Wednesday, April 2

General Conference!

General Conference is this week. Along with being incredibly stressed from the business growing, having a massive a cappella concert in a week, and trying to figure out my life... I'm just excited about conference.

I'm excited... because I love getting the direction that Conference always provides. I love knowing what I should do. Sometimes I don't get the direction I want... but at least it gives me peace.

One cool thing: My stake was asked to provide impromptu choirs to sing in the free speech zone outside of conference before the Sunday morning session. We were asked to not practice. I'm bringing Grace. We practice all the time, but we didn't practice for this... so hopefully no one thinks we're a "hired choir" or something. We honestly don't have time to practice hymns... We're too busy preparing for our concert on the 10th.

I feel bad writing about our concert before General Conference. That's why this post is supposed to be about conference. But my mind is running a million miles a minute... so here's a link to a preview of one of Grace's songs on Facebook (you do not need to have Facebook to see it; it's a public video. Just click the link, scroll down to the video, and watch it)

It should be an awesome concert. April 10 at the Provo Covey Center for the Arts (425 west center) at 6 and 8. We're singing 11 songs, and Attention (an all-girls group) is performing with us and singing a few more. Attention sings Disney and Broadway music, and they're performing a killer version of Let it Go. Tickets are name-your-own-price in person or by phone using the promo code "Amazing Grace."

We've been having trouble selling tickets because people at BYU don't like to leave campus (or make phone calls or buy full-priced tickets online). It would be great if I could sell tickets at the BYU ticket office... that would actually be a really cool joint venture... but that's not happening anytime soon. So, at the request of my group members, I bought 400 tickets and I'm giving them to group members to sell in person. It's giving me stress... selling anything is rough for me. Convincing other people to sell tickets... yeah. That's even more stressful. Next time I think I'm going to hire someone to sell tickets so I don't have to stress about them.

My calling has been stressful as well. The stake asked each ward to schedule visits for the missionaries, and of the 5 organizations in the ward that I asked to schedule appointments for tonight (and who said they would), only 2 have any results. 1 is me; the other is the bishop.


Now I get to make people scramble. Another thing I don't relish doing.

I'm just grateful for life. Yeah, it's stressful. Yeah, I could be doing better. Yeah, most people think I'm doing too much and need to slow down, and I am looking forward to the time, in 10 days, when I can. But life is just good. It's good to be alive.



    Just stumbled on your blogspot looking for something totally unrelated.

    Like you, I have found divesting myself of self-interest and immersing myself in service to others is a real blessing. I have no greater joy. My focus is on doing whatever I can to help others come unto Christ, despite what it might cost me, though I hope in the end things will work out. I just choose not to think of that so my service can be selfless.

    Really liked your digging in the sand analogy. I spend many hours studying scriptures, etc., like you too. I learned the same principle.

    And with you, I agree and know for sure living "the lifestyle" would be temporary at best, and, due to my understanding of the truths of the gospel, would ultimately be unsatisfactory and intolerable. I know for myself either way brings a certain kind of satisfaction as well as suffering, but at least you and I know we are choosing the right reasons to suffer, since that is a given, and the right kind of satisfaction. (And yes, I know some who disagree with us will say there is no suffering "living the life" but I know by experience that's a big lie. The "fun" doesn't last, not deep down.) For me, being true to thine own self is me choosing to be true to mine own best, higher self, not the least common denominator. I choose to control my body rather than let its instincts and urges control me. I'm the boss of me now. My body is subject to the higher character and honor of my spirit, the part of me that wants to be perfected in Christ.


    But I have one question I cannot seem to find an acceptable answer to: what happens to all of us single guys in eternity? Are we lost causes for the highest degree of the Celestial kingdom? Is there any hope directly outlined by the Brethren for us? I cannot find anything substantive from any of the Brethren (Prophet or Apostle) like they give to the sisters (they frequently say, "you sisters don't have to worry if you don't get married in this life; God will give you all those blessings later and you will be exalted; it's not your fault some brother doesn't ask you out or marry you, &etc."). I only hear, over and over again, year after year, "you unmarried brothers are not magnifying your priesthood and you will be separate and single forever, ministering angels, and are under the condemnation of God; you're a menace to society after 26." I feel defective. It seems unfair, but I know God isn't. Why, oh, why can't the Brethren, or better yet the Prophet himself, give a full talk just to us to comfort, encourage and give us definite direction and revelation spelling out the answers to our main questions on this subject? If they think we are lost, I'd rather hear it directly, but with an exactly stated solution; or, if not, then better yet tell us that and how to deal for the time being and retain our hope. How I wish they would!

    So I'm asking if you know of scriptures or words by the Chief Brethren speaking directly and unequivocally to give us comfort and direction (and more than one scant quote, more than a 70 or BYU professor). Or, if not, what perspective do you take that seems to help you? I'm hoping you will suggest or know something I have not.

    So far, my thinking has only led me to see things the following ways. 1) The most important thing to me is whether I help others receive all their blessings, even if it means I may not have mine. 2) I cannot marry a girl if I am not attracted to her and cannot give her all she needs and rightly desires--it would be un-Christlike (I cannot use someone else just to mark something off on my eternity checklist). 3) Regardless of what happens with me in eternity, I am unequivocally resolved to obey and repent and rely wholly on our Savior's merits (it's all I can do). 4) Though I sometimes wish I were not alive anymore, I choose to suffer whatever is asked for the simple fact that I owe it to everyone else to remain around to meet their needs--it's a matter of love (I must choose between which I want more, since I cannot have both: either living to serve others so they won't suffer, though I will; or bagging it so I don't have to suffer here at least, but knowing others I might have helped will. I just can't choose the later. To me, it feels like Gethsemane, only on a scale God could give me since I'm not Jesus. I suppose I am looking for the angel mentioned in Luke that reassured Jesus He would see His seed and the full blessings HE desired, despite current appearances. Are you that angel for me?

    1. Anonymous:

      We're not lost... and the senior Brethren love and care about us and the problems we face. I think that talks given in this past Conference give the hope you've been looking for.

      Elder Andersen spoke specifically about loving those with same-sex attraction - proof that the apostles are aware of us and that their talks can be applied to our situation.

      President Packer (definitely a senior - president of the quorum of the 12 apostles) spoke and gave the most amazing, heartfelt, spiritually inspired promise I've heard on the subject. "Your yearnings will be heard..." He promised that those who here in life do not marry but keep the commandments will have all the blessings of eternity given to them. He made no gender distinctions... and for President Packer, that means EVERYONE. As a teacher, he knows the importance of being specific in the things he teaches.

      And to finish it off, Elder Oaks gave a rousing, clear talk on Priesthood that also said that men and women are unequivocally equal, and receive the exact same blessings for their obedience, in the eyes of God. Which means that all the Conference talks about women who push forward with faith and are still single are applicable to us.

      The 26 menace thing is an awful misquote - I think I wrote a post about it once.

      There is hope. Life doesn't need to be suffering through. You can KNOW with a complete knowledge that God is there for you... just be willing to let Him define happiness and the timetable where it will come.


  3. Okay, so I'm going to try again, since you haven't responded in over a week. So I don't believe you understood me or what I was asking for. For the most part, I'm not endlessly suffering through life, and I love serving the Lord and others. Just this particualar question gives me great and seemingly endless pause--and many tears, many nights--because I cannot find anything that directly answers the concern.

    Saying the Brethren love us, or that all are considered equal before God, or that God is there for us, does not answer my question. I already believe these things to be true (and know them with a complete knowledge); however, that is like someone asking, "Do I need to be baptized to be exalted?" And the response being, "We love everyone, whether they are baptized or not, and understand their concerns. Everyone is loved equally and God cares." Obviously, the answer to the question was avoided. The only possible direct answers to the question are: "You must be baptized, no exceptions, to receive exaltation"; "baptism is not required to receive exaltation"; "Baptism is required of all, but there are exceptions, such as little children who die; they will be exalted without it"; and "if someone was not baptized in this life, they unequivocally will have it by proxy afterwards and will be exalted upon accepting that ordinance then." Do you see the difference? I want the unequivocal bottom-line, so far as we are concerned, as to marriage and exaltation for us. Don't you?

    So I was hoping you would know of some unequivocal statement--and quote it exactly--from the Brethren stating definitively the position of we brothers, particularly, with SSA. Something like this: "You brothers with SSA will not be denied exaltation and will not be just ministering angels if you choose not to marry in this life. God does not require it of you at this time. Don't worry about it. Got you covered. Here are some scriptures to support this. If you do marry, glad to hear it and we wish you well, but it is not required of you at this time. Just as baptism is not required of little babies who die, consider yourself in this life as those from whom marriage is not required. God will give you a family in eternity. Be obedient to everything else and repent when needed."

    So, do you have some quotes for me?

    1. There's an interview that might have the quotes you are looking for. It's hosted at the LDS newsroom and with Elder Oaks & Elder Wickman. This is the clearest official statement I've seen - if you're already aware of it and it's not enough, then I don't know where to direct you. It's here, also linked in the "Start Here" section of the blog.


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