Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Yesterday I went and talked with a friend who has moved back from living with his boyfriend in San Francisco. He has moved back, is active in the church, preparing for a mission, and is no longer claiming himself to be gay. He and I talked for about 4 hours and said some interesting things and I have come to the possibility that I may be wrong.
What if I am wrong? What would happen to my life if I were wrong? What if all of this was simply a temptation from Satan? I mean, in my own reconciliation of things I don’t have him playing some role. What if his role isn’t what I think but rather how I am being influenced? With everything that I have seen in my life arranged before me as it is, I can’t think that the Lord would push me away from the Church and Satan would be trying to push me back in. That, logically makes no sense.
Perhaps I need to take a bite of humble pie and learn to follow the common interpretations.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
My name is David Berrett Baker. I am a member of the 17th Ward, Monument Park North Stake in Salt Lake City.
I know the burdens and the responsibilities you bear, and I pray that you will be sustained and inspired in your callings. I also know that you want Church members to seek counsel from local leaders whenever possible. I have followed this counsel, and write about a matter which I have already discussed with my bishop, Jeffery Wetzel, my Stake President S. Craig Omer, and Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the Seventy. All are good and faithful and have been able to give me no clear answers, but only increase my uncertainty, doubt and internal contention. I've therefore concluded that my questions can't be resolved by anyone but you.
You see, I am not like most members of the Church. I am gay. I accept that fact about me and my dilemma is not in coming to grips with that, but is how to resolve the conflicts between my sexuality and current teachings of the Church. I have tried for a long time as best I can to petition and listen for the Spirit to help guide my choices. I've received no answers. I've been taught that when I'm not given either a “burning in the bosom” or a “stupor of thought” that I should follow my own best, studied, reasoned judgment and conclusions, using the gifts of reasoning and discernment that God has given me. That is my situation. In pondering my dilemma, I've turned to the Scriptures and the words of the prophets of the Restoration.
I hope you won't think me presumptuous if, before asking for your advice, I tell you briefly what I've learned and concluded so far. I'd like to show you that I have made every good faith effort that I can to "study it out in my mind" as the Doctrine & Covenants advises.
I. The Scriptures
Leviticus 18 says “thou shall not lie down with mankind as with womankind: it is abomination. ” The original Hebrew term for "abomination" is תֹּועֵבָה or “to’eba”, consistently translated elsewhere as simply “unclean.” This was a ritualistic description, not a token of inherent sinfulness; if it were otherwise, the same animals, which were “to’eba” before the Savior’s time, would have remained so afterward, and Peter would not have been commanded by the Lord in Acts 10 to partake of them. We no longer observe any of the other "to'eba" restrictions in the Law of Moses, since that law was fulfilled in Christ. Why would this one "to'eba" item be different from any others in that respect?
Leviticus 18:3 says, that these provisions were intended to prevent the Children of Israel from adopting certain practices commonplace in both Egypt and Canaan. Homosexual prostitution and sex are known to have been part of some Egyptian and Canaanite religious practices. This suggests that what was "to'eba" in this setting was the kind of promiscuity and prostitution found in the polytheistic, pagan cultures surrounding the Israelites, not homosexuality itself, and particularly not a monogamous homosexual relationship focused on being a family (which as far as I know was unheard of in that day). I have given this scripture thorough analysis and study and believe it is talking about something completely different than simple homosexuality or sexual expression within a committed monogamous relationship.
The Church's Topical Guide says the sin of Sodom was homosexuality. However, Ezekiel 16:49 says the "iniquity" of Sodom was "pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness " and a failure to "strengthen the hand of the poor and needy , and Joseph Smith said Sodom was destroyed not for homosexuality but for "rejecting the Prophets. ”
3. New Testament References
The only New Testament references to homosexuality are in Paul's letters to the Romans, to the Corinthians and to Timothy. Corinthians and Timothy use the same language so I will treat them together.
Romans spoke to both Gentile and Jewish Christians about how the grace of Christ operates to raise us above human imperfections, and about how those who sin against greater knowledge receive greater punishment.
Romans 1:27 criticizes men who lust "one toward another. ” "Lust" is used throughout the scriptures to describe sexual desire for someone, regardless of sexual orientation. This tells me that what was "unseemly" in Paul's preaching was the lust itself, not the gender of its object. Paul, in 1 Corinthians 7, speaks of his personal sentiment of marriage in general, that it should only be used if you cannot control your lusts, “for it is better to marry than to burn. ” To me this is an example of Paul’s personal emphasis on the dangers of lust rather than homosexual sex. Paul rightly condemns promiscuity that, in this case, is associated with homosexuality. But he does not mention or consider the possibility of a monogamous homosexual relationship created in chastity and abstinence until a marital commitment is made.
In both Corinthians and Timothy, Paul says that the "effeminate" (apparently meaning men) and "abusers of themselves with mankind ” will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
Paul's own Greek words for “abusers of mankind” and “effeminate” were ἀρσενοκοίτης (arsenokoitēs) and μαλακός (malakos), respectively. Since he could have used many words to describe homosexuals, we must conclude that he had reasons for choosing these two.
Paul most likely coined the term "arsenokoitēs" himself; we have no proof of its existence prior to his use of it. Homosexuality as a characteristic and a practice was obviously well known in Paul's time (particularly in Greece in the form of pederasty as part of a mentoring relationship) and he could have chosen an existing Greek word to describe it if he'd meant the generic characteristic or practice. Why didn't he? He must have wanted to convey a connotation different from what existing terminology would cover. It appears he may have derived his new word from the Greek version of Leviticus 18:22 that would have been available to him, combining ἄρσενος (arsenos), meaning male, and κοίτην (koitēn), meaning sexual intercourse, which, considering their roots, could mean sex with men. After describing the other word used I will offer what conclusions concerning Paul’s word choice.
Malakos, meaning "soft," was not commonly used by Greek speakers of Paul's time in sexual contexts, nor is it today. Paul's usage suggests some kind of effeminacy or weakness, but no other speakers or writers of Greek seem to have used it to refer to homosexual behavior or practitioners. In fact, "malakos" is used several times elsewhere in the New Testament in ways that have nothing to do with sex (e.g., Matt. 11:8 and Luke 7:25). When other Greek speakers and writers use malakos or similar words, they are never using it as an ambiguous references to sex between males. There were plenty of other words in ancient Greek language -- "erastes," "eromenos," "paedika," "paederastes" and others -- which Paul could have chosen. If he intended unequivocally to condemn all manner of sex between males, it is extremely puzzling that he didn't use words which his Greek-speaking audience would find familiar and unambiguous on the point.
While I do not know Paul's full intent, his word choices are undeniably ambiguous and subject to multiple meanings. He was fluent in multiple languages yet he used one word that may have been an innuendo for homosexuality and coined a new one that reflects back to Leviticus 18. While he may have intended to say that all male to male sex would prevent entrance into the kingdom of God, he may also have been alluding back to Leviticus 18 for the express purpose of drawing a connection between his views and those of Moses, which as I pointed out above seem to condemn the promiscuity and prostitution that was common in Egypt and Canaan.
It is of course well known that the specifically LDS scriptural canon never mentions homosexuality. This adds to my confusion for two reasons. First, these are the scriptures that were specifically provided for our day, yet they say nothing about this topic. Second, it means the entire scriptural basis for condemning homosexuality appears to come from Moses, (either directly, or through Paul and his allusion to Moses) who, as I noted above, is highly ambiguous due to either the avoidance of practices of Egypt and Canaan, or the use of a word, “to’eba” that is used to describe many facets for the Levitical code in the Mosaic Law, yet we no longer observe any of the other restrictions for which this word was used. This disturbs me because the Church's justification for existence rests on its claim of continuing revelation, restoration of the true priesthood, and an open scriptural canon.
II Early Church
Chapter 10 of the Joseph Smith manual, “Prayer and Personal Revelation," contains the Prophet's letter to his uncle Silas Smith, which states “Seeing that the Lord has never given the world to understand by anything heretofore revealed that he had ceased forever to speak to his creatures when sought unto in a proper manner, why should it be thought a thing incredible that he should be pleased to speak again in these last days for their salvation? Perhaps you may be surprised at this assertion that I should say for the salvation of his creatures in these last days, since we have already in our possession a vast volume of his word, which he has previously given. ”
Joseph goes on essentially to say that in some respects revelation for a prior day may not always be sufficient for a later time, e.g. “it was not required of Abraham to leave the land of his nativity and seek an inheritance in a strange country upon the word spoken to Noah, but for himself he obtained promises at the hand of the Lord” . Joseph then asked why it was necessary for the Lord to repeat to Isaac the promises made to Abraham, and then again to Jacob, and why could Isaac and Jacob not "rest contented upon the word spoken to" their father Abraham?
This tells me that Joseph Smith recognized the need for revelation specific to the time & place of the people for whom it was given, even if the words of revelation given to a father were completely sufficient for their children, the revelation still needs to be given.
Yet despite this principle taught by the chief prophet of the Restoration, every scriptural reference underlying the Church's teaching on homosexuality, and every statement by presidents of the restored Church, seems to rest ultimately on the Old Testament. This causes great concern within my soul. We have a living prophet who is not only empowered, but also obligated to seek truth and greater knowledge through revelation for the benefit of the Church. Don't we need some new revelation concerning this issue, which the Church itself has changed position on and admits incomplete knowledge about?
Why is it that we are resting the policies of the Church on sparse, ambiguous notations given millennia ago when even the same revelation needs to be given from father to son? We do not live in the same time as Moses or Paul. The world is a completely different place. People have learned much since their time and have been graced with many great gifts of knowledge and the spirit and yet the policy that informs the restored Church on this issue, still relies only on the lower law that governed the children of Israel thousands of years ago. Since then, the Savior came and fulfilled that law. They did not have the same light and knowledge that we have yet we are still required by the Church to live according to their lower standard. This makes no sense to me. Joseph Smith said that his belief that Enoch and Abraham walked with God, etc. would not be sufficient, that he must obtain for himself by his own faith, diligence, and keeping the commandments, "an assurance of salvation for [himself]." He asserted this was his privilege just like the ancient saints and if he approached the Lord as they did, the Lord would hear his prayers as well.
Knowledge, understanding and perspectives change as people change and grow. I'm sure this is why we should constantly re-read the scriptures, because each time we should discover new insight and inspiration there. Just like Joseph Smith, C.S. Lewis recognized this wisdom and hit upon this principle in his classic Narnian tale Prince Caspian, during an exchange between Lucy, the faithful child and Aslan the symbol of Christ.
Lucy: “You’re bigger, Aslan.”
Aslan: “That’s because you are older, little one.”
Lucy: “Not because you are?”
Aslan: “I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.”
As we grow, our experiences and shape our understanding of the Truth and of Christ. As a people we have come a long way since Moses, since Paul, since Joseph Smith even. We have grown, so too shouldn’t our understanding of the scriptures and of truth grow as well? And yet we are still relying upon Mosaic Law for its teaching on homosexuality. Doesn’t it make sense for the Church to exercise its privilege, right, and responsibility to receive new revelation and ask the Lord for some clarification on the issue, rather than continuing with silence & ambiguity?
I plead with you, brethren, to exercise your power as seers and revelators to ask for more light and knowledge concerning this issue, which is so prominent in my life and in the lives of thousands of others.
III. Modern Church
Every statement I've ever seen from a president or apostle of the restored Church about homosexuality has simply cited either another apostle or president of the Church or the scriptures I've already mentioned. The pattern seems to be a closed loop of cross-quotes and teaching from the intellect and personal opinions rather than the voice of specific revelation for our time and circumstances. Elder McConkie said that even if someone taught truth, if they taught it by some way other than the Spirit, it would not be of God, and the only other way to teach was by the power of the intellect.
With respect, brethren, it appears to me that the First Presidency's letter regarding Proposition 8 was of this type, a policy given not from the spirit but from intellect and granted it might not be wrong but if it is from intellect than it is not from the spirit. The only exception, concerning homosexuality, I can see to the principle Elder McConkie taught was the Proclamation on the Family.
1. Proposition 8
On 29 June 2008 you sent a letter to the Saints in California urging them to do all they could do to support the passage of Proposition 8. You stated, “The Church’s teachings and position on this moral issue are unequivocal. Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God, and the formation of families is central to the Creator’s plan for His children. Children are entitled to be born within this bond of marriage. ”
This campaign tore a divide between members who followed what they thought was right in opposing Proposition 8 and those who believed they were bound to comply with your letter no matter what. This rift amongst members might have been averted had this letter not simply re-stated current policy (as in the Proclamation on the Family) but had instead been actual new revelation, not seemingly a reflection of the First Presidency's personal feelings. I apologize if my conclusion is incorrect, but it seems to be bolstered by Elder L. Whitney Clayton's statement that “Latter-day Saints are free to disagree with their church on the issue without facing any sanction. We love them and bear them no ill will. ’”
With respect, brethren, to others and me it appears that intellect and not revelation spurred your letter to the California Saints. If it had been a revelation then it would have been presented in a different way as revelatory guidance potentially binding on the Church has always been in the past. If this is wrong and it was divine revelation that was guiding your hand I apologize. It would have been nice to hear that it was such, and not merely a continuation of older church policies and the Church's 20-year campaign to prevent any change to marriage laws.
2. Proclamation on the Family
The Proclamation on the Family is the only thing I can find from Church leadership that may arguably rest on revelation rather than reiteration of previous policies, talks, and ancient scripture that discusses homosexuality, albeit only tangentially. Church members often use it as a proclamation against homosexuality. However, I believe even this proclamation is very ambiguous on the issue of homosexuality within the gospel. To me these continued ambiguities that I have discovered in my studies suggest that, rather than directly condemning homosexuality, the Lord has some other plan because every word concerning homosexuality can easily, without much effort, be used, not as an attack of homosexuality, but simply a support of abstinence before marriage, chastity within, and the supremacy of the family, even if it is not the “traditional” family model.
The opening line that “marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children ” is often cited as reason to reject any form of homosexual relationship no matter what it's called. However, this is a logical fallacy. Marriage between "A man and A woman" as "ordained of God" is not the same as “only marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God” (emphasis added), yet that is often the conclusion drawn by members of the Church. The subtle difference is enough to continue the ambiguity because plural marriage was once ordained of God, and continues to be even if the practice has been suspended for now. So we know that the misreading of the opening line is incorrect, yet so often, as in the letter issued in June, such a misreading is used to continue the previous policies.
Second is the line “We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife. ” "Procreation" means the act of creating life. Critics of homosexuality often assert that the practice is wrong because a homosexual couple cannot have children. I can’t avoid seeing the disconnect here: one says homosexual relationships are wrong because they can't produce children, the other saying only that the power to procreate (which by definition a homosexual couple does not have) is only to be used within the bonds of legal marriage. Perhaps you were simply using a euphemism for the word "sex"?
Last is a "catch-all" clause that says, "disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation.” To me, this acknowledges that special cases can change traditional family roles. I think homosexuality, a factor beyond my control, is a circumstance that necessitates individual adaptation and that this clause can provide a basis for a change to current Church policy. However, because this is such a large issue concerning my eternal life or death I cannot solve this dilemma with logic, or by studying things out in my mind. I have learned that in order to answer a question with eternal implications you need divine help not just temporal aid.
Dear brethren, I write this letter to you not as an attack but as a plea. A plea for a clearer answer beyond the ambiguities in the history of the Church's treatment of this subject. These ambiguities haunt many others and me weekly, daily, hourly, and for myself almost every moment.
At one point I was convinced my positions in this letter were unassailable, and I even considered leaving the Church as a result. I have since tempered those views and now seek not what I see as what would bring me the most personal happiness (following my desires, marrying a husband and having a family with him) but simply to find and do what is right. I want to practice the Indian principle of "satyagraha," the willingness to endure great personal suffering, in order to do what's right.
The problem, brethren, is that for all the reasons cited above, I simply can't find any confidence in the Church's positions on homosexuality over time as "right." These positions have changed dramatically. Were all of them "right" at the time? In trying to study things out in my mind as the Doctrine & Covenants advises, I have reached the conclusions stated above and find only incongruity and ambiguity when I think through this issue.
That is why I am writing to you with a request that you and the Quorum of the Twelve will approach the Lord as President Kimball did when seeking revelation on whether to extend the priesthood to all worthy males. I implore you to approach the Lord with no preconceived notions, to be open to whatever the Lord sees fit to give, and to petition Him relentlessly for guidance until you receive it. There are so many of us who suffer as a result of the Church's position and actions regarding homosexuality and how its members manifest these positions in our lives.
I will not conceal the fact that I would love for such a revelation to instruct that eternal marriage between members of the same sex is possible. I honestly believe there is room within the gospel, as I understand it, for this to occur. However, I have tempered my passions and am willing to submit to what is right, not what I want but what the Lord wants. I am willing to partake of the bitter cup that I feel is before me but beforehand I ask you to utilize your priesthood powers and offer an intercessory prayer on behalf of me and my brethren who are in agony.
In any case, however I pray that we will no longer cast this topic of homosexuality into the category of "For Young Men Only" and discuss it with shame and scorn, but rather bring it out in the open because there are many members who constantly battle with this. And rather than deal with this immensely difficult trial in isolation, fearing the judgment of others should their secret get out, which all too often leads to suicide, we, as a church and as members, need to freely discuss this topic in an open way so that we can stop the pain and depression that continues to plague so many because of the absent counsel or additional instruction from the Lord about it.
I pray that you might be open hearted enough not to reject beforehand the possibility of revelation authorizing chaste monogamous homosexual relationships, even if it would shake the faith of many members. I also pray that I might be able to hear and follow your counsel even if it is what I perceive as the destruction of my temporal happiness for I know that when you are guided by the Spirit you speak his words and who am I a mere mortal to challenge my Father in heaven.
So far Pres. Hinckley's declaration of love and tolerance isn't working well in many places. I have seen all to often, both in my own life and in the lives of others whom I have made connections with, the persecution of God's gay children that continues in the Church. So in closing, I plead with you not only to petition the Lord for new instruction and not let up until you receive it (regardless of what direction it is), but also pray for you to urge the membership of the Church in even stronger tones to no longer talk about this subject in the pejorative ways that cause so many so much doubt and shame and fear each week at church where they should feel loved and accepted. Please let's bring this subject out into the light because as Justice Brandeis said "sunshine is the greatest of all disinfectants." Let us do all we can to resolve the current conflicts between the ambiguities of homosexuality and the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
David Berrett Baker
History of the Church, 5:256–57; from a discourse given by Joseph Smith on Jan. 22, 1843, in Nauvoo, Illinois; reported by Wilford Woodruff. As presented in “Chapter 16: Revelation and the Living Prophet,” Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, (2007), 192–205
1 Corinthians 7:9
1 Corinthians 6:9
A professor of Ancient Scripture at BYU, who is also fluent in many languages including Greek and Hebrew, independently verified all Greek and Hebrew translations.
“Chapter 10: Prayer and Personal Revelation,” Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, (2007), 125–34
Adapted from Lewis, CS. Prince Caspian. New York: Harper Collins, 1951. pg 148
Dallin H. Oaks, “Teaching and Learning by the Spirit,” Ensign, Mar 1997, 7
Letter to Church leaders in California to be read to all congregations on 29 June 2008, http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/commentary/california-and-same-sex-marriage
Comment from Elder L. Whitney Clayton to the SL Tribune retrieved from http://mormonsformarriage.com/?p=28, comment 59.
For more information on this campaign, visit http://www.mormonsocialscience.org/?q=node/59
“The Family: A Proclamation to the World”, Family Guidebook, iv
-Harvey Milk, 1978
Somewhere in Phoenix or Salt Lake City there is a young gay Mormon who all of the sudden realizes that he or she is gay. They look at their doctrine and they know that if people find out they will be taunted, pitied, possibly tossed out of the house. This child has several options: Stay in the closet or suicide. And then one day that child goes to Church and hears the same rhetoric that has been said for the last 4000 years and realizes that there is a need for new light and knowledge. And there are two new options: Go to California and leave the church, the lifeblood of their identity, or stay in Salt Lake and Fight! Fight not for equal rights, but for equal answers. You’ve got to pray and petition God like the children of Israel for deliverance from darkness. And you’ve got to band together, thousands upon thousands of those like that child that know there is hope for a better world. A world of light. For without that Hope, not only the Gays, but the liberals, the intellectuals, the feminists, the us’s: without hope the us’s give up. I know that you cannot live on hope alone, but without it, life is not worth living. And you, and you, and you, and all of us, have to Pray and give them Hope!
-David Baker, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Does this principle of the mentality behind sin apply to homosexuality? Is it really a sin to have sex with a Man who is your temporal husband but not celestial? Conversely would it be a sin for me to have sex with a woman who was my temporal wife but not my celestial one? What then is the “sin?” it is obviously not the marriage bed, but the physical act of same gender sex. Would your mentality, you reasons behind the Sin, to raise a family perhaps, negate the “sin?”
1. How can God be Perfect? Given the eternal nature of progression, and given that the plan of happiness doesn't end, how is there an end to growth? I am not saying that God is not Great and Powerful, nor is he a mere mortal, but is He really Perfect? Is he an equal with his God? Are they equally perfect in stagnation? Or is this earth, and our lives, His test of growth just as our lives here our test of growth?
2.It is said that the purpose of us coming to earth was to learn by faith rather than by perfect knowledge. If we had perfect knowledge in the pre-existence, and after this life we have perfect knowledge, then there is no need for faith except here on this earth. I have been told that 1. we are here to learn faith and 2. to obtain a body which is necessary for the eternal progression. I understand point 2. but point 1. We are here to learn faith? if given that after this life (well after judgment) we will be placed on our respective kingdoms, we have been taught that there is no progression between kingdoms (I have beef with this as well, but more on that later), those who are in the Celestial Kingdom will have the perfect knowledge based off of the fact that they will live on this perfected seeer stone. They are those who learned to live by faith. What good will faith be to them when they have perfect knowledge? unless that knowledge is not perfect but instead is limited and striving towards perfection? see question 1. Those in the Tel. and Ter. Kingdoms are those who didn't learn to live by faith but they would be the ones who would need it most because their kingdom (i am assuming here) will not be a glorious seeer stone and thus they would have no perfect knowledge.
3. Movement between kingdoms. Given the need for eternal progression and God's love for us, how could he inhibit our eternal progression between kingdoms? How can he allow our eternal life to be truncated in this eternal plan of happiness?
4. Angels, In the OT Angels are often seen visiting the people, were these us in our pre-earth form? were they those who had died before? (then how did an angel visit Adam) or are they those who lived in the generation of God who minister unto him because their progression was cut off? The angels of the OT had bodies (see Sodom and Gomorrah) and we did not in the pre-earth life. So is this an eternal law from the First God, this division of eternal roles of those who failed to achieve exaltation? If this is an eternal law of the first God, then there must be some reason why HE has the power to make such an eternal law either because he has more power because he has progressed farther than his children and their generations and so is able to make the rules, or because he is the First among equals and that once you reach God Head you are equal with God and then the community of Gods has created and enforce this rule of separation between kingdoms. Why? If they love us more than anything, then why would we be forced into oppression?
5. If God is equal to his father and the generations before I can accept his "perfection" however, why then would there be eternal progression without the ability to progress between kingdoms? If God isn't equal to his Father, thus demanding the eternal progression, then how can He be perfect? If God is not Perfect (albeit far closer to it than we are) than He is acting in the best interest of the majority of people on the earth. Am I on the outside of that? Am I outside of God's realm of Love? Am I outside of his top priority? If so then why should I make him my priority? Why should I give love to a father who thinks of me less than his other children? I say that he thinks less of me because of the ambiguities in the scriptures concerning homosexuality. This Church was built upon the Need, the necessity and the ability to have Continuing Revelation. For more information on this facet, this need for Continuing revelation I turn to the Joseph Smith Lesson Manual Chapter 10 Prayer and Personal Revelation found here.
“Seeing that the Lord has never given the world to understand by anything heretofore revealed that he had ceased forever to speak to his creatures when sought unto in a proper manner, why should it be thought a thing incredible that he should be pleased to speak again in these last days for their salvation?
“Perhaps you may be surprised at this assertion, that I should say for the salvation of his creatures in these last days, since we have already in our possession a vast volume of his word which he has previously given. But you will admit that the word spoken to Noah was not sufficient for Abraham, or it was not required of Abraham to leave the land of his nativity and seek an inheritance in a strange country upon the word spoken to Noah, but for himself he obtained promises at the hand of the Lord and walked in that perfection that he was called the friend of God. Isaac, the promised seed, was not required to rest his hope upon the promises made to his father, Abraham, but was privileged with the assurance of his approbation in the sight of heaven by the direct voice of the Lord to him.
“If one man can live upon the revelations given to another, might not I with propriety ask, why the necessity, then, of the Lord speaking to Isaac as he did, as is recorded in the 26th chapter of Genesis? For the Lord there repeats, or rather promises again, to perform the oath which he had previously sworn unto Abraham. And why this repetition to Isaac? Why was not the first promise as sure for Isaac as it was for Abraham? Was not Isaac Abraham’s son? And could he not place implicit confidence in the word of his father as being a man of God? Perhaps you may say that he was a very peculiar man and different from men in these last days; consequently, the Lord favored him with blessings peculiar and different, as he was different from men in this age. I admit that he was a peculiar man and was not only peculiarly blessed, but greatly blessed. But all the peculiarity that I can discover in the man, or all the difference between him and men in this age, is that he was more holy and more perfect before God and came to him with a purer heart and more faith than men in this day.
“The same might be said on the subject of Jacob’s history. Why was it that the Lord spake to him concerning the same promise after he had made it once to Abraham and renewed it to Isaac? Why could not Jacob rest contented upon the word spoken to his fathers?
“When the time of the promise drew nigh for the deliverance of the children of Israel from the land of Egypt, why was it necessary that the Lord should begin to speak to them? The promise or word to Abraham was that his seed should serve in bondage and be afflicted four hundred years, and after that they should come out with great substance. Why did they not rely upon this promise and, when they had remained in Egypt in bondage four hundred years, come out without waiting for further revelation, but act entirely upon the promise given to Abraham that they should come out? …
“… I may believe that Enoch walked with God. I may believe that Abraham communed with God and conversed with angels. I may believe that Isaac obtained a renewal of the covenant made to Abraham by the direct voice of the Lord. I may believe that Jacob conversed with holy angels and heard the word of his Maker, that he wrestled with the angel until he prevailed and obtained a blessing. I may believe that Elijah was taken to heaven in a chariot of fire with fiery horses. I may believe that the saints saw the Lord and conversed with him face to face after his resurrection. I may believe that the Hebrew church came to Mount Zion and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels. I may believe that they looked into eternity and saw the Judge of all, and Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant.“But will all this purchase an assurance for me, or waft me to the regions of eternal day with my garments spotless, pure, and white? Or, must I not rather obtain for myself, by my own faith and diligence in keeping the commandments of the Lord, an assurance of salvation for myself? And have I not an equal privilege with the ancient saints? And will not the Lord hear my prayers and listen to my cries as soon as he ever did to theirs if I come to him in the manner they did?”
To me this demonstrates the need for continuing revelation even if it is the same revelation, and even from Father to Son. Everything we have on Homosexuality comes from Moses. 4000 Years ago. (everything from the Spirit that is, and not from personal feeling like SWK in Miracle of Forgivness) Why, given the NEED, the Necessity of continuing revelation from Father to Son to Grandson of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, even though it is the same revelation, is there nothing given to our current prophet, seeer, and revelator concerning homosexuality? Option 1. The revelation is the same as in Moses, if so, why then wouldn't it be given again? Why wouldn't it be reiterated as revelation in this our current day and age where homosexuality is rampant and the crimes of the flesh abound. Why wouldn't the Lord reveal that revelation to the FP especially because we have a new Prophet and a new generation? Option 2. Official Declaration 3. declaring the eternal law of Celestial Homosexual Marriage is ready and waiting in the wings, however it isn't given because the members of the Church and of the World are not ready for it. In which case, The LORD is putting those others above me. I feel as if I am Laban except I didn't do anything wrong. I am here to perish so that a whole nation won't dwindle in unbelief. How can a Perfect God push me aside for the "greater good?" How can a God of Perfect Love, let me fall by the way side in order to help the 90 and 9? But also, given option 1. of the sinful twisted nature of Homosexuality, Why then does God not tell me such things? why am I to rely upon the words of Moses that are ambiguous, fulfilled, ancient when we have 1. Modern day Prophets, and 2. I have the Gift of the Holy Ghost which the children of Israel did not have?
I know that my homosexuality is not a choice, it is not a wrinkle in the system. I believe that It was ordained by God (see my post on that here)
"And in nothing doth man aoffend God, or against none is his bwrath ckindled, save those who dconfess not his hand in all things, and eobey not his commandments."I have to believe that there is a reason why I was made this way and I have come to two conclusions 1. This is a part of My intelligence or Spirit and was known in the pre-earth life and will continue in the eternities, in which case I believe that Official Declaration 3 is a Gospel Principle. or 2. This is a trial I have been given. If 2. then why? If 2. then that means that my experiance here is meant for something, for some purpose, that there is some lesson that is crucial to my eternal progression that I need to learn. The only lesson I can think of is either 1. compassion for those who struggle with things I dont understand (which as a God would be useful If I weren't perfect but instead progressing) or a need to bridle all of my passions and learn to live a life without a companion although with the possibility of children adopted into me through my knowledge (which wouldn't, given the need for a Male and Female companionship, prepare me for life as a God. I would then be living with a companion (against my earthly training) and producing children (also against my earthy training)
So I come to the following conclusions. That I am Laban, the one who is able to be cast aside for the survival of the 90 and 9 by God. If so, where then is Christ the one who will leave the 90 and 9 and find me? or is that the job of the prophets? in which case why is there silence from them and the heavens?
Why is there silence from the Heavens?
Monday, March 23, 2009
Just as a preface, this was my very first experience with a church service that wasn’t LDS. I have grown up going to church every week for just about my entire life, I think I have missed about a dozen Sundays in my life. Throughout this week I had the opportunity to visit with many of the people whom I mingled with at the Episcopalian church and I realized that there is a large difference between the Episcopal (and I am assuming most other non-LDS religions) and the LDS faith.
The difference is that for all the flack that the Mormon and specifically Utah-Mormon culture gets it is what really defines us. We are not a church in the common respect. We do not just come to church on Sunday, take the sacrament and then go about on our merry way not taking into account the lessons and teachings learned at church. Granted many people in the LDS faith do this and many in the Episcopalian church do not do this, but from my experience it felt as if the LDS church wasn’t a Church in the traditional sense but it was instead a lifestyle.
It is a lifestyle that dominates all of our actions and forces us to constantly think in the eternal perspective. How often do you (particularly those in a bubble) schedule any activity on Monday or Wednesday night? How often do you find yourself repeating a scripture or a hymn throughout the day as a tool to lift your spirits? I think that I do not belong to a church, granted in legal terms of the nation it is one, but in practice it is not a church. It is a way of life. One that I am glad for because I believe that God and religion is either an all or nothing concept. That is it is either not important or it is the only thing of importance in this life. And I believe that it is the only thing of importance, granted a family is vastly important but it falls under the jurisdiction of religion and God.
I hope to always stay in the LDS church, but if for some reason I discover that what is right and truthful lies outside of it and I follow it and am excommunicated (I do not feel that I will ever take my name from the records of the Church by choice) I will continue to seek after not a church, but a lifestyle. Not the Gay lifestyle but the lifestyle modeled after the LDS church. I probably would continue to try and find meaning and solace from a ward and become a part of the ward family even as an ex’ed member because to me it is the only structure that makes sense and even then not fully but it does the best out there.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
1. Since coming out I have drawn closer to God. It sounds crazy but it is true, before accepting myself as Gay I was apathetic to religion, trying to make it work and using it as an effective social structure and community but now I feel far more connected to the Lord my Savior than I ever have before.
2. I have become far more tolerant of others in their struggles that I might not understand but that I can sympathize with because of the recognition of my own battles.
3. I have been able to stop lying to the people around me about everything, from the reason I left my college of choice, to why I don’t like to date Asian Girls
4. I no longer have to be so concerned about people’s views or feelings about me because I know who I am and I am proud of that fact.
5. I have found a community in which I don’t feel apart from but feel connected with, someone who instead of devoted to a life on the fringe of society, I want to take active part in it.
6. I have discovered who my true friends are, that is the friends who have taken the time to value me based upon my merits, not based on the stereotype of a word.
7. I am able to take a more active role in the places where I felt isolated from, mainly because I have so much more confidence in myself.
8. I am able to take an active role in advocacy because I finally have a cause that I believe in that I see as worth fighting for.
9. I am able to be a beacon, a light, a help to others who are struggling with accepting their sexuality or dealing with religious devotion as well.
10. Most of all, I am happy. I had lived a life of self-hatred and constantly reinforced homophobia, but since I have accepted myself and come out I never been happier. It has brought some great sorrow as well, but it has brought the most sincere joy.
So often I hear about the pain that is associated with coming out and the regret that is found after you begin to accept your sexuality and SO I leave this as an open question to you. I have provided 10 things that I feel have been hidden blessings since I came out. What, for you, are the best things, the positive aspects of accepting yourself and coming out?
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Seeing that the Lord has never given the world to understand by anything heretofore revealed that he had ceased forever to speak to his creatures when sought unto in a proper manner, why should it be thought a thing incredible that he should be pleased to speak again in these last days for their salvation? Perhaps you may be surprised at this assertion, that I should say for the salvation of his creatures in these last days, since we have already in our possession a vast volume of his word which he has previously given.The letter goes on to describe that because of the examples given in the scriptures of repeated prophecies of the fathers given to the Children such as the Abrahamic promise given to Issac and later Jacob. That
the word spoken to Noah was not sufficient for Abraham, or it was not required of Abraham to leave the land of his nativity and seek an inheritance in a strange country upon the word spoken to Noah, but for himself he obtained promises at the hand of the Lord and walked in that perfection that he was called the friend of God.Joseph then tells us that:
If one man can live upon the revelations given to another, might not I with propriety ask, why the necessity, then, of the Lord speaking to Isaac as he did, as is recorded in the 26th chapter of Genesis? For the Lord there repeats, or rather promises again, to perform the oath which he had previously sworn unto Abraham. And why this repetition to Isaac? Why was not the first promise as sure for Isaac as it was for Abraham? Was not Isaac Abraham’s son? And could he not place implicit confidence in the word of his father as being a man of God? Perhaps you may say that he was a very peculiar man and different from men in these last days; consequently, the Lord favored him with blessings peculiar and different, as he was different from men in this age. I admit that he was a peculiar man and was not only peculiarly blessed, but greatly blessed. But all the peculiarity that I can discover in the man, or all the difference between him and men in this age, is that he was more holy and more perfect before God and came to him with a purer heart and more faith than men in this day.
Joseph, to me, is imploring of the necessity of continuing revelation particularly for our day because even the words of revelation given to a father are not sufficient for even the literal children let alone many generations down the line, even though Issac clearly falls under the stewardship of his Father, the Prophet, Abraham.
The same might be said on the subject of Jacob’s history. Why was it that the Lord spake to him concerning the same promise after he had made it once to Abraham and renewed it to Isaac? Why could not Jacob rest contented upon the word spoken to his fathers?When the time of the promise drew nigh for the deliverance of the children of Israel from the land of Egypt, why was it necessary that the Lord should begin to speak to them? The promise or word to Abraham was that his seed should serve in bondage and be afflicted four hundred years, and after that they should come out with great substance. Why did they not rely upon this promise and, when they had remained in Egypt in bondage four hundred years, come out without waiting for further revelation, but act entirely upon the promise given to Abraham that they should come out?
Joseph then goes on to describe how Even Paul recognized this principle (this part is not included in the Manual but I was able to find it here (page 206-7) and have reproduced it below)
This seems to me a continuation of the principle of Line upon line and precept upon precept, but that the original line should not be taken for granted as a given, but needs to be expressly restated as was to Issac and Jacob. This seems particular to me in that every jott and tittle concerning homosexuality from the Church comes from prophets ancient, and even the most recent that might be revelation and not just personal feeling (highly unlikely however) comes from Spencer W. Kimball who could have been my mothers grandfather. Don't we need some new revelation concerning this? Most of what we have concerning this however doesn't come from modern revelation, as is needed, but comes from the Old Testament. So we are basing our actions off of revelation given 4000 years ago when, according to Joseph Smith stated:
paul said to his hebrew brethren that god might more abundantly show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel he confirmed it by an oath he also exhorts them who through faith and patience inherit the promises notwithstanding we said Paul have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us which hope we have as an anchor of the soul both sure and stedfast and which entereth into that within the vail.
I think that this is a crucial aspect for each of us personally but as the church on the whole. While I can fully believe the storis of the Old, New and Another Testaments does it profer me anything? Or must I obtain, as is my privilage just like the ancient saints and Joseph Smith, an assurance of the gospel and particularly how it relates to me a Gay man trying to do what is right?
I may believe that Enoch walked with God. I may believe that Abraham communed with God and conversed with angels. I may believe that Isaac obtained a renewal of the covenant made to Abraham by the direct voice of the Lord. I may believe that Jacob conversed with holy angels and heard the word of his Maker, that he wrestled with the angel until he prevailed and obtained a blessing. I may believe that Elijah was taken to heaven in a chariot of fire with fiery horses. I may believe that the saints saw the Lord and conversed with him face to face after his resurrection. I may believe that the Hebrew church came to Mount Zion and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels. I may believe that they looked into eternity and saw the Judge of all, and Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant.
But will all this purchase an assurance for me, or waft me to the regions of eternal day with my garments spotless, pure, and white? Or, must I not rather obtain for myself, by my own faith and diligence in keeping the commandments of the Lord, an assurance of salvation for myself? And have I not an equal privilege with the ancient saints? And will not the Lord hear my prayers and listen to my cries as soon as he ever did to theirs if I come to him in the manner they did?
I have often experienced, and I am sure that we all have, the feeling that happens when we review a topic after 6 months, a year, several years how the meaning that we see changes because we ourselves have changed. I believe that this is a fundamental reason for the need to read the scriptures constantly because each time we do we discover more about them and about ourselves. Doesn't it make sense then for the Church, an entity who has based its position on homosexuality not on the present leader but on past prophets, to excercise its privilage of continuing revelation and ask the Lord for some clarification concerning this issue rather than silence or ambiquity?
I have been told by many members that I shouldn't look for more but should instead accept what has been given. This struck a minor chord in me and reminded me of 2 Nephi 28:27-30, the infamous 'a Bible, a Bible, We already have a Bible' line
27 Yea, wo be unto him that saith: We have received, and we need no more!I can't help but shake this feeling that there is more knowledge and truth concerning homosexuality in regards to the church that we haven't recieved yet because those with stewardship have not asked with an open mind and a broken heart and a contrite spirit to recieve the knowledge, or that the Lord has chosen to withold such revelation because it might cause more saints to leave the Church and hamper its ability to grow and the saints just aren't ready to hear it yet.
28 And in fine, wo unto all those who tremble, and are angry because of the truth of God! For behold, he that is built upon the rock receiveth it with gladness; and he that is built upon a sandy foundation trembleth lest he shall fall.
29 Wo be unto him that shall say: We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough!
30 For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.
And I pray that the First Presidency and the Quorum of the 12 will kneel down in humble prayer asking for the truth with stayagraha in their hearts, that they will be willing to endure great personal suffering in order to do what is right. I implore them to do this so that even if the counsel simply clears up the ambiguities that we who suffer will be able to do so based on the revelation that is our privilage to hear and obtain. I pray that this April we will no longer cast this topic into the category of "For Young Men Only" and discuss it with shame and scorn, but rather drag it out in the open even if by exposing it to the light the leadership shakes the faith of members or even if they bring it out to publicly destroy it. Please no longer discuss this in fear, causing many young men and women to tremble in fear at themselves and at the words spoken each week by ignorant members, please lets bring this out into the light because as Justice Brandeis said "sunshine is the greatest of all disinfectants." Please let us stand clean and pure and unspotted before the world and before God. Let us not be confused and pulled between a dilemma and a dichotomy that is agravated by the ambiguities of homosexuality.
For many who know me this will come as a shock. To you, my friends, I say this. Being gay doesn't mean I'm a sex-crazed fiend, or a pedophile, or a deviant. It simply means that physically, emotionally, and mentally, I find men more attractive than women. I didn't choose this. And to anyone who knows me and still says it's a choice, I ask you to look at my life and what I care about and then ask yourself why I would choose it.
Who would choose to live a life persecuted and hated? Living a life of internalized homophobia, of self-hatred? Who, honestly who would choose that? Look at the David you know. Do you really think I would choose this? Given a choice between lifelong persecution and a nice easy life living the American dream of a wife, a white picket fence, 3 kids and a dog, why on earth would I choose persecution?
Looking back I can see many times when I should have realized this about myself but instead allowed my mind to repress it. This realization has changed my focus and my outlook on life. You see, I am also Mormon and have a hell of a time reconciling these two parts of myself. These are my twin souls as it were, my Yin and Yang.
You see, for a gay Mormon, there are only really two choices:
1. Remain celibate, dedicating myself to the Church and living a life of service, with marriage being an option only if you can manage to develop feelings for a girl (a difficult prospect for most gay guys)
2. Choose not to remain celibate but instead choose any other option--which might run the gamut from a monogamous lifelong marriage or partnership to recreational sex and promiscuity--these are all against the Church's policy and seen as equally "sinful".
Those of you who know me know that I am very analytical. I often times think too much into an issue, not so much that I can't make a decision, but often just shy of that.
But I can't analyze my way out of these choices. I've tried, and the result is a lot of depressed self-hatred. This is not good. In fact, once it got so bad that I tried to take my own life. I'm never going to do that again.
And that's why I have decided, for now at least, to simply set aside for a while this dilemma between my church and my orientation, this internal constant arguing over which to choose. I need "an hour of peace and rest." This is one of the reasons that for Lent I have given up all discussion about this issue that might spark further turmoil in my mind. This includes discussions about it and most of my interactions with my LDS friends who are also gay. I've also decided to give up participating in church for Lent as so often church is another spark for my internal debate.
I have two reasons for doing this. First, to train my brain to be able to set issues aside and take them up later after some peaceful deliberation. Second, to spend the time I would have otherwise spent debating in turning to God, to Christ and to the Holy Ghost for comfort, support, and help in finding what I must do.
The greatest desire of my heart is not to do what I want, but to do what is right. I want so much to be able to be guided by the spirit of truth in my life. I want to be able to know what is right and to live it. To achieve Satyagraha, the willingness to endure personal suffering if necessary in order to do what is right. This is not easy.
Whatever the result of my efforts, however, I can no longer stay inside the closet. I can no longer sit idly by while many of my friends do not know who I am. I cannot sit here and let you look at me without seeing me.
So I plead with you my friends to look at the person next to you, try to see them for who they really are, and try to love them unconditionally just like our Savior would. Not to say you love them but not their “sin” for then it would be conditional, but to love them simply for who they are.
As for me, I am David. I love God, musicals, music, dancing, fencing, reading, school, politics, men, flying, humor, Christ, Shakespeare, YouTube, driving and dogs. But not because I'm gay. Being gay is only a small part of who I am. I am so much more than just that. Now I have to hope and pray that you my friends will see and understand that and, now that you know who I really am, our friendships can be stronger than ever.
Want to know about me, visit my blog at http://mohodichotomy.blogs
*note the people tagged are those who wished me happy birthday before I posted this or who can distribute this news to my various networks of friends or are people who I think need to know/can tell those around them who know me but aren't on facebook.
Via Facebook All of the comments I have recieved both in the note and out of it have been words of encouragement. This makes me feel glad to live in a society of acceptance rather than one of fear and hatred. However, and I know this sounds lame and crappy and self centered and pathetic in comparison to the hate I could have experienced, I have had silence from a majority of my friends concerning this. Nigh a peep out of them and this... This frustrates me because I would rather have them tell me their true feelings instead of having me sit here and think "well they hate me, are disgusted by me, they feel that if they have nothing to say that they shouldn't say anything at all." These thoughts are hurtful and I would rather face the blows of a thousand words that are flung at me than create them falsely.
Off of facebook, my message has spread rather virally. By wednesday night I had recieved a text from someone int he ward who doesn't have a facebook account, by the family of one of my facebook friends. Today, after waking up I decided to visit the ward and go to sacrament meeting at least for the sacrament. I got there late and after the sacrament so rather than sneak in and sit in my usual spot at the front of the chapel, I waited outside until the choir was set to sing and I joined them and then sat in my pew. I listened to the rest of the meeting with the intention of staying at church until I could get the sacrament form the 20th ward which met from 1-4.
While sitting down I got many looks of positive reinforcment from the members of my ward who are facebook frineds and I also had other looks from members that spoke volumes of ?disgust? no thats not quite the word I am looking for but it give you the idea. So After Church I made my way out from the front row to go to my car to grab my iPod and my Joseph Smith manual so I could study and have something to do for the next hour. On my way out I was pulled aside by my SS teacher who I had all but come out to previously and he offered me the encouragement and told me that he had read my letter and thought that it was very well written and he and I will talk later this week.
After I got my stuff from my car I went to the last pew and started to study while waiting and several people who I have had little contact with in my ward, came up and payed me special attention. While no one besides my SS teacher vocally mentioned that they knew I had come out, I could tell that several including some of the wives of the leaders I have been working with and some old friends, and the others who I shall not name by name here as that is kind of tacky.
Overall, so far, it has been good, but I can easily see this blowing up in my face especially as I am about to befriend via Facebook the friends from Peter Pan who have requested my friendship and the news of my orientation spreads throughout the school. Overall it has been a good experience and in fact me coming out has helped several people come out to me and I think that that is wonderful. So far the member of my ward who I am pretty sure is struggling with coming to terms with himself (we will call him Calaban) has yet to mention anything but then again he doesn't have a facebook.
I am glad that I have come out and hpe that I can help break the stereotypes that are seen across this church and across the world as what "Gay" really means. I hope that Lord I can be an instrument of thy peace and I feel much like Joseph Smith did when he was able to finally share the paltes with the three witnesses. He was so relieed that he could have his burden lightened by his fellow brethren. I am glad that this has happened and in fact I have been able to already stop lying about everything. I was able to tell a kid in my class that I had just come out and finally I didn't have to keep lying. It is such a relief to stop playing this role of a lifetime and instead be liberated and cut free from the bonds of self-imprisonment.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
That is until this year with Lent. It is a new experience for me to try to not try. To force my brain to take the passenger seat and let my emotions guide me. It leaves me vulnerable and often times highly emotional and distressed. I am trying this experiment because when I try to analyze and decide on what path to choose I am stonewalled by both decisions. I have come to the point in time where I need to be able to do what I feel is right. What sucks is that in neglecting my feelings for so long I can not trust them. At least that is what my rational mind is telling me.
So I wonder which is better? To know what Path is right and to follow it? Or to take what you feel and translate it into action? Emotions I feel are often like our instincts in this wonderful C.S. Lewis quote:
How do I know what fickle emotion to follow? Should I worry about knowing such a thing? or should I just kick off the wall and let myself travel, like in space, floating off with the same velocity I left with? Should I just saturate my life with my emotions and ride/enjoy the rollercoaster that is bound to come? Or should I try to play a chess game where their are millions of different pieces and the rules keep changing? Should I use my emotions to try and block out what I know in my mind?
Telling us to obey instinct is like telling us to obey 'people.' People say different things: so do instincts. Our instincts are at war... Each instinct, if you listen to it, will claim to be gratified at the expense of the rest.
I guess I am really just trying to figure it all out and needed a good place to ramble and rant. Any sugesstions? and if any one tells me not to worry it will be alright I will find you and I will deck you.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
When I was in High School and applying to the US Air Force Academy I heard this all the time to try an calm my nerves. Everyone told me oh don't worry things will work out. I ended up being disqualified from the Academy because my English Teachers evaluation was lost by the Postal Service. By all other accounts I should have gotten in. I have taken this as a sign that I was meant to go to BYU (not there anymore) or that it was because of my health conditions, that it lead me to a love of my life, or that it helped me come to terms with my sexuality.
All of these are possible silver linings, but I am sick and tired of just being left with the silver lining. Sometimes I want the Sun. I want sunshine in my life, not to be grasping at despair and trying to find some tattered meaning. I am sick of being unhappy and only occasionally finding some temporary happiness by drowning myself in a sea of flesh on the dance floor where I am surrounded but alone. Because that happiness is fleeting.
I want some sort of permanent happiness in life. But I also want to do what is right. Can they be the same? or does choosing one make me miserable in this life always reaching for that silver lining while the other makes me feel guilty and pain for the future while I participate in that which will make me temporarily happy?
Is it too much to ask that the reward for doing what is right be happiness? I really hate it when people tell me these words of encouragement, because to me it is just a cruel reminder of the cold reality. That we are all miserable creatures clinging to this rock hurtling thousands of miles per hour around a mass of heat and gravity. And that as we each cling for meaning in our lives, that meaning only leaves us in pain and desperation. So again is it really too much to ask for happiness AND joy?
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Mr. and Mrs. Darling, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you’d expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn’t hold with such nonsense.
Mr. Darling was the director of a firm called Grunnings, which made drills. He was a big, beefy man with hardly any neck, although he did have a very large mustache. Mrs. Darling was thin and blonde and had nearly twice the usual amount of neck, which came in very useful as she spent so much of her time craning over garden fences, spying on the neighbors. The Darlings had a small son called John and in their opinion there was no finer boy anywhere.
The Darlings had everything they wanted, but they also had a secret, and their greatest fear was that somebody would discover it. They didn’t think they could bear it if anyone found out about the Bakers. Mrs. Baker was Mrs. Darling’s sister, but they hadn’t met for several years; in fact, Mrs. Darling pretended she didn’t have a sister, because her sister and her good-for-nothing husband were as unDarlingish as it was possible to be. The Darlings shuddered to think what the neighbors would say if the Bakers arrived in the street. The Darlings knew that the Bakers had a small son, too, but they had never even seen him. This boy was another good reason for kxeeping the Bakers away; they didn’t want John mixing with a child like that.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Will I let the devil inside me control my actions, submitting myself to it? Or will I become a fighter and a champion? Do I become the boulder that withstands the blows of the river only to be broken and hewn? Or do I submit and roll becoming a smooth stone similar to those around me on the riverbed? Do I approach this from the East, which would have me in a Zen like state accepting that which I can not change? Or should I come from the West changing that which I cannot accept? Or do I take a leaf out of the book of Bruce Wayne and accept that I might fall down but pick myself back up again?
After all, Life is like a knife fight in a dusty bar if you get knocked down, you best gets up again.
"On the sixth day, God created man in his own image. Now it's up to us to figure it all out. Right, wrong. Good, evil. In each of us is the capacity to decide what drives our actions. So what is it that makes some choose selflessness, the need to devote oneself to something greater, while others know only self-interest? Isolating themselves in a world of their own making? Some seek love, even if unrequited, while others are driven by fear and betrayal. There are those who see their choices as dark proof of God's absence, while others follow a path of noble destiny. But in the end, good, evil, right or wrong, what we choose is never what we really need. For that is the real cosmic joke. The real gift that God has left behind." - Gray
"I never thought of losing, but now that it' s happened, the only thing is to do it right. That's my obligation to all the people who believe in me. We all have to take defeats in life." - Clay
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Looking at these two statements I have to come to some conclusions. Either 1. Elder L. Whitney Clayton (head of Same-Gender Attraction issues in the Church) was not authorized to make the statement concerning the apathy towards civil unions that is now the Church’s reported position that was not only clear in the Press release statement from Elder Clayton, but also by their clear demonstration that they do take an apathetic statement towards civil unions and equal rights as seen in their silence on the Common Ground Initiative.
Or 2. The bishop of the Nauvoo 3rd ward is following the precedent set by the Church’s actions during the Prop. 8 campaign and taking upon him a stewardship that is not his own?
So is this a call from the Church Headquarters disguised to appear as coming form an individual ward? Or is it the actions of a bishop who has fallen into the trap of all men who “as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion."
What will church Headquarters do? Will they stand by and let this bishop take unrighteous dominion over the people? Or will they come out with an official statement saying that this order came from them? Or will they stay silent yet again? And if they stay silent what does it mean? To me it means that they support the actions of Bishop Church and Susan Combs of the Nauvoo 3rd ward to 1. Use the Church ward as a political powerhouse and 2. the political message can be counter to the official church statement with no repercussions. IF that is so, what is to stop a bishop in Vermont to call for support of Civil Union legislation? Would that not cause great division within the church?
So Elder Clayton, and President Monson, I urge you to take a stand on this issue, do not sit on the fence take a stand if the actions of Bishop Church are from you then say so please. If it is not please make a statement and rebuke his attempt to turn his ward into a political machine but rather focus on Christ and his message of Love. But whatever you do, please do not sit back and do nothing.
Monday, March 2, 2009
I wont Grow Up
I will never even try
I will do what Peter tells me
And I’ll never ask him why
While the kids were performing this I thought about the implications of this. That in not growing up and in staying a LOST boy, you will never question what Peter tells you. I couldn’t help but juxtaposing that to the “faith” of most members in the Church. Most of them go along passively doing what is asked of them being sheep lead by the leader. I have always been a … goat. I have tried to find my own way but I was at one point content to be a sheep.
As I was listening to the kids perform I thought of this line from Corinthians
“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. “ and thought of my need to put away my childish thoughts of just seeking to be blindly obedient and instead follow my own path.
But as is common in my mind I also thought of this scripture in 3rd Nephi
"And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can in nowise receive these things.
And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God."
So should I, like pan, peer through the window darkly, seeking the truth, or should I submit to become like a little child after all. Or is it circular having the beginning of a child then the growth of growing up and peering through the glass darkly and then become like unto a child again, willing to submit to my father?
Sunday, March 1, 2009
“Each person may only eat one fruit a day.”
The custom was obeyed for many generations, and the ecology of the place was preserved. Since the remaining fruit supplied seeds, other trees appeared. Soon, the entire region was turned into fertile soil, which was the envy of other towns.
But the people continued to eat one fruit a day.
They remained faithful to what the ancient prophet of their forefathers had told them. However they never allowed the inhabitants of other villages to take advantage of the abundant harvest with which they were rewarded each year.
The result was that fruit rotted on the
God called a new prophet and said:
“Let them eat as much fruit as they like. And ask them to share the abundance with their neighbors.”
The prophet came to the town with the new message. But he was stoned - for by now the custom was ingrained in the hearts and minds of each of the inhabitants.
With time, the younger villagers began to question the barbaric old custom. But, since the tradition of the elders was unbending, they decided to abandon the religion. Thus, they could eat as much fruit as they wished, and give the rest to those in need of food.
The only people who remained faithful to the local church, were those who considered themselves saints. But in truth they were unable to see how the world changes, and recognize how
one must change with it