3/5/16

The Heart-bonding Power of Abrahamic Tests

PART I
There came a point in my life when I had to face the reality--my sexual orientation wasn't changing. After I accepted that, I thought about my future. I cried a lot. I even remember being alone in my car, parked at my off-campus housing, screaming angrily at God. I hated my life and my options. Many ideas flew through my mind about what I could do with my life. As time went on, I realized most of them could be categorized into 3 options. And over the years, I found that many fellow gay members of the church thought alike. Though described slightly different for everyone, I've found recurring thoughts.

1.  Find happiness in a same-sex relationship.
This is the option viewed as some type of forbidden fruit. Deep down, it’s wishing to connect with another in a way that feels natural to you--like everyone else seems to--that a church, feeling, society, or testimony says you should not have. It’s desiring love, commitment and maybe starting a family. This option may feel very fulfilling. But having a continual testimony of things lasting longer than the trial might slowly chip away at that feeling of fulfillment because you know better and sometimes you wish you didn’t. It may even make you wish you could forget your testimony because you can't just not be gay. It is incompatible with the gospel. Would God somehow, someday understand if I choose this? This is a risky option.

2.  Find happiness in an opposite-sex relationship.
This option is a coveted, yet uncomfortable option. Many spend a lot of time wishing—even praying—to feel capable of it. A comparison could be if straight people were to be in a homosexual relationship to obey God (just humor the idea). Could you do it? Would you have any reservations? Obedience to God's commandments can be as difficult as it is rewarding...but what if His commandment of marrying and starting a family somehow didn't apply to me in the same way as others? There's a lot at stake if I choose this. This is a risky option.

3.  Celibacy.
No relationships. No fulfilling connection. No love. For life. Could you do it?

If your only lifetime options were depressing and/or risky in these ways, how would your everyday decisions change? Lifelong decisions? Could it be possible that such limiting options are why many of our homosexual brothers and sisters lose their faith? Can you blame them if they do? Would you stick to yours? If not, why? Or if so, how can you be sure?

Such difficult, contradictory, or uncertain trials are arguably known as Abrahamic tests. Many face them. Babies are born addicted to alcohol. Some wonderful women can’t bare children and wish to. Faithful men and women in the church may not marry in this life for various reasons. Abuse survivors. Physical disabilities. Those facing an Abrahamic test are especially the parent, sibling, or loved one of the one struggling. Some tests are given by God try our very souls, though most are actually the consequences of misused agency. In the end, we decide if we let these tests be heartbreaking, or heart bonding.

I clearly chose option 2. I decided it was best for me. I had met someone and she became my best friend. I fell in love with her whole soul, as some are lucky to do. For some odd reason she loved me back! I realized I did not want to live without her. I felt capable of being true to spiritual beliefs that outlast physical ones. Now, I am gay and LDS and I am undeniably happy. My tests were heartbreaking, but now they are heart bonding. I do not think this is the only way to feel as I do, nor do I recommend option 2 for all in my situation. I had to take into account all of my experiences, circumstances and core beliefs, and make a choice for me. That, I'd recommend for all.

It may not be that simple; it's hard to make deeply personal choices while ignoring outside sources--even the well-meaning ones. Seeking help is especially beneficial, but basing personal decisions on the help of those who don't have to face your results is not. There is only One other that reflects what it is to be you. He's the Christ. So, for those who are battling making others happy versus doing what's right for you, please read on.

PART II

He’s gay, but married to a woman. He’s not being ‘true to himself.’

This is a repeat comment I've heard for awhile now. I usually don’t give attention to negative comments, but for those who struggle to disregard them when making decisions, I hope you find strength in someone standing for shared religious beliefs. If we don’t share beliefs, I hope you find strength in one standing for the art of agreeing to disagree.

He’s gay, but married to a woman. He’s not being ‘true to himself.’ I am disappointed that, of all people to voice this, it’s a few gay friends that have done so. This remark is not reflective of the majority, rather just a few. Regardless, it's a little awkward that a few belonging to a minority that's set on accepting differences cannot accept that which is different. Regardless, everyone has a right to an opinion and this one is no exception. I do think it needs a clarification, and since the clarification involves personal beliefs I thought others would see value in pointing it out to stand up for beliefs. This is it:  as our personal belief system often guides our decisions, I believe your issue lies with my beliefs on God and gospel and not my decisions. And that's A-OK! I can only testify that I am quite happy because of my choice in God and gospel. You don't need to accept this to make it true for me. We can tolerate another's values--it doesn't take away from our own. This is agreeing to disagree.