One things, which to a degree I knew before, but hadn't really had it hit me as hard as it did this week is that I accepted this life, knowing I would have trials, maybe even knowing I'd have these specific trials I face. I knew to a degree what I would potentially face, and I accepted it. I willingly came here because I followed God's plan in the pre-mortal life. I fought in the war in Heaven. I earned my place here on this earth.
I might just be all over the place in this post, so I apologize, but I want to delve into a topic that was brought up in this months' CES fireside with Brother Russell T. Osguthorpe. He had a lot of great things he talked about during the fireside, but for now I just want to focus on one specific thing he spoke about; agency. There was a lot he shared about agency, in fact it seemed to be the main topic of the fireside. One thing he said that particularly struck me, that we do have agency, we do have will. We can change our desires, our very nature, through the healing power of Christ. But I had questions rise after he said this. What did he mean? Did it apply to same-sex attraction as well? Could it really be changed? Should it?
As I sat there in deep thought, questioning what he meant, something clicked inside my brain. I've known and accepted for some time now that same-sex attraction is very likely something I will deal with for a long time, probably my entire life, but maybe.... maybe what he meant was a slow process. Not an all at once *boom* you're changed. Maybe not even a full change in this life, just a "lessening". I started thinking of it more from an addict point of view. That does not mean that I'm comparing same-sex attraction to an addiction. Let me try to explain...
I know heterosexual people (AKA "straight") who are sex addicts. They see a good looking person of the opposite sex, and almost immediately an unclean thought can pop into their head. Then they have to choose to dismiss the thought, or entertain it. I can see a good-looking guy (trust me, it happens), but I can choose not to objectify him. I can choose where I take my thoughts.
Going off that same topic, I've seen people, heterosexuals, feel a lessening in their attraction through the healing power of Christ and trusting in Him. Does that mean they aren't attracted to the opposite sex anymore? No. Does it mean their attractions just displace, and suddenly they're attracted to the same-sex? Definitely not. They still have attractions to the opposite sex, but their ability to cope, their wandering eyes and risky thoughts become less and less frequent, and when they do resurface, they're easier to conquer. It's like the scripture Ether 12:27 27 "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."
Maybe it's not a matter of losing the attraction, losing the addiction, losing the behaviors, whatever the trial may be; perhaps it's a matter of trusting in God and Christ to make that which is weak into a strength. I know that for me, my same-sex attraction has, in so many ways, gone from a huge weakness to a huge strength. A great blessing I am eternally thankful for. my same-sex attraction once caused me to question the worth of my life, caused me to question God's love for me, I questioned my worth to others. Now, however, I realize I am worth more than I could ever comprehend here on this earth. My same-sex attraction allows me to love and empathize with people in ways few people can. I am able to be humbled more so than I would be without it. I know my Savior in ways some people don't while here on this earth. What was once a curse, a weakness, is now a blessing, a weakness, that I rejoice in God for.
Does it come with hardship still? Sure! I have accepted that I cannot be with a man romantically if I desire true happiness, and sometimes that can be hard, though ultimately I am happier without romance with the same-sex. I still deal with rejection and exclusion. There are still people who do not understand and do not accept me or others like me. I deal with pressure from others, even members who claim to be "active and faithful" in the Gospel, to just live out life following my desires. To get with a guy. That's one thing that appalls me: people who claim to be active, faithful, God-fearing members, yet actively seek to lead people astray. That openly and actively oppose such an important teaching of the Church and God, the institution of the family. True love is not enabling, but pushing others in a loving and Christ-like manner to repentance and truth. But that's a topic for later. Point is, I still have struggles.
As a very wise Apostle once said: "Doubt your doubts, before you doubt your faith." -Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Ultimately I truly know God loves me. I know I have divine potential. I know I have worth. Christ's love is eternal, the atonement never ends. I truly love you all, and I know Christ loves you all perfectly. God bless you continually!