What Way, Now? Oh, THAT Way...

What Way, Now?  Oh, THAT Way... 

As I recently celebrated my birthday with friends, with one getting hit in the head with a volleyball, others bringing smiley face, rainbow cupcakes, and still others presenting me with decorative gifts, my thoughts turned to my birth.  Interesting turn of events within my thoughts, but there you are.  As I pondered on my birth, I wondered why so many people believe that SSA individuals are "born that way", or that God made them that way.  For such a celestial, sacred creation of life, it seems blasphemous to suggest that God would simply hand us attractions at a time in life where we just are supposed to cope without any sort of guidance or direction.  I wish to submit a few suggestions on what I feel people are confused about regarding perceptions on being "born that way", but as a 3-part blog.  Here is Part 1:  

People confuse "born that way" and "being born with inclinations".  

When someone indicates they were born with same-sex attraction, it does not cohere with the statements of scripture and of General Authorities.  In Genesis it reads, "So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created he him, male and female created he them" (Genesis 1:27).  The literal translation of the word "image" in this context is a reference to God's physical and spiritual body, meaning more than just we look like He does in human form.  It means we all have a body like God-but in an imperfect form, due to Adam's transgression and the resultant Fall of Adam.  We also have a spiritual body like God's, which is responsible for the inner conflict SSA individuals feel between the attraction and wanting to act in lust. Because of this eternal truth, it is a mistake to believe that we can be born with something that is both physically and spiritually contrary to our purpose of becoming like God through the Atonement in mortality, as a condition. Being born with homosexual tendencies, on the note of it being a purported "condition" we are born with, contradicts the essential doctrine that men can improve upon behavior in this life.  If you say you are born with it, such a statement can easily give way to a license to state that you can sin because there's nothing you can do about it.  As a comparison, I was born with two mental illnesses, as noted in one of my previous posts.  However, that does not excuse sinful or unjust behavior.  I still have to repent and change my ways when I sin against others or against God in my weaknesses.  Similarly, one may try to justify their behavior by saying they are "born that way".  Such a statement can be made in the meaning of one being born with inclinations that develop later through biological and environmental circumstances.  However, for the purpose of banishing all excuse and self-justification, I have separated the two definitions.  

President Spencer W. Kimball made the following statement when writing about those who attempt to excuse acting out on same-sex attraction by stating the following, "Next in seriousness to nonrecognition of the sin is the attempt to justify oneself in this perversion.  Many have been misinformed that they are powerless in the matter, not responsible for the tendency, and that 'God made them that way'. This is untrue as any of the other diabolical lies Satan has concocted.  It is blasphemy.  Man is made in the image of God. Does the pervert think God to be 'that way'?  To the weaklings who argue this way, James answers: 'Blessed is the man that endureth (i.e., resisteth) temptation; for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to all them that love him.  Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God:  for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:  But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.  Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin:  and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.  Do not err, my beloved brethren.  (James 1:12-16).  Sometimes not heavenly but earthly parents get the blame.  Granted that certain conditions make is easier for one to become a pervert, the second Article of Faith teaches that a man will be punished for his own sins.  He can, if normal, rise above the frustrations of childhood and stand on his own feet.  A man may rationalize and excuse himself till the groove is so deep he cannot get out without great difficulty.  But temptations come to all people." (The Miracle of Forgiveness, pp. 85-86).


Now, moving on to what the difference is between simply being born that way, and being born with such inclinations.  One difference I see, besides God not tempting us or sending us a condition that is immovable through the Atonement (emotionally speaking, not attraction-wise), is that of acting and not passively being acted upon.  In 2nd Nephi 2:27, we read, "Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man.  And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the Great Mediator of all men, or captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself."  Also, we read in verse 14, "And now, my sons, I speak unto you these things for your profit and for your learning, for there is a God, and he hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be acted upon."  Based on verse 14, (and personally supplementing it with verse 27) I would support what Elder Bednar said, that we all must choose to act rather than being acted upon.  This gospel is a gospel of action.  To say that SSA happens to you without purpose and simply as a random act of creation through God and/or our mortal parents is blasphemous, and contrary to the Plan of Salvation.  All things we endure, resist, seek after, etc. in the gospel of Christ point towards gaining exaltation through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  We choose to follow Him, not let life happen to us and choose to follow Him through life happening to us.  The Saints of God make life happen and push through trials that do happen as a result of chance-the trials that serve to refine us and draw us nearer to Him.  And if life is happening, it is because we are out there in it, like a person who chooses to walk out in a rainstorm to their car to drive to their destination because they simply must.  Though the rains of attraction, discouragement, fear, doubt, pain, heartache, loneliness, shame, guilt, hopelessness, sorrow, or whatever may fall, SSA members of the Church climb into the Savior's arms, where He carries us home to our destination, and makes far more out of us than we could possibly dream of.  

Another misconception I see which can show a difference between my two definitions is that of biology. Research, in recent years, has indicated that some genetics may predispose a person towards having same-sex attraction.  However, it should be noted that this research says "may predispose (key word, may), and that other research has indicated that such genetics do not necessarily mean that people will be attracted to the same sex.  Essentially what they have found is something that may create more of a favorable circumstance for one to develop such attractions.  But depending on situations like abuse, pornography exposure, molestation, lack of male/female role models (especially in parents or other caretakers), personality traits, and so on, one may or may not develop same-sex attraction.  So many variables exist that they can only pin it down so much, that "point" being a potential, not certain chance of developing said attractions.  I would not hesitate to say either that genetics can actually differ in how much they influence the human body and brain because of their expression, meaning that they might flare up more or less, depending on many various influences of environment and general bodily processes.

Furthermore, I feel that people define emotional connection and lust as the same thing sometimes, which is not only dangerous but also gives people the thought of their SSA originating with birth, which I am here establishing does not happen.  Those mindsets, when confused, create a thought process of not being able to help what one feels, either because of innocence of age or because of overpowering feelings of lust at an age where capability to cope with lust is limited.  Thankfully, as one matures and grows older, he/she can realize and comprehend that such a confusion was not rooted in reality and can return to the truth of how things really were.  Unless, of course, their situation differed somehow.  Really, that is up to the individual. And of course, more can (and probably will, in the future) be said, but this suffices for now, at least by my writings.

So,what way are we born?  As children of God, heirs with Christ, and capable of progression in this life and individual perfection in the next, of being as God is in the world to come.  Is sexuality really a way to define who we are, or perhaps is it something deeper that sexuality only springs out of like the leaves on the branches of a tree trunk?  I believe it is the latter.  We do not know the meaning of all things, as Nephi explained to the angel who appeared to him, but we do know God loves us.  And because God loves us, He created us in His image and all we are and can do reflects who He is in the divine mirror of truth.  We are His, and He is ours.  

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