I had a dream many years ago, before my mission, which was brief and simple but profoundly burned itself into my memory and stood out powerfully in my mind immediately following it and for some time afterwards, but I didn't understand what it meant, if anything, at the time.
The dream as I remember it:
I was walking through the halls of the local LDS Institute of Religion building which I considered my home away from home, surrounded by friends. We were walking together, past the paintings and classrooms which had become so familiar to me during my time attending the university. We were walking in a crowd, together, laughing, having a grand time. The funny thing was that I was the only male. I was in the middle, surrounded by my female friends. It was a fairly comical sight, actually.
Some of these girl friends were very clear in their interest in me, others were content just being friends, and I was just enjoying their company and not wanting to look for more. I loved and valued their friendship. These were friends I really enjoyed. But I felt a vague disinterest I couldn't explain.
We rounded the corner of the hall towards the front door of the Institute. But somehow, I found myself drawn to another doorway which had gone unnoticed by the others, and I wandered away from the merry-making crowd of young women. I went through this doorway and out onto a moonlit veranda, surrounded by lush vegetation and a warm, tropical breeze. It was beautiful, paradisiacal. I felt at home and at peace, yet strangely solitary. I enjoyed the rest, the brief time by myself, but also wished I could share this place with friends.
The door back into the Institute seemed distant now. Vague. Undesirable after this gorgeous veranda. I didn't want to go back in. This place was too amazing.
I heard a whisper in the distance, undiscernable. I strained to listen, and somewhere in the breeze, I began to understand the sound was distant singing. It was a full chorus, angelic in tone. As I peered intently through the rich, green foliage of the lush trees, I caught a faint glimpse of the location from which the singing emanated. The sound entranced me as I realized it was the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing exultant hymns from Temple Square, distant in a valley below.
This only seemed to accentuate my deep feeling of isolation in spite of this paradise I was in. My heart was wrenched as I yearned to be where those voices were. I eagerly sifted through every potential opening in the trees for a path to the Tabernacle to be where I now longed to be. Though I was deeply torn between this peaceful paradise and the joyful celebration in the valley below, I was further frustrated and agonized by the fact that I could find no way into that valley. There was no path. There was no way to join the jubilee. There was nobody to help me. Nobody to share the experience with. They had all gone their way when I wandered through the door to the veranda, and they were probably already there.
As the chorus swelled to its most jubilant and glorious climax, my heart seemed to tear apart completely as I felt no way to be a part of it, and I fell to my knees and sobbed uncontrollably as I wondered why I wanted to be there so badly and why I could not get there from this amazingly beautiful place.
I woke up, face wet with tears and feeling despondent and lonely. I think I journaled the dream, but I don't know where I wrote it. If I find it, maybe I'll update this to correct anything I remember incorrectly, but that's the dream as I remember it. I had no idea what to make of it. It didn't make sense. It seemed random but deeply significant at the same time.
Probably 5-6 years later, after I had not thought of this dream for several years, the persistent nature of my attractions to members of the same sex and the probability that they weren't a phase of curiosity sunk in. I started dealing with things head-on. I started really trying to come to terms with this part of me and reconciling it with the gospel and the church. During one of my particularly reflective times, this dream came back like a flash, and the meaning was, suddenly, starkly clear. I had some choices to make, and they were going to be some of the hardest I'd ever face.