Tuesday, March 29

The Widow's Mite... And Mine

 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing...

And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:

For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.


This story requires some background to truly understand it. In the days of Christ, Israelites were required to pay tithes and make offerings at the temple. Some were freewill offerings, but others were specific sums and sacrifices required of all.

The rich men tossed in plenty of gold, easily surpassing their allotted amount and doing so often with a grand gesture, and ensuring that a large crowd saw them and their righteousness. But the widow, perhaps with her children at her side or watching from the gate of the courtyard, threw in all that she had - perhaps not even enough to pay the tithes required, but it was everything she had. She had come out of duty, and gave all she could. And it was enough in His eyes.

There is a scene from the Joseph Smith film that plays on Temple Square that has always stuck in my mind. Joseph and Emma are looking out into the twilight... and Emma asks, "Do you ever think He asks too much?" Joseph continues looking out, and replies: "I don't allow myself to think that..."

The widow at the temple gave everything she had to the Lord, because He asked her to, the same way that Elijah asked the widow of Zarapheth, the same way the Lord asked Abraham, and the young rich man, and the Prophet Joseph... and me.

So what is my mite - the offering of my entire soul that God asks of me? 

Many people have expressed the sentiment that being gay and a faithful Mormon is too hard. That it is a trial beyond comprehension and impossible to reconcile. That's just the point. The story of the widow's mite, and of life itself, is not about doing things that are easy... but about doing things that are hard. Harder than she, or I, ever thought possible.

He has asked me to be obedient. Here on (Gay) Mormon Guy, that means never acting on the carnal urges inside me, but learning to put off the natural man, becoming as a little child - meek, submissive, humble. It means obeying because I have faith in Him, and because I believe that through obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel I can be saved.

He has asked me to be patient. To watch friends go on missions, come home, get married, have children, and move on with their lives... when I've never been in love with a girl, and have no idea when that blessing will come. To wonder when people in the world will understand the importance of loving others unconditionally... and to wait and work as I try to share the gospel in my own way.

He has asked me to be humble. To toss away my desire to look good in the eyes of others and ardently embrace the standards of the gospel when, anonymously and in real life, that makes me an easy target for ridicule on every side. To be willing to admit that I don't know everything, and to turn to Him in faith to find the answers to my questions and the questions others ask me.

He has asked me to be loving. To honestly and truly love everyone I meet, and to follow the teachings outlined in the Beatitudes - which in my case sometimes means praying for the anonymous people who send me less-than-positive mail.

You see, the widow was asked to give, but she gave her offering willingly. And in doing so, she received a far better return than she could have achieved any other way. The Lord knew she needed to give up all she had in order to gain the faith for the blessings she needed... and it's the same for me. 

Is it too hard to be gay and Mormon? To live the standards of the gospel and stay true to who I am? In reality, it's impossible. Living the gospel is impossible for everyone... alone. 

And so each day I stand with a choice. I can try to do it alone - to use the intellect and talents the Lord has given me and swim upstream on my own... Or I can take my blessings, my burdens, my trials, and my faith, and cast them into the Lord's treasury... believing that He will from my sacrifice bring forth the blessings of Heaven. He has. He does. And I know He always will.

12 comments:

  1. This was the most humble, meek, truly focused on the Savior post that I have ever read on this topic. Thank you for that.

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  2. That - was absolutely BEAUTIFUL!

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  3. Thanks :) I need to be more willingly humble instead of trying to do it on my own, and this is nudging me the right direction. So thanks for your example and words.

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  4. What a man of Great faith! God Speed Brother!

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  5. What a good comparison. Thank you for that.

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  6. So impressed with your faith and wisdom. I pray that you continue to have your burdens lightened!

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  7. Again, your thoughts have inspired me and helped me to see some important truths. Your personal struggle is different than mine but we all do (and indeed MUST) struggle. The universal reality is our need to have faith in and be obedient to God. To remember the covenants we have made and to govern our thoughts and actions by them. I am encouraged to keep trying to offer all. Thank you most sincerely.

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  8. I am speechless. I've never read such a beautiful post like this. Humble, sincere and faithful.

    I so admire your faith, your strength and your courage.

    I'm really happy I ran into your blog.

    I always say "I will not apologize for who I am, and I will definitely not apologize for what I believe." Now, I think this can be perfectly applied in you, and more meaningful.

    The Lord must have been smiling upon you all the time as He sees you winning the hard battle everyday!

    I love your post, and I'd be your faithful reader. (I know you've got a lot of faithful readers, I just add myself to the number.)

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  9. Thank you for sharing insights about your struggles. As a family member of someone who has had to come to grips with the challenge of being gay in the church, and watching them make painful and difficult choices, it is comforting to see someone hanging in there. The choices are never easy nor comfortable. My prayers are with you.

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  10. Remember, trials are a compliment from God. He knows we can handle them. He trusts that we will make the right choices, take the right actions, and stand up in the face of tribulations.

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  11. Like you, my husband dealt with SSA throughout his life and longed for the time that he would love a woman, be a husband and a father. It isn't easy to remain faithful to our eternal selves rather than our natural selves. We are very much in love and have a beautiful daughter. He was open and honest with me from the beginning and we have continued that pattern in marriage. Thank you for being an example of the believers!

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