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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

peace i give unto you

Something popped in my head last night. The thoughts came literally out of left field as I was wrapping presents, go figure.

Many years ago as I was preparing to serve a full-time mission with the LDS Church, leaders announced that any YSA (young single adult) who had broken the law of chastity could no longer serve a mission. I felt so ashamed and wanted to hide. I remember leaving church that day feeling absolutely defeated. There I was trying really hard to prepare for a full-time mission and fulfill my patriarchal blessing and then out of nowhere I was branded and told to my face that it would never happen for me. It seemed like life just got worse from there. 

The next few years I became pretty reckless, depressed, and even suicidal. In a lot of ways I felt abandoned by the church and by the world, but I don't necessarily blame either for those feelings. In between all of these years were bouts of increased faith and spirituality as the cycle continued.

Finally, in 2005, I had enough of trying to be something that I clearly was never meant to be. I asked to be excommunicated during a meeting with the Bishopric and they granted my request. The night before I had a dream about being excommunicated and I cried in my sleep, but when I woke up I felt a huge burden lifted from me and I felt peace, comfort, and solace. 

Months later I found out I was HIV-positive and I wasn't shocked, but it still hurt. I wasn't ready to face the consequences of my actions, but in time I knew I needed to start taking care of my physical body, as well as my spiritual one. So I made the decision to go back to church and for one last time try and get my act together to be re-baptized. I tried in vain for about seven years, but a few years ago decided to just stop. 

No matter what I did, there would always be something that just didn't fit. I grew up enjoying being a Mormon. I love my Mormon friends, I love Mormon music, I love a lot of what Mormons believe in and stand up for, but I've made a decision to take care of my emotional and mental well being and to stay away from the church. 

Now back to last night. My thoughts were about whether I'd ever consider going back to church and trying to be re-baptized. It didn't take long for me to answer no. By the church's current standards and policies, to be a member in good standing I'd have to end my relationship with John, despite our almost 2-year relationship. I'd have to remain celibate for the rest of my life or marry someone of the opposite sex, which to be fair is the same guideline for heterosexual members. The exception being that heterosexuals can go on dates, kiss, hold hands, etc until they're blue in the face and still be a member of the church, as long as they don't have sex. A heterosexual member would also generally face less punishment even if they had sex of some kind. And of course, even if I wanted to be a member of the church, I'd still end up being labeled an apostate. 

So, just in case anyone in the world thinks there's a chance of me rejoining the LDS Church...well, there's the answer. 

My point isn't to spread a message of negativity, especially around Christmas, but to say I'm happy I've reached a point in my life where I don't get lured into thinking I need to be re-baptized at the cost of my personal well-being. Depression, anxiety, PTSD, and suicidal thoughts/suicide are not a joke. The pressure of fitting in at church is not worth it when it leads to an increase of mental and emotional instability. Then add being LGBT and/or HIV-positive. 

I am thankful for Mormons who have touched my life and who have remained my friends despite all that I have gone through and all they know about me. One of the greatest gifts God gave to me was the reassurance that He still loves me and that I do not need to be a member of the LDS Church to receive that love and His blessings. Knowing this gives me peace and comfort much like the feelings I had the day I was excommunicated and I felt the love, peace, and comfort of my God. While there's always room for improvement, God loves me just the way I am. And He loves you too.

 Merry Christmas and Have a Happy New Year!

"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." John 14:27

You have been caught Jey Walking!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

past, present, future lover


for six years
we were stuck 
with repetitive conversations 
we could not say what we could have said

your eyes spoke 
a certain language 
to me they said words 
I only now comprehend

we met in passing 
every now and then 
occasionally hinting 
of our mutual adoration

your smile said 
"I love you"
before I learned 
to see

all at once 
the stars aligned 
as we orbited the universe 
of our bodies, hearts, and minds

your arms 
make me feel safe 
no longer was I 
the abandoned runaway

the way you love me 
chases away 
darkness, doubt
and fear

your heartbeat 
in my ears 
said I could be yours 

the way you love me 
brings me 
smiles, joy, warmth
and laughter

your soul 
intertwined with mine 
makes the light within 
grow brighter

the way you love me 
cannot be bought 
with manipulation 
or fortune

your ears 
heard my voice 
before I learned 
to speak

the way you love me 
is a source of life 
I cannot live 

six years 
have passed
onward, further
we go

learning, living
loving each other
makes the wait
completely worth it

we are now 
ignited fusion 
our love sealed 
together by fire

the way you love me 
gives way 
to hopes and dreams 
I never imagined