Wednesday, September 5


I've never really been a fan of the statements that encourage men and women to be good only so that the world returns that goodness. "What goes around comes around," and even the Bible's "Cast your bread upon the water" make me wonder about the motivation, and lack thereof, of humanity.

I don't dispute the eventual reality of those statements. The scriptures are replete with examples of goodness being returned for goodness, and evil for evil. That's the whole point of our teachings on the last judgment. But I don't feel comfortable with obedience to commandments solely for the hope of eventual blessings.

Homosexuality is a good example - (and one that is ever pertinent to this blog...) partially because many of the blessings promised may not even come in this life. And, at least in my case, having a hope that in 100 years everything will work out is difficult to apply to the day-to-day.

People who claim that those who follow gospel principles instead of finding another guy are making huge sacrifices usually aren't exaggerating. The sacrifices are considerable. From the gospel perspective, you're expected to refrain from all activity that could stimulate homosexual feelings - and that list, while definitely encompassing the normal expressions of dating, may be long depending on the person. You may never get married, fall in love with a member of the opposite sex, have a family... and, perhaps with purpose, many of the men I've met have a stronger desire for a family than the norm. Giving that up is, for some men, an Abrahamic trial. From a societal perspective, you're expected to be honest with girls you date - even if you don't share your life story in the first conversation - and there are plenty of people who vocally denounce anyone who even tries that route. If marriage doesn't come, it brings with it potential social stigma, tons of questions... Perhaps the greatest sacrifice, though, is giving up our fear of the unknown. When you've never fallen in love and live in a Church where eternal families are essential to mortal progression and happiness (and where women are often mentioned with condolences when they are unmarried, while men... usually are not), being willing to believe the promise that God will make everything right - not just in the future, but as life unfolds - is hard.

So what's the solution? I definitely can't claim to have any of the answers but for my own life, but, in my case, I've found that goodness naturally brings its own constant rewards. Not some gift from the cosmos, but in that being good makes life inherently better somehow.

Serving someone else, even if they never know or acknowledge it, gives me context into my own trials. Keeping the commandments somehow makes me closer to God - even when I keep the mundane ones like following the laws of the land. And as I choose to follow God into frustrating and unknown paths, I learn important lessons about myself and Him - something the world could never give me.

I think that if I were better at focusing on being good - not just doing good, or acting good, but truly becoming a new creature in Christ - many of the difficulties I face would simply fall into place. And while I'm sure that eventually the universe will repay goodness with goodness, that often seems a long ways away. I'm not really content with having to wait until death to be happy.


  1. As I grow old(er), I realize how important my relationship is with the Lord. As I forcus on Him and seek to love Him with all my heart, I discover that I am never alone and that He walks beside me not only during the difficult days but every day. That is a priceless blessing He gives to those who sacrifice much to follow Him.

  2. I think what makes the difference for me, is where I turn when I have desires that are unfilled, or when I am struggling. Will I turn to the Lord, and give Him my pain? Or will I turn to anything else. I often avoid dealing with my life by watching tv or reading things on the internet. Or I will turn to food, or anything that "fills the hole" But when I turn to the Lord, and give him my sorrows, he seems to help me carry my burdens.

  3. "being good makes life inherently better somehow"; "Keeping the commandments somehow makes me closer to God"

    Well said. I'm not sure how those things work, either, but I know that is how it works in my life, too.

    If I focus on doing good because I love the Savior, not because I want a reward, that seems to help my life be more meaningful and full of gratitude and joy despite the circumstances I find myself in.

    My circumstances do not negate my blessings or my joys, only my focus will.

  4. When I read this entry, I had mixed emotions. As someone who also has SGA, I am often weighed down by the Church's supreme expectations of people like me. For my, I have to remind myself of the difference between the Church and the Gospel--I don't know about you, but I believe the Gospel to be true and not necessarily the Church. I have come to the opinion that the Church is merely the imperfect medium for the blessings of the Gospel, and it sounds like that's pretty much what you're talking about with good brings good, and bad brings bad.

    But I have a question for you--do you believe the Church's leaders have been totally unprejudiced in the way they approach asking the Lord about homosexuality? Do you think they are letting their personal imperfections and worldviews cloud their judgment? I personally think that the Lord works with the imperfect people who lead the Church, and the Church is not always singing the same tune as the Gospel; this is why the Church has changed its position about many things over the years. What do you think?

    1. Sometimes, when leaders act as just men, their imperfections show through. And even when they act as leaders, the Lord speaks to men according to their own understanding.

      But, to draw a corollary to your question, I don't think that the Church's stance on homosexual acts is due to personal beliefs. In this case, the Church believes what it does because it's completely and universally true - that marriage between man and woman is ordained of God and an essential part of His eternal plan.

      I don't think that the changes in doctrine are simply reflections in changes in personality or belief in the highest echelons of the Church. I think that they follow the pattern that changes always have - line upon line, precept upon precept. Just like how Christ has always taught His people.


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