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

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Transient Thoughts

As I've participated in online SSA support groups, attended SSA support groups, and interacted with fellows from those groups I'm struck by two things:

1) Self-Hate; and,

2) Denial.

I must however qualify, there are many who are sincere in their journey toward God, many who have embraced their identity as a son of God. These I hold up as examples, sadly most of these have an attenuated presence in these groups.

Let me start with Self-Hate. By this I mean there is a recognition of the attractions to the same sex, and a hatred of those attractions or weakness as some may call it, even me. Let me add another qualifier, I am not exempt from what I'm writing about. Hatred of these attractions, as I am coming to understand, at least for me, is really a significant hatred of one's self. I am coming slowly to believe that these attractions, for whatever reason were "allowed" by God, and therefore have a useful purpose, when done within the boundaries of the Lord. Thus, this "allowance" will shape my eternal identity (at least theoretically, I am still striving to exercise the faith to believe in that eternal realm). I then wonder if God allowed me to have these attractions, they are a part of my mortal identity. It was not a part of my identity in the pre-earth life, but it will have significantly shaped my identity in the eternities to come. Therefore, should I not consider it a gift, and thank God for it? Should I continue to bemoan its presence? Should I hate it and by extension hate me? I'm not sure. But often that's what it feels like I am doing. As a result of my continued refusal to simply accept this as a part of my mortal identity, I am not able to connect to who I really am. I am not able to be authentically be a child of God. Certainly, the identity that deserves primacy is that of being a child of God; and for now I am a child of God who is gay. This I must come to accept; I must accept and surrender to its complexity, to its paradoxical nature, in reality, I must simply learn to love myself as God loves me. I think that last part is significant, because I can't come to know how God loves me, until I first come to know and love Him. I can't love Him when I continue to berate his creation (even in its seeming imperfection).

Second, Denial. This is closely related to self-hatred. I and many other continue to deny their mortal identity, clinging to a purist identity of pre-mortal life. As if mortality has no say in our continued development toward Godhood. One form of denial, as least for me is to continue to cling to the idea that the atonement will diminish the desires I have, that it will completely heal me of all my mortal defects. By heal I mean that I will no longer have these defects. I am coming to sense the atonement is much more diffuse than we think; that its enabling and healing power comes in daily strength to accept the mortal condition and endure. Last night I went to a Pornography Addiction Support Group at the Stake Center, there the focus was on the atonement. The way it was described was that I pray and read my scriptures, and then miraculously I will no longer have the addiction. Yet, I have to realize that the enabling power of the atonement comes from supportive friends who are present and willing to mourn with me, willing to comfort me when I need comforting. It is their constant unconditional friendship that is healing: this, for me, is one of the many means I have been enabled to maintain my sobriety for nearly two months. I tried praying quietly in secret, but it did not seem to work. Denial is dangerous. I am coming to realize I must acknowledge and accept and be present in all my weaknesses and strengths whatever they are, and start the process of deciding whether my weaknesses really are weaknesses. If I refuse to acknowledge and own my attractions, then I never will really know what it means to be me. I think I need to know what it means to be the real me, as that real me has buried deep within germs of Godhood. But getting there, I must acknowledge and accept the mortal me as well.

I'm not really sure what I'm saying, but I've noticed that those who seem most healthy in their relationship to God have accepted and found joy in the God's "allowance." They do not hate themselves, nor do they deny themselves. They've somehow bridged the mortal and eternal. They have found holy ground. I strive to find an stand on that terrain as well.


  1. Really great post! I think you're getting to the essence of it all - the core.

    I no longer hate myself for being gay. Its a part of me and I don't run from it any more. After all, its not something I chose. I spent 40 years in denial about who I was and it really feels good not to be fighting that demon any more. God loves for who I am, so why shouldn't I love myself as well?

    Congrats on the porn control. Wish I was doing better there...

  2. A man has three emotional needs:

    a father's love
    a brother's love
    and an intimate companion.

    Choosing the third as a man means that all three needs are being mixed into one person.

    Even if you manage to make it work for a time, there is an emotional loss personally and a violation of God's heart spiritually.