I wish I had known I was gay before my mission.
I think knowing would have changed a lot of things about my life. I don’t think I would have gone on a mission.
That’s not to say that I’m mad that I went. I’m so glad that I did. I learned so much about myself, about others, and about how much I love supporting other people. It has probably contributed more to where I’m at in my life (both positive and negative) than any other experience in my life.
But I still think I wouldn’t have gone if I had known I was gay beforehand.
I wouldn’t have cuddled with a companion. Or considered kissing one while wrestling. Or tried to hide a hard on in the MTC showers. I had my first real crush. Nothing serious enough to get me sent home ever happened, but there were a few close calls. I tried to shrug it off the same way a lot of missionaries did – saying that cuddling with a guy is the closest thing I will get to cuddling with a girl for two years. And I passed.
Four months before the end of my mission, I had an amazing companion. He had 6 weeks left, and we got along so well. We taught well together, we never fought, we had fun all the time. Nothing even remotely sexual ever happened with him. Really, like nothing at all. He finished his mission, I stayed in the area to finish mine with a new companion. And after he left, I lost my appetite. I had never missed someone like I missed him. I felt unmotivated, depressed, and tired. All I could do was think about him.
And that’s when I realized I was gay. It was easy for me to justify looking at hot guys and thinking about what it might be like to make out with them, but I had never felt such strong feelings for a real guy. I couldn’t reconcile my feelings for him alongside of my so-called heterosexuality.
I remember my prayers during the last few weeks of my mission.
Please take this away from me.
I don’t want to go to hell. I don’t want to experience this.
God, I think I might be a little bit attracted to guys.
Please turn me straight. I’ve done everything you’ve asked me to. Please change me.
God, I think I might be bisexual. But just a little bit.
Soon after that, I finished my mission and returned home, only occasionally thinking about that experience. I tucked it away in the back of my mind, only to think about it when things started getting serious with my girlfriend. And to occasionally mutter a prayer to keep me strong and make me straight.
I don’t know what would have been different if I had known before my mission. I think I would have stayed home, come out earlier, developed a normal dating life sooner than I did, and maybe I wouldn’t have bounced so far in the opposite direction as I did.