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
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Abandoning myself to God
So not long ago, I took my first step in the 12-step program. The first step is:
"We admit that we are powerless over sexual addiction - and that our lives had become unmanageable." It took me years to come to this realization, but I have; and I am now gratefully powerless. I read my story in front of 50 men - it was liberating. It shined the light on all the deepest and darkest secrets of my life.
Furthermore, it helped me to see that being gay and Mormon are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Delving into my past, despite how difficult it was, enabled me to engage for the first time the fact that I am gay and that I am Mormon. It was that process that brought me to humbly ask God for His help. Yet, in that asking, I exerted every effort to simultaneously deny and accept the Christ. I know. I accepted the fact that Christ was real, but insisted on denying His healing powers.
While I choose not to blame my recent relapse on my lack of faith in Christ, I am nonetheless grateful for the relapse, as it pushed me toward step two.
Step two is: "Came to believe a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity."
I took step two yesterday. Yesterday, I could not concentrate on my work. I tried to finish making the edits on my dissertation prospectus, but could not concentrate. My mind went back to Saturday night. Yet, that memory and its root desire wrestled with a single truth in the back of my mind - Sunday (as noted before was Stake conference broadcast from Salt Lake City), Sister Elaine Dalton gave a powerful sermon on the sanctity of the body, she noted that all of the Adversary's attempts to drive us from God are centered on the body. With these dueling ideas, one centered on eternal fulfillment and the other on mortal fulfillment, I gave in and went in search of something to fill the God-size hole in my soul. I turned to the online personals. Parenthetically, as I was doing so, I realized that pornography is now boring to me - I have no real desire to use it anymore.
I arranged to meet this guy. Yet in the moments up to that impending meeting, I was deeply troubled. I did not want to do what my body (and now I realize what Darkness) wanted me to do. The missionaries came over and I almost lost my composure in their presence, I held back the pain filled tears and simply asked for a blessing that I might have more light and truth in my life. With their innocent and child-like faith they blessed me. They left my apartment at 8:00, the guy was supposed to come over at 8:30. I pondered on what I wanted out of my life. I realized I wanted faith, I wanted comfort. I wanted Christ in my life. Yet, I was resistant to that desire. I wanted to continue to insist on my previous simultaneous recognition and denial.
I read the "For the Strength of the Youth" pamphlet then read a talk by Elder Holland, in that talk he noted that God wanted my "soul to be as pure as it was meant to be." I soon found myself on my knees, pleading with God to not let me do what I desperately wanted to do. I begged God with every desire for good and life I had. I begged for my life. At that moment, I asked for the Atoning power and mercy of Jesus Christ. This was the first time I asked in sincerity for His mercy and love. I literally begged and pleaded to not let me go through what I had planned, I begged to be saved from myself. I realized I prayed for nearly half an hour, pleading with all my might to be saved from myself.
I then checked my email, I saw an email from the guy who noted his car would not start and was not able to come over. There is a part of me that wants to rationally explain this as simple coincidence or call him flaky. But, I can't discount the power of prayer and the love of my Heavenly Father. I was saved from myself. I abandoned myself to God. He restored me to a degree of sanity last night.
Repentance is hard. But I'm coming to sense it's worth it.