A little over a year ago, I publicly announced on Facebook that I was gay and Mormon. At that time in my life, I was struggling to keep my covenants and therefore my conversion to Christ suffered as well. Some of the power Satan was exerting over me originated from the spiritual uncertainty and angst that I was experiencing over being gay and LDS at the same time. Although I would tell several friends and individuals that being gay and LDS is not a sin, and that there was no shame in it, I still experienced that shame. A sense of "being different" had settled on me like some kind of stubbornly persistent disease, and I couldn't shake it. As I moved forward, however, drinking in the love, grace, mercy, long-suffering, and hope from my Savior, Jesus Christ, my soul gradually filled with light and the dark lies of Satan faded out of my mind. I came to deeply comprehend with my heart what it truly means to be a son of God, and to enjoy an intimate, deep, and personalized relationship with Christ. He showed me that although my sexual orientation had influenced me to commit sin in the past, I had repented and changed, and therefore should not identify myself with the guilt and shame associated with that sin. Sometimes, I think all of us SSA members want to associate shame, guilt, etc. with our weaknesses and sins tied into our SSA, because that is what we remember feeling when we would make mistakes or transgress. I testify, however, that God desires for us to identify by our true selves, as His beloved sons and daughters. Truly nothing can separate us from His everlasting arms of love, as Paul testified in Romans 8. I love that concept, for it shows that we can throw off the chains of Satan's diabolical, whispered lies, and embrace the comforting whispers of the Spirit.
Through blogging here on Blogspot, I have learned many coping mechanisms, truths, and wonderful assets of having same-sex attraction. It is so good to know that I can use this as a gift to bless mankind, because I have a testimony of eternal truth and therefore can find ways to be happy. It saddens me how many individuals feel that they have to be true to some false, worldly teaching of who they are. If we are to look to the world to teach us who we are, perhaps we should look among the wisest and greatest of men- for they, of all people, knew that we are something higher than ourselves, because we were created by someone higher than ourselves. I sincerely am grateful to know that because I am a son of God, I can be true to that and keep myself sexually pure and worthy before the Lord. The world will mock, disapprove, jeer, laugh, and all the rest of it because of such a decision. But I believe, as do many others, that it is possible through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ-His Atonement- to be chaste before Him. There is more to life than sex, and fulfillment can be found in similar ways to romance. I am true to myself, because who I am is divine, just as everyone else.
Though I have learned and taught much through my blog, more importantly, I have been able to speak OUT. And what I mean by that is by coming OUT and reaching OUT, I have been able to bring people OUT of the shadows. Now, why do I put "out" in all caps? Because it emphasizes being out in the sunlight, with the warmth of gospel truth, love of friends and family, and the joy that only following Christ can give. It puts the weight on reaching with hands of love, drawing people out of the shadows of shame, guilt, low self-esteem, etc. and showing them that they can find love and have value in the Lord's eyes. And above all, it declares to every living soul who experiences same-sex attraction, whether LDS or not, that they are defined by their Creator and His love for them- not some lesser, base worldly standard of sex or sensuality. All people are of great worth to God and ought to be to us, because of who they are in God's eyes. He loves all His children without partiality and will always be there for all of them. It is my personal belief that because of this most important principle-that everyone is defined as a child of God-that individuals with same-sex attraction are here to teach us how to love more purely, deeply, and purposefully. Love is indeed the most powerful force in the universe, because any given force in the universe can only temporarily bond or rip apart two people or intelligent beings (such as animals). But love can forever do both, for time and all eternity.
Such love, what Latter-Day Saints call charity, is what motivated our Savior to suffer, bleed, die, and rise again for us. That same love can unify the Saints and people of the world as we all strive to understand what it means to truly love those who may seem to be different. In all reality, though, how different am I to be gay and Mormon? All things considered, I am not really different at all. For you see, everyone has something that makes them unusual. And focusing on sexual orientation would be no different than focusing on mental illness, physical disability, or something else that openly or discreetly makes someone different. Love sees past those differences, embracing the truth of God while loving the individual. And that love, combined with the Holy Spirit, has been what moved my heart more than once to stand before a congregation of Latter-Day Saint brothers and sisters, testifying of my experience with same-sex attraction and how I am living the gospel regardless of that experience. We are all called upon by God to live with something that may, at times, oppose our efforts to live in harmony with the teachings of Christ. But I decided long before I knew I was gay that I would follow the Savior, when I got baptized and could feel the Spirit and my Heavenly Father's love. I told myself that day that I wanted to always be clean, and to show the Lord how much I loved Him by doing as He asked as much as I possibly could. That is why I live the way I do, and that is why I have spoken out about that lifestyle of being faithful to my covenants while being gay and LDS.
It is my firm belief that all of us, whatever our "thing" is, that we should all strive to speak OUT about our experience. What is your story? For those of us with same-sex attraction, our story might be one of struggle, personal conflict, current personal peace, testimony, and so on. Such a personal witness will be an indescribably fortifying influence in the lives of friends and even complete strangers. I have personally experienced that as I have reached out to members and nonmembers alike, because generally speaking, we all want to live in accordance with high moral standards, if not the gospel itself. Others will share stories of abuse, mental illness, poverty, physical illness, and more. Those stories can and will strengthen others immensely, too. But just like the good news of the gospel, we need to share the good news of overcoming the darkness within, that shame, pain, guilt, despair, self-consciousness, and all the rest of that negative crap. Everyone, regardless of religious conviction, spiritual belief, or the absence of such, must surely feel the humane pull of compassion to reach out in love. As such, I would urge all of my readers to not keep silent but to speak OUT, because everyone can use extra hope and additional light from God. We are never to close to His eternal love and light. We can only ever become better and better off as we draw near unto His blessed presence. I love you all, and sincerely thank you for your support, love, compassion, patience, and all the rest of it in my life. Without you, I couldn't have possibly started this blog or do any of the other things that make up the character of who I am today. I am the man I am because of my Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ, and the wonderful people like friends & family who they send to be their hands. God bless you all. Until next time...