Before I started to come out I really had no belief in the Church. Sure I went, and intellectually it made sense, but I didn’t have my own faith, it was borrowed. I didn’t have my own testimony, it was borrowed. I didn’t think I had felt the spirit but instead felt its influence around me. When I was in DC, struggling to intellectually fit the Church and Homosexuality together I had many experiences where I had struggled with what I “knew” to be right and the lack of faith in it. There was one point that because of this feeling, because of my lack of faith and of feeling the spirit that I had concluded that I was unworthy, that I was past feeling. Intellectually the Church has been the only answer that makes sense to me. Yes I know that it is fallible, that it is run by man, that there are many times when the church’s policies have been wrong. But until the following experience, it was all based on intellectualism.
When I was in DC, I worked right near the national archives. For lunch I would often make the quick jaunt up to the National Portrait Gallery. One day while there, I went around a corner and I recognized the person in the portrait, but knew I hadn’t seen it here before. It was a portrait of Joseph Smith.
I ended up spending 15 minutes looking at the portrait seeing the man who, as a boy of 14 was graced with such knowledge because of his faith in receiving an answer. I wondered why I had not any spiritual experience, no testimony to share, when I had had the knowledge that Joseph Smith revealed.
I went into a side room of the Portrait Gallery and began to plead with the Lord. Praying to Heavenly Father that if I was to keep going on believing in the Church and believing in the Gospel, I needed to have some spiritual confirmation that God did in fact live. Immediately I felt the warmth in my heart that I had longed for, for so long. My mind was filled with the knowledge that God did live, that HE loved me. That Christ did and does live and that he felt all of my pains, sufferings, and joys. That Joseph Smith did enter into the sacred grove prayed and saw God the Father and Jesus Christ. That he did translate the Book of Mormon.
Since then I have the spiritual confirmation of my intellectual knowledge. I cannot deny the truth that the Church possesses. Because I know that the Book of Mormon is true, I know that all the prophets down to Thomas S. Monson are the sole leaders on the earth who, in their time, are designated to guide and lead the church, and the only person to receive revelation for the entire world. Yet even with that knowledge, and that faith I have still striven to fit the round peg of homosexuality into the square hole of the Church.
I have spent a large amount of my time trying to understand the policies of the church, the reasons behind comments in talks, the original words used in both Hebrew and Greek to describe homosexuality. I have stated that I believe that all for these are lacking. They are ambiguous and cite each other as proof. I still believe that. And perhaps I am right that Official Declaration 3 is waiting in the wings, waiting for social pressures to weaken so that it will be accepted rather than attacked, so that members of the Church will stay in rather than leave because of this Declaration.
What if I am right and this declaration is waiting in the wings. It would justify a chaste courtship and marriage of a same-sex couple. It would allow and promote such unions and such love. Even if it hadn’t been revealed yet, I believe that it would not be sin to do so, as Eternal Law would allow for it even if it wasn’t yet revealed, for it would be eternally right.
But what if I am wrong? What if there is no Official Declaration 3 waiting in the wings and this really is all a plan of the cunning one? What if Satan has guided all of my careful study? Wouldn’t it make sense for me to follow the idea of Pascal when he set up his infamous wager? I am not wagering in God’s existence, that I know. I am instead wagering concerning God’s plan.
If I live following the Church as it is and Official Declaration 3 is released then I have done what is right and it has an outcome level of 0. If I don’t live in the Church and Official Declaration 3 is released then I will have done what is eternally right and will have he same end outcome as before, an outcome of 0. If I follow the Church and there is no Official Declaration 3, then I did what was right and I avoided what was wrong and that would provide a more positive outcome, say +1. But if I went against the Church that I believe is true because of my analysis and there was no Official Declaration 3 then I would end up far worse than any other choice, a -3 perhaps.
I still do not know where I am headed with things and still need to figure stuff out, but I might be leaving the blogging and gay world in order to live to my fullest within the Church as it is currently set up.