Saturday, February 6, 2010

What Does it mean to have Faith? - continued...

For the first time in my life I was getting attention, very positive and pure intended attention, from men and this was combined with their teachings of Christ which I had been searching for, for some time. I need to make it very clear, never in my mind was there ever any thought of a sexual nature. That’s not what this was about, it was about the forming of some amazing friendships developed through a very personal journey and discovery of faith in Jesus Christ.

Once I made the decision to be baptised, which took me about 12 months, my focus and study of the gospel only intensified. Growing in a similar intensification was my attraction to guys, however I either consciously or subconsciously suppressed them for many years. At no stage had I shared these feelings with anyone, except my private journal. I don’t recall discussion at Church which condemned homosexuality, however I knew it was a sin according to the teachings of the LDS Church.

As I left high school and turned 18 it was time for me to think about serving a full time mission for the LDS Church. This would mean two years away from home and a strict lifestyle of celibacy and obedience to a series of fairly strict rules beyond that of the lay membership. I wanted to do it and so off I went, for two years. It was an interesting growth period.

After about six weeks in, I was wondering what on earth I had done. It’s not something I shared with anyone, just something I had to work out on my own. I stayed and completed my two years and received what’s referred to as a ‘honorable release’. It was an amazing experience, one that I will always treasure and be thankful for. I managed to meet many people from a variety of backgrounds, income levels and cultural origins. The unique thing about religion is that you get to talk to people on a very personal level, a level that you would never be able to do if you weren’t a minister of religion. It’s something about the white shirt and tie and the little black badge, people seem very comfortable opening up and sharing their most personal feelings and experiences.

I kept a fairly extensive journal from my two years as a missionary, looking back over it there are a couple of entries about my feelings of being gay and what that meant. Before I left on my mission, I made a covenant with God through prayer. If I was 100% obedient as a missionary, would he take away these feelings of homosexuality. I was probably 90% obedient, but the feelings remained. I think I explained away my lack of a miracle because of my lack of obedience. 

I’ve since realised that some challenges are with us for reasons beyond our ability to understand. Is my being gay a challenge? It certainly was at one point in my life, but since coming out it’s no longer a challenge, it’s just simply who I am. In the context of this book and faith within the teachings of Christ, homosexuality is looked upon as a grievous sin and one that equals adultery in its’ severity. Some Christian groups believe it to be much worse and some are less radical in their view.

As I met with my Bishop in a private meeting the last Sunday I attended Church he said, “If I understand you correctly, you simply don’t understand where you fit in?”. He was right, I don’t understand where I fit into Gods plan. I believe He has a plan for me, I believe that He loves me regardless of my behaviour or, what could be seen as, my sinful ways.  The Saviour taught us to love the sinner and despise the sin, if that’s his council to us, surely He lives by the same standard? With that love, why would he create me the way that I am and then not allow me to be who I believe I am?

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