Soon after returning to BYU life, I met Rachel. We became fast friends and found that we could talk and talk for hours. We talked and joked about the little things, but also spent hours talking about our thoughts, our fears, our joys, our pains, and our hopes for the future. I knew Rachel was dealing with some demons, and I just wanted to support her and lift her up.
One Sunday morning Rachel called me and said that she'd been talking with her bishop, and there was something she needed to talk to me about. As I hung up the phone, I knew what she was coming to my apartment to say to me. I had never previously considered that Rachel felt more for me than friendship, but in that brief moment I knew that was the secret she was about to share with me. In the next moment I realized that even more surprisingly, I was okay with that. As we sat down on the couch together and she told me that she had romantic feelings for me, and that she struggled with something called "same sex attraction," I knew that the friendship I felt for her and the way I cared about her was unchanged.
Hearing the words "struggle" and "same sex attraction" sounded to my Mormon ears like a good, old-fashioned trial of faith. I knew that Rachel's heart was pure, and that she was so believing. Between her faith and efforts, and my faith, support, and prayers, I knew that this struggle could be overcome. We talked about this grand triumph for hours, and how happy I would be to sit on the front row of her temple marriage, seeing her kneeling across the altar from her future husband.
To be continued...