By Bryan Hendrickson
When it comes to “same sex attractions”, for me, this is not about physical appetites, this is about my capacity to love. This about the hopes and dreams every married couple holds. And, for me, its about the family I hope to have someday.
I did not know what love was until I embraced this God given part of who I am and allowed myself to love in a way he must have intended for me. I don’t see how that love is contrary to God’s plan, and I don’t see how in the eternities it will fail.
I do not feel like my attractions are something I have to endure throughout this mortal life. The cross I feel I have to bear is that this beautiful, potentially divine part of who I am is reviled and scorned by everyone I care about, and, every day, I have to fight not to believe them. Despite presenting my soul to the Lord and seeking out a path before him I feel is best for me, I am constantly bombarded by well intended people that assume they are in the position of being “right”, correcting or attempting to educate me, without pausing to recognize how intensely I have sought out the “right” choice for me.
I respect that some of us choose a path that places the potential for a loving committed relationship on the alter and sacrifices it for a celibate life. Yes, that is an incredible expression of faith. I don’t feel that is what God has asked of me. That being said, I will support anyone who has that wish and I will fight for their right to pursue the path that they feel is theirs before the Lord. As it is now, however, those that walk that path enjoy most of the blessings of the Church, while I am considered a leper. I can look people in the eye and tell them I have wanted to die over this, trying to explain what a journey and process this has been, but too easily, they can still assume that since they are following “the Gospel” my pain means nothing, or is my own fault.
I believe that love is the only thing we have that we know will transcend this life. From what I have felt, this is the way he intends for me to understand this essential part of the divine. I don’t agree that my capacity to love is any less than that God gives to other men for women or women for men. I don’t believe we have a final answer from God on any of this, and I won’t believe it until the body of Saints has truly found enough love in their heart to embrace me and others with this experience. I find it difficult to imagine that until we find that love, we can know the truth or truly understand God’s will.
Bryan Hendrickson is the co-chair of Arizona LDS LGBT/SSA (www.ALLarizona.org) and the coordinator of the Phoenix Mormon LGBT/SGA Friends & Family group. Growing up, his family lived in California, Arizona, and Tokyo, Japan. He attended college at BYU, graduate school at ASU, and served in the Japan Kobe Mission. He is currently training to become a physician at The University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix and resides in Gilbert, AZ.