In 2000 I felt like my life was going out of control. While out of town I tried some cocaine. I did not do anything sexual on that trip but deep down I knew that the coke was an attempt to medicate terrible feelings of hating myself because I was gay. The next day I decided I needed some help and decided to talk to my bishop. He was a nice enough guy but within 15 minutes of sitting down to talk he had the Stake President on the phone and "the process" was started.
When I was X'd from the Church it was initially a very difficult time for me and my wife. I felt that I had let her down. In the long run it was probably harder on her than me. I had always been extremely faithful from a very young age so being on the outside was a shock for both of us. I had worked at the MTC after my mission, I'd been an Elder's Quroum President and served in a Bishopric.
Looking back, those years out of the Church were actually some of my happiest. I felt free to be myself and to just enjoy life.
It's curious to look back at how I was treated by Church leaders. They were always kind and I think they tried to be helpful. However, I don't think they really understood me. There were never any questions about the cocaine or any attempt to help me reconcile why I despised myself. Every focus was on my homosexual behavior and they made it definitely clear that I was the one who needed to change. During the disciplinary council some of the High Counselors looked at me like I had three heads and was from some alien planet. They asked some really weird questions that demonstrated to me they really could not relate to what I was saying. That was hard.
I wanted to change and spent many long hours in prayer fervently seeking to be changed.
Very early on after being X'd I felt like the Lord did not have anything against me and fully accepted me so I did not pray so much to be forgiven as to be changed. In the end His answer was no but I knew that he loved and accepted me. I felt that He wanted me in the Church and with my wife and family.
I honestly felt like God had forgiven me for whatever I might have done that was wrong and so getting re-baptized was mostly a matter of waiting for the right amount of time to pass. I had developed a close relationship with my Bishop while I was out of the Church. It was close in that I knew he loved me not because I felt that he accepted or understood my gayness. I told him I was on the "straight and narrow" and we never discussed if it was even possible for me to be completely straight. I asked him to re-baptize me. Just a few days before I was to be re-baptized I felt strongly that I should ask my father to do it. This was difficult because I had not even told him I had been X'd. I did not tell him why I was X'd and he did not ask but he did agree to perform the baptism. The re-baptism was a happy time for me and my family. Temple blessing were restored by my Stake President two years later.
The really hard times were just about to begin.........more to come