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.