As I read individuals blogs, news articles, and comments on Facebook and elsewhere, I reflect on the reality of the turmoil and pain we, as members of Christ’s Church, sometimes feel as men attracted physically and emotionally to other men, or women attracted to women. My heart aches as I read some of their current struggles, temptations, and doubts. Part of that ache comes because I know all too well what they are feeling. For me, these feelings are intensified when I am not spiritually in a good place, when I am not taking care of myself physically by not getting enough sleep, exercise, or eating properly, when I am stressed by financial other concerns, and when I am not actively seeking ways to strengthen healthy male relationships – either with those in close proximity or with friends by email, Facebook, or telephone.
In my youth, I acquired several addictions that haunt me still, but my Achilles heel is spiritual doubt. If Satan can get inside my head and whisper doubt about the Church and spiritual witnesses I have had in the past, I am much more vulnerable to sexualize my attractions and turn to my addictions. When I am in balance spiritually, physically, and emotionally, my life is really quite smooth and enjoyable. My attractions are simply attractions and I feel at peace with myself and my Father. When I allow those doubts to fester, or languish in sin, I seem to forget the things tjhat bring me true happiness. I develop a spiritual amnesia that clouds my better judgment.
Recently, I had the blessing of spending some time with a friend, who like me, a few years ago had lost his spiritual bearings and placed his family relationship and his Church membership at risk. Although both of us are in a pretty good place right now, we realize that we are just one mouse click or bad choice away from spiritual danger. The day he left, I was holding his beautiful little son, and I asked him if he could imagine walking away from his family as some of our friends have done, and expressed how I couldn’t understand how some in our shoes are capable of leaving wife and children behind for any reason. Truthfully, I guess I do understand. I almost lost all that I now hold dear because I lost my spiritual memory. I took on a false idea that the choices I made didn’t affect anyone but me. Truth is none of us, even if we are single, lives in a vacuum. The choices we make affect many others – family, friends, posterity, coworkers, neighbors, ward members, and society in general.
In the Book of Mormon, the phrase, “O remember, remember” is often repeated, imploring us to remember the covenants we have made, the blessings Father has given us, the truths we hold dear, the promises made if we are faithful. My prayer for all of us is that Father will bless us with spiritual memory that we may remember where we find true happiness and peace.
I love you my brothers and my sisters. I testify that if we humble ourselves and trust our Savior, He will turn this incredibly difficult challenge into a blessing that draws us back to Him. He will use it to purify us, refine us, and teach us what we came here to learn.