Wednesday, August 17

Inspirational Fire

I had a conversation with a friend this week. Someone else had mentioned that he needed help... and didn't want to be part of the Church anymore... and that's my cue to drop everything. I called him as soon as I could, then called his roommates when he didn't wake up, and then we just spent the rest of the day talking.

It's always an amazing experience for me to see where someone lacks in faith, and to be able to be there when the light goes back on in his eyes. To hear his story, to help him feel understood, and to open his eyes to the hope and peace that comes from the gospel. My friend was struggling in his testimony and told me, honestly, that he didn't want to come to church because he felt judged for his beliefs... and because he still had a long way to go in repentance before he could actually participate in all the aspects of the church, like going to the temple and taking the sacrament again. He didn't feel remorse for his sins, didn't feel like he should repent when he had learned from the bad mistakes he had made, and, at the core, didn't believe the gospel was true for everyone.

This friend doesn't know me very well. We've only had a smattering of conversations, ever. He doesn't know that I live with same-sex attraction, or any of the other difficulties that life has brought me. He expressed, ironically, the thought that the gospel couldn't be true for those with same-sex attraction... and so it really couldn't be true for anyone... because even though they might receive glory in the next life, a "lonely life of misery" wasn't worth an eternal reward. I agree - unlike him and his friends, though, I've found that happiness and peace in life doesn't come from following natural urges, but by becoming a different person - by working and growing and making a difference... and by doing what is right. It is more than possible to have an amazing, fulfilled life in the gospel and never be married or have a family (as long as that's out of my control). My friend doesn't have same-sex attraction - just a couple friends who have left the Church, or never were a part. So all I could do was share the testimony that I have, without giving context to all my beliefs and knowledge, and pray that somehow it would be enough... that somehow it would help him relight the fire of faith that he had before.

I dropped him off after our conversation and wondered what the impact had been. He hadn't made any commitments in the end, even though I extended a few. He hadn't gone through a visible change, and it seemed like our hours-long conversation was just sitting there on the surface - it hadn't sunk in. Until a few days ago. The same friend who had originally mentioned that his friend was struggling and needed help sent me an email, thanking me for the conversation I had had. In the days since, it sank in, and helped our friend work through his struggles, and regain at least part of his faith... relight part of the flame. The gospel really is true... and it has the power to bring peace and happiness in this life to everyone, regardless of their trials. That's the spark of truth that resonated with him, and the one that always brings a smile to my face. And any good boy scout knows that a spark - lighting part of the fire is usually enough to set it all aflame.

5 comments:

  1. Well done! :D I especially love the last line and think it can be applied to progressing in so many aspects of life: "And any good boy scout knows that a spark - lighting part of the fire is usually enough to set it all aflame." :)

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  2. I am so glad you shared this story. I have had a very close friend dealing with some struggles with his testimony lately. He has had a few friends/family who have talked and just listened to him. While a lot of what was said to him seems to "still be on the surface", I hope someday he will get some of what was said to sink in and better understand the security the gospel brings.

    Again, thank you for sharing this story, it has really touched me. I am so glad for people like you who will drop everything to help those in need of a spiritual lift.

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  3. I struggle with the fact that my sister is completely inactive. She once had faith, and a testimony, but she lost it somewhere along the way. Now she resents any conversation about the gospel because she feels left out, and won't come spend time with the rest of us because of this.

    I don't know how to reach out to her any more than I have, or express my love for her in any other way. All I want is to know that my sister knows we still love her no matter what choices she makes, but she isn't open with us like she used to be.

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  4. Anonymous:

    I've learned that conversion, and any movement that helps me move toward Christ, happens individually. I don't find meaning in a group, and while I may end up having good conversations, the true learning happens alone, or one-on-one. It's been the same with almost everyone I've met - the rescue isn't showing up with ten people, but showing up alone. Mirroring the vulnerability, the uncertainty, the individuality... and being as honest and candid as possible in expressing love. It's sometimes scary... because rejection of just you is, well, just you... but I've found it more effective than preaching to a group or visiting as a group.

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