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

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!