When I was fifteen year old, I found myself in a state of confusion and instability. With alcoholism and and drug abuse in my family, I found my teenage years very difficult at times. Along with this, I had to deal with the realization that I was gay. Between the turmoil at home and the homophobia at school, I felt very isolated and increasingly depressed.
At the time, though, I was fortunate to find a very kind and inviting group of friends. Though I wasn't yet able to tell them I was gay, I found in them the sense of belonging and happiness I was looking for. Like me, they were a little bit cut off from the rest of the world. Unlike me however, their isolation was not because of something born deep inside them, but because of their religion; my friends were LDS.
As time went, I began spending more and more time with them, becoming closer and closer, all while learning more and more about the church. As I spent time with them and their families, I came to see the Church as a surrogate family life, one with more stability and happiness than I found in my own home. As much as I loved and was close with my mother, problems with my step-father made me unhappy and uncomfortable at home. I retreated into the illusion of security I found with my LDS friends.
Eventually, I made the difficult decision to come out to my best friend. While he assured me I was still loved and still his friend, he made sure to let me know that my homosexuality was not right in the eyes of God, and that living that life would be a damning decision on my part. I was suddenly faced with a terrible dilemma: sacrifice the serenity of the new family I had found, or suppress a significant part of my identity. Needless to say, I chose the Church.
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