I found a picture of mine when I was 21 years old. That was so long ago. Three decades, in fact. Although, my heart and my soul does not feel so much distance from that young man, my life experience is eons apart from him.
That young man had no idea what lay ahead of him when that picture was taken. The life that would unfold was something he would not have imagined.
That picture was taken after serving a two year Mormon Mission. I was back home in Guam visiting my Catholic family after being away from them since I was 17 years old. At that time, I last saw them when I went away to Brigham Young University to pursue a college degree. I took a break from college at 19 years old to serve my two year Mormon mission. I left directly from Provo, Utah to the Tennessee Nashville Mission. I remember those two years as some of the best experiences of my life. There is something about service that enlarges a person’s life. It did mine.
He did not know that a little over a year from when that picture was taken he would be married to this beautiful blond haired Italian American girl that he would meet at BYU. He would not believe that about a little over two years from that photo , he will hold in his arms a beautiful daughter and he would be a father.
Even though he had struggle with same sex attraction all his life but never really acted on them, he trusted his church leaders and threw himself into his faith and his family. He believed that he would overcome his “sinfulness” with the help of God.
Little did he know that about a year later from his daughter’s birth, his father would pass away. That would set off a series of events that would cause him and his small family to move back to Guam and break his college education. He welcomed 3 more children. He became heavily active in the Church and in the community.
After a few years, he will return to BYU to finish his degree and to finally seek counseling that would lead to his coming out. At that point, a painful , heart breaking process as his marriage dissolves at a time of no support or real knowledge to handle situations like gay men and their families as they come out.
In his 30’s he will go to the process of being abruptly introduced into the gay world. He will have two live in boy friends. One of them will last 11 years. He will know through that experience what true love and what true heartbreak is in life.
Now , later in his life he finds himself happy. He is me. I am not 21 and I am glad for that. I look forward to find love again. I am glad for life’s journey and look forward to the surprises ahead because from experience , life is full of all kinds of it.
- ‘Idol’ runner-up Archuleta to start Mormon mission (pbpulse.com)
- WATCH: David Archuleta Cuts His Hair for Mormon Mission (huffingtonpost.com)
- Hicks: ‘American Idol’ star David Archuleta headed on a Mormon mission to South America (mercurynews.com)
- BYU student killed in climbing accident at Stewart Falls (fox13now.com)
- With or without Romney, D.C. a surprising Mormon stronghold (religion.blogs.cnn.com)
- Why So Many Good Business Leaders Are Mormons (businessinsider.com)
- More on Romney’s not-so-impoverished Mormon mission in France (americablog.com)
- BYU working toward getting Brandon Davies back (cbsnews.com)
- Tabernacle excavation reconnects Provo with pioneer history ()
- Man accused in BYU student sex, extortion case (abc4.com)