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  1. I'm 22. I graduated from college last spring with a double major in Environmental Studies and History, and I've been job searching ever since and living at home with my parents. Well, actually, I had a minimum-wage job with my state's Dept. of Natural Resources for a few months, but I finally decided that the horrible, uninteresting work and an hour's commute just weren't worth minimum wage, so I quit in October, and have been unemployed since then. I've applied for probably 200 jobs at this point, everything from jobs semi-related to my Environmental Studies major, like research assistant positions and internships, to completely unrelated jobs, like a flight attendant or administrative assistant. I've had a few phone interviews and one face-to-face interview for a flight attendant job, but nothing has come of them. I'm about ready to give up. I have been racking my brain trying to figure out what to do. My entire life is on hold because I literally can't do anything without money. In addition to the sea of job rejections that I've been plunged into, I've been struggling internally for years with my sexuality. It started when I was about 17. Before that, I guess I just assumed that I was straight. I was homeschooled throughout middle school and high school and grew up in a very Christian family, and I didn't have a lot of friends my age and didn't know any gay people, so I didn't even realize being gay was a thing. And I had a huge crush on a male celebrity as a young teenager, so I had no reason to think I was anything other than straight until I started noticing feelings for girls. It started when I was on Tumblr and came across this lesbian singer. I started watching all her videos, and before I knew it, realized that I had developed a big crush on her. Then I started developing really strong feelings for one of my (straight, female) friends freshman year of college, and that was when I knew it was more than just a short phase or admiration of a singer who happened to be gay; I WAS gay, or at least bisexual with a preference for women. Around age 15 or 16 (before I had any inkling that I might be gay) I had started to explore the LDS church. Even though I had grown up in a Protestant Christian environment, I met someone who was Mormon, which had led me to google the church, and something about it attracted me and made me want to know more about it. I didn't tell my parents, of course, because they would've gotten upset, and I never actually went to any LDS church services because I couldn't have done so on my own without them knowing, but I started reading the Book of Mormon online and thought that once I moved out of my parents' house, then I'd start to attend an LDS church. Well, fast-forward to 2012 - I had just realized that I really was something other than straight, and at first it terrified me. As I started to accept it, I also started to leave religion (of any form) by the wayside and follow my own path. I never really rebelled (I didn't even date women because I didn't know how to meet them), and I never drank except for the occasional few glasses of wine on the weekends with a friend. I just stopped considering myself a Christian because it was easier, and I knew that there was no place for me as a non-straight person in most Christian churches. Now I'm 22, and I've still never been in a relationship with anyone (male or female). Up until a few days ago still gave no thought to God or religion. I went back to the place where I lived as a teenager, back when I first started to explore the LDS church and before everything became so complicated and confusing and I didn't know where to turn. It changed something in me somehow. I started wondering if living life on my own without God was a good plan. I only gave up on Him because I thought I had no other option if I was attracted to women; I thought my options were to either live my life alone and try to maintain my relationship with God, or set off on my own in order to maybe one day fall in love. But I've been single, alone, AND isolated from God, and it's taken its toll on me. Something has to change, and I don't think that pursuing a relationship with a woman is the best solution. The thing is, it's not that I can't see myself falling in love with a man. I can. (In fact, I thought I really was in love with that male celebrity when I was 15!) It's just that I'm not physically attracted to men in general. I can certainly appreciate a handsome face and pretty eyes and a kind smile, it's just that the thought of a sexual relationship with a man is unnerving and gross to me because I don't see men that way. I didn't have any bad experiences with men in the past or anything; I just am not attracted. I feel like if I could be in a romantic but non-sexual relationship with a man, I'd probably be just fine. It's just that the odds of that happening seem to be slim and none. I guess the reason why I posted this was 1. so I could vent all of my feelings and frustrations to people who might understand and 2. to ask for advice on what I should do. My unemployment, separation from God, and lack of any purpose in life has taken a huge toll on me, and I don't know where to turn. If it weren't for the issue with my sexuality, I would jump wholeheartedly back into my relationship with God and going to church, but I'm not 100% sure that I'm okay with being single for life, and the chances of finding a man to be with on my own terms are dismal, especially when a lot of people my age are already in serious relationships or even married. But I can't continue to try to make it on my own without any sense of guidance, and deep down I know that only God can help me to figure out life. Any suggestions for what to do in my situation? I realize that even if I do start to rebuild my relationship with God, it won't be easy, and I'll still face the same issues of unemployment and struggling with sexuality, it's just that I feel like at least I won't be alone in the struggle.
  2. Hello all! I've posted here a few times about my journey possibly converting from Catholicism to LDS. I've been studying with the missionaries, attending church and ward events, and praying. A lot. I still have many roadblocks to baptism, but one issue I'm worried about is a seeming reluctance to intellectual query within the church. As a Catholic, we are encouraged to dig, to challenge, to seek answers, and faith is a lifelong process. I know this is an old quote, but I recently read that BoydPacker stated that "the three greatest threats to the church were homosexuals, feminists and intellectuals." Ouch. So there it is. It might be telling to say that one of my favorite public Mormons is Joanna Brooks. I can't find anything by her held by Deseret Book, and I wonder if that says something? In your experience, is this reluctance to admit intellectualism among ward members typical? Do you see it changing anytime soon? While I love so much about the LDS church, this scares me a little. There are so many who have been excommunicated for their thoughts and open speech that it seems a bit draconian to me. So I'm hesitating furthering any talk of baptism with the missionaries until I feel that new voices and perspectives are welcome.