Saturday, September 11

The Struggle is Not the Sin

I love to make goals for my life. I think of something amazing I want to be, create a vision, then start on the pathway to achieving it. And I start out well. For a day, or a week, or even a month. But then, almost invariably, I fail.

I've failed more times than I can count in my life. Some failures are somewhat benign - failure to read my scriptures, to reach out and do good for others, or to work out every day. Other failures have a much bigger impact - failure to stay out of precarious situations, or to resist temptations or get out when the situation goes bad.

Failing is painful. And when I fail, Satan tries to convince me that I'll never make it. It's not worth the effort. I'll never be good enough. I've sinned so much that God could never forgive me. And even if He does, I'll never be happy anyway. The lies swirl around me and I find myself with two options - get up and start over, or stay in the gutter and be brainwashed into changing my dreams.

For me, the vision is being married, with a family. When I realize that I've dated yet another girl and I'm not at all attracted to her, and then I find myself dreaming about a guy in my ward, I have the same two options. I can keep moving forward, believing that God will bless me no matter what happens, or I can lower my vision and give up on the ideal. Thankfully, I've always had the strength to get up and start over. To pick up my shattered dreams, put the pieces back into place, and ask God for help.

For guys who are attracted to guys, attraction can be a constant issue. But attraction isn't the same as sin. I make mistakes and repent just like everyone else. If I make big mistakes, yeah, the repentance process takes more time and effort. Sometimes a lot of time. And a lot of effort. But it's still available. It is worth it, I can do it, and the Lord will help me to be happy, fulfilled, and ultimately receive my righteous desires. The danger is in giving up and stopping my progression - believing that following temptation will make me happier than following God. My prayer is that I will always have the faith to keep going.


  1. Being a straight member of the church, my trials have not been of the exact same nature as yours; although they are similar in that they aren't caused by physical infirmity, and they have had a unique and noticeable influence on my own temptations and my ability to deal with them. I've struggled for a long time with clinical anxiety and depression, but it wasn't until my mission that I realized that I needed professional help for them, and I had to be given an honorable medical release so that I could get the treatment that I needed to overcome those things—if they would keep me from being able to serve the Lord for two years, then they would keep me from being able to serve Him for the rest of my life as a husband, father, and Priesthood leader. As it was, I had to spend every last ounce of energy I had on just making it through each day without succumbing to my anxieties and being unable to function on even the most basic level; and that left almost no energy for me to be able to resist temptation, be productive in my work and studies, and live the Gospel, as well as I knew I was capable of doing.

    Despite our different circumstances, your posts about how the Gospel has helped you bear your own trials and temptations have been an inspiration to me, as I learn how to apply my energy and effort—now that, thanks to the counseling and medication that have helped me control my anxiety, I no longer need to spend all of it just to make it through each day—to resisting and overcoming temptation, and living the Gospel. The insights you give are ones that apply to all of God's children in all of their trials, however great or small, and ones which are available to us through the principles and ordinances of the Gospel; thank you for sharing your experiences and the ways in which those insights and the Gospel have helped you in your trials.

  2. Jesse: Thanks for your comment. I'm glad that my experiences, though definitely unique to my life, can be an inspiration in your life. And I'm glad that you have come to the understanding I've seen - that we can live the Gospel and be happy no matter how we were born, how we were raised, or where and how we lived.

    I have faith that each of us can grow to meet our true potentials, someday. We will definitely have to work for the rest of our lives, either way. But we can be happy today and tomorrow and for the rest of eternity.

  3. You remind me somewhat of my best friend. She is extremely good-looking, talented, and in-tune with other people. She spends 110% of her time on other people, and never seems to want help. And yet I know she is frustrated with what you might call her own superiority, the fact that there aren't many people who can keep up with her and those that might be able to are stuck in similar 110% worlds of their own making.

    Sometimes I wish that she would slow down, come down to earth with the rest of us, but then I realize again that it just wouldn't be her. I sometimes struggle trying to figure out what the best way to support her especially when she is feeling like a failure since I can't even begin to play at her level, although I am considerably talented in my own way.

  4. " I can keep moving forward, believing that God will bless me no matter what happens, or I can lower my vision and give up on the ideal. "

    Thank you for putting this into words so well. I don't struggle with the same temptations as you, but I have my own "inner demons" to work through. As I read your blog I realize that I'm not alone in feeling like there's a battle inside of me daily, trying to overcome doubt, fear, and negativity. I'm so grateful for the comfort knowing that I'm not "crazy" for having an inner wrestle! Thank you for sharing your insights.
    On another note, I came to your blog off of CJane's. Your honesty and openness has given me a new perspective of those (especially in our faith) who struggle with same-gender attraction. Thank you for your candidness. I feel more compassionate after reading your thoughts.


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