Something -L- said in his Fallacious Fatty Fatalism post inspired a stream of thoughts I?ve been mulling over the last few days. He wrote: ?Does the fact that some can?t change despite their best efforts mean that they shouldn?t want to? No.?

A post that Jason Lockhart wrote ?On Change? quite a while back came to mind about what perhaps we should desire, or changes we should seek. And ?change? is always possible. The question, imo, is not whether people can change, but rather what kind of ?change? we’re talking about. More than that, it?s not enough to ask what?s possible, because what?s possible may not be necessary. So, what changes are ?necessary? in order to live in harmony with God?s plan? What changes should we desire?

On a side note, I have a friend who had come to a place where he didn?t believe full change was possible ? or at least likely (I emphasize this was his belief) ? but it was his initial belief that ?change? is possible (meaning complete reorientation via reparative therapy) that motivated him to make the efforts he did, and which resulted in a lot of very positive growth in his life, even though he continues to experience same-sex attraction. The important thing was, they were no longer devastating to him and he was in a pretty happy place. Previously, he had been miserable. Thus, even though his efforts didn?t result in the expected changes, the changes that did occur were so meaningful to him that he felt it?s appropriate to advertise programs of ?change? for just what they implied ? sexual reorientation ? even if the outcome wasn?t always as promised.

So, we got into a debate concerning the merits of what I believed to be of false promises. While we seemed to agree on the benefits of what one might expect through good therapy, it was on what should be said to motivate those who could benefit from such therapy to actually seek it that we wrestled. And what about those whose homosexual attractions really are reduced or eliminated through such therapy? And they do exist, despite the vocal naysayers. Is it unethical to advertise the various reorientation therapies for what is intended, even when that may not be the outcome for many? Even most?

At any rate, that was tangential. The question about what changes we should desire in our lives brought to mind the words of Alma:

O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people! Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth? (Alma 29:1-2)

But even with what I would consider a very righteous desire ? and whether it be proclaiming Christ or beginning and building an eternal family, I would suggest that we should pursue ALL righteous desires ? he called it a sin:

But behold, I am a man, and do sin in my wish; for I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me? (v. 3)

So, what desires are righteous, and which are sin? Even if they appear righteous? What circumstances should we be content with, and what should we seek earnestly to change? While I generally think I?ve got a pretty good grasp of what I should be seeking in my life, I?m occasionally moved to step back, reevaluate, and do a little soul searching ? and, if necessary, redirecting. In a talk on this very subject, called ?Content with the Things Allotted unto Us? (I highly recommend reading the whole talk), Elder Maxwell said,

We are to do what we can within our allotted ?acreage,? while still using whatever stretch there may be in any tethers. Within what is allotted to us, we can have spiritual contentment. Paul described it as ?godliness with contentment,? signifying the adequate presence of attributes such as love, hope, meekness, patience, and submissiveness (1 Tim. 6:6).

Yet there are other fixed limitations in life. For instance, some have allotments including physical, mental, or geographic constraints. There are those who are unmarried, through no fault of their own, or yearning but childless couples? In such and similar situations, there are so many prickly and daily reminders.

Being content means acceptance without self-pity. Meekly borne, however, deprivations such as these can end up being like excavations that make room for greatly enlarged souls.

Some undergo searing developments that cut suddenly into mortality’s status quo. Some have trials to pass through, while still others have allotments they are to live with. Paul lived with his ?thorn in the flesh? (2 Cor. 12:7).

Suffice it to say, such mortal allotments will be changed in the world to come. The exception is unrepented sin that shapes our status in the next world? (Ensign, May 2000; italics in original).

Ultimately, Elder Maxwell suggests, we must be ?circumstantially content but without being self-satisfied and behaviorally content with ourselves (see 3 Ne. 12:48; 27:27; Matt. 5:48). Such contentment is more than shoulder-shrugging passivity. It reflects our participative assent rather than uncaring resignation.?

When it comes to issues surrounding same-sex attraction, it?s not easy to discern, in a gospel context, what circumstances are trials we must ?pass through? and allotments we must ?live with? ? particularly in a socio-political culture that tends to spin science in the direction of evidencing a bio-genetically deterministic genesis and wholly immutable state of ?gayness?. Alas, however, ?in our age of spin, the only spin God desires is our freely turning away from sin and turning to Him,? Elder Maxwell said. Because it?s not necessarily our circumstances that keep us from God?s greatest blessings, but rather our desires ? our attitude of repentance ? it?s this piece we must give our foremost attention.

Alma continued on:

I ought not to harrow up in my desires, the firm decree of a just God, for I know that he granteth unto men according to their desire, whether it be unto death or unto life; yea, I know that he allotteth unto men, yea, decreeth unto them decrees which are unalterable, according to their wills, whether they be unto salvation or unto destruction. Yea, and I know that good and evil have come before all men; he that knoweth not good from evil is blameless; but he that knoweth good and evil, to him it is given according to his desires, whether he desireth good or evil, life or death, joy or remorse of conscience? (v. 4-5)

This is probably why Elder Maxwell said the most important education we can nurture in our life is the education of our desires:

Actually, everything depends ? initially and finally ? on our desires. These shape our thought patterns. Our desires thus precede our deeds and lie at the very cores of our souls, tilting us toward or away from God (see D&C 4:3)?. A person’s individual will thus remains uniquely his. God will not override it or overwhelm it. Hence we’d better want the consequences of what we want!? (Maxwell, If Thou Endure It Well, 55.)

Another statement:

In the mortal process of choosing, we ourselves determine what our own prevailing desires are. No wonder, therefore, President Joseph F. Smith spoke about the need for us to engage in ?the education of our desires? (see Gospel Doctrine, 297). In the use of our agency we are fundamentally sovereign. Given the constant and basic role of our desires, a significant portion of real discipleship consists of the ?education of our desires.? If we are meek, our capacity to learn from our experiences will reflect how we educate our desires, even in the hard experiences. After all, it is we, individually, who shape our desires and determine to which of the ?contending enticements? we will finally respond and from which we will experience happiness.

Thus, given God’s plan and agency’s vital role in it, we must ever be on guard against today’s trends and patterns, however carefully they are camouflaged, in which operative agency is severely diminished, such as when some seek to avoid or to deny personal accountability or to say there are really no fixed values. Ethical relativism can thereby lead to a type of a ?compound in one? by an undifferentiated life or simply by ruling out moral absolutes and thereby encouraging every man to walk in his own way (D&C 1:16; see also Judg. 21:25; 2:10).

There is a deep irony in the sameness of sinners who think they are individualistic. They have given away, at least temporarily, their agency and their capacity for joy, living life on a single plane; or, more descriptive still, some march like lemmings down the slope to the gulf of misery.? (Neal A. Maxwell, One More Strain of Praise, 86.)

Ninety-five percent of the time ? give or take a few points ? I no longer have any desire to be in any form of romantic or sexual relationship with a man. In this way, I?ve very much ?changed? over the past few years. I?m still very much attracted to men, but there are parts of that attraction I don?t really want to change. And I?m not sure I should want them to change. I love men, and I love loving men. I love the spiritual, emotional, intellectual, and even physical (non-sexual, non-romantic) intimacy I experience with men. I think these are good desires ? even righteous and holy desires ? that I don?t want to ?overcome.? What I do desire ? though, admittedly, perhaps not enough, and perhaps this is where most of the education of my desires and personal focus should be ? is to grow so that I become more desirous of marriage and conjugal intimacy with a woman. What I do desire is an eternal family. But I think, perhaps, right now I enjoy too much ? am too content ? with the deep friendship and connection I experience with men, and which I believe is in harmony with the gospel. Perhaps my greatest sin is not with my current place, but rather in my love of it ? my contentment with it.

Leave a Reply

25 comments

  1. avatar

    Ron Schow

    Tito

    I think the post earlier by L suggests that he is “wary of outcome data” because what we really want to know is what God intends the outcomes to be in this life. While we may predict the final outcomes in the next life, I would suggest that IN THIS LIFE the “ideal God-intended outcomes” or purposes behind SGA are not clear.

    I believe the actual (not ideal) LDS outcomes are pretty clear even if you use the Nicolosi, Byrd and Potts (2000) data which are the most hopeful you can find anywhere.

    Tito, what I believe, and I think what you suggest in this post, is that we really don’t know what God intends for each person who experiences SGA in this life.

    I think the major questions for someone experiencing SGA back from a mission or at a marriageable age are..

    1) Should I try to marry? If so, how, do I manage that in an honorable, fair way to all concerned? Is that what God intends for me?? Can I do it?

    2) Should I try to be celibate the rest of my life and if so, how, can I prepare for that kind of life? Should I seek to diminish the feelings or just learn to control them or both?

    Tito, I believe this essay shows your efforts to understand these two questions and how you are trying to sort out the answers for yourself.

    Since both yours and L’s posts deal with the same related questions, I would ask this of L, Since you are wary of the data, which I feel are pretty clear, what ARE the “ideal God intended outcomes” in this life which you apparently assume you know, and which make you wary of the actual data? Do you think God expects everyone to go to therapy and not quit until they get married or no longer have any SGA? Or how would you state God’s purpose for SGA and what he intends for each person experiencing SGA? And how do you translate this into the outcomes which (good upstanding LDS) people should support? (Or in other words, since I am apparently so biased, what should I expect the outcomes to be if I were really a good Saint?)

    I think, the Tito essay suggests that instead of fighting his attractions, he likes men and sees no evil in that. I tend to agree with that, particularly in view of several statements in the new pamphlet.

    Of course, you both will refine my attempts to understand your words of wisdom and I look forward to that. Big Smile.

  2. avatar

    With all due respect, Ron, do you ever stop talking about ?outcome data? or reference studies? ;-) This post was intended to be philosophical in nature, and in your comments, you seem to’ve gone clinical on me.

    When it comes to how people dealing with this should live their lives, the focus is probably more appropriately kept to what God does know than what we don?t know. As people seek God?s guidance, I believe He?ll give it to them. I also believe, though, that it would be a rare exception when God would guide a Latter-day Saint who has an understanding and testimony of the fullness of the gospel to do something contrary to gospel principles as taught by the Lord’s prophets. And if He does, it may be simply because they are not ready, or unwilling and, in His infinite love and grace, He?s simply going to work with them where they are, with the end intention of leading them to full fidelity with the teachings of Church leaders regarding chastity and sexual purity.

    Granted, that?s simply my belief?albeit a very convicted belief.

    I have a close friend who left the Church years ago, and he felt really peaceful when he made that decision. Given the fruit of that decision evidenced since then, I’m left only to believe the peace he felt was more because of lack of conflict than the guiding peace of the Spirit. There’s a very real difference. The Lord’s peace can be felt in the midst of conflict. The world’s peace seems to me to be more a lack of conflict. God willingly grants us according to our desires, as it says in Alma 29, even if those desires are not necessarily what He wants for us, or if they will eventually lead to our suffering. That’s the power of agency. In that same talk by Elder Maxwell, he said, “The Lord wants conversion without intimidation.”

    I read the paper Donald Holsinger wrote, referencing Elder Oaks statement about prophets teaching the general rules, and that if someone receives inspiration outside of that, they would be held fully responsible to God and should not to write him a letter asking him to validate the exception. He seemed to be more musing and didn?t really have any strong conclusions, but I would suggest that homosexuality, as such, is not an exception. There may or may not be rare God-sanctioned variations outside of what Church leaders have said, but if there are, I would suggest they are rare. And Church leaders have stated clearly that if individuals are not able to marry and have a family in this life, they are to live the law of chastity?which, in temporal terms, means ?celibacy?, though I prefer a broader perspective of ?abstinence??and can know that the promises of marriage and family are certainly still available to them, even if in the next life.

    The key, and this is the point I was going for in my post, is that it?s the attributes of Christ and the education of our desires that we should be focusing on here in mortality. If someone doesn?t want what God wants for them, that?s simply what it is?their desire (or lack thereof). But perhaps that would be where their hearts need to be educated. Perhaps what we need to learn most is the value and power of faith, patience, and trust in the Lord?s will and timing. As Paul said, ?If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable? (1 Corinthians 15:19).

    So, that?s my point. God alone knows what lessons we individually need to learn through this test of mortality, but I don?t believe homosexual attraction makes anyone a given exception to God?s laws guiding the sexual piece of our eternal progression.

    And, yes, your two questions could easily fall within the realm of the number of questions the principle I was discussing might address.

    Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, I don?t want you to get the idea that my post about loving men in any way implies ?embracing my ?gayness?? or a lack of desire to pursue what I believe to be some important changes toward beginning a family. And those changes may or may not be with the assistance of good therapy, and the process may not begin in this life, but whatever the process, I?ll simply do my best to make sure God is involved in it.

  3. avatar

    Ron Schow

    Tito

    This is how you began your discussion….

    “So, what changes are ?necessary? in order to live in harmony with God?s plan? What changes should we desire?”

    When I talk about outcomes, it is simply another way to talk about the changes that are desired and those that occur.

    I think you raised some really good questions and I don’t think any of us here disagree. We all want what God wants.

    In fact, I’m quite puzzled that you devoted 5 paragraphs in your response to me in which you review a number of different people who made decisions “contrary to gospel principles as taught by the Lord’s prophet,” I was not aware that I had suggested any such thing. Nor do I think I said anything about someone not wanting “what God wants for them.”

    I simply stated what I think are the 2 groups of central questions surrounding changes with SGA that a believing LDS person needs to consider. And marriage and “overcoming” SGA are not always possible so, believing persons sometimes have to find other ways to proceed with their lives.

    Frankly, I thought you too, in your original post addressed these two questions, namely what should you do about your associations with men and what should you do about marriage.

    This is from your original post…

    “I?m still very much attracted to men, but there are parts of that attraction I don?t really want to change. And I?m not sure I should want them to change. I love men, and I love loving men. I love the spiritual, emotional, intellectual, and even physical (non-sexual, non-romantic) intimacy I experience with men. I think these are good desires ? even righteous and holy desires ? that I don?t want to ?overcome.?

    This is from your response…

    “I don?t want you to get the idea that my post about loving men in any way implies ?embracing my ?gayness?? or a lack of desire to pursue what I believe to be some important changes toward beginning a family.”

    Umm. “Embracing … gayness.” Those words were not in my response to you.

    Do you really think my response suggested something contrary to the Church position???

    Your original questions are probably more important, however. What changes line up with God’s plan and what changes should we desire???

    For what it is worth, I agree with you. We should all seek to know the Lord’s will in our lives. If that is the point of your essay, then I don’t think too many here will disagree.

  4. avatar

    -L-

    Tito, I love this post. Your quotes from Elder Maxwell are so appropriate. In particular it makes me think of the serenity prayer, and how we need the grace to accept the things we can’t change, courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference (or some approximation of that!). Add to that the idea of embracing the things that we shouldn’t change, and there are undoubtedly aspects of homosexuality that fit everywhere on that scale, and I think you’ve captured that sentiment well.

    Thanks.

  5. avatar

    John Gustav-Wrathall

    Thanks, Tito, for another very thoughtful and moving essay, and for writing, as always, in a way that pushes me to reflect more deeply on my relationship with my Heavenly Father.

    I have gradually come to the conclusion that desire and how it relates to righteousness is a mystery that can only be worked out in the intimacy of the relationship between God and each of us.

    Desire itself is a very mysterious thing. Some desires change and evolve as we do, while others remain immovable and constant throughout our lives. Desires are almost always connected to awareness and experience. Sometimes, all it takes to teach us the foolishness of a desire is to grant it. Desire can lead to disillusionment or suffering. But desire is also intimately connected to our capacity for joy. And since “man is that he might have joy,” this suggests that desire is no small thing in the scales of eternity.

    Alma came to recognize sin in his desire to be an angel so that he could more effectively proclaim the gospel. But compare Alma’s desire to the desire of the three Nephites, who wished for immortality so that they could remain among men and preach the gospel until Christ came again. The three Nephites also feared this desire to be sinful, so much so that they dared not speak it out loud. Christ learned of it only by reading their hearts.

    One could argue that the desire of the three Nephites was somehow inherently more righteous than Alma’s wish to be an angel, but I don’t think that is why Christ granted their wish, while Alma found it necessary to repent of his desire. Perhaps the desire of the three Nephites would be just as sinful to most of us as Alma’s desire was to him. What made it right and appropriate for them had to do, I believe, with the very specific set of circumstances that applied to them and few others.

    What I find particularly instructive about the experience of the three Nephites is that they did not know how righteous their own desires were. That was sorted out only in the course of their interrogation by Christ. Similarly, you seem to be concerned about the state of your own desires, whether it is OK to be content with the joy you find in relating to other men, or whether you should only be content in striving for the everlasting covenant in this life. I suspect that these things can only be sorted out in interrogation with the One who knows your heart, and who knows better than you do which desires may serve our Heavenly Father’s larger purposes. I think this is ultimately the only way our desires can be “educated.”

  6. avatar

    In my own, humble opinion: smiley face icons in post comments are supergay.

  7. avatar

    Ron,

    “When I talk about outcomes, it is simply another way to talk about the changes that are desired and those that occur.”

    Point granted.

    “In fact, I?m quite puzzled that you devoted 5 paragraphs in your response to me in which you review a number of different people who made decisions ?contrary to gospel principles as taught by the Lord?s prophet,? I was not aware that I had suggested any such thing.”

    This was me rambling. Your comment inspired some thoughts, but they weren’t necessarily in response to anything you had said. I didn’t mean to imply that you had suggested such. I apologize that it came across that way.

    “Umm. ?Embracing ? gayness.? Those words were not in my response to you.”

    True. But something about the way you stated that “the Tito essay suggests that instead of fighting his attractions, he likes men and sees no evil in that” seemed as though it could read that I was “embracing gayness” (my words), and I simply wanted to be clear of what I meant so there was no misinterpretation.

    There is a difference between a deep and platonic same-sex intimacy (something I think we generally don’t seem to get in our culture) and gay relations. The former, I embrace, even though the concept is often misunderstood; the latter, I reject. This idea is capture in the way many of the gay Christian community assume that become David and Jonathon loved each other deeply, they must be homos. I don’t believe that.

  8. avatar

    Thanks for your thoughts, John. Very insightful!

  9. avatar

    Your questions are fundamental. But I would ask you this..

    Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
    3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

    While we don’t know or profess to know the reason for all the challenges we face in this life, it is evident enough to me that some of us were destined to struggle.

    the envy and wrath of man have been my common lot all the days of my life; ? deep water is what I am wont to swim in. Joseph Smith, Jr.

    Yes, we have indeed been called upon to swim in “deep water”. And what is the reason? We usually focus only on our own selfish answers – the “me” part of it. In reality there could be an entirely different dimension – one that does not concern us at all. Have you considered that your SSA may have been given to you so another would be humbed? Or to challenge them? Will it be your example of faith as you remain steadfast in the Gospel that will touch another’s heart and bring them to God? Will your struggles result in the strengthening of another? Or could it be that SSA is the only thing that could have humbled YOU sufficiently in this life? Does God look on you as a tragically damaged child, or as someone with different opportunities? Is SSA a curse, or – for you and others – is it really a blessing? Be sure of your answers before you attempt to expunge it from you. Very sure.

    So yes, explore the “acreage” you have been given, but never forget that your acreage overlaps that of many, many others. The Lord will let you know the bounds he has set for you, and once discovered, be wise enough to say, “Not as I will, but as Thou wilt..” How we deal with our challenges it more important than what those challenges are.The Lord is concerned about our behavior, not our attractions. Only behavior can keep keep us from Him.

    And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

    Best Regards,

    Neal

  10. avatar

    Thanks for your thoughts, Neal.

  11. avatar

    “While we don?t know or profess to know the reason for all the challenges we face in this life, it is evident enough to me that some of us were destined to struggle.” -Neal

    Ugh, homosexuals are not handicapped. Can we please do away with this hurtful analogy?

  12. avatar

    Not handicapped? I’m sorry, but I consider not being able to marry and have a family a handicap. A challenge. A struggle. Call it what you will…

    Neal

  13. avatar
  14. avatar

    Does that make us “hamsters”?

  15. avatar

    -L-

    Sorry to get all serious again, but I’ve been thinking more about this post. When I consider what to want, the real test for righteous wants and unrighteous ones is whether it aligns with God’s will for me. The trick is, God hasn’t sent me a memo regarding his will for every part of my life, so I have to do my best to understand it as I go along.

    When I wrote the fallacious fatty fatalism post, I was mulling the idea that we ought to want to be like God in respect to procreative ability. In some analogous way, I want my son to want to be a man rather than a nice puppy. But I think God’s desires in connection with our mortal situation are much more nuanced. Of course God wants us not to suffer, but he allows it anyway and it’s his will that we experience these mortal things. His will is a moving target of sorts. So, while I may have inadvertently irritated a lot of people with my opining, I hope yours here is complementary for all these reasons.

    Again, I really like this post.

  16. avatar

    L

    I’m certainly not offended by your musings. I like your posts quite a lot. We’re all exploring thoughts and feelings here, so in my mind there isn’t a lot being said worth getting bent over…

    That aside, (and speaking of bent, don’t take this the wrong way) why is what YOU want so important? What about what God wants??? Does God want you to spend 17 years in Evergreen meetings and support groups and blogs trying to figure this all out, or would he rather you get your home teaching done? Or perhaps get in a Temple session more often? If you focused on your home teaching, would your SSA issues diminish? Could you perhaps meet someone in the process that would be the wife and mother you seek? Are you more likely to find her in a Temple session than on a blog? If you focus on His work, could blessings follow that you cannot possibly concieve of right now?

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying any of this to be sarcastic, but I’m beginning to think that the more we shift our focus to the things we KNOW the Lord wants us to do – and he has given us a whole stack of them – we will find the greatest relief from the “thorny” issues in our lives like SSA. As we DO His will, I think His will then becomes clearer to us. You don’t have to have a revelation to start working on that stack I mentioned; it’s spelled out in the Scriptures and the words of the Brethren. But as you work on that stack, I think the revelations will come. The answers will come. The confirmations will come. The rewards will come. And sooner or later you’re going to really know what you ought to be doing. And if you really long for and pray for these other things, I think He very well may give them to you. But I think you had better have made a pretty good dent in that stack if you expect that kind of miracle. And remember my freind, ” not my will, but Thine be done.” Never forget who’s in charge…

    Neal

  17. avatar

    -L-

    When I post about “change” I’m not posting about change therapy, precisely. I completely agree that there are many different approaches to dealing with SSA issues, and basic faithfulness is primary among them. Thanks for your thoughts, I think we’re on the same page.

  18. avatar

    Borealis

    Tito’s citation of Alma 29 is perceptive, because a lot of people read it and think “Aww, Alma’s so humble when he wants to preach so boldly.” But Alma is right when he says he is sinning in that wish, and then he says, basically, be careful what you wish for, because you’ll get it eventually, and that will determine whether you’re saved or damned.

    Another example of this that’s always struck me as curious is Enos’ conversion. After his guilt is “swept away” (I could write a whole essay about the implications of that phrase), he prays first for his brethren, and then for the Lamanites. He prays that the Lamanites will be preserved, but he doesn’t pray that the Nephites will be preserved. He says he knows the Lord will give him what he asks for in faith, so why doesn’t he ask for the Nephites to be preserved rather than the Lamanites? How does he know where to press the Lord (preserving the record of the Nephites) and where not to press the Lord (on the destruction of the Nephites)? Clearly, he already knew something about the will of the Lord for himself and his people as well as the Lamanites. The implication to me, at least, is that a key part of faith is understanding the Lord’s will. In order to have more power in faith, we have to better understand the Lord’s will.

    When I was in the wilderness and things were going so poorly with women and opportunities with (very good and decent and attractive) men presented themselves to me, I wasn’t sure what to pray for. I understood the trap Alma’s pointed out and so I didn’t know what I should want. If I prayed to be happy, was my happiness going to come at the expense of something more important or better? If I prayed to make it work with a woman, what if I wasn’t supposed to? What if I wanted to stay in the Church but that really wasn’t what was best for me?

    Then I found this scripture in Romans 8:26:

    “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”

    I realized that I could pray for what I should pray for. For months and perhaps even years, most of my prayers were no more, and no longer than, “Dear God, help me to know what I should pray for. I don’t even know what I’m supposed to want anymore.”

    After some time of this, I got a really beautiful answer to that prayer. It was perfect. God told me what to pray for, and it was perfect. It WAS what I wanted, though I couldn’t have put it into words. The answer showed me that God knew me better than I knew myself. It was an amazing miracle. Once I knew what to want, I could work towards it, and pray for it in faith. That prayer is being answered. so I count this experience as a double miracle. Perhaps I will share sometime what that answer was for me, but the important thing here is that everyone needs his own answer. That answer can only come from inside us, cannot be imposed by a should, by a need for social conformity. It can only emerge with the help of God. The answer will be at once a sincere desire but also in harmony with the will of God. It is where our yearning and God’s meet, and are one.

    I love how it’s put at the end of C.S. Lewis’ _Till We Have Faces_:

    “Lightly men talk of saying what they mean. Often when he was teaching me to write in Greek [my tutor] would say, ‘Child, to say the very thing you really mean, the whole of it, nothing more or less or other than what you really mean; that’s the whole art and joy of words.’ A glib saying. When the time comes to you at which you will be forced at last to utter the speech which has lain at the center of your soul for years, which you have, all that time, idiot-like, been saying over and over, you’ll not talk about joy of words. I saw well why the gods do not speak to us openly, nor let us answer. Till that word can be dug out of us, why should they hear the babble that we think we mean? How can they meet us face to face till we have faces? … I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?”

  19. avatar

    My question is less about the alignment of God’s desires and my own.

    My question is, “Am I suffering because I can’t marry a man,” or, “Did God asign me to be a Sufferer; unable to marry a women and yet told there is nothing else more important in this life.”

  20. avatar

    Ron Schow

    Tito, you said….

    “…a deep and platonic same-sex intimacy (something I think we generally don?t seem to get in our culture)…”

    Actually, I think a lot of LDS men (especially) get this because so many of us have been on missions and felt deep, platonic love for a same sex companion.

  21. avatar

    “My question is, ?Am I suffering because I can?t marry a man,? or, ?Did God asign me to be a Sufferer; unable to marry a women and yet told there is nothing else more important in this life.?

    Everyone suffers – it’s part of mortaility. I think our journey here on earth is constructed so as to present us with the individual opportunities we need to overcome our own personal weaknesses, and to help others do the same. The Lord knows our Spirit and therefore knows what we need to learn most in this life. Whether that be patience, faith, longsuffering, humilty, etc.

    And according to God, the most important things in this life are these:

    Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
    This is the first and great acommandment.

    And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
    On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

  22. avatar

    I know suffering is part of life. Without exception, it touches us all.

    This inability-to-marry-and-have-a-family problem isn’t mere suffering. It’s not a temporary he’ll-get-over-it issue. It’s not a physical limitation. It’s the Law as set forth by God’s church.

    The question I’m and many other people ask is, “Because life’s goal is to marry and build a family (and because that is impossible) is this life a neverending torment to only be relieved upon death?”

  23. avatar

    It’s the law for those to whom it applies. According to the Brethren:

    “In some circumstances a person defers marriage because he or she is not presently attracted to a member of the opposite gender. While many Latter-day Saints, through individual effort, the exercise of faith, and reliance upon the enabling power of the Atonement, overcome same-gender attraction in mortality, others may not be free of this challenge in this life. However, the perfect plan of our Father in Heaven makes provision for individuals who seek to keep His commandments but who, through no fault of their own, do not have an eternal marriage in mortal life. As we follow Heavenly Father?s plan, our bodies, feelings, and desires will be perfected in the next life so that every one of God?s children may find joy in a family consisting of a husband, a wife, and children. “

    It’s only a torment if you let it be. I got over it….

  24. avatar

    I don’t accept the “Wait for Death” strategy. I can’t.

    How can anyone?

  25. avatar

    Who said anything about waiting til death? I just don’t let it stress me any more.

    And what if you can’t “overcome” it? What then? Are you a failure? Telestial pond scum? Dirt? My gosh, man, you’re talking about something you didn’t choose to have and may not be able to get rid of. God gave you a safety net, so if God is OK with it, why aren’t you?

    Re-read that bit I said about our challenges teaching us the things we need to learn…