A Gay Ex-Mormon Gamer's Story
Ian Madsen
United States
Bountiful
Utah
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I was born and raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Baptized days after my 8th birthday. Ordained a deacon of the Aaronic priesthood the evening of my 12th birthday. I concurrently graduated from both high school and seminary. I attended Brigham Young University-Idaho for 2 years. Less than a year later I mailed my resignation letter to Church Office Building.

[i][b]Edit: Thank you to those that posted supportive comments. The subsequent argument has however resulted in my list being pulled from the front page by the admins without even informing me users flagging this list as inappropriate. Opening up debate was not my intent. I had wanted to make a GeekList about my personal struggles for about a year now, even before I had accepted my orientation, let alone leave my religion. I did my best not to be critical of religion by writing my personal feelings rather that my doctrinal opinions. In writing this I had hoped to find a method to overcome my negative feelings towards religion.

I am offended by the action of the admins who have left previous political GeekLists alone, especially because I was not even informed. However I am more offended by the willingness of the community to use my life as an arena for bickering.

To those of you who have posted positive comments, thank you once again.

Subsequent Edit: I must apologize for accusing the admins for this GeekList being pulled from the front page. This list was pulled because users flagged it as inappropriate.
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1. Board Game: The Journeys of Paul [Average Rating:5.86 Overall Rank:7126]
Ian Madsen
United States
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Utah
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Growing up I was a pharisee. I ensured that I was outwardly perfect, while completely ignoring who I was on the inside.

At 13 I was president of our ward's deacons quorum, in charge of 5 other deacons. My main religious responsibility was ensuring we had enough priesthood holders ready to serve the sacrament for our weekly Sunday meetings. At that time I was also in various leadership positions in 2 different Boy Scout Troops.

I organized and lead my peers with a cold soulless religiosity. It was never good enough, for me. There was always something that I needed to do better. God could not expect less than perfection from me.

To this day, members of that ward remind me of how well I ran that quorum.
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2. RPG Item: Alma Mater: The High School Role-Playing Game [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:4158]
Ian Madsen
United States
Bountiful
Utah
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That success came with a cost. I suffered from depression in junior high school. My friends were few, and far between. I had impersonalized my persona in my quest for exaltation. I hated myself. I was lonely. I was afraid I was gay.

I had never been excited by a girl. I had no desire to checkout girls, let alone kiss one. I did however like to see guys shirtless.

I kept telling myself that it was just a phase, and that was a late bloomer. I never told anyone. I did however actively search for activities that my friends would take their shirts off for. I was manipulative. I was a sinner.
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3. Board Game: Twilight Imperium (Third Edition) [Average Rating:7.88 Overall Rank:31]
Ian Madsen
United States
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Utah
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In high school I started gaining friends. I started repressing my sexuality, and just pretended that I was a good Mormon boy that respected women. I went on a few dates. Had one female friend that I could picture myself marrying.

It was the summer before my senior year that I was introduced to role playing. We played in a hacked Star Wars universe. One session our GM had us play his house ruled Twilight Imperium. The group broke up at the end of the summer, but I kept going to our GM's place to play various boardgames he had. The following year I bought Twilight Imperium with its expansion. I became a board gamer.
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4. RPG Item: Dogs in the Vineyard [Average Rating:8.02 Overall Rank:33]
Ian Madsen
United States
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Utah
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I started college at Brigham Young University-Idaho a month and a half after graduating high school. 2 weeks into the summer term one of my apartment roommates drowned in the river while bridge jumping. Our freshman academy group that lived and attended classes together was devastated. It was the closest I had been to a death in my life.

The following winter and spring semesters I roomed with a friend from high school. We became fairly close. I became rather attracted to him.

Spring semester I was set apart as 2nd counselor in our student ward's elder's quorum. I was thrust into church leadership again. I tried hard to find out the will of god to direct my actions.

I came out of the closet for the first time to my student ward bishop. I cried. I was afraid I would never be able to go on a mission.

After the semester ended, I started counseling. One aim of the counseling was to become straight. I continued into the winter semester of my 2nd year or college. All my guy friends from high school had left on missions, while mine had been delayed. I was putting extra effort into suppressing my sexuality. I was lonely. I was depressed.

I was placed on academic suspension after failing most of my classes spring semester.
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5. Board Game: Kill the Hippies [Average Rating:5.00 Overall Rank:10635]
Ian Madsen
United States
Bountiful
Utah
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Everything kept getting worse. I was unable to find work. Counseling wasn't accomplishing anything. The dose of my antidepressant was increased to the point where it raised my anxiety level to a condition where it was hard for me to concentrate when driving. After being rapidly pulled off that medication, I ended up spending a few nights in a mental institution.

I became angry towards my counselor and psychiatrist, and didn't see them again. I went to a few counseling sessions with a gay affirmative counselor, but I couldn't let go of Mormonism.

This past January I started school at Utah State University. By chance I was placed with a bisexual ex-Mormon atheist. By that time I already had a poor opinion of Brigham Young, the second president of the LDS church. I read a few chapters from 2 of my roommate's books, and came to the educated realization that Joseph Smith was not the prophet I believed him to be. Overnight all my faith in the LDS church became anger towards it. I was betrayed. I became depressed again.

I considered becoming a methodist, catholic, and even a Zoroastrian. I became an agnostic atheist. If the god of the old testament exists, it's a dark and evil god.

Edit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_as_the_Devil
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6. RPG Item: Universalis (Revised Edition) [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:437]
 
Ian Madsen
United States
Bountiful
Utah
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I fear death. In my heart I hope for life after death, but in my mind I come to the logical assumption that death is the end.

Life is the most creative aspect of the universe. Humanity is the one form of life that has the greatest influence. What is our legacy. What is my legacy.
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7. Board Game: Gayopoly [Average Rating:7.12 Unranked]
Ian Madsen
United States
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Utah
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So I'm a board gaming, role playing, gay college student in Utah, how do I find geeky dates?
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8. Board Game: Sex and the City Trivia Game [Average Rating:4.15 Unranked]
J Weintraub
United States
Commack
New York
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As an avid listener to Dan Savage's podcast, I can tell you one answer to your final question - get the f*%k out of Utah. Graduate, and move to an urban (and urbane) setting, and you'll have no trouble finding people to date.
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