Thursday, August 16, 2007

"Coming out " OF the World

Sometimes when we try to live in the world but not be of the world, the world sometimes creeps in. This is especially true for those of us that struggle with things that the world says is ok but we know through the gospel to not be the case.

Much like Elder Oaks counseled us not to use the term gay to define ourselves. I sometimes bristle with the term "coming out." In the gay culture it normally means embracing your sexuality and leaving behind any attempts to avoid it. To celebrate it. It means "being true to yourself" and your urges. For some it becomes what defines them, how they look at the world, what they belive and it shades their realtionships with family, friends and God.

For those of us who are striving to be faithful, I don't think much of that applies. Yes I do think I need to be honest with myself. Repressing my feelings doesn't make them go away. Denying them to myself isn't healthy. And hating myself for them isn't very emotinaly healthy. I do think if it is needed that I should be honest to those around me whom I think need to know. But I don't think its really imperative unless we feel an urge prompted by the spirit to share it with anyone. In some cases it may be better to keep it to yourself. In other cases you should share it with your parents and close friends. Of course if you have to make things right with the Lord you should tell your bishop as part of the repentance process. But if you haven't acted on it and feel that keeping it to yourself is best, then you should do that. Whatever the case this choice to be honest about your feelings is something very personal and should be done only after a lot of prayer and contemplation. I also think we need to be willing to accept that some people may not be able to accept or handle it and be just as compasionate and loving to them as we except. If our goal is to be faithful to the gospel, we may be the only good example they have ever seen in a world full of sterotypes.

Parents, friends and priesthood leaders need to realize that it is the act not the feeling that is sinful. That just feeling this way doesn't make you this way. Acting on it is what does that. I know growing up that wasn't clearly taught to me and I thought as early on as when I was a deacon who had crushes on the priests that I was going to hell and that I was a mistake. There is a lot of room for improvement in the church in this area. I see signs of positive changes, but a lot more does need to be done.

We also need to learn to accept that we aren't perfect. That we will be constantly tempted. Just choosing to not give in isn't going to stop the urges or the feelings. We need to also make good friends who values are the same who will encourage us and not enable us. And yes there are times when we may fall. It is possible for us to belive something with all our hearts and still be tempted and in the heat of the moment make a bad chioce. I don't think this is an indication of our lack of faith, just that we are human and make mistakes and so we need to repent and seek the Lord's forgivness. It dosen't make you a bad person.

I am grateful for my testimony. I know the church is true. I don't know all the whys or reason, but I do know the hows. I do know that the person who created me knows all the answers and He's the one I want to follow. Knowing this makes it easier. I think the only thing that we do need to is to "come out" of is the world and it's concepts. We are first and foremost children of a loving Heavenly Father and that's the only identity that really counts. On Sunday when we take the Sacrament and take His name, that is all that needs to define us.


Abelard Enigma said...

I understand what you are saying, and I don't even disagree.

But, I can't help but wonder if more of us who have the feelings without the action 'came out' of the closet, perhaps the rest of the church wouldn't have such a twisted view of what it means to be a 'gay Mormon'. Our straight brothers and sisters might more careful about things they say that can come across as hurtful to those of us who live with these attractions every day. The youth of the church might feel less inclined to say "that's so gay" at least 3 times every hour.

Much like Elder Oaks counciled us not to use the term gay to define ourselves.

Specifically, Elder Oaks counseled us that terms like 'gay' "are adjectives to describe particular thoughts, feelings, or behaviors." He went on to say "We should refrain from using these words as nouns to identify particular conditions or specific persons."

I do not take this to mean that I should remove the word 'gay' from my vocabulary. When we call ourselves a 'gay Mormon', we are using it as an adjective (a word which describes a noun) which I deem to be perfectively acceptable.

Crow's View said...

No I think he just means we aren't supposed to define ourselves as gay Mormons. But I agree with the top part. But I also think that it can be a case of PC gone a muck when a kid can get expelled for saying "thats so gay" but making negative comments about someones religion is protected as free speech.

Abelard Enigma said...

No I think he just means we aren't supposed to define ourselves as gay Mormons

If that's what he meant then why didn't he just say we shouldn't use words like 'gay' and leave it at that? Why obfuscate it with a discussion of nouns and adjectives?

I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree on this point.

Crow's View said...

I think thats what he did say, but most people can't handle "do not" statements without explanations. I don't know why an explanation is needed, I really don't want to be defined by a struggle that if I choose to follow or give into would separate me from God.