Josh Searle was one of many gay Mormons whose stories were featured on the Church's website, mormonandgay.lds.org. Here is just one of the Church videos that shared his story:
Recently, he wrote this post on his blog, one which he gave us permission to republish in full.
For me, being a gay Mormon has felt like sitting at a dinner table watching everyone around me enjoy the food and conversation. And the conversation seems to focus on the food and how great it tastes. But only those in a traditional heterosexual marriage are allowed to eat. The rest of us can only sit and watch.
So I want to leave the table and seek other tables that will let me partake as a gay man in a gay relationship. And as I stand to leave, I am warned that this table is where God wants me to be and I need to stay if I want to return to His presence. “What?” I reply back in disbelief. “I need to stay at this table while all of you stuff your faces with traditional relationships while I’m denied my own which I so naturally feel? Is this the Gospel of Jesus Christ we preach that brings joy and peace? This can’t be!”
Those sitting at the table become silent, not knowing what to answer. The awkward tension is almost tangible. Looking purposefully into their eyes I ask, “How is any gay member expected to stay at this table we call the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Surely it can’t be maintained long term for any of us in this situation!”
Speaking from personal experience, I have tasted the food found at other tables and felt fed and my hunger satisfied in these gay relationships in every emotional and physical way. I was happy. But God called me back to His table and I reluctantly and sadly went back. And for a long time, I shook my fist at God and said, “I can’t stay at this table. I’m starving for an emotional and physical connection with another man! This is too hard and too lonely and it’s just not fair. If you loved me, you would not ask such hard things!”
Sitting back at the dinner table I was baptized into, I close my eyes and shutout the conversations around me. I talk with God about my heartaches and sorrows and plead for understanding. After several heated conversations and wet tears, I open my eyes and see the dinner setting a little different. The food or conversation hasn’t changed but my perspective has.
Today, I realize this is not a feast of traditional marriage and relationships. This is the feast of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the feast of repentance, faith, hope, charity, gifts of the Spirit, service, goodness, covenants, joy, and the Atonement. These are foods I can eat freely now and savor their tastes and feel satisfied in many ways.
I’m now adding to the conversation with the others at the table and feel joy sharing my love for the food—the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am happy and know this is sustainable. But, I still feel the pains of not being allowed to express my emotional and physical attractions that are real and deep. So I continue to seek wisdom and guidance from God. He knows my situation and guides me so that I can be at His table and fill my soul.
I’m trying to exercise faith in Christ’s words: "I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst" (John 6:35).