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

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Humility or Humiliation

I missed my meeting with my Bishop on Sunday evening, on purpose. We were supposed to talk about the Disciplinary Council. It has been nearly nine months since I first entertained an anonymous visitor. The last one being a little over a week ago. After I missed the meeting I told the Bishop that there was some trepidation around the Disciplinary Council, in part because I was coming to realize that the platitudes I rattled off about God, were not substantive; that in reality, while I caught a glimpse of God, I still did not know Him, thus it was hard for me to trust him and the proceedings of the Council.

I received an email back from him telling me that when I'm more consistent with my view, then I'll be ready for the Council. On my way home from work I was filled with anger. I felt that the longer I'm in limbo, that provides the license I need to continue with my behavior, but more importantly with my line of thinking of leaving the church. I felt that if I had a Disciplinary Council back in August, as was first intimated, then I may have been saved from the grief of my other behavior. I wanted to blame someone. I wanted to blame my Bishop for not being sensitive to me.

But then there was a part of me that simply wanted the Council to be over and to have a verdict so I can start my life. I was angry. I felt patronized, as if my faith was so fragile that I could not handle the discipline. I felt anger towards my Bishop for thinking I was not ready because I confessed that I did not know God, and subsequently I did not know myself. In that lingering moment of anger, I thought of walking away from church altogether.

However, while that line of reasoning was appealing, I felt a stirring, an ever so small stirring in the recesses of my soul. I pulled out my phone and opened the scriptures and started to read. My body was trembling because of how angry I was; everything in my mind told me that reading scriptures was the last thing to do. But I did, I was still breathing angry breaths. Yet, as I read the scriptures I was calmed down sufficiently. I got home and the anger welled up again. I got to my knees and, I'm embarrassed to admit, I was yelling at God. I was angry, not with Him, but with myself for allowing myself to be so angry and for allowing my pride to take the lead. I prayed not for a softening of heart, but for gratitude for feeling anger, for feeling the reality of my situation. I prayed then that I might come to know the God of my intellectual understanding, that, as one amazing person put it, my heart knowledge would include the knowledge of God.

Will my attractions to men ever leave, most likely not. But I am coming to realize the difference between being free from the secrets of sin and the freedom from sin itself. For so long, I associated the lifting of the burden of sin (through confession) as a form of forgiveness: it's not. While it's an important part, the forgiveness comes from critically examining my life, from pulling out all the errors of judgement, of thinking, of all things that distort my relationship to God, and turning toward Him, however hard and painful it is.

While I don't recognize God's sustaining power or His unconditional love in my life, I have to believe it's there. I hope to be able to one day stand before God and have Him peer deep into the chambers of my soul and see nothing but purity and goodness. But for now, cleaning out those chambers is painful.


  1. We have a lot in common, nuf said

  2. Enduring, I can really relate to much of what you have expressed. I have felt and sometimes still feel some of these emotions and doubts. I do, however, agree with your bishop that you're probably not ready for a council, and I'm impressed that he recognizes it. A council is only really helpful to you if you are in a place of truly desiring to repent and right yourself with Father. If you aren't sure of your belief in Him, the whole process is an exercise in futility unless your only desire is to leave the church.

    If you wait until you feel more spiritually grounded, it can be a big blessing and spiritual experience in your journey. If you aren't ready, it can be a negative and bitter experience. Be patient with yourself. Be kind to yourself. Take your time in rebuilding your faith. I'll be praying for you.