For me, the biggest part of understanding the junction of faith and homosexuality is understanding where I fit in God’s Plan.
For a long time, I didn’t believe I did.
For years I believed that my homosexuality was a curse – a curse brought upon me by my own childhood forays into pornography and cemented by a lack of inner faith.
Everything bad that happened to me was, in my mind, evidence that I had sold my birthright and committed an unpardonable sin. Depression was my fault. So were my struggles with addiction. And when I was sexually abused as a teenager, it was yet again proof that I was lost and fallen.
I found myself fighting a deep internal struggle. On the one hand, I believed, from what I read in the scriptures and felt in my heart, that if I could do what was right and honestly repent, I could be forgiven of my sins… and thereby healed of homosexuality. On the other hand, I wondered if that was possible. I mean, if a temple marriage is part of the Plan of Salvation, how does that work for me? I had never even heard of someone living the gospel with homosexuality… or being healed… just a whole lot of people who decided not to.
Unlike many men and women who fight that internal struggle, though, I never actually had the choice of choosing between “living the gay lifestyle” and staying active in the Church. I have to rely on the Lord for miracles to get me through each day, so I could never survive (and definitely never find happiness) as a gay man.
No. The decision I had to make was far more subtle and inward than choosing between urges and promptings. It was a choice between beliefs – between hope and despair. Do I continue to believe that God could maybe, someday love me and I can be forgiven? Or do I resign myself to being cast off, and, like King David, appeal that God will not leave my soul in Hell forever?
And for a long time that paradox stayed with me.
You see, I made the first mistake when I tried to label homosexuality as a curse, instead of simply being a part of my life. Curses are brought upon us due to sin and are designed to lead us to repentance. Parts of life are simply designed to best bring us to God.
I finally found resolution in my mental struggle when I realized something sublime. Even if homosexuality was a curse, my circumstances didn’t preclude me from keeping the commandments… and keeping the commandments was the only requirement for receiving the blessings I so desperately wanted in my life.
In time I would recognize that homosexuality, like cancer or disability or talents or every other facet of life, brings with it a series of challenges and abilities that can either bring us closer to God or push us away from Him. Which one happens is my choice.
The purpose of life is to learn to be happy. To become like God. To change from imperfection to perfection. God knows me perfectly. He knows what I need and loves me far too much to lower the flame on the refiner’s fire.
Here in mortality, I face a host of diverse circumstances. Relationships. Education. World dynamics. Health. Finances. Politics. Professions. Homosexuality.
Each of those was probably chosen for me before the world was created. I am a child of God, a son of the Lord of the Universe… and He loves me.
And His Plan of Happiness isn’t a chart with circles that’s taught in Seminary and Sunday School. It’s a Plan that’s been personalized to me… a pathway that will change me into the man He sees in me and lead me back to Him someday.
I am a child of God. And He has sent me here. Not just here, in the place I sit, but here to the body I have, to the family I love, to the people around me and the circumstances that shape my life. All because He loves me and will do anything to bring me back.
(image attribution: http://helamangallery.com/ )