"S" is For Happiness: Part 1

Aside from the atrociously incorrect usage of English above, at least now you are reading. :) Within the conflicts of SSA, unfortunate as they are, I often have found myself over-complicating matters and focusing outward excessively to the point of not taking care of personal desires and needs.  I found myself being truly within the statement of Elder Holland when he said, "Of all the commandments Latter-Day Saints are guilty of breaking, I would suppose that the commandment to 'Be of good cheer' is probably the most broken".  As I reflected on this statement, it has occurred to me that I have found happiness as a Latter-Day Saint, that "good cheer" Christ and His servants have spoken of when I have lived the gospel in particular ways.  Not necessarily focusing on the particulars of rules and regulations, but rather dumbing it down a little for myself and making things easier to understand.  Because rules and regulations have to do with obligation, rather than love, I prefer to live the gospel according to principle, because it shows a true love for God and His truths as found in the gospel. Below I have listed a few principles I believe in pursuing as a Latter-Day Saint, because I know that obedience is about learning heaven-not earning it (D&C 78:7).

First Principle:  Simplicity

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication"- Leonardo Da Vinci

In the daily labors of life, I delight in bringing simplicity to me in every way possible.  Some object to this, because supposedly it "won't work and brings more work", their way "already works", or another self-invented excuse. Christ had something to say on this: "...take no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought unto the things of itself", meaning we would just deal with today as it is, not as it was or will be, just as it is.  An ancient proverb states that yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift-that is why they call it the present.  Yet how often are we worrying about the wrappings and their colors, the bow and how it is tied, who tied it, why that gift was given to us, whether we like it or not, etc.?  I have so often done this myself before with the "gifts" of love others give me, metaphorically speaking, only to look back and ponder about just receiving the gift and rejoicing in it.  A true artist of simplicity can approach the world with childlike eyes, and through the power of love and God's guidance, create a delicate, yet firmly placed world wherein things fall into place in a gloriously serene and joyful manner.  And when we truly choose to receive a gift in simplicity, the gift of life becomes more readily accessible because we obtain clarity on where all the gifts are, how they operate, why we love them, and so forth. 

For those who are pushing through the opposition of same-sex attraction, I understand as one of you that simplicity is not always easy, and may seem well near impossible.  It does not feel simple for me, personally, when I desire to have marriage but I do not desire the means necessary for marriage, such as dating, relationships, and friendships with women.  Nor does it feel easy when I am having one of those days where I feel unattractive to the opposite sex, whether that is in body or in spirit, or when I am doubting the promises of the Lord given to me regarding marriage in this life.  However, I have come to understand that in those moments where I am feeling such negativity, it is not my true inner self speaking.  The voices of Satan and his angels can imitate ours with such accuracy that we often will give into their deceptive persuasions.  As such, the wisdom of God tells me, through the Spirit, that in such moments I must learn to call upon God for grace in prayer, and ask for His help.  And whatever method of help He chooses to send me, I must recognize that it is wisdom in God and is sent in His infinite omniscience and omnipotence.  For those of you who are somewhat like the man who cried out to Christ, saying, "Lord, I believe-help thou mine unbelief", I would echo the words of Alma when he said, "But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words." (Alma 32:27).  Let even a desire work within you, and nurture it carefully through staying close to the light-things that are good according to your conscience, and I promise you will, after a time, begin seeing the fruits of that light (see verses 28-32).

Regarding additional spiritual affairs, one does not sometimes see how dealing with the sins associated with SSA (pornography, fornication, masturbation, sensual acting out, etc) can be overcome in simple ways. For you, reader, if you are experiencing this, I express my deepest empathy and compassion, for I have been in that dark abyss of hopelessness, despair, loss of desire to live, and all the rest of it.  That is what hell truly feels like, and I understand insofar as our experiences merge in terms of spiritual darkness, because I also know they diverge regarding your personal life experiences.  Know that you are a child of your Father in Heaven, know that He is watching over you and loves you, and the lies that Satan whispers that you are too far gone, too unclean, that you "want it anyway", addicted beyond redemption of any means available, etc. are all lies.  The Atonement of Jesus Christ is not shortened, that it cannot save.  It claimed all of humankind, including and especially you.  Those are who He came for, as He said, "The whole need no physician, but they that are sick."  All of us are "sick" in one way or another, most certainly with spiritual illnesses related to the universal Fall of Adam.  Having said this then, I know that there are ways to teach the body how to biochemically and spiritually become pure and chaste through actively fighting for it.  Sins, depending on how much of a habit or an addiction (yes, there is a difference between the two) they are, will take less or more time to fade with effort, but Christ can root them out as the Master Gardener of our souls, just as my father would root out weeds in his beloved garden.  A garden will not be cleared all at once, but I have faith in the words of a prophet when he said, "...by small and simple means are great things brought to pass".

Small and simple means, through applying the Atonement in requests of prayer, can give both strength and, according to the will of God, deliverance from the struggles associated with SSA by simplifying our perspective and clarifying our lives. Whether those oppositions are of self-esteem, doubts regarding family, sins, mental illness, etc., I know we can overcome by using the Atonement.  Christ, in His wisdom, leads me out of overwhelm, pessimism, discouragement, and other self-destructive mindsets, and into those that are edifying and lead to simple thinking.  Such a state of mind, led by the Spirit/conscience, is one that you tune yourself into and go with.  If you feel that you need sleep earlier in the nighttime, if you desire more sex in your marriage with your husband/wife, if you need additional recreation, and so on, that is your mind and/or body speaking to you. It is also God speaking to you through His love and light.  Listen.  A simple life focuses on balance in all things, while aligning oneself to the will of the Father.  I have personally experienced the greatest happiness as I have done not only what is for me, but what God sees is for me, too.  S is indeed for happiness then, because simplicity is all about and all for happiness.  How fitting, then, that an artist should say that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, for we reach our highest pinnacle when we can balance things continually, moving forward serenely and focusing on the now.

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