I’m writing this in hopes that it will help clear my mind and because I need to do something.  I need to act, more than I have.  I just spent some time sobbing on my bathroom floor as frustration and a mess of other emotions overwhelmed me.  I just listened to Elder Oaks’ talk on where God wants me to stand on the topic of Gay Marriage.  And I believe all that he said.  I truly do.  I have already thought through and lived with the bulk of his statements.  I am a gay man, married to a woman, with children of my own.  I have seen the blessings of being married to a woman and I will affirm the importance of it to anyone who asks with no proof other than what I have experienced in my own life.  But it is still a challenge, sometimes a daily challenge to wade through the complexities of living as a man who is sexually attracted to men instead of women.  At times I feel as if I am single handedly sparing with generations of social stigmas and beliefs about how I should act and what I should think.  I feel like David facing a whole army of Goliaths.  But I’m pecking them off, one by one. I’m still standing and fighting.


But I understand why there is the desire for gay marriage.  I will honestly admit that all other things aside, I believe I could find a good measure of happiness in a long-term monogamous relationship with a man.  The feelings are real and as far as I can tell are just the same as those anyone else feels when “in love.”  For someone that does not have the same religious convictions as me, why would they not pursue a same-gender marriage?


So I’m angry.  Angry in the way that says I need to act.  I heard the Church say unquestionably that the pursuit of the gay lifestyle is not right but nothing was said about what to do instead.  The answer is not found solely in the old standby’s:  read the scriptures, fast, and pray.  A friend with this challenge said, “If I could get to heaven by doing those things, I’d have been there and back three times.”  Some would suggested I just learn to like basket ball more or to play more football, or suggested that I should avoid any tendencies of character that are commonly seen as “gay” tendencies.  I, who have the full resources of the restored gospel at my disposal, including support groups such as Northstar and Voices of Hope, as well as the full support of my family, ward, and friends, and the gift of the Holy Spirit as my companion, still have times where I feel like I can barely make it without following my natural desires.  How can I expect someone, a gay brother or sister, who is trying to live the best they can but lakes all or part of this, to do or act any differently than what they are?


Secondly, I am afraid that people will hear not the voice of one of God’s chosen Apostles explaining the vital importance of Plan of Happiness but simply another voice saying “Homosexuality is wrong.”  Living with the challenges of same-gender sexual attraction and fighting the stereotypes and stigmas of society is a challenge of enormous proportions.  I have felt pain of spirit such that I felt my physical body would be torn apart.  I have wished that my existence would end and have entertained thoughts of ending my life on more than one occasion.  I have sought out many and sundry ways of numbing the pain that I felt in my heart.


But I didn’t remain there.  Even in my darkest moments I have been blessed with angels, my brothers and sisters, to lead me from these places.  Above all else I have learned is that I cannot face this by myself.  I could not be where I am today without the support of others.   So I say, if I as a member am supposed to tell my brothers and sisters dealing with SSA (same-sex attraction) that God’s way will bring them happiness, I better be willing to support them in that.  If any one of them finds themselves where I was, emotionally bruised and beaten and left for dead, am I going to be the priest, the Levite, or the Samaritan?  


Am I going to be the one that see others faults and love him anyway?  “Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin.”  (Doctrine and Covenants 64:9)  This does not mean that I change my standards according to the ebb and flow of popular culture.  But am I truly willing to put all aside and follow God?  “So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.   He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.”  (John 21:15-17)  Am I willing to feed His sheep, to be his hands?  


I was taught by word and example that it was a sin to be homosexual, both in act or in thought.  It was also made clear that God can not look on sin with any degree of allowance.  Consequently I have struggled to believe that it is even possible for God to love me as a homosexual man.  Even the promptings of the spirit were not enough to convince me in this area.  How could God support such a contradiction?  I was sure that I either had to change or that there was no hope for me and therefore it did not matter what I did.


But God did not leave it up to me.  Many were put in my path that loved me in spite of my imperfection.  As I have received their love and felt the sincerity of it, I find a growing belief that maybe it is possible for God to love me in my imperfection.  I have come to accept that I do not have all the answers and I am learning to be content in that.  And in that, I for the first time have hope that I can keep all of God’s commandments in this life and that it is truly possible for me to find satisfaction and happiness in that.


But I am afraid that I am in the minority.  In my experience there are far more who still see no hope, no possibility for them to find happiness or contentment in the fullness of God’s commandments.  I believe that it is only as we are examples of God’s love and acceptance, actively participating in the lives of those that live with this, that we will be able to lead them to the understanding that I have gained.  


To those of us in my position I say that we must be active in sharing our testimony and our stories, to be a voice of hope, to show that there is another way.  We are God’s representatives in this day.  It is our responsibility to act as He would act.  


To those that do not face this challenge, I challenge you:  Follow in Christ’s footsteps.  Be an example to those that know not where to find the light.  Bring them in with the arms of His love.  Be sincere in your desire to understand my struggles and my fears.  Are you willing to walk a mile in my shoes.  be willing to put aside comfort to go out of your way to lift another.  Please do not condemn them by your fear of what you don’t understand.  Truly be the friend, the neighbor, the brother, the mother that you would want them to be to you.  Doing so does not mean compromising your morals or standards but does require you to enlarge your understanding, and it probably will require a fair degree of discomfort on  your part.  It will require you to ask questions you may not be comfortable asking.  It will require you to consider things you may rather not think about.  You see, I don’t have a choice.  I cannot choose whether or not to think about these things, to question my beliefs, to seek for understanding where I have none, to allow myself to be vulnerable.  The only other option for me is to run from my challenges in paths that I know will not lead me to happiness but that would bring a temporary relief.  By being willing to put yourself out there, to show me that you are willing to try to understand me, you bridge the gap between us.  You give me a hand to hold onto, a lifeline.  With that I begin to feel that maybe, just maybe, I can make it.


“Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee.  But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind.  And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just." (see Luke 14:12-14)

Posted by Lucas Jones On 10/06/2013 04:31:00 PM 26 comments

26 comments:

  1. I, too, was angry and troubled by Elder Oaks talk today. And then Elder Nelson' oblique references. I don't have a blog to help me sort out my thought process, but it seems like you've figured out how to make it work. I'm still processing it... I honestly can't say that I've resolved my anger about it. I wish, I wish, I wish that the message was more one of "Come unto Christ all ye who are weary and heavy laden and i will give you rest" Rather than "Let's talk about how wrong gay marriage is. Again. And again. Wait... did you all understand that? Let's talk about it. Again. By the way. Did you know gay marriage is wrong?" I feel like an outsider looking in at the feast, and there's no room at the wedding table... I hate feeling this way...

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    1. Gay marriage is wrong

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    2. Our blog is about telling our story. It's about helping people understand how it is to live this life as an LDS SSA/gay man and a bit of his wife's story too. It is about giving people understanding and how important it is for us to be more understanding of each other, more compassionate and more loving. We appreciate comments and questions and thoughts and discussions. If you are going to comment, please make sure you do so with love and compassion and without just making judgement.
      Thanks!

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  2. That feeling is one of the reasons I shared that scripture at the end of the post: "But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind." Jesus is calling you, is calling me. It took me a long time to see this and to be able to realize that He really did want me there. Even now I still struggle at times with believing that I do "belong at the table" but that feeling is diminishing. Here's a video I watch on occasion that helps me when I need to hear someone say "Come unto me all ye who are weary and heavy laden...":

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wz41YxNiHEg

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    1. I needed this. Thank you for sharing my burdens and offering me water instead of vinegar. I also listen to your VoH and borrow a bit of your sense of humor about your SSA. Thanks to you and your wife my journey is more positive.

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  3. I'm sure the Israelites got tired of hearing how they were going to be destroyed by a foreign nation if they didn't repent as well. We're told things that are important for our times and we wouldn't be hearing about them if we did something to make it so God wouldn't have to remind us over and over again.

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  4. The simple and tragic fact is that more gay Mormon young men are going to commit suicide because of what was said. And Zehn Waters, unless you are gay yourself, I respectfully ask you to be quiet. People are dying and this is going to happen in even greater numbers now. Lucas, you are in a psychologically tough place - the leaders you believe to be a direct voice from God have done a disastrous thing. I don't envy you having to deal with that.

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    1. You said " more gay Mormon young men are going to commit suicide because of what was said." It sounds like you are saying that suicide is caused by the actions of other people. This is NOT true. Those who commit suicide do so of their own free will. All men and women everywhere need compassion, but you cannot lay the responsibility for another person's actions on someone else. You are saying that it will be Elder Oaks' fault that others commit suicide. That is false; it is an individual choice.

      That being said, the LDS church urges all to show great compassion to others, especially to those who are struggling. Azalea said is so clearly when she mentioned that there are many LDS leaders who help and counsel those in this mindframe. Please see her post below.

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    2. To the commenter who said that "more gay Mormon young men are going to commit suicide because of what was said" -- there are many men (and women) young and old who will commit suicide for whatever reason, but you can't say that this talk/doctrine will be the spark that puts them over that tragic edge. I know something of this, and believe what I tell you: if someone is suicidal, it is something over a period of months, and many factors contribute to it. It is unjust to say "the leaders you believe to be a direct voice from God have done a disastrous thing." What if they really ARE "a direct voice from God"? If they don't speak out and take a stand, then they are not true prophets and apostles. After all, we are all responsible for our own actions. You have done this blog no good by using sensationalism.

      I agree with AnonymousOctober 8, 2013 at 5:43 PM above. Suicide is NOT caused by the actions, or words, of other people. Suicide is always tragic, no matter what led a person to decide to take his or her life. We can't know all the events and feelings leading up to that finality. It's not our place to say that something or someone caused it, nor is it our place to judge those who do commit suicide. God is merciful, as well as just, and only He knows the circumstances. Give Him a little credit, and don't blame others.

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  5. Things have to change, you are right Anonymous. Change needs to come from people and not from God though. If gay Mormon young men, and women for that matter, truly feel supported and loved by others than that won't happen. I saw Lucas's post as a "Call to Arms" from those that have found happiness in following more traditional beliefs and also for those around us that aren't SSA/gay to love more, try and understand more and he challenged them to follow Christ's example more. Christ loved unconditionally.

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    1. I'm not sure what you mean that change has to come from people and not God - is that a way of letting what the prophets said this weekend 'off the hook'? I think they said something so incredibly insensitive, so so disastrous, that the members of the Mormon Church who really get it - like Lucas, have to work at picking up the pieces. Christ did love unconditionally - and unfortunately, what the prophets have done is not love in any way. How can gay Mormon men and yes thank you, women, feel supported after what was said? What was said was a call to try and stop gay marriage - it was worded so as not to appear overtly political (if it were overtly political the Mormon Church would lose its tax exemption) but it really is. It sounds like the Mormon Church wanted to stop out 'dissent' and it may have - again, at the expense of lives of who knows how many. Imagine being a young gay Mormon right now, desperate and just starting maybe to feel some hope and then wham, knocked to the ground. I cannot emphasize enough how brutal this is and the brutal results that will occur. It is a call to arms indeed; a call perhaps to hold those prophets who said those words, accountable.

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    2. My husband was a young gay Mormon and I talk with many young gay Mormon's on a daily basis. I also talk to many young gays on a weekly or so basis.

      I do see your point, I see it very clearly and I have had many of the same thoughts regarding the impact on people. This isn't an argument that can be won though, by either of us. You either believe the Prophets and Apostles speak from God or you don't. So that issue is beside the point. The point of Lucas's post was to play off of what was said. The things said this weekend were nothing new, they have been said many times before.

      Yes, it upset Lucas, but being upset is not a bad thing. How many wonderful things have happened in this world because someone got upset by something? Being upset and angry can move us to act. That is exactly what Luke got from being upset and angry, he was moved to act. He isn’t angry at what was said, he was angry at what wasn’t said. He then realized that it wasn’t said because that is his job and hundreds of others that are people who struggle with SSA /gay and have found happiness in living more traditional values. My husband has friends of quite a few religions that are SSA and choosing to live more traditional values. Some are married and some are single.

      He was moved to find other ways he can share his story and help the cause. We have recorded a Voices of Hope video and our working more on our essay. Ours isn’t out yet but there are lots of videos and essays already there. We have this blog. We share our story whenever we get a chance. We do other things too. We are moved to act to help give support to SSA/ gay people and show love to them and also to help people that aren’t SSA understand more and help them understand the importance of loving more. Luke and I have already been doing this and it has been AMAZING! It is humbling to me how many people we have been able to share our story with and how many eyes have really been opened to the struggles and fears and many other feelings and things that an SSA/gay person feels and goes through. We have made a huge impact on many people and we will continue to do so.

      What are you going to do? Fighting what was said isn’t going to change anything except create frustration all around. What are you going to do to support those that are gay and to help those that aren’t to understand how to love more?

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    3. I hear what you are saying. I also know that many, many Mormons will take what was said as permission to continue to do and say the kinds of things that result in suicides; it is inevitable. I've already read comments on different news articles and blogs that bear this out. It shouldn't be the responsibility of 'non-leader' Mormons to work to prevent the suicides that are going to be caused because of what the leadership is saying. But you are right - and that is what puts Lucas and others in his situation in such a quite frankly tragic position - the cognitive dissonance of having to accept what the leaders are saying and what they know in the depth of their being. What can result is a whole bunch of rationalization. A terrible and cruel position to be in.

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    4. If you have read our entire blog, I don’t know if you have or not, you would learn that Lucas and I are fairly new to the gay/SSA scene. We have only really known about it and been active in it since about December of last year/January of this year or so. We didn’t start really sharing our story until April of this year. We expected to be met with opposition, hate, fear, meanness, being ostracized and many other things and feelings. I have NEVER been so nervous and apprehensive walking into anywhere as I did the day we walk into our Bishop’s Office. Though we both really liked our Bishop we had NO idea what his experience was and how he would see Lucas.

      We were met with the exact opposite of all of those feelings. Lucas has been more loved, more accepted, more friendship and brotherliness has been extended and many other positive things by everyone! It has been amazing and astounding.

      We have encountered some that were somewhat anti-gay. By the end of our conversations though they have more understanding and have a different perspective. It’s been quite amazing to help that come about. We have yet to encounter anyone that is really anti-gay and we have talked with LOTS of people and most of those are LDS. Some of those are VERY conservative too.

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    5. I don't see my husband in a bad position at all; actually far from terrible and cruel. He gets to grow and learn and help people on a daily basis. He had several people in his office yesterday who took time out of their day to come thank him for this post and talk about what they are struggling with. Not all of those are SSA/gay. He also got numerous phone calls, e-mails and messages. Not all of those were from SSA people.

      Leaders of any church or organization have to say what they feel they are supposed to say, for their organization. The Mormon Church is no different. What I am hearing is that you do not believe in Traditional Values and you are upset that there are people that are still speaking out for them. While Mormons are taught to love others from the top, that doesn't always trickle down to the bottom, you are right. We have learned what is said in individual wards, and homes and among friends is just as important as what is said at the top, if not actually more important. The Leaders at the top said what they felt they needed to say for their organization now it is our job to show by example how to live that way.

      Here is something that you might not be seeing. There are Mormons who are helping and are preventing suicides and it is being supported by the Church. There are many good Bishops and Stake Presidents. We have had 2 incredible Bishops and a Stake President. My husband also makes sure those of his friends that are in leader positions all over the U.S. understand his story and understand how to help others that are SSA/gay. He has received more than one phone call for clarification or help to understand more. There are trainings for Leaders on how to help SSA/gays in the church. The man doing to training in our area is THE most AMAZING man! He understands gays, he is SO loving and he truly understands brotherhood. Lucas and I were astounded by him! I wish everyone in the world could hear him talk! There is the Mormonsandgays.org website that is an official church website. There are also organizations that aren't officially connected with the church but are run by Mormon 's northstarlds.org is one of them.

       I guess Lucas and I both have a bit of cognitive dissonance, but again that is not necessarily a bad thing. It makes him and and question and then come to stronger opinions and beliefs.

      Everyone’s life has contradictions and things feel cruel. I have a friend who has lost 2 babies. I can’t even imagine. I have many friends that greatly struggle to make ends meet for various reasons. I have a friend whose young daughter has cancer. Life is hard for all of us and we would take this over any of the above cruelties of life.

      I do think being gay, even not in a religion is REALLY hard. I think that is changing but it is still going to take a while. Luke and I wouldn’t change it though. What he has learned and the friends that he has made and what he gets to do in life because he is gay, we wouldn’t trade for anything. He actually has a post coming on that.

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    6. I had to split that in two. For whatever reason it wouldn't let me post the whole thing at once.

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    7. Thank you, I do hear what you are saying. I want to affirm that. Whether or not I believe in 'traditional values' is not the point I am making but I can often be less than clear. As an aside, traditional values would depend on what tradition - in Biblical times, men had many wives and even if they didn't, women were considered property and very rarely, if ever, was it a marriage of love. Rather, marriage was for gaining property rights and inheritance rights. Women were treated as nothing more than property. IT was only amongst the upper class in Victorian times that marriage became more about love. In more recent Latter Day Saint times, men of course had multiple wives. I don't think either Biblical times marriage or early Latter Day Saints marriage are the traditional marriages you are speaking about. So often when people are speaking of traditional values, it is unclear what exactly the tradition is - is it from the 1950s when women stayed home and men worked? Or is it from earlier times when women were property? It is not necessarily so that gay people in gay marriages are anti traditional values - many have strong work ethics, care for their family, pay taxes, etc. etc. So I suspect what you mean may not be traditional values but rather marriage only being between one man and one woman, for love, which as I pointed out has not been the case either in Biblical or Latter Day Saint history. In fact, some Latter Day Saints who are polygamists would say that they are the ones living by traditional values. Sorry, long aside!
      Cognitive dissonance means holding two conflicting beliefs - in this case y our own beliefs and those of your church leadership. How to resolve that? Either blame the church leaders which you cannot do as for you that would mean blaming God, or perhaps, say that cognitive dissonance is not a bad thing.
      And being gay is hard, even for non-Mormons. Absolutely. Why? Because of the engrained anti-gay sentiment that still permeates society. Take that and add to it a church leadership that says living a gay life is a sin and it is exponentially harder. Finally, it's great that so many Mormon stake presidents etc. are learning from Lucas and others what being gay means and how to be compassionate. Those examples are greatly encouraging. But Lucas and those folks are doing it in spite of the church leadership, not because of them. People will do anything to hang on to their core beliefs - even going as far as to be harmed by their own church - and they will do anything sometimes not to blame those who, quite frankly, deserve the blame. And that is cruel.
      As for Northstar, I listened to a talk between Ty Mansfield and two straight women married to gay men. They were being told at a Mormon retreat (WOW I believe it was called) that their husbands were gay because of hurts from their past. That is completely inaccurate and a form of abuse in itself to tell this to these desperate women, I believe.
      Anyway, thank you for letting me comment.

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    8. Azalea, thank you for your post. It was so very well said. I also have had many wonderful experiences with my LDS leaders. True, they are not perfect, but the vast majority are loving, caring, and earnestly striving to be led by the spirit to help those of us who struggle (in whatever difficulty we may be experiencing).

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    9. Well said, Azalea! Spot-on replies.

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  6. I realized I hadn't checked on your blog in a while and am catching up.

    "Secondly, I am afraid that people will hear not the voice of one of God’s chosen Apostles explaining the vital importance of Plan of Happiness but simply another voice saying “Homosexuality is wrong.”"

    I was very upset when I heard Elder Oaks' talk, and I guess I didn't work through it, because I'm still pretty upset about it. I struggle mightily to hear the words of an apostle in this talk. As Wrylon said above, you either believe the apostles speak God's words, or they don't. I fear that sometimes I am leaning more toward "they don't" (or at least some of them don't), and that scares me. I don't want to leave the church, but if I take that thought to its conclusion, where does that lead? I stay because I know I do not understand God, and so it is possible that God would require things of us that to me seem cruel and horrible. I also know that God allows ALL people to make mistakes, including apostles and prophets. We know that apostles preached falsehoods from the pulpit of General Conference for decades in the past, and then after June 1978, it was all erased with "Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or George Q. Cannon or whoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world." Many members felt in their hearts that what was being taught was contrary to the will of God, but the apostles couldn't feel it until a revelation was given? I can't explain that, other than to remind myself that they are just as human as we are.

    ~~~

    "So I say, if I as a member am supposed to tell my brothers and sisters dealing with SSA (same-sex attraction) that God’s way will bring them happiness, I better be willing to support them in that. If any one of them finds themselves where I was, emotionally bruised and beaten and left for dead, am I going to be the priest, the Levite, or the Samaritan? "

    Wow. This is amazing and truly Christlike. However, I feel a desire to use it as a beating stick -- that whenever I see people engaging in anti-gay marriage or anti-gay conversations, to ask them "You're confidently saying that, huh? Well, are you willing to support them too?" That's probably the wrong approach to take. But I love the Christlike teaching that is at the root of what you said here.

    (rest of comment in next post)

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  7. "Follow in Christ’s footsteps. Be an example . . . .Bring them in with the arms of His love. Be sincere in your desire to understand my struggles and my fears. Are you willing to walk a mile in my shoes. be willing to put aside comfort to go out of your way to lift another. Please do not condemn them . . . .Truly be the friend, the neighbor, the brother, the mother that you would want them to be to you."

    I AM willing to do this. I have been willing since I was 16 years old, and my first gay friend came out to me. For many years I feared being punished by society, my family, and the Church, and so I was only willing to do it privately, which was really the same as not doing it at all. I wasn't even sure I was 'safe' as a friend to gay people -- two close friends had come out to me in high school, but two others did not (one sent a message through friends, and one never came out to me, but I found his anonymous blog and figured it out.) So I only had a 50/50 track record, and wasn't sure if I was a 'safe' place for gay people anyway.

    I no longer fear being disciplined by the church for being a friend to gay people, or even for supporting gay marriage, and so for the past few years, I've been willing to do this publicly. But how do I find the people in my ward, my stake, and my community -- those who I already interact with -- who need this support from me? I can't wear a sign announcing it. I thought my support was pretty clear on Facebook, but it wasn't at all, and I realized that a couple months ago.

    I suppose one answer would be to be a friend to EVERYONE, and then that will include the people who most need my support. I'm the type who tends to have very few close friends, and I struggle to say "hi" to anyone at church, let alone people I don't know, so people probably think I'm stuck up and rude, so the "friend to all" thing hasn't really been happening.

    I realized as I formulated this question in my mind and read through the comments, that you and Wrylon have found those who need your support by volunteering with agencies and groups. I guess I am still selfish and not wanting to go outside my comfort zone -- wanting people to magically appear in front of me without me doing any work to find them.

    I really want to wear pants to Church on Wear Pants to Church Day (http://pantstochurch.com/) as a signal that I accept all and am a friend to all, especially those who feel different in the ward. But I fear it will be perceived as a sign of divisiveness, apart-ness, or just confusion, because 99% of people will have never even heard of it.

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  8. Lucas, I think, from this and other blogs, that you have trouble regarding what is called "shoulds." Sometimes we do something we believe to be right simply because we "should" or "ought to" do it. This is only a starting place, but it's still a good one. Loving God first and best will naturally change any "should" into "want to" and that want will reflect one's love of God, the first and greatest commandment. You said: "Elder Oaks’ talk on where God wants me to stand on the topic of Gay Marriage. And I believe all that he said. I truly do." Well, there it is, it seems to me. I'm puzzled, therefore, by your feelings that "At times I feel as if I am single handedly sparing with generations of social stigmas and beliefs about how I should act and what I should think. I feel like David facing a whole army of Goliaths. But I’m pecking them off, one by one. I’m still standing and fighting." I’ve felt this in another context. I think you have to decide if a "should" is valid, and if so, why. Then decide if it is something you can do out of love instead of a sense of obligation.

    When two people love each other and desire a long-term, monogamous relationship, that is understandable. I can understand why others who have different beliefs would pursue same-sex marriage. However, there is an important issue here: the common good. To pursue gay marriage does not help strengthen the family, and the couple raising those children must but the good of those children first. Couples who pursue gay marriage are only thinking of themselves and what they are otherwise denied in many states. The whole "equality" thing is dangerous: it was one of the watch words, you may recall, of the French Revolution, and led to it's horrific excesses. The war cry of "Equality" can be used to justify MANY things that aren't necessarily good, and often are evil, and are certainly contrary to God's will for his children.

    Society has a moral responsibility to encourage the best possible environment for the raising of children. Studies can be used to prove almost anything, but studies have shown that children raised by a wedded couple consisting of a father (man) and a mother (woman) have the greatest likelihood to grow up healthy emotionally, having had a father and mother role model, and an example of a biologically sound union.

    Such unions and families have held society together for hundreds of years. Elder Oaks focused on "the procreative relationship between His sons and daughters and for the nurturing of His children." Same-sex couples cannot bear children (without scientific intervention for women-couples, or adoption for men-couples, or surrogate mothers to bear those men's children through in vitro fertilization -- which still requires a mother's egg, and raises all sorts of ethical problems).

    Sacrificing something desired for the sake of something more important is part of love. Our society is forgetting this. If laws defining and protecting marriage as between a man and a woman are not made, kept and protected as sacrosanct, the family will fail, and society along with it.

    We don't need to experiment there. And to experiment with same-sex marriage families is just that, an experiment to see how it will affect the children (should there be any through previous divorces, adoption, or etc.). What Elder Oaks, and Elder Nelson, who stated that: "In our day civil governments have a vested interest in protecting marriage because strong families constitute the best way of providing for the health, education, welfare, and prosperity of rising generations" -- the focus of their discourses is the next generation, the children.

    (continued on next post)

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  9. There are arguments a plenty about the divorce rate, etc., but the principle of the thing still holds. A man and a woman beget and bear a child. It is putting the welfare of that child first that is the issue here. True, they only with the core family relatively few years, and then are grown and on their own. But there is nothing that will EVER justify not having nurtured and raised them in an environment of stability, and a man and woman as parents are essential.

    I hope, as you struggle with this issue, you will keep the common good, the good of the children (who are the future), foremost in mind.

    When you say, "I heard the Church say unquestionably that the pursuit of the gay lifestyle is not right but nothing was said about what to do instead." The answer is, do everything ELSE in living the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know you see these as "the old standby’s" and you said you feel they are not enough in your situation, working so hard to keep the commandments while being a gay man, but the basics are what it comes down to: 1) Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; 2) repentance; and so forth. These are a safety net, as is the truth of the Book of Mormon. Strengthen yourself in those basics, and in the truth of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ ("letting go [of your worries] and letting God" watch over all his children).

    I think you're hoping that one day they will come out with more specifics that such organizations as Northstar and Evergreen talk of to help SSA members. Perhaps in the future they will; however, it is not necessarily their calling to do so. Bishops should direct gay members to these other organizations. Also, we must keep in mind that the prophet and apostles of any generations are not, and never will be, perfect. Some things change (like the readiness of the majority of Latter-day Saints, finally, to accept all races having the priesthood); but some never will. The Lord's stand on gay marriage is one of those, regardless of its increasing political incorrectness. The prophets of old were stoned and slain because they would not preach what the people wanted to hear, but only God's will. Nothing has changed there.

    And that's the thing: the general authorities are speaking to "various states and nations" (Elder Oaks). We member have to bear in mind that they speak to the world as well as Latter-day Saints. It is their calling to do so. Others may not, and do not, believe there are living prophets and apostles of Jesus Christ, with all his authority, on the earth today, but we as members must never forget that. Nor should be focus on one talk or one things that causes us angst to the point that it blinds us to the rest, to the everything ELSE we are to do, even if some things are forbidden or impossible to perform for some physical reason. Handicapped people have to struggle with this, too. "How do I live this, inside, since my body will not let me do outwardly what I'm told I 'should'"? "How do I apply this in my own life?

    (continued on next post)

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  10. Your concern that other people listening to Elder Oaks "will hear not the voice of one of God’s chosen Apostles explaining the vital importance of Plan of Happiness but simply another voice saying 'Homosexuality' is wrong” is a problem with any words given by anyone. They are not responsible for how individuals take those words to mean. Some will always take them in the wrong way or spirit. Your worry over them does you credit and shows your compassion, but speaking as one who thinks a lot like you do, I have found one has to let go of that type of thinking -- being afraid of how others might take the words. This will only stifle you and add to your worry and discontent. Faith must come in here, and putting all the people for whom one worries in Heavenly Father's hands.
    love to turn to.

    Lucas, I hope you'll take a look at those talks later on and see more clearly the message regarding the children, the next and future generations, and bear in mind that LDS members must stand firm on this issue of gay marriage, following what Elders Oaks, Nelson, and others say. We do so for the sake of the children.
    I encourage you to read their talks on lds.org including their references.
    “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” is an especially important document. It is "to the world" and it is about the family, father, mother, children.

    I also hope and pray that you can get past your angst (I experience this, too, during some talks, regardless of which words prove the tinderbox for my emotions), and are then able to accept what is said, even if you were left wishing with all your heart that other details had been given, too.

    All members have some issues with something said here or there by the prophet and apostles, and in this SSA members are no different.

    (continued on next post)

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  11. I pray for you, Lucas, and for you, Wrylon. Hold fast to the iron rod of the word of God, and be willing to follow the scriptures and the church leaders.

    Stay away from "wrong thinking" (meaning, thinking that will lead to away from the Church, bit by bit). I've heard others say this, or read it somewhere, but the restored Gospel and your testimony of it, putting your love of God and faith in Christ first -- this will be your safety net. It will catch you when the carpet is pulled from under your feet. I know this, because I've experienced it. Remember the Rock on which we are built, as Helaman enjoined his son. (Helaman 5:12)

    I'm so glad, Lucas, that you have come to the truth that "Jesus is calling you, is calling me [to that feast, that table]." You DO "belong at the table" -- and more people than you are aware of have trouble believing that for themselves, because of their own questions about their worth in light of their own struggles, in whatever area. Thanks for sharing the video link.

    God bless you and Wrylon both! Keep your focus on Christ. A Shakespeare sonnet that applies, and might help (with a little tweaking for context) is Sonnet 29, best read SLOWLY, so you can feel the words:

    "When in disgrace with Fortune and mens eyes, I all alone beweep my outcast state, and trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries, / And look upon myself, and curse my fate, / Wishing me like to one more rich in hope, / Featur'd like him, like him with friends possess'd, / Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope, / With what I most enjoy contented least; / Yet in these thought myself almost despising, / Haply I think on [Christ], and then my state, / Like to the lark at break of day arising / from sullen earth, sings HYMNS as heaven's gate; / For [His] sweet love remembered such wealth brings / That then I scorn to change my state with kings."

    The brackets stand for "thee" and "thy" respectively, and I emphasized the "hymns" because that's the place that one thought brought the poet -- to sing hymns at heaven's gave because of the thought of the sweet love (of Christ, in this paraphrase). But I find this sonnet as a "love poem to God" very apt.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your wise words, Babatta. I wish I had a reply that could do them justice but I haven't had much time. I think much of the angst comes from desiring to follow the precepts of the religion, that which you know in your heart to be true, but at the same time to be driven by your body, your mind, and your heart to long for, to need something that you "can't" or "shouldn't" have. At times it feels as if I could as easily will my self to no longer need food. To have those two yearnings coexist in your heart is, to say the least, painful at times.

      But here's what I'm learning: trust in the Lord, keep moving forward, and be willing to make course corrections. As I do this I am finding myself continually in places that I didn't expect and finding solutions to my conundrums in surprising ways. It is only increasing my faith in God and serving to strengthen my conviction that I have chosen the path that will truly bring me the most joy in life. In addition I am finding that while this does mean living with inner turmoil and pain at times God is taking care of me. He does not want me to stay in pain but only desires for me ever increasing joy. When all possibilities seem to have disappeared, he points out ones that I had never even considered. His ways are not man's ways.

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