"I think a post on fellow-shipping members with SSA would be great. When I look around my family ward and think who I should reach out to, it is usually people in my same circumstance in life. So, in my case, I know how to befriend and serve young couples, young mothers, etc. So, if you were in my ward, how could I fellowship you? Should I encourage my husband to befriend you, befriend you myself, ask you to join our family for FHE or a dinner? Do you want to hold my baby? Do you want me to set you up with my single friends? What would make you feel most welcome at church from married couples?"

"I just learned that my friend's daughter is lesbian. What can I say to her if she wonders about how her daughter will be accepted in Church?"

I might be in your ward. And even if I'm not, two or three of my brothers or sisters probably are. I can't tell you exactly how to best fellowship every type of person. Every person who faces trials has different needs. But I can tell you how I have been blessed and fellowshipped by the people around me... the people who, in almost every case, had no idea of the impact they were having on my life. I'll say it again and again: The Church is the perfect place for me as I struggle with being attracted to guys... because it is through the teachings of the Church that I have come closer to God and found true peace.

I have a friend who, one day, just knocked on my door and asked if we could be friends. I didn't know her, but she had felt like she wanted to be friends with me... and had no idea how to begin. It may sound like her approach was a bit awkward, but that day had been terrible... and her knock on my door was an answer to prayer. Only moments before she knocked, I had felt so incredibly alone, and had prayed for someone - anyone - to simply spend time with. My roommates were as close to antisocial as you can get in an LDS community. I dropped everything to spend time with her whenever she wanted a friend. And as we talked, I felt useful, loved, and worthwhile. Did she understand me, completely? No. But she valued me as a person and a friend.

Another friend got my phone number the first time he met me, and called me each week to let me know when Family Home Evening took place... invited me to birthday parties for people I didn't know... encouraged me to play flag football or ultimate frisbee with the group each Saturday... and I reciprocated with invitations (and often a ride) to attend the temple each week.

Should you encourage your husband to fellowship me? Yes. Should you fellowship me? Yes. Do I want to be involved in your family? Yes. I love kids - I would love to hold your baby and rock it to sleep. The last time I heard a baby cry in Sacrament meeting, I wished I could go, hold her, and rock her to sleep out in the foyer while her mom and dad sat in peace and silence. I appreciate when I'm invited to family dinner, FHE, and everything else... even if I'm not in your ward. I love to laugh, play board games, talk about the world and the gospel, and eat good food. And even though being around families creates a powerful, and sometimes painful, contrast to my own current life... it fills a need in my life.

Now, the last question - do I want to be set up with your single friends? It doesn't really matter if your single friends are the most attractive females in the world. I've never been attracted to girls. It seems, from my perspective, that relationships that "don't work out" return to the state before you began dating. If we were total strangers before, then dating makes it pretty likely that we will remain total strangers forever. But if we develop a friendship and become good friends, then (at least hopefully) we'll stay good friends regardless of what happens romantically. Don't just introduce me to someone and say she's really cute. Leaving us in a room alone is more likely to destroy any chance of relationship than anything else. But introducing us... over and over again, and then letting the relationship move forward on its own, will allow us to become real friends - not just blind dates.

Of all the things you could do, opening your home and your life to me makes the biggest difference. I feel lifted when I lift others... and so you enable me by letting me help, even when you could do it on your own. The greatest trial I face is feeling alone, and feeling worthless... and when I am with people who love me and value me, I can almost forget my pain. For me, the Church, the temple, and my family are the only places I have ever felt accepted and loved. The only place where I knew that I was really a valued member of the group, and not just an outcast that someone had allowed to take part. Treat me like a brother. A friend. And realize, that, beyond the things I face, I'm just another person who needs a friend, an opportunity to serve, and to be lifted by the word of God. And when I have those things, it's easier to remember that I, too, am a son of God.
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