Wednesday, February 20
Sometimes people ask me what I do when I find myself deeply attracted to a guy. Usually the question comes from another guy with same-sex attraction who wants to know how I deal with the temptations that often follow attraction. Often I sidestep the question with the answer, "It's not really a huge issue" or "I get to know him." But even though those statements are totally honest, putting them together doesn't really catch the whole gist of the story.
The truth is that I let myself fall in love.
The scriptures tell us to love all men. Charity - the pure love of Christ for all mankind - is the ultimate virtue. And so I leverage my attractions to men to help me love them.
Attraction is an interesting thing. It blinds me to a guy's flaws and accentuates his strengths. It makes me want to get to know him as a person and to understand the things that are happening inside his mind. And those two things - an eye for the good and a powerful desire to understand him - make learning to love him... the way God loves him... much easier.
It's happened more times than I can count. Attraction hits, and I do everything I can to get to know about a guy. And as I get to know him, I see him as a son of God. His dreams become my dreams for him, and I find myself wanting him to be happy - not just happy today, but happy for the rest of his life and into eternity.
That may seem backwards, especially from a guy who is committed to living the gospel no matter what. I'm never going to date or marry a guy. So what happens if he's attracted back to me? What happens if he falls in love with me? Doesn't that lead to a compromising situation?
But so do all the other paths.
The reality is that being homosexual, by its very nature, puts me into compromising situations. Regardless of the path I choose, my life will be fraught with temptation.
The question then is this: What safeguards can I put into place? And the answer I've found is deceptively simple: Learn to love all men. The greatest strength against temptations is love.
When I love someone, there is no way that I could ever hurt them. No way that I could ever do something that would injure them or cause them grief in the past. But there are prerequisites for that happening. For starters, I have to understand what happiness looks like. If I thought that this life ended at death, then morality would make no sense. But since I honestly believe that God gave us commandments to help us find happiness, and that following those commandments - spirit and letter of the law - will lead to the greatest results now and in eternity, everything I do for someone I love will be to help him stay on that path. I could never let myself get in the way.
That's the distinction between love and lust... and the key to how my relationships progress. Love is valuing someone's eternal happiness and being willing to do anything I can to help him to be happy. Lust is valuing my current sensuality above anything else.
Love I cultivate. Lust I smash.
And then when temptations come, they turn my stomach instead of turning me on.
So I'm attracted to this guy. I'm in love with him. Temptations come. But I love him more than just from attractions. My thoughts about him include all the things he wants to accomplish in life and the love that God has for him. I love him as a brother and a friend for eternity. That's the barrier that has worked the best for me, and the one that will keep me safe. Because even if my own morals were lacking, I would never do anything to send my brother, or a good friend, to hell.
Posted by Mormon Guy at 1:54 PM