Monday, August 13, 2007

Giving Up Our Summer Homes

Today in Priesthood there was a quote that really hit me in a different way. The thought was from Pres Kimball.

". . . God's every command is righteous, every directive purposeful, and all for the good of the governed."

A lot of us who have struggled with this all our lives sometimes surrender a little bit as an end result of imploding in trying to be faithful. To be faithful we sometime justify having certain elements of the homosexual culture in our lives. We call it "finding a balance." We may even feel "at peace" in attending doing things like going to clubs and other places that promote acting on homosexual urges as "being true to ourselves." I think there is some danger in trying to find acceptance in these places as we often confuse feeling of being "at peace with ourselves" when we do go to places like these when what we are really feeling is the effects of becoming spiritually numb to the wickedness being promoted around us. "Wickedness was never happiness." This often causes conflict when we try to justify it to others who realize what we are doing.

Pres Kimball's quote was meaningful to me because I've often feel better about doing these things because I tell myself I'm an exception to some commandments. That because I am what I am, I'm different and the Lords plan has been altered for me. God needs to take my trails into account when he judges me and not all the commandments are for everyone. I've come to realize that this is justification and we have to choose.

I may even go so far as to say that the apostles are wrong or have been wrong and that they don't know enough about this to properly council us.

Elder Holland said recently at a conference at BYU called "For Such as Time as This" in a talk called "What Time is It," that we are the generation that is charged with preparing for the Savior's second coming and that it is time for us to live lives that reflect the things we say we believe in at testimony meeting. The Savior will come when we start acting like saints. On the way home I thought about these two quotes. Sometimes we think the things that the prophets say to us, the guidance they give to the church will only apply to us if we accept it. As if we are accepting the terms of a credit card. That we can throw the card away if we don't want to use it. For instance when we say, "well I agree with 70 percent of that new pamphlet" what we are saying is that we don't agree with everything the brethren says so we'll just follow the guidance we do agree with. But if we are to uphold our covenants its not a matter of agreeing with it, it's a matter of sustaining them and following in faith and obedience.

"...God's every command is righteous, every directive purposeful, and all for the good of the governed."

It's a matter of faith and putting faith into action. I sometimes think we get lured into thinking a commandment is to restrict us from "being true" to ourselves if we want something that goes against what we are commanded to do. But I think we need to realize that God has given us commandments out of love. He knows us better then we know ourselves, he is the one who made us. He is the only one who knows the truth about us. We have to believe this if we are to have faith. He is much like a father who tells a small child not to touch a hot stove.

Dad knows it will hurt us. We often have to touch it to expirence the heat and know that it will hurt it. But it is better for us and a lot less painful to accept his warning to not touch and not expirence it. Yes after we touch it and expirence the burn our dad may scold us after he applies some ice and kisses it to make it better and he does this cause he loves us. But wouldn't it be better if we just trusted him and didn't play anywhere near the stove. Do we not believe him before when he says its hot? Do we think he is just trying to keep us from having fun by touching the stove? Or does he know the end result will hurt us?

Trying to find "the balance" between living the gospel and living in the gay world is problematic. I mean fundamentally I understand the dilemma here. And there are times, well lots of times I don't feel the love I feel I should at church. But I worry about what we may be trying to balance with the gospel. what we are giving equal time to. Is this like having a home in heaven and a vacation home in hell? I mean at some point we do need to take a stand about what is right and wrong. For me the balance is allowing myself to interact with other members of the church who are struggling also. Its not found in parades and clubs. I find the balance in sharing struggles and trying to be a support. Although I do fail sometimes miserably.

King Benjamen said that when we are in the service of our fellow men we are in the service of God. Pres Kimball added "God will hear and answer our prayers but he often send other to do it." I think this means happiness is found in making sure others are happy.

I've thought back in my life and the times I've been the most not depressed was when I did lose myself in trying to be friends and helping others. The times I've been the most depressed was when I was dwelling on myself and my issues.

The world says that finding happiness this way is bad, its codependent and unhealthy. The best way to be happy is to "be true to ourselves." Yes we need to think of ourselves, but I think that the best way to be happy is to forget ourselves and help and love others.

I was trying to think about people who do this who aren't happy. Yes, there are some who are clinically depressed. But if we look at what we can't have as punishments for wanting those things we do resent God and we get upset. This resentment makes us feel unhappy and deprived.

I do think we need to accept ourself. When we do "find that balance" what makes us happy is the ability to be honest around people. But I wonder if these are really people we do need to be honest with and if the spiritually deadening effects of such environments are worth it. Honesty is part of the gospel. Repressing the truth creates a vacuum and its unfortunate that we have to lie about our issues to try to fit in. It shouldn't be and hopefully one day we won't have to. If we loved the way we should, we wouldn't have this fear but unfortunately there is a certain amount of fear that leads to homophobia in the church.

I don't mean the type of homophobia that Elder Oaks talks about, I mean hatred that is influenced by ignorance in the name of being faithful. There is as Pres Hinckley said, no place for it in the church. But at the same time we need to live in the world but not be of the world and most of the gay world is fueled with encouragements to be "true to yourself" and not God. Or worse this is how God made you so be happy.

I think that we need to have faith that he made us, he knows us, he's done what he has to in order to save us. So now we need to believe him and take him for his word.

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