Friday, August 10, 2007

Who I am and what I believe

Let me introduce myself, I'm 34. I was raised in a very small town and was the only member of the church at my school. From as long as I can remember I have always been "the only" in every group. At school I was the only Mormon, at church I felt I was the only guy who was gay. I've spent my whole life feeling isolated and alone in almost every situation I've been in. So I've grown really strong in a lot of ways as a result.

My first real spiritual experience came when I went to EFY when I was beginning my senior year in high school.

I went to college and got involved in things like student government and the newspaper, was even homecoming king and did lots of YSA stuff. I also begin to explore a little about my feelings for guys and stuff. I waited until I was 20 to go on my mission. I did the whole “if I serve you will you take this from me,” thing.

I had an awesome mission.

Anyways I came home after two years and yes, I still liked guys but I now know that the church is true. The gospel is true.

Now the people and some of the social aspects I think sometimes get in the way. Us Mormons are good at "When" and "Why" questions. I think it's because we are raised to think that happiness comes as a result of following a plan.

I know how hard it is to love something so much and feel that it doesn't love you back. Like in the church. I've tried to go outside of it and "experience the gay community," what I have found in almost every situation is that I feel like I am visiting a foreign land and I don't belong there. For the most part everything that I've found is exactly the opposite of what I feel is right. I've also found that in a world where people are looking for "self" there isn't any room for anyone else unless you can do something for them.

The biggest tragedy is when one of us gives up and out of desperation, ventures out to the world to find happiness that Satan tells us we will find by just trying it, we try it and then he then turns around and says okay you tried it and now you can't go back your not worthy and so you might as well just keep doing it and also try other things and within a short time we are doing drugs, smoking and drinking and having
casual meaningless sex.

I think a lot of us think that we can mix our Mormon values with parts of the world. They can’t mix. And then somewhere along the line we realize just how lonely we are because we have lost the only real way to be happy and Satan has convinced us that there's no going back.
This is the biggest lie out there, there is always a way back. That's what the atonement is and why we have the gospel.

We just need to do our best and let God do the rest and realize that mistakes don't make things forever wrecked unless we let them. That’s the lesson I learned on my mission.

I know that a lot of what I think about the subject doesn't bode well with what has become the
popular, accepted or comfortable beliefs among the faithful SGA or the Moho community. No one likes to be broken or and everyone wants to feel like nothing is wrong with them. But lets face it. We are ALL broken. Everyone is broken, that’s the reason we are here.

I think to identify ourselves as gay is wrong. Elder Oaks made this clear in his statement that we aren’t to use adjectives that describe a feeling or urges as nouns. We are first and foremost the offspring of God. He created us and he knows what’s best for us. We don’t need the world to tell us who we are.

We are imperfect. This urge if acted on will separate us from God as all sins will. And if not acted on or overcame will strengthen us and bring us closer to God. This is what the atonement is all about. We accept it when we humble ourselves and allow him to heal us instead of coming up with theories and ideas about the “why’s” and “how’s” to fix ourselves. Some urges won't go away, some will. I honestly believe that a lot of the guys who deal with this, and I mean the faithful ones sometimes lack a sense of the eternal and have been deceived by some philosophies of men that have crept there way into their reasoning and their desire to feel unbroken. They argue against change because they don't want to believe that they need to change.

We need to not confuse judgment with condemnation. But we reap what we sew, we are a product of our environment. We also need to love and understand.

I know that the first presidency doesn't recommend marriage as a cure to this. I was glad to see them say that. What I'm afraid of however is how that will be read or perhaps misread to mean. "See, I was right, marriage isn't for me." I choose celibacy, not pursuing women, not trying instead of pursuing "change" and generally resting content with "mortal mediocrity" as a friend of mine recently put it. I know that many bristled when President Packer said that one of the sins that results when homosexuality is fallen into is selfishness. I think this is what he means. He isn’t saying that the person is intrinsically evil or selfish. This is pride, self-deception, and apathy and honestly its not taking responsibility for the agency we've been given. These are all things the devil uses to persuade us from pursuing righteous ends.

Now let me say I'm not innocent. I have my addictions; I have my issues and things I've done that have made me unworthy at times. I don't justify it, or say "well it taught me this so I'm grateful for it," I am, but to be honest I wish I hadn't done some of those things. But admitting this I think allows me to say that I know from experience what I'm talking about.

I've seen what happens when we act certain ways and let certain elements into our lives. I know the end result. We can hide behind a mask of "not judging" but at the same time I think we need to be honest to ourselves about the consequence that follow such self imposed blindness.

This is life. This is our personal trail. For those who accept it as who they are and who are grateful for it and who don't want to change but who strive not to act on it because its a sin. That's like accepting that God has given you a gift that you are never going to be allowed to use, God is not that cruel. There isn't any other word but stupidity for that kind of thinking. We live in a world that for whatever reason God has decided that we need to be tested in this way. The church honestly doesn't need to know "why" we are this way or what causes it.

We know that we aren't bad people for having these feelings. We know that God loves us. Most of those who have given up didn't do so because they wanted to "spite God" they did so because they are disparate or tired of fighting. Those of us who are trying, desperately want to be loved and understood. That’s the one thing that both side have in common.


-L- said...

Hi, Jerry. Thanks for your thoughts here. It sounds like we have a lot in common, and I'm glad to see that you are blogging. I hope you don't mind if I link you on my blog.

:-) I look forward to reading more and learning from you.

J said...

Hi Jerry--
I found your blog through a comment you left on someone else's blog that I read. It's always great to hear new voices and learn from other's experiences. Thanks for your thoughts