Monday, June 29, 2009

Is This My Last Battle?

But the Glorious One bent down his golden head and touched my forehead with his tongue and said, Son, thou art welcome. But I said, Alas, Lord, I am no son of thine but the servant of Tash. He answered, Child, all the service thou hast done to Tash, I account as service done to me. Then by reasons of my great desire for wisdom and understanding, I overcame my fear and questioned the Glorious One and said, Lord, is it then true, as the Ape said, that thou and Tash are one? The Lion growled so that the earth shook (but his wrath was not against me) and said, It is false. Not because he and I are one, but because we are opposites, I take to me the services which thou hast done to him. For I and he are of such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him. Therefore if any man swear by Tash and keep his oath for the oath's sake, it is by me that he has truly sworn, though he know it not, and it is I who reward him. And if any man do a cruelty in my name, then, though he says the name Aslan, it is Tash whom he serves and by Tash his deed is accepted. Dost thou understand, Child? I said, Lord, thou knowest how much I understand. But I said also (for the truth constrained me), Yet I have been seeking Tash all my days. Beloved, said the Glorious One, unless thy desire had been for me thou wouldst not have sought so long and so truly. For all find what they truly seek.

Am what I am planning to do and accomplish in my life serving the Lord in His name, or is it using his name for my own gratification, to do…not harm, but not as much good as I could do? Would I, through following my planned course of action in finding a Husband and being the person who dutifully gives service in dedication to the Lord, be betraying the true purpose of mine? Is there another way for me to accomplish this that is more inline with Christ? Was I guided to ask these questions by the Guiding hand of the Lion, or my own mind? Or is it both in the aspect of C.S. Lewis’ concept in “Miracles” when he stated that all of our actions that we call our own, truly belong to the Lord, just as the changing of Water to Wine was merely a speeding up of the process by which water, through fertilizing the grapes, becomes wine. Or as put here:

“In a sense, though we speak for convenience of healing a cut, every cut heals itself; no dressing will make skin grow over a cut on a corpse. That same mysterious energy that we call … biochemical when it heals a body is the efficient cause of all recoveries, nd if God exists, that energy, directly or indirectly, is His. All who are cured are cured by Him, the healer within.”

What I am really trying to say is who am I to make the decisions I am about to make? Am I a man, craving so much for this animalistic thing that I am willing to put on a Lion skin to symbolize the Lord, Am I like Nephi, having been commanded to go against the Law of the Church?, or Am I not only a child of God, but also, a piece of Him, someone whose very thoughts are, at some level, controlled or guided by Him? If I am the first, then I am nothing for I am acting in imitation of the Lord. But if I am the 2nd or 3rd, then mustn’t I follow through on the peace that I have felt which is how Oliver Cowdry discerned the spirit? I really hate introspection, and I am beginning to wonder if I am the man in the following story.

A certain man lived by a river. This man was a religious man who was secure in his faith in the Lord. He heard on the radio, an announcement stating that the river was going to flood. He told himself boldly, “I have faith that the Lord will protect me, I will not be harmed by this flood.” When the rains began, the nearby town sent a motorboat to check on this man. When the boat got to the man, they told him “A flood is coming, come with us to be safe.” The man, secure in his faith, yelled back to them “The Lord is my Sheppard and he leadeth me to green pastures. I will be protected by the Lord.” The men on the boat then left and once they had returned to the town, they decided to try a second time to rescue this man and so they sent a helicopter to him because by now, the waters had risen so much that sending a boat was too dangerous. When the Helicopter reached the man, they shouted to the man “Come with us if you want to live. The flood is about to tear your house down and end your life.” The man resolutely responded, “I am a man of faith. I shall run and not be weary. The Lord will protect me.” A few moments later, a piece of his house crashed upon him and he discovered himself standing in Heaven. Confused he asked the Lord, “Was I not a man of Faith? Did I not put my trust in thee and was I not promised that you would keep your faithful safe?” The Lord responded by saying “You were a man of faith and I did protect you, I sent you warning via Radio, rescue on a motorboat, I even sent a helicopter to save you, but you did not accept the help I offered and so your life is over.”

Am I being offered a radio, a boat or a helicopter by the stimulus, which leads me to introspection? Is this the Lord trying to protect me from a flood of evil? Or is it merely man trying to guide me, contrary to what I have felt? I really hate eastbound flights now because again I am left trying to figure everything out. AGHHHHHHHHHHHHH

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Monday, June 22, 2009

When a knock goes unanswered

One of my biggest struggles with the MoHo Dilemma has been the lack of answers. Growing up I was told Ask and ye shall receive, Knock and it shall be opened unto you. These verses have hurt me as I haven’t received answers and I have seen these verses tear many of my friends away from the Church. I have stood at the door and knocked until, like Spencer W. Kimbal suggested, my knuckles were bruised bloody and bare. I had even gotten to a point in my life where the need for these answers and the lack of them led me to try and take my life because I saw that it was the only way to gain knowledge.

The only consolation I have received that makes sense as to why there hasn’t been any answers is this; that by obtaining answers on my own, through faith and study, I will grow stronger than if I was just handed the answer from on high receiving perfect knowledge. As Sarah’s cousin’s quote from Galileo states, “I do not believe that the same God who imbued us with our minds and intellects would then expect us to not use them.” To me this is why I have struggled for the answers and has led me to believe that President Packer is wrong in stating that intellectuals are one of the biggest threats to the Church.

All too often we seek to be spoon-fed the answers to our dilemmas by what C.S. Lewis states as our Grandfather in Heaven someone who says as you will as long as your happy. What we should be seeking is to grow through hard work serving for our Heavenly Father. We want to be handed the prize of knowledge without putting in the full effort to obtain it. We all need to struggle in faith in order to grow spiritually. If we do not continue to grow then we atrophy through apathy.

This has taken me a while to get to this point of understanding but the next observation is the next linear progression of this line of thought so bare with me. Why do we expect a different set of principles, and patterns to apply to the Church as a whole than to the ones that apply to us? Shouldn’t the Church, like us, have to struggle at the door knocking and asking with sincere faith before receiving an answer? Shouldn’t the organization of the church, like ourselves, grow in understanding not through the revelation of perfect knowledge but through the struggle of hard work in faith that leaves us bruised and bare? Why is it that we expect differently from the Church what we apply to ourselves?

We as MoHos need to stick with the Church, pushing them to greater faith and understanding rather than simply walking away from the door when there are no answers given. We as members of the church need to use our minds, guided by the spirit, to seek after and struggle to find the truth through faith and study, not simply expecting our Heavenly Grandfather to imbue our minds with perfect knowledge. When you think about it which has caused you to grow more, external pressure or internal pressure? For me external pressure can be ignored whereas internal pressure continues to influence my life until I have been molded to the proper shape. If we leave the church, then we become external pressure against which we will be crushed like a wave upon the rocks, but if we stay, if we work on opening up the hearts and minds of those around us then we become an internal force for change. And perhaps, just as we have struggled, the church will struggle with their own dilemma regarding MoHos and that through us the church can grow.

Please do not give up the fight, continue going, and continue believing in the Lord. Keep pressing forward.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Stake Conference nad Great Friends

Ok so I really need to recap Stake Conference here because, Oh boy was it interesting!

First off, I was asked to be a member of the Stake Priesthood choir which was a neat experience, but the two songs, I need thee Every Hour, and I’ll go where you want me to go, really were kind of interestingly placed lol!

So I went to the Saturday session, which was really good. While there, a comment was made that those who’s calling and elections are made sure are those who come to the Saturday session so that was kind of ironic. The best part of the session was the final talk given by a brother in a different ward about addictions. His focus was that we are all addicted to something and that the best way to insulate ourselves from this addiction was to focus on others instead of focusing on not-ourselves. It was a really moving talk.

On Sunday I woke up early and knowing that I would be really tired grabbed a CS Lewis book entitled The Weight of Glory and other addresses to read so that I didn’t become a high councilman on the stage by falling asleep. I say this because I wasn’t always paying strict attention to every nuance of the talks and so some of it may be simply paraphrased.

The second counselor of the Stake Presidencies talked on answering difficult questions in an appropriate setting. It was a really good talk because it addressed the concern of facing that first trial of your faith in stage 3 Mormonism. Well as you can imagine, the question of Gay marriage was one of those difficult questions and his response was along the lines of the following. “When people ask you ‘Why do you repress the Civil Rights of Gays?’ don’t you think it is fair to fully examine the question and ask ‘shouldn’t we promote relationships that yield the highest outcome of a strong family, being a marriage between a man and a woman?, After all, the same concept is used by the IRS Tax Code which promotes certain products over others.’”

This answer, as was discussed on my Facebook status on Sunday, was kind of pathetic as a secular case against gay marriage. First of all, since when does religion get its format from government? And since when does a republican voice support government regulation in the Tax Code? And since when should it matter especially because the Constitution “promoted” slavery and Misogyny. Should God follow the precedent of the US Tax Code? I think not! Lol

The next talk from the first counselor mentioned how from this pulpit many great men including Marion G. Romney, Boyd K. Packer and others including some of the early pioneers. This was kind of Ironic because he mentioned that marriage between one man and one woman had been “Set in Stone” back in the Garden of Eden. It was funny because from that very pulpit some polygamists had spoken and yet marriage was set in stone as 1 man and 1 woman. It was oddly funny to see the contradiction happen the instant words were spoken. However, it was kind of sad to see one of the other choir members, whose son is gay, tense up and get visibly frustrated when both items were mentioned.

After conference I had a game night with some of the guys from my LDS frat IOTA, and yes I am aware that the acronym for the LDS fraternity system is LDSSA for Latter Day Same Sex Attraction lol. Well at this game night I was with 4 other guys and two girls and of the 4 guys, 2 know fully about me and one might know, for the purposes of this conversation we will call them Hollywood and Iceman (those who know) Don Quixote (for the one that might know) and Chairman Mao (for the one who didn’t have any clue.

Well somehow the conversation got onto the topic of homosexuality and “the gays” as it seems to do quite often. It started off with a discussion about American Idol and I and one girl said that Adam Lambert had the best voice and I thought he should have won, then Chairman Mao decides to say “But he is GAY!” to which I replied, “So! He has a great voice.” This shut him up for a bit but set the stage for discussing gays and homophobes in a rather decent manner. Well after discussing the topic for a while, Chairman Mao says “I hate Gay people.” I waited for the punch line and when none was given, I was kind of shocked and saw Iceman and Hollywood’s eyes on me seeing how I was going to react.

Don Quixote then spoke up saying, are you going to really condemn an entire group, what did they do to you? Mao then promptly held out his forearm and indicated that while on his mission in Anaheim during Prop 8, he was attacked by two black gays. I was still kind of in shock but mentioned well there is a difference between gays and activist militant gays but I was surprised by the Don’s response of well you can’t condemn a whole group for the actions of a few, after all I know a lot of cool gay people.

Mao then began a witch-hunt and asked if Don was gay. Don quickly replied no but Iceman stepped up and stated, “What would you do if I were gay? How do you know that I am not? I haven’t had a girlfriend.” I was so moved and proud that my straight friends were sticking up to me to Mao. It was really great. This continued on for a little bit and when Iceman took Mao home, Mao got a talking to and was informed that there was a Gay in IOTA and so he had better cool his chops.

Can I just tell you how wonderful it is to have friends like these who stood up for me in the middle of a discussion. It really rocked and showed me that there are still good humans about.

Well that was kind of a tangent but hey that was my weekend.
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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Lust vs. Love

I understand that Homosexuality isn’t all about sex. I intrinsically understand that because in my life it is about more than just sex. However this past week one of my friends, we will call him Chekov, challenged my assumptions and forced me to try and describe why it was about more than sex. Granted he didn’t say to me “Prove it to me” but because of his line of questioning I feel the need to demonstrate to him that homosexuality is about more than just sex.

It gets difficult because Chekov’s own personal experiences have taught him that homosexuality is about lust and not about love. You see he, after living outside of Utah with his boyfriend, that homosexuality was entirely a temptation from Satan and so now he is preparing for his mission and eventual (traditional) marriage. I went to high school with Chekov and so we have talked once before and after that conversation I felt that I had to try to understand Satan’s role in homosexuality. Now I don’t want to try to persuade him from his path because I respect his decision, but I am trying to understand his view while trying to get my view across to him.

In our discussion we distinguished that there are two choices of action and that each one leads us closer to heaven or hell. There is the Animal and the Divine. As humans we are uniquely placed in between the two trying to navigate towards heaven or hell and as C.S. Lewis says “All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations.” This is something else that after much study I have come to understand deeply.

Our discussion led to understanding where different actions fell on this binary spectrum. We both agreed that sex outside of marriage falls into the Animal category. Barring extenuating circumstances, ie a catholic woman in South America beaten by her husband who then left but she can’t get married because she can’t be divorced and so she finds someone whom she can spend her life with and commits to that man. When it came to homosexuality, Chekov believes that all sexual acts including those within a civil marriage are all about lust, I believe that just like sex within traditional marriage, sex within a gay marriage can be both Lustful and Loving depending upon the circumstances.

As I tried to explain why I felt this distinction as opposed to his view, I struggled to grasp a way to vocalize what I felt inside. I tried to paint the picture by stating “What do you think would happen if I were to find a husband that I committed myself to celibately? What would happen from the Church’s standpoint? Would that still be a sin?” I was trying to get the image across that what I find lacking, where I find I need a helpmeet is in more than just sex, but that sex is something that can, when used appropriately, bring a relationship closer together.

I was able to state this in a somewhat fumbling manner after which he informed me that I could find a helpmeet and that for men that helpmeet was a woman. The two naturally compliment each other because they are


opposites that together form a whole being. I agree with this, however after this talk I looked beyond the physical nature of this and look at myself and my characteristics I discover that given this Yin-Yang model, with Yin (male) and Yang (female) complimenting each other to make up for the weaknesses of one another, that I as Yin have a large mixture of Black within the White. My half of the circle is comprised not of a single color with a spot of the other, but a hodgepodge of black and white that, in order to create a full circle of equal black and white I need to find someone with an opposite pattern.

For me, finding a woman with whom my mental, spiritual, and emotional characteristics are in line is extremely difficult because we are two similar and in trying to find a man to whom I could give my mind, spirit, and heart to is also difficult because they are also too similar. That is why it seems that only other gay men can fulfill the hole in my soul; only a gay man can be the helpmeet for me.

I have tried to imagine what I would do if I did find “the right girl,” who was the right Yang to my Yin, because then the only hang-up would be sex and then I would be sacrificing love for lust and living like an Animal if I were to give that girl up. Would it be Animal of me to give up looking for that girl and find a man whom I could commit my life to?

What are your thoughts? This is directed mostly to those partners in a marriage either Gay or Mixed-orientation, Is it possible to have the completeness of Love in either circumstance or am I doomed to a life close to whole but still lacking a helpmeet?
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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Is it easier to ask for Forgiveness or Permission?

I am so glad that I troll blogs these days because I found this earlier this morning about Gay Marriage.

Nate Silver, the Amazing Stats genius who informed us that each State will have the votes to overturn a Gay Marriage ban and legalize it by 2019 has come out with a new post regarding how we can get, as of August 2008, a 63% approval for Gay marriage. All we have to do is change the wording from “will you allow government to give Gay’s the right to marry” to “will you allow the government to prohibit what should be a private matter?” By making this change, our polling numbers jumped by about 20 points. If that same increase was applied today, after SO much media attention, I think the rate would be closer to 65-70% that will support Gay Marriage.

After all, The states that have allowed gay marriage through the Supreme Court have stated that it already exists as a right and the State has no right to take that away from us. We need to fight not for our right to marry, but to protect that right from the Government who has taken that away.

I don’t know how this would change an LDS perspective regarding Gay Marriage, but I do think that it could help turn the tide in Idaho and possibly Utah because of the countless libertarian fiends that these states posses who would be all for a “Get government out” of marriage debate.

What do you guys think of this?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Christ: Savior, Warrior, Lamb, Lion, and the Most Prescious Serpent


Today while reading other blogs I came across Avery’s post concerning his meeting with Dr. Robinson. In this post, Avery retold the story of the Dragon quite well and I recommend you go and read it. I am pretty sure that we have all heard of the story so I wont re-post it here. The following is what spawned out of a comment to Avery that I figured would be good to share with all of you.

Just as I recently re-read The Horse and his Boy, I also re-read the Silver Chair. As you know these stories were meant to share the gospel (of Christianity) in the form of metaphor to children and adults as the books progressed. The following passage from “The Silver Chair” is an interesting read regarding the story of the Dragon.

But first some background information, Eustace Scrub, Jane Pole, and Puddleglum have just rescued Prince Rillian from his enchantment that had him believing he was something he was not for 23 hours of every day. In order to save him, they traveled through this “Underland” - a world beneath the surface of the earth that has no natural light, it is only artificially lit. They have just rescued the prince who then destroyed the chair, which imprisoned him for that one hour of his sanity each day. Immediately following this the enchantress, the queen of underland, came in and seeing the situation started to dull their minds with soft words, an enchanted fire and smooth music. While she was doing this Rillian mentioned Narnia and that he was the prince regent of that land. The following is the dialogue that takes place.

"Narnia?" she said. "Narnia? I have often heard your Lordship utter that name in your
ravings. Dear Prince, you are very sick. There is no land called Narnia."

"Yes there is, though, Ma'am," said Puddleglum. "You see, I happen to have lived there
all my life."

"Indeed," said the Witch. "Tell me, I pray you, where that country is?"

"Up there," said Puddleglum, stoutly, pointing overhead. "I - I don't know exactly

"How?" said the Queen, with a kind, soft, musical laugh. "Is there a country up among
the stones and mortar of the roof?"

"No," said Puddleglum, struggling a little to get his breath. "It's in Overworld."

"And what, or where, pray is this "Narnia?" she said. "Narnia? I have often heard your Lordship utter that name in your ravings. Dear Prince, you are very sick. There is no land called Narnia."

"Yes there is, though, Ma'am," said Puddleglum. "You see, I happen to have lived there
all my life."

"Indeed," said the Witch. "Tell me, I pray you, where that country is?"

"Up there," said Puddleglum, stoutly, pointing overhead. "I - I don't know exactly

"How?" said the Queen, with a kind, soft, musical laugh. "Is there a country up among
the stones and mortar of the roof?"

"No," said Puddleglum, struggling a little to get his breath. "It's in Overworld."

"And what, or where, pray is this . . . how do you call it. . . Overworld?"

"Oh, don't be so silly," said Scrubb, who was fighting hard against the enchantment of the sweet smell and the thrumming. "As if you didn't know! It's up above, up where you can see the sky and the sun and the stars. Why, you've been there yourself. We met you

"I cry you mercy, little brother," laughed the Witch (you couldn't have heard a lovelier
laugh). "I have no memory of that meeting. But we often meet our friends in strange
places when we dream. And unless all dreamed alike, you must not ask them to
remember it."

"Madam," said the Prince sternly, "I have already told your Grace that I am the King's
son of Narnia."

"And shalt be, dear friend," said the Witch in a soothing voice, as if she was humouring a
child, "shalt be king of many imagined lands in thy fancies."

"We've been there, too," snapped Jill. She was very angry because she could feel
enchantment getting hold of her every moment. But of course the very fact that she could
still feel it, showed that it had not yet fully worked.

"And thou art Queen of Narnia too, I doubt not, pretty one," said the Witch in the same
coaxing, half-mocking tone.

"I'm nothing of the sort," said Jill, stamping her foot. "We come from another world."

"Why, this is a prettier game than the other," said the Witch. "Tell us, little maid, where is this other world? What ships and chariots go between it and ours?"

Of course a lot of things darted into Jill's head at once: Experiment House, Adela
Pennyfather, her own home, radio-sets, cinemas, cars, aeroplanes, ration-books, queues.
But they seemed dim and far away. (Thrum thrum - thrum - went the strings of the
Witch's instrument.) Jill couldn't remember the names of the things in our world. And this
time it didn't come into her head that she was being enchanted, for now the magic was in
its full strength; and of course, the more enchanted you get, the more certain you feel that
you are not enchanted at all. She found herself saying (and at the moment it was a relief
to say):

"No. I suppose that other world must be all a dream."

"Yes. It is all a dream," said the Witch, always thrumming.

"Yes, all a dream," said Jill.

"There never was such a world," said the Witch.

"No," said Jill and Scrubb, "never was such a world."

"There never was any world but mine," said the Witch.

"There never was any world but yours," said they.

Puddleglum was still fighting hard. "I don't know rightly what you all mean by a world,"
he said, talking like a man who hasn't enough air. "But you can play that fiddle till your
fingers drop off, and still you won't make me forget Narnia; and the whole Overworld
too. We'll never see it again, I shouldn't wonder. You may have blotted it out and turned
it dark like this, for all I know. Nothing more likely. But I know I was there once. I've
seen the sky full of stars. I've seen the sun coming up out of the sea of a morning and
sinking behind the mountains at night. And I've seen him up in the midday sky when I
couldn't look at him for brightness."

Puddleglum's words had a very rousing effect. The other three all breathed again and
looked at one another like people newly awaked.

"Why, there it is!" cried the Prince. "Of course! The blessing of Aslan upon this honest
Marsh-wiggle. We have all been dreaming, these last few minutes. How could we have
forgotten it? Of course we've all seen the sun."

"By Jove, so we have!" said Scrubb. "Good for you, Puddleglum! You're the only one of
us with any sense, I do believe."

Then came the Witch's voice, cooing softly like the voice of a wood-pigeon from the high
elms in an old garden at three o'clock in the middle of a sleepy, summer afternoon; and it

"What is this sun that you all speak of? Do you mean anything by the word?"

"Yes, we jolly well do," said Scrubb.

"Can you tell me what it's like?" asked the Witch (thrum, thrum, thrum, went the strings).

"Please it your Grace," said the Prince, very coldly and politely. "You see that lamp. It is
round and yellow and gives light to the whole room; and hangeth moreover from the roof. Now that thing which we call the sun is like the lamp, only far greater and brighter. It giveth light to the whole Overworld and hangeth in the sky."

"Hangeth from what, my lord?" asked the Witch; and then, while they were all still
thinking how to answer her, she added, with another of her soft, silver laughs: "You see?
When you try to think out clearly what this sun must be, you cannot tell me. You can
only tell me it is like the lamp. Your sun is a dream; and there is nothing in that dream
that was not copied from the lamp. The lamp is the real thing; the sun is but a tale, a
children's story."

"Yes, I see now," said Jill in a heavy, hopeless tone. "It must be so." And while she said
this, it seemed to her to be very good sense.

Slowly and gravely the Witch repeated, "There is no sun." And they all said nothing. She
repeated, in a softer and deeper voice. "There is no sun." After a pause, and after a
struggle in their minds, all four of them said together. "You are right. There is no sun." It
was such a relief to give in and say it.

"There never was a sun," said the Witch.

"No. There never was a sun," said the Prince, and the Marsh-wiggle, and the children.

For the last few minutes Jill had been feeling that there was something she must
remember at all costs. And now she did. But it was dreadfully hard to say it. She felt as if
huge weights were laid on her lips. At last, with an effort that seemed to take all the good
out of her, she said:

"There's Aslan."

"Aslan?" said the Witch, quickening ever so slightly the pace of her thrumming. "What a
pretty name! What does it mean?"

"He is the great Lion who called us out of our own world," said Scrubb, "and sent us into
this to find Prince Rilian."

"What is a lion?" asked the Witch.

"Oh, hang it all!" said Scrubb. "Don't you know? How can we describe it to her? Have
you ever seen a cat?"

"Surely," said the Queen. "I love cats."

"Well, a lion is a little bit - only a little bit, mind you like a huge cat - with a mane. At
least, it's not like a horse's mane, you know, it's more like a judge's wig. And it's yellow.
And terrifically strong."

The Witch shook her head. "I see," she said, "that we should do no better with your lion,
as you call it, than we did with your sun. You have seen lamps, and so you imagined a
bigger and better lamp and called it the sun. You've seen cats, and now you want a bigger and better cat, and it's to be called a lion. Well, 'tis a pretty makebelieve, though, to say truth, it would suit you all better if you were younger. And look how you can put nothing into your make-believe without copying it from the real world, this world of mine, which is the only world. But even you children are too old for such play. As for you, my lord Prince, that art a man full grown, fie upon you! Are you not ashamed of such toys?
Come, all of you. Put away these childish tricks. I have work for you all in the real world.
There is no Narnia, no Overworld, no sky, no sun, no Aslan. And now, to bed all. And let
us begin a wiser life tomorrow. But, first, to bed; to sleep; deep sleep, soft pillows, sleep
without foolish dreams."

The Prince and the two children were standing with their heads hung down, their cheeks
flushed, their eyes half closed; the strength all gone from them; the enchantment almost
complete. But Puddleglum, desperately gathering all his strength, walked over to the fire.
Then he did a very brave thing. He knew it wouldn't hurt him quite as much as it would
hurt a human; for his feet (which were bare) were webbed and hard and coldblooded like
a duck's. But he knew it would hurt him badly enough; and so it did. With his bare foot
he stamped on the fire, grinding a large part of it into ashes on the flat hearth. And three
things happened at once.

First, the sweet heavy smell grew very much less. For though the whole fire had not been
put out, a good bit of it had, and what remained smelled very largely of burnt Marsh-
wiggle, which is not at all an enchanting smell. This instantly made everyone's brain far
clearer. The Prince and the children held up their heads again and opened their eyes.

Secondly, the Witch, in a loud, terrible voice, utterly different from all the sweet tones
she had been using up till now, called out, "What are you doing? Dare to touch my fire
again, mud-filth, and I'll turn the blood to fire inside your veins."

Thirdly, the pain itself made Puddleglum's head for a moment perfectly clear and he
knew exactly what he really thought. There is nothing like a good shock of pain for
dissolving certain kinds of magic.

"One word, Ma'am," he said, coming back from the fire; limping, because of the pain.
"One word. All you've been saying is quite right, I shouldn't wonder. I'm a chap who
always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won't deny any
of what you said. But there's one thing more to be said, even so. Suppose we have only
dreamed, or made up, all those things - trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and
Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up
things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a
kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that's a
funny thing, when you come to think of it. We're just babies making up a game, if you're
right. But four babies playing a game can make a playworld which licks your real world
hollow. That's why I'm going to stand by the play-world. I'm on Aslan's side even if there
isn't any Aslan to lead it. I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't any Narnia. So, thanking you kindly for our supper, if these two gentlemen and the young
lady are ready, we're leaving your court at once and setting out in the dark to spend our
lives looking for Overland. Not that our lives will be very long, I should think; but that's a
small loss if the world's as dull a place as you say."

In the telling of Dr. Robinson’s story, the Dragon, when touched, made you feel good. Gave you peace and pleasure. I know I sound like one of those about to be eaten, but I figure I will give you my advice anyway. How do you know that the dragon is bad? The boy had only heard that the dragon was bad by those in the village where he grew up, the same village that didn’t feel right to him. He left that village because he didn’t fit there. He was shocked to notice that the dragon was cute and not what the village (that he didn’t fit in) told him it would be. As the boy and the dragon interacted the dragon grew and the pain was only felt when the boy pulled away from the dragon. After re-reading the story in the Silver Chair, I cannot help but compare Dr. Robinson’s story of the Dragon with Christ.

Imagine that the dragon was instead Christ.

When you separate yourself from Christ do you not feel hurt? When you try and fight Christ are you not defeated with every tactic? Does not our image of Christ grow the more time we spend with Him? (This one is difficult but bear with me) Doesn’t Christ refine us through trials that we see for ourselves and for outsiders as the equivalent of being trampled and eaten? Do we not have men with beards teaching on a hill all about Christ? Whose very existence is centered on Christ? Are we all not drawn to the beauty and wonder that is Christ just as those young men are even when pressured to band together and fight against Christ?

Do you really want to leave and abandon Christ and Aslan and Narnia and the feeling that is so wonderful and instead settle for Underland, where there is no sun [or son], where there is not the same goodness felt in Christ? Do you really want to ignore Christ and return to the village in which you do not belong and live a life that is good in and of itself but not as fulfilling as a life embracing Christ, embracing the Dragon. Perhaps this is why he is even referred to as Quetzalcoatl, not the feathered serpent but the "Most Precious Serpent, the one who emerges from the serpent as Venus rises from the morning horizon"

I do not know about you, but for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. The Lord of peace, whose spirits I feel when I feel joyful, a feeling of Christ and not of Satan.
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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Is Celestial Glory Possible with a Committed Gay Relationship?

Recently I have been asked and wondering myself “How can I honestly believe that I can enter the celestial kingdom with after living a life with a male partner, given the absolute truth of every facet that the LDS church currently teaches?” I think that I finally have a coherent enough answer to get out on the interwebs.

The Apostle Thomas.

When you first read that name what did you think of? Most will say “Doubting Thomas.” That is, after all what he is most known for by us. However, this is only one of his actions that should cause us to reflect on the Apostle. When Christ wanted to return to Judea, knowing that he probably would be murdered there, Thomas said to the others, "Let us all go that we might die with him." But Thomas was not remembered for this bravery. His claim to fame came later when he refused to acknowledge the resurrection. He just couldn't wrap his mind around it. The story goes that he needed to touch Jesus' wounds to be convinced. Among us he is known as doubting Thomas, the apostle who lacked faith. He is looked upon mostly with, dare I say, contempt at his lack of faith in the resurrected Lord. However, Thomas did believe in Christ and through that belief, he “might have life through [Christ's] name.

While we often see Thomas as the doubter, I have to wonder how Christ looks upon him. “For the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart”. I think that Thomas, given his track record of willing sacrifice, to lay down his life for the Lord, as well as his ministry as an apostle of God that he is, even with his doubt is guaranteed a place at the right hand of God. I think that the Lord looks upon us and our hearts and sees our actions and why we did them and that is one facet of how we will be judged and found lacking at the last day, and that it is the measure by which Christ will intercede for us on judgment day.

In almost all cases, our lives will be weighed, much like the imagery of the Egyptians, and on one side will be our mistakes and sins, and on the other our positive actions. And while our positive actions alone cannot open the gates of heaven, they can demonstrate a willingness to follow Christ and serve him through serving our fellow man. The one case that I know of in which this is NOT the case is in my ancestor of the heart David son of Jesse.

David was refined and trained throughout his life. He was groomed for his position later in life through several key stages in his development before he became king. And while they were not easy and were serious trials, his perseverance allowed him to become an elect of God. As a sheppard he learned to contemplate on life, and become introspective about himself and his Father in Heaven as he was tending his flocks. As a courtier, he learned self-control, charity, and chivalrous courtesy for those around him. As an outlaw he learned much concerning human nature, particularly with regard to human nature. Each of these stages of life prepared him and sent him through the refiners fire, out of which he became a man after the Lord’s “own heart.” He became the one through whom the line of kings and the king of kings would come forth.

As we all know David sinned with Bathsheba, which was one sin along a path that lead to the murder of Uriah. However David, because of his contrite heart was able to find forgiveness for his sins, all but the murder of Uriah. Because of his time spent ruling righteously, for uniting Israel, and through following the Spirit of Christ, David was granted forgiveness for all BUT the second greatest sin. And even with the second greatest sin left unforgiven and the third greatest sin washed clean, David only lost his exaltation, but he was promised that he would not spend eternity in hell, but would be brought forth into the glory of our father who art in heaven.

So given the examples of Thomas and David, I believe that even if living with a man to whom I am committed for my life is an abomination, that while I might not achieve exaltation, if I dedicate my life towards the two great commandments and devote my life to following Christ through serving my fellow man, and living with a humble and contrite heart, that even with a partner I can achieve Celestial Glory. I still do not know if I really want a male partner in this life yet, it is something that I am still deciding, but if this mindset that I have had the past week continues then I could see myself dating guys regularly by mid-July.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

NOM, Get some sense

No offense, but the ad above from NOM, besides being misleading, FAILS at what it is trying to do. Realistically these guys are trying to create a campaign of traditional marriage activists. If this is their goal, then why did they start off with "Massachusetts schools teach second graders that boys can marry other boys." In any ad you should start with your strongest point first and this one is over my head. They should be outraged and focused on how gay marriage is being taught in the second grade, but not voice it as if what they are teaching isn't fact.
FACT: It is legal, in Massachusetts, for boys to marry other boys.
FACT: Second graders in Massachusetts are also learning about land masses, and most likely pangea.

That is not what the bible says happened and so are groups not in uproar about that? Because they realize that we do not live in the great society where the state is raising their kids. They relaize that they have an obligation to teach their children that they believe differently than what the schools teach. The same thing applies with Gay marriage, all the teachers are doing is stating fact. 2 Men can get married. It is a parents responsibility to raise their child and teach them the beliefs that they hold dear. If you, as a massachusetts parent believe that gay marriage is wrong then tell your kids that by all means. Tell them that you believe that marriage is defined by God as between 1 man and 1 woman. I actively encourage that. But the schools in Massachusetts are NOT teaching that Gay Marriage is how marriage should be, they are stating how it is... the facts.
That two men Can and Will get married in Massachusetts.

The second part of their propaganda was how a field trip was taken to city hall to see a gay wedding and it seen as a teachable moment. I have not been able to find the article in question, but it seems as if it was a teachable moment. Just like the JFK assasination, the Civil Rights Marches, the first interracial marriage, September 11th, September 12th, and November 5th were all teachable moments. They, like all moments in time are teachable. These times however taught us lessons of tolerance an that is what was being taught in California. At that time Gay Marriage was legal, it was a moment when two men could get married and the fact that those 18,000 marriages are still legal tells us that it is still a valid teachable moment becuase these kids were being taught about an historical event and about tolerance for others whose views may differ from yours substantially. If that is wrong, then what is right? Complete war against those that are different? Re-criminalization of homosexuality?

I can understand how the fear of a school teaching your child that gay marraige is ok can be scary and frightening, but at that time it wasn't wrong (in the eyes of the state, a part of which the school is). It may have been wrong to God, but that doesn't mean that that viewpoint should be taught in schools. There is a seperation of church and state for a reason.

The last attack that they state is " the rights of people who believe marriage means a man and a woman will no longer matter." First off even if they were right and Gay Marriage did take away the definition of straight marriage (I know it is hyperbole), why is it that their right to define marriage is greater than ours? The other aspect of this attack is that it is not going to change the fact that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God. Nothing can. Nothing wants to. Those advocating for equality are seeking equal marriage for everyone, including straight people.

The last part thing that I have a problem with is the actor. I really hope the audition tapes for this one get leaked too! Oh Boy! This male voice artist really doesn't do a good job at selling the story that they are going for. So for now I am grateful that NOM has a horrible sense of taste, truth and Public Relations, But I hope they keep it up because it is only helping the equality cause.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Shame On Us

Today I had a lunch meeting with an old friend at the U. While we were ruminating on the extent and expanse of the nations political failings, we hit on one theme. Humans are afraid of shame and cannot accept failure. I am going to focus on the shame aspect today. Granted we can work to overcome this failing, but an overarching theme of human nature is this fear of shame.

Shame is something that drives us more powerfully than anything. We fear shame more that death. Doubt me? Think about seppeku, Oedipus, Caesar, your average teen suicide, and even Adam. If you think about it, Adam hid his shame using fig leaves, but ultimately he choose to leave the Garden, leave life itself, separate himself from God, from his life in order to help Eve bear her shame. Adam knew that if he ate of the fruit he would surely die and yet he did it. Why? I think it is because he could not bear the shame of being alone, the shame of having his help meet (whom he was partly responsible for) dieing. This shame was so much that he, like his descendants after him, took his own life twice because of the shame.

How often do we let shame control our lives? How often do we lie to cover up embarrassing moments? Why? If we are aware that no one is perfect, why do we continue to put on airs of perfection? To impress others? To impress ourselves? To lull ourselves into a delusion that we are better than we are? What would happen if we all began to be honest about our mistakes and admit when we are wrong? What if President Clinton had been honest and said, "Yeah I smoked Pot" or "Yes I did have sex with that woman" What if President Bush had come out and said, "I made a mistake, I goofed, I acted irrationally and sent our troops into war without accurate information" Wouldn't we be able to better make decisions and not carry about so much pain and anguish in our own lives?

If we would simply be honest with each other, with ourselves, honest with everyone, wouldn't life be so much better? After all, why do we lie? Why is it that when we are asked "does this dress make me look fat?" we all know that the answer is "no, you look beautiful"? Isn't it to not cause that person shame by lying? Isn't it better to be honest, because that way there is no shame?

Just some interesting thoughts I figured I would pass along. Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bridging the Divide - A Shot at Redemption for All

Statement from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

SALT LAKE CITY 26 May 2009

Today's decision by the California Supreme Court is welcome. The issue the court decided was whether California citizens validly exercised their right to amend their own constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman. The court has overwhelmingly affirmed their action.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recognizes the deeply held feelings on both sides, but strongly affirms its belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman. The bedrock institution of marriage between a man and a woman has profound implications for our society. These implications range from what our children are taught in schools to individual and collective freedom of religious expression and practice.

Accordingly, the Church stands firmly for what it believes is right for the health and well-being of society as a whole. In doing so, it once again affirms that all of us are children of God, and all deserve to be treated with respect. The Church believes that serious discussion of these issues is not helped when extreme elements on both sides of the debate demonize the other.

So above is the Official church statement concerning the California Supreme Court ruling regarding the legality of Prop 8. Let’s review and move on from there.

First off, the line that gets me (and shows me that there might be hope if worded and approached right) is this line “The bedrock institution of marriage between a man and a woman has profound implications for our society. These implications range from what our children are taught in schools to individual and collective freedom of religious expression and practice.”From this line it is clear that one of the church’s large fears is the oppression of religion by becoming labeled as bigots and the oppression of the church as a hate group for speaking their views (which I believe they are entitled to have and speak). It shows that they also fear the implications of public education concerning homosexuality and in today’s world where parents are suing schools over a Harvey Milk presentation (I honestly think that this is about as retarded as the woman who sued Winnebago for not stating that when on cruise control you had to remain in the seat, but that is another matter entirely), they are right to be scared, as am I.

I can completely agree with the issue in schools and think that, for now, any legislation put forth concerning the legalization of Gay marriage needs to explicitly prohibit the planned teaching of homosexuality without parents consent. Let’s face it there are times when the teacher has to buckle down and answer a pestering child’s question that shouldn’t be included. This should be in place throughout elementary school and maybe into middle school, but lifted by High School where we are (supposedly) teaching students how to think critically and challenge the facts that they are being taught.

I also think that express religious considerations should be put in place just like Gov. Lynch put forth in the New Hampshire legislature. Religious protections already guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution BTW. Granted would this change the Church’s political position regarding legislative movements, but it would 1. Force them to come out into the open and state, “We think homosexuality is wrong and we are going to legislate religion,” and 2. it would provide us with many supporters who are swayed by the misinformation regarding these campaigns (see Gathering Storm for further proof of outlandish claims).

The one line that I love in this Press Release is “The Church believes that serious discussion of these issues is not helped when extreme elements on both sides of the debate demonize the other.” This is wonderful for two reasons. The first, because I think it is insanely wrong to demonize the other side. After-all, if we look at them objectively we can recognize their fears and faults within ourselves and, although a lesser degree, we cannot hate them for their stance that they believe is right, if we do then we run the risk of losing our ground that our stance, the we believe, is right. Second and most important is, “serious discussion of these issues.” This Press Release shows that they are willing to have a serious discussion, a discussion in which each side is treated with respect and dignity, a serious discussion whose goal is to come to at least a mutual understanding and become educated regarding each other, and at best a legitimate compromise that both parties can live with.

This gives me hope and I call upon the Church Leadership to offer to have some sort of conference or seminar or workshop of some sort that is either open to the public and accessible for an internet audience, or to invite leadership of several differing levels of MoHo groups that could come and listen to the Church’s view, in detail regarding homosexuality. A seminar where we would mostly listen and ask questions sparingly. This same model should be utilized by a coalition of MoHo groups to invite church leadership to where we can express our views, our beliefs, our interpretations and translations of scripture. A conference where the Church Leadership from local bishops to President Monson are invited to attend and listen and help us understand. A conference meant to bridge the divide between us so that, while we might not be one group, at least there is some connection, some understanding between the groups so that so many no longer feel like they need to hang a millstone around their necks rather than struggle with inconsistent understanding of how the gospel applies to them and how they can be both Gay and a loved Child of God.

I do not know who should take the first step and if there were more organization between MoHo groups I would suggest that we make the first move and hold a conference first, but I feel as if, because we are disorganized for now, (Scott how is that website coming :p) because, let’s face it, it takes a lot to get them to come down from their mountain, as Affirmation knows all too well. But because I feel we need to make the first step I suggest that we draft a form letter (Alan, perhaps you could check it for neutrality) that we all send to the First Presidency, a letter intended to ask for such a conference here in Salt lake to be hosted by them, a letter that states our desire to have a “serious discussion of these issues” without gall or bitterness. If we were to send these to the First Presidency, our local leaders, our friends and perhaps family members in leadership positions, the news (both local and national), and is we continue to come out and educate the members around us then perhaps they will grant us an audience.

I can’t help but feel as if this is one of the purposes and uses for the blog network that we have. I feel that with all of our connections to Affirmation, Northstar, Sunstone, The Gay Escape, MorMenLikeMe, Family Fellowship, GYLA, LDS Reconciliation, LDS Reasources, and individual high profile MoHo’s (to some degree) we have a chance at bringing our side together into an active coalition seeking more information, more light, more knowledge more truth. I also believe that with our connections to high profile LDS leaders with just 2 or 3 steps removed at maximum that we will be able to get the word out. I feel as if this is something that we need to do, if not for marriage equality then at least to help bridge the divide and save lives.

P.S Because my connections are small and I have a relatively smaller readership, feel free to re-post this or link to it on your blog or website (Scott? ... Abelard?... Clark?... Anyone?). I really think this is something we should do and I hope you guys agree. Let me know what you think and if you have any suggestions about logistics or said form letter.

P.P.S. If this is all naive ramblings of someone who "high" from his first protest then please also feel free to ignore this post, BTW the rally was great but shouting "separate church and state" near the Church Office Building and temple square felt... idk, wrong? Does that make any sense?

Monday, May 25, 2009

It's all Greek to me

So next time you are bible bashing with someone regarding homosexuality, make sure that you dont say that Christ doesn't mention homosexuality in the bible. First off this will get you pulled into one of their traps of "Well he didn't mention rape either so then that's okay right?" Instead say well actually Christ, in his infinite knowledge predicted the increase of public knowledge pertaining to homosexuals and that they too are his children and will be saved. When they look at you in doubt and confusion, reach for your handy KJV and turn to Luke 17:34. When asked when he shall come again, Christ answers in part "I tell you, in that night [that he shall come] there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left." (emphasis included in original)

This scripture is talking about the "rapture" and those taken are those saved (according to most scholars although there is some debate). This scripture is sure to catch them off guard and force them to whip out the classic Article of Faith 8 "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God." They will most likely tell you that there is a problem with the translation, which admitedly there probably is (something to do with the overtly masculine language we english speakers use, although I wondder how this will read in the LDS Spanish Bible?). However, you just got them to tell you that the direct reading of the bible might be wrong and it is necessary to go back to the greek (whch implies that they are a male/female couple), This opens them up for the Hebrew To'eba and the Greek Aresnokoites arguments that are much better, although perhaps the greek is wrong and it did mean two gays in bed, and then the next verse really did mean two girls "grinding."

Thanks Liberal Mormon Who Could for the idea.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Seperation of Church & Gay - The Sound of Settling

You know those times when you are asked to prepare a talk or a lesson and you have the distinct feeling that the preparation of said lesson is more important than the actual deliverance of it? Usually that is what is said if no one listens, shows up, or if you end up not giving it for some reason, but ever so often, one comes around where you know it was the guiding hand of the lion for you to prepare that talk or lesson.

Well I had one of those experiences today. Last night I was asked at 6:30 PM to prepare a lesson for Sunday school today. (First off, I am a member of this class and so teaching it is … awkward, Second I was asked just under 18 hours before. These are one of the 2 things I hate about UT Mormon culture BTW, but that is another post entirely) Today, after preparing the lesson, I got to my class to be confronted with one other member, someone who has had 1/3 of his brain removed and is now… how to put this nicely… his place in the Celestial kingdom is assured. So besides having the prompting all throughout my preparations last night, it was confirmed today that this lesson was meant for me to learn a great deal from. And I did.

My Patriarchal blessing states a couple of things about the celestial kingdom that have, since coming out, left me feeling down. For instance it states “Through your honest effort and the gift of Jesus Christ you will be able to inherit eternal glory, with your eternal companion, in the celestial kingdom where glory and happiness never end.” Looking at this in context of my homosexuality it as left me kind of depressed that I will not be able to enter the celestial kingdom or it has galvanized me to believing that the celestial kingdom can be shared with an eternal same-sex companion. Largely it has led me to become depressed, feeling like I will be destined to live in the terrestrial kingdom (a great place) and knowing that I could have had celestial glory. This thought process is interesting because of the section right before this in my blessing that states “You will be acutely aware that you are not perfect and have faults, but never let this bring you down, for Satan wants you to think that you are just not good enough to return to Heavenly Father in the Celestial kingdom.”

What was interesting was the fact that the lesson I was to prepare was “Kingdoms of Glory,” and it talked all about the 3 kingdoms and Outer Darkness. I was planning on having to teach the high school juniors and seniors as well so I prepared to have a dumb down basics version with deep thought questions should the basics not be enough. Well in going over everything I was focusing on things I had questions about, largely progression between kingdoms and whether there were 3 or infinite kingdoms of glory. It wasn’t until I was in the car with my brother-in-law (another blog post concerning him is forthcoming) and I mentioned the last minute assignment that he, in his infinite trivia-focused mind, asked “what is the only thing required to enter the celestial kingdom?” I in my depressed state offered the answer of “temple marriage.” I was wrong. Turns out the only ordinance (what he meant by thing I am sure) is baptism (which everyone will have BTW). That is the only physical ordinance required for entrance into the celestial kingdom. This struck me as odd until I remembered, like a big dumb idiot, that there is a difference between Celestial Glory and Exaltation.

All too often we in the church lump celestial glory and exaltation together. I heard it told to me by my bishop’s daughter while we were talking over everything earlier this week when she asked me if I would sacrifice the celestial kingdom by marrying a man? Granted I don’t know if she was confusing exaltation and celestial glory, but when she said it I sure combined the two, leaving me with “if I marry a man I inherit Terrestrial glory at the greatest.” I think this is one of the reasons I have been so depressed and confused concerning the possibility of exalted homosexual partners.

I have spent a lot of time contemplating and conceptualizing a way for there to be exalted same-sex partners (males at least, sorry ladies something about priesthood power). The one hang-up I had was something that I had thought of and no one has yet to point it out as a possibility for an error in my logical approach but me. Given that Intelligences are called forth into spirits by priesthood power, then there really needs to be no eternal sex, meaning no eternal need for opposite only exalted couples. The problem comes in with the creation of man. Now, because sex in general is a taboo word let alone eternal sex as a topic in Sunday School there is little proof for this, but I wonder where Adam came from. 3 theories have presented themselves to me, largely because the mud man principle doesn't make sense as literal and must be symbolic.

1, Evolution within the "6 days" happened as Darwin claimed it did with the body of what is now Homo Erectus evolving out of primordial ooze into chimps into homo erectus and when Heavenly Father/Jehovah breathed the Spirit Michael into the body it became Adam (man, Homo Sapien). 2, the Body of man was transplanted from another species from another planet, as prophets believe happened with all other life on earth, and then filled with the spirit becoming Adam. 3, Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother had sex and due to their perfected resurrected bodies created a perfect human in the image of God that was quickened with the spirit of Michael and then raised in the Garden (or sprang forth fully formed), then after the fall (namely the partaking of the fruit) the body became mortal and thus no longer perfected.

The second approach seems to not work because then Man was created in the image of Heavenly Father's relative and not him and regardless it had to start somewhere. Number 1 is more plausible and in fact could probably happen (it does explain dinosaurs) and we are after the image of our father due to the breathing in of the spirit which changes us from Homo Erectus into Homo Sapiens. However, a part of it hasn’t set well with me and only the third option really works in my mind, but it has two flaws, one it precludes a same gender God companionship, hence the difficulty, and it doesn’t explain how things originally began with the first God, but this one is explained away by the “it doesn’t have a beginning” principle that our mere mortal minds can not grasp. So I have been left with this one possibility, the 3rd approach, that doesn’t fit for me, meaning I have to marry against my orientation or not enter into celestial glory. At least that was my thought process, depressing I know!

The amazing part of this entire lesson learning experience happened in realizing and remembering the difference between a Celestial Glory and Exaltation. I might be the only one who crosses these together as one but I know that it has made me depressed because of this (thanks Satan!). Exaltation is not meant for everyone. It is an Eternal weight of Glory. Think of how infinitely difficult it would be to sit and watch as your only begotten son suffered everything for all of us and you had the power to stop it and save your son. Melvin J. Ballard put it best here

God heard the cry of His Son in that moment of great grief and agony, in the garden when, it is said the pores of His body opened and drops of blood stood upon Him, and He cried out: “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me.”

I ask you, what father and mother could stand by and listen to the cry of their children in distress, in this world, and not render aid and assistance? …

He [Heavenly Father] saw that Son finally upon Calvary; He saw His body stretched out upon the wooden cross; He saw the cruel nails driven through hands and feet, and the blows that broke the skin, tore the flesh, and let out the life’s blood of His Son. He looked upon that.

In the case of our Father, the knife was not stayed, but it fell, and the life’s blood of His Beloved Son went out. His Father looked on with great grief and agony over His Beloved Son, until there seems to have come a moment, when even our Savior cried out in despair: “My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?”

In that hour I think I can see our dear Father behind the veil looking upon these dying struggles until even He could not endure it any longer; and, like the mother who bids farewell to her dying child, has to be taken out of the room so as not to look upon the last struggles, so He bowed His head, and hid in some part of His universe, His great heart almost breaking for the love that He had for His Son. Oh, in that moment when He might have saved His Son, I thank Him and praise Him that He did not fail us, for He had not only the love of His Son in mind, but He also had love for us.

Parents out there I know you have felt a taste of this in parenthood and it is bitter-sweet. Imagine the Eternal weight of that. Now so often we are taught to seek after exaltation and hey I think we should, but also too often we view it as exaltation or failure, that if we give up striving for exaltation we are settling for sin, but in the infinite love that our Father has for us we know that it is not, even if I lose sight of it sometimes.

I can fully accept the possibility that I might not be meant for exaltation. I do not even know if it is something that I want. I do know that I want celestial glory and seek to live with Heavenly Father and will strive to accomplish that goal, but it doesn’t require a temple marriage. It only requires giving all we have in the service of God and Christ, in the service of our fellow men. This is why I love this C.S. Lewis quote so much.

It may be possible for each of us to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter; it is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply about that of his neighbour. The load, or weight, or burden, of my neighbour's glory should be laid daily on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken. It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you may talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and corruption such as you now meet if at all only in a nightmare. All day long we are in some degree helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in light of these overwhelming possibilities it is with awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations--these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry,snub, and exploit--immortal horrors or everlasting splendours.This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of the kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously--no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinners--no mere tolerance, or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment. Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbour, he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat, the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden.

This quote so exemplifies the goal of all those who seek to enter the Celestial Kingdom and return to his presence. Love the Lord they God and Love thy neighbor as thyself. Things which I, in a committed Gay relationship, could accomplish.

Given the distinction between Exaltation and Celestial Glory, and the difficult simplicity with which we can enter into the celestial kingdom, I can see an easy path for broader acceptance of homosexuality in the church. It might simply be that both parties are right. That exaltation is meant for a traditional couple and that the act of eternal procreation is a key facet in the eternities, in becoming gods and goddesses, in exaltation. It could also be right that Heavenly Father, in his infinite love, would not place so many of his children in a situation that, particularly for those who are not born into this church, is so easy to not return to him and instead has a distinct plan for his GBLT children in the Celestial Kingdom, and not cut off from their families in a lesser glory. It depends entirely on the willingness of each individual to accept the doctrine of Christ and do all that is necessary and within their power to follow him. To focus on those who are downtrodden, heavy-laden, with their arms hanging low and bring them up through service and love. To focus on keeping all of the commandments that we can, ie. Word of Wisdom, Law of Chastity, and Tithing.

Perhaps it is our mission, perhaps only mine, to follow in the footsteps of John (Young Stranger) and continue going to church and remaining as active as possible even after excommunication. Perhaps we should, when comfortable and impressed by the spirit, bear our testimonies to our wards. Because if we leave then the leaders of the Church can simply ignore us and quite possibly Heavenly Father will as well. And the Members will, as all too often happens when someone leaves the church, discount all that we say and will not listen to the truth that we testify of, the truth that we know in our hearts that God loves all of his children, even us and that we all have the chance for Celestial Glory. But if we come out, come out en masse, come out in our wards and stay active amidst the storm, be the resource that our ward members can come to, to learn the truth just as they ask investigators to approach them and not the Anti-crowd. If we come out, and not until then, the hearts of the saints and the leaders may be softened and perhaps that is what is needed to reveal the mysteries of God unto the Church concerning us.

And if it turns out that temple marriage is necessary in the world to come in order to enter the celestial kingdom (which D&C 131:1-2 states it isn’t) and it has to be with an opposite sex companion, then I would be willing to sacrifice what I have had here on earth for a temple marriage prepared during the millennium when all truth is restored. And if, not until that time, I am allowed to take a husband into a temple marriage, I will glory in the Father for his love and compassion for me an insignificant, imperfect son who still has much to learn even beyond the veil. Regardless, I will serve the Lord in the eternities, be it in separation from an earthly male companion, joined together with an eternal female companion, or joined together with an eternal male companion who was my earthly companion, I will not let my personal preferences interfere with the Lord’s plan for me.

P.S. Wow this got long fast, hence the double title.

P.S.S This doesn't mean I have made any sort of decision as to how I will spend my life in the classical MoHo Dilemma sense, but it does mean that I have leaped yet another hurdle in my way.