Tuesday, October 19

I Hope They Call Me On A(nother) Mission

I’d go in a heartbeat.

I thought I’d reply to two suggestions at once - (1) tell about my own mission, (2) should guys who are attracted to other guys serve a full-time mission?

My mission was amazing. I served in the best mission in the world. Really. And of my slew of companions, some continue to be friends to this day. Many of my areas were renowned for their people – and notorious for a lack of the traditional markers of ‘success’… but I was definitely an outlier in that respect. With the Lord, my companions and I found people who wanted to learn about the gospel and make covenants everywhere we went.

Serving a full-time mission allowed me to practice gospel habits and skills in a structured environment. It’s like an apprenticeship program for becoming a teacher in the Church and a friend to neighbors and acquaintances. Everything I practiced in the mission field I can continue to use today. Following a schedule. Studying the gospel with people in mind. Praying for others, by name. Praying for miracles and having the faith to act on their happening. Talking with everyone and helping them become better people. Serving. Communicating with family and friends regularly. Keeping a journal. Helping people apply the gospel in their lives to face trials and temptations. Listening to the Spirit. Learning to love others, including companions, no matter what choices they make – seeing others as sons and daughters of God.

I am not exaggerating when I say that I think that serving a mission is the best thing any worthy, able young man can do. And that he should do it. The Church agrees. Specifically on serving missions, you can find this statement:

“…merely having inclinations does not disqualify one for any aspect of Church participation or membership… In this life, such things as service in the Church, including missionary service, all of this is available to anyone who is true to covenants and commandments” (http://beta-newsroom.lds.org/official-statement/same-gender-attraction).

I know, for a fact, that dozens of young men come into the MTC wondering if their inclinations bar them from the blessing of serving a mission. Others never submit their papers and feel the same burden.

Do we bar missionaries who suffered child abuse from serving? How about those who have lost family members? Do we ask those who were converts to the Church and have amazing stories of success to stay at home?

The greatest missionaries in the Church are those who understand the power of the Atonement in their lives, who have experienced the healing and comfort that comes from having a personal relationship with God, who have seen the blessings of living righteously in the face of temptation and trial. If you are worthy and able, serve a mission.

The mission didn’t make my trials disappear. But the habits I developed brought me closer to God and gave me strength to face the trials that came after my mission and the years since… and in the years since I’ve had hundreds of missionary experiences that rival and surpass the experiences I had on my mission. 

I was never released from the calling of being an elder in the Church... only reassigned to serve in a new capacity. And as a member, my ability to share the gospel only increases with my understanding and ability. The title of this post is “I Hope They Call Me On A(nother) Mission.” And I guess, when I look at the people I can serve in the world, He already has.

14 comments:

  1. I recently found your blog and appreciate your honesty in your posts. And I agree about missions- I went on one (I'm female) and would go back in a heartbeat as well...the toughest thing you will ever love.

    And I agree with your thoughts on those who are attracted to the same gender serving missions. Just because they have those feelings, it doesn't disqualify them at all. I look forward to reading more.

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  2. I just want to say that I really admire you and your strength. It is a great thing that your testimony can overpower your temptations. What a righteous example that you are setting to many, gay or not. I thank you for your sharing your experiences with the world and the help and strength that you offer to others through your testimony. God bless you brother! Stay strong.

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  3. I have four boys and I spend a lot of time thinking about how to help them live worthy to receive the blessings that a full-time mission can bring. I'm confident that serving in that capacity will help them in every endeavor for the rest of their lives. You, (and everyone else who serves), are an awesome example of sacrifice and love. Thank you!

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  4. Reading your blog is a highlight of my day, thank you for sharing your testimony.

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  5. I agree! I loved my mission! I had such amazing experiences and grew in faith every single day. Even though I've been home for a LONG time now, I still lean on some of those faith building experiences I had in the mission field. They keep me going.

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  6. My good friend just left for his mission to Honduras yesterday. Just before he left he gave a talk in stake conference where he sang an adopted version of the song you mentioned above. I'm very excited for him! I have known so many people whose lives have changed because they went on a mission or met a missionary. It truly blesses everyone involved. At the same time, though, I'm going to miss him, a lot, but my focus right now is hey! Honduras definitely needs him more right now.

    I've thought about going on a mission myself. Honestly, its not something on my list to do as a young adult, but if the Lord calls, I answer. I would be very grateful for the opportunity to serve in that way, and I really respect all of those who have and are giving up two years of their lives to serve God. It inspires me to do better.

    I definitely agree with what you said about those who are attracted to the same gender serving missions. Some of the most incredible missionaries I have ever met have had some hard time or trial that they have had to overcome, thus giving them a more full understanding of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Is this not the basic, fundamental principle on which our church is built? Again, thank you for your thoughts Mormon Guy. They are truly inspired and well written. Sincerely, tuba.girl

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  7. While I don't deal with same-sex attraction, I do deal a sexual addiction. As an active member of the church it's been very difficult finding ways to maintain my faith while fighting against the daily temptation. I wasn't able to serve a mission because of my addiction, and it's something I've always regretted. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and testimony. I find strength in reading your blog.

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  8. I wasn't able to serve a mission due to some law of chastity issues. I sorely wish I could have, but truth be told, I believe the Lord had other things in mind for me. Thanks for your blog. You are an inspiration to many.

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  9. Didn't you LOVE President Monson's talk on missionary work this last conference? I loved his encouragement for married couples to serve and how he said that they should PREPARE to go. I served a mission as a young woman and honestly it never occured to me that my husband and I would need to PREPARE to go again. I think every member should PREPARE to go, no matter their current circumstances, because the time may come when the Lord will need us... will we be ready?

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  10. Your Sister in the GospelOctober 20, 2010 at 9:24 AM

    Amen! I love this post (as I love all your posts). So glad you keep addressing things that need to be address. Missions teach young men and women so much about themselves and loving others out there. I'm so glad you mentioned that the greatest missionaries are those who understand the Atonement. I totally agree with that. Thanks again for the post.

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  11. I think you're AWESOME (Gay)Mormon Guy! Your strength as a faithful member of the gospel is so amazing and inspiring. Thank you for staying so true to the faith and choosing the right even though it must be hard to struggle with your hard temptations. I hope you don't mind, but I printed some of your blog posts to share with my Twilight book club. (We are re-reading the whole series. Two of the other people there have brothers who have SSA. They shared their testimonies about how the books show that it's so possible to have a really tough struggle in life but still stay true to your principles and standards.) Anyway, when I shared a couple of your posts, three other girls in our book club smiled and said they had read your blog too. You're touching so many lives for the good. Maybe someday, after you find that perfect girl and raise a family, you'll be called as a mission president so you can be out there full-time preaching the gospel and being a stalwart and brave example of righteousness, following the words of the living prophets and being a worthy man who honors his priesthood. I think you would be an AMAZING mission president!

    Sorry for such a long comment. I'm just so filled with joy when I read your blog. I seriously believe you have been called to be a light to all the people out there who suffer from SSA who need extra strength to keep the commandments and overcome the things the world tells us are in-born. Like the prophets keep saying, we can all be truly happy by hearkening unto their counsel. You are proof that it works! I hope everyone is listening, because what you have to say is really, really important. I can't wait to read your next post. Again, you're awesome!!! :) Thank you!!!!!

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  12. Thanks for this post bud. It sums up how I feel as a member of the church that strugles with SSA. The mission was amazing! A place to teach people about the atonement. I am so happy that I have been given this trial so that I can look to the atonement for strength. I love it! Thanks for a great post!

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  13. I really love your perspective on this. Thank you so much for sharing church principles from a unique point of view that many don't understand or take the time to hear. It's truly uplifting.

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  14. just love you so much! i love what you wrote. my mission was the best thing of my life too. :)

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