Thursday, October 14, 2010

If I were LDS and Ex-SSSA

If I were LDS and also once, long ago, troubled with same-sex sexual attraction which I decided I didn’t want and chose to get over even though it was a difficult thing to do, I’d be confused about the Church right now. First, President Packer seemed to be saying my past sexual proclivities were sinful in thought and deed, that my feelings were not an identity, that I was just a sinner like anybody else who can repent and change in order to progress. This is what I would believe, and what worked for me. Then about ten days later the spokesman from the Church’s public affairs department came out with a statement. He seemed to say that same-sex attraction is an identity, that it’s not people’s fault, that those attractions or feelings aren’t sinful, that people with SSSA can progress in the church and enjoy the blessings of the temple. These two views are opposite. Maybe for a minute I wouldn’t know what to think about what is going on at the Church. I’d pray to get the Spirit to guide me.

I’d wonder why I had felt I should repent from my past attractions, thoughts, feelings, as well as any sort of conduct related to homosexuality, while repentance isn't even in others’ vocabulary. I'd wonder why others pretend that SSSA is pure and wholesome when I know from personal experience it isn't. I'd feel sorry for such people because they are fooling themselves. I'd wonder why others aren't encouraged to get the right kind of professional help, when the help I got so many years ago was so reasonable and enlightening. I’d wonder why others who have covenanted to keep their minds and hearts within the Lord's boundaries for sexuality don't feel they have to keep this covenant. I would have taken and continued to take this covenant very seriously.

I’d wonder why the world seems to give those involved in homosexuality so much special attention and acceptance and people like me who have left it behind absolutely none. I’d wonder why my experiences of getting into and getting out of homosexuality are discounted and ignored. I’d wonder why when I share my experiences and beliefs some people get really angry and call me all sorts of awful things, even wishing me dead. It’s a good thing I wouldn’t take these attacks personally. I would see that these people aren't ready to hear my testimony that they can turn back to God and change. I would know that is their choice. I would pray for them even though they feel and act as if they are my enemies.

If I were LDS and also ex-SSSA, it wouldn't be hard to decide to go with President Packer’s talk, the one he gave at General Conference on Oct. 3 at the pulpit. He’s the president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. I would remember how the Spirit confirmed to me that his words and warnings were true and right. I wouldn’t pay any attention to those who try to confuse or water down the gospel and the truth. I’d continue to make sure those three things — the prophets, the scriptures, and the Spirit — match up.

If I were LDS and ex-SSSA, I’d continue my regular habit of turning to the Lord all day every day. I'd do it because I love Heavenly Father and want to do His will, as Jesus showed. (People talk a lot about God loving them, but not much about them loving God and striving to do His will out of that love. While He gave us everything, He also makes great demands on us, such as keeping His law of chastity in our hearts and minds as well as physically.) I’d keep putting my full reliance on my Savior Jesus Christ and feeling the joy of his divine Atonement. I’d keep seeking truth and comfort from the Holy Ghost. I’d keep feeling God’s love. I’d keep striving to be that new creature in Christ I had become. I’d keep making good choices. I’d pray to be shown what other weaknesses and sins I have and work to leave them behind too, all through my life.

This is actually happening to people. Now that is love.

1 comment:

Sara said...

I appreciated the clarity of President Packer's talk. Thank you for your courage and your willingness to share your story in spite of those who disregard it or discount it and who openly abuse you and persecute you and your family. Those who are telling the same-sex attracted that they were born that way and can't change it are the ones that are sending the message of hopelessness and despair. President Packer's message is one of hope. Christ's atonement can heal. Frankly, I'm really amazed at how many people, even Church members, believe now that science shows that those who self-identify as homosexual were born that way. Why has that part of the agenda been so successful? Why don't people know that the agenda is recruitment and fostering addiction? Thank you for your part in shining a light in dark places. I know it's not fun.