Sunday was one of those days that faithful Latter-day Saint families look forward to. Brother, sisters, aunts, and uncles gathered from across the state to hear one of their loved ones bear testimony of his faith prior to leaving all to serve as a missionary for two years.
I traveled the two hours with my brother and his young family to honor my nephew. I enjoyed spending time on the road with the family—especially as my youngest nephew showed unconditional love to his uncle. The three-year-old enthusiastically pointed out everything he saw from his car window and told me several times how happy he was to have me travel with them.
As we pulled into the church parking lot, my brother asked me to go ahead and save some seats for his family. They stayed behind to change a wet diaper and take care of other young-family situations. I found a half-empty row and sat next to a family I did not know. As the time the meeting to start drew closer, I became more anxious—my brother and his family still had not come in. The chapel slowly filled up with young families and couples taking the seats around me. Finally, a young couple sat in the seats I was hoping to save for my own family.
I sat alone as we sang the hymns and prayed. I watched the families around me as my nephew shared his stories about preparing to be a missionary. Couples held hands, rubbed each others’ shoulders, and cradled young children in their arms. I felt so alone, and I couldn’t help but wonder is this the cross I am called to bear for the rest of my life?
On the road trip back, I felt something tugging at my heart to share my stories. I am not sure if anything I will have to share will help others, but I have learned through past experiences that I need to follow these promptings. So, here I will start with my earliest memories of the loneliness many within the church feel when they have a secret they have tried to hide for most of their life.
I am changing names because I think over the span of my lifetime I believe many attitudes have changed. I don’t want to accuse people in the past who may have made mistakes of being horrible people. Hopefully, most will have learned and had a change of heart, and I don’t want to blame anyone for they way I or anyone else has turned out. Ultimately, we are all responsible for our own happiness in life. These are my stories, and I hope to help others—as well as myself—find peace through sharing them.