Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Happy to Say: "I'm okay"

So, this is my first post of 2016. There’s been a lot I’ve wanted to say, about a lot of different topics, but I haven’t been sure how to word it in a way that’s useful to anyone. However, the past month has given me some added perspective and I’m ready to share again. I hope this is helpful to some of my readers.

Over the past few months, the following events have occurred in my life:

1.       One family member called me to repentance since my last post. He/She stated that I was slipping away and leading many others in the wrong direction.
2.       Another family member asked me why the gays don’t just build their own church.
3.       Another family member refused to give me his/her blessing to find happiness in my own way (finding a great guy to build a life with). When I asked this family member if they still thought I could be happy marrying a woman or by being lonely and celibate, they responded affirmatively (despite seeing me miserable for years as I’ve tried to consider both of those options).
4.       I was laid off from my job.
5.       For the past 13 days, I’ve been unable to walk. Standing on my feet currently causes me intense pain. I have a separate foot condition (gout) and my meds regulate that. Incidentally, I have three other family members who also have gout. But this latest issue is something new and different. My Cobra insurance hasn’t kicked in yet, so I haven’t seen my doctor about it. But I’ve endured a lot of physical pain while being confined to my bed or my couch.

Now, this isn’t a sob story. I’m not asking for pity at all. Nor am I putting my family on blast. At the end of the day, I have a family who loves me and wants the best for me. We just can’t see eye to eye on the gay thing. I share these events to give some context into the rest of this entry.

The easiest way to catch you up without having a clear message this time around is to categorize. Here’s how I’m doing physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, romantically and spiritually. I hope that this update is encouraging to many of you. The whole point is that if you can say "I'm okay" during the hard times, that's a triumph.


Since the lay-off, I decided to make fitness a bigger priority. In fact, I’m in a contest with a few friends to lose weight. It was all going pretty well until about 2 weeks ago when I couldn’t step on my right foot. I started using crutches and primarily used my left foot to get around. But then, applying any pressure on my left foot was intensely painful as well.

My brother Neil has been an amazing nurse during this time of incapacitation. He’s been my on-call gopher and has infused this trying time with humor and the patience of angels. Heck, I’ve had to pee into bottles and he’s emptied them over and over again. Just keeping it real, guys and gals. He sat with me during a panic attack and was totally present during my general sense of apathy and restlessness that comes from being immobile and in a great deal of pain.

During this fortnight from hell, I’ve had time to reflect and was reminded of a few things. Physical health is a privilege. If you are in good health, whether through good habits, good genetics or good luck, please get on your knees and thank our Heavenly Father for that blessing. I’m grateful for the body I’ve been given. A recent physical has me in great health otherwise, but man, these 2 weeks have been among the most trying I’ve experienced in recent years.

Another thing I realized is that I have a unique relationship with my brother Neil. I may not have romantic love in my life at this time, but I've been reminded that having a triplet brother who would drop everything to be by your side when in need is something that I get to experience in a way that is especially deep and special. Having a triplet brother and a triplet sister is like having a built-in, automatic best guy friend and best girl friend. I should thank my mom for that. She raised us to appreciate that connection and to love each other. Throughout the years, the three of us have shown up for each other in ways that I feel are extraordinary. I needed a reminder of how special my bond with Neil is and how lucky I am to have been born with two wombmates. The past 2 weeks have certainly done that. 

As a quick update, I’m feeling the pain go away. I plan to see my doctor about it and get an official diagnosis once my Cobra is active. I’m guessing that it’s plantar fasciitis, but my symptoms don’t match that description perfectly (stay away from WebMD, it’s scary!). I will get right back on track with my fitness contest, even if these 2 weeks have put me behind the competition. I’ll just have to approach it carefully and put more emphasis on the nutrition part of my regimen. 

I've been mindful of some of my friends who don't have full use of their bodies. It was humbling to think that they've moved on, found effective ways to deal with the hand they were dealt, and they do so ably and beautifully, so what am I complaining about? It reminded me that I can handle my lot in life with more grace and acceptance.  


I suppose things are good here. Don’t see any major issues. That said, I’ve come to realize that denying yourself of dating and romantic relationships for 35 years does some things to you mentally. It has stunted my development in a variety of ways. I’ll be dealing with that for the rest of my life. In addition, when you’re very clear that a number of your family members disapprove of choices you’re making, it can mess with you, especially when you’re already at such odds with who you are versus who you’re supposed to be. But I’m working on making it work – for me. 


This is the most challenging area of 2016 so far, even more so than the physical setbacks of the past 2 weeks. I’m still so upset about the church policy changes, the number of gay suicides within the church, the church’s response, the statements made by church officials, and the insensitive or uninformed comments I continue to see on this whole topic from those who seem to have never met a gay person in their lives. I haven’t blogged about my feelings on these changes for a while because it’s a very emotional thing and I haven’t been able to find the right way to articulate my thoughts. But I stand with the LGBT youth of the church. I know how they feel. I know how dark it can get. I know that they don’t have many options in their circumstances when the very people who should love them the most turn them away. To these individuals: I love you and I'll continue to walk with you.

These policy changes were quietly tucked into the latest version of the church handbook and it came to light somewhat unintentionally, as I understand it. Some argue about the way these changes came to be known (Reddit, John Dehlin, etc), but that’s irrelevant. A couple of days later, a video with Elder Christofferson is released from the church about why the policy is a positive thing but offers no comfort or clarification, at least, not to me. A week passes by and the policy is revised to allow already-baptized children within same-sex parent households to maintain their membership. We don’t hear much else about it until two months later when Elder Nelson announced that what started as quiet little policy change was actual direct revelation from God. In the same address, Elder Nelson’s wife challenged the gays to just pray the gay away, as if we’d never thought of that. A month later, Elder Oaks is asked how he feels about the gay suicide crisis that’s occurring among LDS youth. His response was that he will be accountable to a higher authority for what he’s taught on the topic and adds that “Nobody is sadder about a case like that than I am.” I appreciate the sentiment, but I can think of several people who are sadder by this suicide epidemic happening than he is.

I’m not here to trash-talk the Apostles of the LDS church. Even now, I tune into conference to listen to what they say and I try my best to apply it where I can. I hold great reverence for their calling. However, I’m okay stating publically that I simply cannot agree with these policies and the intense pain they’ve caused me and many others I know and love. It doesn’t feel right to me. I don’t understand all of God’s ways, none of us do. But this direct revelation from Him just doesn’t feel good to me. I can't accept that it comes from God. I think it’s okay to question and to challenge things like this when they don’t sit right in my heart. The Brethren have admitted to being wrong in the past and President Uchtdorf has challenged us to understand and be forgiving when it comes to these imperfections from men that many esteem as perfect or near-perfect.

I think a member of the church can hold to their beliefs and, at the same time, wish me happiness, even if it means finding a great guy to spend my life with. I think they’re separate things. But I don’t get to control how or if or at what level that support is offered by others. I just struggle with the idea of refusing to wish someone happiness just because they might approach obtaining it in a different way.

As for being called to repentance, I was very upset upon receiving the message. It made me wonder if this family member was just skimming what I was writing on this blog or taking time to fully digest it and understand me. This blog was meant to show my love and support of the church, but also, to help other members of the church understand what a tricky thing it is to love the church when the church increasingly doesn’t love me. Entry after entry, I feel like I’ve taken great care to speak well of the church, even while being honest about my experience as a gay member.

In the end, I decided to put the rebuke aside for now until we can chat about it in person. Since then, I can’t seem to shake my sadness for being called out this way, especially when I’ve made it abundantly clear time and time again that I still have a love of the church and that I’m trying my best to remain a part of it, even if that’s becoming increasingly difficult. I was told that even though I might think I was doing some good in the world, I was not. 

I feel like I’m saving lives. Now that might sound like I believe I’m a superhero. I’m not. But I have had numerous parents and members of the LGBT community reach out to me with gratitude and heartfelt expressions. They read my blog and feel hopeful that they can have a strong relationship with God and be gay at the same time. THAT is the message I want to send and will continue to send. "Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad? If not, I have failed indeed." 

The message I received from this family member didn’t feel very reassuring in that regard, all because I’m not making the exact same choices he/she is making. This member of my family is truly one of my favorite people on earth, but he/she refuses to see that I'm having a completely different experience in the church than he/she is having. I’m clear that God loves me and has my salvation in mind. But my family member doesn’t seem to think I stand a chance of being with God again unless I agree to loneliness and celibacy or marrying a woman.

Elsewhere in this area, the lay-off knocked me down a peg or two, but I can’t take it personally. I worked for a start-up company and it was run by 2 families. I enjoyed the job and the people I worked with, but ultimately, when cuts needed to be made, it made sense that I was on the chopping block. After all, I wasn’t family. Still, getting laid-off never feels good. You always question yourself: “Maybe if I’d been more exceptional, more dedicated, more talented, I wouldn’t have been laid off.” I’ve reached a level of acceptance and can now look back and just be grateful for the experience. They were good to me, I was good to them, and I learned a lot during my time working for them. That’s a good thing.

Recent exchanges with some family members has filled the bulk of my emotional plate. Put simply, we love each other very much. We just disagree on the way I should find happiness. When I assure some of them that I simply can’t be happy marrying a woman or being single, celibate and lonely for another 38 years, they think I CAN be happy with those two options. Their beliefs and their faith tells them so. But my own experience, wisdom and first-hand accounts can't compete with that kind of faith. They KNOW better than I do what is best for me.

As much as I wish they could look at it from my point of view, I’ve got to be willing to look at it from theirs. I’ll never have a wedding with the full support and acceptance that my siblings all seemed to enjoy, and I’ve just got to accept that. It doesn’t mean they don’t love me, it just means that they need to love me in the way they know how to, in a way they feel comfortable with. At the end of the day, I’m lucky to have love and support from my family, even if it’s not in the exact way I’d like it. Not everyone can say that. 


I’ve been a recluse for the past month. I’m generally not anti-social. I just think the combination of losing my job and then the health issue with my feet has kept me away. Most of closest friends have seen me recently, but I’ll admit, I’ve flaked out and cancelled plans on a few people.

I’ll repair whatever damages I’ve caused with friends and family. Nothing major to fix, thank goodness. I’ve just realized that sometimes, you’ve got to just check out and be unavailable. By doing that from time to time, it makes you MORE available in the end.

To anyone in my life who has noticed I haven’t been as available in the past month, I apologize. I just needed some time to process things. I didn't have the energy to fake it. I’ll be a better friend, brother, son, uncle, etc by doing so. I don’t intend to go back to Hermitville. Just needed some time. 


There’s nothing too exciting to report here, especially with some recent setbacks. But I’m excited to get back to the dating game as I feel better. I’ve come to the realization that I end up in the friend zone a lot. There were 2 different guys that I was chatting with. We’d check in with each other often and seemingly, I thought that things might lead to something more. The next thing I know, they’re both in relationships with other guys. I guess I’m really great to chat with, I’m just not graduating to the “date me, kiss me” level.

I wonder if I just make myself too available as a nice, supportive guy and I get thrown into the friend zone from the beginning. While I’ll take some time to consider my approach and my overall “game”, I don’t plan on changing much. I’m just going to be me, the best version of me, and trust that doing so will lead me to a great guy. Still, I’d love to be the guy that’s flirted with and who is found desirable and dateable. I seem to just be the guy who’s good for a witty or supportive chat. Not too worried, I’m just aware that I’m giving off something that makes guys read: “friend”. 


I’ll admit, through the sheer hell and pain of the past 2 weeks, I’ve turned to prayer more than I usually do. Typical, isn’t it? When things go well, we forget to pray and say thanks. But when something goes wrong, we look upward and ask “Why me?!”

Through the most stressful, scary or hopeless moments of the past 2 weeks, I’ve wondered where God is and if He’s listening to me. If so, why is he allowing me to feel so much pain for so long? I know, sounds dramatic. But yeah, I began to doubt. Anyway, I have felt peace and comfort. I have felt his loving influence for me personally, even if this physical condition wasn’t taken away immediately.

Some people have misconceptions about gay guys in the church. I still have faith, I believe in Jesus Christ, I believe that through Him, I can be forgiven and return to God. I check in with Heavenly Father and constantly have Him and what He wants for me on my mind. Constantly. No really, guys. CONSTANTLY. I feel peace. I think that some of my family and friends would like me to report that I feel major discord in my relationship with God as I set about dating men. But I don’t. If anything, I feel His love in greater abundance.

I constantly measure what I need versus what others need from me when it comes to religion and God. For now, I don’t feel a need to leave the LDS church. I don’t want to leave. At the same time, I don’t participate as fully as I once did. I used to stress out about that and think how disappointed God must be in me for not being more involved. But I’ve calmed down and refuse to feel that much stress about it anymore. I’m just doing the best I can and keeping an open mind and heart, and I think that’s good enough for God, even if it’s not enough for others. 

As full as my emotional plate has been in January and February, I feel good. I feel a sense of peace and calm. My problems are mine, and I own them. They’re not greater or lesser than yours, they’re just different. I’m inclined to think that the rest of 2016 must be better than the start of the year, but even if it isn’t, I’m prepared to face it head on.

The job hunt will work out. Relationships with family members will strengthen. My feet will heal. My weekends will be more exciting. I’ll find someone who wants more than friendship. I’ll handle any challenge with God on my side. I'm winning the war by winning one battle at a time. Maybe by my next post, I'll be back to saying "I'm great!" For now, I feel a tremendous sense of victory by being able to look back at the past 2 months and declare: "I’m okay."


  1. Disappointed with the supposed "loving" family member who called you out to repentance. Sorry to swear but I call bullshit. If the tables were turned, I highly doubt this person would choose loneliness and celibacy or a life condemned to someone you'll never be attracted to or be able to truly love in every sense of the word. Shame on them. I call them to repentance for acting like they are as powerful as God and have the right to pass such judgment. Frankly, it's none of their damn business what happens in your bedroom.

    I applaud you for keeping your personal relationship with God because that is what truly matters. You are a wonderful, kind, generous and exceptional human being. God would never deny heavenly membership to someone like you who has lived so faithfully and true.

    You do you Nate. You're on the right track and sometimes you just gotta' stop worrying about what ignorant, Judgy McJudgerson family members say or think about your life.

    I'm the HR Director for my company. Get me your resume and I'll see if we might have a good fit for you. IM me on Facebook and I'll send you my work email.

    You gonna' be OK son! Hang in there. What you are doing IS helping people going through similar painful experiences...the ones trying to reconcile who they are and how they feel about a church they love but doesn't love them back. I bet you've given a lot of hope to people considering suicide as the only way to deal with their sexually and their religion. There's hope and you're living, breathing proof!

    1. Sorry for the delayed reply. Not sure who this is, but I sure appreciate your support. Let me know who you are and I'll get you my resume. ☺️

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Now I am listening to Elder Christofferson from the same conference. Is relevant.

  4. I don't think my earlier comment made it, so my posted comment is going to be confusing. I feel for you, Nate. Things are going to be okay, because you are great! I, like you have some similar - and some different - adversities. My wife suggested that I listen to Elder Eyring and his talk in the April 2009 conference. I just listened to it and it helps me. Maybe it will help you too.

    I am see lots of jobs that you are very qualified for, while I also search for my next job. Let me know if I can help you in any way.

    Now my 9:27 post might make more sense.

    1. Mike! Great to hear from you. Thanks for checking in. I just saw your LinkedIn message the other day and will reply separately. I'll check out that Eyring talk, thanks. Hope you're doing great post HopRocket life. I know I am. :)

  5. I perfectly understand what you are facing. I am double digits on the years of unemployment. My family is supportive, from afar, but day in and out, I am alone. I am handling my health as a new diabetic as well as I can. Loneliness, I understand perfectly, and my prayers are only answered with the reminder to worry about loving others more than worry about being loved. I'm sorry you're having a hard time. If massage therapy can help you at all, I offer my service. It certainly helped me with my physical damage following the skeletal and nervous trauma.You are not alone. Some of us are walking your exact path. As for the church, I only feel peace. Christ is at the helm. Pray for faith to keep holding on.

    1. Not sure who this is, but thanks for relating with me and offering encouragement. I have a masseur already, but hey, let me know who you are. I'm always up for a great massage.

  6. I perfectly understand what you are facing. I am double digits on the years of unemployment. My family is supportive, from afar, but day in and out, I am alone. I am handling my health as a new diabetic as well as I can. Loneliness, I understand perfectly, and my prayers are only answered with the reminder to worry about loving others more than worry about being loved. I'm sorry you're having a hard time. If massage therapy can help you at all, I offer my service. It certainly helped me with my physical damage following the skeletal and nervous trauma.You are not alone. Some of us are walking your exact path. As for the church, I only feel peace. Christ is at the helm. Pray for faith to keep holding on.

  7. I'm glad to have these updates from you. I hope things start to improve, and I'm glad you're ok despite not being ok.

  8. I'm glad to have these updates from you. I hope things start to improve, and I'm glad you're ok despite not being ok.

    1. Thanks, lady. We need another random sighting. Always good to see you and connect.

  9. Hey Nate. Like I always tell people, I'm in great shape for the shape I'm in. As we have discussed before, we all have things in our lives that challenge us. I cannot judge another, because I know that I walk imperfectly. In everyone's heart is hidden sorrow that the eye can't see. You are on the path to learn that forgiving yourself and others brings great peace. Hang in there. KGoodrich

    1. Thanks, Bishop! Excited for your new opportunity. Hit me up next time you're in Utah.

  10. It ain't cool when life sends you many obstacles at once. But, as you suggest, life moves on and issues blow over, everything get's better.

    Thanks for everything, Nate. I'm happy to know of your peace, absolutely love our friendship, and am grateful for who you are, in every sense of the word.

    1. We've spoken many times since you posted this. Just wanted to reply and say that I love our friendship as well. You'll always be a favorite and I appreciate you and Michelle more than you know.

  11. Your blog post reminds me that we all have challenges and struggles that we deal with, often alone or silently, unbeknownst to others. It's so brave of you to speak so openly. I say that because I am a very private individual and protective of myself from vulnerabilities. Some might say I'm cold, insensitive or closed-off, but I feel very deeply and I drive myself crazy with analytical thought. My point is, thank you for being a person willing to share. That's what makes you amazing to me.

    1. You're warm, compassionate, open and kindhearted. I'm so glad we connected and have become friends, in and out of UCA. Love you, friend.