By today's societal standards, David and Jonathan once experienced a relationship of being in love and one of homosexuality, at that. If one examines 1st Samuel 18-2nd Samuel 1, however, they will find the truth that David and Jonathan based their friendship on a covenant of peace, friendship, and brotherly love. I have often found, in my various dealings with SSA and non-SSA members, that confusion exists as to whether two members of the same sex can fall in love. Let us start by exploring the love that existed between these two brethren of the holy priesthood of God, or, if you are non-religious, from the perspective of two friends.
David, up until later in his life, was "a man after the Lord's own heart" (1st Samuel 13:14). Jonathan was the son of a king, and, from the readings of the Bible, must have been a loving, protective, and warrior-spirited man. When he saw David coming back from the war with the Philistines and told King Saul (Jonathan's father) who he was and what he done to Goliath, the scriptures say that "the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul." (1st Samuel 18:1) In other words, Jonathan loved David not just because of David's apparent warrior spirit. Jonathan loved David primarily for his spirituality and conversion to Christ that resulted in him going forth into battle. At this time, they made a covenant of peace, friendship, and brotherly love, in which each of them promised to do whatever the other desired-this being in righteousness, of course. Sometimes, you will hear in modern times of friends "being there for each other no matter what" or "being another brother/sister". I believe that these statements equate to such a mutual promise between these two brothers in Christ, although I am of the opinion that they based their promise on their faith, hope, and charity as disciples of the Master. Throughout their friendship, Jonathan protected David in brotherly love because his father, King Saul, sought David's life nine times out of cruelly motivated envy. In addition, Jonathan comforted him because the situation with the king required that they mutually test the king's disposition towards David. Though accused of being treacherous to the king after refusing to deliver up the innocent David to be killed, Jonathan still maintained the integrity of his covenant to his brother in Christ and saw him through to safety even until the point at which David left the kingdom to protect his own life. Many years later, when learning of Jonathan's passing, he declared, "thy love to me was wonderful, surpassing the love of women." (2nd Samuel 1:26).
To those active and faithful, such a scripture may appear disconcerting at first. However, after a closer examination at the Hebrew translation, the word "love" refers back to the essence of a covenant, because covenants are often made in love-if not at least respect. At their best, as was the case with David and Jonathan, people make covenants with either each other or to God in love because of a mutual feeling of love and a desire to edify and bless. Returning to the scripture, then, the correct interpretation would state that David's feelings of love in his covenant with Jonathan, specifically, were greater than the love of women, generally, because his wife, Michal, showed less loyalty to their marriage covenant than Jonathan did to their covenant of brotherly love. You, reader, may be questioning how all this relates to same-sex attraction, but keep reading-I promise we are arriving there.
Oftentimes in a mutual agreement, whether expressed or unexpressed, SSA individuals confuse being "in love" with "loving". Let us explore this for a moment, and please, open up your mind so that I may use my time wisely in writing this. When someone states they are "in love", what they really mean is they have chosen the appropriate steps (getting to know someone, dating, enjoying their talents, etc.) and eventually coming to love that person as a whole. I disagree with the shortcut phrase of "falling in love" because people make it sound like an accident that they had no control over, or that they had a limited amount of choice in. Now, I understand that most people say this as a shortened way of saying all that mouthful of words above. I get that, totally. But in this context, SSA individuals say they are "falling in love" as though their moral, God-given agency somehow is taken from them and they cannot help but feeling "in love". Let us not confuse SSA chemical romance with the initial heterosexual state of being in love, because the brain is quite capable of making one feel good during hugs, cuddling, kissing, and other passionate activities I shall not mention here. That does not constitute true love of any sort, whether of the initial "in love" feeling that explodes and starts a heterosexual relationship or the quieter kind that sustains marriage.
If you are seeking the thrill of SSA chemical romance, you'll find it-that's how dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and other minor chemicals feel, both in the mind and the heart as a direct emotional result of the mental processes that occur. But what you shall also discover as a discerning tool on whether something is a chemical romance or not is that it will simply leave you craving more, psychologically and sometimes even physiologically. You see, chemical romances have a way of giving you a sort of "high" at first-in the same way that porn, drugs, and other spiritually forbidden practices do, albeit in a much more addictive manner. Afterwards, though, you have a sort of "crash" and crave the person when they are absent-reminds you of the song, "Your Love is My Drug", does it not?
But let us not confuse SSA chemical romances with "being in love", as though we cannot help it-for that contradicts the God-given truths of agency and accountability. The state of being "in love", I should clarify, is here defined as a heterosexual attraction and choice as further described above. I am particularly fond of C.S. Lewis' statement on that, from the very applicable viewpoint of heterosexuality: "Another notion we get from novels and plays that 'falling in love' is something quite irresistible; something that just happens to one, like measels...But I am inclined to think that that these irresistible passions are much rarer in real life than in books, at any rate when one is grown up. When we meet someone who is beautiful and clever and sympathetic, of course we ought, in one sense, to admire and love these good qualities. But is it not very largely in our own choice whether this love shall, or shall not, turn into what we call 'being in love'? No doubt, if our minds are full of novels and plays and sentimental songs, and our bodies full of alcohol, we shall turn any love we feel into that kind of love: just as if you have a rut in your path all the rainwater will run into that rut, and if you wear blue spectacles everything you see will turn blue. But that will be our own fault." (C.S. Lewis: The Complete Signature Classics, Mere Christianity, 64).
Whatever one holds in their mind about the other individual, will change their perspective and thus their thoughts and emotions as a result. If you define a person by their physical appearance, so-called sexual abilities, or other methods that are meaningless in the eternal scheme of things, of course the perspective will feel biased towards being in love. Perhaps it would be worth it, in the presence of accepting but faithful Latter-Day Saints, to be affectionate with the individual you may be questioning (or to observe the relationship you are concerned about). The presence of others accomplishes the purpose of upholding moral standards at all times. If you can then, for 4-5 days, go without any communication at all and remain as you were before-just the normal you-then you can know it is the 3rd subject we have yet to briefly discuss. I also would recommend praying to God for wisdom and seeking out said wisdom from the holy scriptures.
Before I briefly cover the topic of loving, I want to point something out to you. Two of the previous topics I have covered in intertwined discussion both possess qualities of emotional, human belief-not faith in Christ. Unless placed in the context of heterosexuality, neither of them lead to edifying and uplifting influences, whether of people, media, situations, or whatever. Think about that for a minute-what good examples can you provide of SSA chemical romance or people who are SSA and claim to be in love? Are they in good places, spiritually speaking? What would Christ say about the spiritual and religious standing of those voicing their perceptions of same-sex attraction in those two contexts, I wonder? Such questions, in my opinion, seem to expose the truth of how SSA truly works in regards to chemical romances and, from my perspective, false claims of being "in love" with the same sex, which arise from confusion about what I am about to now speak on. Individuals who have not fully accepted their SSA experience frustration, many different types of confusion, shame, guilt, and so on. A great deal of us who have experienced SSA, if not all of us, know this. Often, I have seen those feelings negatively affect each relationship in a person's life who has not yet arrived in a peaceful place regarding his/her attractions towards the same sex. More specifically, people will mistakenly believe that feeling any sort of SSA attraction or pull to the same sex-including friendship-is bad and therefore is to be avoided, or it requires those feelings being repressed or reined in to some degree or another.
However, I would merely point in the direction of some scriptures, one of which states, "And that which doth not edify is not of God, and is darkness." (D&C 50:23) If something does not edify, which means to invite the Spirit of God and subsequently build your relationship with Jesus Christ, then it is from Satan. Period. We all know what is right and wrong, because the scriptures tell us that all men have the Spirit of Christ that tells them good from evil (Moroni 7:16-18). When in a friendship with someone of the same sex, and you are listening to the lie Satan is whispering that you are falling in love with them, consider where that leads. Does it lead to eternal marriage, to being a single parent with adopted children, or does it invite the Spirit? One cannot think to aim for possible marriage and potential family when falling in love, by true definition, means to love someone of the opposite sex, and hopefully marry them according to the circumstances of life and the righteous desires of the heart. Or, if neither of those are personal goals, then one cannot expect to live the gospel faithfully while following after personal lusts, passions, or other pursuits that put something before the Lord. If you are experiencing love for someone, and you are truly loving them, then view them as they really are-a child of God. The other aspects of a person, in an eternal sense, really do not matter. What matters is they are a child of God, and your role is loving him or her. As Paul said, charity "suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself (does not show off), is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly (Greek translation: indecently), seeketh not her own (does not give with a thought of a reward), is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth..." (1st Corinthians 13:4-8). If your friendship arises out of charity (which originates from striving to follow Christ, according to Moroni), then you are set. If not, then maybe it is time for you to re-examine that friendship.
Discerning between heterosexual feelings of being "in love", SSA chemical romance, and loving both sexes is essential to loving purely and meaningfully. As each of us arrives at a peaceful place with our SSA, it is my hope that we can choose to live gospel principles, and ultimately, live as our Savior would have us live. There's no need to feel ashamed, guilty, or scared of a emotionally deep and intimate friendship with someone of the same sex, especially if you are a guy. Society may state that certain types of affections are supposedly gay or inappropriate, but members of the Church understand that our standards are often regarded as strange or unacceptable. So let others keep telling us what love is-we'll let the negativity fade into the background and love with the Spirit as our guide.