Thursday, December 2, 2010

That Which Murmurs Deep Within ~ Leaves from My Journal

The other day, I was preparing to return some pages from my missionary journal to the binder where they usually reside, when my eye fell upon a journal entry written while I was in the last area of my mission.  I was somewhat surprised by what I read. 

As I have written here, I faced many trials in this last area – not with my homosexuality so much as frustration with mission life, with rules and regulations, and with sometimes maddeningly narrow-minded attitudes of fellow missionaries.  I was questioning my desire to stay active in the Church when I got home and was re-evaluating many things about myself that I had shoved into a closet (not the gay one, a different one) when I joined the Church.

It was during the height (or rather depth) of this period that I wrote the following:

“This time which Heavenly Father has given us on this earth is so short, so precious.  I rebel against all efforts to negate it, to minimize its importance, to abort our experiences, our search.  I resist efforts to categorize, to methodize, to “planify”; in short to reduce this glorious learning experience called life to a psychological learning experience of instant rewards and gratification.  … So many LDS seem to regard the Gospel as so much of a Pavlov system of rewards and punishments.  Motivation comes in this case as a salivating dog seeks his treat.  Argh!  Away with such behavior!  We are not Pavlov’s dogs!  We are human beings, placed here by our Celestial Father in order to grow and gain experience ...

“I see now how the Gospel was used by me as a badly-needed crutch when I first joined the Church.  I needed the moral code [euphemistic reference to homosexuality], granted, but the Church offered me something I had been looking for, i.e., someone to tell me what to do in my life.  [Existential admission: Mea wimpo.]   

“I am now ready to seek a more mature relationship with God.  I feel its presence, this relationship, there in the fog.  After having wandered in the night for awhile, the dawn is finally breaking.  I can make out forms and images in the mist but they are still indiscernible.  The light of personal awareness must burn these mists away until I can make my way towards those objects which are near to me.  Perhaps it will be some time yet before the morning sun burns off all the fog, allowing me a clear perspective.  Until that time, I shall enjoy the beauty of this autumn morning of my human experience and glory in the scenery around me with its haunting effects of light and dark, fact and fantasy, phantom and form, ever thankful for the opportunity to be here.”

I then wrote the following poem [I am “David” - name changed to protect the closeted]:

David, O David ~ A Meditation

Oh, David, there is a David,
For I knew him long ago.
In another world we walked and talked
Of things you no longer know.

You often asked me what I thought
And tried to be like me.
So much so, that when I left,
You cried out, ‘Take me!’

But I told you, ‘It’s not your time,
Wait and you will see.
I’ll come back and be with you,
But first I’m going to set men free.

As so I went and lived my life.
It was all I said it’d be.
Then I returned to teach you again,
To prepare you for eternity.

David, dear David,
The memories no longer abide
Of how we talked and how we laughed
And of the love we shared inside.

Now you’re there upon the earth
And your past calls unto you.
All you have to do is follow
And you’ll see my face anew …

Yes, I am alive my friend
And there to give you direction
When your spirit reaches out
In search of vital recognition.

Search and listen, my worthy friend,
For that which murmurs deep within.
For this is why you’re here on earth,
And this is where you must begin.

I myself grew line upon line,
I told you before you came.
For I had to find my self divine,
And this is how I overcame.

Now, listen to me as you did before
And let our love grow deeper, friend;
For I have many more things to teach you
When your journey here comes to an end.

When I read what I had written in my journal, I felt a sorrow in my heart, for that young man that wrote this was left behind when I went home from my mission.  After wrestling with what I knew and understood about my sexuality and what the Church taught about the attractions I felt as well as about marriage and family, I made the decision to get married. 

But, as I have written elsewhere, this was more than a decision to get married; it was a decision to leave that part of myself that had started to emerge toward the end of my mission, that self that wrote what I’ve just quoted, entombed deep within me; for he never would have consented to walk the path of soul-numbing conformity and repression that lay before me.  The poet that wrote the above never again, until recently, graced the pages of my journal.

Welcome back, David.

Search and listen
For that which murmurs deep within.
For this is why you’re here on earth,
And this is where you must begin.



  1. Oh the struggle between living the life of the obedient, good boy, in hopes of being rewarded with the "treat" in the end, verses being the best boy that I can be because I can be for the sake of being.

    I've lived too long seeking the reward like an excited puppy. It's like getting the "A" instead of really learning anything. I'm trying to change that mentality. So how do you do that? Can you help me to know how to live the better life with a more mature relationship with God?

    Or is it simply the funk of a missionary conflicted by the realities he's about the face in a real life before him, an ideal that is imagined but never realized?

  2. OMG - I just realized that I left off the ending of the post. So everything that is below the last picture was supposed to be there, but wasn't. These added thoughts will address some of the questions you posed, Beck.