was able to sit alongside all those years of “trying” and not “getting.” My past was not wasted. The past was filled with success and failures. They gave me standards, opposites, and every shade of color to judge against. In other words, I had to back away from my good intentions of telling God what I wanted of Him and admitted that I was limited and short-sighted. I needed to stop asking those “Why am I gay?” or “Bless me to be straight” types of questions and pleadings.
Purpose of Life
So now that I saw my paradigm was wrong, my next step was to step way back. I had to figure out the basics. I had to get to the real purpose of why I was here. Not my interpretation of what my “personal mission” was per se, but rather, the general reason. Then, and only then, could I begin to make a list of the pros and cons of what I wanted in order to be authentic to myself, the world around me, and to God.
I learned to stop living inwardly. I had unwittingly been living much of my life like a spoiled child, throwing tantrums every time I didn’t get everything I wanted. I had to “grow up.” I had to make real “adult” decisions. While I had read that counsel many times by Paul, it was finally making sense to me that I had to put some things to the side.
“For we know in part… but when what is perfect comes, the partial will be set aside. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. But when I became an adult, I set aside childish ways. For now we see in a mirror an obscure image … Now I know in part, but then, I will know fully…” (1 Corinthians 12:9-12, New English Translation).
The fact is, nobody gets everything they want in life. I was no exception. Ironically, much of what I wanted, once I had it in hand, turned out not to be the be-all and end-all of what I had hoped it would be. For instance, one of the things I wanted, but had cast aside, was my love for “apologetics,” church history, and the complexities of religion. Specifically, the temple and the teachings taught inside were illuminating and exciting, and I thrived on them. However, I lost the option to choose to go into the temple when I lost my temple recommend. I had sacrificed worshiping in the temple for a loving relationship. Now, having had both experiences, I had the ability to decide what I wanted more. I then decide how to choose based on my realities. I no longer base it on what others tell me who I need to be, in or out of the Church. I no longer choose to throw a tantrum, be angry, because of the choices that are before me. I no longer say, “But what if” or “It should be like this” or “Why isn’t it like this?” I take a fearless, honest look at the real choices before me, not the “what ifs” or whens. I then make a decision of how to act with the base of my decision clear. For me, my base is this: my earth life is all about daily moments of character development. It will not last forever.
Actually, nothing lasts forever here on earth. I am here to see if I will be loyal to God regardless of what He said, yesterday, today or what He will say tomorrow. I am not here to tell my Manufacturer how best I function, that is the job of the Manufacturer. I try to see beyond the event or choice, to what that event or choice is helping me practice, so that I can learn to be more loyal to God. Obedience is the proof of genuine love (see John 14:15), and I in turn am learning how to be more charitable. I have learned that everything else fails but charity (genuine love) will never fail (see Moroni 7:45-47). I also know I am supposed to be as happy as I can be within those parameters. My happiness is my choice.
I have learned that my personality type believes the best way to function is in organization. I may think I have the correct answer, or can do something more efficient, but if that is out of my authorized boundaries, say at work, I will always defer to my boss, even if he chooses another way from mine. I don’t quit. I don’t yell and scream. I provide my perspective and then follow in his lead. He then takes on the moral responsibility to be accountable for his choice. I’ve come to see that this personality trait is one that I was born with. I know it’s harder for some to function in this type of environment. Having said that, in respect to the institutional Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I believe that the President of the Church and the Apostles are inspired to do the leading. That is not my role. Yet, I have a responsibility to inquire for myself of God whether he leads them.
I love Neal A. Maxwell statement about following the inspired leaders,
“It is even dangerous to anticipate what the leaders may counsel us to do. President Wilford Woodruff warned, ‘…the very moment that men (and women) in this kingdom attempt to run ahead or cross the path of their leaders, no matter in what respect, the moment they do this they are in danger of being injured by the wolves’ (Journal of Discourses 5:83). Trying to run ahead of the leaders is, in effect, trying to preempt their role as shepherds of the flock. As with the shepherds in the Middle East, prophets are to lead the flock; they do not herd the flock, nor do they merely follow it.”
I cannot over emphases the importance of the paradigm shift that allowed me to stop looking at my life events, at my homosexuality with an exclusive focus. My modus operandi now is that the “whys” of hardships and my vast unanswered questions persuade me to make choices that increase my faith. In other words my life builds my loyalty, beliefs, and trust. That’s it. Everything else matters in some other time and some other place.
Now, hypothetically, if the prophet were to say tomorrow that “all gay men can date and marry,” my attitude would not be to not hold any animosity towards the leadership or God because of the “change” in practice. The question(s) as to the why the “commandment” was wrong in the past, but allowed in the hypothetical future, to me, would be the wrong question. What matters is my loyalty and commitment to that law (whatever that law may be), regardless of how I see the justice or injustice in it. That is what the Atonement did; it has the power to forever correct every perceived injustice. Consequently, all hypotheticals aside, now is not the time for the injustices to be made just. That happens later and through the Atonement, when all things are subdued by Him.
In this weird place called Earth that I have grown to love and call home, I have learned that God gives us changing parameters to live by. So far, I have found nowhere that states that those parameters are fixed. In fact, all I’ve been able to read and understand on that subject is the opposite—both in and out of religion. One of the few constants in mortality is change.
I also know that God has not left me alone nor does He want me to be confused. This is why He sends messengers with enough answers to persuade me from this “fallen” constantly changing world offering very little fixed, a lot partial or many false answers. That is, to me, one of the ways that God remains never changing. He consistently sends messengers (angelic or inspired-humans) to admonish His people in every time period of the world. Portions of those teachings have preserved throughout the ages as scriptures, a passage of which speaks today with this admonishment from the Savior Himself:
“Remember your leaders, who spoke God’s message to you; reflect on the outcome of their lives and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever! Do not be carried away by all sorts of diverse and strange teachings” (Hebrews 13:9, New English Translation).
Christ continues to advise regarding our day:
“Then many will be led into sin, and they will betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will appear and deceive many (‘lead many astray’), and because lawlessness will increase so much, the love of many will grow cold. But the person who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole inhabited earth as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:10-14, New English Translation).
Finally, as you will have noticed, I have not written a “how to” essay per se. Instead, I have shared some of my life events and decision to demonstrate how my thinking was repositioned. It was with that paradigm shift that I began to form new, better, more relevant questions to be brought before the altar of God. Those questions, after more than 40 years of diligently seeking, have given me a far greater answer than I expected. I have grown and gained so much. Those answers have come at times so imperceptibly they seemed to arrive undetected and without expectation. I see this as the “economy of God.”
For me, it has been important to remember that “life is a journey, not a destination.” My journey has become more and more “like a treasure, hidden in a field, that a person found and hid. Then because of joy he went and sold all that he had and bought that field” or “like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he found a pearl of great value, he went out and sold everything he had and bought it” (Matthew 13:44-46, New English Translation ). I didn’t become unfaithful to the commandments because I didn’t know better, rather it was because I didn’t choose better. I have learned that the price of unfaithfulness is so high that, for me, it is unreasonable.
Here I sit between two truths, homosexuality and Christian discipleship, yet are they in conflict to The Great God and His grand-universal plan for my happiness? The answer is a resounding, no! On the contrary both truths are good. As C.S. Lewis described it, what seemed to be two competing goods (faith and works) are in fact working in tandem to form a tool for a work not yet fully comprehended:
“It does seem to me like asking which blade in a pair of scissors is most necessary… I am puzzled but not surprised… You see, we are now trying to understand, and to separate into watertight compartments, what exactly God does and what man does… But this way of thinking breaks down. God is not like that. He is inside you as well as outside: even if we could understand who did what, I do not think human language could properly express it.”
Consequently, I have come to see my homosexuality and Mormonism working in tandem to teach me that fidelity to the parameters of God is a better way. Not only a better way, but rather, it is the only way that I can be lifted from my personal ruin to stand everlastingly anew.
Thus the prophet calls:
“Wherefore brethren, seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand. For behold, ye yourselves know that he counseleth in wisdom, and in justice, and in great mercy, over all his works”(Jacob 4:10).
“Indeed, my plans are not like your plans, and my deeds are not like your deeds, for just as the sky is higher than the earth, so my deeds are superior to your deeds and my plans superior to your plans”(Isaiah 55:8-9, New English Translation).
 Place No More for the Enemy of My Soul. Jeffrey R. Holland quotes, A Lao Tzu, in John Bartlett, comp., Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, 14th ed. (1968), 74. April 2010 General Conference https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2010/04/place-no-more-for-the-enemy-of-my-soul?lang=eng
 The End: Or, The Proximate Signs of the Close of This Dispensation by Rev. John Cumming, 1855. Quote Page 392, John Farquhar Shaw, London.
 Tom Christofferson, “Finding Ourselves,” Affirmation Millennials – Wasatch Mountain Retreat. Brighton, UT Sunday, May 31, 2015
 The Crucible of Doubt: Reflections on the Quest for Faith, Terryl Givens, Fiona Givens. @2014 Terryl L. Givens, Deseret Book Company
 Bite-Size Einstein: Quotations on Just About Everything from the Greatest Mind of the Twentieth Century, by Jerry Mayer and John P. Holms, A Thomas Dunne Book p. 17 1996
“God is a personal entity, having a heart that beats in sympathy with human hearts, feeling our joy and sorrowing over our pain.” The Introduction. The God Who Weeps. Terryl and Fiona Givens, (2012 Deseret Book Company)
 Letters to a Young Mormon, Adam Miller, 2014 Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, BYU, Provo, UT
 The Castro District, commonly referenced as The Castro, is a neighborhood in Eureka Valley in San Francisco, California. The Castro was one of the first gay neighborhoods in the United States and has been one of the most lively for several decades. Wikipedia, 2015
 “Based on the 2013 NHIS data, 96.6% of adults identified as straight, 1.6% identified as gay or lesbian, and 0.7% identified as bisexual. The remaining 1.1% of adults identified as ‘‘something else,’’ stated ‘‘I don’t know the answer,’’ or refused to provide an answer. National Health Statistics Reports, Number 77, July 15, 2014 (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr077.pdf)
 “Searching for Sex” New York Times, Sunday Review, January 24, 2015
 Slightly more than half (52.2 percent) of Americans aged 12 or older reported being current drinkers of alcohol in the 2013 survey, which was similar to the rate in 2012 (52.1 percent). This translates to an estimated 136.9 million current drinkers in 2013. National Survey on Drug Use and Health 2013
 Nearly four in 10 Americans report that they attended religious services in the past seven days. Americans’ self-reported church attendance since 2008 has averaged 39%, down slightly from the overall average of 42% since 1939. Gallup December 2013 http://www.gallup.com/poll/166613/four-report-attending-church-last-week.aspx
 “Why Family, Why Family,” Elder D. Todd Christofferson. 2015 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2015/04/why-marriage-why-family?lang=eng
 “Turn It Off” The Book of Mormon – The Musical, book, lyrics, and music by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, and Matt Stone.
 Commentary “Grk ‘we are seeing through [= using] a mirror by means of a dark image.” The word “indirectly” translates the Greek phrase ἐν αἰνίγματι (ejn ainigmati, “in an obscure image”)… the apostle invokes the use of the mirror analogy in order to unfold the nature of the Christian’s progressive transformation by the Spirit.
 Brigham Young, “I will say a few words in regard to your belief in being led, guided and directed by one man. Br. Jackman has said that our enemies hate the fact of our being led by one man.” And then he immediately precedes the sentence in question with the words, “What a pity it would be it we were lead by one man to utter destruction! Are you afraid of this? I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are lead by him.” Deseret News, February 12th, 1862, 257 http://www.sixteensmallstones.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Deseret-News-Feb-12-1862-257.pdf
 Neal A. Maxwell, All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience, Deseret Book @2009
 “Ralph Waldo Emerson”
 C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: HarperCollins edition, 2001), pp. 148-149.