My introduction (warning, adult concepts concerning gender)


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My introduction with a warning - some adult concepts below.

I am a convert to the church of 10 years. Before I joined, I had plans to change my sex having never felt right as my birth gender, but during the process of making such a weighty decision, I was introduced to the church and gained a testimony of it. I learned that I had a spiritual gender and certain roles and responsibilities involved with it.

I remained faithful and worked to overcome my cross gendered feelings that plagued my life until ultimately they proved to be too much for me. I left the church to continue with the process of transition.

Despite my successful transition, I could not forget the testimony I had of the church and the potential greater blessings in store for me if I followed the church 100% even if doing so potentially meant depression and heartache during this life. Also, the thought of one day being married and not being able to be sealed to my spouse or children really bothered me. So in a desperate prayer for direction, Heavenly Father revealed to me that if I returned to the church, the road back would be paved for me.

I acted on this faith, returned to the church and my former life, and despite extreme physical changes, over the next year was able to reverse or minimize many of them so much so that I was able to eventually go to the temple and take out my endowments.

I realized over the years that my gender issues were not in fact that I needed to change my sex, but that I was incredibly unhappy with the social aspects of my gender, and that if I had changed my sex, I would have dealt with the same issues, but in reverse. I have a very hard time with social gender rules and roles.

This, as you can imagine, makes being a member of the church difficult at times considering the church's strong views on sex roles and expectations. I do my best to play the part I'm assigned, but I feel like I'm acting just to get by and not stir up controversy, when in fact at times I'm screaming inside wishing I could be seen as something other than my birth sex. It gets tough being defined by it especially when you don't even think you are it.

NOTE: I've intentionally not revealed my sex because I don't want your advice or opinion to change because of whom you are talking to. I chose 'male' on my profile because it is the normative default sex for English language.

Well I've gotten a bit too heavily into my issues which I can discuss more later. Suffice it to say for this intro thread, I do have a testimony of this church, of this Gospel, and of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I believe that my issues in this life are given to me by God for my betterment and that through faith they can be overcome if it be His will that I do so.

I am have come to this forum because I need someone to talk to. I don't feel like I have anyone to talk to in my ward. I feel that talking about things like this to other members in person would only be a bother to them and make them uncomfortable, but I need people in the church to talk to even if my situation is an alien one.

I've added a more detailed bio here:

Edited by interalia
To add the fact I included a more detailed bio.
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Welcome! Here you will find many warm and understanding people who have been through extreme challenges of their own and others who are yet enduring their challenges. Whatever path we're on, we truly have a friendship here and extend it to you as well. I'm sure many of us here will benefit from your experience and become stronger in faith for it. Best wishes.

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Welcome to the boards. It's hard for most of us to completely understand what you have gone through and are going through. Jesus Christ understands. I hope you will lean on Him and seek to strengthen your relationship with Him. He can give you peace, direction and understanding.

Nobody here goes through life without weakness and struggles. Christ took the burden of all of that upon his shoulders. One Apostle (Maxwell) described it as "enormity times infinity" and I think that is an apt description. He took these things upon Himself so that He could understand, experientially, our pain and questions, the effects of the Fall, all of it. Not just understand it, but have the ability to help us endure it and learn from it.

Edited by pam
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Wow! I am moved by all of the positive comments and support I have already received here. I really needed this, to be accepted unconditionally despite my unique challenges.

As far as showing compassion, let's just say I have interesting insight into the way both genders get abused by society as a whole and I want to try to change it. I guess you could call me a feminist and a masculinist(?). :D I love all people and just want to see them meet their potential as children of God and not be weighed down under cultural oppression.

For those who wondered, I do deal with SSA in that I know I can love a person of the same sex, however, I've been blessed to recognize that I can also love those of the opposite sex as well - so I have been extraordinarily blessed in that way and have such compassion for those who seem to not be able to do this!

I believe I will write out how I gained my testimony now as I'm feeling less inhibited. I'd like others to see why it has been strong enough to stop me from making choices that every fiber of my being says I should make!

I'll make the post somewhere appropriate on the site.

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I am a transgendered individual. I have feelings of incongruence between my body and my mind. My mind tells me that I am one sex, my body tells me otherwise. I have had these feelings since I was a child and they have only grown stronger and more distressing with time. This is the story of how I have dealt with those feelings and ridden what I call the gender pendulum.

My story is a multi-faceted tale. It is one that in order to completely tell would take volumes. One day, I will write those volumes, but for the purpose of you getting to know why I am riding the pendulum, you need only the gist.

So let me start my story at a time when my transgendered feelings were becoming unbearable, about the time I was making another huge shift in my life. I joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after studying it and other religions for about 3 years. I knew that my transgender feelings might be a barrier to me with the church, but it didn't change the fact that when I gained a testimony of the church that I believed it to be true - even if its views on my predicament were not the same as my own.

The church has specific doctrine related to gender. What you are physically is what you are spiritually with no deviation. I was setting myself up for a rough ride as embracing the church doctrine would mean that I was indeed a my birth sex and that my feelings could never be acted upon, but I believed the church was true and was willing to attempt to weather it.

So for the first year of my membership I continued to live as my assigned gender and dealt with my feelings of gender incongruency as best as I could. Having no intention to marry, I eventually decided I would like to try a mission and share the message I had been given. To go on a mission, I had to first pass a screen for mental health. Having kept my transgendered feelings a secret up to this point, I decided that it would be best to clear the air before my mission.

I met with the church leaders and they monitored me to see if I would be stable enough to serve a mission. Unfortunately, my feelings did not subside, and instead continued to grow. Believing there would be no hope of overcoming my feelings, I abandoned the pursuit of a mission, and shortly after decided to swing the pendulum of my gender believing that I could find the happiness I always wanted if I changed my sex.

With a heavy heart, I informed my local church leaders of my decision. Fortunately, they cared a great deal for me and showed me nothing but love. In the end, I received well wishes from them all with a special commitment by the stake president that if I ever needed anything, he could be called day or night. I was not disfellowshipped (disciplined by the church), but I knew that attending church during my swing would not be very popular and so I avoided it.

I started hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and in time had the first of my surgeries and changed my name. Due to persecution from former friends and seeing the pain I caused my family, I moved to a new state and started my new life. I immediately embraced my new life role as if putting on a comfortable shoe. I lived very happily in my new gender. I had no trouble passing (convincing others I was my new sex), had a job, went to college, and even dated successfully. I was so successful at my transition I couldn't wait to finish my sex-reassignment surgery (SRS) and become fully the sex I’ve always felt I was. But that was never to be.

My stake president from my former stake kept in touch with me writing me personal letters asking me how I was doing. His letters and my own conscience kept pricking my heart. Even though I had only been a member a year before I left the church, I was convinced the church was true. I believed this even though I knew the church would not support continuing my transition to the final stages. I wanted the blessings of the church in my life - specifically those involving an eternal family - something only offered in the temple. I started thinking about the fact that I wanted to marry one day (someone of my original birth sex) and have children. I wanted them to receive the temple blessings and for me to have a temple marriage to my spouse.

These thoughts brought me to great sadness though, because I knew if I continued my course, I would never be able to have these things, not as either sex. I wanted to hate the church; I wanted to abandon it, but I could not fight the feeling, the overwhelming feeling, that it was true. During my conversion I had been touched by the Holy Ghost and couldn't deny it. I actually cursed myself for having such a conversion and wished I had been ignorant to what I knew was true, but I knew that if I fully rejected it, it would be because I wanted to live my life out of harmony with accepted church doctrine, and not because I didn't believe it.

Despite this unhappiness with regard to my beliefs, during this time I was happier than I had ever been in my life. It was difficult to live like I was, but it was worth it. However, my feelings that I was doing something that might end in greater sadness continued to preoccupy my mind as I considered the future more and more.

So one night after meeting with a poor bewildered local church bishop about my concerns and condition, I decided to take the question again to the Lord. I prayed with great fervor to know what I should do, and the answer was the one answer I didn't want to hear, that I needed to once again ride the pendulum and return to my other sex. I arose from prayer with the Lord's final promise in my heart, "The way back is paved before you take the first step."

So with a heaviest of hearts I made the decision to abandon the new life I had lived for several years and looked forward to a life of uncertainty and potential misery. Going back would be at least as hard as going forward had been as the pendulum is not easy to push. I would have to repeat everything I had done the first time I pushed the pendulum. I had to give up my job, change my name, come out to my new friends, and my college. Worst of all, I would have to change my body back as best as I could and could only look forward to a life of a celibate person, because I didn't see how I could ever marry considering my past and feelings.

I found myself actually hoping that by some bizarre twist of fate God would end my life as some strange act of mercy. I had no idea how I would make it - the depression was going to kill me anyway.

Considering the difficulty involved in trying to transition in front of those I knew, I decided to move back to my home state to my family and old friends. There, I started reverse HRT and started the process of becoming who I once was. I also started the process to rejoin the church I was counting on to save me. I went before a disciplinary council of the church leaders. It was there that I felt the love of those around me. Even though they sat in judgment, I could feel their compassion for me. They explained to me all that I would have to do to return to the church and gave me access to advisors who would help me along my path.

Taking their advice and trying to recover something resembling my former life was difficult at first - mostly because of the tremendous change wrought upon my body. At best I looked like someone who was desperately attempting not to look like their sex and at worse, something in between. Overtime, however, I regained some of my original features and even had some help in developing some more gender appropriate mannerisms. I looked different than I had before (comparing my new self to before transition), but I eventually made it.

The Lord decided not to take my life as I had once hoped He would; instead I was given strength to counter my gender dysphoric feelings. They are very much still present, but more manageable, controllable and no longer consuming my life. I am in good standing in the church, have a temple recommend now, and even have a teaching calling.

Sometimes it is lonely. I do feel like an outsider, someone whose experiences are probably vastly different than those of others but I get by. Most who knew me before I returned to my former life do not acknowledge my continued struggle - perhaps because it is too painful or awkward, and I don't discuss it with them for the same reasons. I realize others will never understand. My ride along the pendulum is one undertaken by so few, and even fewer ride it as I have.

I am still looking for the proper balance. Sometimes I feel as if I've pushed the pendulum too far, that I am taking on too many gender-specific traits, and it causes me sorrow because I feel I am not being honest with those around me in my attempts to fit in. Some days are harder than others, with depression at times seeking to overwhelm me, but I feel as if I have the greatest ally I could possibly have. Nothing beats the hope generated when one has a sincere feeling of having done the right thing regardless of how painful it is.

As I said in the beginning, my story is a long one, but this is only the gist. This is an opportunity for you to see into my world and a way for me to feel a little less alone as I continue to find my balance on the gender pendulum.

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Thanks for trusting us with your story. I am really glad that you are finding acceptance from others here and from your local church leaders too. Your journey is not an easy one, but you have the attitude that will help you, since you are open and honest and willing to accept love from God and others. You deserve credit for your part in that too.

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I want to tell you that this is the first post that I've read in this site that has touched me so deeply that I was in tears by the time I was finished reading it.

You are an amazing person, thank you for sharing your story with us

I know that it took a lot of courage to do so.

Stay strong.

I will pray for you so that you can have the strength that you need every morning when you wake up to face another day.

Keep sharing your testimony with others and hold on to the iron rod.

Heavenly Father knows you and he loves you.


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You have my utmost respect and admiration. You must be an extraordinarily strong person to have been given these harrowing challenges, although I'm sure it doesn't always feel that way. Thank you for being so open and for sharing your story. You are an inspiration and proof of what can be endured if we put our faith in the Savior and in our Father's plan. Peace be unto you.

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I want to give thanks to everyone here who has been so supportive. To be honest, this was not what I really expected to find, but I am overjoyed that people here seem to care enough to read about my situation and are willing to pray for me. There are many answered prayers here.

Recently I've been struggling to great degree with my situation and I have been pleading with the Lord for some additional help - a shoulder to go to, someone that, even if they don't understand, won't dismiss me or tell me that my feelings aren't valid (that happens SO much). I've been getting tired of trying to bare all this on my own in this world.

You are right, I do not see myself as a strong person. I feel weak all the time, like any moment I could receive a decisive blow and crack. I feel only the grace of God and my testimony supporting me. I truly know that you cannot stand on another's testimony when the really hard stuff hits. Had I been relying on someone like my bishop or even the prophet's testimony, by this point, I'd be sunk.

I woke up this morning feeling very good about my future again. I felt like the Lord is watching out for me and that I can continue to work on my progression without so much of a worry about my eternal salvation. I felt for the first time in a while that I could start moving forward again knowing my house of faith isn't a house of cards.

I promise not to only post on gender related items, just right now that is in the forefront of my mind. I worry that avoiding discussing it will only intensify the derision, but by being open and laying it out there, perhaps I could feel free of the weight I feel so often I carry alone.

I think of the Savior and his Atonement and for some reason it is easy for me to conceive of him taking upon himself the pains wrought by loss, physical pain, death, etc because his Atonement seems so physical. It is much harder for me to see him take upon himself pain like mine: mental anguish. I know logically he must have, but I just have a hard time understanding it. I guess, due to years of... people and the harsh things they say, I often feel my struggles are not as valid as others and unworthy of the Savior's attention. I know it is dumb, but it really gets me at times.

I am beginning to feel the Savior's love for me again through you all, the answer to many prayers.

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Welcome to the site. You will find friends here. We all struggle with issues, and empathize with you in your struggles. Remember to look forward to the promised eternal blessings. I'd also recommend Elder Wirthlin's talk from this past General Conference, "Come What May, and Love It."

I just read the general conference talk. What inspiring and pertinent truths! Thank you very much for sharing. I always believed in the 'Law of Compensation', though more inductively, as I had never seen it written out by a servant of the Lord.

Satan tries to attack me by pointing out perceived flaws in the church (mostly stuff I still don't understand that I take very heavily on faith) and telling me that in the end it won't be true and my sacrifice will have been for nothing - just a wasted life of grief. I try not to let these thoughts take me, but it can be hard as most of the people I interact with (until this forum) are non-members who don't believe or sustain my testimony anyhow.

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