That wedding was 1997. I wanted to cover my family in one section. Now, back to 1985. I took a new job and moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles in August 1984, during the Summer Olympics. During the period from 1984-1985, a lot happened. First, I left my roommate behind in San Francisco because it just wasn’t working out. I got tired of scraping him off the street after another drunken motorcycle accident, him sleeping with everybody under the sun, and the occasional physical abuse.
I decided that I would live alone in LA for awhile and just sort things out. I got interested in religion again. There were a lot of religious radio stations in Los Angeles, and it was something to listen to in the car while stuck in the endless traffic. I was particularly attracted to what you might call Christian rock and electronic music, and the preachers who, rather that rant and scream, delved deeply into Biblical passages. It got me studying the Bible again. I bought a dictionary of Greek words from the New Testament, so I could study the words in their original meanings. I learned that over the years, the sectarians had taken nearly every critical word in the Bible and changed its meaning. I discovered that if you take the words back to their original meanings, the Bible teaches a completely different doctrine than what you hear from the religions of the day. It fact, it is much closer to the teachings of Joseph Smith.
This didn’t stop me from dating. I went to a lot of different bars all over LA. There are several gay districts, as there are in San Francisco, each with their own character. West Hollywood is home to all the pretty boys who came to Hollywood in search of a career. Everybody is model-perfect and very stuck up. In the San Fernando Valley, where I lived, the people were much more open, real, and friendlier. I quickly made friends, and despite my intention of living alone and sorting things out, I found myself in another relationship. This one was shorter and a lot more violent. This guy threatened everybody who didn’t do what he wanted with a gun. After a couple of months, he quit his job and expected me to support him. One day I came home from work to eat lunch and found him gone and all my valuables cleaned out. For months after that, I received letters for him, and bills and letters demanding money coming from all over the country. From the best I can tell, he left LA and headed east. Last I heard, he was somewhere in Texas.
At this same time, I was heavily into working out and fitness. We lived next to a big hike and bike trail and I bought a pair of roller skates. My whole fitness adventure came crashing down one day when I fell down and shattered my left wrist.
This was a real down point in my life. I had just been robbed; a relationship had failed miserably; and I had just broken my wrist. To make matter worse, I sensed that something illegal was going on at work. I remember laying on my bed and praying to God. I basically said:
“I have made such a mess of my life trying to do things on my own, and living my life for myself, I am going to, from now on, I am going to dedicate my life to you and your service. I’m not asking you to take over my life and make decisions for me, but I, here and now, make a covenant to dedicate my life to your service. I’ll go where you want me to go. I’ll say what you want me to say. I’ll do what you want me to do. I’ll see what you want me to see.”
I opened up and made myself completely vulnerable and pliable in the Lord’s hands, come what may. I was ready to make that kind of commitment.
Then, in the coming months, things started unfolding. I got laid off from work because I was complaining too much. I later found out that I was working, not for a software company, but a giant international money laundering operation. I got out just in time. They gave me a very generous severance and sent me on my way. Immediately, I was contacted by another former employee who wanted to go into business developing software. We have a fairly successful business creating what is now called GPS software, like Garmin and Tom Tom. We were one of the early pioneers in the business. With our product, you could use a touch screen to get detailed driving directions from any address in the US or Canada to any other address or point of interest. We later went out of business and sold the company, but we had a good run while it lasted.
I was also receiving a great deal of inspiration and spiritual guidance. I wanted my wrist to heal up, and once, while attending a prayer service at one of the local gay churches, I was standing in a circle, praying for a healing for my wrist. I felt a surge of the Spirit in my wrist, a sense of warmth and high vibration, and I heard my bones literally go “crack” and “crunch”. And I knew my wrist had been healed, and I praised God. I visited my orthopedic surgeon for a follow-up visit a week later, and he said it was completely healed, and then proceeded to congratulate himself and tell me what a great doctor he was. I’m sure he was a great doctor, but there were other forces at work here, as well. Lesson learned: You don’t have to be a church member to exercise your priesthood. You don’t have to have a companion or follow a set procedure. You don’t even need oil. These are nice, but not necessary.
I joined the local Affirmation chapter. It was a group of gay Mormons and ex-Mormons, meeting together in a social setting. Many of them were closeted and afraid to give their real names for fear of being excommunicated. The church is known for sending out spies to infiltrate organizations such as this and get names to turn in for future excommunications, witch hunt style. How do I know this? I knew a man who worked for the church to infiltrate polygamous, fundamentalist groups in Salt Lake City. We started a little group of gay Mormons, ourselves, and we soon found ourselves with “suspicious” peopled snooping around in our Sunday meetings. They would come and pretend interest, ask a lot of questions, then leave, never to be seen again.