Friday, May 20

It's Really Not *That* Hard

Not to discount some of the hardest trials I have ever faced in my life, but being a faithful member of the Church while also being attracted to guys really isn't impossible. Nor is it as hard or mentally trying, faith-deprecating or paradoxical as many people think it is. For most of the day, each day, it doesn't affect me. Yes, I am a male in an extremely overstimulated, oversexed society. There are times when it is incredibly hard. But even when people are trying to set me up, others unknowingly say or do something callous, I wonder when I'll ever have a family, and I'm way too attracted to the guys around me, it all subsides eventually. The sun comes out, the feelings temper, and faith, in the end, wins every battle. Even with the issue of looking toward the future - and potentially consecrating it to God instead of following my hormones - isn't all that hard today. If I'm living each day in the present, leaving the future in the Lord's hands, I have no qualms about keeping the commandments today and knowing that He will take care of tomorrow.

I'll agree that, at the same time, it does take work - it takes time, determination, persistence, and faith, but that's the same with everything in life... my life included. I have other problems which are not of this blog, and them also I must solve. I don't think that I or anyone can survive in today's world without gripping tightly to the iron rod - whether our lives look perfect from the outside, or are entrenched in chaos within.

I get a lot of emails and comments here at (Gay) Mormon Guy from guys who express the feeling that it's too hard to live a faithful life with this trial. That their faith and righteousness, keeping the commandments, and staying true to the things that they have learned from God... is impossible without somehow changing their sexual orientation. They think that if they were attracted to women, living a righteous life would be possible, whereas in their minds being attracted to guys makes it an impossibility.

I believed that once - but in my case it was because I believed, erroneously, that being attracted to guys was a curse... and since it says very clearly in the scriptures that all those who are cursed brought the cursing upon themselves, then I had somehow brought it upon myself... and its continued existence was proof of my uncleanliness before God.

I now realize the deception in that belief, and its equally deceptive counterpart on the other side of the truth. On one side, I am cursed, and will not be acceptable in the eyes of God until I change everything... which is sort of impossible. On the other side, I have no need to change, and God will accept me without asking me to change who I am. One is predestination to hell, the other is predestination to heaven. Both are completely and totally false.

The reality is that I came to this world and still had a lot to learn before I could return to God. Like happened to Adam and Eve, my life became a probationary period to change (repent) and become like Christ... and the world, and my circumstances, were cursed for my sake. Cursed for my sake. Cursed so that I could learn and grow and change to become like Christ. I was not cursed. Mortality was cursed, so that I could one day be saved.

God has the power to change anything He wills. He could change my heart, heal my wounds, and take away my trials. He could calm the tensions of the world, feed the starving children, solve the crises of nations and my own personal soul. But He doesn't. And why? Because it is for my sake. He created a fallen world so that I could grow and learn, then gave me the tools to affront every difficulty, counter every attack, and resist every trial that came my way. "There hath no temptation taken [me...] but such as is common to man... but God is faithful, and will not suffer [me] to be tempted above that which [I] am able."

God created this life to be hard. Someday, I'll even die from life being so imperfect. But living the gospel, following the promptings of the Spirit, keeping the commandments, and turning to God, have always and will always be possible and within my reach, no matter what imperfections life throws my way. Life is hard, but it's really not that hard... since the deck is stacked in our favor. The Atonement really is infinite - there is no clause that makes exception for or excludes anyone from the dual gifts of justice and mercy. Which means that God is on our side. And with Him, when we follow His commandments, all things are possible.

12 comments:

  1. I'm so grateful for your commitment to this blog and the testimony you share!

    Thank you!

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  2. And by the by, you are just the COOLEST guy ever!

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  3. Very well stated. Never thought of the world being curse for our sakes in the context of dealing with homosexuality. But in a related way I have worked on the idea that those of us who experience homosexuality seem to be the embodiment of an opportunity that God may be presenting to all of us. In that sense, it is not necessarily a new opportunity. The nature and function of mortality are to expose us to the forces contrary to our progression in all it's forms. That is not to say that I believe that my homosexuality is contrary to my progress, in fact I see it as a contributing element to my eternal progress. It has absolutely challenged me to be the most conscientious spiritual seeker that I can be. I cannot just rest on my laurels and go with the Mormon cultural tide because my natural inclinations do not allow me to genuinely and authentically engage in the Mormon social norms such as marriage. But this has pushed me to truly engage with what is truth, who God is, what role the Savior can truly play in my life, etc. I would hope that more of us, homosexual and heterosexual members of the church, could see the natural presence of homosexuality as an opportunity to more earnestly engage with our shared theology and more authentically aspire to emulate the figure of our worship.

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  4. And I feel I should add that for many people, it is *that* hard. And they are deserving of love, empathy, and respect. I want to believe that they are doing the best they can with what they have and with such they may even find it to be *too* hard. Which means they are in need of even more love and empathy.
    thanks

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  5. KPW: I find that talking about others' sins, weaknesses, and trials always gets me into trouble. I lack context, and so, in reality, I have no ability to say whether it's hard or easy for others. Agreeing that it really is too hard isn't something I can do without knowing their circumstances - but to love and support people I don't need to completely understand. I can love them either way. I've had friends who committed suicide - was life too hard for them? Did they make the wrong choice? Or was it a complex set of circumstances and chemical problems that leaves only God to judge?

    Ultimately, we can only speak for our own lives. I'm not going to judge someone as righteous or wicked - saved or sinner. I'm just going to love them. And as far as my life goes, if I ever go astray, it won't be because my life is too hard. It'll be because I've given up and chosen a different route - because I've lost my faith. And I intend for that never to happen - to me or to anyone.

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  6. Thank you for writing this.

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  7. I love your ability to relate things so clearly. I already believed everything in this post, but I've never heard it stated so nicely. Thanks! -Brigitte

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  8. In response to whether this is *that* hard or not. I feel such security that I am not the finally judge of myself! Christ knows me perfectly and much better than I know myself; He sees me through eyes that are not clouded by the world's judgments.

    One of my favorite scriptures as of recently:
    D&C 122:7 And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.

    I also know that I will never receive a trial above my ability to withstand. Everything was given for my own good, not to force me to lose faith.

    KPW - I really appreciate this statement you made, "I cannot just rest on my laurels and go with the Mormon cultural tide".
    I have been thinking about what that means, I am quite convinced that I cannot either. I struggle deeply with depression and while I do not have the challenges that you have on a daily basis... my ability to just get out and do is not there. I want to be a joyful person as we should be. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of Joy. So where am I missing the boat?!

    Sometimes it is *that* hard to face a challenge in our life... but it only stays that hard and returns so hard when we do not see the pattern and stop it.

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  9. you are amazing! hang in there!

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  10. God being on our side is the only thing that makes it possible! I am so glad He is!

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  11. I too am thankful for your commitment to this blog and for sharing your testimony. I appreciate the way you write and explain things. I believe you are helping others to see this issue more clearly. I admire your diligence in living the gospel, and in encouraging others to do so as well. I look forward to reading more from you.

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