For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.

- Mosiah 3:19

Monday, December 6, 2010

Losing Sight

"We cannot and we must not allow ourselves to get distracted from our sacred duty. We cannot and we must not lose focus on the things that matter most." President Uchtdorf.

The past month or so has been filled with doubt. I think for the first time in my life I am not ignoring the fact that I am sexually attracted to my own sex. The implications of that attraction are profound, whether I act or not act on them. Unfortunately, I have acted on these attractions to a small degree, enough at least to put me in limbo. My Stake President still has not decided on whether a Disciplinary Council should be convened. The fact that it has been over three months since I met with the Stake President is certainly a source of stress in my life.

I continue to struggle with the simple and small things: reading my scriptures and praying. It is tempting to say I am doing these things, as a way to rationalize my thoughts of leaving the church. Yet, as Elder Holland pointed out the Book of Mormon and what it means is a stumbling block for leaving the church. I find this to be very true.

But let me give some structure and context. The last couple of months I have been doubting every week or so, well more like trying to rationalize why I am still in the church. The most obvious answer is the compelling experience I had that can not be ignored. However, that does not provide sufficient faith to overcome the thoughts of leaving, nor has it become a motivating factor for reading the scriptures or even praying. Rather, the strength of that experience has compelled me to stay in the church but not to make the sufficient and needed adjustments to my life to reflect that of a disciple's life.

I met with my bishop yesterday and indicated that I had thoughts of leaving the church. He responded in love. I respect him deeply, though he is only a few years older than me, he is wise and compassionate. Lately, I've been thinking how much I would like to experience and fulfill the physical desires of my heart. I think how much "happier" I would be finding a partner, someone to love, someone to be a part of my life, someone who I could love intellectually, emotionally, and physically. Yet, the reality is that may never be. I will never experience that type of love and relationship. When I look down the road of disciple-ship it is a hard and lonely road; I often wonder if I am ready and willing. I am definitely not ready; for years I thought I was willing. AS I struggle with my addictions, the memory of that weekend fades quickly. The urgency I felt in needing to repent diminishes as well. What remains now are yearnings to be with a man and my addiction to pornography.

The past five months since that weekend have been hard, in terms of the pornography. I am addicted. It is difficult to get away from. I think I am not trying hard enough; I probably am not. Yet, as I reflected on why I am not making progress in abstaining and overcoming my addiction, I asked what motivation I have in doing so? I asked why I continue to be in the church. The answer came down to me not wanting to disappoint my parents. I am still in the church because leaving would be devastating to my parents. I lack sufficient motivation to overcome my addiction, because my motivation in remaining in the church is not to disappoint my parents, it is not related to becoming fully converted to Christ.

Since my mission, I have lost focus of things that matter most. I know leaving the church would damn me; yet my complacency in the church is still damning me. I am refraining from partaking the forbidden fruit because I fear my parents more than I fear God. This is indeed troubling. But it is so complicated. I have a testimony of the gospel and know deeply that God the Father lives; yet, that testimony is not sufficient to motivate me to change. Further, I know this, yet, I have no desire to obtain the necessary motivation. As a result, I feel mired.

I peek onto Craigslist, I engage in pornography and its practice and I fantasize and deeply lust after being intimate with another man. These things feel so natural. Yet, I do not hunger after righteousness. I think of finding a partner, I think of being mates with that partner. I have lost sight of the most important: my salvation. I have lost focus. I understand I have lost focus, yet, I do not feel motivated to do anything about it. I often wish I were never born into the church. I wish I had never made covenants. I wish I had no connection to the church. Somehow, logically in my mind, these would free me to act on the physical and emotional desires of my body. Yet, as I think of this, I feel condemned to be in the church, living out my days journeying the not-so-easy path of discipleship.

There is a small desire within that draws me back, there is a small connection I feel to heaven that fixes me in the church; but the motivation to press forward, to feast on the words of Christ, to embark on that journey is not sufficient. I suppose I can make that appearance, as I did for nearly ten years. But that seems contrary to my own integrity. I do not want to live the lie anymore. Yet, I need to shift my motivation from parents to Heavenly Parents. From fear to the hope of salvation and exaltation. However, while I say the rights things, my actions and thoughts say otherwise. I am confused. I am a child of God who is confused. I hope that I can awake and "come to" myself (as did the Prodigal son). That "coming to" is seemingly far off and intellectually out of reach. However, I have hope that transformation will follow introspection, as explained by Elder Neal A. Maxwell.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Thinking Deeply

Being the 12-step program definitely has its benefits. Going through that program really is a program on learning how to let go of myself. It's hard. I keep thinking that I, of my own accord, have the capacity to do things that would propel me to eternal glory. This is not so. Yet, I believe that I can do it on my own. I try to give my life over, but it has become increasingly difficult.

As I think about my crimes against heaven, I come to feel they are really crimes. I have violated and broken sacred covenants and have sought to touch the unclean thing. I have broken my promise to God. It has been four months since I did what I did, and now I am coming to realize its severity. I thought I did before. I thought I understood pain for what I have done. But for whatever reason, the fact that I broke a law of heaven is now taking on a new light.

Perhaps this is what I have been praying for. Before I wanted to believe I could be healed and forgiven as quickly as I committed the crime. Not so. God does not work that way. This is heavy. I find my thoughts wandering to my actions and my state - I can barely concentrate on my work.

Repentance is hard. Turning one's life over is hard.

I am lonely.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The struggle continues

I wonder why I am not humble enough to admit that I can do nothing of my own accord. I continue to struggle. But I am resolved to examine the source of pride and overcome it.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

President Packer

Let me first say, I struggled with President Packer for so long. Initially, it was his statements that nearly drove me out of the church. But it also was his statements that brought clarity and relief to my struggle. His conference talk ten years ago this conference saved me.

"Sometimes we are asked why we do not recognize this conduct as a diverse and acceptable lifestyle. This we cannot do. We did not make the laws; they were made in heaven "before the foundation of the world" (D&C 132:5; 124:41; see also Alma 22:13). We are servants only....

"When any unworthy desires press into your mind, fight them, resist them, control them (see James 4:6-8; 2 Ne. 9:39; Mosiah 3:19). The Apostle Paul taught, "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it" (1 Cor. 10:13; see also D&C 62:1).

"That may be a struggle from which you will not be free in this life.
If you do not act on temptations, you need feel no guilt. They may be extremely difficult to resist. But that is better than to yield and bring disappointment and unhappiness to you and those who love you."

I recall listening to this soothing explanation. I realized then, it was not President Packer that was speaking to me, but the Lord. President Packer was his servant. While I may not know if the language was given him or the principles - it does not matter. President Packer made very clear that whether its a biological concern or not is not the issue - the issue is choice: it's our agency!

While President Packer had previously been a polarizing for me, I realized then, that he was a servant of God and under obligation to share the message impressed upon his soul. My obligation was to listen, President Eyring spoke of our covenant to keep the commandments of God, and one of those commandments is to heed the words of his servants. They will lead us to light and salvation.

As I listened to President Packer speak Sunday morning, I understood.

"If we're not alert, there are those today who not only tolerate but advocate voting to change laws that will legalize immorality, as if a vote would somehow alter the designs of God's laws and nature ... what good would a vote against the law of gravity do?

"Some suppose that they were preset and cannot overcome what they feel are inborn tendencies toward the impure and the unnatural.. Not so. Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone?"

President Packer or rather the Lord was not saying that being gay is preset, but rather saying that having no choice in how we respond to the circumstance is preset. This is in harmony with what he said ten years earlier. God would not put us in a situation where we have no choice - there is always a choice, always a way out.

In his address ten years ago he noted:

"Some think that God created them with overpowering, unnatural desires, that they are trapped and not responsible (see James 1:13-15). That is not true. It cannot be true. Even if they were to accept it as true, they must remember that He can cure and He can heal (see Alma 7:10-13; 15:8)."

He can heal and cure. Does that mean God will make me straight? Probably not, but rather the miracle and healing comes in my ability to access the enabling power of the Atonement to endure and align my will to the will of God. The power of the Atonement will provide me grace sufficient to overcome, or control sufficiently with God's grace, the desires of my body. The perception I have of God and of myself will be healed through the Atonement. As I come to know who I really am, I will be healed.

I thank the the Heavens for prophets!

Afterall, Elder Anderson explained:

"There are no assigned subjects, no collaboration of themes. The Lord’s way, of course, is always the best way. He takes the individual prayerful efforts of each speaker and orchestrates a spiritual symphony full of revelation and power. Repeated themes, principle building upon principle, prophetic warnings, uplifting promises—the divine harmony is a miracle! I testify that in this conference we have heard and felt the mind and will of the Lord."

Thursday, September 30, 2010


There is still no word on the Disciplinary Council, but that's OK with me. Last night I attended my recovery group meeting; the men there are amazing. I always feel that I am no measuring up, but at the same time feel their support.

I have been struggling with trying to figure out how to trust God; I'm not sure what this is/was so hard for me. But it is.

The past few weeks have had their challenges. I had installed Covenant eyes on my computer. There are a couple of things I realized about myself: 1) I did not realize what I would do to try to access porn. This was a scary realization. I tried to circumvent the program, but it didn't work, then I went to the university library and tried downloading porn onto a thumb drive or email it myself, to get around the program. I was successful at this scheming. After it was done, and I completed my use of it, I though to myself "what the heck are you doing?" I realized then, that if I didn't try to trust God and truly give my life over, who knows what other things I would do. It has been over a week and I feel in a stronger position.

The second thing I learned about myself, well it's more of an epiphany of sorts, I learned that my previous notion of perfect behavior equals trust in God was a misnomer. I was reading in the seventh chapter of Mosiah, about Limhi's excitement about the prospects of being free from the Lamanites. There Limhi made a statement that stung me to my core: "I trust there remaineth an effectual struggle to be made." I realized then, though my behavior was not perfect, I could still trust God - because there remaineth and effectual struggle to be made. I think I am coming to trust God, even though I do not understand.

I am resolved again to immerse myself in the gospel so that I might be changed, and I trust that though I may not notice it, a change will occur.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Failure and success

Most of the time I feel like a failure. I look at the brothers in my ward and I envy them. They appear to be faithful. But mostly, I envy them, because, in my mind, they do not view pornography or masturbate. I wonder why I feel like a failure.

I'm enslaved by my addiction to pornography and to masturbation. When I go without one, I usually slip and do the other. When and how does this stop?

I have slipped at least once a week for the past seven weeks. I pray for strength. But then I realize that there is a part of me that does not fully trust God. Perhaps it's because I don't really know who He is. I hope I can come to know who He is. But I suppose that comes by first trusting in Him.

Why is it so hard to trust God? There is a part of me that assumes I can do this of my own accord, yet I know I can't. Why am I so stubborn?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mortal Thinking

Given the pending decision on whether a Disciplinary Council will be convened, I have been given to much thought on my predicament.

I am not afraid of the Disciplinary Council. If that is the decision, then I willingly submit to this course of corrective action. However, I must admit, I find faith that I did not know I really had. It is certainly small and un-nutured, untended for years. But it is there. This got me thinking about being gay in the Church.

Over the past years, I have had numerous discussions with many people about the place homosexuality has in the church. This discourse is dominated by two primary arguments. If I can summarize as generically as possible: 1) God makes no mistakes and 2) God makes no mistakes. These are clearly indistinguishable arguments on their surface. As I thought about this, I realized that my devotion to God and to His organization on earth (i.e. the church) is predicated on that primary assumption (we'll call it assumption for arguments sake) that God does not make any mistakes.

Before I go on, let me analyze each argument. For the left, the argument that God makes no mistakes is fundamentally not an issue of God, rather, one of equal or human rights. As such, the argument fundamentally rests on the notion of a right...of liberty. It is not a logical leap then to characterize this "God makes no mistakes" as a purely secular argument attempting to stress the importance of rights, namely that of equality before the law. Certainly, this has merit. However, there are numerous iterations of this argument. This brief commentary is a gross simplification.

The second argument, again to simplify a rather complex set of arguments, is primarily spiritual in its context. This argument is clearly connected to a set of beliefs about the nature of God, human rights or the dealings of man are a secondary consideration. This argument embodies millenia of norms and powerful institutions that have shaped the understanding and perception of human behavior and sexuality. These norms and institutions, tradition if you will, have been derived from and perpetuate a belief in God and proper human behavior. As a result, when this group argues that "God makes no mistakes," they are saying there is a reason for why things occur they do, it is not random - there is order.

To summarize, these two arguments are fundamentally different, which is nothing new. In short one argues for a more secualarized acceptance of human behavior, because liberties and a plurality of beliefs is sustained with least resistance in a secualized society. The other contends the moral absolutes are authored by a being known as God, and that socities for millenia have maintained certain moral standards because they have worked to the betterment of society.

This is what is problematic about the discourse. Each group has failed to find common ground. A belief in God is common ground, but easily given up when each attempts to articulate what that means. As such, they tend to argue past each other and fail to geniunely engage each other.

I find this same pattern in the Church. There are the many gays who have left the church because God does not make mistakes, and many who remain in the church because God does not make mistakes. It is here that I wish to spend some time.

I am gay, I have come to terms with my sexual attractions to men. I may still need time to come to terms with my sexuality, but I have consciously chosen to stay in the church as have many others. The argument where God comes to represent an all-loving being who upholds equality is problematic. This argument, first assumes that all share the concept of God, that is God is all-loving, which He is, and that he makes no mistakes, which He doesn't, and that God desires each of us to be happy, which He does. Thus, God is all-loving, omniscient, and desires our happiness. I agree. However, this is as far as this argument seems to take the character of God. Those of this persuasion fail to define God adequately to get a sense of His full character. That is, what does it mean for God to be all-loving? and so forth? Certainly, those of this stance would argue that there are certain moral standards - incarnate principles of behavior, if you will - that govern human interactions. In other words there are generally accepted norms proper human behavior - the new morality. This consists namely of not harming others (honesty, integrity, reciprocity, equality, etc). And there are behaviors that are not proper (i.e. those that harm others). As such, the question often asked, since God is all-loving, who is my behavior harming? If this argument seems to make logical jumps from God to harming, it is. Those in the church who attempt to define their behavior on an ill-defined concept of God, find themselves in a logical quandry. It seems that because God is all-loving, He does not punish. But what are the parameters of God's love?

This argument while logically incoherent, raises some very important issues: 1) How does one define harm? Certainly both stances would argue that God asks us to love one another. Those of us in the church who feel we have been harmed, what is the foundation of that assertion? Are we the object of harm? If we are harmed, does that mean particular type of behavior that caused harm is not God-like? But the problematic is what constitutes that harm? Who defines that harm? How does one know they are harmed? I submit that this failure to define the limits of harm is a result of a faulty understanding of God. Even in secualar society, harm is up for debate, there are degrees of harm. For example some indigenous people completely reject the notion of human rights as a western imposition on their way of life - this because the very notion of rights is inherently western. As a result, human rights harm their way of life. Human rights is seen a western universalism gone awry. As such, the pluralistic secular society struggles with defining the limits of harm. This failure is easily transposed into the church, those advocating the church harmed them, fail to define the limits of harm - it is difficult to understand what is meant by the term. But yet, it is that very notion that provides the impetus for their aspersions against the church. It is here that individuals of this persuasion politicize the church and more importantly the gospel. This ill-defined theology them provides lens for them to interpret the scriptures and re-define the meaning of salvation. This then leads to characterizations that the church is out of touch with reality, but they fail again to properly define reality - whose reality? These arguments however are merely justifications for the individual to behave according to the desires of their body. Following the desires of the body is implicitly included in the notion of an all-loving God. As such, their statement that God does not make mistakes, says a great deal about God, the human condition, and the body. That is, in short, I have the desires I have because God does not make mistakes, if He did I would not have these feelings; because I have these feelings, God must want me to act on them within the accepted norms of incarnate principles of behavior. This argument then makes implicit critiques about the nature of revelation, the validity of Prophets, and moral absolutes. In short, the argument is, in essence,"who knows?"

The second argument has just as many problems, but within the church, there is clarity on the nature of God, there is clarity on moral standards, and there is clarity on harm. However, the problem is that individuals who understand this, cower before its clarity and attempt to find fault with the clarity by then attempting to re-interpret God, to cause confusion. Because within confusion, the range of acceptable behavior is expanded.

I struggled coming to know God, rather I struggled to come to know that there was a God. Coming to know God allowed me to come to understand Hid character, however firm it might have been at times. But God loves me always; this I am coming to find out.

It is late, and I did not intend to ramble this long...I will try to address the second argument in the near future.

For the time being, I await the decision on my Disciplinary Council. I continue to struggle with unwanted behavior, but I am becoming increasingly hopeful.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


I have trouble giving up control. I am proud.

I struggled with the doctrines of the church for so long and finally received confirmation that whatever my mortal condition might be, it is not necessarily my eternal condition. Yet, with that perspective came an intellectual understanding that to "endure" I would need to apply the atonement of Jesus Christ. I still understand that this is imperative to the theology of repentance, yet, I am struggling with allowing that reality to permeate my heart.

The addiction has a hold on my life. In the past three months I have slipped five times, which, I suppose, is about once every 2 to three weeks. How do I break this cycle? The proud part of me assumes that because I can build a somewhat coherent doctrinal argument about the atonement and agency, that somehow I know this is a deeply meaningful spiritual way.

Yet the sad reality is that because I am engaged in these unclean practices, the Spirit who teaches changing truth does not attend my insincere efforts. I am in an attitude of trusting myself over God, trusting in my knowledge of God, rather than in Him. It's very hard to put off the natural man, the part of me that so desires to simply not deal with pornography.

Yet, it is precisely this part of my life that is the stumbling block, it is literally damning my spiritual progression.

I would be lying if I said I understood the place homosexuality has in the doctrinal panorama: I don't. But what I do understand are certain truths, and whether I am gay or not is irrelevant. Right now I struggle to put off the natural man who is easily beset by carnal temptations.

I give in, in part, because there is a part of me that still assumes I know more than God. How arrogant, right? But at this moment, I struggle to put off the yoke of pornography addiction.

Repentance is not easy. I am now awaiting word from my Stake President on whether I will need to stand (or sit) before a Disciplinary Council. This scares me, but I suppose I want to be clean, so this is necessary. Yet, I am still struggling with the disconnect between what I know intellectually about the gospel and the plain and simple truths that speak to the soul. I feel empty a lot of the times. But I go on in hopes that the spiritual substance will fill my life with hope.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


It has been a while. I think I am on the right track, but I can never feel certain. Feeling tug me in different directions, and fear keeps me from doing things I would otherwise be doing.

I talked with my Stake President and recited to him my transgressions. Shameful and embarrassing as it is, I did this to bring me closer to God.

I feel the weight of what I have done. I am coming to recognize the seriousness of breaking sacred covenants. I made a promise with God; I broke that promise.

But now I seek the forgiving hand of Heaven; I seek to be forgiven of what I have done by my Father. I seek the grace of Heaven, however unworthy I feel of that grace.

But coming to this realization has really helped me to see my weakness in a different light. I have come to have low regard for the covenants I have made. I did not fully understand what I was doing, nor was I spiritually cognizant. I made these covenants, because that is what one does.

I don't feel lost anymore, but I do feel estranged from Heaven. I suppose I need to learn how to forgive myself.

The carnal desires remain, I think I can control them. But time will tell. I pray for the strength to overcome.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Giving My Life Over

I still do not entirely trust God can actually heal me. Heal in the sense of helping me overcome the addictions in my life: pornography and masturbation. But He can also heal the way I see myself and others. He can change the desires of my heart. But I have trouble believing this. Why?

I slipped again last night and this morning. It is so easy for me to doubt God can actually help even when I do not feel His presence. He is still helping, at least I hope, at least I am told.

I have not fully converted to the gospel. Why?

I am not sure.

I suppose, there is a part of me that still feels I can do all things by myself. It is this part of me that seeks to gratify my intellectual, physical, and emotional pursuits. It is this part of me that assumes I my have greater wisdom, by the capacity of reason and rationality.

I found a loophole in the internet filter. But I suppose a part of me knew I would. I denied that this would happen. It only took two days. This part of me that knew refused to accept that I can't do this alone - that is to break the addiction of pornography.

Certainly, pornography has given me a very unhealthy conception of sexuality, of relationships, and of love. Whether it is gay porn or not, there are numerous studies that document this is the case, though some stop short of saying pornography is not healthy.

Whatever the case maybe, viewing people engaging in a sacred practice defames the sacred and cheapens what love actually is. There is a connection to sexuality, emotions, spirituality, and the like that pornography affects. I am not entirely certain what it is, but most certainly it affects me and my own self-confidence.

But I have denied this. I have assumed I have the power of my own accord to overcome these addictions; and of my own accord re-shape my own sense of self-worth.

Nephi notes that "it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do." I failed to believe and failed to fully grasp what that means. Doing all we can in part is a recognition that I can't do most things of my own accord, and therefore I need to find as many resources as I can to strengthen me against sin, then comes the grace to makeup for what I cannot do.

I do not have a completely broken heart, nor a contrite spirit. My heart is not shattered, and my spirit not sufficiently contrite.

I am a prideful man. It is hard for me to admit in some areas of my life I do not have control. Yet, I do not have control of my physical desires because I have become submissive to my addiction.

I need to learn how to come to God with a broken heart. I need to learn how to come to God with a contrite spirit.

This process is hard. This process of coming to "see" my weakness is hard. But it is humbling. I am coming to realize that I have not the sufficient strength to do things on my own. I am coming to realize that I need a Savior more than ever. Not someone to simply rescue me from the anguish of sin, but to rescue me from my very desires and thoughts. Someone to rescue me from the natural man.

It's hard and most of the time I feel nothing, but I trust something is happening. When I slip, which I hope does not happen again, I feel as if I have to start over from the very bottom. But I am not sure that is the case, there is grace that has helped me progress. While I still stumble, the fall is not so far, if I am trying to learn from my mistakes.

My confidence needs to be boosted. Giving my life over the Lord seems inapposite from boosting self-confidence. At this moment, that seems to be the case, but I am trusting that something good will happen.

I know this theologically and intellectually, but I have never really applied my heart to understanding so that I might gain the spiritual knowledge that I so desperately want now.

I am weak. My heart is saddened. I do not feel the presence of Heaven, but that does not mean He is not there concerned deeply - I have to engraven this in the fleshly tablets of my heart. But it is hard to believe.

I wish God would simply take my addictions from me. But I know that is not the case, He will not do this. But how I wish this. I need to learn how to access the atonement. I desire for the atoning blood to be applied to me.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Desperate for Peace

I feel yet again estranged from God.

I watched porn in the wee hours of the morning and then masturbated. It was nearly seven weeks. Probably the longest I went since my mission. That was ten years ago. Now I feel terrible. This practice has simply exacerbated the guilt and anguish I feel already for having paid three guys to masturbate in front of me.

My Bishop says that I am changing or progressing. I wonder, at times, whether I feel as if I am deluding myself. But then there are moments of peace that passeth all understanding. These are rare and singular moments. I experience peace and good feelings, but those specific feelings are rare and a deep spiritual feeling attends them. These moments assure me that God is there, that I am loved. And that God will always see me for who I really am, the source of His love for me. He sees me as an eternal and exalted being; He sees the potential I have to become like Him. But yes, He loves even in my weakness. But this is not to suggest that because God loves me, He does not care about the things I do. He does care. He cares. When I break an eternal law, I move away from God. He does not move away from me.

Again, I feel as if I can so easily write about these things; I can even quote scriptures and General Authorities, but I fail again to feel the power of what I have written.

Abinadi, before the priests of King Noah, was questioned as to the meaning of Isaiah. Abinadi answered these priests who knew the law, who knew the scriptures, who even prayed: "Ye have not applied your hearts to understanding; therefore ye have not been wise. Therefore what teach ye this people." This is me. I know the scriptures, I know the law; yet I am failing to apply my heart to understanding.

There is a power, at least I believe, in the doctrine. I am failing to access that power. How do I apply my heart to understanding?

Having masturbated and viewed pornography, the first time in seven weeks, I find that I am still very weak. The power of doctrine comes, in part, from being obedient to the laws of Heaven.

I am finding that I am still so very weak, and perhaps not entirely honest with myself. There are parts of my mind and my life that I still wish to hide, that I still cling to. I desire to view pornography, more specifically I want to see men erotically engage each other. I want to be with a man. My physical body so desires to be with a man.

When I am in these moments, God's peace is so foreign, so distant, so unattainable, so impossible. It is in this moment, I suppose where I must simply remember the peace of God is possible. Remembering is tied to faith. It provides the foundation for faith of moving forward in times where things seem impossible, remembering helps.

Yet, I still have a hole in my heart. I continue to feel the anguish of what I have done. I feel alienated from Heaven.

This post is rambling. Do I dare ask myself that God is demanding too much? Do I dare ask myself if I am demanding the impossible?

I know that God is real. I have a budding faith in the power of the atonement. Yet, I am having trouble accessing it. My Bishop says I am progressing.

I want to deal with this in the most emotionally, spiritually, and physically healthy way as possible. Each of these has to be addressed. What am I missing?

I suppose I am happier than I have been. I have a greater peace of conscience. Yet, that one moment of weakness is bringing me down. I feel nervous, anxious, stressed, worried, weighed down, filled with anxiety, and anguish. Perhaps this pain is meant to help me truly see myself.

I have to come see myself as God sees me. He loves me, not just because of the potential I have, but because of who I really am. I am a son of God, but I fail to understand what that means. That knowledge has the power to deflect the powers of Satan. I remember Moses. But I do not have that knowledge. I do not have the deep spiritual knowledge.

But faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. In other words, faith is the foundation of all our hopes for the future. I hope for good things for my future. This is predicated on my conviction that God the Father lives, that Jesus Christ lives. Yet, I am slow in coming to know them. But I know they are there.

My physical appetites are strong; I believe that coming close to the Savior, His power will change my desires. I most certainly do not expect a change in my attractions to men, but rather a change in my ability to control my desires. That I will be changed to desire the things of God, the things of Heaven.

My heart is empty. I desire to believe.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Trusting God

Last night I played with fire and was burned.

I am not sure why I thought I was strong enough to view soft porn, as if this would not lead to other things. I suppose since I had been doing that for a few days, my defenses were already down.

The soft porn aroused those powerful emotions; the natural man wanted more. This led to harder porn and eventually masturbation. It had been nearly seven weeks since I last engaged with this practice. I feel terrible. But I suppose this is the process of change, being able to fully turn away may have some falls along the way.

Right now the emotions are still powerful. Somehow, I knew that my relationship with God was stifled, perhaps because of my clouded mind. I was thinking and contemplating how to sin; I was beginning to labor in sin. I need to learn how to adequately place controls in my mind.

I feel horrible. How easy this starts. I started by looking at online profiles of guys without shirts. This then led to soft core porn of male underwear models. This led to youtube videos of guys kissing. This led to youtube videos of guys doing more. This then led to sites hosting videos. This happened over the course of four days. I installed an internet filter to help me in my progress.

I am not sure what is seeking this behavior. Perhaps it is stress or something else. I have to keep reminding myself that it took 19 years to train the natural man, it cannot be undone in a matter of seven weeks. But yet, I also feel that I have the strength.

Perhaps that is the problem, I continue to think that I can do this; I need to truly learn how to give my life and problems over to Heaven. I am struggling with how to do this.

I am attempting to "see" my weakness so that I might be made strong. I suppose that part of seeing the weakness is adequately identifying the patterns that lead me to my behavior, but more than that getting to the underlying motivation.

I want sex so bad. I want to touch another guy so very bad. I suppose that my desires still need to be changed. But how do I adequately give my sins away? How do I access the power of the atonement?

I suppose the question then is why do I want sex with another guy? And would that take away my desire to masturbate and view pornography? To the second question, I am certain it is no, but it may diminish it. As for the first question, I am not sure.

Why do I want sex with another man? I am attracted to the male physical form. It excites me physically. Right now, my thoughts of sex are with men; my thoughts of a family and life are with a woman. But that still does not address the question. I recognize that I am attracted to men; this is a part of my mortal identity that shapes my eternal identity. I can say this, but I hope to believe it soon.

I am gay, but I am also a son of God. Being attracted to the same sex is my lot. The physical desires are a part of the natural man. I am a prideful man. I think I can do things on my own. While I pray for strength, I am not sincere about it. I am not approaching Heaven with a broken heart and contrite spirit. The past few days I may have been approaching with feigned contrition, enough to fool me.

Well not exactly, I knew it was not there. I suppose in those moments I continue making the right choices. God trusts me, why do I not trust him? He trusts that I can make the right decisions, He needs me to consistently make the right decisions to know that I can change. He does this for me. He changes me slowly because I need to know how hard it is to change, to truly "see" my weakness in the struggle.

I need to trust God, because He trusts me.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I often wonder what I am overcoming. Last night I spent the night getting close to the edge of viewing pornography. I wanted to very much. I wanted to gratify myself. I didn't.

I am not sure if getting close to the edge is a very good idea. But it is hard to get away from it, though: it's alluring. The physical sensation of going over the edge is amazing. The natural desires of my body are so strong, it wants pornography, it wants to masturbate, it wants to touch another guy. My gosh.

Yet each of these activities is incompatible with the gospel. Yet, these are the desires of my hear, the desires of my mind.

There is also a part of me that wants a relationship with a man. I want him to hold me, to touch me, to kiss me, to eat dinner with me, to just talk with me and be with me. A best friend is not the same. And again, this is not compatible with the gospel.

But the funny thing, while it seems that I am denying myself the natural desires, as I do and try to allow Father into my heart, the heaviness of denying myself is not so burdensome.

I am slowly coming to know God. For so long, I could easily tout scriptures, quotes from GA's, books, and so forth on who God is. I felt that by simply reading about Him I would come to know Him. That by simply listening to what people say about God, I would come to know Him. And I did this, I felt I knew God. I felt I knew Christ. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The reality is I never knew God. I lied to myself. I deceived myself into believing I knew Him, because as returned missionary I was to know God. My pride kept me from my God. My pride kept me from understanding the atonement.

God the Father made Himself manifest to me on my mission, but that was supposed to be the beginning; rather I held onto that as the beginning and the end. Thinking somehow the more I thought about the stronger I would become, or rather by simply not forgetting it, I would not deviate. The reality is, as President Eyring pointed out, the "shelf life for a testimony is very short."

I distanced myself from God, through shutting down the lines of communication through masturbation and pornography, lustful thoughts and desires, and the pride that I had no problems. I slowly moved away from Him, deceiving myself that I was drawing closer. I was not.

I continued to read the scriptures, tried to pray, and continued to go to Church. But something was missing, there was a high degree of inauthenticity in who I was. I was pretending to believe I was someone I was not. I would not allow the church me know the gay me, or the struggling me. One of these identities took over and completely weakened the me as the "son of God."

I did not know who I was. I am struggling. As I come to God, I am coming to know that what I read about Him is indeed true, but I am coming to know of His tender mercies. While some may be tempted to confuse these tender mercies with the mere strength of the mind, it is not. These tender mercies are real, this is the grace of an ever-loving God. He wants me to love; He wants me to find love and express it; He wants me to find a partner; He wants me to know happiness is not simply following the desires of the natural man.

I am a son of God. I am coming to know the Savior. Through His infinite atonement, I am blessed with tender mercies to enable me to overcome the desires to view pornography, the change the desires I have to masturbate, to change the desires I have for living in a relationship with a man. God will not bless me with desires that contradict His laws.

While I do not fully understand why I am gay or its place in the doctrine of the gospel, I am coming to know God. I am coming to know my Savior.

Overcoming is a blessing of Heaven.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Playing with Fire and Tender Mercies

Last night, I played with fire.

It started innocently. I was viewing friends' social networks pages, soon I was looking at strangers' pages, hoping to find "hot guys." This led to me then going to the emails, I had trouble deleting last week. I begin to view those emails and let my thoughts race. I pictured what I would've done with each person.

In the middle of that viewing process, I stopped and shut down my computer to sleep. I prayed that I might have the strength to overcome and the strength to change. As I put my head down on the pillow, all I could think about were the pictures. I felt guilty and dirty. I felt as if I had viewed pornography. Because I did.

I thought, "how can I truly 're-turn' toward God, if yet, I continually look back?" "How can I completely change, when I refuse to root these emails from my life?" I got out of bed and turned my computer on.

I then proceeded to delete the emails accounts and emails. It was hard, there was a part of me that was yearning to look at the pictures to gratify myself. I resisted and continued to delete the emails. Again, it felt as if a part of me was deleted. But I suppose a part of me was deleted. The part of me that loved the unclean thing was, at least, partly deleted.

I am beginning to realize how much harder this change thing is. I prayed afterwards that I might be kept from temptation, and that I might have the strength to resist. At that moment, I realized that simply asking to resist was akin to simply stopping the practice, I asked that through the atonement of Jesus Christ, the very desires of my heart yearning for pornography, yearning to gratify the sexual desires of the natural man had to be changed. These desires are strong and have controlled my life for so long. Simply ignoring them would only fuel those desires: those desires have to be extinguished through the grace, and mercy of the atonement of Jesus Christ.

The natural man is strong. His reasoning is compelling, but I must cling to every good thing that I know comes from Heaven.

Last night I felt the tender mercies of the Lord: strength given me to help "see" weakness that I might be made strong.

Monday, August 9, 2010


I am a weak man.

Last night I had a dream that I kissed a man. It was exciting.

I often wonder if my dreams will also condemn me. Perhaps if I simply don't dwell on them.

I am not sure.

The kiss was electric and has been on my mind.

When I woke up this morning I did my morning routine and then checked email and the like. While on the internet, the natural man aroused by that dream easily took me to a male modeling site. There I told myself I was simply admiring the male form. However, it was easy for me to notice that I was not simply admiring, rather I was lusting.

I reasoned that this is how it begins. These somewhat benign sites easily transition into sites with more content - and more skin. "This is how it starts," I told myself. I turned my browser toward Mormon Messages on Youtube. However, as I typed in Mormon, I quickly became fascinated with the debates on atheism.

I had known of Richard Dawkins and have even read some of what he had written. I remain unconvinced of his approach and of his reasoning. However, for brief moments, strands of his argument were compelling. I could be the natural man and be subject to no God for my actions. However, the power of the Spirit of God is real, it cannot be mistaken for a "frenzied mind."

It seems the adversary is doing his best to find anyway into my mind, to keep my from the path I am on. It is hard, I can imagine it getting harder. I fear that one night, I will give in to, not the fact that there is no God, but rather that I will be over-powered by the rationalizing of the natural man. I will again touch the "unclean thing." This I fear.

I pray for the strength I need put off the natural man. I pray for the grace of God to change my very desires. Right now I feel vulnerable, but I must re-gain strength and stand firm against the adversary, but moreover, stand firm against the natural man.

I must be able to put him off.

My Bishop tells me that I may need to stand before a disciplinary council of some sort. I am paralyzed with fear at the very thought, it is agonizing to think of this. I hope it may not be, but I pray for the strength to accept whatever the Lord sees fit to "inflict" upon me.

I am weak right now, the natural man desires so much for self-gratification. But I pray for the strength to resist, but also for the power of the atonement to change my very desires.

I hope I can survive until tomorrow.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


How easy it is for the natural man to appeal to the basest desires! As I take a road trip, this morning I found myself viewing facebook pages gay mormon couples. As I looked at the pictures of these couples together: they look happy.

In my mind I start thinking, "what is so wrong with that?" My mind and desires start wandering. I desire to find a partner, to "be happy," "to express my 'true' identity." I then find myself wanting to return to my old self, which I am still trying to put off.

I am still struggling to find myself. I desire to be found worthy of my God, but at the same time I desire God to allow me the experience of being with a man I love. I feel damned if I do either. But the reality is I will only be damned if I do one of them.

I have to convince myself that is the case, I easily forget the power of God, I easily forget His love, and all the things He has done for the children of men. It is hard for me to retain a remembrance.

Some days I wish I would've never been born in the church so I could be who my body tells me I am. I suppose, like right now. What keeps me from not leaving is the love my mind has for God; I think rationally about what I know to be true. The foundational premise upon which I build my life, and upon I stay in the church is that singular experience I had in the mission. To this day it continues to save me and shape my life.

But I am weak. I desire to view pornography. This morning I woke up to a tent staring at me, I wanted so much to "release," but didn't. Last night, I kept thinking "what harm would there be in checking out Craigslist?" I didn't. But the natural man desires so much. I suppose that's the hard part of putting off the natural man, he has been "put" into place by years of my nurturing, now it is hard to remove him from his place, especially when I am not really certain what to replace him with.

There are still emails I have yet to delete. I keep thinking about them, why is it so hard? I rationalize that "just in case, I might want to look at that cute guys picture?" For what? If I trying to repent and completely turn away from these things, why would I do that? But it is hard.

I keep thinking how hard it would be for me to have to stand before the Stake President and re-count my tale; but what scares me even more is if he asks for a disciplinary council. The shame and embarrassment that will bring. I understand its purpose, but my pride makes me afraid. For some years these men have thought I was so righteous; now I come before them to tell them I paid three young guys at different times to masturbate for me. The last one I touched. I have to tell them that before I was masturbating with others via webcam. I have to tell them that for ten years I have struggled with an addiction to pornography and masturbation. I have to tell them that for ten years, I have continually broken the law of chastity and violated my covenants. I have to tell them that for ten years I have participated in sacred rites of the priesthood un-worthily. I have to tell them that for ten years I have lied to myself, to them, and the to the Lord. I have to tell them these things and it is painful, scary, embarrassing, and shameful.

I don't want to, but I will.

I desire to be changed, I desire to be a new man. I desire to put off the natural man and become a saint through the atonement.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


I am still having trouble deleting emails from Craigslist. Somehow these emails and their pictures have become such a part of my life. It is hard to delete and hard to let go.

But this afternoon, however hard it was and however much the natural man mourned the deletion, I deleted the emails. Though not until after I took a quick peek at some of the pictures.

Supposedly it was a last hurrah, but it charged my emotions and stirred up the natural man. I figured if that is what is happening, then the best thing to do is delete.

I deleted and felt regret for deleting, this was my bank of photos, this was my alternate life. Now I am deleting this alter-ego I had created over the past five years. It is hard, but I suppose it is necessary for me to reconcile myself to God.

I did delete and felt a small sense of accomplishment, but moreover I felt a part of me died. I am missing these emails, this life I created for myself. But I desire to be found clean before God, thus I hope to be able to "see my weakness."

Craigslist. You are done!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Flaxen Cords

I am Lot's wife.

I look back longingly. I look back wishing I could have done more; I have trouble letting go.

This morning on my drive to work, I listened to a talk given by Elder Holland on "Remembering Lot's Wife." She was turned into a pillar of salt after looking longingly back to both Sodom and Gomorrah.

Yesterday, after my entry I started poking around the email I used to solicit pictures, people from Craigslist. I have been having trouble deleting this email. I got rid of the immoral pictures from my computer, the porn from my computer, and so forth.

Yet I think longingly on the pictures guys sent me; I have trouble deleting them. I have trouble letting go.

I continue to look back. I pray now, that I will have the strength to not look back, but to look forward. This morning, as I was listening and when I got to the office, I tried to delete, but it was hard. I am now still struggling to delete.

I figure this is part of "seeing my weakness." How can I become strong if I do not "see my weakness?"

I am still struggling to let go. I keep looking back. I will soon turn to salt.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Chapter 1 - Flaxen Cords ... Continued

It's interesting that just when I think that I have control of my thoughts, a flood of "should have dones" come into my mind.

I imagine that night now four and half weeks ago wishing I did more. I reflect on that and wish I did more than merely touch. These thoughts most certainly will condemn me.

But the process of learning to control these powerful thoughts that arouse such emotions is difficult. I feel helpless; in those thoughts I begin to think how I wish the Lord would allow me to have one day of "freebies." Alas, I understand that cannot be.

Learning to retrain the mind is hard. I think how long it took for me to cultivate the thoughts that generate such passion in me. I clearly remember being not more than four years old and captivated by an image from a magazine of a man modeling underwear. That was more than twenty-five years ago. I suppose, then, I did not really know what my life would be like or become.

I now sit in my office, during my lunch break, and reflect on my life. My day.

This morning I drove out to the capital to pick up some surveys I left, on the drive there these thoughts overcame me. I nearly drove off the road to a side road and relieved my frustration. At that moment, while I was listening to the Book of Mormon, came the following from the Book of Ether Chapter 12 verse 37:
"And it came to pass that the Lord said unto me: If they have not charity it mattereth
not unto thee, thou hast been faithful; wherefore, thy garments shall be made clean. And because thou has seen thy weakness thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my Father."
I paused and reflected on what I heard: "Because thou has seen thy weakness thou shalt be made strong." I have yet to fully see the entirety of my weakness, thus I am still not strong. But as days become weeks, I have learned slowly that I have been able to control my thoughts, they are not as frequent.

I wonder if I should try praying for a natural release at night to at least get me from trying to release it manually. Perhaps there is a connection here with my thoughts. But alas, this does not solve the issue. To put off the natural man, I must think as God thinks, do as He does.

These thoughts a constant reminder of how far I am from God, how far my thoughts are from God. How far the intents of my heart are from His.

I am weak.

I desire to see my weakness. I pray for this. I may not have the strength to endure it, but if I do, perhaps then will come the strength.

It is hard to concentrate on my work; the thoughts of the that night and the thoughts of what I should have done continue to plague me daily. My only solace is in saturating myself with all things Gospel. This is hard. Even my favorite music has suggestive melodies that bring these thoughts.

Every morning I wake up and see my body tempting me. I shower and there my body tempts me as I bathe. It is hard. When I see and feel my body tempting me, the thoughts come easily. How weak is my spirit, how weak is my mind.

Certainly, the world would think I am crazy to deny the appetites of the body. To deny my "true" character. While that is partly true, they fail to realize that my true character is eternal, and this mortal identity is merely a part of my eternal nature. I believe this, or at least I hope to.

Deluded? Maybe, but I know for myself what laws of Heaven I have violated.

I hear my body copying the refrain that it's natural, God created you this way, He desires your happiness.

To that I respond, perhaps overzealously, who am I to chastise and tell God what His laws are? Who am I? Well, that I really don't know. I have simple faith born of an experience in my mission. This is all I have now to cling to, a faint memory of a powerful spiritual experience.

I did not nurture or build on it; I tried, but did so under the influence of pornography and self-pleasure. These two unclean things, stunted my growth, caused me to lie to myself and to my God.

I was in sixth grade when I saw my first pornographic film. It was "straight." However, I fixed my eyes on the guy. And now I struggle to get my eyes off of him.

From that time to this, the thoughts of being with a man plague my senses, my very being. I could have stopped and talked with my Bishop or father at that time, but I chose to hide, I carried that secret for years.

When I was seventeen I confessed to my Bishop that I viewed pornography among other things; but I never really tried to "see my weakness," rather I tried to conceal I had any problem. Doing so allowed the thought so fester and grow stronger and stronger. Now nearly 19 years of slow steady nurturing of the unclean thing is difficult to turn back. These thoughts are so easily entertained.

I hope and pray that my very nature will be changed, I hope for a mighty change in heart, mind, might, and soul.

I hope to be granted grace from Heaven.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Chapter 1 - Flaxen Cords

Joseph Smith the Prophet is noted to have said, “ A man does not comprehend himself, until he comprehends the nature of God.”

My life has been one of not comprehending who I am. I am told I am a child of God. While that rings true, I do not comprehend its meaning.

I received an email this morning from my Bishop telling me that giving my life over to Christ is a process; it takes time, it is not a singular moment. I have wondered recently how I give my life over to Christ. Perhaps this line of questioning should be indicative of me giving my life over. I am not sure.

All I know is that I have this spiritual wound, it hurts, it brings anguish, it makes me feel lost, and estranged from all things good. Intellectually I comprehend, at least I think I do, that giving my life over to Jesus Christ will heal my wound. I suppose I trust that if I do, it will happen, or at least I hope it will happen.

That night, four weeks ago, continues to weigh me down. It was nearly 1 am when I asked the stranger to leave, covered in sin I fell to my knees knowing I had offended Heaven. I prayed mightily, but to no avail. I rationalized that I could simply ignore it and pretend it didn't happen and continue as if it didn't. I told myself, time will heal this wound and you will be feeling like your old self. I almost believed.

When I was traveling in Europe some years ago, I got off the train at my destination. Near the train station was an Adult video store. Instinctively, I walked toward it. I walked there with the intent of using a private video viewing booth. However, before I got to the booth, I went to the restroom and there a young man, my age exposed himself to me and said "I am ready. $30 for one hour."

I looked at him and whatever spiritual guidance I had told me to leave. I froze, overcome with such strong emotion. A person came into the restroom, this was my moment to run.

I ran.

The young guy came after me and in a persuasive manner convinced me to purchase his "services." I followed him into a private booth and there I promised myself I would only watch. I did not just watch, I gave into to temptation.

I left that filthy place feeling filthy. I found a quiet place and wept. The next day I attended church with old friends, I refused the sacrament, I was overcome with guilt and fear. This guilt stayed with me for the next three years. I did not confess my sin, I did not repent. I continued attending church, continued partaking of the sacrament, continued attending the temple, all the while feeling burdened by fear, estrangement, and guilt. I did all of these unworthily. When I think of it, I fear for my salvation.

I attended BYU and lied to myself and my church leaders about my worthiness. I cared more about what people thought of me than what Father thought of me. At the end of my time at BYU I mustered up the courage and confessed to my Bishop. I talked with the Stake President who told me enough time had passed and no Disciplinary Council was needed, that my Bishop could decide what to do. My Bishop gave me my recommend. I felt exonerated, the guilt had left. But my nature was not changed. From that time to that night four weeks ago, I did not repent. I simply abstained. However, other practices soon returned. I was not repenting. I failed to grasp what it means to repent. My nature was not changed.

I thought this that night, four weeks ago, when the stranger left my apartment. I refused the temptations of the natural man to rationalize. I wrote an email detailing my debacle to the Bishop. I felt a burden lift. I thought that would be sufficient.

I learned quickly and am continually learning now that I did not comprehend God. I believed in Him, but I failed to believe Him. I did not comprehend, and still don't, His character. I learned that my repentance at BYU was incomplete, my nature was never changed, I simply learned to stop doing. My heart was not changed, my desires were not changed.

As I now embark on this process of repentance, I am coming to know that I never really knew God.

At one time, I felt His love; I came to know that He is real. But I did not seek after Him. I sought the appearance of holiness for the benefit of others and not for the salvation of my soul or the glory of God. If I truly did seek after Him, I would draw close to Him and come to comprehend Him, then I would have known who I was. I did not do this. As such, God while intellectually embedded in my thoughts remains a stranger to my Spirit.

I now seek after this God who allowed me to feel the arms of His love, in hopes that my very desires and nature will be changed and that I might come to know who I really am.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I am gay. What does this mean?

I am not sure.

For most of my life, I have simply ignored and denied myself a knowledge of my true character. Yet, it is precisely, my true character that I am uncertain of.

I am a man. I am a child of God. I am gay. Who is God? Who is the Savior? Who am I? I don't know really. I have a simple theological and intellectual understanding of my identity, but I do not feel nor do I have a deep and abiding spiritual understanding and conviction of who I really am.

I am 31 year old and continue to struggle toward Godhood. I feel trapped at times, beleaguered by the desires of the natural man. I struggle to put off the natural man and become a saint. I do not even know what a saint is.

I served a mission with the purpose to bring people to Jesus Christ to experience a change in their very natures and experience the transcendental love the covers all things. Yet, somehow I failed to understand that for myself. I failed to apply that. I failed.

I love my God. I love, or think I love, the gospel of Jesus Christ. But at the same time I am aware of the reality that is my life. I am fallen. I am weak.

I trust that God knows what he is doing in "allowing" me to have this mortal experience that includes being sexually attracted to other men. This is the source of the greatest anguish, the source of my greatest doubts, and the source of most bitter and sweetest pain and joy.

I find myself confused and angry. But why?

This is a story of my struggle toward God. I know the detractors will note that I am simply confused and have been brainwashed by standards that are not reflected by the "enlightened" society governed by human rights; brainwashed by a church that simply has no tolerance for equality. To them I simply say, "you do not know my experience."

On my mission I came to know in a very personal way that God the Father lives, that Jesus Christ lives. I came to know they are real. They enveloped me in the arms of their love. I seek to again be embraced by their arms and welcomed home. This I know beyond all measure.

Yet, the natural man is so very persuasive, his logic and rational is compelling. I find myself believing the natural man.

Not too long ago, I found myself sobbing late in the night after I sent home a stranger I never met before. That night I became morally bankrupt and acquired a deficit in my chastity. I broke the eternal law of chastity, I violated my covenant not to engage in sexual activity outside the bonds of marriage. I gave in to the desires to be with a man; to experience the forbidden fruit that feels so natural. I sobbed for hours, full of fear, full of anger. I dropped to my knees to speak to this God I long forgot. I prayed deeply to be forgiven. I prayed that my pain would cease.

That was four weeks ago. I offer the same prayer today.

I now suffer the spiritual consequences. I stay within the church because I know my Redeemer lives. It pains my mind, my heart, my soul that I have transgressed the very laws of eternal increase. I am now in the gall of bitterness. I am estranged from God.

This is my story.