I am Lot's wife.
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
Friday, July 30, 2010
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
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
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.
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.