In my personal life, I longed for the spiritual companionship of the Lord, but I also longed for the physical and emotional contact with somebody I could, as Joseph Smith put it, “it is pleasing for friends to lie down together, locked in the arms of love, to sleep and wake in each other’s embrace and renew their conversation.” This is what I wanted with all my heart.
There are many people today who claim to speak for God, or claim to possess an uncanny knowledge of the intentions and inner mind of God when He caused the scriptures to be written thousands of years ago. Most Mormons do not even read these scriptures, much less study the written words of their leaders, but persist in passing around speculation, gossip, and rumors in Sunday School class — fables that pass for doctrine because “everybody know that” such and such is true. As I said earlier, I’m not a believer. I’m a knower. I want to know for myself, and if there is anything that God thinks I am entitled to know, I will take him at his word and ask. The Restoration scriptures are full of scriptures that contain the promises of God to bless us with knowledge, even the deep mysteries of God, when we prepare ourselves to receive them.
Not content with taking anybody else’s word for it, and realizing that everybody had presumed to know how God felt about homosexuality, but never bothered to ask. I decided to ask. To give you a quick summary of what I received, I learned that when it comes to sexual relations, God is no respecter of persons. The same rules about adultery and fornication apply to everybody, regardless of sexual orientation. To God, it is irrelevant and immaterial whether the couple is same-sex or opposite-sex. Cheating is cheating. Sex is deep and intimate communication that takes place on many levels, and it can destroy a couple or friendship, or it can create a bond that must be preserved in a relationship that is secured by a deep interpersonal covenant, made in connection with the Holy Ghost.
It’s OK to be gay, but, you must be responsible; you must make sacred covenants; and you must live by them. And, now that same-sex marriage is legal in many states, that couple must make a legal commitment. If the LDS church could just make the policy change that recognizes legal same-sex marriages and discourages adultery and infidelity of any kind, they would come much closer to being in step with society, not to mention getting in step with the revealed word of God to me and the prophets of other Restoration churches.
With this new knowledge, I changed my behavior immediately. A couple of months later, I received a revelation that God had somebody especially prepared for me to come into my life. He would be somebody I never considered or expected, but he would come into my life and we would be a blessing to each other. I waited.
Our little study group started moving in a direction that I thought was wrong. They wanted to start accepting tax-free donations, so they incorporated as a church in California, and suddenly the state was our silent partner in running everything. We also set up legal church with a First Presidency and created impersonal branches to replace the warm and welcoming families. We were warned in a revelation to the Presiding High Priest that we had “followed the arm of flesh” in doing so, but he persisted in this course anyway. Instead of a Priesthood group that was open to all, and guided by constant ongoing revelation, the group was degenerating into a “gay Mormon church”. The members demanded manuals and guidelines instead of revelation. I wanted to teach the principles of revelation to all the members, but was forbidden by the president to do so.
I was on the verge of leaving the group. We began in August 1985, and it was now October 1986. We were going to have a missionary meeting on a Saturday, but I wasn’t sure if I was going to participate or ever return to the organization again.
However, all that week I had a different dream each night. I dreamt about missing a plane. Then I dreamt about missing an elevator. Finally I dreamt about missing the proverbial boat. I took this as a message and decided to attend the Saturday meeting. Just as I showed up and began to walk up the sidewalk to the porch of the private home where we were to meet, Thom, who was as the meeting, decided to come out on the porch to get a breath of fresh air. He saw me coming, and he said time stood still for him. I came up and gave him a hug, the same as I would do for anybody in the group. But, this time, I especially wanted him to feel all the love of God in that hug. Later on, he says that he felt it was God hugging him, and he never felt safer in anybody’s arms.
Throughout the meeting, we kept looking across the room at each other. It was getting embarrassing because other people started to notice, and I tried not to look at the most beautiful face I have even seen in my life.
Thom had been staying with some church members all that week, but nobody told him about me and nobody told me about him. We started talking a couple of days later, and it was literally love at first sight. The song “Some Enchanted Evening” doesn’t do justice to how we both felt. In fact, all the love songs started making sense to me.
It turns out he was the son of a Mormon bishop. He had been staying in town with church members for a couple of weeks. Like me, he also had a very tough birth and was born premature. He was handicapped with cerebral palsy. It only affected how he walked. He was so intelligent he got accepted into Stanford right out of high school, and so good looking that a model agency wanted him to come work for them. But, he gave all that up to serve a mission because he wanted to please an ungrateful and abusive father.
I still wonder whether you can tell children who are gay at an early age, but I have seen early pictures of Thom. I didn’t have any trouble picking him out from his brothers and sisters. He was the brightest, the happiest, with the biggest smile, and a certain sparkle about him that the others lacked. I know that sounds clichéd, but there really was something special about him. I wanted to know him, even as a child. We moved in together as soon as we could find a place. But, before that, I didn’t want him to feel stuck in any situation and not able to get out of it, so on our first date, I went to the ATM and gave him some money right on the spot. No questions asked. When we moved in, we decided not to have sex until we held a commitment ceremony at the church. It was difficult holding off about three weeks, but we made it. Nobody believed us, but we made it. The first night we slept in bed together in our new apartment, we each had the same dream. I dreamt that we were sitting beside each other, and a man facing opposite us was showing us a big album of our life together, slowing turning page by page. Next morning, I told Thom about the dream, and he said he had the exact same dream.
As the years went by, we found we had a lot in common. He was handicapped. I was a little handicapped. From the moment I met him, I just knew exactly how he wanted to be treated. No sympathy. No coddling. No special treatment. If he falls down, he doesn’t want any help getting up. Eventually, he threw out his braces and doesn’t need them any more. I call that a miracle. Just recently, I remembered the children’s hospital and my prayer for the “poor little crippled boys and girls”. Without knowing or realizing it, I was praying for him.