Saturday, October 16

Living on Borrowed Light

I love understanding the world around me and applying knowledge to life. I’ve studied psychology, philosophy, human biology, natural sciences, history, languages, and everything else that lends itself to a humanities background. Most of the time, the truth I learn in the secular sphere interfaces pretty well with what the gospel teaches. Sometimes, though, popular theories and social pressures seem to contradict what I know to be true… or at least what I thought was true. It’s moments like these – breaking down the mental models and shattering the knowledge schemas – that enable me to better understand who I am, where my loyalty lies, and when faced with important truths from differing sources, what I really, really, choose to believe.

I think the first time it happened was when I learned that dinosaurs lived millions of years ago. I couldn’t have been very old, but I still knew that the scriptures taught that, until after the Fall, there was no death or imperfection on the Earth. The Earth fell for the sake of Adam – to become a place where he could grow and learn – so where did dinosaurs fit in? The thought of Adam and Eve living millions of years ago, with dinosaurs, seemed a bit absurd. I wondered what the explanation was for the discord in logic.

After reading whatever was written on the subject, and thinking that most of the theories or conjecture from both sides was also a bit absurd, I made the decision that it didn’t really matter to me. It still doesn’t. Where dinosaurs fit in doesn’t affect how I live my life each day or the choices I make, so I can wait to sort out the pieces there.

But there are some things that do matter… topics that are a part of me and change my entire outlook on life. Same-sex attraction, and how it plays a role in my life and God’s plan for me, is one of those.

Helaman 3:33-35:
“And in the fifty and first year of the reign of the judges there was peace also, save it were the pride which began to enter into the church—not into the church of God, but into the hearts of the people who professed to belong to the church of God
And they were lifted up in pride, even to the persecution of many of their brethren. Now this was a great evil, which did cause the more humble part of the people to suffer great persecutions, and to wade through much affliction.
Nevertheless they [the faithful] did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God” (emphasis added).

There are people on both sides of the discussion who could definitely show more love. But, regardless of outside influences, as a member of the Church who lives with same-sex attraction I have to choose between listening to my heart… and listening to my soul. Some psychological authorities say that happiness only comes through “following who you are,” “accepting yourself,” and “not living a lie.” Other voices in the community say that someday the Church will change its doctrines. With so many clamoring for attention, and with an issue so close to heart, simply relying on the words, or even faith, of others doesn’t work. I have to turn to God and understand it for myself.

I’ve prayed to know the truth, and God heard and answered my prayer. And, from that prayer, I can bear testimony that God lives and that He loves us. Because He loves us, He gives us commandments to help us to be happy. As I found myself with my back against the wall, I had two choices: follow the world, or turn to God, put my faith in Him, and yield my heart to His teachings. In a time like this, I can’t live on borrowed light. No one can.


  1. This is spot on. This made me think, as this topic gets discussed among those of our faith (or those who profess to be of the faith) who believe that the church will change its policies eventually, I have to say that it doesn't matter whether the church changes in the future or not -- our responsibility, which we've covenanted to do, is to follow and sustain the LIVING prophet and the revelation for our day.

  2. I've also pondered about when dinosaurs could've possibly lived on the earth!
    I absolutely love reading your thoughtful insight!!!

  3. Thank you. I was just pondering on Pride and how it affects us. I have seen it in members of the LDS faith, and out of it. The most important thing the Gospel teaches aside from the atonement, is love. Everyone who speaks poorly of the Brethren and what they teach, or bully or persecute anyone with challenges (myself included) are not living one of God's highest laws. To Love on another.
    My heart breaks that you have had to face such a struggle, but you encourage me to be better. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and light.
    God does answer prayers. I know he does. Though sometimes I forget those times that He does, and I doubt. But your words remind me that when I am feeling alone and lost and doubting what I thought I knew, He answers prayers. You have so much faith and it really warms my heart. It gives me the courage to try.
    Thank you for lifting me up and helping me to want to be better.

  4. As for the dinosaur thing, I like to think that the Fall, causing death to enter the world by fundamentally altering its changeless state, collapsed the quantum wave function and simultaneously caused the dinosaurs to have been created and destroyed. They were just a part of the wave function that allowed this wonderful world to come into motion—and, not being conscious, they would have been unable to collapse the wave function by observing their own existence. It’s a silly story, but I like it.
    But you are right. It really doesn’t matter. We know the gospel is true as far as we are able to understand it, and we know that it encompasses all other truths including science. We’ll figure it all out someday, but right now we need to focus on what we are doing right now. Like God said to Moses (I paraphrase): “Yeah, My creations are limitless, but I’m only going to tell you about this one. Please FOCUS!”

  5. I'm very glad to hear of someone that has come to a similar conclusion: issues not essential to the salvation of man are interesting topics of discussion, but do not matter eschatologically. It is so very easy to get distracted by the voices yelling about x issue or y debate, but little of it will have any effect at all on whether we attain the Celestial Kingdom.

    It is the way we address it that is important. We can appreciate the beauty of the cosmos while remaining affirmedly agnostic about the process of their formation. Perhaps we will never know precisely the origin of same-sex attraction. However, if we allow the search for and absolute answer to these things to shatter our faith, to push us away from our Heavenly Father or numb our sensitivity to Him by subscribing to any commandment of men preached as doctrine, we need to return to the Gospel is its wholeness and simplicity. Only in that way can we receive peace in this world and eternal life in the world to come.

    Thank you for your blog. I hope as many Mormons as possible encounter it; there is far too much misunderstanding and presupposition on this topic (which has been, quite unfortunately, stoked by other past church leaders), and a reasonable, orthodox voice exploring the true doctrinal stance on this issue is an incredible blessing.

  6. I recently found your blog, and it has really encouraged me. I am also Mormon. I don't deal with gay (or lesbian) temptations and haven't dealt with anything really really extremely difficult in my life yet. However, my compassion for those who do deal with tough things bogs me down sometimes. My compassion lately leaves me wondering whether some things just ARE too difficult to rise above. My compassion leaves me feeling hopeless for some people in their circumstances and has recently weakened my faith a little bit as I wonder if they are really getting a fair chance at this "fullness of joy" thing. :) Thank you for witnessing to me and reminding me that 1 corinthians 10:13 is true - that no matter what the trial or temptation, there is, with God's help, a way to escape. You have helped strengthen my testimony. You have inspired me to be strong through my own temptations and trials and to trust that God is giving every one of his children every opportunity possible to turn to Him in their individual trials as well. I now recognize, and it's silly, that I have lost a degree of trust in God that He knows what He's doing with each of His children whom He loves an infinity more than I do. We each get to choose whether to buck up and become amazing, or shrink, wither and digress. Sometimes it's easy to feel like shrinking. You have strengthened my resolve to hop back onto he road of progression, to rely on God, and to return to seeking for the spirit in all that I do. Thank you! I admire and respect you. You are obviously a strong son of our Heavenly Father. I can't help but wonder whether some of God's elect were sent here with especially difficult trials to act as stepping stones for those who are perhaps more fragile. Thank you for choosing to rise above your challenges while serving as a beacon of light in this grim world when it would have been easy to shrink into the chaotic, dark, noise that is such a dime a dozen. All of your posts that I have read have rung true to my soul and filled me with peace. It's a breath of fresh air to come here and read. I recognize that as the power of the Holy Ghost. I'm grateful that God has given us the Holy Ghost to help guide us through all the confusing voices around us. I know that this is God's true church restored in it's perfect form back on the earth (although filled with imperfect people). I know that God loves all of His children and is actively helping each of us. Our job is to learn to recognize it, and to appreciate it, and to learn to humbly listen. You are a wonderful example of one who is on this path. I can't help but want to join you. :)

  7. I think you are amazing and if I still lived in SLC I would want to find you and give you a hug! Thank you for sharing your faith and struggles, your testimony and heart with us.

  8. Thank you so much for sharing all of your insights. I have been uplifted in so many ways by just reading your post. Thank you!

  9. You are amazing! I am a new reader to your blog and am so impressed with your strength. I am LDS and have a few gay friends, one close friend who served in the same mission as me. He chose to leave the church to live a gay life style. It has made me sad, but I also don't have to live with this struggle. That's the decision that he made and he must live with the consequences of that.

    I am happy that you have chosen the gospel. I know that God will continue to give you strength, courage and faith! Thanks for sharing your thoughts openly here. :)


    P.S. I have a theory that the dinosaurs lived during the time of the creation, before Adam and Eve. Isn't a year in Gods time 1000 years of our time? Perhaps they lived then...That's the only way I've been able to explain it to myself!

  10. This was a powerful post. Thank you.

    I was moved by the whole post, but this really stood out to me: "With so many clamoring for attention, and with an issue so close to heart, simply relying on the words, or even faith, of others doesn’t work. I have to turn to God and understand it for myself."

    In a day when words and information are so readily at our fingertips, it's hard sometimes not to rely on them too much. I appreciate the reminder that ultimately, we each have to go to God for understanding about Truth, especially as it relates to our own lives and struggles and choices.

    Thank you for taking the time to write your faith and experiences, and for being so willing to let your thoughts be freely shared. (We plan to share your blog with others through our site soon.)


  11. I can't remember who told me about you, but I have to add to the mass of comments that express respect for what you are doing. Obviously, you are a man of active mind and heart and of humility - and I cringe a little writing these things, not meaning to heap too much praise on a person I really don't know, because that kind of praise (especially given gratuitously) can add to what a burden a person already bears. I am interested to read the things you've written (beyond this post). Because of this post, I feel a kinship with you; your thinking feels like mine - all that wonder, all that piecing things together.

    I think you have pulled one of the hardest hands to have to play in mortality, and you seem to be doing it with grace. Anything I could do to make it easier, I would do. I've had friends in the position you examine on this blog - I think maybe the hardest part of any burden is to feel that you're alone in it. I just wish people understood more, feared less and were more willing to support one another.

  12. What you have just said applies to all of us!

    Just read your blog for the first time and I admire your wisdom and strength.

    All of us need to aquire and fill our own lamps with oil. Doesn't matter what we are dealing with in this life, we can't as you say, rely on borrowed light. We all have to choice at some point in our lives who we are going to choose.

    God bless you!!

  13. I also found you blog from face book and all of the controversy from General Conference. I have loved reading it. Thank You for your courage, and testimony. I love that your blog and it's comments build each other up and encourage each other. I love that you have created a place for others who are struggling to find peace and comfort. Thank you. for everything.

  14. It is incredible the many ways Heavenly Father Reminds us and teaches us, isn't it? I only discovered your blog a few days ago but have spent all of my spare time reading and learning and being inspired by you. Anyway, I awoke early this morning to a quiet house (perfect scripture study weather I call it) and reached for my iPhone instead to read just a few of your blogs first. This is the one I was on. Needless to say, once I read this, I put down my borrowed light (what a bright light it is, I must say) and turned to God and put him first and feasted upon His words. I thanked Him for my struggles. I thanked Him for yours :/. I prayed for my righteous desires. And I prayed for yours :). I am grateful that through your blogs I have grown. I am grateful that today was no exception. ~ Lisa


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